Magazine article Guitar Player

Collings CJ35

Magazine article Guitar Player

Collings CJ35

Article excerpt

BILL COLLINGS GOT HIS START IN THE GUITAR BUSINESS AFTER RELOCATING from Ohio to Houston, Texas in 1970, where he began building guitars on his kitchen table using just a few hand toots. His interest and talent for improving his craft soon let to the creation of instruments that caught the ears of Lyle Lovett and Rick Gordon. You might say the rest is history, but Collings has been constantly seeking to make better guitars, and, as witnessed by the CJ35 on review here, the results are impressive. Inspired by "golden age" American-made flat-tops, circa 1930 to 1942, the new CJ35 is a guitar that adheres to the concept that more is indeed more when it comes to large-bodied acoustics. Based on Collings' proven CJ design, the 35 features a slope shouldered body with solid mahogany back and sides and a solid Sitka Spruce top, Internally, the formula gets tweaked a bit in the form of non-scalloped Adirondack spruce bracing with a system of three tone bars. A slightly shorter 24 7/8" scale neck joins the body at the 14th fret via a mortise-and-tenon joint.

Visually, the CJ35 is a class act. The cosmetics are tasteful and the optional dark sunburst nitro-lacquer finish is a glorious alternative to au-natural spruce. The burnished hues in the CJ35's top reveal the distinctive parallel graining of the Sitka, which plays well with the tiger-stripe celluloid pickguard and the ivoroid binding and rosette. Flipping the guitar around, we find a "1 style" walnut back stripe dividing the solid mahogany back, and another piece of creamy ivoroid capping the heel of the neck. Other nice touches include a facing of ebony on the headstock and nickel-plated Waverly tuners with exposed gears and "butterbean" tips. The guitar came up to pitch easily and held its tuning with uncanny stability despite the climate change from Texas to our offices in Northern California.

The neck offers an excellent feel with its medium profile and compound radius. …

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