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This article was originally published in issue #4
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Some say Bill Collings and his team currently produce the world’s finest production acoustic guitars. To go with our visit to the Collings plant in Austin, Texas, GI borrowed a Collings C10 - perhaps the perfect Collings acoustic for electric guitar players tempted to go back to nature. We handed it to Giorgio Serci for a professional’s view.
Straight from the case this guitar has a beautiful wood scent, which is always a good sign for an acoustic instrument. It has an elegant look, with contrasting wood colours, from the dark ebony of the headstock, fretboard, bridge and pins, to the light Sitka spruce top. It's smaller in size than an OM (Orchestra Model) and it has a smaller upper bout as well as a narrower waist. What makes this guitar look stylish and unique is, also, the asymmetrical headstock with the inlaid logo over the elegantly dark headstock, echoed by the curvilinear tortoise style pick-guard, which is beautifully shaped and gauged.
The model I played had a high gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish, which is standard on this model but different finishes are available, such as sunburst, satin neck and varnish finish. Various inlays are optional too, as well as a cut away, a left hand model and a wider neck (from 42.86 to 44.45mm at the nut). You can pretty much get whatever you want here.
When I strummed this guitar for the first time, I could not believe my ears, as the tone is so loud, with an incredible bass response, which is very well balanced with the treble and mid range. Sustain is also impressive! You will notice and appreciate this right away, particularly when playing single-note melodies. The sustain and its lovely tone quality, makes it ideal to play singing-like melodies as well as rhythm guitar parts. and for this reason this guitar would be great for both studio and live work. Just listen to the sound on our video!
Constructionally, the C10 has its back, sides and neck made of mahogany and the 14th fret join, with a very elegant and thin heel offers easy access to all 20 frets. The bone nut and drop-in saddle are finely cut, finished and positioned to perfection and I love the dark and shiny end of the fretboard into the soundhole. This is a tremendously good-looking instrument! But it's not all cosmetics, as inside the Collings you'll find pre-war style scalloped bracing, which allows the guitar's top to be lighter, more flexible and more resonant. Collings isn't the only manufacturer to do this, of course, but when it's done with such meticulous attention to detail and when using such fine tonewoods as have been used here, you get a result that is just outstanding.
Collings says it believes this model is particularly suitable for electric guitarists and the use of a C shaped neck profile, coupled with an exemplary action on our review sample means they are right.
There can be no doubt that is a high quality instrument and a real joy to play. The choice of materials and the attention to detail in the manufacture is quite remarkable. And of course, being a professional instrument, it will improve with time and it will make its owner improve too, as fine instruments such as this Collings C10 can only make you play better and definitely more, thanks to its remarkable playability and tone.
We had to think hard how to rate this guitar. It is one of the most expensive we have tried and yet it is a remarkable instrument. In my opinion it is worth every penny, which is why we have marked it so high.
If you are looking for a professional quality acoustic instrument - particularly if you are usually an electric guitar player and want a more approachable guitar - then I strongly recommend finding a Collings dealer near you and trying one of these amazing guitars. You won’t believe your ears!