Who would take a Collings I35LC over a '65 or later 335?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by deech54, Feb 2, 2016.


  1. duhziner

    duhziner Supporting Member

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    Back in October, on this thread, I sold my '68 ES-335, and (I just can't do thin necks) and bought a blonde Collings I35LC with Throbaks. The guitar was beautiful, and perfectly built. The Collings are a different guitar than a 335, period. It has it's own voice, and feel. While the guitar was impeccably built, I felt the sound was sterile, and lifeless, and lacked the vintage character of the 5 late 60's 335's that I've owned. I sold it , and bought another '66 ES-335, which had an incredible sound, but again the neck was just too thin. I've decided to sell a few of my guitars so I can purchase an early '65 with the 1 11/16" nut. Collings make amazing guitars, just not for me...
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
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  2. kickstrat

    kickstrat Member

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    I bought your Collings and was able to compare it to my new Gibson 58 VOS ES-335. I agree that they are different guitars.
    The Collings with Throbacks has more of that focused sound, has that "in your face" attitude to my ears, more modern I would say...
    The Gibson has that charming warm sweetness around the notes that is simply incredible.
    I LOVE both of them for what they are.
    As a comparison, I would say that comparing the Collings I35LC to the Gibson 58 would be like comparing my Suhr Classic to my Fender CS Landau.
    Playability: My favorite would be the Collings because the neck is just perfect for my hands. The Gibson 58 ES-335 has that famous baseball neck which is not for everybody, but I like it too.
     
  3. Mr Fingers

    Mr Fingers Member

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    By and large, Collings are built and finished better than Gibsons. The feel of the neck and then tone are going to be the deciders for most people, and while they're both great, you're naturally going to have a preference. While Collings are consistently flawless in build, Gibsons are all over the place, so the advise to play the individual guitar before deciding is essential on the Gibson side. My personal preference is Collings in all 3 categories (musicality, neck, build.) The idea that a Collings lacks distinctive tone is a fantasy. A Collings fails to sound like a Gibson (or Martin) because it has its own, non-stereotyped sound, and you get to make it your own. If you need to sound like Larry Carlton, buy his guitar and, well, I don't know what you do about the fingers....
     
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  4. davess23

    davess23 Member

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    I'm a Collings type of guy: I bought my first one in 1994, then another in 1995, and still have and love them both. Acoustics, of course, since they weren't building electrics then. My guitars were outstanding when I bought them, and a couple of decades have made them even more so.

    I've played and drooled over i35s, both solid and LC. Very sweet. Collings electric guitars are incredible.

    That said, when I wanted a 335 I bought one, a 1968. I'd owned a few from the 60s, and I knew what I was getting. I'm very happy with it.

    The i35 is a great guitar, but it isn't a 335.
     
  5. The bear

    The bear Member

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    I don't buy the "sterile and lifeless" thing. Just because you don't like the sound of them doesn't mean that the should be described in that way. What's next, they are dentist guitars? If anything Colings are way more lively and acoustic in nature than a Gibson. That's just a fact. play them side by side acoustically and you'll see. Way more dynamic and with more touch responsiveness. How can that be lifeless? Not everyone might like that though, I understand that people like the sound of Gibson.
    I had a student that came over with a 68' 335. Sounded nice, but had that pencil neck. He felt like my I-35lc was "very 335-like". That's coming from an owner of a vintage 335. Check out the new I-30lc, see if you can apply the "sterile and lifeless " thing to that model. It seems like a lot of people tend to think that if something is perfectly built is has no soul etc, same if someone has perfect technique... There's a certain charm having a vintage guitar, personally I wouldn't want to have one for daily use as a musician. Having a new, perfectly made instrument with tons of vibe and a great and unique sound is where it's at for me.
     
  6. jens5

    jens5 Supporting Member

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    Collings
     
  7. Pedro58

    Pedro58 Supporting Member

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    The "sterile and lifeless" thing comes from sitting in a case for months/years on end. Just about any well-made guitar will wake up after being played at volume for a while. I have a LP standard that sits like that sometimes and it sounds dead when I first pull it out. It could also be my imagination.
     
  8. jens5

    jens5 Supporting Member

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    Having played that exact combo at Soundpure in Durham, NC., in my opinion, it's the best I've ever played or heard. Have the amp. Still trying to afford the Collings.
     
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  9. sfarnell

    sfarnell Gold Supporting Member

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    +1 I love the Gibson 335 tone, but the quality of the guitars and the tone are way more inconsistent than Collings. So are the neck shapes. There are a lot of dog 335s out there. Stiff is the adjective that best describes most of the 335s that I've owned. But a good 335 with a nice C shaped '59 neck (.85 to .95") is very hard to beat. For me, that guitar has been impossible to find but I know they must be out there because I hear them in other player's music.

    I've owned four Collings and still own two, a 1-35LC and an I-30LC. Very different guitars but all of the necks on them and the ones I've owned have been the same and are exactly perfect. Stiff, lifeless and sterile and adjectives I would never use to describe any Collings guitar that I've played.
     
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  10. mcuguitar

    mcuguitar Gold Supporting Member Silver Supporting Member

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    I've played several (8) different I35 and I35LC's, and while they are quality built guitars, they never moved me much. Don't you think that if they had the magic recipe, then guys like Robben and Larry would've recorded and toured with them by now? How about Jon Herington, John Scofield, Dave Grohl, heck any major dude? That was an intentional Steely Dan pun, BTW. It's not easy to find a smokin' Gibson ES-335, but once you do, fuggedaboutit!
     
  11. Byrdseye

    Byrdseye Supporting Member

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    I’m not any major dude, but I tell you, I would take the Collings in a heartbeat. ( I’ve yet to pick up a Collings I didn’t want to take home) That being said, I can completely understand going with a 335 if you find one that speaks to you. Each to his own.
     
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  12. lifeson1

    lifeson1 Supporting Member

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    I’m no Collings expert, but I’ve NEVER played a Collings dog... ever. I’ve owned, played, and repped Gibson as a player, and I’ve found a number of inconsistencies in the quality and playability of the models I preferred.

    Gibson spends a LOT to keep the brand relevant with artists that influence consumers to keep the line moving.

    Collings is a more home grown brand that stays close to core values for players. Enough said.

    Vintage Gibson’s are what they are, and speak to a time where quality, consistency, viability in the developement of what the electric guitar would become are a constant. Collings kept those principles alive with modern construction, small core values, and a high benchmark.
     
  13. The bear

    The bear Member

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    "Fuggedaboutit"... Whay about Bill Frisell, is he a major dude? Last time I saw him he played an I-35lc.
    Some of those guys you mentioned(Sco, and Carlton) has been playing the same guitar for decades and have now have endorsement deals and signature guitars based on those models. There are tons of great players playing Collings. Any skilled player should be able to get great sounds out of an I-35lc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
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  14. The bear

    The bear Member

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    It isn't hard to get a Larry Carlton-type of sound with a Collings I-35lc. Collings does have it's own sound but it's not too far from the original either.
     
  15. Scottone

    Scottone Silver Supporting Member

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    I just traded for a I35LC with Throbak SLE 101 LTD pickups and I'm really digging it. I'd originally planned to flip it for cash, but its going to be sticking around for a while :). I haven't played a later 60s 335 for a while so hard to compare.
     
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  16. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

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    New Collings I35-LC video I just made for ya'll. This is my new one. Sounds like a 335 to me.
     
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