Guitar Aficionado

Collings' Special-Edition Dreadnought Is 20,000 Guitars in the Making

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After 40 years of building stringed instruments, Collings has announced the completion of its 20,000th acoustic guitar.

From the company:

The number alone doesn't signify much without context, as making guitars has never been about numbers to Bill Collings. From the time he began building his first guitars in a two-bedroom apartment in Houston, Texas, Bill has been on a life-long mission to build the highest quality guitars possible.

While the company has steadily grown over the years and expanded into new territory, his obsession with quality has always been our driving force. Bill comes from a long line of engineers and his dedication to doing things "better" is simply part of his DNA. We are proud to have been able to stay true to this mission through the years in a world primarily focused on cutting corners and reducing costs. To commemorate this important milestone, we've built a very special "Dreadnought #20,000" that exemplifies Collings' unyielding pursuit of perfection.

Collings' long-time wood expert and master luthier, Bruce VanWart, who has been selecting and individually voicing tops and backs at Collings for the past 25 years, had been saving the perfect set of wood for the occasion. After shuffling through a private stash of cherry-picked tonewoods that he's collected over the years, he produced a flawless set of quartersawn, old-growth Brazilian rosewood (certified pre-convention) along with a beautiful, even-grained Eastern Red spruce (Adirondack) top. When paired together, these woods make up what many would consider the "holy grail" of acoustic guitar tonewoods.

Aside from spectacular woods, number 20,000 features traditional appointments with inlaid abalone shell bordering the top, back, sides, rosette and peghead. Intricate miters of shell and multiple purflings can be seen at every intersecting line. The neck is built from Honduran mahogany with a Brazilian rosewood peghead veneer that matches the back and sides. Elegant snowflake inlays and hand-engraved gold Waverly tuners complete the aesthetic. We've built very few guitars in this style over the years, reserving the model only for very special occasions.

Number 20,000 also represents another historic milestone for Collings Guitars in that the guitar is accompanied by the first issued Collings original case. Four years ago, Bill Collings set out to design a vintage-inspired case that would live up to the quality standards set for his guitars. After many months of R&D and numerous revisions, a sleek and sturdy case has emerged.

From the stylized lines of the case's arched form to the hardware and interior upholstery, each detail of the case has been carefully planned and precisely executed by Collings himself. We are currently in the process of gearing up to produce cases on a larger scale and hope to begin offering them in 2015. In Bill's view, "a great piece of artwork deserves a worthy frame," and we couldn't agree more.

This instrument is available at Artisan Guitars in Franklin, Tenn. For more about Collings, visit

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Features Include:

•Limited edition inlaid border of select abalone surrounding top, back, sides, rosette, and peghead
•Quartersawn old-growth Brazilian rosewood (certified pre-convention)
•Finest quality Red spruce (Adirondack) top
•Grained ivoroid top/back/neck/peghead binding
•Multiple black/white wood purflings with deluxe multi-colored marquetry backstrip
•Pre-war scalloped Red spruce (Adirondack) bracing
•High gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish
•Honduran mahogany neck
•Matched Brazilian rosewood peghead overlay with inlaid Collings logo
•Ebony fingerboard with ebony belly-style bridge
•Mortise and tenon hybrid neck joint
•"Vintage Now" neck profile with 1 3/4" nut width and 2 5/16" string spacing
•Snowflake fingerboard inlays
•Inlaid ebony bridge pins and end pin
•Hand-engraved gold Waverly tuners with 16:1 ratio
•First issued Collings original hardshell case hand-built by Bill Collings

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