Offset-body guitars like the Fender Jaguar and Jazzmaster received very little love until the indie rock scene took off in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s due to their perceived deficiencies — a clunky bridge, heavy strings and less sustain.
However, this unique style of guitar has developed a niche fan-base among enthusiasts over the past few decades as production techniques have improved.
Now, many of these initial problems have now been resolved, and nowhere is this more apparent than with the Collings 360 Series.
The 360 Series: A Collings Take On Offset Guitars
The Collings 360 does not replicate traditional offset guitars in terms of construction. Instead it takes many of the characteristics of classic off-set guitars and refines them with the craftsmanship we have come to expect out of every Collings model.
First and foremost, Collings is the only manufacturer that makes this style of guitar with a set-neck — all others follow the classic Fender model of using bolt-on necks — allowing for a slight, but notably different sound.
The Collings 360 also incorporates a shorter scale length of 24 7/8” as opposed to the Fender 25 1/2”, which makes it slightly easier to play.
Additionally, the pickups, bridge and bravado are all hand-selected from only the highest quality products on the market to complement each other, which combines to create better sustain and a more polite attack than traditional offset guitars.
With different setups available, such as Gold Foil pickups for a humbucker tone or Lollar P-90s that offer a fat, punchy sound, Collings offers a build that anyone who is a fan of offset guitars will love.
However, the biggest selling point of the 360 Series is the inclusion of the Mastery Bridge and Vibrato.
Collings Branches Out; Maintains Unparalleled Quality
Collings has a tendency to stick with manufacturers they know and trust, which is why you typically see top-of-the-line hardware like Tone Pros on most of their guitar lines.
In fact, Collings is so particular that you can’t even order a custom guitar with any pickup you choose – if they aren’t something already on the Collings Approved list, you’d have to send a set for Bill Collings to personally test before they’ll put it on one of their guitars.
That is what makes the inclusion of Mastery hardware on the 360 Series such an achievement — this guitar probably wouldn’t exist unless the hardware lived up to the highest standard of quality.
While traditional Jaguars and Jazzmasters had horrible issues with the bridge, saddles and bridge posts, the Mastery bridge was specifically developed for offset guitars to be intonated perfectly; you aren’t going to throw it out of tune with wild use of bravado, which is necessary for certain styles of play.
It’s pretty incredible that a Collings guitar model was in a sense influenced by industry — the 360 was essentially built to specifically utilize Mastery products. And whenever you see Collings use a product from a new manufacturer, you can assume there is a good reason: It sounds better than anything else on the market.