From the March/April 2019 challenge of Acoustic Guitar | BY TONY MARCUS
When you consider the Collings guitar firm, one of many issues that stands out is nonpareil workmanship. The brand new C100 is actually no exception. Though it’s not a elaborate guitar by any means, every part about it shouts “high quality.” The mahogany again, sides, and neck and Sitka spruce high are woods that historically are discovered on midline devices, however in recent times gamers have come to comprehend which you could make tremendous guitars out of many woods, and that mahogany has its personal tonal persona, which many gamers discover to be their favourite.
When it comes to measurement and form, the C100 looks like an amalgam of the Collings C10 and SJ fashions, bigger than the previous and a bit smaller than the latter (although even deeper, at 4-3/Four inches). In trim, the C100 additionally falls between these two fashions. The reviewed instance incorporates a very tastefully shaded high, set off by a half-herringbone trim, with each the highest and again certain in ivoroid plastic. Restrained design is seen within the easy dots of the pearl place markers, in addition to within the unbound peghead, which sports activities no ornament apart from the Collings brand in mother-of-pearl.
Fairly slender and even grains run all through the Sitka high, and the ample cross-grain silking is an indication of completely lower wooden with no runout. The tuners are open-geared Waverlys, that are pretty much as good as you will get, and properly complement the standard look of the instrument. The frets are on the small aspect, and completely completed, as one would possibly count on. An attention-grabbing element is that whereas the end on the physique is conventional nitrocellulose lacquer, the neck has a extra sturdy polyester end, thus combining the sonic superiority of lacquer with the longer lasting polyester the place sound isn’t a difficulty. My solely (and really small) cavil can be that the nut slots (significantly the B and high-E strings) might have been a tiny bit decrease, although after all that’s simply achieved later ought to a participant desire it.
Now, all that may be very good, however that’s not why individuals have a tendency to purchase a guitar. How does it play and sound? As with the perfection of the match and end, the playability of Collings devices is known, and the C100 delivers as anticipated. The 1-11/16-inch nut and 2-3/16-inch string-spacing on the saddle would appear to point that this guitar is primarily aimed toward flatpickers, and it does perform very nicely certainly with a plectrum, delivering a variety of tonal selections and a breadth of headroom. (Collings responds that the C100 can also be obtainable with 1-3/4-inch string spacing on the nut.)
You possibly can draw plenty of quantity out of the field, with unscalloped high braces conserving the sound from getting too boomy. There’s nonetheless loads of elementary within the low E of the sixth string, which can be a perform of the depth of the physique. The physique resonance is centered round a low G, however that doesn’t make that fretted word stand out. Actually, the response of all notes is remarkably even. I seen that the second harmonic (the one you get for those who flippantly contact a string over the seventh fret whereas enjoying it open) is especially full of life, giving a heat to the tone that I recognize a terrific deal.
The narrower string-spacing makes fingerstyle enjoying a bit trickier, a minimum of for my massive palms, however the guitar does reply properly to the sunshine contact of naked fingers. The string motion on the instrument offered was additionally extra designed for the heavier assault of a flatpick, as are the medium-gauge strings offered, however after all there’s loads of saddle to decrease if a participant is in search of the final word ease of enjoying with simply fingers, and my impression is that the guitar’s voice would nonetheless be very sturdy with light-gauge strings.
It is a long-scale guitar (the identical as most dreadnoughts and OM fashions), and the mix of a reasonably broad decrease bout (15-7/Eight inches) and fairly a deep physique (4-3/Four inches) would possibly strike some smaller gamers as lower than comfy, however the comparatively slender waist (9-1/2 inches) compensates some for this. Once I arpeggiate a chord, every word rings properly and individually, but the chord itself additionally blends collectively most appealingly.
Collings suggests this guitar would go well with a singer-songwriter, and I can see its versatility shining in that function. Because the physique form isn’t a precise replica of a traditional classic instrument, it received’t instantly have a built-in buyer base, however should earn one by its suitability to many enjoying kinds. And, whereas it’s exhausting to think about a bluegrass guitarist, for instance, selecting such a non-traditional form, the C100 does have a sonic profile that ought to make it interesting to gamers of numerous sorts of music. As the marginally less-wide decrease bout (when put next with the Collings SJ) is made up for by a barely deeper physique, I can’t say if a participant who finds the SJ a contact massive will discover the C100 a greater match for them. Actually the mahogany physique of the latter will give a unique sound—and a really pleasing one it’s.
The worth for the Collings C100 is $4,680. In a day when there are some fairly spectacular imported devices obtainable for below $1,000, a purchaser must be prepared to spring for the craftsmanship, high-quality supplies, and a focus to element which can be the hallmark of Collings devices. The C100 is brief on flash, however lengthy on sound and playability. As with all new mannequin, the jury is out on whether or not it’ll discover a substantial market, however it’s most positively worthy of 1.
BODY 15-7/8″-wide C100 physique; Sitka spruce high with prewar-style non-scalloped X-braces; Honduran mahogany again and sides; tortoise pickguard; high-gloss nitrocellulose lacquer end
NECK 25-1/2″-scale mahogany neck with C-shape profile; adjustable truss rod; mortise-and-tenon hybrid neck joint; ebony fingerboard with mother-of-pearl dots; 1-11/16″ nut; nickel Waverly 16:1 tuners; high-gloss polyester resin end
OTHER Bone nut and saddle; ebony bridge with 2-3/16″ spacing; ebony bridge pins with mother-of-pearl dots; D’Addario EJ17 strings (.013–.056); deluxe TKL hardshell case
MADE IN USA
PRICE $4,140 retail; $4,680 (as examined with Western Shaded sunburst high)
This text initially appeared within the March/April 2019 challenge of Acoustic Guitar journal.