My Collings Search

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by Doug Brown, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. Doug Brown

    Doug Brown Member

    Jul 2, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I have been looking to buy a high end acoustic for some time. My first exposure was to Collings guitars was seeing Lyle Lovett play the “Step inside this house” album. I then bought the double CD and I was hooked. My friend and electronics wizard David Barber told me 1. not to go and play one unless I was ready to buy and 2. under no circumstances was I to take the credit card with me.

    Well, I ignored part 1 but followed part 2 while on vacation with my wife in Nashville. We stopped at Gruhn’s and well, Nashville being Nashville, I had to play them. It was late in the day so I only had a few minutes. I grabbed a IRW/Sikta CJ, played the opening to “Angie” and fell to my knees!

    I was hooked. The next day we went back to Gruhn’s and I played a IRW/Adir CW. Again I was stunned, but by a very different sound. Thus the search for MY Collings began.

    To the fortune of my ears but the unfortunate of my wallet, we live near a guitar shop that specialises in Collings guitars. What is currently in stock that has a large body and a wide enough nut is a IRW/Sitka D3, an IRW/Adir CW, and a Mahog/Adir CJ. They all sounded beautiful but all were very different in tone.

    It was interesting to hear the differences in top wood. The Sitka seemed more focused in the mids compared to the broader frequency palette of the Adirondack spruce. When comparing the body woods, hearing the forward fundamentals of the mahogany compared to the rich overtones and stronger bass of the Indian Rosewood confirmed which combination of woods I want in a Collings.

    What I need to hear now is a CJ with an Adirondack top and an IRW body. However, this time I will bring the check book!

    What model Collings do you play and how did you make the decision which model to buy?


    Doug Brown
  2. Eugene

    Eugene Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    New York

    I'm a huge fan of Collings guitars...I have a Ds1-A and a 00-1A. While all of Bill's guitars are special, I think his 12-fret slot-heads are the top of the heap. It might take a little getting used to the slightly wider fingerboard, but these guitars can move some air. I'm also a big fan of the adirondack/mahogany combination...plenty of projection without any boominess.

    Stu at Fat Sound usually has some 12-frets in stock....he's a great staring (and ending) point to find out all the specifics on Bill's stuff. He turned me on to the 12 frets in the first place!

    Also, check out the Collings sunburst...perhaps the nicest you'll see anywhere.

    Good luck!

  3. riffmeister

    riffmeister Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    near Philly
    You have described EXACTLY what my ears have heard in Collings guitars. I've had OM2H, OM1A, D1, and D1A. I still have the OM1A and D1A......they are GREAT sounding guitars for my tastes. Although, truth be known, I have serious designs on a Lowden F35 (sitka/maple) and one of the Collings may have to go if I do indeed pull the trigger on the Lowden (I can't afford them all).

    But anyway, good luck in your AG ToneQuest. Collings make phenomenal sounding/playing instruments!!
  4. stephenT

    stephenT Member

    May 20, 2005
    North GA USA
    Collings are fine guitars, but you already know that. (But) you went to the wrong shop in Nashville, Cotten Music is the place for Collings Guitars. Kim is first rate and you'll find lot's ways to spend your $$ there.

    the best they build (IMHO) is the OM1 or OM1A w/ vintage neck specs.
  5. fretnot

    fretnot Gold Supporting Member

    May 4, 2004
    Philly burbs
    I have a D3 and love it.
  6. elambo

    elambo Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    I play a D2H. It's insanely good. Nothing I've ever played has been able to top it.

    And they get even better. The guitars you're playing in the stores are new and still stiff. Once the top has a chance to break in it will open up and really start to shine. Mine took a while to do this, but the transition period from stiff to broken was actually noticeable. I've been recording this guitar for 4 years - before and after it was broken in - and when you listen to it now vs. brand new the difference is very noticeable.

    This is perhaps a bit off-topic, and it may only add to your drive to obtain one, but you'll have this to look forward to.

    FYI, there's a Collings forum if you care to know more about them. It's a great group of folks who really know their stuff.
  7. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Member

    Jan 25, 2005
    New Joisey
    THAT is an awesome guitar, I played one a few months ago and loved it. For me, that guitar just had a nice pocket, it just fit nice and the neck was outstanding.
  8. Ogre

    Ogre Member

    Jun 14, 2002
    It's hard to go wrong with any of the models mentioned. I had a 12 fret D model(can't remember the model designation) that was a huge sounding manly guitar. I sold it and got a OM1A last December. The Adirondack top is just starting to open up, and the tone is well balanced. The Adirondack top/mahagony back & sides is a classic combination. I remeber when Bill made his first 6 or 7 guitars, and took them to Nashville to sell at Gruhns. They gathered dust for 6 months, but once the word got out, it's been off to the races ever since.

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