NGD: Koll Ultra Glide

skiba

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,415
First off, as is generally the case, a big thanks to @Zen_Guitar for making this one happen - top notch as always.

Wasn't planning on buying any guitars for a bit, but after getting rid of a daily driver, and having some money left over after putting some away into savings, saw that Zen still had this one still available. Decided to justify it as a belated birthday gift, and moved quickly to purchase it, and it arrived today a bit ahead of schedule.

Knew after getting a Super Glide Almighty a bit ago that it wouldn't be my last Koll, and this one is nothing short of amazing. To put it simply - Good Lord, does it sound massive, and play effortlessly. So far there doesn't seem to be a bad sound/tone in it, and each note jumps off the fretboard with a real harmonic fullness/richness to them (be it single notes or chords). The "C" neck profile that Saul does is turning into a favorite, as this one is practically the same as the Super Glide's neck, and it sort of has a Goldilocks quality to it of not being too thick or thin. — edit: It sounds just as good unplugged as it does plugged in.

Also, am excited to see how the sound of the trestle bracing compares to a few other semis & hollows I've also got with regard to feedback/sound, and it might finally get me to remove the center block from a Ribbecke to compare it sound wise semi & hollow to the Koll.

Quick rundown of the specs - Spruce Top, Mahogany hollow body with trestle bracing (believe a modified version), Mahogany Neck, Brazilian Rosewood Fretboard (along w/Headstock veneer & pickup rings), Tortoise binding (body, neck, headstock, & f-holes) with vintage German purfling around the body, Thrōbak JW-102 pickups, TonePros wraparound, and a clear Deco Jellybean plexi pickguard.

Pros / Likes:
- build quality, fit/finish, & playability are outstanding
- the Thrōbaks sound unbelievable, and thought their SLE MXV pickups sounded great, but think these beat them out so far
- the Tortoise binding, plexi pickguard, and the amber tuner buttons
- the attention to the small things like the pickup rings, and the knobs (the wood switch tip too, but that broke off in transit, so hopefully Saul can provide a replacement)
- how it is perfectly balanced with no neck dive while also being extremely light at 5 lbs 10 oz
- pretty much everything about it so far
- the neck heel having a contour to it

Cons:
- none
- edit: realized the one drawback, might have to get rid of a guitar to make room storage wise (scratch that just had to rearrange)
-- On to the the photos:
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skiba

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,415
Way to go! That one really had me chomping at the bit!
Thanks! Think it was yours with the tort binding, the one with the lipstick middle p/u, that made me really want something with the tort. It is crazy no one scooped this one up sooner though with how these are few and far between. Work up early to get back to playing it, and it made for a pleasant morning playing it unplugged (which sounds just as good as plugged in) with a couple cups of coffee.
 

Matt Coffman

Member
Messages
50
That Ultra Glide is so beautiful.

I would be very curious to hear your thoughts on all the guitars you’ve assembled in your collection at this point.

Koll, Jersey Girl, Ronin - what other guitars do you have? And what are your thoughts about each guitar’s strengths?
 

skiba

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,415
That Ultra Glide is so beautiful.

I would be very curious to hear your thoughts on all the guitars you’ve assembled in your collection at this point.

Koll, Jersey Girl, Ronin - what other guitars do you have? And what are your thoughts about each guitar’s strengths?
Thanks, and it is a beaut. Can definitely give a rundown of them all, and the strengths and weaknesses of each one, but would need day or two to write that up / sit with each one as I do it - will tag you here when I get that done though.

As far as guitars that I am lucky enough to have (<-- an understatement), well, that would an Artinger, a Briggs, an Ergon, a few Fender Masterbuilts, a Jersey Girl, now two Kolls, a Ribbecke, two Ronins, and two Thorns. Just over a year ago it would have been all Fender Masterbuilts & a Gibson ES-345, but then Zen/Scott approached me about a trade for the Ribbecke, and it has been downhill since then. It is fun to try out the small builder stuff though, and while the Fenders, be it Masterbuilt or otherwise, I have had over the years have all been terrific it was sort of limiting to really only play just Fenders (specifically Strats, but also some Jazzmasters, and Teles). Still love a good Fender though, but it wasn't feasible or reasonable to keep all the ones I had while trying out new stuff over the past year.

Now when I've got enough in the hobby fund for something new it is put towards something that is different either in construction, pickup configurations/electronics, or to try out a builder that someone else has posted about that looked interesting. That isn't to say that some of the guitars aren't really similar - like the Thorns are the same body style, but have different woods for their construction and different pickup configurations, which the sum of all those things in my opinion do produce different sounds/tones from one guitar or another. Just like if another Koll is purchased by me in the future it would have to be something that fills a gap, and doesn't tread over the same ground as the Ultra or Super Glide.

To show what difference a little over year makes (which is nuts now thinking about it) here is what it looked like a year ago to what it is today (the four remaining Fenders from the first photo, one more Fender, and the Ultra Glide not in the second photo).

Before:
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After:
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skiba

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,415
Looks great, huge Koll fan here, congrats!
Thanks - thought the Super Glide was something special, but this one just might turn me into a Koll fanatic.

That looks superb sir
Thanks! It is somehow even better in person, and just wish that it was possible to show the grain/bear clawing of the top better with photos.
 
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skiba

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,415
...I've peeked at this one every day for the last month, fingers ready to message @Zen_Guitar. My i30 kept smacking my hand though.
Am pretty glad that your i30 (nice, by the way) kept you in check. This one keeps derailing my schedule everyday since it came in, so am pretty glad that no one got it, as it seems like there was a lot of interest in it.
 

skiba

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,415
looks suspiciously like your Koll on Saul's shop truck ....


Believe that is it, and think the Music Emporium purchased it at NAMM then sold it to someone then to me (it started the itch to try more Kolls). The TK Smith pickups in it are really nice, and they get even better with some volume & the bass slightly rolled off at the amp - again the attention to detail, as Mr. Koll made the risers for them out of (I think) rosewood. The Myrtle top is something though, especially with the satin finish. Comparing the fretboard grain/color with the Ultra really shows how Brazilian Rosewood can be somewhat all over the place looks wise. The fretboard on the Myrtle does look almost identical grain wise to one of my Thorns that I am convinced it is Brazilian as well (asked Ron Thorn, but it was a long time ago, and he understandably couldn't recall).

The Ultra continues to impress, and it made me forget about my three day rotation for each guitar - for a bit at least.
 

Matt Coffman

Member
Messages
50
The Ultra continues to impress, and it made me forget about my three day rotation for each guitar - for a bit at least.

I'm curious – what's your three day rotation for each guitar?

I think this points to my next question after your response above with your guitar family on display – which is, how do you interact with your collection? How often do you play the different guitars, and how on earth do you even choose which one of all those amazing guitars to pick up on a given day?
 

skiba

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,415
I'm curious – what's your three day rotation for each guitar?

I think this points to my next question after your response above with your guitar family on display – which is, how do you interact with your collection? How often do you play the different guitars, and how on earth do you even choose which one of all those amazing guitars to pick up on a given day?
Well, generally play (putz around) every night from about 7 to 10:30, and so play each guitar in sort of a rotation along with the amps. That way everything is being used equally, and can sort of justify owning all of them, because if one isn't getting played that would make me ask the question, "Should this one be kept just to own it?" It isn't about owning something to me to just own it, but to play it, and put it to use as it was intended - while also viewing them as functional art, because some (all?) of these are pieces of art that just happens to be a guitar (in my opinion of course).

During the day just pick one randomly, and have it on a stand close by for when there is time to play in between other things, but stick to the rotation at night. For that it mainly just goes in a line from right to left of how they are stored in their cases, which that space where they are stored determines the maximum amount allowed. Am cheating a bit with the limit right now, as the Ergon can't stand end on end because of a latch on the bottom of the case, so that is on its side on the ground. Also, if I am selling one that gets taken out of rotation, and checked weekly to make sure it is playing well/maintained until it happens to move on.

Have to justify the amps as well, so that is where the three days comes from, and really more along the lines of four, as I've got four amps. Sometimes though piggy back two of them into the same night, so it can go either a three or four day rotation. When a new guitar comes in, or am playing one really well, then I sort of break the rotation, but try to keep to it.

Also, want to say it isn't like I am wealthy, far, far, far from it (I'd say ok), but it is just a case of enjoying guitars & playing them, so if the money is being spent on them they should be played as much as possible. It does help that when it comes to things other people put a lot of expendable income towards, (probably poor examples) but fancy cars or expensive vacations, don't interest me. My other hobbies are also relatively cheap, which helps a lot. Couple that with always saving for one, or selling ones when need be, and it allows for me to try out new ones. Just make sure it isn't going to have any affect on the important things financially, but if it ever starts to then it is time to purge quite a few of them.

Oh, and if I had a wife & kids, then I am sure there wouldn't be so many, but am relatively young and so far am unmarried/no kids. Heck, buying gifts for my nephews & niece already makes me think twice sometimes when their birthdays & the holidays are on the horizon - like to go overboard with their gifts, and it is pretty fun to send a little kid a surf green Squier Bullet Tele, or one of those Loogs for my niece.

To show the way they are stored & the rotation --> Left picture is one side of a built-in/bookcase, and the right picture the other side, and play from right to left:
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Matt Coffman

Member
Messages
50
Well, generally play (putz around) every night from about 7 to 10:30, and so play each guitar in sort of a rotation along with the amps. That way everything is being used equally, and can sort of justify owning all of them, because if one isn't getting played that would make me ask the question, "Should this one be kept just to own it?" It isn't about owning something to me to just own it, but to play it, and put it to use as it was intended - while also viewing them as functional art, because some (all?) of these are pieces of art that just happens to be a guitar (in my opinion of course).

During the day just pick one randomly, and have it on a stand close by for when there is time to play in between other things, but stick to the rotation at night. For that it mainly just goes in a line from right to left of how they are stored in their cases, which that space where they are stored determines the maximum amount allowed. Am cheating a bit with the limit right now, as the Ergon can't stand end on end because of a latch on the bottom of the case, so that is on its side on the ground. Also, if I am selling one that gets taken out of rotation, and checked weekly to make sure it is playing well/maintained until it happens to move on.

Have to justify the amps as well, so that is where the three days comes from, and really more along the lines of four, as I've got four amps. Sometimes though piggy back two of them into the same night, so it can go either a three or four day rotation. When a new guitar comes in, or am playing one really well, then I sort of break the rotation, but try to keep to it.

Also, want to say it isn't like I am wealthy, far, far, far from it (I'd say ok), but it is just a case of enjoying guitars & playing them, so if the money is being spent on them they should be played as much as possible. It does help that when it comes to things other people put a lot of expendable income towards, (probably poor examples) but fancy cars or expensive vacations, don't interest me. My other hobbies are also relatively cheap, which helps a lot. Couple that with always saving for one, or selling ones when need be, and it allows for me to try out new ones. Just make sure it isn't going to have any affect on the important things financially, but if it ever starts to then it is time to purge quite a few of them.

Oh, and if I had a wife & kids, then I am sure there wouldn't be so many, but am relatively young and so far am unmarried/no kids. Heck, buying gifts for my nephews & niece already makes me think twice sometimes when their birthdays & the holidays are on the horizon - like to go overboard with their gifts, and it is pretty fun to send a little kid a surf green Squier Bullet Tele, or one of those Loogs for my niece.

To show the way they are stored & the rotation --> Left picture is one side of a built-in/bookcase, and the right picture the other side, and play from right to left:
View attachment 617241 View attachment 617240
Fascinating.

So that updated guitar family photo isn't even all of your guitars!

Also, no need to justify your guitars/amps to me – a well-curated guitar collection holds its value quite well (particularly in this bizarre supply-chain-disruption/high-inflation environment we find ourselves in today).

And yeah, at some point I would just love to read through your take on each of the guitars in your collection. How they compare, what you like about each, how you use them, how they inspire you. To have assembled Artinger, Jersey Girl, Ronin, Koll, Ergon, Briggs, etc. – you've clearly gone deep into the qualities you're looking for in well-made guitars.

Thanks for your replies in this thread, and definitely enjoy the very worthy Ultra Glide you recently acquired.
 




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