At the Jan 2010 LA NAMM show, one guitar stood out above all the others I saw in that huge show; The Collings Art Deco guitar. Visually, it made such an impression on me that I posted it as my personal choice for “best in show” and immediately placed an order. It was a one-off, limited run design and only a handful were built.
The Art-Deco stair-step peghead overlay and bridge feet immediately caught my eye. The ingeniously designed 4:1 ratio geared “friction tuners” in the spirit of a 19th century really complete the guitar as I passionately collect 19th century Romantic era guitars. Ebony appointments on the ultra blond, AAA maple are the final touch that really set off the look of this unique and special guitar.
When I recently asked Collings Guitars when I might see the guitar, they discovered that they had not actually formally scheduled my order. Fortunately they had a record of my order from their NAMM notes, and though Bill Collings won’t build more of these, he agreed to build one for us as a single piece order. The guitar was completed for us in late Sept of 2011. So here we are with a brand new 2010 Limited Art Deco guitar ! ( better late than never …grin…)
This superb, small body fingerstyle guitar has exceptionally full and fat tone. I hear a little more clarity and sparkle in the trebles than I normally get in this body size. The added treble clarity could be attributable to the maple back and sides, but much of the auditory thrust comes down to the genius of Bill Collings as a guitar maker. The improved trebles also nicely tighten up the bass frequencies making this guitar suitable for old style fingerstyle blues but it is also a guitar that will cross over into modern solo fingerstyle techniques.
The woods, finish and joinery are typically of any Collings guitar; the ne-plus-ultra of the guitar making world. AAA select grade woods throughout. The under-stated, design elegance of Collings’ approach to their art. As a lifetime devotee of small body guitars, this lovely little Collings is as good as it gets !
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