Plywood Thompson?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by fovea1959, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. fovea1959


    Feb 10, 2009
    I'm starting to shop for a different bass; I use it for jazz. My Englehardt is ok, but I don't like the tone. I got GAS this week when I got hold of a decent Kay that sounded nice.

    I'm better than my current bass, but not a great player, so I have a hard time justifying to myself spending a pile on the bass, and a solid top scares me a little for the winter (I have a *heck* of a time keeping the house reasonably humid in the winter!)

    I was at Aebersold camp a couple of years ago and a student had a Thompson there that I *really* liked (nice tone, and an absolute cannon for volume); don't remember if it was a hybrid or all-ply. I was hoping to piggyback a trip to the String Emporium onto an Arizona trip to try one in person, but that trip fell through.

    I've seen a couple of postings indicating that people are happy with their Thompson's, but most of those are for the hybrid. What do people think of the ply as an upgrade from an old Englehardt? I'm really worried about buying a pig in a poke...
  2. jlmorgan84


    Feb 16, 2014
    Columbia, SC
    My first bass was a Thompson RM-100, their basic plywood bass. It's a student level plywood bass, made to be durable and play well for someone learning the instrument. I would consider it somewhat of an upgrade from an Englehardt in the sense that the Thompson has a more standard sized neck and good fingerboard, endpin, etc.

    But I wouldn't expect it to necessarily be louder or have a more nuanced sound. I found mine to be a well playing, well made, somewhat quiet, somewhat bright bass. Again, great for a student, but if I was looking for a second bass I might save up a little more for a hybrid, or if you like plywood a higher end laminate like an upton.
    tonequixote likes this.
  3. El Thumpo

    El Thumpo Four strings, no waiting Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    By all reports, the Thompson plywood is a great value and would certainly be an upgrade from your Englehardt. But while it’s an considerable incremental improvement, moving to a hybrid would likely put you on whole new level of quality. If you can save up the extra $600, you’ll have an instrument that can keep you growing your chops for years.
    lurk likes this.
  4. Dr. Love

    Dr. Love

    Nov 5, 2008
    Lubbock, TX
    I have an rm100 and it has been a solid bass for me. When I was researching bass options, I called String Emporium and Steve and I talked about the options and differences between the models and what would best fit my needs, then later when I was ready to order we discussed setup and string preferences in depth.
  5. lurk

    lurk Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    I've had students with plys from the String Emporium and I think they are very nice - on a par with the entry plys from Upton or Gollihur. The instruments Gollihur sells are underrated in my opinion. I've got a student now with one that is really nice. I think that if you can afford the extra money, the Thompson hybrids are really a huge bump up and a tremendous value. You could go a long way with one of those.