New Instruments: Collings Guitars

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Collings CJ35 SB

In response to players and instrument dealers looking for something more ‘1930’s Gibson’ in a new Collings, the Texas guitar-maker looked to its popular CJ model, and made some significant changes to the model’s bracing and design. The result is the loudest guitar we’ve ever played, and one that offers up a surprising amount of Vintage in its tone.

The CJ-35 features a three unscalloped tone-bar bracing pattern, styled after Gibson’s late 1930’s J-35 model. With the top braced stiffer, the guitar offers a clean and articulate bass, very round and powerful treble response, and huge volume throughout. The bridge is lightened up, too, which adds a quickness to the attack. It’s meaty and throaty, and has an archtop-like cut, but with a fat dreadnought fundamental and warmth. There’s just no other guitar like it.

The guitar’s feel is a modern take on vintage, thanks to a wide 2-5/16” string spread at the bridge and a round-carve neck with 1-3/4” nut width and short 24-7/8” scale. And to finish of things right, the CJ-35 features a small rectangular bridge with a glued-in through-cut saddle and ivoroid pins; a firestripe celluloid pickguard, single-ply ivoroid bindings and a matching simple rosette, dot fingerboard markers, and a headstock with an ivoroid logo in an ebony headstock overlay and nickel/ivoroid Waverly tuners.

Mahogany back and sides, torrefied Sitka spruce top, Adirondack spruce braces, mahogany neck with African Wenge fingerboard and ebony headstock overlay. African Wenge bridge, bone nut and saddle, and gloss sunburst lacquer finish.

Collings hit a home run with their CJ-35; they’ve perfectly married the best of new and vintage.

With Collings Traditional Handcrafted Hardshell case

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