Vintage Instruments: Other Acoustic Guitars

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1995 Collings AT-17

The Collings AT-17 represents the apex of Bill Collings’ craftsmanship in lutherie. A giant among builders, Bill is famous for his exactingly meticulous attention to detail, his eye for design and proportion, his neck carving, his immaculate finishwork and his particularly high standards in tonewood selection. Few builders have achieved what Bill Collings was able to during his lifetime, and the 17” archtops Bill made are among the finest carved guitars ever built. Exceptionally rare and highly sought after, these large-body archtops are everything most players are searching for in an instrument.

Dated 01/95, this guitar was completed for the 1995 NAMM show. It remains in immaculate condition and shows no playwear to its frets or finish. The guitar is signed and numbered by Bill Collings on the inside of the back, visible through the bass-side F hole.

Highly figured maple and Italian spruce with multi-layered purflings and white bindings; bound F holes. Hand carved ebony bridge, tailpiece, and pickguard. Maple neck with large ‘haircut’ style headstock, bound ebony fingerboard with pearl parallelogram inlays and long scale. Round neck with 1-11/16” nut, string spacing of 2-3/16” at the bridge.

What’s particularly amazing about this guitar is how perfectly balanced the string response is at every fret and along every string. It’s uniformly loud; and, given its large body, the treble string power is incredible. There’s warmth and complexity, excellent fundamental, and a lot of richness through the midrange. It’s clear, bold and articulate - but still more dark than bright - and it’s beautifully nuanced. We can imagine that this Collings AT-17 would satiate most any jazz player’s guitar desires.

With original Calton hardshell case.

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