Pre War D-28 style Collings or Santa Cruz???

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by reddgeetarzan, Feb 20, 2006.


  1. reddgeetarzan

    reddgeetarzan Supporting Member

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    Hey all....

    I'm in the market for a nice pre-war appointed D-28 style dread.(probably Indian Rosewood, due to costs)-also not sure if I'm going with the Adirondack top or not.......

    I've been looking primarily at Collings and Santa Cruz- anyone have any experience in comparing the two? Any tone, playability, quality/longevity, price issues between the two???

    I'm open to suggestion.......

    Thanks!

    RG
     
  2. Eugene

    Eugene Supporting Member

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    I've played a number of SCGC dreads and OM's...they are very fine instruments. I own 2 Colling's...a Ds1-A and a 00-1A. IMHO, they just feel a bit more traditional to me than they Santa Cruz's. I love the neck shapes on the Collings and the construction is virtually flawless. Maybe its me, but the Collings just seems rock solid to me construction-wise...more so than any other acoustic brand I've played.

    In terms of Adirondack, both of my guitars have the Adi top and I feel it makes a difference. The down-side is that you'll wind up paying a $500-$700 premium for it, but I feel its worth it. If you're looking for a real bluegrass machine, definitely check out a 12 fret dread (Santa Cruz makes one as well)...they are just incredible and can move ALOT of air. To be honest, my guitars both have mahogany backs/sides and they have plenty of bass thump for their respective sizes. I think rosewood would probably be a bit boomy for my tastes.

    I know its a cliche, but you really can't go wrong with either. However, I have had nothing but great experiences with Collings and they have my highest recommendation.

    Good luck!

    Eugene
     
  3. itsjustgas

    itsjustgas Member

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    red-

    You can't go wrong with either SCGC or Collings. Consistently great guitars. The Collings might give you a more "thumpier" bass, if that's important to you, but both are excellent choices. I don't think dealers discount more than 10% on these so you can figure out of pocket $$ if the retail price is listed. I had a Santa Cruz dred a couple of years ago that was great but, now have a Collings D-42 that is a cannon.

    You might also want to check out Goodall's Traditional Dred. Beautiful balanced sound with great volume. Not quite as deep as the Collings, but close, and his necks are sweet and smooth! And I own one of these, too.

    Try a bunch, and pick the one that says "take me home"!

    jeff
     
  4. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    This is PERFECT advice!

    I've tried dreads & OMs from both builders. My ear prefers Collings (D1A and OM1A) but for every Collings enthusiast, there is someone who prefers Santa Cruz. It's completely subjective as to which is 'best'. As a generalization, though, I'd say that Collings guitars are generally brighter in timbre than Santa Cruz guitars when comparing instruments with similar body styles & woods.
     
  5. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    P.S. Adirondack does make a difference in sound compared to Sitka, in my experience, with Collings guitars. I started with an OM2H (Sitka/EI rosewood) and eventually sold it for an OM1A (Adirondack/mahogany), a D1 (Sitka/mahogany) and sold it for a D1A (Adirondack /mahogany). Again, a subjective thing.....my ears found Adirondack to sound 'better'.
     
  6. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    As has been mentioned, play both guitars and see which you prefer. Make sure the guitars have fresh strings so that you have a level playing field.

    Since you mentioned looking for a pre-war style, I thought I'd throw in my two cents. I have two Santa Cruz guitars: a D/PW and an OM/PW. The PW guitars have forward shifted bracing, which (to my ears at least) gives the guitars more high end sparkle than non-forward shifted bracing. I've played lots of Collings guitars and none of them have had the high end that the PW guitars have, the Collings have a stronger fundamental tone. Some people like sparkle, others like more fundamental. I'm a fingerstyle player, so the sparkle works well for me. My other guitar is a Goodall, which is all about sparkle. If you are primarily a strummer, then too much sparkle can get in the way.

    Regarding playability: Both guitars can be set up to play as well as any guitar on the market. Santa Cruz usually ships with a pretty high setup, so buy from a shop that will include a good setup. I prefer the neck finish that Santa Cruz over Collings.

    Regarding quality: I'd give the edge to Collings. I think that their finishes are more consistent than Santa Cruz. Guitars from both companies should last more than a lifetime.

    Regarding price: The Santa Cruz PW guitars are their cheapest. My D/PW was $2250 and my OM/PW was $2300. They raised the prices on these about a year ago and some dealers price the guitars around $2600 now, which I think is a bit too much for such a simple guitar. Most Collings I've played have been in the $3K+ price range, including an $8K dread with Brazilian and Adirondack.

    Bryan
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I prefer the tone of Santa Cruz every time, but it's a matter of personal taste. You've really got to play both and see how you feel.
     
  8. Mrgearguy

    Mrgearguy Member

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    I've got a D2H, and it never fails to make me smile when I play it. The notes are even all the way across the board and the clarity of notes within each chord leaves my Martin in the dust. Maybe not the biggest or boomiest D-Type (the Martin gets that award) but the articulation is sublime.

    Gearguy
     
  9. No Code 5

    No Code 5 Member

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    I recently purchased a Martin D-28 Marquis... their answer to the other guitars mentioned in this thread. It is a beautiful guitar. It has the adi top and EI back and sides. Pre WWII bracing (Forward shifted), fossilized bone for the nut and bridge, larger "modified V" neck, etc.

    Very nice woods throughout and top notch construction

    Really head and shoulders above the standard Martins. It was the best sounding and playing new acoustic I had ever experienced. Big sound and the strong bass doesn't over power the mids and highs like on some Martins I have played.

    I would suggest trying one of these as well. It has THE Martin dreadnaught tone.
     
  10. JPERRYROCKS

    JPERRYROCKS Member

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    Do all of Collings Dread style guitars come with a V neck, or can you order it differently.
     
  11. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny Member

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    the santa cruz D-PW is by far one of the best values your money can buy.

    while i still remember when they went retail for $2150, the newer prices arent that bad compared to alot of the collings stuff i've seen.

    the collings gear is great, but honestly, right outta the box, a santa cruz just satisfies. most collings i've seen/owned take at least a good month of gigging to open up, which i found annoying.

    BUT,

    what's really surprised me these days is Martin's good ol' D-28. if you go to a reputable store like acoustic roots in philly or mandolin bros in staten island, the D-28's they've been getting have been STELLAR. my friend picked up one and it costed him waaaaaaaaaaaaay less than i expected. just a terrific pre-war sound.
     
  12. Gazza

    Gazza Member

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  13. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    I would not rule out Martin either, heck I bought a D-41 10 years ago and I played just about everything they had at Mandolin Brothers, including the above two. All are great, it just depends on which one speaks to you.
     
  14. reddgeetarzan

    reddgeetarzan Supporting Member

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    Wow! Thanks you guys!

    I did manage to get my hands on a Santa Cruz very recently- it was not the D/PW- but the standard D with Adi top- man......that thing was SWEEEEEEET.
    At a list of over $4K it should be! I have a friend that swears by his Collings guitars- The D2H is right at 3K- the Santa Cruz is about $500 more- the only problem for me is there really are no Collings dealers close to me- and the closest I've found doesn't have what I'm looking for in stock....so the best advice I've received "Try a bunch, and pick the one that says "take me home"!"- may not exactly work out for me at this time- but that IS great advice!!!!!

    I'll keep you all informed!

    Thanks again for the help- I'm leaning slightly towards the Collings at this point.....if I could only have one of each!

    RG
     
  15. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Not that it matters to me, but this kind of thing always baffles me so I'd like to ask.

    You've never played a Collings, you've taken a poll on the internet, and now it's what you're leaning toward.

    Why?

    Just curious, is all, because it seems like an expensive decision to base only on majority opinion.
     
  16. Chops

    Chops Gold Supporting Member

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    This is the first one I would check out if I were looking for a guitar of this type. it is, afterall, a genuine D-28.
     
  17. No Code 5

    No Code 5 Member

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    That was my thought... and experience... the sound is classic d-28. Those other companies make great guitars that have great tones, but they are still a bit different than a d-28.

    I think the Marquis will take up the majority of my evening tonight... :BEER
     
  18. reddgeetarzan

    reddgeetarzan Supporting Member

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    That's a good queston. At this point, I have played the Santa Cruz- I actually got my hands on the D/PW last night- as much as I liked it, I was not "blown away" by it- it did not scream "take me home!!!!".
    I also have played about 20 different Martins- NONE of them had what I was looking for- they all sounded lifeless in comparison to the SC's I have heard. I'm not willing to spend the $$$ it takes to get a Martin of this calibur- it seems they want over $5K for what I've seen the "custom" builders making for nearly half that.

    I have a very good friend that owns several Collings guitars and is good friends with a Collings dealer, so he's played many Collings guitars- he has, in fact, found one that he says, and I quote.. "simply, one of the best guitars I've ever played". He also owns one of the best sounding acoustics I've personally played- a '64 Epi Texan. I trust his opinion on these matters, but I also wanted to get the opinions of those on TGP, as I know many of you out there share the same feelings on the "quest for tone" as I do.....

    I've found that when you ask those "in the know" (TGP members!) about things like this, they are usually right on the money!!! I've not been steered wrong yet.....and the overwhelming response was all very positive in regards to the Collings...that being said- I have to at least give it a try, and with the resale values on them, I can't lose too much if I don't like it!

    THanks to everyone who has given input on this subject!!!!!

    I'm not going totally blind on this one- but I've gone with a Collings D2H....I'll post my thoughts when I get it- it will be a few weeks...

    RG
     
  19. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Well, that's a very good reason NOT to buy it! I know what you mean. I've played some SCs that left me feeling "eh...."

    I serious doubt you'll be disappointed, I was just wondering. Me, I can only buy an acoustic if I or someone whose ears I trust has actually played it. They're all SO different.

    Martin sometimes still comes out with great guitars. But because they're not voiced with the care and attention of the great builders, it's random. It has nothing to do with the model or the price... JMO. I played a few in Austin at the Folk Alliance conference, the ones at the Martin booth that they had hand-picked to show to professionals... and they all sounded like ass. Nice inlays on one. But I'd never buy it.

    I should add, by the way, that the best 12-fret dread I've ever played or heard was an Adirondack Collings. It was a f*cking cannon.
     
  20. aoguitars

    aoguitars Guest

    just an addition to all the great advice given here (and this takes time and experience to listen for it), but on brand new guitars try to hear how the guitar will open up over time. most times, new guitars need to played a lot to really develop their sound and volume. spruce tops especially start off stiff, so when you play these guitars in stores and you find one that feels great but the projection may not be there, just know that it will improve a lot as you play it and that top has a chance to vibrate. that's why with new guitars I go for feel of the neck and the overall color of the sound, realizing that the projection and tone will open up over the years (you can even accelerate it by leaving your guitar between stereo speakers--anything to get the wood vibrating a lot).

    having said this though, if you find a new one that really blows you away, don't let it go--it will only continue to get better. that's the beautiful thing about aged guitars. good luck!
     

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