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Collings 02H 12-String
 
A small-body 12-string with easy playability and a big sound.
June 7, 2021
 

Collings Guitars has made its name by adapting classic American guitar designs to create its own, highly refined instruments. And while Collings guitars feature many innovative design and construction details that set them apart from recreations of vintage guitars, at first glance many of the company’s models could be mistaken for classic Martins. But company founder Bill Collings (1948–2017) was known for his unusual design ideas, one of which was turning a 12-fret 0-size guitar into a 12-string. While probably not the first to combine these features, Collings did so in spectacular fashion, and when the prototype of the guitar was displayed at the NAMM show several years ago, it quickly became the talk of the event. I’ve been wanting to check out one of these guitars ever since, and when I came across one at Tall Toad Music in Petaluma, California, I decided to take it into the Peghead Nation video studio. 

The version of the guitar I checked out is the 02H 12-String model, which uses Style-28 materials and appointments and is built with extremely high-quality Indian rosewood back and sides and a beautiful Sitka spruce top. The guitar has ivoroid body binding with herringbone purfling, a multi-ring rosette, and diamonds-and-squares position markers in the ebony fretboard. A small, teardrop OM-style pickguard is different from the typical pickguard used on most vintage-style 0-size guitars, and without an exact guitar to emulate, Collings used a bridge with a relatively small footprint for a 12-string, as well as a slotted peghead with six-on-a-strip Golden Age Restoration tuning machines. Living up to the bar Collings has raised for the entire industry, the guitar’s fit and finish and craftsmanship can only be described as perfect. 

Twelve-strings are often known as being hard to play. While great strides have been made in making contemporary 12-strings easier to handle than earlier instruments, the 02H 12-String stands out as being particularly effortless to play. Naturally, the guitar’s short scale and compact overall dimensions are contributing factors, but Collings’s skill in fine-tuning a setup can’t be emphasized enough, and the result is that the 02H 12-String is incredibly smooth. The guitar’s tonal character matched its friendly feel. While not as punchy, loud, or bass-heavy as some larger 12-strings, the instrument is incredibly balanced, had an even response throughout its range, and offered a clarity that would make it a great companion in studio or ensemble settings. 

Overall, the 02H 12-String is a great example of what can happen when a guitar designer brings an innovative eye to a traditional design. The result is an excellent musical tool with a highly usable sound, easy playability, and beautiful looks. What more could you want?

SPECS: 12-fret 0 body. Sitka spruce top with pre-war scalloped X-bracing. Indian rosewood back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 24⅞-inch scale. 1⅞-inch nut width. Golden Age Restoration tuning machines. Made in USA. $5,850 list. Collingsguitars.com

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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
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com