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Waterloo WL-14 Scissortail
 
A great mid-size maple flattop.
July 20, 2021
 

Originally conceived by Collings Guitars’ late founder Bill Collings as a lower-cost line of instruments, Waterloo guitars have filled a niche in the flattop guitar market and become a runaway success. Inspired by budget vintage guitars and featuring Collings’s legendary attention to detail, Waterloo guitars have gained a reputation as real workhorses with an added aura of coolness. Many roots and blues guitarists have found that the mid-size WL-14 and its variations perfectly fit their playing and, having demoed an all-mahogany WL-14 Mh, I was happy for the opportunity to check out a WL-14 Scissortail, provided to us by Tall Toad Music in Petaluma, California. 

Named after the scissor-tailed Flycatcher—a bird native to central Texas—the WL-14 Scissortail is a WL-14 variant built with maple back and sides and a spruce top. Inspired by Kalamazoo Oriole guitars built between 1940 and 1942, the guitar has a minimum of appointments, which include tortoise body binding, a single layer of tortoise-style binding inside the soundhole in lieu of a regular rosette, and simple dot position markers in its Indian rosewood fingerboard. The guitar has a tiger-striped pickguard, X-bracing, and a short 24⅞-inch scale, and its wide 2⅜-inch string spacing at the saddle is combined with a rather hefty, V-shaped neck, which provides an authentic vintage feeling. 

Like other Waterloo guitars I’ve had a chance to play, the WL-14 Scissortail has an incredibly honest quality to its tone. The guitar has a quick response and a pronounced midrange, giving it a very immediate tonality that would work especially well in an ensemble context, where it would easily distinguish itself. Playing it in a solo context, the instrument has a great clarity that makes each note pop with personality. As with all Waterloo guitars, the Scissortail has a bonafide vintage tone but  plays vastly better than most vintage instruments. With a great setup, low action, and accurate intonation, the guitar meets modern demands for playability, offering a perfect bridge between the old and new. 

By design, Waterloo guitars fill a different niche than most vintage-inspired guitars currently being made, and that is a wonderful thing. Regardless of whether you’re used to vintage guitars but would like contemporary playability or whether you come from playing modern guitars and would like to explore vintage sounds, the Waterloo WL-14 Scissortail is an instrument well worth checking out!

SPECS: 14-fret L-00-style body. Spruce top. Maple back and sides. X-bracing. Mahogany neck. Indian rosewood fingerboard. Ebony bridge. 24⅞-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⅜-inch string spacing at saddle. Golden Age Restoration tuning machines. Made in USA. $2,850 list. Waterlooguitars.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