Collings Traditional Series
We’ve proudly stocked Collings guitars here at Gryphon since 1989 and from the beginning we have been impressed with the tone, fit and finish of the instruments. In fact, Collings guitars were so well made that we couldn’t see a way that they could be improved. But with the introduction of the new Traditional Series, Collings’ talented team in Austin, Texas has shown us that even a great thing can be made better.
The secret behind the great tone of the Traditional Series isn’t really much of secret. The trick is that Collings has revived some of the more labor intensive techniques that builders used back in the 1930s and 1940s, the decade we consider the Golden Era of American guitar making.
Perhaps the biggest difference between Traditional Series guitars and the standard models is the use of animal protein glue. When this glue sets it dries to a very hard, almost brittle consistency that many luthiers and players feel transmits string vibrations more faithfully than more modern resin adhesives, which even when dry are slightly elastic.
Other important changes include the use of lighter, stiffer wood in the tops and bracing; a thinner all-nitrocellulose lacquer finish with no UV-cure filler or undercoats; no flat brace (sometimes called “tongue brace”) under the end of the fingerboard; and bridges with a through-cut saddle. The neck shapes also have more rounded fingerboard edges and a vintage-inspired profile and taper.
The Traditional Series comes in two body sizes, the Dreadnought and the Orchestra Model (OM).
Collings has also given Traditional Series models these cosmetic differences:
Herringbone top trim (on 2H models) and soundhole rosette rings are not black and white, instead the colors are closer to “dark tan and light amber.” Since there is less contrast, the purflings on these models look more like what you’d find on an older guitar that had seen a lot of UV exposure.
Collings logo on the headstock is gold pearl, instead of the standard white pearl.
Bridge pins on 2H models are ivoroid , while the pins on 1 models are amber celluloid that’s sort of like faux tortoiseshell.
The end result is that a Traditional Series Collings sounds, looks, and feels a bit different compared to a regular Collings. The sound is a little warmer and smoother while still retaining the characteristic Collings clarity. The thinner finish gives even a brand-new Traditional model a slightly less glossy shine, and the slightly rounded edges on the neck give it a more vintage feel.
Shop Gryphon’s selection of Collings Traditional Series Guitars >