This guitar is all the gym your fingers will ever need. It’s designed for the bold, perpetual-students among us and it will guide you like a wise, yet exacting teacher. Conceived by the fertile minds of the late Bill Collings and the ever-blossoming Jazz guitarist, Julian Lage, this guitar is a saw-mill of tone. You better mind your fingers. One improperly flexed digit may cost you dearly.
It breathes a dry, warm fundamental that dangles it’s overtones out in front of you like so many delicious carrots. You’re going to have to work for your reward, but it will never sound sweeter. Over time, you may find that it’s smooth highs give you ample room to hone your attack and that the warm, steady bass always sustains just long enough for you to fit in that extra flourish. Like all good teachers, it wants you to succeed, but isn’t interested in making it easy.
It’s a handsome, simplistic, deeply dignified instrument. The golden-hued, straight-grained Adirondack spruce top has more headroom than a cathedral. The back, neck, and sides are hewn from the finest Honduran mahogany. The relic tuners look like they were pried off the hull of an old submarine in the best possible way. The Collings script is especially unique. It harkens back to Bill Collings earliest days making instruments. The neck profile even captures the hand-worn asymmetry of Lage’s esteemed 1939 Martin 000-18. It feels new, yet familiar. Like meeting someone for the first time and being flooded with deja vu.
Every detail conspires to ensure that no drop of tone is lost, from the animal hide glue to the custom satin nitrocellulose lacquer. The “tongue-brace” is also eschewed on this model. Only the raw materials of six-string magic are included.
This guitar’s versatility is contingent upon the dedication of the player. It moves air brilliantly, but needs direction. I could see it in the hands of a Jazz player, a singer-songwriter, a fingerpicker, or a minimalist composer; someone with vision and ability. Curiosity is also necessary, because despite it’s understated appearance, this guitar offers endless landscapes to explore. There’s something profound in that contrast.
In the popular “desert island” scenario, you’d be hard pressed to find a better instrument than this. It is bright, clear, woody, and honest in the way a guitar should be. It won’t lie to you and it won’t leave you hanging. It purrs when you thump chords and articulates single note lines perfectly. It’s incredibly balanced and consistent. In fact, with a guitar like this a desert island might not be so bad! Plenty of time to practice.
I love the idea of Julian and Bill working together to create this masterpiece. True wood whisperers. I say with the greatest reverence towards Bill’s memory that he truly mastered nuance with this one. It feels like an old friend.
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