Collings Playability

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Haasome
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Collings Playability

Post: # 1267Post Haasome
Fri May 24, 2019 10:58 pm

There is a thread on AGF about — do you find Collings Guitars to be overly tight? This seems to be a recurring comment among some players. It strikes me oddly because I’ve always found Collings guitars to feel more comfortable and easier to play than any brand I’ve played. Sure new guitars can feel a bit stiff until they get played in, but I certainly don’t find Collings any different in that regard. And I think the necks are terrific. Then I wondered — am I an oddball? What has your experience been regarding playability?
Paul

kh1967
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Re: Collings Playability

Post: # 1268Post kh1967
Sat May 25, 2019 12:37 am

Hi Paul,

I am with you....I don't find Collings any more difficult to play than any other (insert brand/builder). A new Collings may be like any other new guitar...it could use a little play time, and likely a setup to the player's preference. Other than that...I find them just as easy to play as any.

Hokiebob
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Location: Mint Hill, NC

Re: Collings Playability

Post: # 1270Post Hokiebob
Sat May 25, 2019 2:28 am

I find my Collings very playable. Any player that has picked it up has agreed.

I agree about having it set up properly to suit the players needs/wants. In fact, as I said in another thread mine went into the shop today for a tuneup.

I think threads like the one on AGF are often populated by folks with little experience with Collings. They have a bias toward their favorite maker and think making another brand look bad is the way to make their favorite look better.

I think their criticism says more about the poster than it does about the guitars they criticize.

Just my 2 cents.

godfreydaniel
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Re: Collings Playability

Post: # 1271Post godfreydaniel
Sat May 25, 2019 4:55 pm

That’s a silly zombie thread on the AGF that was resurrected the other day. I think it’s from 2008. It’s totally ridiculous.

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elambo
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Re: Collings Playability

Post: # 1272Post elambo
Sat May 25, 2019 7:06 pm

Odd. Not that the brand needs defending, but the most ergonomic guitar I've ever played is my original D2H. It takes very little effort to get around that fretboard, with low action but no buzz. Nearly every Collings I've had has been amongst the easiest to play.

However, "tight" is a word I think of in terms of sound, not playability, which might explain why I can't understand how it applies. I haven't read the AGF thread but will check it out.

Buck
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Re: Collings Playability

Post: # 1275Post Buck
Sat May 25, 2019 11:02 pm

In my mind, "playability" vs. "playing stiff" are two different things. Some people have even developed a preference for one over the other. While many things affect the feel (soft vs. stiff) I think saddle height may be one thing driving the perception that Collings guitars play stiff. All things equal, including 12th fret action, a guitar with a taller saddle and corresponding torque on the top will tend to feel stiffer, less responsive, than a guitar with the same 12th fret action. The low saddle saddle guitar will tend to feel a little more bouncy or responsive (in feel as much as tone) than the tall saddle guitar. I've observed that Collings guitars tend to have higher saddles than some other brands. Not in every case, but I have noticed.

Fret height is another factor. Until about 2012 Martin used 80x37 frets, where Collings used 80x43. If someone plays with a heavy grip on the left hand, a guitar with tall frets will feel stiffer. Their fingers don't stop until the tips hit the fretboard.

As I said, there may be other factors and what I posted above is something of an oversimplification. However, I don't think everyone who claims Collings guitars tend to play a little stiff are making it up. There's always a certain amount of regurgitating something an "expert" once said, but I think there's more to it. I'm not willing to dismiss it as a complete fabrication. In my hands the difference, if any, is not so consequential that I find it an issue one way or the other.

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Haasome
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Location: Massachusetts

Re: Collings Playability

Post: # 1276Post Haasome
Sat May 25, 2019 11:28 pm

Buck wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 11:02 pm
In my mind, "playability" vs. "playing stiff" are two different things. Some people have even developed a preference for one over the other. While many things affect the feel (soft vs. stiff) I think saddle height may be one thing driving the perception that Collings guitars play stiff. All things equal, including 12th fret action, a guitar with a taller saddle and corresponding torque on the top will tend to feel stiffer, less responsive, than a guitar with the same 12th fret action. The low saddle saddle guitar will tend to feel a little more bouncy or responsive (in feel as much as tone) than the tall saddle guitar. I've observed that Collings guitars tend to have higher saddles than some other brands. Not in every case, but I have noticed.

Fret height is another factor. Until about 2012 Martin used 80x37 frets, where Collings used 80x43. If someone plays with a heavy grip on the left hand, a guitar with tall frets will feel stiffer. Their fingers don't stop until the tips hit the fretboard.

As I said, there may be other factors and what I posted above is something of an oversimplification. However, I don't think everyone who claims Collings guitars tend to play a little stiff are making it up. There's always a certain amount of regurgitating something an "expert" once said, but I think there's more to it. I'm not willing to dismiss it as a complete fabrication. In my hands the difference, if any, is not so consequential that I find it an issue one way or the other.
I agree with all your comments Todd and have wondered specifically about the bold-faced comment on fret height and those using an iron grip, but wasn’t familiar with stock fret wire geometry. Your observation could explain it. Wouldn’t a good setup control the influence of the saddle? Regarding the AGF comments - https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/for ... 522&page=3 - they are far and few between and typically come from the same people. Since my experience has been opposite, I was trying to get a sense of what others think. I really don’t have a problem with very many guitars
Paul

Frank Sanns
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Re: Collings Playability

Post: # 1277Post Frank Sanns
Sun May 26, 2019 12:58 am

One needs to travel no farther than to compare a standard model Collings to a traditional model Collings. They are as similar with frets, saddles, etc. as any two different guitars could have. Put a standard D1A in the hands of somebody then a D1AT. It would seem by the trends in purchases that that the traditional model is the easier model to play. Quoting others: "it sounds and plays more played in and less stiff".

The lower two or three strings on the traditional models indeed give more bass and full sound compared to a standard Collings. You can dig in all you want with a new standard Collings and never get what a traditional will offer right out of the box.

Having to work for the bass gives the impression of an overly stiff guitar. This is even more evident with an Adirondack top.

I will not start a, which is better comment about this but rather say to each their own. Some people love the conventional Collings while others love the traditional.

godfreydaniel
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Re: Collings Playability

Post: # 1278Post godfreydaniel
Sun May 26, 2019 1:55 am

The person who resurrected the thread on the AGF (Post #25 in that thread) said he’s had the guitar for almost a year, and he’s had it set up three times since he’s had it (he doesn’t say whether the same tech did all three). He’s changed string gauges from 12s, to 11s, to 10s. He said it’s playable with the 10s, but that’s brought out some other issues (I’m not surprised). He describes the neck shape as a chunky C-shape. Maybe Buck’s right in that he may play with a very firm grip, and the higher frets aren’t to his liking.

So maybe his guitar tech(s?) isn’t very good, since they can’t make the guitar comfortable for him, or at least point out reasons why it might not be the best guitar for him. Maybe he plays with a death-grip. Maybe he’d be happier with a slimmer neck, or a short-scale guitar. I don’t think it really has to do with Collings in general.

Buck
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Re: Collings Playability

Post: # 1279Post Buck
Sun May 26, 2019 2:43 am

Haasome wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 11:28 pm
I agree with all your comments Todd and have wondered specifically about the bold-faced comment on fret height and those using an iron grip, but wasn’t familiar with stock fret wire geometry. Your observation could explain it. Wouldn’t a good setup control the influence of the saddle? Regarding the AGF comments - https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/for ... 522&page=3 - they are far and few between and typically come from the same people. Since my experience has been opposite, I was trying to get a sense of what others think. I really don’t have a problem with very many guitars
A setup would not necessarily help. If the neck angle is such that the 12th fret action is what the player wants, and the saddle is high, then there you are. It's abnormal, and not simple, to correct and over set so that the final saddle height can be lowered. Normally a neck reset is hoping to achieve the opposite - higher saddle with desired action height. My point was if that Collings is generally shooting for a higher saddle height at the beginning, then maybe people who are sensitive to the way that affects the feel notice it, while it goes unnoticed by most.

Again, just a few ideas about things that could create the "stiff playing" guitar. Not saying any of those are the actual answer(s).

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