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Thompson Guitars’ Olivia Elia and her Custom Dreadnought
 
Thompson employee Olivia Elia stops by the Peghead Nation studio to show her personal walnut dreadnought and discuss the Thompson building process.
July 27, 2022
 

The path to becoming an instrument maker often follows a unique and personal route, and guitar companies and lutherie shops can be hubs for passionate personalities following their own calling. Thompson Guitars of Sisters, Oregon, is a busy shop that is able to channel its employee’s collective skill sets into an exceptional range of custom guitars that continue in the spirit of the company’s late founder, Preston Thompson. Thompson Guitars’ builder Olivia Elia recently stopped by the Peghead Nation video while on a visit to the Bay Area, giving us an opportunity to check out her personal Thompson dreadnought and to chat about her role at the company as well as the Thompson building process in general. 

A native of South Dakota, Oliva first became interested in woodworking through her father, a carpenter who got her to help on projects at an early age. After attending a high school with an art focus, she studied art at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she excelled in many areas, including photography, a continuing creative pursuit that has been rewarded with several gallery exhibits. While in college, Olivia also discovered a passion for fly fishing, specifically the rods used in the sport. Before long, she was apprenticing with acclaimed rod makers Rusell Beck and Dave Dozer.

Following a stint building ukuleles in Kala Ukulele’s California custom shop, Olivia was introduced to Thompson Guitars during her apprenticeship with Dave Dozer, who is also located in Sisters. When a position became available to join the Thompson team, Olivia decided it would be a perfect opportunity to combine her passions for lutherie and rod making. Today, she splits her time between Thompson Guitars, where she is in charge of building the instruments’ bodies, and her own fly rod business. 

Recently, Olivia built herself a Thompson dreadnought with walnut back and sides and an Adirondack spruce top. In this video, Oliva talks about the instrument, her appreciation of walnut, how she voiced it for playing with a soft touch, and how her love of foxes lead to its custom peghead inlay. 

Pktguitars.com, oliviaelia.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