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 SL-CMA was made in 2021, and it is a well-conceived interpretation of the classic Slope Shoulder Dreadnought design. It features a Long 25.4" scale length, an Adirondack Spruce top, and Cuban Mahogany back and sides. It has a powerful, robust dreadnought tone, but it is nicely balanced across the register. Thanks to the hand-voiced '30s-inspired forward-shifted bracing, this SL-CMA has strong clear, response that feels vibrant. When you dig in, it comes alive in the perfect way.
While Thompson guitars are well known within the bluegrass genre, this slope-shoulder dread feels like a versatile guitar that can handle anything you throw at it. The Cuban Mahogany has the rich character you expect from mahogany, but because it's denser than more common varieties of Mahogany, there's a sense of clarity that you expect from harder tonewoods like rosewood.
- Cuban Mahogany Back and Sides
- Adirondack Top
- Tortoise Binding
- BWBW top purfling
- 3 Ring 18 Style Rosette
- Ebony Backstrip
- Solid Headstock
- MOP Thompson Logo on the Headstock
- Figured Ebony peghead overlay
- Soft V neck profile
- Nut width 1 3/4
- 12 Fret 2 1/4″
- Tortoise Heel Cap
- 18 Style Ebony Fretboard
- Abalone Old Style 18 Dots
- Advanced X Bracing pattern
- Pre-war scalloped Adirondack bracing
- Tongue Brace Yes
- Ebony Belly Drop In
- Bone Nut and Saddle Compensated
- Tortoise Pickguard
- Waverly Nickel Butterbean Tuners
This 2021 Thompson SL-CMA is in nice condition, but it does show some play wear in all the expected areas. There are some dings along the side near the endpin from a careless strap end (see photos), but otherwise there's not much to mention. A strap button has been installed on the heel, and the setup is excellent. This is a player's guitar with a wide range of expression. Original Harptone case included!