Is Collings changing after Bill?

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elambo
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Is Collings changing after Bill?

Post: # 613Post elambo
Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:18 am

The story is very common. Apple's is one of the most well-known, where the original visionary spent his life building an immensely positive and trustworthy brand, only to find that the next CEO cashed in on that brand power after his death. It has happened with many companies, and quite a few in the music business (I'm witnessing Moog and the loudspeaker company Thiel go through this very thing in this decade). There were many discussions about the next stage of Collings since we first heard about Bill's sickness, and the near-unanimous feeling was that his legacy would continue untarnished and (relatively) untouched.

Not until today did I even question this. It was a mention of the recent price increases and lack of innovations at last weekend's NAMM show that put the thought in my head that maybe things are changing. Admittedly, I know less than some of you about the new innerworkings down in Austin, and those guys are amazing and ambitious and dedicated and responsible, so I'm not looking to knock them or point fingers, but I am curious to know if anyone else has a similar fear that Collings might be making some changes with regard to their business model. Changes that will feel less like Bill's "Collings Guitars" -- more polished and popular and aimed at using the existing equity of the Collings name.

Another person mentioned that they're not sure who the typical Collings customer is with these new prices and I understand that thought. They begins to flirt heavily with a higher degree of handbuilt boutique guitars than they did before. If I were to start over again today I wouldn't have been able to obtain as many Collings-branded guitars as I did the first time around and I'm not alone.

It's just something to think about.

pto
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Re: Is Collings changing after Bill?

Post: # 614Post pto
Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:28 am

i do know that, even before Bill passed (and i THINK even before diagnosed - i can't remember now), that feelers were out for additional "sources," as the next step. that's all well and good. the only worry i ever had was how much control any additional "source" may demand, and how much profit drive would compromise standards. so, it's a fair question. i asked a similar question of a collings dealer and the response was that at the memorial, everyone was down down down. (as you can imagine). but that now they are on the path again. the work continues to be flawless. i have purchased a mando and a 00 since the passing. as flawless and wonderful to play as ever.

markT
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Location: Upstate South Carolina

Re: Is Collings changing after Bill?

Post: # 617Post markT
Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:09 am

I think when a powerful visionary like Bill, who founded the company is no longer with us, change is inevitable. However, I think he left his company in very capable hands with a definitive plan going forward.
I was disappointed to hear the negative tone in the other NAMM thread. I think the company as a whole is carrying on remarkably well. And that's the way Bill intended. Since Bill's passing they have introduced the I30LC, several revisions of the 360, a traditional style mandolin, reintroduced the C100, expanded the Traditional line, expanded the Collings cases, introduced the new Waterloo arch top & flat top mandolins...and probably more forgetting. And these I'm guessing Bill had talked about or plans for.
Going forward I'm sure we'll see changes. Gibson, Fender, Martin, Ford and others carried on after their founders left us. Changes yes. All good, no. But they've survived.
Will be interesting to see how Collings carries on the rest of my lifetime. I'll be willing to bet they'll be here after we're all dust.

It's only been a year and a half. Give "our" brand a chance.

Long live Bill Collings and "his" brand.

The man is gone but his legacy lives on.

Eric Jones
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Re: Is Collings changing after Bill?

Post: # 619Post Eric Jones
Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:41 pm

I think this is a false alarm. The sky is not falling over Austin. I was hoping to see an expansion in the Traditional line announced at NAMM. It didn’t happen. My expectation was not met. But that’s all it was - my expectation. They don’t work to my expectations and obviously haven’t had sufficient time to perfect the next Traditional offering. There was however the introduction of the AT-00 and the new Waterloo archtop and mandolin. So there has been innovation at the Collings shop over the past year. And the year before that...

Some years there have been price increases and other years there haven’t been. An occasional 3-5% increase isn’t fun to think about, but it doesn’t seem out of place. I think back in 1998 a D2H was around $2500. But that’s been 20 years ago now. Here’s an exercise...go to Reverb.com and list all the new acoustic guitars (~28,000) and sort them by price, high to low. Start scrolling down through them page by page and notice when the Collings start to show up and what company they’re in. I don’t think the pricing is out of line. More than I want to pay, but not out of line. However, it’s obvious that Collings should start inlaying some dragons on their guitars to capture some of that market share.

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elambo
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Re: Is Collings changing after Bill?

Post: # 620Post elambo
Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:25 pm

I also hope it's just a false alarm.
pto wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:28 am
i do know that, even before Bill passed (and i THINK even before diagnosed - i can't remember now), that feelers were out for additional "sources," as the next step.
Did they happen to bring in a 3rd party for support? Or did they put that idea to bed?

pto
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Re: Is Collings changing after Bill?

Post: # 624Post pto
Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:14 am

i don't know. steve called me once, when they were looking at ways for some sort of outside participation. i suspect nothing happened, or we would have heard something. it WAS before Bill's diagnosis was common knowledge, at least to me and on this board.

pto
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Re: Is Collings changing after Bill?

Post: # 625Post pto
Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:23 am

agree about the turn the thread i started on NAMM turning negative. wasn't the plan. :( i agree with the folks in this thread that are 100%-positive about the future, most recently Eric Jones. well-supported.

the Collings four namm-announcement emails were just underwhelming (to me) based on past years AND, as Eric prodded, my expectations:) i DID love the spruce-top electric, the BeesWing 01-t and the cocobolo 01 12 string.:)

godfreydaniel
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Re: Is Collings changing after Bill?

Post: # 626Post godfreydaniel
Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:33 am

I don’t see a problem in their innovation. I do hope they continue to expand the traditional line.

Regarding price increases, I’d already noticed SCGC and Bourgeois prices had jumped quite a bit over the past year or so. (I am less likely to buy at these higher prices.)

I think the biggest challenge will be overall demand for high-end instruments going forward. It seems to me there’s been a drop off in new items listed at many of the shops I keep an eye on here in the US. I also check Bourgeois’ “recently shipped” list, and have noticed more instruments shipped to Europe and Asia over the past couple of years.

Silly Moustache
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Re: Is Collings changing after Bill?

Post: # 630Post Silly Moustache
Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:33 pm

Hi, I'm in the UK, bought my first Collings in '99, and my last (a WL-12) in November '16, making six in all. I have spoken with Mark a number of times and also with Steve.

I had the privilege of meeting with Bill in 2015 during his brief visit to the UK. I found him communicative, interesting and enthusiastic.

Forgive my ignorance but does Collings have a new CEO, chairman etc?

btw - I looked at the Collings wiki entry .. really could do with an update.

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elambo
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Re: Is Collings changing after Bill?

Post: # 646Post elambo
Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:14 pm

Oddly enough, I don't remember hearing specifically about Bill's successor. I assumed it was Steve but with talk about them looking to 3rd parties for support perhaps someone else is involved.

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