Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by 57gold, Nov 8, 2018.
From the early days @ 1990.
Fossilized mammoth tusk nut...and some pretty nice abalone.
Never been a fan of abalone bling so it is lost on me. I do like the snowfake inlays though. I have had purchasing a CJ-35 in the back of my head for quite a while now. About the only upgrade I would go for would be the hand rubbed varnish finish.
Here is the rest of the instrument for some context. Abalone on top and sound hole 42 style. BRW and Adi.
Yeah, yeah, but it probably sounds sterile, too perfect, like all Collings...
With 28 years of play, she is anything but sterile sounding...deep, round with complex overtone.
When I met Bill and Bruce for the first time and asked them to build me this instrument, Bill told me that his mission was to build instruments that would sound great when new and get better every year they were played. Was looking for a D28 type instrument, but asked about BRW and Bill said, "hey, you are in luck, just scored some old growth BRW for 15 instruments", then asked about snowflakes, then pearl and finally the cutaway, which was the hardest thing to get Bill to agree to do, and Bill's ask for all the bling was reasonable and to me appropriate for a AAA BRW/Adi instrument.
Bill said that others were building instruments that had good "curb appeal" that is sound very responsive/broken in when played in the music store, but never improve and will deteriorate/collapse as time went on. Kind of like soft, appealing red wine. Great when bottled and for a couple of years, but after a decade, all the energy and flavor gone.
Bill and bruce got it right with this one, better than ever!
Wow....just wow. What a beautiful instrument. It must sound huge. You are a lucky man!
Yup, was lucky that a buddy in the Governor"s office in Austin had heard about a guy that made great acoustic guitars, lucky to have found the little unmarked workshop south of the lake and met Bill and Bruce when they were getting it together and fortunate hear them talk about their philosophy as luthiers and vision for the future.
Every time I pick up and play one of their beautiful instruments (own 9 at this point), I think of that first visit to their shop.
You're a little late on the NGD there, 57gold. It's a looker though. The headstock reminds me of Martin style 45. In fact I think it's very close to that. My Martin has a blank headstock: nothing at all on it. Kind of a like a Sneaky Pete (allusion for you billiards players).
So Bill (RIP) didn't like doing cutaways? What was his objection?
Had a mid 1980s D-45 when I asked Bill to make this. Believe it had hexagon inlays and a vertical Martin logo in pearl on the headstock with no pearl headstock border, just multi-ply binding. There were some special order Martins produced during this time frame with tree-of-life inlays or snowflakes on the board and torches on the headstock with pearl borders, but they were rare, one-offs. Mine was pretty nice and played well only after Roger Sadowsky set it up, who also agreed it was a nice sounding one. Sold it to Mandolin Bros for more than I paid for it new when I got the Collings; it never got played so it needed a new home.
Bill almost refused to do the cutaway; he said he had never seen a D with a cutaway that looked right...not Taylor nor Gallagher...
I told him that he could rectify that situation by "doing it right". Bill had a big pad of paper that he used to draft body shapes and started by tracing the D form the drew many versions of a cutaway. At that time, I had projects that brought me to Austin every other week or so, so I stopped by and checked in on the design process a couple of times. When he finally settled on a shape, he then informed me that it would take time to make a new side form. He also warned me I was taking risk with this request. He was going to have to steam and bend old growth BRW, which was very dense and sometimes very brittle, and if the set I had picked broke during the process, I'd be paying up for more BRW.
He really did not want to do a D cutaway! Believe there may be five or six Collings D cutaways extant (one of the few I have seen was in Japan, below, but curve looks different). Plenty of OM, C-10 and SJ cutaways.
The 1990 from another angle:
Beautiful Collings! Would you please post a shot of the Brazilian Rosewood back?
Sure. Have some reflections, but wanted natural light.
Bill liked this set, quarter sawn versus flat.
Amazing guitar. I'd imagine it sounds great. Probably hard to mess up a DN with Brazilian rosewood.
Hard to mess up a D with mahogany, Madagascar RW, Honduras RW or BRW. But folks did back then.
The over-built Martins of the 1970s and 1980s sounded tubby and played worse (as always, there were exceptions to the general rule). Back when Bill and Bruce were starting up, Santa Cruz was building instruments that were inconsistent, some very nice and others had bad neck sets and set ups (very hard to play) and Taylors were easy to play (electric player friendly) but not very complex sounding (owned one that got sold after the Collings joined the family). Both make fine instruments these days.
So, in 1988-90, Collings was a "breath of fresh air". Took my new Collings to Roger Sadowsky, he checked it out said "very nice". Roger is a very calm, cool, reserved and mellow cat for an NYC luthier. So, being a NYC resident and MBA commando for previous 8 years, I pushed him "what do you really think?" He said, "this is one of the nicest newly built instruments I have ever seem". He called Bill a couple of days later and asked him if he could do a write up of Collings Guitars in GP, Roger was one of the editors of the magazine. Bill called a couple of days later and asked, "what are you doing up there in NYC?"; I responded with, "that's were I live and work." He told me that Roger had called and he was not ready for GP as they were backed up with orders for months and more orders would do them no good until they expanded their ability to build instruments. Bill and team addressed that situation...
Beautiful - thanks for sharing with us!