In the past few years, few names have been more commonly on the lips of bluegrass and acoustic guitarists than that of Preston Thompson – other than Martin.
Preston Thompson Guitars, made in central Oregon, have been popping up on stages throughout the US and Canada with increasing frequency as both soloists and accompanists have discovered his pre-war style dreadnaught and smaller-bodied instruments. Prominent bluegrass guitarists like Jake Workman, Tim Stafford, Trey Hensley, and Billy Strings have become enthusiastic supporters and players, as have Molly Tuttle, Chris Jones, Claire Lynch, and Peter Rowan among the hundreds of new Thompson owners.
Preston’s concept had long been to use only the best materials, and build his guitars using the tried-and-true methods that were employed when the fine instruments of the first half of the 20th century were being made. Given the technology available today for luthiers to carefully study these classic guitars, it’s not at all uncommon to hear serious collectors describe this era as a Golden Age for instrument builders. Only time will tell, of course, if that turns out to be true, but there can be no doubt that the Thompson name will be held up in any such discussions.
But keeping Preston in the shop to oversee his business hasn’t been a sure thing in recent months. He has been hospitalized since the end of June when complications from surgery nearly cost him his life. He does seem to be on the mend, but is still several weeks of therapy away from a return home to his family and friends in Bend. Now that discharge and a return to a normal life seems likely, his family has shifted for worrying about him pulling through to examining the costs of a lengthy hospitalization.
With that in mind, a GoFundMe account has been established, both to cover the uninsured portions of his medical bills, and the deficit created by Preston’s wife, Julie, taking a leave of absence since July to be with him at the Oregon Health & Science University hospital in Portland. Finances haven’t been at the forefront of their thinking, but the reality is that the Thompson family could really use the help.
A goal of raising $70,000 has been set with less than $20,000 pledged to date. It is quite simple to make a donation at GoFundMe using a major credit/debit card or PayPal, and if you are able to make even a small donation, it will be a nice way to repay Preston for his service to the acoustic music community.
Let’s all hope to hear continuing good news about his recovery!