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2021 Collings 001 14-Fret T Custom
 
An all-mahogany small-body from the Collings Traditional series.
October 11, 2023
 

Collings has always been inspired by classic American flattop designs, but when the company introduced its Traditional series several years ago, it was an opportunity to re-examine every aspect of its instruments’ construction. Working with input from players including Chris Eldridge and Julian Lage, Collings developed a tonal character that leaned more toward Golden Era vintage guitars than the somewhat more modern voicing of its standard models. Traditional series models are available in many Collings body styles, and in their stock configuration, they have spruce tops and mahogany or rosewood back and sides. During a recent visit to Schoenberg Guitars in Tiburon, California, my curiosity was piqued by a 2021 001 14-Fret T that had been custom ordered with a mahogany top, giving it an all-mahogany body. The fact that this idea worked was evident from the first strum, so I asked to take the guitar to the Peghead Nation video studio for a demo.

This custom 001 14-Fret T takes its overall design cues from Martin’s classic all-mahogany 00-17. However, with its tortoise-style binding, black-and-white purfling, and pitch-black ebony fingerboard and bridge, the guitar is decidedly more luxurious than the original budget-minded 00-17. The most noticeable feature that identifies the guitar as a Traditional series instrument is its satin finish, which is ultra-thin and incredibly smooth to the touch. Like other guitars in the series, the 001 14-Fret T features lighter construction, a redesigned neck support that uses a T-bar as well as an adjustable truss rod, an abbreviated bridge plate, no “tongue” brace inside the top, and more traditional voicing. The guitar easily meets the standards that Collings has always set when it comes to choice of materials and craftsmanship; you’d be hard pressed to find superior fit and finish!

With its compact dimensions and short scale, the 001 14-Fret T is a very friendly instrument to play. The guitar’s neck has a bit of heft, with a half-rounded shape in first position that slowly morphs into a slight V-shape toward the body. While not what I’d consider chunky, the overall neck profile definitely leans more toward a typical vintage neck than a modern low-profile design. Tonally, I’d describe the guitar’s character as being somewhere between that of a typical spruce-topped 00 and one with a mahogany top. The guitar has the warmth and great sustain that hardwood tops are known for, but with a larger dynamic range and greater tonal complexity than usual. I found it to be a great fingerstyle guitar in standard and DADGAD tunings, and it also has a lovely and controlled strumming voice.

Overall, this custom 001 14-Fret T is a great variation on a theme. While not exactly like any particular vintage guitar, it does have a serious vintage vibe, wonderful feel, and great sound. What more could you want?

Collingsguitars.com

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Julian Lage, “Nothing Happens Here” | Collings Guitars
The jazz phenom performs live in San Francisco using his Collings OM1 JL signature model.
 
 
 
 
 
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    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
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