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Preston Thompson PKT
 
A limited edition re-creation of a special Thompson dreadnought.
March 20, 2024
 

Luthier Preston Thompson arrived on the custom guitar scene in the early 1980s, and at a time when few builders were offering handmade re-creations of prewar flattops, his guitars quickly gained a dedicated following. Preston passed away in 2019, but his legacy lives on in the Thompson guitars that are still being built by a small team of luthiers at the company’s shop in Sisters, Oregon. The Thompson shop has access to a handful of its founder’s original instruments, including a dreadnought that Preston built in 1983, and the company recently decided to offer a limited-edition (ten guitars per year) re-creation of this particular guitar, and we recently had a chance to check out one of the new instruments. In this video, San Francisco Bay Area flatpicker Jim Nunally and I play and discuss the PKT model. 

Like the 1983 guitar that inspired it, the PKT is built with a Sitka spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides. A Sitka top is unusual for a contemporary Thompson guitar (the company tends to reach for its stash of Adirondack for spruce-top instruments), but in the case of the PKT, using a Sitka top is both historically accurate and a way to distinguish the guitar from other Thompson dreadnoughts. The woods are all of spectacular quality; the top has straight overall grain and a hint of bearclaw, while the back and sides have a rich chocolate-brown color. The PKT also has red abalone purfling, rosette, and back strip, and the maple binding on the body and fingerboard give the guitar more of a modern than vintage character. Maple is also used for the heel cap and tail wedge. The ebony fingerboard has traditional slotted diamonds-and-squares position markers, which are also made of red abalone. In more structural specs, the guitar is built with Thompson’s advanced-X bracing (made of Adirondack spruce), and has a soft-V neck shape, a 1¾-inch nut width, and relatively roomy string spacing of 2⁵/₁₆ inches at the saddle. 

From the first strum, it’s clear that the PKT is a highly dynamic flatpicking machine. Jim commented on the guitar’s warm bottom end and great volume, both of which were apparent whether he was playing single-note lines or rhythm chords. The guitar had a very played-in vibe that belied the fact that it is brand new; if this is how it starts out, watch out for more of everything as it matures! The guitar’s setup was also excellent, with easy playability and great tonal clarity throughout its range.

Thompson’s trip down memory lane has produced a fantastic dreadnought that combines great vintage tone with an updated appearance. Flatpickers and anyone looking for a high-end tone monster would do well to get in touch with Thompson to reserve one of these rare dreadnoughts!
SPECS: 14-fret dreadnought body. Sitka spruce top with advanced-X Adirondack bracing. Indian rosewood back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.4-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₁₆-inch string spacing at the saddle. Gold Waverly tuning machines. Made in the USA. $9,950. pktguitars.com

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    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com