Modern guitars are very different from their vintage counterparts. While some people prefer the playability and punchier sound of contemporary builds, others love the seasoned tones of a vintage acoustic.
Now, Collings is changing the game with the introduction of the Collings Traditional Series, which offers the best of both worlds.
By turning back the clock to build specs and a production process reminiscent of the most desirable 1930s Martin’s & Gibson’s, the Traditional Series recreates what everyone loves about vintage acoustics while maintaining the Collings gold-standard quality.
Offered in both OM and Dreadnought styles, these unique guitars combine a mature sound with modern playability, creating the perfect combination for vintage enthusiasts or contemporary fans alike.
It all starts with production
A major reason that older guitars sound a lot different from newer models begins with how the guitar is built.
Collings throws back to a much lighter build for the Traditional Series, opting for lighter / stiffer woods for the tops, backs, sides and internal braces.
Top wood options include Sitka and Adirondack, both of which can be pre-aged through a torrefication process to mimic how the woods mature over time. This helps reproduce the vintage sound quality that develops as a guitar is played over decades.
For back and side woods, you can select Madagascar rosewood, Indian rosewood and Honduran mahogany. The Madagascar rosewood is the most similar in tone and appearance to the Brazilian rosewood used in the 1930s, but it is not nearly as expensive.
Additionally, Collings uses a more traditional animal protein glue, which over time sets to the hardness of the wood fiber itself. This is opposed to modern tight-bond wood glues, which retain a softer, more rubbery consistency.
The bridge plate is also physically smaller, which allows the top to move more freely creating a more dynamic, lively sound.
Finally, Collings does away with the more contemporary finishing process of adding a poly basecoat primer. Vintage guitars were simply coated with lacquer and polished, which allowed the finish to slowly sink into the wood and harden over time, contributing to the unique look and sound.
The Traditional Series follows that style, which leads to a natural patinaed appearance that will continue to improve the sound quality as it ages.
Reproducing that beloved vintage sound
Vintage guitar enthusiasts have to admit that while older guitars sound fantastic, they can often be a bitch to play.
Well, Collings has done an incredible job with the Traditional Series, as these guitars do an unbelievable job mimicking that aged acoustic sound while obtaining near perfection in terms of playability.
Most new acoustic guitars have a very tight, bright sound, and while this appeals to some, it is not for everyone. By taming the trebles, the Collings Traditional Series produces a much rounder sound out of the box; brand new, these guitars already have a level of maturity that you would only expect from a guitar that has been played for decades.
These guitars simply play amazing – they stay in tune all the way up the neck, there are no dead spots on the finger board and the level of consistency from guitar to guitar is remarkable.
And the true beauty of the Traditional Series is that they should keep sounding better over time. Even a guitar that is only a couple years old gains a little extra volume, naturally improved resonance and some harmonic overtones – the fact that vintage guitars have been played for decades is what makes them sound so unique.
The old-school style build and production process of the Traditional Series gives it a head start in obtaining those desirable qualities, which should only improve over the life of the guitar.
A modern guitar for vintage enthusiasts
Collings has done what seemed like an impossibility: They have created a modern guitar that plays and sounds like its vintage counterpart.
From the solid neck that offers a more substantial feel to the warmer tones that cut through an ensemble without sounding thin, the Collings Traditional Series is perfect for anyone who prefers older-style guitars but would like to add modern quality and playability.
You are understandably going to be skeptical at this point, which is why I encourage you to see it for yourself. Schedule an appointment to visit our showroom today, and give the incredible Collings Traditional Series a try – you won’t be disappointed.