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ENTER Allen White

Rockerbob's Visit To Collings
05/22/02
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I had business in Austin and while I was there I had time to stop by and visit Collings. I have been infatuated with Collings guitars since I bought an OM3C in January, 2001. Although I have a number of nice guitars, the Collings quickly became my favorite. It's tone and feel are fabulous. The build is precise and clean to the point of perfection. The selection of materials is without compromise. Well, after meeting them I was also impressed by their hospitality. They were more than friendly and treated me like I was someone important. I got a great tour of the facility right when I showed up at their door. Brian (who appears in several of the photos) stopped what he was doing and took me and a couple of my business associates on the tour. He explained how they build guitars as we walked through the shop.

It's hard for me to call it a factory. I sure don't want to slight them in any way, but it felt a lot more like a big shop than a factory. Yes, there were a number of different rooms, I don't know the sq. footage, but not huge. There were also a number of people working at different stations. Collings has a reputation for using great tools, including a couple of big CNC machines. This is true. I saw the machines. I also saw lots of people doing hand work. It seemed to me that there was an excellent balance of machine to man. Some things a machine can do better every time. Other things need the attention of a person to make judgment calls. Whatever they are doing, it must be right. They produce very high quality instruments.

I don't intend for this to rival Frank Fords Collings photo tour. Frank did a fabulous job at his site. I recommend it to all. His whole site is great. Lots of fun and informative stuff. This is here just because I did get a chance to tour the shop and I have proof, these photos. I ran out of film early and didn't get a picture of Steve McCreary or Bill Collings. I did get a chance to meet both of them. Buy one of these guitars. They are definitely serious about what they do. After the great tour and meeting these people, I like these guitars better than ever. Please check out Frank Ford's site at FRETS.COM


You can be assured that even though Collings makes good use of machines, there are some tasks that benefit from the hand of a person. The braces are cut on the CNC machine, but final taper, trim and scallop are being done by hand. Of course I guess he could have faked all those little curly wood shavings just for my picture...

This is Brian, our wonderful tour guide. He is looking at one of the many tools and jigs built in-house. This one is for clamping tops and back onto sides. You can see at the top that the handle is an old steering wheel. Perhaps from an old pickup truck. It looks like it works good for tightening that clamp.

This must be a great place to work. Look how happy this guy is. Actually, someone in our group probably made some wisecrack just as I was taking this picture.

Here some rosewood sides are put into the forms for gluing together, attaching the kerfing and then the top and back.

I feel bad that I didn't get everyone's name, but I didn't want to interrupt the work. I did ask before I snapped any pictures.

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Rockerbob's Visit To Collings
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