Collage of guitars

Marc’s Lefty guitar finished in July 2020. The top is pistachio and the back is claro walnut.


2015 Unknown Serial Number 1

Guitar serial number 12-08-10, one of a series of guitars made for Lou Reed.

Guitar serial number 12-07-10, one of a series of guitars made for Lou Reed.

2009 Carl Thompson ball scroll style electric guitar.

Body core is mahogany, with top wing laminates of bocote and back
wing laminates of bloodwood. Other woods on the body include flamed
maple, and a reddish brown wood for some accents (mahogany?).

Jet black ebony fingerboard affixed to a exquisitely figured birdseye maple neck. Neck is bound with runners of the same reddish ochre colored accent laminates used on the body.

Pickups are both Kent Armstrong humbuckers. Two mini toggle switches; one is a three way pickup selector, and the other functions as a mute / on / high cut Jack is mounted on one of Carls
signature ‘football’ carved jack plates. Tuners are hipshots and the bridge is a gold plated tuneamatic style. Tailpiece is one
of Carls creation, built from two pieces of bocote and ebony affixed to a shaped brass plate and inlaid with two dots of mother of pearl.

This guitar has a Fender scale length (25.5″) but has a fretboard radius that I believe is closer to a Gibson (perhaps 12?).

Sargeant Zeno’s guitar, serial number 2-7-08.

Serial number 2-5-08. Features 24 frets, macassar ebony top with bocote stripes and center, mahagony body, bocote back and back plate cover, bocote neck, purpleheart neck wedge, gaboon ebony fret board, bocote headstock with macassar ebony cap/mahogany stripe, branded signature into flame maple, abalone inlay on mahogany and ebony truss rod cover, and bocote jack cover “football”.

Electronics are Ken Armstrong neck and bridge pickups with passive circuitry, three-way pick up selector(neck/neck + bridge/bridge), three-way mute, treble cut, normal,

Adjustable bridge with brass, ebony and bocote saddle, bone nut.
25 1/2″ scale, 1 3/4″ nut width, 2 1/16″ neck width 12th fret, 2 1/4″ neck width 24th fret, set up for 9-10 gauge strings

The previous owner sent the guitar to Carl to installed a bridge pickup and adjustable bridge.

Guitar serial number 5-25-07, one of a series of guitars made for Lou Reed.

Carl is pictured with Stuart, Lou Reed’s guitar tech.

Serial number 5-24-07.

-25 1/2 inch scale
-mahogany body with bocote trim
-curly maple neck with cocobolo stripes and a macassar ebony fingerboard, ebony vineers on headstock
-ebony heel block
-standard tune-o-matic bridge witha cocobolo, ebony, and brass tail stop
-mahogany input jack cover
-2 kent armstrong humbucking pick-ups
-volume, tone, and pick-up selector
-black sperzel tuning machines

Also pictured is serial number 5-11-07.

Here is a description from a recent seller:

This Carl Thompson solid-body guitar was made in 2007 and weighs just 6.50 lbs. Unique walnut body with a wide mahogany center strip. The edges of the body are mahogany and there are two zebrawood strip inserts on the widest part of the body. One-piece Flame Maple neck with mahogany edges. The neck has a nut width of just under 1 11/16 inches and a really fast thin profile. Ebony fretboard with 22 medium-jumbo frets and inlaid ‘Mother-of-Pearl’ side-position markers. Three-layer rosewood and ebony nut. Specific ebony veneer faced headstock with shaped logo in walnut with branded “Carl Thompson”, secured by three screws. Mahogany and ebony truss-rod cover secured by a single screw. Individual Sperzel USA 3+3 T/L black locking tuners. Back of headstock also veneered in ebony and serial number “52407” stamped in blind. Two Kent Armstrong Super Rocker High Output Humbucking pickups with rosewood pickup rings and outputs of 14.95k and 14.50k. Two controls (one volume, one blender/tone) plus a mini three-way pickup selector switch and a specific mahogany jack input, all on a shaped mahogany panel secured by four screws. The control knobs consist of a 0.79 inch diameter volume control and a 0.64 inch diameter blender/tone control, each one with knurled sides and a domed top with tiger-eye inserts. Ebonized Nashville style Tune-O-Matic bridge with metal saddles and three-layer metal, ebony and rosewood stop-tailpiece secured to body by two screws. This fine, hand-built guitar is in near mint (9.25) condition with just two very small and barely noticeable indentations on the top. Housed in the original “Gator” three-latch, rectangular black hardshell case with black leather ends and black plush lining (9.25).

Serial number 5-11-07
-25 1/2 inch scale
-mahogany body and neck with padauk stripes and a cocobolo fingerboard
-cocobolo heel block
-cocobolo, brazilian tulipwood, and bocote headstock
-1 piece cocobolo bridge with a cocobolo, ebony, & brass tail stop
-ebony and brazilian tulipwood input jack cover
-2 kent armstrong humbucking pick-ups
-volume, tone, and pick-up selector
-black and gold sperzel tuning machines

Also pictured is serial number 5-11-07.

2007 Unknown Serial Number 1
A pair of guitars built around 2007. The guitar on the left is 12-25-06.

Guitar serial number 12-25-06, one of a series of guitars made for Lou Reed.

Guitar serial number 5-11-06, one of a series of guitars made for Lou Reed.

This guitar, serial # 4-20-02, has a Canary neck with a Redheart stripe under the Canary fretboard. The body is Mahogany with a Canary top, back, and headstock. There’s a Bocote veneer on the headstock as well. The guitar also features 1 Kent Armstrong humbucker, bone nut, black tune-o-matic bridge, wood tailpiece, dunlop 6000 frets, 1 volume and 1 tone knob. The sperzel tuning machines are made from a black set and a gold set and they really complement the guitar’s color scheme.

Chris Buono (website) ordered the guitar in February of 1999 on a recommendation from his teacher, Gerry Carboy, the proud owner of a 4-string bass he bought from Carl in 1977 (serial number 5-13-77) and still plays today.

Magnus Kunow now owns the guitar.

2002 No Serial
Original owner Keith picked up this guitar from the shop in 2002. Carl forgot to stamp it with a serial number.

2001 Unknown Serial Number 1
A 7 string guitar in the works for jazz legend Howie Collins. Also pictured: Howie Collins playing the guitar at the Delaware Water Gap, PA Jazz Fest in September 2001, Photo courtesy of Dan Jackson, and Howie at the shop.

Sean L. Geoghegan sent this information and the pictures that follow. The serial number is 5-26-99.

“Carl and I discussed a large-body shape, closer to a standard hollow body guitar size (16″-17″ across the”hips”) but, of course, in a solid body guitar. I don’t know if you can tell, but it’s a pretty big guitar; I am 6’2″, and as you can see in the photo of me playing, it covers a lot of my body). I asked for an ebony neck and a light shade of body wood, but that was about as specific as I got. I also opted for a slightly longer (26″) scale length and requested a slightly wider-than-average string spacing. The guitar top is quilted maple, and the body is Honduras mahogany interspersed with thin pieces of dyed poplar (several green and one orange just below the quilted maple).The fingerboard is ebony and the neck is maple, and the headstock is padauk. Sperzel locking tuners. The pickups are Kent Armstrongs. I can select either one or both, and both are humbuckers that can be split (by means of a toggle switch) to single-coil. Electronics are passive. The guitar basically sounds and plays like a dream, and Carl set it up with perfect intonation, as near as I can tell.”

Guitar serial number 3-30-97, originally made for Cory Mahlke. It has a walnut body trimmed with cocabola. It also has a maple neck and an ebony fretboard. Also pictured is Steward Hurwood.

Tim Murphy shared photos of this this unique combination, a Carl Thompson neck on a 1980’s Guild D-50 body. This was a Christmas present from Tim’s wife Vanessa who was friends with Carl in the ’80s.

Another 7 String CT guitar, this one has a mahogany front, walnut back, and cocobola overlays. It also has a single EMG. The serial # is 12994.

Here is what Mandolin Web has to say about this guitar: “Carl Thompson December 1994 7-string electric guitar, #12994, exc, O’Gigbag. All natural woods, with active EMG pickup. This is a huge electric solid body, being 16 3/4” wide at the lower bout and all that space is carved and contoured wood — looking very much like a six- string bass — made of cocobola overlays with walnut on the back and mahogany on the front – a veritable Walk Through the Rainforest. The peghead is cocobola overlaid with a maple banner wood-burned (as in woodshop) with Carl Thompson’s name. The banner echoes the shape of the headstock itself. Seven strings are played like a six-string guitar but there is a “low B” string added which increases the bass range by a fourth. In this instance Carl has chosen to substitute a single Gotoh bass guitar tuner to go with the six Schaller gold plated guitar tuners. The pickup is unique in that a) it’s flush to the top and b) it’s mahogany covered. The fingerboard is double bound in two types of woods. There are three-in-line knobs in the lower treble bout for the single pickup, the access panel on the back is also in matching wood, the brass one piece non-intonated saddle is floating and a simple brass pinless tailpiece holds the balls of the strings. The neck shape (2 3/16″ at the nut) is extremely low profile and flat, which makes for great playability. There are two strap holders, offset on the body to assist with balance. This is a novel and impressive instrument by one of New York’s better known luthiers.”

It is difficult to say definitively, but it appears as though the rainbow guitar has resurfaced. Mik sent in the following photos of a guitar he rescued just over 10 years ago from a London recording studio. Amazingly the guitar had been abandoned there! It isn’t clear whether Carl made more than one, but my guess is that this is the same guitar that inspired the Les Claypool rainbow bass. Over the years it looks like people have drilled holes, slapped a Washburn tremolo on it and generally abused this piece of history.

Also pictured are Ken Hatfield and Billy Essex.

1-23-78, originally made for Paul Malin and spec’ed with a maple neck with clover inlays, mahogany body and two DiMarzio pickups. Jeff bought it from Paul for $750 in 1978.

Placeholder for 10-20-77, originally made for Dan Harris and spec’ed with a cherry body and maple neck.

This Birdseye Maple guitar was originally made for Mark Manley. It is serial # 9-7-77. It has since been converted to Baritone tuning.

The guitar is now owned by a gentleman named Mark Shahzad, who recently received an 8-string bass from Carl. Mark purchased the guitar in Arizona but has recently moved to the Brooklyn area and brought the guitar back to the shop for Carl to clean it up. The control plates on the front of the guitar are not original and were later added by another owner. Note the unique Zebrawood triangle inlay on the back of the guitar and the rare body shape.

The guitar was originally sold on consignment through Stuyvesant Music and was spec’ed with a maple body and neck, 27 frets, rosewood fingerboard and single pickup.

Placeholder for 4-29-77, a single pickup 7-string guitar, originally sold on consignment through We Buy Guitars.

Placeholder for 3-29-77, originally sold on consignment through Stuyvesant Music and spec’ed with a maple body and neck, rosewood fingerboard and two pickups.

‘Scroll’ guitar in Japan.

This 6-string guitar is owned by Ivan Rodriguez, with serial #3377. “This was my first real guitar. I got her back in 1981 for my 18th birthday at Sam Ash on 48 Street. My dad realized how much I enjoyed playing and all the effort I was putting into it. We weren’t exactly rich but he worked a lot of overtime to give me $300 towards a new guitar. I tried an Ibanez Artist and a Destroyer as well as a BC Rich that day. This guitar was in their bargain bin section. I tried it and my hands as well as ears felt immediately at home. I have really grown to appreciate her over the years.” The neck is made of ebony and the body is either mahogany or walnut.

Placeholder for 9-15-76, originally ordered by Jeff Sigman and spec’ed with a mahogany body and neck, rosewood 27-fret fingerboard, single pickup and three-way switch.

Originally owned by Phil Bordeaux, 3-11-76 Now belongs to Miah Welder. It has a rosewood fretboard, brass nut, Schaller tuners, and two single coil Schaller pickups with volume, tone and a Phase toggle. Note the three different string-through positions behind the bridge – Carl was experimenting with different string tensions at the time. This guitar was originally sold on consignment through Gracin’s Music Instruments on Long Island and spec’ed as a tele style body, mahogany body, maple neck and Schaller pickups with phase switch.

Placeholder for 1-6-76, originally ordered by Brad Catron.

1976 No Serial
This very early guitar was sold on the page and purchased by David Muntner. This one has no serial number, although Carl says that this was not uncommon on the first few instruments. The body is walnut with a maple neck, ebony fingerboard and aluminum nut. The Carl Thompson logo is made of leather on the headstock, which was only done on the first few instruments. The bridge pickup is a Dimarzio super distortion humbucker and the neck pickup is a Schaller single coil. Based on the body style guitar was likely made in 1976.

This guitar was likely originally ordered by George Wadenius on December 4, 1975 and spec’ed with a maple neck, mahogany body and ebony fingerboard.

1976 Unknown Serial 1
1976-era guitar being played by Lou Reed.

1976 Unknown Serial 2
1976-era guitar in Carl’s shop circa 2000.

Placeholder for 12-19-75 left-handed guitar, originally sold on consignment at Sam Ash.

Dan sent in these pics of his 1975 guitar, serial # 111675. Dan bought the guitar in 1976 from a shop called Gracins on Long Island. It has 2 pickups, 1 tone & 1 volume pot, a 3-way pick-up selector switch, a pick-up phase selector switch, rosewood fret board, Schaller tuning heads, and a leather nameplate. As with most of those early instruments, the body is mahogany.

This guitar was originally spec’ed with a mahogany body, maple neck, two Schaller pickups, phase switch, and a ‘variable tension tailpiece’, and was sold on consignment through Gracin’s.

Placeholder for 10-28-75, originally ordered by Mike Strange.

Placeholder for 9-2-75, originally ordered by Eve Queller and spec’ed with a mahogany scroll body and maple neck with ebony fingerboard.

Esko is the proud owner of this 1975 guitar, serial # 81475. The guitar was purchased at a second hand music store on 48th Street and is the second guitar for sale Carl ever built. It was originally built for Tom Hanlon and was spec’ed with an ebony fingerboard and pickups out of phase. Delilah is featured playing the guitar.

Placeholder for 8-6-75, originally sold on consignment at We Buy Guitars.

1974 No Serial
The first Carl Thompson guitar, made in 1974. Check out the inlayed pick guard, the early scroll design and the neck inlays. It also has a leather headstock top.

The black guitar is was built by Carl’s dad built in 1934.