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Best Collings guitar for recording
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AB3
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#1
20th December 2012
Old 20th December 2012
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Best Collings guitar for recording

Ok - I played a D1A and loved it. But then I found a year old CJ with rosewood - and it was killer. The CJ is definitely richer - but not boomy.
For strumming and flat pick use.

What a problem. I cannot afford both. Any Collings users out there and recording experiences. I know there are other great guitar makers, but for purposes of this thread - let's just talk about Collings please.
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20th December 2012
Old 20th December 2012
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I've recorded some Collings that were quite nice, and others that were so boomy you couldn't figure out where to put the mic. Mahogany is never a bad choice for a dreadnought. Rosewood generally has more bass, but sometimes it calls for a lot of hi pass filtering.
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20th December 2012
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I have a D2H that rules my studio for solo stuff over an amazing humming bird and a beautiful rare D28. I did a massive shootout and ended up with this D2H... I'm sure I have samples somewhere...
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20th December 2012
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This is my dilemma. I really enjoyed playing the CJ with Rosewood which definely had more bass and rings more FWIW. The D1a with less bass and less of a ring - may actually be the better recording guitar.

But it does seem that the CJ with rosewood at least the one I tried - was less boomy than most Martin D28s I ever tried. I need to double check, it may not be Indian Rosewood, but may be Madagascar Rosewood - and perhaps that made some difference.

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Originally Posted by BluegrassDan View Post
I've recorded some Collings that were quite nice, and others that were so boomy you couldn't figure out where to put the mic. Mahogany is never a bad choice for a dreadnought. Rosewood generally has more bass, but sometimes it calls for a lot of hi pass filtering.
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20th December 2012
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OMs are typically better for recording. If you want to stick with a dread, a D2H is Collings' best choice, imo. I have one that's about 10 years old (as well as several other Collings) and something happened to it at about 7 years of age. It transformed into a beast, not that it wasn't great before, but now it's intensely good in front of a mic (preferably a SDC -- LDCs can be boomy with any dread) . So don't be afraid of a used guitar that's already opened up. The Collings Forum usually has a few of each type. Collings Guitar Forum
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20th December 2012
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I love my OM2H. I have had it for about 15 years now and it just gets better. Rosewood back and sides with Sitka spruce top and it records beautifully. Nothing wrong with the larger body models, I just prefer a smaller body instrument for comfort and even response.
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20th December 2012
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How safe is it to buy a used one from another City? I suppose a return policy helps. Otherwise, seems risky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
OMs are typically better for recording. If you want to stick with a dread, a D2H is Collings' best choice, imo. I have one that's about 10 years old (as well as several other Collings) and something happened to it at about 7 years of age. It transformed into a beast, not that it wasn't great before, but now it's intensely good in front of a mic (preferably a SDC -- LDCs can be boomy with any dread) . So don't be afraid of a used guitar that's already opened up. The Collings Forum usually has a few of each type. Collings Guitar Forum
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20th December 2012
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I am wondering if the CJ I checked out was sort of an exception - where it seemed really balanced and not boomy on the bass. OR is it one of those situations where it is great in the store, but once in front of the mic(s) - I would wish I had the D1a. I must say that I like the "steel" sound of the CJ - sounded like an old Martin which had opened up - but yet does not have the issues of an old guitar.

I can see why people have a hard time just having one or two guitars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonedimension View Post
I love my OM2H. I have had it for about 15 years now and it just gets better. Rosewood back and sides with Sitka spruce top and it records beautifully. Nothing wrong with the larger body models, I just prefer a smaller body instrument for comfort and even response.
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20th December 2012
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We have an OM here and it is an absolutely KILLER recording guitar - articulate, balanced, everything you'd want in an acoustic in almost every recording situation that's come up - the only time it didn't win out above multiple other great acoustics was when the song called for a completely different take - like a vintage archtop or the like. I think every guitar player that has picked it up has pretty much fallen in love immediately.

Ours came from Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto CA - I'd absolutely trust buying a guitar from them long-distance, as they know intimately every guitar they have in their shop - but I'm actually not sure they would recommend that - IIRC they seem be very interested in matching the guitar to the player, and so want to get to know you while they bring guitars into the room for you to audition... it's really a very cool process going to that store to find the right guitar!

Anyways, I just don't believe you can go wrong with an Collings OM!
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20th December 2012
Old 20th December 2012
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I had several acoustics during past 15 years: from Lowden Braz/cedar 25th Annyversary,Santa Cruz OM, Merril,Yamaha Dread, etc to Collings OM 2German/Cutaway and D2H Adirondack.

The best for me is... Collings D2H Adirondack. I like it the most for all duties.
Depending on the song, I change the strings etc, but it's always articulate,clear, wonderfull and sounds great recorded. I also use Lowden O32 12 string and Godin Custom for electro/acoustic work (Rswd/Cedar).

All in all Collings is fantastic. If I ever change it, it will be (I hope )for D2H Braz/Adirondack-the only one that I consider better than this one that I have...
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20th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
How safe is it to buy a used one from another City? I suppose a return policy helps. Otherwise, seems risky.
It depends on the seller of course, but that's one of the most trustworthy forum's on the net. I'm the moderator of the forum and have been hanging around there for over a decade -- personally, I'd be comfortable buying from nearly anyone there. A return policy would be necessary but most people offer that. Most also offer a short trial period. It's a good way to save a lot of money on guitars that are usually babied by their owners.
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20th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
I can see why people have a hard time just having one or two guitars.
That's true, so be careful. This is the brand that got it started for me. Prior to having a Collings, I had only one guitar for many years. Now I have guitar storage "room."
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20th December 2012
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I have just the basic OM-1, and it's hard to make a bad recording with it. Easier to record than a great sounding older Martin D-28 I have, and just a little bit louder, too.
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21st December 2012
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A Santa Cruz...
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21st December 2012
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21st December 2012
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OMs are great, but so are the 00/000 family. Unless you are recording bluegrass or a solo singer-songwriter type artist, I´d go with the smaller guitars. The big low end of Ds are mostly unusable within the larger context of a group of instruments anyway, and I find the upper mids and especially the high end much more rich and "lively" on smaller guitars. Just one mans opinion.

Btw, I have a Collings 0003H that has pretty much cured my lust for other guitars.
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21st December 2012
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21st December 2012
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Santa Cruz makes nice guitars. Voiced differently than Collings.
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21st December 2012
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Thanks JohnKenn and Elambo. I loved the treble strings on Collings CJ/Rosewood and I loved the bass strings on the Collings D1A. I guess I am looking for a guitar that is just a little sweeter on the high end of the D1A, while not having that super clarity on the bass that the D1A has. Of course, this is is a new D1A that I heard, and in time, that high end would probably sweeten up.

Best,
AB

Quote:
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Santa Cruz makes nice guitars. Voiced differently than Collings.
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21st December 2012
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D2H's are pretty popular among bluegrass players in Nashville. I find they always record well.
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22nd December 2012
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Collings 002-HK is Best for Recording, IMO.

Aloha Friends,

Here's the Collings model I "wood" choose first for recording acoustic guitar.

Dream Guitars- Fine Handcrafted Instruments, Vintage Guitars, Classical Guitars, Electric Guitars, Mandolins in Asheville, North Carolina

A small bodied, Dense Spruce & Koa guitar is perfect for recording guitar - especially for solo fingerstyle - because it produces amazingly clear & rich results. Laurence Juber is currently using a custom Adirondack/Koa OM Martin made for him & touts its recording qualities.

It doesn't have the boominess of larger, deeper instruments nor the overly complex overtones of a rosewood guitar to overcome.

I made three German spruce/ Very Dense Hawaiian Koa guitars specifically for solo recording. I use them over all the other wood combo's I have with the best results.

I know that not many Mainland players or solo luthiers have heard or even made MANY guitars made from dense Koa backs. But they really shine for recording. Collings understands Koa better than most Mainland luthiers (so does Richard Hoover over at Santa Cruz). I don't think that Martin has ever mastered Koa for production model w/ consistent results.

That OO-HK Koa is the Collings model I'd choose for recording acoustic guitar.

alohachris
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22nd December 2012
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Is there a guitarslutz website somewhere? This is a serious disorder. So many great choices.

Yes - the Koa sounds great.

I played a Santa Cruz today, because i needed to hear a Santa Cruz. This was a D/PW - sitka - India Rosewood - expected it to be a little boomy or have some need for clarity - not so - it was crystal clear. Some secret sauce going on over there. (And now I violated my own initial post, by talking about a non-Collings guitar.
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22nd December 2012
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Mahagony OM's, at least a few years old... handsdown... based on experience
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22nd December 2012
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OM2H with Brazilian Rosewood VS D2H with I'm too lazy to go to the live room to check.

Both same day, new same strings, 24/88.2 with a pair of 4011s

OM-2H

D2H
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23rd December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by analogjeff View Post
Mahagony OM's, at least a few years old... handsdown... based on experience
yep. mahog collings OM.

pick a mic.

put it in front of the guitar.

play the guitar.

amazing.

Every single person that does it says the same thing.

Last edited by jono; 23rd December 2012 at 02:27 AM.. Reason: poor handwriting
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23rd December 2012
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Tone is a very subjective thing...I've sat around multiple times at Artisan, playing different Collings and Santa Cruz'. I would pick a Santa Cruz 8 times out of 10...
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23rd December 2012
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Great that you have that experience. Based on your recordings, you have very good taste IMHO. Would you prefer adi bracing and hot glue on the Santa Cruz versus having an ADI top? I tried the Collings D1A locally, which has a beautiful ADI top, but I am not that crazy about the tone on the high E,B,G strings (and in fairness in several years it could be better - though ADI tops are suppose to take longer to open up. And by the way, the bear claw tops are suppose to take a little longer to open up as well.)

THANKS,
AB
P.S. CLIP ADDED 44.1 16 bit --Santa Cruz D/pw rosewood - DPA 4015a mics (about 1/2 foot from bridge and 12th fret) Not a good comparison with other clip in the thread as mics are probably in different positions and overall volume of clip is different!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
Tone is a very subjective thing...I've sat around multiple times at Artisan, playing different Collings and Santa Cruz'. I would pick a Santa Cruz 8 times out of 10...
Attached Files
File Type: wav sc rw 44 16.wav (6.07 MB, 56 views)
#28
24th December 2012
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Santa Cruz guitars tend to sound a bit ordinary behind a mic and that clip is no exception. (No offense to whoever owns the guitar)

Adi tops will take 5-7 years to break out and will continue to get better from there. Consider a used D1 or D2H that's already broken in. Or give Kim Sherman a call at Cotten and describe what you want -- she'll nail it.
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24th December 2012
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You have a point with that guitar. It sounds much better in person than in the recording. At least it was not as boomy as I expected from East Indian Rosewood back and sides. I do want to make sure that the "ordinary" character is not the result of how it is recorded.

Thanks for your advice, "elambo."

Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
Santa Cruz guitars tend to sound a bit ordinary behind a mic and that clip is no exception. (No offense to whoever owns the guitar)

Adi tops will take 5-7 years to break out and will continue to get better from there. Consider a used D1 or D2H that's already broken in. Or give Kim Sherman a call at Cotten and describe what you want -- she'll nail it.
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24th December 2012
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It might be the guitar, it might be the recording, it might just be Santa Cruz. That's certainly not the first time I've heard a recording of a SC and thought it sounded no better than good.

I've played many SCs in person and I agree they're much better that way. Not my preference, not over Collings, but nice guitars without question.
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