My guitar collection - Acoustics


Mandolins have been a longtime staple among the acoustic instruments coming from the Collings shop in Austin, TX. Their Mandolin FAQ webpage lists serial numbers going all the way back to 1999 for their A-style model and 2002 for their F-style model. Note the listed numbers are either prefixed by ‘A’ or ‘F’ to distinguish identical values although such prefix is omitted in the written number found on the sticker inside the body. Collings offers their mandolins and mandolas effectively in 2 versions. The A-style MT2, A-style MT2 Mandola, and F-style MF5 are the most luxurious with a double bound body consisting of a Red spruce top, highly figured back and sides, and gloss nitrocellulose finish although they are frequently seen with further optional adornments. The MT, MT Mandola, and MF on the other hand are a little less ornate with a satin nitrocellulose finish and only top binding. This Honey Amber MT is a bit in between. Its premium carved Engelmann spruce top has the optional gloss finish. This top has tone bars bracing, 2 f-holes, and tortoise binding. The maple back and sides are not too extreme figured and have a satin finish. The ebony bridge has 2 adjustable posts for height adjustment and of course can be shifted forward or backwards to set the proper intonation. The ebony floating pickguard is another added option giving this particular mandolin something extra. The flame maple neck has a wonderful rounded-V profile and an ebony fingerboard with a 5½”-11⅝” compound radius, Mother-of-Pearl (MOP) position markers, and a 1⅛” nut. The headstock on the A-style mandolins/mandolas have the unique Collings “Haircut” shape, found on many of their other instruments, instead of the scroll shape found on the MF mandolins. This one has nickel Gotoh tuning machines with black buttons, an ebony veneer with inlaid MOP Collings logo, and a matte black paint finish on the back. The deluxe OHSC is made by TKL. As of 2021, mandolins are still in regular production and more info on the MT can be found on their website:


Collings MT

The story behind this mandolin


Serial number:


This is my second mandolin, after my Tacoma M3ESB. Although the M3ESB is their interpretation of an F-style mandolin, it should be noted it is a flat top, i.e. the top and back are not carved. That instruments sounds great but I was always curious how different a “real” mandolin would sound. Any Collings mandolin is expensive, let alone their F-style mandolin even when looking at an MF. But this A-style came along for a more than reasonable price. Yes, there is a hairline crack in the top running from the bottom of the treble f-hole towards the tail. But it has been stabilized and is just fine. And now I know what a carved body does. The sound is loud, complex, and rich especially when compared to the M3ESB. Although I had expected it a bit, I was still very surprised by the extend of it. However, the biggest challenge with either mandolin is the size of my hands and fingers. The fretboard quickly feels crowded so it takes practice to not overshoot frets. We’ll work on it.