COLLINGS STATEMAN LC DELUXE

HOL­LOW BODY, FULL TONES. BY PETER HODG­SON

Australian Guitar - - Top Shelf -

This gui­tar ar­rived a few days af­ter the news that founder Bill Collings had passed away. “He was the amaz­ingly cre­ative force be­hind Collings Gui­tars for over 40 years,” the com­pany says. “Through his unique and in­nate un­der­stand­ing of how things work, and how to make things work bet­ter, he set the bar in our in­dus­try and touched many lives in the process. His skill and in­cred­i­ble sense of de­sign were not just lim­ited to work­ing with wood, but were also ob­vi­ous in his pas­sion for build­ing hot rods. To Bill, the de­sign and ex­e­cu­tion of el­e­gant form and func­tion were what mat­tered most. Per­haps even more ex­cep­tional than his abil­ity to craft some of the finest in­stru­ments in the world was his abil­ity to teach and in­spire. He cre­ated a qual­ity-cen­tred cul­ture that will carry on to hon­our his life’s work and legacy. He was loved by many and will be greatly missed.”

This gui­tar is in­spired by clas­sic hol­low­body de­signs of the 1940s and '50s, but like ev­ery­thing Collings pro­duces, it has its own clearly dis­tinc­tive style and vis­ual ap­peal. You can see it in the sweet of the bass-side bout, the carve of the tre­ble-side cut­away, the asym­met­ri­cal head­stock and the classy tuner but­tons. It’s clearly a big ticket item, with your dol­lars go­ing to­wards gen­uine crafts­man­ship and unique­ness.

The body and top are made of maple lam­i­nate, with the outer-fac­ing pieces – even the sides – all fea­tur­ing a beau­ti­ful three-di­men­sional flame that is en­hanced by the Tobacco Sun­burst fin­ish. The neck is Hon­duran mahogany and it’s very com­fort­able and slick – the kind of neck you can play for hours. You can or­der this model with var­i­ous in­lay op­tions, but the re­view gui­tar has no po­si­tion mark­ers on the fret­board (there are side dots, of course), and I feel like this clean look is re­ally the right way to go with this de­sign. It doesn’t need in­lays to dis­tract from the even tones of the ebony fin­ger­board, which off­set the lighter hues of the body.

Collings out­fits this model with a Bigsby B3 vi­brato and a float­ing bridge, and it’s one of the smoothest Bigsby set­ups I’ve ever played. The strings glide smoothly over the bridge sad­dles and nut, and they re­turn to pitch with per­fect ac­cu­racy.

The elec­tron­ics in­clude a pair of TV Jones Fil­terTron pick­ups which em­ploy an Al­nico mag­net twice the size of a tra­di­tional PAF pickup mag­net, while the low-wound, tightly spaced bob­bins cap­ture the zip and zing of the strings with­out im­part­ing too much grit or growl of their own. The idea is to take a great-sound­ing gui­tar and present its nat­u­ral tones on a sil­ver plat­ter. The

wiring har­ness is ‘50s style’ – a method which main­tains more clar­ity when you roll down the vol­ume con­trols com­pared to the more mod­ern way of wiring up this kind of lay­out.

Son­i­cally, this is a very earthy sound­ing gui­tar which sounds full and sweet through a clean amp, but seems to re­ally come to life with just a hair of gain. Think more ‘over­driven clean amp’ than ‘5150 on 11'. In this mode, the gui­tar has a vo­cal midrange, tight low end and smooth highs, and it’s great for fin­ger­style play­ing. Even though Fleet­wood Mac’s Lind­say Buck­ing­ham doesn’t use this kind of gui­tar, his tones are what re­peat­edly came to mind dur­ing test­ing. It’s an ideal in­stru­ment for coun­try and coun­try-jazz styles, nat­u­rally, but it also sounds great for in­die, al­ter­na­tive and goth-rock tones – ba­si­cally, it'll work for any­thing where you need your notes to breathe and bloom rather than crash and bash.

This is an­other great ex­am­ple of Collings bring­ing to­gether the best of old and new. While the de­sign looks clas­sic, there are plenty of de­sign, fin­ish and setup tweaks that make it feel a lit­tle more mod­ern while still re­tain­ing heart and artistry.

IN-DEPTH SPEC­I­FI­CA­TIONS

The Collings LC Deluxe is a full hol­low­body elec­tric gui­tar in­spired by the clas­sic sounds pi­o­neered by play­ers such as Chet Atkins and Ed­die Cochran, with a tres­tle-braced maple lam­i­nate body, Hon­duran mahogany neck, ebony fin­ger­board, Bigsby B3 vi­brato, TV Jones Fil­tertron pick­ups and a 24 7/8-inch scale length.

BEST IN THE HANDS OF

The rose­wood and cedar pair­ing de­liv­ers a full sound with string clar­ity to­gether with the low ac­tion – it's per­fect for fin­ger­style and jazz play­ers who need string def­i­ni­tion, beau­ti­ful har­mon­ics and sus­tain. Be­cause of the low ac­tion and flat­ter neck, ex­treme string bend­ing doesn't play as well im­me­di­ately. Blues play­ers may wish to ad­just.

WHY IT’S ON THE TOP SHELF

Dis­tinc­tive de­sign, flaw­less work­man­ship, well thought out elec­tron­ics, a flaw­less setup and a breath­tak­ing fin­ish that re­ally has to be seen in per­son to ap­pre­ci­ate.

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