My guitar collection - Acoustics


The great late Bill Collings was not just one of the greatest small scale acoustic guitar builders. He and his company are also responsible for highly regarded mandolins. Or at the end of his life, guitar cases for that matter. Whatever Bill’s endeavor may have been, it needed to be done in the best possible way within certain operation parameters, e.g. cost/value. In 2009, he decided to dip into the ukulele (properly pronounced as OO-koo-leh-lay) market and his shop in Austin, TX built 70 prototypes of which this is one. This run consisted entirely of concert ukuleles, with a 15” scale length the smallest they produce, with 17” scale length tenor ukuleles added shortly thereafter. This prototype is a more understated style 1 and has an all Honduran mahogany construction with a satin nitrocellulose lacquer finish. The rosette is tortoise with black and white purfling and it uses an East-Indian rosewood bridge with bone saddle using a 1.73” string spacing, a neck with C-shaped profile and the finish already buffed to a gloss due to all the playing, a 12” radiused East-Indian rosewood fingerboard with 18 frets and ivoroid dot position markers, 1⅜” wide bone nut, “Single-Point” headstock with gold Collings logo on an East-Indian rosewood veneer, Pegheds planetary gear tuning machines, and a Collings case. A 2016 snapshot of the relevant page on the old Collings website can be found here.


Collings UC1 prototype

The story behind this ukulele


Serial number:


The ukuleles on this site are listed in the reverse order in which they were purchased. Ever since the UT1K proved how much fun ukuleles are, the though existed of adding either another tenor with a low G-string and/or a concert ukulele in mahogany. It just so happened the UT1 was added at the beginning of February 2021 and this UC1 at the end of the same month. There were a couple of other mahogany concert ukuleles listed, one even a prototype signed by ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro on potentially the only “Haircut” headstock on any ukulele. But Glenn Weatherley listed this prototype at a much better and reasonable price point on Reverb. And it is even one of the first 50 ever built! Beyond the type of ukulele, one notices a couple other differences with my tenor ukuleles. First, the Collings Ukulele FAQ webpage only mentions a handwritten serial number on the sticker, as is indeed the case here. However, for ukuleles built later, the serial number appears on the neck block and hence the FAQ page is incomplete. And second, its case has a different interior and is not made by Ameritage nor does it have the special rounded-corner rectangular ukulele plate but rather a miniature version of the oval Collings plate found on other instrument cases. What should also be mentioned is that although this ukulele does not have binding on the top nor back, the edge coloring of the mahogany is such that it appears to have black binding, something which became apparent only upon close inspection. Very cool. Prior to April 2013, Aquila Nylgut Soprano(!) strings were factory installed and the referenced Savarez string after that date. The tuning of a concert ukulele is identical to a tenor. However, the strings on a concert have a larger gauge and are under slightly more tension, even though the scale length is 2” shorter. This gives the concert a feel entirely its own with a rich sound. Since the experiment was so successful, in retrospect it is no wonder Collings kept building ukuleles.

The story behind this guitar


P-49 (prototype)

Savarez Soprano/Concert Tenor 140R