|The Interviews -
KIM SHERMAN INTERVIEW - By Ace Batacan (a.k.a. Eiko)
|The Collings Forum Home|
July 7, 2004. Back room of Cotten Music in Nashville, TN.
(Left: Kim Sherman in her shop)
Ace: How long have you been in the guitar business?
Kim: Officially, 8-1/2 years, when I started here at Cotten Music.
Ace: How did you start?
Kim: In 1996, after being gone for a few years, I moved back to Nashville and ended up living one street away from Richard and Darcy Cotten. I had known Richard from being a customer at his store over the years, but I didn’t know Darcy at that time. Darcy and I developed a friendship soon, and during this time Richard became ill. After a prolonged and difficult bout with Leukemia, Richard passed away. Darcy, who knew and honored how much the shop meant to Richard, wanted to keep it going, so, to make a LONG story short, she ended up asking me to be her business partner. I made the big jump from the corporate world to become a small business owner. It’s been an interesting ride, but a great one, ever since!
Ace: Tell me something about your customers.
Kim: We have a lot of wonderful customers, many who become repeat customers. We like getting to build on these relationships. We sell a lot of guitars (online) to people we never get to meet, but just as often, they find their way to the shop for a visit and that’s a treat for us. We care about our customers, whether they’re local or someone we’ve met via the web. We also care about the instruments and love matching them with the right players. I think most of the instruments we’re fortunate to sell are works of art, and selling them allows us to meet some of the nicest people in the world.
I feel we get to be a part of someone’s life because of the music that happens for them when they find an instrument that comes through here, new or used. When folks refer their friends to us, it definitely means a lot. I always hope we can find someone the right instrument, but if it’s not here, we try to help them find it somewhere else.
Ace: How many guitars do you own? I heard you’re a collector.
Kim: Well, I’m a collector/player now, I guess. I used to play a lot more, but now I seem just to talk about, write about and sell guitars! I have a couple of Collings C10s, a Walker L-00, four vintage Gibson L-00s, a vintage Gibson archtop, an old G&L electric, and a Gibson J-50 from my birth year. That makes 10. I think the most I’ve ever owned at one time is 14.
Ace: What is your favorite one? If that’s hard, make it two.
Kim: New or vintage (big laugh)? It’s like asking me to choose between my two cats. I love all of my guitars. They’re all different, and I wouldn’t want to choose one over another, really. I’m into Maple and small body guitars. If I didn’t love them, I wouldn’t have them.
Ace: What do you think of these Collings guitars?
Kim: I’m a big fan of Collings guitars. I liked them ever since I saw one in this store in 1994. I bought a maple C10 Deluxe from Richard then, and my little sister has it now. As a shop owner, Collings guitars are consistently, impeccably made and they also sound great. I don’t have to worry that they’re not going to come in perfect in fit and finish, and I know they’re going to sound great. It’s my job just to match the right instrument with the right player.
When folks call and say “I’m concerned about special ordering something and what it’s going to be like,” I can pretty much say it’s going to be wonderful. When you have to order something sight unseen, you can rest easy with a Collings. That’s a good thing. To me, Collings offers some of the most impressive tonal qualities you could hope for in a guitar. The money is VERY fair, and the fit and finish are great. I just think Bill and his guys do a great job.
Ace: What do you like about working with the Collings folks?
Kim: They’re really respectful of their dealers. They appreciate people who love their instruments. They’re very responsive. If they can do something for you, they will. They know what they do well and they stick with it.
Ace: What do you think is the most popular model in your shop?
Kim: A lot of people think of us as the C-10 capital of the world. (laughs). I don’t know about that, really. I think we do sell more small body guitars overall. I also think when folks first discover Collings, they generally go toward the ‘flagship’ models such as OM2H or the D2H, and then they branch out depending on their needs. We also do really well with all the Collings models.
Ace: Can you recall the most interesting order you’ve had?
Kim: I’ll tell you two of the more interesting guitars. An OM3 Maple/Engleman with a vintage neck. That guitar was pretty amazing. Another one I did for someone in California. It’s a C10 with the OM neck, Mahogany and Adirondack, no inlay on the fretboard, tortoise binding on the body and rosette, and an abalone and pearl rose on the peghead. It was simple, elegant, and amazing sounding.
Ace: What do you think is the best wood combination?
Kim: I think it depends on the model. It also depends on the player and the kind of music played. I think the Mahogany/Adirondack combination would suit more people than not. I also like Indian Rosewood/German combination, but it’s really a personal choice. For me, Maple is always a fine choice, but that’s just personal favorite. There’s certainly nothing wrong with an Indian Rosewood/Sitka Collings either! It depends on the player and the intended application.
Ace: Closing statements…
Kim: We’ve been a big fan of Collings for such a long time and that’s not going to change. I just think that they do such a fabulous job and they provide such a great value. They cost a bit, but you sure get more than your money’s worth when you buy a Collings.
I would like to thank Kim Sherman for giving me the opportunity to ask her these questions (for the Collings Forum members) during my visit to her store. She was very kind and gracious. Kim answered the questions candidly and honestly. Her love for guitars, the music played through them, and the players that play them was evident throughout our conversation.
(Left: Kim Sherman and Ace Batacan)
* This interview was not conducted as a dealer endorsement nor as an advertising segment on this forum.