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Waterloo WL-AT
 
A fully acoustic, carved-top archtop guitar inspired by budget archtops of the 1930s and ’40s.
July 8, 2019

Collings Guitars introduced the Waterloo brand several years ago, and its relatively affordable, vintage-inspired instruments have been impressing players ever since. After exploring a range of flattops inspired by old Stella, Oscar Schmidt, and Regal models, Waterloo has introduced an archtop guitar to its line of high-quality contemporary instruments based on what were originally budget guitars. Collings is not new to the archtop, of course, having long offered several archtop guitar models and a range of mandolins, and the company’s experience with archtop designs is evident in the Waterloo WL-AT. We recently had a chance to check out a sunburst version of the guitar, provided by Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto, California.

At just 14¹³/₁₆-inches across the lower bout, the WL-AT is one of the smaller archtops you’ll find, and its flat back, mahogany back and sides, and no-frills appointments hark back to the student models of the archtop’s glory years in the 1930s and ’40s. Like all Waterloos, the instrument benefits from Collings’ high-quality wood stash and refined manufacturing techniques, and its materials and craftsmanship are top-notch. The WL-AT has a solid, carved top with parallel bracing, ensuring an authentic vintage tone, and the guitar’s hardware includes an adjustable ebony bridge, a simple trapeze tailpiece, and open-back Golden Age Restoration tuning machines. 

On swing rhythm chords, the WL-AT has a snappy attack and great volume, yet when I played it softly, the guitar had a quick responsive and a tonal sweetness that is not always present on archtops. The guitar came set up with light-gauge (.012–.053) strings and low action, which made it perfect for playing intricate chord melodies, but I suspect that raising the action would allow the tone to bloom even more, especially on a more aggressive attack. 

Overall, the WL-AT is a great addition to the Waterloo line. Whether you’re looking for a guitar to use for early jazz styles or wish to add an archtop sound to another type of music, it is most definitely worth checking out.

SPECS: Archtop guitar with f-holes. Solid carved spruce top. Mahogany back and sides. Parallel bracing. Mahogany neck. Indian rosewood fingerboard. Adjustable two-piece ebony bridge. 24⅞-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Golden Age Restoration tuning machines. Custom trapeze tailpiece. Made in USA. $4,500 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