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Thread: TJ Thompson Guitars--Handmade 2018 OM-45

  1. #1
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    Default TJ Thompson Guitars--Handmade 2018 OM-45

    TJ Thompson, a luthier based just outside Boston, has become a great friend over the last 23 years. TJ specializes in the restoration of C.F. Martin guitars from the late '20s and instruments of the "Golden Era" of Martin guitars (mostly the '30s). He knows more about those guitars than pretty much any man alive. He's shepherded me through acquiring a couple '30s Martins and handles their care and feeding, so to speak.

    He also builds guitars, which is where this post comes in. At least 10 years ago, I told TJ I'd like to buy one of his handbuilt guitars that replicate Martins from the '30s. In my case I wanted the highly decorated -45 series with lots of abalone pearl inlaid (tastefully, I believe) around the edges of the top, back and sides. The guitar would be the Orchestra Model size, called an OM in the Martin nomenclature, thus it'd be an OM-45. Original OM-45s in good condition, of which there are few, sell for over $200,000, btw. Contrary to the construction of modern Martins, this one would have an ebony truss rod supporting the neck and would have "bar" frets. All of these features, when replicated in an OM-45, pull together about 20 lost arts. (And there's a small community of luthiers who are savvy about these things, including TJ.)

    TJ has become a master of CNC-created components in one segment of his business (think R. Sachs, developing parts for craftsmen), but the guitars he builds starts with this, including mine:

    [IMG][/IMG]

    That's a section of a red spruce log, off of which he split a slice and then made a book-matched top. This one happens to have been from the Adirondacks.

    Now the top looks like this:

    [IMG][/IMG]

    You can see the red spruce top, the ebony fingerboard, the bar frets and the pearl "purfling" around the perimeter of the top.

    TJ used Brazilian Rosewood for the back and sides. Here's the back:

    [IMG][/IMG]

    This OM-45 was strung up last weekend and I picked it up last Weds. It sounds absolutely magnificent. I value my friendship with TJ at least as much as the guitar. He's a craftsman at the absolute top of his game. He's so involved in restorations that he builds guitars extremely rarely if at all, so I got lucky. Hope you enjoyed, Tim

    Inlaid headstock:

    [IMG][/IMG]
     

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    Default Re: TJ Thompson Guitars--Handmade 2018 OM-45

    I think that’s the OMG-45 model... absolutely stunning, but I wouldn’t expect anything less. You should get Seth Gould (see other thread) to build you a case for the guitar.
     

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    Default Re: TJ Thompson Guitars--Handmade 2018 OM-45

    I can think of no man better to have this in their hands Tim and look forward to hearing you play a few cords.

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    Default Re: TJ Thompson Guitars--Handmade 2018 OM-45

    Tim,
    This deserves more than you gave us. If you have time and pics of the build process I’m sure I’m not the only one that would be interested. I’m with the tall guy about hearing it being played too.

    Mike
    Mike Noble

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    Default Re: TJ Thompson Guitars--Handmade 2018 OM-45

    Quote Originally Posted by mnoble485 View Post
    Tim,
    This deserves more than you gave us. If you have time and pics of the build process I’m sure I’m not the only one that would be interested. I’m with the tall guy about hearing it being played too.

    Mike
    Seconded...that guitar looks amazing. I'd love to learn more about how it was built.
     

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