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Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?

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Ebbie 10 Apr 05 - 02:37 PM
John Hardly 10 Apr 05 - 06:40 PM
M.Ted 11 Apr 05 - 12:32 AM
Ebbie 11 Apr 05 - 12:51 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 11 Apr 05 - 01:12 AM
Ebbie 11 Apr 05 - 01:59 AM
GUEST 11 Apr 05 - 02:30 AM
Richard Bridge 11 Apr 05 - 03:31 AM
GLoux 11 Apr 05 - 08:38 AM
Ebbie 11 Apr 05 - 12:13 PM
Midchuck 11 Apr 05 - 12:24 PM
Spot 11 Apr 05 - 12:48 PM
Justa Picker 11 Apr 05 - 01:24 PM
Ebbie 11 Apr 05 - 02:13 PM
Justa Picker 11 Apr 05 - 02:19 PM
Ebbie 11 Apr 05 - 02:55 PM
PoppaGator 11 Apr 05 - 06:14 PM
AgingBohemian 11 Apr 05 - 07:19 PM
Ebbie 12 Apr 05 - 02:56 AM
GUEST,branch 18 Apr 05 - 10:29 PM
Mark Cohen 19 Apr 05 - 01:56 AM
Terry K 19 Apr 05 - 02:23 AM
dwditty 19 Apr 05 - 03:02 AM
Bernard Quenby 22 Feb 08 - 10:17 AM
$ongWriter 17 Sep 08 - 04:13 PM
GUEST,collings fan 27 Nov 09 - 03:45 PM
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Subject: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Ebbie
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 02:37 PM

At a music party last night there was a wonderful guitar player from out of town, here for the Alaska Folk Festival. He was playing a 1990 12-fret slothead Collings.

I got a chance to play it- and I like my 1971 D35 12-fret slothead Martin better. His guitar made a smooth transition between the treble and bass strings - his treble was great - but his bass didn't have the rich bottom mine has.

Is this a characteristic of a Collings? Or was this a one off? Or is this strictly a matter of the qualities one wants and is looking for?

(BTW, where did 'Review' in the subject line come from? I left the designation empty.)


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: John Hardly
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 06:40 PM

I'd have trouble characterizing Collings relative to a Martin. I mean, Collings are built on a Martin model (well, except for the ones built on a Gibson model). I suppose of the dozens of Collings I've played I would only conclude...

1. On the whole the Collings seem to use better wood. They should -- they're no bargain guitar.

2. Martins are no slouch in the finish department, but Collings are flawless. They also include some VERY cool customs (like shaded tops and sunbursts that rival any being done today.

3. They seem across the board to be stronger "fundamentally" -- that is, they may resonate and sustain like many contemporary guitars, but not at the sacrifice of havinig to suffer lots of harmonics flying around.

4. Collings mandolins are out-of-the-factory stunning in sound.

I suppose the difference you summed up (what you sensed) between yours and the Collings maybe falls into my point #3. Some seem to feel that that really prominent bass isn't always a good thing -- and it often seems to confuse or mask over intricacies of sound that you might really want in there.

I like Collings, but then, I like guitars.


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: M.Ted
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 12:32 AM

If it was a 12-fret guitar, I'll bet that the strings were too light. 12 fret guitars have a shorter neck so there is less tension when the strings are tuned to pitch--when the strings aren't tight enough, even the best instruments sound like cigar boxes.


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Ebbie
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 12:51 AM

I talked today with a friend who also played the Collings last night- and she preferred her own D28. She was not as impressed with the Collings treble strings as I was.

It's nice to know that we're satisfied with what we've got! Different strokes and all that.

I think the strings on the Collings were Mediums- the thought had occurred to me at the time.


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 01:12 AM

I'm not surprised. Your guitar has almost twenty years additional aging in the wood. It is also a rather uncommon model which probably means it was built with better woods, more care and by more experienced luthiers than its strictly production-grade 14-fret cousins. And though the '70s in general were "slump" years for Martin, '71 was early enough that the downturn in quality was still a few years away.

Also, when playing one instrument most of the time one's playing style tends to undergo subtle little changes to accomodate for an instrument's weak points and accentuate its strong points. If you play a bass-heavy guitar, you have probably developed a bass-heavy playing style. When you play a guitar with less bass response you really notice it because your playing style doesn't work as well on it. Meanwhile, the owner of that guitar that doesn't sound so hot when you play it has developed a style that accentuates its strong points so that it sounds like dynamite when he plays it.


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Ebbie
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 01:59 AM

Good points, BeDub. And in many ways you are certainly right. On the other hand, one of the accommodations I have made to my 'bass heavy' guitar is to go easy on it, dependent upon what I am doing with it. When I'm singing, I frequently use a lot of treble and during breaks sweep all the strings. When I'm accompanying a lead instrument I make sure I don't drown or muddy the effect we are trying to create.

I like having the flexibility inherent in my instrument. It has a big voice when I need it and a delicate, sweet voice when that is what I want.


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 02:30 AM

Actually 12 fret guitars vary in scale length. A Martin 000-28 14 fret has the short scale(24.9"), while the 12 fret version uses the longer 25.4" scale, just the same as the Dreadnought.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 03:31 AM

I like bass, but not everyone does. It is normal to suggest that concert and grand concert size guitars will have less "thud" than a dreadnought, all other things being equal, and so be more suitable to give fingerstyle guitarist the definition they may want clearly to distinguish single notes.


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: GLoux
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 08:38 AM

Are you comparing a Collings Dreadnaught to a Martin D-35? Or a smaller body Collings? What model Collings?

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Ebbie
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 12:13 PM

GLoux, that I don't know. If I get a chance I'll ask him tonight. I do know that it looked like a Dreadnaught- in fact from a distance I first thought it was a Martin. But the curve of the body is different- it is slimmer through there, and I believe it isn't as big all around.


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Midchuck
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 12:24 PM

Martins range from "So-so" up to "Excellent+." I know, 'cause I've had both. Collings range from "Very Good" to "Oh My God." I know, 'cause I've had both.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Spot
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 12:48 PM

Hello everybody..
                  I can't comment on the guitars but I have an MT2 mandolin. The sound is quite incredible...the workmanship is excellent...the colour is dropdead-chocolate-gorgeous....the style is perfect (for me!!)... the woods are stunning...BUT THE TUNERS ARE SHITE!!!!! Its a top class tool , so why do they put middle class tuners on 'em???(cost, I guess..!!). I'm just negotiating Waverlys at the minute(bloody expensive!!)..I hope to Gawd they fit without modifying, drilling etc etc ..   They're reverse jobbies, apparently!!
                   That aside, I love it....!!

                        Regards to all....Spot


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Justa Picker
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 01:24 PM

I have never played a bad-sounding Collings guitar.
(I owned a new OM-3H for several years.)

They tend to be a little brighter in the mids and highs out of the box than Martins, but the bottom-end can take some time to mature and develop.

If only Martin necks felt as good.
In terms of playability, they are fantastic instruments - doesn't matter which model.

For fit and finish, they are among the finest (as well as small shop) guitars out there. For consistent fit and finish they'll beat Martins and just about everyone else out there, hands down everytime. Bill Collings is a true perfectionist. Gotta like that!


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Ebbie
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 02:13 PM

JP, is it possible that the one I'm speaking of hasn't 'ripened' yet? It's five years old - he told someone he got it on eBay - but I don't know how much he plays it. As good a guitarist as he is, though, he's been playing something regularly. His name is Dave Bowen and someone at the party said that he and his group have taken some awards in Ireland. He plays mostly Irish, with some old timey mixed in.

By the way, I'm not even close to implying that it was a "bad-sounding" guitar. I just wasn't impressed by the bass facet.

I justr googled "Dave Bowen" and the man in the picture looks like he might have 20+ years ago. Incidentally, the other night he also played banjo.

This May Be Him


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Justa Picker
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 02:19 PM

Ebbie,
Was it a dreadnought sized Collings - with a "sloped shoulder" (roughly same body size as your '35) or was it a smaller body? Smaller bodied instruments generally don't throw out that much bass, but some can surprise you. Smaller bodied ones are what are euphemistically termed "balanced" instead of saying "they have a real lack of bass response." Ahhhhhhhhh...marketing. :-)


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Ebbie
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 02:55 PM

I'd say it was roughly the same size as my D35, JP. But it struck me that it was 'well balanced', so I don't know. It had that blond stripe at the foot that to me indicates a three-piece back. (I could easily be wrong.) I'm not good in crowds and you can see that I didn't linger on the guitar. I do well if I can engage in conversation...

This will be the first night of the Alaska Folk Festival. Dave Bowen and his group will be performing at 8:45 tonight.
The Schedule is Here (Click on AFF 31) The festival is streamed live, but it's only audio, I think.

I don't know how long the group will be in town but if I get a chance tonight I'll ask him some questions. He's a silent man and I'm a bit intimidated.


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 06:14 PM

Dang, you got to play the guy's very-valuable guitar, but you're not sure you'll be able to speak with him?

Hard for me to imagine the group dynamics. I don't generally let people touch my 1969 D-18 before we've met...


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: AgingBohemian
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 07:19 PM

Everything Collings makes is superlative in quality and attention to detail.

How it sounds and plays is, as always, up to the player and the listener. That being said, my take is as follows:

1. I think they make the best dreadnoughts in the business. This includes the CJ, which I think of as a slope-shouldered dreadnought rather than a jumbo. I prefer a mahogany/adirondack combination. My D1-AV is the single best guitar I've ever played. It fingerpicks and flatpicks beautifully, though if I only flatpicked, I'd probably prefer their rosewood/adirondack instruments.

2. Their other body styles, the OM, the Camper, the SJ, the C, compare similarly to like instruments from other builders.

3. As John Hardly posted earlier, their Mandolins are incredible. I'm not a real mandolin player, but I actually prefer their less expensive, matte finish mandolins to their higher priced glossy brethren.


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Apr 05 - 02:56 AM

"Dang, you got to play the guy's very-valuable guitar, but you're not sure you'll be able to speak with him?" Poppagator

But see, it wasn't a 'group'; it was a music party unlike the kind of songcircle that I throw. This was more like a cocktail party that had a few people there with instruments. Actually, there were a lot of instruments there but not many people unpacked them. Not my kind of party at all.

And no. I didn't have a conversation with him. I was taken aback when he offered me the guitar. At that point I didn't even know his name.

But tonight at the Folk Festival I did talk with him. (BTW, his set was superb- and the guitar on the microphone sounded wonderful.)

It's a Collings, D12S, 2H. So it is a Dreadnaught, and it has a 2-piece back.

He'll be here in town until Friday. Any questions for him?

Thanks, guys.


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: GUEST,branch
Date: 18 Apr 05 - 10:29 PM

just another martin wanna be,they are pricey but blugrass it is
god bless us


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 19 Apr 05 - 01:56 AM

PoppaGator, I got a pang when I saw your post. I had a 1970 D-18 that I bought for $350 at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop in 1986. Ugly as sin (had been kept on a boat for a while, and somebody had used a Bowie knife as a flatpick), but sounded gorgeous. It disappeared as a casualty of divorce. I keep hearing hints that I might see it again someday, but I'm not holding my breath.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Terry K
Date: 19 Apr 05 - 02:23 AM

My OM2H is just the most beautiful instrument. I notice most other makers (except Martin) have deeper bodies for their OM which detracts from the playing comfort - especially for those of us with the convex abdominal region - but Collings seem to get a big sound with only 4 inch body depth.

The finish is simply wonderful and I haven't yet seen anything to match. I can't justify it playing-wise, but I like nice things, so hey!

cheers, Terry


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: dwditty
Date: 19 Apr 05 - 03:02 AM

Well. I have not played ALL the Collings (yet), so it is a hard question to answer. I play a 000-2H and get lots of comments on the sound when I play out. I play with mushy ol' finger tips and it still sounds great. I will admit, I do not like the sound of this guitar when played with a pick.

dw


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: Bernard Quenby
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 10:17 AM

Ditto Terry. I've been playing my OM2H for ten years now, and although I've tried lots of others in the meantime, for me personally, nothing has come close.

dwditty, despite the pickguard it's definitely a fingerstyle guitar. Fingertips or nails will always sound better than a pick!


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: $ongWriter
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 04:13 PM

I have a Martin that I love, however that being said I"ve never played a Collings that didn't just blow me away. Doesn't matter what body size or style. In my opinion I think they make the best guitar out there today.....Bourgous, and Santa Cruz are close to them and less expensive but wish I had a Collings..........


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Subject: RE: Review: Are All Collings Wonderful?
From: GUEST,collings fan
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 03:45 PM

ive got a 2008 collings d2h brz adirondak . over the years ive had gibson martin and other leading brands in braz   same woods as the collings. i didnt think the collings would be any   better but i have to say this guitar just is amazing . the the shear volume of the thing just blew me away. and ive not seen any other guitar that comes close . you just cant put it down when you start playing on the thing.


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