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View Full Version : Collings i35 (LC vs Deluxe)


GGinMP
09-18-2013, 02:34 PM
I've had my eye on a Collings i35-LC at my local shop that I love. It's new, so it's pricey. They just got in a great condition, used i35-Deluxe that they're selling for $450 more than the new LC. That's about a grand off the price of a new Deluxe (so more money out of my pocket, but a better "deal"),

What to do!?!?!? If they had a used LC I'd grab it, but I just can't decide between these current options. I'd be using it for blues/blues-rock, so the LC is more 'traditional' as a 335-style, but I'd probably take less of a bath on the used Deluxe if I had to sell.

Anyone play both the Deluxe and LC versions? Thoughts?

wharris
09-18-2013, 04:21 PM
Buy the one you really want (sounds like the LC). I own the LC and love it.

GGinMP
09-18-2013, 04:27 PM
Buy the one you really want (sounds like the LC). I own the LC and love it.

I guess it's not really a better deal if it's not the guitar I really want! Thanks for your input.

bluesjuke
09-18-2013, 04:52 PM
I can agree with that.

Rich W
09-18-2013, 07:16 PM
There's a good ToneQuest Report article about i35LCs.

Collings likes the consistency across guitars of the tone of the laminate top. I like the LC.

http://www.collingsguitars.com/Images/reviews/I35LC_tonequest.pdf

joesnewmatch
09-18-2013, 09:15 PM
Buy the one you really want (sounds like the LC). I own the LC and love it.

+1

I bought mine used, and saved a bundle. Keep an eye out and be patient.

IT'S SO WORTH IT!

mattmccloskey
09-18-2013, 11:33 PM
I have an I-35 standard, which is the same guitar as the deluxe, with less cosmetic embellishment.

I love it. It is very light, very easy to play, and the sound is exceptional. It is a little fatter sounding than any of the 335s I had, so perhaps the solid construction is responsible for that vs a laminate.

That said, it still has a nice upper midrange bark in the bridge pickup position that sounds great for crunchy rhythm sounds. Very clear but sweet, not harsh at all.

Try the LC and the Deluxe back to back and determine which one sounds and/or plays better. Don't make your decision on price, resale, or preconceptions, just try both and go with the one that feels and sounds the best.

RyanM
09-19-2013, 12:21 AM
LC all the way.

JoeB63
09-19-2013, 07:17 AM
I played both side-by-side, and had the opportunity to buy the regular i35 (new) for just $400 more than the new LC. The regular i35 was prettier for sure, but the LC just sounded better -- much better. I bought that.

GGinMP
09-19-2013, 10:04 AM
There's a good ToneQuest Report article about i35LCs.

Collings likes the consistency across guitars of the tone of the laminate top. I like the LC.

http://www.collingsguitars.com/Images/reviews/I35LC_tonequest.pdf

Awesome article. Thanks.

MichaelSaulnier
09-19-2013, 12:57 PM
I haven't had a chance to play a I35 standard... but I ended up with the I35LC after a lot of research, and I haven't been disappointed at all. It is everything I had always wanted in a 335 type guitar, but with a much better shape for my body.

Even though both are fine instruments, there's a reason that Collings decided to make a LC series of guitars. They couldn't get the same tones from the carved out guitars that they heard from the vintage 335's they used for comparison... Once they worked out that they would make their own laminate, and then developed some prototypes, they realized they could get the 335 tones from a LC build of their I35 design.

It worked!

M

RyanM
09-19-2013, 01:29 PM
I truly think a 335-type is the best sounding guitar. It can do everything a Les Paul does, but sounds so much richer. Maybe Les Pauls look cooler.

I think solid carved top instruments in theory seem like they would be better... it's a psychological thing, since they are "real" wood they must be better.

But they don't sound like a 335... much closer to solid body. The classic sound must come from the laminate construction.

So I say forget about the concept of a solid carved top semi if you're going for sound rather than looks.

Spoonful
09-19-2013, 04:04 PM
I have an LC and a Deluxe. I really don't think you an go wrong with either.

There is a slight difference in sound between the LC and the Deluxe. Probably not as much of a difference as there is between the LC and an ES-335.

Let's face it, they are Collings so the playability and construction are probably very close on both of the guitars you are looking at. Quality is probably not a differentiating factor.

Decide which one you like the best as a starting point. Ignore what you have read, and you be the judge. Then determine if you can afford your first choice.

BTW, one of my favorite guitars is a Gibson CS-356. Its a carved wood semi, not a laminate. It doesn't sound like a 335, but it sure sounds good. If I had to choose between selling my 335's or the 356, I would be keeping the 356. Its that good. If I had to choose between selling the Collings I35s and the 356, I would be in real trouble.

The bear
09-19-2013, 07:32 PM
I have the soco deluxe and the eastside.
I have played some killer I 35lc's and a 16 soco lc.
The soco and I-35 deluxe is slightly more unique sounding than the lc's
For the sound I am hearing in my head the soco is the perfect choice, would like to have an I 35lc also, just for the heck of it.Great guitars.
The eastside is all laminated and is an awesome instrument....

FreeBlues
09-20-2013, 09:38 AM
Probably not as much of a difference as there is between the LC and an ES-335.

Sort of a detour here, but I wonder if you could comment on the differences you're hearing between the LC and ES-335.

I had the chance to get either an LC or a 335, couldn't play either one first, so I chose the LC. To me, the feel of Collings electrics (I own a 290, played several others) is just perfect, the neck, fretwork, fret board, fit 'n finish. The LC arrives in a few days and I expect it will be all I want and expect. Still, I'm hoping it gets most/all/more than a 335 in terms of tone!

Spoonful
09-20-2013, 02:58 PM
I think the difference in sound between the 335 and the LC is explained by a couple of things.

- Electronics is a biggie. Gibson's 57 pickups and wiring sound different than the Lollar PU's and wiring system that Collings uses. I find I like the 57's when you run them all the way up on volume and tone. Start dialing down and things can get kinda muddy sounding pretty fast when you are using both pickups at the same time.

The Collings set up allows you more flexibility in terms of your pickup settings. You will be able to dial in something that sounds very close to the 335, but also a lot more. These also seem to have some interesting chime or overtones or something that is missing from the Gibson setup. Might just be my old ears, but I hear it.

- String gauge. The 335 comes set up with 10's. The I35s with 11's. It does make a difference in sound.

I think you will be very pleased with your new Collings - both from a quality and a sound perspective.

I should add that I have both a 335 Dot and a '59 Historic Reissue 335. They sound different from each other. Different pickups and different wiring. And I bet if you talked with those lucky few who own real vintage 335's they would tell that the new ones don't sound anything like the old ones.

The different I35 models sound closer to each other (than to a 335) because they use similar electronics. Doesn't mean that you can't use an I35 instead of a 335 to get the sound you want. The similarities outweigh the differences really. You can get any sound the 335 can make on a I35.

Let's not forget that at some point your amp enters the mix. Tweak it to taste.

And if at some point you decide its just not close enough you could always swap the Collings electronics for the Gibson electronics. I wouldn't do it ever myself, but it is an option, I guess.

My original point was that the different models of I35s sound pretty darn close to each other - not that they aren't a good alternative to a 335. And I'm pretty darn happy with my 335's too. The '59 is on par with my I35 Deluxe. I'm just stupid lucky enough to own these guitars.

FreeBlues
09-21-2013, 07:06 AM
I think the difference in sound between the 335 and the LC is explained by a couple of things.

Fantastic post!