The world of yowhatsshakin


Bill Collings’ attempt to achieve that highly desireable tonal quality of the pre-war D-28 with Herringbone appointments built by that venerable company from Nazareth, PA. (OK, in case you didn’t know, we’re talking about C.F. Martin of course). This specific specimen has an Adirondack (red-spruce) top, East Indian rosewood back and sides (unfortunately Brazilian is a bit out of my price range), and a mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard. The headstock does have a Brazilian rosewood veneer and Waverly nickel-plated machines with vintage-style butterfly knobs. To hear it from the ‘horse’s mouth’, visit:


Collings D2HA

The story behind this guitar

Year:                  2004

Serial number:    9736

Strings:               D’Addario EJ17 Phosphor Bronze Medium (13-56)

My first dreadnought was a no brand ‘el cheapo’ guitar bought in the Netherlands. It fulfilled its purpose while learning to master the art. Here in the US, I bought the Ovation Elite first, but after a while there was an ever growing desire to get a high-quality acoustic. At first, I tried some Martins at the local Guitar Center, predominantly D-28 or HD-28. After all, those were the guitars that were touted as the best in the business in Tom Wheeler’s standard ‘The Guitar Book: A Handbook for Electric and Acoustic Guitars’, which I read in the Dutch translation in my youth.

But for one, that book was written in the seventies, and for seconds, it has been a public secret that, at least until fairly recently, the quality of Martin’s was not the same as the pre-war guitars. Hence, one starts looking elsewhere. And Bill Collings has built up a name as a master in the re-creation not only of quintessential Martin pre-war models but Gibsons as well, with some of his own ideas sprinkled in for good measure. All reviews I’ve read about his guitars were always raving. And it tells you something when people like Lyle Lovett and Keith Richards are playing Collings guitars without getting the stuff for free. Yes you read that right, Bill Collings does not believe in ‘endorsers’ unless they are paying customers! So every one of these instruments you see in their gorgeous ad-campaigns is truly owned by the artist mentioned in the caption.

When this beautiful instrument became available as a second-hand through Buffalo Brothers in Carlsbad, CA, I jumped on it and never regretted it. To make a slight improvement, I replaced the pins by dark fossilized mammoth pins with an ebony dot inlay. Adirondack has the best ‘mechanical’ properties of all spruce species: cross-sectional strength, across-the-grain stiffness, and strength-to-weight ratio. The pronounced trebles and harmonics provided by the Adirondack top give the guitar a wonderful sound and sparkle, the size of a dreadnought adds balanced basses, the thing is loud, and the sound opens up and gets better over time. What’s there not to like?