My guitar collection - Acoustics


This Collings tenor ukulele, i.e. a uke with a 17” scale, is adorned with the simplest appointments as indicated by the ‘1‘ in the model designation. But even then, look at it! The body is made of highly figured koa (‘K‘) in a satin nitrocellulose lacquer finish with a gorgeous rosette made out of tortoise and black and white purfling, an East-Indian rosewood bridge with bone saddle using a 1¹¹⁄₁₆” string spacing, and a K&K Twin Spot two-head piezo transducer already installed. The mahogany neck has a C-shaped profile, 12” radiused East-Indian rosewood fingerboard with ivoroid dot position markers, and 1⅜” wide bone nut. The so-called “Single-Point” headstock has an East-Indian rosewood veneer with the Collings logo and Pegheds planetary gear tuning machines. This ukulele was built well before Bill started to build his own cases so it has the Ameritage case with tan interior. Collings started offering ukuleles in 2009 but full production stopped in mid-2016. Although Collings has done small batches of ukuleles even after Bill’s passing, like a number of UC1K and UT1K ukuleles at the end of 2019, normally one can only custom order an ukulele through an authorized dealer. A 2011 snapshot of the relevant page on the old Collings website can be found here.


Collings UT1K

The story behind this ukulele


Serial number:


Of the 3 ukuleles in this site, this is my first. Collings was not the only brand under consideration. Many great, more mainstream manufacturers, in particular Kamaka and Kanile’a, still reside in Hawai’i. Or pick any of the custom builders producing ukuleles originating directly from the islands. A brand like Mya-Moe here in Washington state has been made famous by Eddie Vedder, singer of the Seattle grunge band Pearl Jam. But it has always been a desire to minimize the number of brands in this collection, hence I settled on a Collings ukulele. And why not? They are high quality builds, made in small batches, by absolute craftsmen and craftswomen. It just needed to check a couple of boxes: a tenor ukulele, in anticipation that it would fit my personality better, with a koa body purely for sentimental reasons. After all, according to the Wikipedia ukulele article, a tenor covers the same octaves, and more, compared to a sopranino, soprano, and/or concert ukulele. Adhering to these “restrictions”, it then just comes down to appearance, ranging from an all decked out UT3K to the relatively austere UT1K. And the latter it became when Artisan Guitars in Nashville, TN presented this uke on their site. In person, it is a gorgeous instrument with a corresponding rich, warm sound. A nice bonus is that the model sticker visible through the sound hole has been signed by Bill himself. Consulting the Ukulele FAQ webpage, this sticker should have had a handwritten serial number too. But as the pictures below demonstrate, the serial number on the neck block indicates the build fir this UT1K started in early-2011. And yes, a tenor is the right choice for my big hands. I already have had hours of fun learning to play it.

The story behind this guitar



Savarez Ukulele Tenor 150R