Through his extensive collaboration with bluegrass legends Charles Sawtelle and Peter Rowan, Preston Thompson was able to study and learn from some of the finest guitars ever made in the prewar era. Building off of the knowledge and dimensions gleaned through those years of study, Preston developed his own guitar designs, which maximize the sonic potential of time-honored acoustic templates. Sadly, Preston passed away in 2019, but his legacy lives on in every guitar built by the Thompson guitar company in Sisters, Oregon.
This Thompson D-BA 42 was made in 2022, and it is a superlative dreadnought. It features a long 25.4" scale length, an Adirondack Spruce top, and Brazilian Rosewood back and sides. Preston's dreadnought design was heavily influenced by a prewar Martin owned by Charles Sawtelle, so it's impressive to see what the design does with the appropriate woods. This Thompson has powerful, robust dreadnought tone, but it is nicely balanced across the register. Notes shimmer and ring out with complexity, and the dynamic range is vast. Thanks to the hand-voiced, forward-shifted bracing, the response feels vibrant, and notes ring out clearly and sustain longer than you expect. It sounds beautiful with a light touch, and when you dig in, the box comes alive! Putting this Thompson through the paces is an inspiring experience.
To match the premium woods and Thompson's careful craftsmanship, this D-BA 42 goes a step further with high-end details. It features Style-42 Abalone top border, an Abalone rosette, Abalone "Mystic Snowflake" fingerboard inlays, and a stunning Abalone Torch inlay on the peghead. The sound alone will leave an impression, but these elegant appointments push this guitar into the stratosphere. In your hands, this Thompson D-BA 42 feels like an "end-of-the-rainbow" instrument. From the first G run, it's no surprise this model is Billy Strings' go-to axe.
- Model Style: D-BA
- Top: Adirondack Spruce
- Back & Sides: Brazilian Rosewood
- Top Bracing: Advanced X Adirondack, Pre War Scalloped
- Back Bracing: Adirondack Spruce
- Tongue Brace: Yes
- Binding: Ivoroid
- Top Purfling: 42-Style Abalone
- Rosette: 3-Ring Abalone Rosette
- Soundhole specs: 4"
- Back Strip: Multicolored "Flag of Many Nations" Strip
- Neck: Mahogany
- Neck Profile: Soft V
- Truss Rod: Single-Action 14-fret
- Peghead Overlay: Brazilian Rosewood
- Peghead Inlay: Traditional Torch
- Peghead Binding: Ivoroid
- Fingerboard Binding: Ivoroid
- FingerboardL Ebony
- Fingerboard Inlay: 42-Style "Mystic Snowflakes" Abalone
- Scale Length: 25.4"
- Tuning Machines: Nickel Waverly
- Nut: Bone, 1-3/4"
- Saddle: Compensated Bone, 2-5/16" spacing
This 2021 Thompson D-BA 42 is gently used and shows some superficial signs of play and use. There is a tiny scratch on the back, by the end block (see photos), but that's the worst of the play wear. The Brazilian Rosewood set is gorgeous and nicely matched on both the top and the sides. The playability is excellent, and the tone is incredibly rewarding. In your hands, this guitar will inspire on so many different levels. It includes a vintage-style case with an arched top and a leather handle. The buckle is a little tricky to release at first, but after a few tries, you'll get the hang of it.