G.A.S. Refinery...Or: I don't need no Doctor...(Collings Electric)

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by HeyMrTeleMan, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. HeyMrTeleMan

    HeyMrTeleMan Colonel of Truth Gold Supporting Member

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    So, I go back to Maple St. Guitars to pick up a couple of things, and the owner breaks out, just for me, his NAMM show Collings solid body Model 290 with the Lollar P-90's. They are using Tone Prosgb hardware, with really cool open back tuners (not Waverly) but Sperzel vintage style, maybe. Don't quote me on that;^)

    It has an orange-ish/honey color and is impeccable in every appointment and detail. I'm mighty impressed with this guitar. Even though we didn't plug it in, it really projected great tone with exceptional clarity. I can imagine what the Lollars sound like! Man, I like that guitar and that "City Limits" which I described in an earlier post.

    You can see these two guitars at:
    http://maplestreetguitars.com/show_item.php?dep=05&cat=130&sku=26554647290
    and:
    http://maplestreetguitars.com/show_item.php?dep=05&cat=130&sku=26554253587

    This precipitated a very serious GAS attack, I almost went into convulsions and seizures, every bone in my body started to shake, and now I may have to do some very serious refining of my collection. Or see a doctor. Too bad I don't have Lowell to get my prescription filled...

    If this is what Collings thinks is good for their first ride out on the electric guitar highway, I have great hope for Guitar-kind;^)

    BLP
    (and once again, No, I have no affiliation with...blah blah blah...-should put that in my sig line;^)
     
  2. DualRectifier

    DualRectifier Silver Supporting Member

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    Dang I didn't know Maple St had any of those...I've been afraid to stop by lately for fear of finding a reason to trade up my 514CE. Blues Jam is tonight, but I definitely need to stop by there soon...

    I know $4,800 is not much for an acoustic, but that's an awful lot for a freshman effort at an electric. I really gotta see this thing in person.
     
  3. HeyMrTeleMan

    HeyMrTeleMan Colonel of Truth Gold Supporting Member

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    The pictures show the guitar as much darker than it really is. It's one of the finest burst finishes I've ever seen. Note the bound headstock. It all just oozes good taste. And even though it's a freshman effort, they did with senior style.

    The 290 is more in my league than the other, more expensive ones. Even $2500 is a stretch! Too bad I can't afford my own good taste (hey, wait a minute-that's someones' sig line here...Sorry!)

    BLP
     
  4. AJ Love

    AJ Love Senior Member

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    $4800 out the door? Whoa
     
  5. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    bill couldn't have possibly bit mike's lj any harder.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  6. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    Wow!

    Best, Pete.
     
  7. 57special

    57special Silver Supporting Member

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    Hmmmmm. She's So Fine/My Sweet Lord?
     
  8. homebrewer99

    homebrewer99 Member

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    Those Collings look great! I would love to try one out sometime.

    However, Matte and 57special have hit the nail on the head...Somebody should alert Mr. Stevens if he doesnt know about this already. Perhaps legal action should be taken, or even better an amicable solution (licensing designs etc) could be found. Either way, it sure looks like the LJ design as ripped off.

    Hope this doesnt start a flame war.

    -homebrewer
     
  9. mrfjones

    mrfjones Member

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    i found two things i really disliked about both of those guitars but they are both cosmetic things. I haven't gotten to play one yet, though I am sure they are wonderful instruments. I really would have liked a black guard on the 290 and those cream knobs om the city limits.
     
  10. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    I doubt that Collings' "Freshman Effort" will disappoint.

    Hell, Gibson's been doing electrics forever, and they still "get 'em right" only a part of the time... ;)
     
  11. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    That's ********.

    NONE of this stuff is new, and it's been done repeatedly by luthiers all over the world, for years and years.

    You want a "new" design...? Go buy a Klein. Most everything else is fairly derivitave, basic embellishments of designs that have been around for 50+ years.
     
  12. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

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    Mr. Stevens is well aware of the Collings electrics. Neither of your well-meaning suggestions is likely to happen -- ever inquire as to the cost of this type of legal action? And as for an amicable solution, we're talking about two Texans here, bucko! (who have known each other for long enough to have, er, rather definite opinions about each other)

    As to who ripped off whom, I'm with Dave O: it's hard to justify throwing stones when the whole concept is borrowed so clearly from designs originally brought to market by Gibson.
     
  13. homebrewer99

    homebrewer99 Member

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    Mr Orban-

    I agree that many concepts incorporated into guitar designs have been around for a while, but I feel this is different. True, the LJ design is a singlecut that borrows design cues from the Gibson Les Paul, but isnt a clone. If people get in trouble for triangular headstocks with a ball on the end (fender strat), then this shouldnt fly either. Im not saying its right, im saying thats how things currently work.

    It seems as though Collings directly lifted dimensions, angles, and cuts off of the LJ design. Assuming that Stevens has the rights to the LJ design, he has the right to raise hell. If the big boys (fender, gibson) can cause trouble with rights to old designs, im sure Stevens can with a relatively new design. Ultimately its up to him and Collings, not us.

    On the other hand, Collings is producing a product that will appeal to lovers of the Stevens design that is also cheaper and more readily available. I will definitely check out a Collings and/or a Stevens whenever I get the chance.

    sorry for the derail. if others wish to discuss this further, a new thread would probably be a good idea.

    -homebrewer
     
  14. Mrgearguy

    Mrgearguy Member

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    I'm with Dave on this one. It's one thing to rip off a headstock verbatim, and quite another to bevel the edge of an existing 50 year old design.

    It's quite hypocritical to be compalining about such minor stuff when half of the "luthier" small builders that are discussed here are merely making replicas (albeit high-quality versions) of Fender designs.

    Tyler, Anderson Melancon, GVCG, Suhr and two dozen other builders make guitars that will go snugly into the same form-fit cases and have interchangable hardware... don't make me laugh with this talk about furniture bevels on Les Paul copies.

    Bill Collings has made a career of borrowing classic designs and improving upon the subtle aspects of construction, just like the aforementioned guys.
     
  15. homebrewer99

    homebrewer99 Member

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    All excellent points. Though I suspect the LJ wont fit in a Les Paul case. Maybe in a Collings case :rolleyes: ? Anyway, as long as Mr Stevens is aware he can make his own decisions.

    Bill Collings is definitely interested in making quality guitars, and for that reason I am still interested in his product. I gas for one with P90s.
    -homebrewer
     
  16. JoeinLA

    JoeinLA Member

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    I'll throw in my $0.01 here.

    Personally, I think the angles/cuts on the back of the Collings are so similar to the Stevens that it appears, to me at least, to be a direct copy. That bugs me because those are "design" elements that are, in many ways, similar to a headstock or other mark that doesn't exist for any reason other than to show who made the guitar. There are "generic" ways to do a tummy cut, and the collings sure doesn't look "generic" to me - it looks like the Stevens design. Now, who designed what first is a different story, but it sure does look like Collings and Stevens are using the same type of "design" (as opposed to function) for the tummy cut.

    I think it sucks if Stevens spent time and effort trying to come up with a cool/unique design and Collings just said, "hey, that looks cool. I'm gonna do it too".
     
  17. DualRectifier

    DualRectifier Silver Supporting Member

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    Well I had a chance to check this thing out at Gruhn in Nashville a couple weeks ago.

    It is an awesome guitar, and quite impressive for an acoustic guitar maker, but it is overpriced.

    Good wood, good hardware, nice finish, and custom Lollars still doesn't get you to $4,650. The name has zero heritage in the electric guitar business, and as pointed out here, is a completely derivative design, covering no new sonic or aesthetic territory.

    I've played better. Better real Les Pauls, even. If you are going to clone a design, rather than come up with your own, you should do at least one thing better than the design you are copying.
     
  18. 57special

    57special Silver Supporting Member

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    I agree with what you say, but would add, that i wonder if Collings might've done it unintentionally... in other words, he saw the design, noted it, then a couple of years later decided to use it, forgetting it's source. It puts him in an unsavoury light, IMO , being known as someone who filch's current (not 'classic") designs, and not in keeping with the style of company that he runs, which is upmarket and pretty classy.
    Or perhaps he caught Stevens messing with his kid sister.
     
  19. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

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    Unless BC has Alzheimers and the rest of us don't know it, there was no lack of intentionality or "forgetting its source" involved.
     
  20. 57special

    57special Silver Supporting Member

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    Kid sister then?
     

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