A new OM for my wife

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Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:12 pm
Real Name: Bruce Kaplan

A new OM for my wife

Post: # 2602Post BruceKap
Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:28 pm

Though I'm a long time Collings fan (I have visited the factory and met Bill, and played a MT for ten plus years), I am new to the forum.

My wife has a fine sounding 2004 OM1A. But after a thousand or so gigs, her guitar is showing its age with nicks, scratches, play wear (complete with the way too ubiquitous center seam split) and I was thinking of buying her a new guitar. I have to say, she, and I love the sound of the OM1 with Adirondack top. But since we have last had the opportunity too play a bunch of Collings all in one room, Collings has introduced the T series, and also the baked tops, German Spruce and a few other variations - JL, etc. So I'm interested in what people have to say about these additions to the line as I consider whether to consider something other than another 0M1A. (She's not a large person, so she won't appreciate a dreadnought - and I have yet to hear a C10 that sounds as good as her OM1A, though I love the look.)

I will add the fact that she plays in open D a lot and curses her guitars (she also favors a nice Larrivee OM in maple) for intonation problems - she's got a good ear, and it tortures her sometimes. I think intonation issues are part of being a guitar player - no guitar tunes perfectly in all keys. She tends to play with her fingers more than a pick, and she plays a lot of different styles, so versatility is important. (check her out at www.claudiarussell.com).

(Me, I mostly play mandolin and a Stratocaster and I'm happy playing my Waterloo 14XTR, when I play acoustic.)

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Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:21 pm

Re: A new OM for my wife

Post: # 2608Post shotzy
Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:55 pm

Those are some great sounding recordings on her website! :)

I would definitely check out the Traditional series OM's, including the JL. I had owned a standard OM1A for 2 years, which I traded in for an OM1A Traditional about a year ago.

The standard OM1A was a fantastic guitar, although I sometimes wished it had more bass and wider string spacing for fingerstyle. When I had the chance to A/B against an OM1A Traditional, I found that it really hit the sweet spot for me, and I took it home the next day!

Here are the main differences you can expect in the Traditional vis-a-vis the Standard OM1A:
- thicker neck carve: feels perfect in my large-ish hands, but definitely try before you buy since neck shape is very personal. the JL is also available in a thinner profile if that's more to your wife's liking
- noticeably fuller bass and low-mids
- slightly looser, lighter and more responsive feel thanks to lighter build, forward bracing and thinner finish
- slightly warmer and dryer tone, but still with a satisfying level of top-end shimmer
- cut-through long saddle: this can be a pain in the arse to adjust, but not a deal breaker (the JL has normal drop-in saddle if that's a consideration)

Hope that helps, and feel free to ping me with any questions!

Greg Y
Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:35 pm

Re: A new OM for my wife

Post: # 2610Post Greg Y
Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:53 pm

Looking for an additional OM is a favourable position to be in. The Om1(a)-JL is a great and somewhat unique sounding guitar. Since you mentioned that she plays with her fingers, an OM1G would be a fine one to play if she can find one to try. A combo of fast response to a light touch and lots of head room. Likewise any OM1T..... and since we're talking individual instruments, don't miss a chance to play sitka topped T... The T series has it going on! Best of luck

Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:22 pm
Location: Mint Hill, NC

Re: A new OM for my wife

Post: # 2611Post Hokiebob
Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:24 am

It seems that your wife and you love her current guitar. I'll be the first to admit that shopping for and buying a new guitar can be an exciting time but
there is something to be said for old familiar things. Heck look at Willie Nelson's guitar sometime.

I wonder if an alternative would be a complete "tune-up" on the guitar she already loves. That seam can be glued then add in a real deep cleaning and a well done setup
and she might appreciate having her old friend back and ready for many more years for music making.

If you don't already have a luthier that you know and trust, folks here on the board, your area Collings dealers or the Collings factory can recommend one.

Just a counter thought.

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Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 6:51 pm
Real Name: Lucian Neal

Re: A new OM for my wife

Post: # 2613Post lneal14513
Fri Jul 03, 2020 10:38 pm

I can speak to a couple of points. All my Collings are dreadnoughts, and in another thread you'll read I'm considering an OM2H deep body with a baked sitka top. I currently have a D3 (EIR and German spruce), a D1 (baked sitka), and a D2H (baked sitka). The German top does have a quicker response that lends itself to fingerstyle, but if you dig in it has a good "thump" for more Travis style picking. As one might expect it is a great flatpicking guitar as well.

I find I prefer the baked Sitka a little more. The upper mids and trebles are a little warmer and more round to my ear, if that makes any sense, with slightly less laser like mids (not a bad thing when using a mic). The bass is prominent but has a bit more warmth as well, without being muddy. I've always been a sucker for a good D18, and I like my D1 more. I think the baked Sitka has a lot to do with that. Prior to those guitars, I was (and still am) an adirondack fan.

I have no experience with the Traditional line, but they are universally praised. One of the few high end guitars I've never read a negative review on. One last thing I'll mention, in my quest for a deep OM, I've talked or exchanged emails with several well known (at least on this forum) Collings dealers. More than one have said if you're playing at home or in intimate settings, go ahead and "spring" for the Traditional upcharge. However if you're a working musician take a long look at the standard line in whatever wood combo you like. My understanding is there's no truss rod in the traditionals and sometimes the long saddle can be a little problematic with undersaddle amplification. (I have no direct experience either way). On the plus side according to tests Frank Ford performed and documented on his website hide glue is more heat resistant before joint failure, so there's that with the traditionals.

I hope you and your wife find what will suit her playing best and she loves the sound of. A good starting point might be an OM1 with a baked sitka top.

Best of luck!

Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:18 pm

Re: A new OM for my wife

Post: # 2614Post JohnB
Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:15 am

Hello Bruce,

First, just a slight correction to leal's post. The Traditionals come with fully adjustable truss rods. I have a D1A Traditional and have auditioned many Ts over the years, finding that I sometimes prefer them to the standard Collings, sometimes prefer the standard.

I have a nine year old OM2G and a seven year old OM1A. I think the generalizations in comparing the standards and the Traditionals fade significantly when you compare the Ts with older Collings OMs. New Ts are not rounder or have more bass presence than my older OMs, though in the store in comparison with new OMs that can sometimes indeed be the case. I have no idea what will happen to the sound of the Ts over time, but I expect they will get even better. But they do sound different than older OMs, with a more direct sound. The older ones have more overtones--which is either a virtue or a liability depending on your style and taste. I hope this is helpful, but this is unfortunately the familiar recommendation to hear the Ts alongside the standards if you can. (Artisan Guitars in Nashville is where I've been able to do this.)

(I do think it's pretty hard to get better sound than from an older OM1A. Mine is not going away.)

I have not heard the JL model, but here is video that seems to capture how it's been described (finger style about 2/3 through).


Greg Y
Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:35 pm

Re: A new OM for my wife

Post: # 2615Post Greg Y
Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:56 am

This Anthony DaCosta clip. and getting to hear one of Julian's personal JL sold me....

This is a pretty good clip filmed at Collings in Dripping Springs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7dpseB ... M4&index=2
Last edited by Greg Y on Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:18 pm

Re: A new OM for my wife

Post: # 2616Post JohnB
Sat Jul 04, 2020 5:14 am


Thanks for those clips. I hadn't heard them. Julian is of course a monster, as is Chris Eldridge; but the Anthony DeCosta clip is sublime. He's a spectacular, soulful player on both acoustic and electric. Made me think much too seriously about adding a JL OM1A.

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