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In a previous review, we covered the Collings Guitars 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.

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 characteristics of the Collings CJ35 include the:

  • Sunburst Adirondack spruce top
  • African rosewood bridge and fingerboard
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Simple ivoroid rosette
  • Ivoroid top/back binding
  • 1-style walnut backstrip
  • Pre-war non-scalloped Adirondack bracing with 3 tone bars
  • Abbreviated tongue brace
  • Tigerstripe celluloid pickguard
  • High gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish
  • Mahogany neck
  • Unbound “Haircut” headstock
  • 15 degree headstock angle
  • Ebony peghead overlay with inlaid ivoroid Collings logo
  • African rosewood fingerboard with straight-style bridge
  • Mortise and tenon hybrid neck joint
  • 20 Frets, neck joins the body at the 14th fret
  • Vintage-inspired neck profile with 2 5/16″ string spacing
  • 14″-26″ Compound fingerboard radius
  • 1 3/4″ Bone nut and cutthrough saddle
  • 24 7/8″ Scale length
  • Medium 18% nickel-silver fretwire
  • Mother of pearl dot fingerboard inlays
  • Fully adjustable truss rod
  • Ivoroid bridge pins and ebony end pin
  • Nickel Waverly tuners with ivoroid buttons & 16:1 ratio
  • Recommended string gauge – D’Addario EJ-17 (.013″-.056″)
  • Collings deluxe hardshell case by TKL

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 pristine strumming response and stellar playability. All in all, the Collings CJ35 is at heart a folky guitar: perfect for the pleasant or rustic music enthusiast and one of the most versatile large-bodied guitars available.

Check Out This Collings CJ35 at Eddie’s Guitars

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