Saturday, December 15, 2012

Collings Guitars of Austin, Texas

Collings Guitars Of Austin, Texas.

C.F. Martin & Company is famous the world over for it's timeless and perfect acoustic guitars, but Martin is not without it's competitors. Among the manufacturers that some people think of as possibly being superior to Martin is Collings Guitars, and they are made in Austin, the capital city of Texas.
As the story goes Bill Collings had set out for Southern California from Houston and made it only as far as Austin, Texas. We Texans are proud of this, as the meticulous craftsmanship of Bill Collings' guitars go a long way and around the world to show the kind of pride that Texans take in building things.
Here's a short list of persons that have fallen in love with the Collings Guitars that they own:
Keith Richards, Lyle Lovett, Pete Townshend, Emmylou Harris, Andy Summers, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, Joni Mitchell, Don Felder, John Sebastian, Lou Reed, John Fogerty, Tim O'Brien, Pete Huttlinger, Kenny Smith, Brian May, Joan Baez, John Prine, Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap, and Steven Spielberg
It would be impossible to have a complete list of well known persons playing Collings Guitars, as the list is forever growing.

Me At 16 Years Of Age With My Santa Cruz Model D

The Santa Cruz Tony Rice Professional Guitar.

The Clarence White D 28 By C.F. Martin & Co.

The Collings Clarence White Guitars.

Clarence White was one of the most famous flatpick style guitarist to have ever lived, and besides all of that - he's all and around one of the most creative guitarist to have ever lived. The end result of all this is that most everyone that plays a dreadnought style guitar with a pick has at one point or another been inspired by not just Clarence White, but the entire Clarence White legend and legacy, and various Clarence White industries.
To be somewhat clear - the single most famous Martin Guitar in the world is the highly modified 1935 D 28 that Clarence White used to own and that Tony Rice now owns. Every good guitar manufacturer in the USA with only a few exceptions makes a rosewood and spruce copy of the 1935 very modified D 28 that is it's own legend, as the two most preeminent and copied flatpicking guitarist not named Doc Watson have both owned that one guitar.
The story gets a little bit strange when one takes a moment to realize that Clarence White hardly ever really even played his more famous guitar - and so Collings Guitars went all out and made a Clarence White guitar that copied the Mahogany instrument that he did most of his acoustic playing with.
The Collings Clarence White 28 guitar is probably the most famous and sought after Collings Guitar - and strangely enough, I'm somewhat a part of that story. I bought my Santa Cruz guitar from John Holman, who basically used my guitar as a semi template on how he would design for Bill Collings the Collings Clarence White 28 guitar. John Holman owned it, sold it to me after hearing me play the fire out of it at about 16 years of age, and I also got to play the prototypes and first production model Collings Clarence White 28 guitars all in the process. At some point or another in the middle of all of that I also got a brief introduction to Bill Collings. I'm truly not worthy.
Now my Santa Cruz Guitar isn't a copy of the famous Tony Rice and Clarence White 1935 and heavily modified D 28, but it is an interesting variation of the Martinpre war D-28 design, but basically, Collings Clarence White 28 guitar and Santa Cruz's Tony Rice Professional Guitar are both nearly identical models - and they are BOTH copies of the exact same guitar, which as I hopefully explained above, are copies of one specific 1935 Martin D 28 that had been very modified from it's original form - most notable of the modifications is that the sound hole had been enlarged, and the fingerboard had been replaced with an ebony fingerboard with no fret markings to be seen on it.
C.F. Martin and Co. has NEVER been anyone's fool, and so of course they got in on this game as well, and make their own Clarence White Model D 28 too.

Have A Peek Into Bill Collings Guitars!!!

Collings Guitars

The Collings Guitar Company makes many more flat top and dreadnought guitars than "just" the Clarence White guitars - they also make many other kinds of guitars, and mandolins as well. All Collings Guitars are built to specifications that are best described as perfect in every way imaginable.
As much craftsmanship, love, dedication, and precision as is involved in the making of some of the world's most loved and desired dreadnought guitars; there is probably even more of all of those things involved in building more difficult instruments such as arch top guitars. If you've never spent any time thinking about it, then let me help you out - it's just harder to make a guitar arched on the top than it is flat, and that should be pretty close to common sense - the guitar pictured below sold used at over twelve thousand dollars - these are not just musical instruments - these are works of fine art.
Arch top guitars have always been traditional instruments for jazz guitarist, and Collings Guitars makes them in sixteen inch, seventeen inch, and eighteen inch models.

A 1990 Collings 18" Arch Top Guitar.

Collings Mandolins

Collings also makes mandolins - both in the famous Gibson F-5 mandolinstyle, and in the more traditional "rounded" and more easily constructed style. Collings does NOT make any instrument that is not a professional style, quality, and priced instrument. All Collings instruments are hand crafted in Austin Texas by some of the highest skilled master luthiers in the entire world. You pay for quality, my friends, and you should never have to pay for it twice. If any Collings instrument is properly cared for - it never need be replaced, and will easily provided generations of persons a musical instrument of the very highest quality imaginable.

Collings Mandolins

Collings Guitars and Mandolins

I hope that I've given a bit of a glimpse into the appreciation and awe that I feel each and every time I get my hands on an instrument of as high a quality as are those made by Collings Guitars. But more than any of that - I like to hear the music.
I've never owned a Collings, I own a Santa Cruz - which is every bit the equal of the Collings or Martin guitars, but I'm very proud of the wonderful state of Texas and the people here that are not politicians, except, of course, for Ron Paul. There's something to be said for men and women of integrity, and Bill Collings is one of them - his products are true labors of love, and the love is felt by every single owner of a Collings instrument. Though I've never owned a Collings instrument - I can't help but imagine that I will some day, I'm just that type of person. I have had my hands on dozens of them - so when I tell you what wonderful works of art that they all are - I'm speaking from a point of reference, and a lot of experience.


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