Bought a Collings City Limits today . . .

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by disconnector, Nov 30, 2017.


  1. disconnector

    disconnector Supporting Member

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    So I posted a thread in general guitars about how to buy a Les Paul. I've been searching for the "right" guitar for months. I tried every Les Paul that I could get my mitts on in my area and I was getting frustrated. All of the ones that I tried either had finish / playability issues or they just didn't sound like the sound that I heard in my head. As a few folks pointed out - maybe the sound in my head wasn't a Les Paul. I know I just wanted thick, juicy, ballsy - but clear. No mud on the neck pickup, no shrill screech in the bridge, and excellent playability were all paramount. I really thought that was a Les Paul sounded like so I've been scratching my head when I couldn't find it.

    Several folks on that thread told me to "just got get a Collings City Limits and get it over with". I resisted - I wanted a dang LES PAUL!!

    But after quite a bit of looking none of them made me excited enough to spend the dough. I eventually found a few nice ones - but the asking price for those was so high that I probably could have gotten Ron Thorn to BUILD me one for those prices and have an actual custom guitar built to my specs. I want good tone but I also don't want to get bent over the counter for it.

    So I drove 3 hours down to Sound Pure in Durham, NC today to try out a few dual humbucker guitars that weren't Les Pauls. Thank again to Frank for his help - those guys are great (and amazingly patient ;)). Here are my thoughts on a couple of them as played through a Carr Mercury V and a Suhr Bella reverb . . .

    BTW @Husky - the Suhr Bella Reverb is now my next amp purchase. Sweet sweet awesomeness - it was love at first strum. It's like a DR and a AC30 had a baby with usable reverb and a loop for my AxeFX. But I'm diverging here . . .

    Mike Tuttle Carve Top Standard - What an amazing guitar! Amazing fret work and an impeccable setup. The fret ends didn't come to the side of the neck without binding! Great bridge tone but I found the neck to be a bit dull. Very "vintage" tone - this guitar is probably what a "real" Les Paul is supposed to sound like. Like I said - maybe I wasn't looking for a "real" Les Paul? Mr. Tuttle should be proud of this instrument though - it was AMAZING dirty.

    Anderson Bobcat - This was almost the "one". Lemon Drop on flame = amazing. Great playability and tremendous flexibility with coil taps. Super shimmery ballsy tone. I was impressed by the feel and the tones but it had really hot pickups and it seemed a little further from the Les Paul tone than I was looking for. Very very modern deep and bright. I still want this guitar though. One day . . . .

    PRS McCarty 10 top - they had two used McCarty's in stock and the both played well. The PRSi just seems to be missing the low lows and the high highs - even acoustically it was obvious that some balls and shimmer were missing. I think it has something to do with the one piece wraparound bridge that took them out of Les Paul land. I'm sure that as a soloing instrument in a mix they would be totally bad@ss though - if anyone is around that area and looking for one the blood orange flame has an amazing feel and super slick action.

    Kauer Starliner chambered - If I were a jazz cat I would own this guitar. FAT FAT FAT tones and obvious air from the chambering. It was just too soft in the mids for my post-rock and Rush noodling. Fret work was nice - and it had a sweet feel. It was just too far from rock and roll for my ears.

    Suhr Modern Antique :) - yeah I know - nothing like a Les Paul. But I have to own this. The fret work is awesome and the tone is just RIPPING. Fantastic shimmery tone even on the neck pickup - and man the middle pickup just screams "strat" and as a Fender man from way back I approve. Absolute love and my next purchase for sure. The reliced white on roasted alder is yummy. But hey - it really doesn't belong in this list other than the fact that I loved it. The elliptical neck is AWESOME! I'll custom order the 1 5/8 nut though . . .

    Suhr Custom Classic T - I have another hole in my collection and this guitar will fill in one day. It makes every other tele I've ever played feel like it was wrapped in barbed wire. Fat tone with tons of spank and snap. Sigh. Why must I buy only 1!!!

    Anyway - then out came the mighty Collings . . .

    Even unplugged it just RINGS. Perfect intonation up the neck even for my meaty hamfisted playing. You know how a great guitar literally makes you play things you normally can't play? That exactly how this guitar worked for me. Have you ever REALLY dug into a Les Paul at the 12th fret E or B and heard that shimmery midrange growl and fat compression from the mahogany? That's exactly what you get from a Collings. I literally can't find enough good words to say about the tone or the feel. I picked it up and literally within 30 seconds knew that this was the one. Yeah - I'm gushing. But I found my ONE!!

    It's a Standard with a Brock burst and ThroBak Custom ER MXV pickups. She has 50's wiring and Jupiter tone caps. This is honestly the first humbucker based guitar that I find the tone controls to be useful on - it's incredibly vocal as you roll it back with no useless settings.

    It's one of those guitars that the setup is so perfect that the 11s on it feel like 9s.

    I registered it and the kind folks at Collings sent me a note to tell me that this guitar had been built as an "artists" model to demo the 2017 line and used by Guthrie Trapp in Nashville to demo the line. Yeah - this is a good one.

    Ok - I'll shut up now and get back to playing her. Here are a couple of truly awful pics - tomorrow if the sun comes out from the clouds I'll get a few better.

    Sweet Flying Spaghetti Monster I love this guitar!




     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  2. AlamoJoe

    AlamoJoe Member

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  3. The bear

    The bear Member

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    Fantastic! Super cool with the story and review! The CL's are fantastic. The newer ones are even better than the earlier IMO.
    Enjoy it!!
     
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  4. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

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    Wow, you did your homework! It sounds like it paid off! Enjoy your Collings... :):):)
     
  5. Okra

    Okra Member

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    Outstanding! Happy ngd!
     
  6. cinnamongrizzly

    cinnamongrizzly Member

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    Hell yes. Looks amazing! Congrats man. I'm always amazed with how mine ring out unplugged as well.
     
  7. JeffHaddad

    JeffHaddad Supporting Member

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    That's a beauty, congrats!
     
  8. FreeBlues

    FreeBlues Silver Supporting Member

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    Great review, even greater guitars. Well done!
     
  9. pinner

    pinner Silver Supporting Member

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    Congrats and welcome to the club!!!! I still love mine after all these years!!!! Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!
     
  10. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    That's the way to buy a guitar! Try as many as you can all at the same time through the same amps.

    Good job using your ears and hands, not just your eyes.

    That's a beauty, congrats!
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
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  11. guitarlifestyle

    guitarlifestyle I like guitars. Silver Supporting Member

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    Great looking guitar! I've owned several Collings, and every one has been great.
     
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  12. bsacamano

    bsacamano Member

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    I’ve always said that I’m not sure if every guitar Collings builds is perfect but I’m convinced that only the perfect ones leave the factory. Every one I have touched is flawless.
     
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  13. disconnector

    disconnector Supporting Member

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    Preach it brother! I can't speak to large numbers of Collings because this is the only one that I've ever touched to be honest. But from my OCD TGP ADHD eyes this one is perfect. I can find literally no meaningful visible, aural, or tactile flaws. The only Les Pauls that I could find that meet that definition were at least 2x the cost of the Collings - some were 3x.
     
  14. journo

    journo Member

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    Congrats on a fine instrument!
    And I know exactly what you mean regarding the tone controls. My CL behaves just like that. Love it!

    Cheers,

    Mats N
     
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  15. ChazMania

    ChazMania Silver Supporting Member

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  16. jens5

    jens5 Supporting Member

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    Several folks on that thread told me to "just got get a Collings City Limits and get it over with". I resisted - I wanted a dang LES PAUL!!

    Sweet Flying Spaghetti Monster I love this guitar!

    Congrats you Lucky dog. I live 10 minutes away from SP which is dangerous. Enjoy your Collings. They are a cut above.
     
  17. Bogner

    Bogner Supporting Member

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    Congrats on your Collings! You did well!! :)
     
  18. John C

    John C Supporting Member

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    Nice; I've always liked the City Limits guitars and that's a sharp one.
     
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  19. strangec

    strangec Supporting Member

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    I have a City Limits Dlx that is solid mahogany, eastern maple top, has a BRW fretboard, and the same Ed Reynolds ThroBaks and wiring yours has. I think its a special guitar, but I think Collings only releases special guitars.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  20. joesnewmatch

    joesnewmatch Music Is My Soul Food Supporting Member

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    I played a CL with Throbaks last year and couldn't stop thinking about it. If I didn't already have an absolutely killer R8, I would have a CL by now. Instead, I added a 290 and I am currently collecting funds for the I-30lc. Every Collings I have ever played was absolutely stellar. Yours is certainly a beauty. Enjoy!
     
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