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Hot & Heavy: A Collings CJ35 Acoustic Guitar Review

In a previous review, we covered the Collings CJ with its big frame and sound and luxury features. This week, we’re taking a look at another variation of the Collings jumbo: the Collings CJ35.

The Clean & Natural Option

Perhaps the first noticeable difference between the CJ and the CJ35 is the latter’s lack of flash. However, I’d argue that the Collings CJ35’s purity makes it a higher quality guitar. Less binding on the body and no binding on the neck means less plastic and glue. If your looking for a guitar with a low plastic to wood ratio, then it’s best to avoid an overly showy guitar and go for something more basic.

Non-Scalloped Bracing for a Heavier Guitar

Unlike the 2 tone bars and scalloped bracing of the Collings CJ, the Collings CJ35 combines 3 tone bars with non-scalloped X bracing to provide a physically and audibly heavier guitar. A common criticism of the CJ model is its bias towards the midrange and treble. However, as you can hear in the video the CJ35’s non-scalloped bracing makes it heavier in the bass to give it a much more balanced feel.

Slope Shoulder Mahogany Body

This slope shoulder jumbo is a simplified 1930’s vintage guitar inspired more by Gibson’s J35 than Martin’s square shoulder dreadnoughts. The jumbo body is made out of mahogany as opposed to the Collings CJ’s rosewood, giving it a good midrange supported by the heavier bass.

The CJ35’s Specialty Accessories

While this may not be clear in the video, the jumbo’s headroom allows you to play hard but stay clear and clean. This sharpness is assisted by the cut-through long saddle, which transfers energy better than the typical drop-in saddle. Other boutique characteristics of the Collings CJ35 include the:

  • Sunburst Adirondack top
  • African rosewood bridge and fingerboard
  • Tiger stripe pick guard
  • Rectangular bridge rather than “belly” bridge found on other CJ’s

My Verdict

The Collings CJ35 is a great working musician’s guitar for both recording or performing. While many bluegrass players may prefer the square shoulder dreadnoughts, a few of them may be intrigued by this guitar’s hot and heavy sound. All in all, the Collings CJ35 is at heart a folky guitar: perfect for the pleasant or rustic music enthusiast.

Check Out This Collings CJ35 at Eddie’s Guitars

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