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SmashMouth 05-01-2011 09:11 AM

Collings Guitars ...
Close to perfect: Collings Guitars makes some of the most coveted musical instruments in the world

He was supposed to go to medical school. He was supposed to go to California. But Bill Collings only got as far as Austin, and what he does, with roughly 70 highly skilled employees in a shop past the Y in Oak Hill, is build guitars. Really, really great guitars. You don't need to ask him how great they are; he'll tell you: "There's no better guitar made."

The Michigan native is not the only one who feels that way. Order a Collings and you'll pay anywhere from $3,500 to $6,000 or more, a lot more for super-custom models and, with the current load of orders, you could be waiting months. Acoustic guitars are currently back-ordered until October, electrics until July. The company this year is on track to build roughly 1,400 acoustics, 900 electrics, 500 mandolins and 350 ukuleles. Acoustics take about three months from the time workers make a card detailing the guitar's specifications and custom features to the time it heads to one of Collings' networks of dealers, including Hill Country Guitars in Wimberley.

"The quality is beyond all that I know of," says that shop's co-owner, Dwain Cornelius. "They're powerful, powerful guitars. Their projection is just unreal."

And like every fine instrument, their character and tone develop over time.

"It's a guitar made to grow," says Collings. "You have to play it out."

They're played and treasured by the likes of Pete Townshend, Keith Richards, Conan O'Brien, Lyle Lovett, Steep Canyon Rangers, the Eagles, Zac Brown, Robert Earl Keen, Jim Lauderdale, String Cheese Incident, Little Feat, Brian May of Queen, Joni Mitchell, Moody Blues, Rodney Crowell, Robert Plant, Joe Walsh, Aerosmith and John Sebastian. Local devotees include Bruce Robison, Alejandro Escovedo, Ray Benson, Jerry Jeff Walker, the South Austin Jug Band, Sarah Jarosz and Redd Volkaert.

"Even their cheapest thing is heads, hands and feet above anything else," Volkaert says. "It's world-class, kick-ass , does exactly what it's supposed to or more. The Collings guys are trying to make a better wheel. I'm sure it costs them more money, but I kind of think they don't care."

SmashMouth 05-01-2011 01:00 PM


Originally Posted by strato (Post 297206)
sounds like a nice axe..

You mean you've never heard of them? lol....

SmashMouth 05-01-2011 05:29 PM


Originally Posted by strato (Post 297243)
Here are some of my Grandmothers..its a 68 Yamaha ..solid spruce top and mohagany back...has the wear where it rested on her leg..the one guitar i will never part with....watching her play it is what inspired me to play..

cool .. nice to see acoustics ...

They got electrics there too ...

saintfan 05-04-2011 03:30 PM

I play acoustic and I've never heard of 'em...of course I'm just a hack really, but still...

Thanks for the post. I'm gonna check 'em out.

saintfan 05-04-2011 03:43 PM

SmashMouth 05-05-2011 08:59 AM


Originally Posted by saintfan (Post 298096)

Sweet ...... good sound!

alldat 05-05-2011 09:40 AM

Cool! My little cuz Mason is a luthier for Collings.

SmashMouth 05-05-2011 11:41 AM

Collings SoCo Dlx | Handmade Instruments from Austin, TX

Hill Country Guitars

You can afford those prices, Strato ... yikes!!!!

Does your cousin live in Austin, Alldat? Collings' factory is in Dripping Springs ... that's southwest Austin area for those in Rio Linda! He must be a true artisan.

alldat 05-05-2011 11:53 AM
Here is one of his projects, you can see his initials MM.

alldat 05-05-2011 12:00 PM

Yep he was born and raised in the Austin area, went to luthier school in Minnesota and came back to kid.

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