Other Guitars

A friend brought around his Collings I35

1

Today a guitar buddy brought around his new pride and joy, a black aged Collings I35. I last played one at Umanovs in NY quite a few years ago and was very, very impressed. The standard of finish was incredible and it sounded great through a Marshall 18W combo. But of course that was a while ago, it wasn't through my gear and time alters memories...

So it was wonderful to be able to compare an I35 to my own Gibson '59 CS 335. Both are lightweight guitars and of course the Collings is a bit smaller in size. I was surprised that the Collings neck felt almost sharp at the edge of the binding - no "rolled edges" on the fingerboard here! In comparison my 335 (I think it's from around 2018) felt like an old, worn in guitar. The neck is slightly bigger on my 335 but both are very comfy and don't stop me from playing anything I like.

The thing which surprised me most was that the Collings sounded good but not especially lush or wonderful. The sound was quite unremarkable. Everything you would want was there except personality. Maybe I have been spoilt by a particularly nice 335 but it felt to me like the Collings was almost a bit bland. That really surprised me because of my previous encounter and because the Collings cost my friend a helluva lot more than my 335 cost me! I felt a little smug that my 335 sounded (to me anyway) a lot more interesting, lush and classic, and that it also played better for me.

My friend likes a lower action than me but the action on the Collings was a hair higher than on the 335. I know he will get the action as low as he can, so that also surprised me.

So all in all this was a good way to spend time and I feel happy that the 335 is right for me. I knew it was a good one - now I feel even happier with it. And my friend is delighted with his I35, which is really all that matters.

2

Makes me wonder how the center block Gretsch may compare. I love the play and feel of my Double Cut Falcon.

The Collings look very nice, on their site.

3

all their guitars seem very nice, but insanely overpriced.

4

I hope to get a Collings Soco some day. My OM2H was worth every penny.

5

Macphisto have you played one? I would tend to agree that they seem overpriced but when you look at how exquisitely they are built I'm not so sure. All of the Collings guitars I have seen have been some of the very best finished guitars I have seen. Of course you don't play the finish but it is the most expensive part of building a guitar.

My Gibson wasn't cheap but I don't care - it is such a great playing and sounding guitar with great resale value (not that I will be selling any time soon!) that to me it was well and truly worth it. This particular I35? Not so sure. I definitely would rather have my 335 in this case.

And the acoustics are incredible guitars. I still like the comparable Santa Cruzes I have played better but wouldn't knock back a Collings parlour-sized steel string guitar.

6

I don't know why - but some guitars just sound great. As you say, maybe your 335 is particularly nice. I've only ever seen pics of the Collings guitars and the finishes look superb!

7

I want an I35-LC. I also want a 470JL. I'd settle for just one :)

8

I really like my Gretsches.

9

Macphisto have you played one? I would tend to agree that they seem overpriced but when you look at how exquisitely they are built I'm not so sure. - JimmyR

I've picked up a Collings electric a couple of times. It really is striking how well made they are. Everything is just so crisp and sharp and perfect. Sometimes it's hard to believe that there is a level above the already premium guitars we all love, but when you see it, you realize that there really is.

My other hobby is vintage watch collecting. I've always pooh-poohed Rolexes as being overpriced and nothing all that special. Then a friend of mine sent me a couple of Oyster Perpetual Datejusts to help get some work done on them, one from 1966 and one from 1998. Well, I get it now. Still overpriced, but they really are a different animal from lesser watches.

10

all their guitars seem very nice, but insanely overpriced.

– macphisto

They're expensive, probably not really overpriced. There's a crazy attention to detail in them. You won't neccessarily hear that, but it's there for who likes that sort of thing, and there's obviously a market for it.

Compare that Collings Julian Lage electric to a custom shop duo jet, they're around the same price point.

11

There's a crazy attention to detail in them. You won't necessarily hear that, but it's there for who likes that sort of thing, and there's obviously a market for it. - WB

That's the point I was trying to make with the Rolex comparison. They don't tell time any better than a $50 Timex, but if you just enjoy palpable quality and ridiculously fine craftsmanship, they are a pleasure to experience.

12

I want an I35-LC. I also want a 470JL. I'd settle for just one :)

– ruger9

I am fortunate to have an I35-LC...and, just now checking prices I am really happy I got it a few years ago! According to pricing on Eddie's Guitars it's worth more now used than when I bought it new. I'm really happy with mine. Feels great, looks great and sounds great.

And, I could also go for one of those JL guitars...but again, looking at prices it is doubtful I will ever actually get one. (Besides...my next [if ever] luxury guitar purchase will be a Tom Anderson either Classic S or Drop Top S).

13

Yeah the Collings Duojet looks beautiful. Still, I am sooooo happy with my recent Gretsch Jets that I'm not about to buy one. And yes, I think my 335 is unusually good. I've bought and sold a couple of CS 335s before but this is the keeper. It's well under 8lbs. I believe a year or two back they made a point of trying to make their 335s a bit lighter. This one rings out acoustically with none of the banjo sounds so many people talk about with 335s.

14

There are some amazing acoustic guitars around my town. Old Gibsons and Martins owned by my pals bring me to the verge of larcenous thoughts. In spite of the terrific sound and playability of some of these venerable dreadnaughts, a Collings owned by a friend and frequent collaborator is my favorite acoustic in town. If their electric guitars are of the same caliber as this Collings dreadnaught, they would be worth every penny!

15

Guess I need to start playing the lottery again.... that's the only way I'll ever be able to afford a Collings (that or sell everything I have save 1 amp and 1 guitar... that MIGHT get be most of the way there...)


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