James Collins, a guitar engineer from Sussex, may have heard so few. Or you can change it, as I do, with the US manufacturer Collings. In doing so, the man builds true cuttings for the friends of the more glamorous department: welcome to “Collins British Delicatessen”.
Text by Christoph Arndt, Pictures by Andreas Huthansl
Z for test I received with the Cocobolo GTA and the Redwood GTO two interesting models. Currently, he offers four double-cutaway guitars with flat or vaulted ceilings, which to the names GT, GTA, GTS and GTO. Anyone who now thinks about Italian sports cars is right. As James told me in the phone interview, he not only has a passion for Ferrari, but could also use their model names without any appeal from the famous Automarke. Industry newcomer James Collins is one of the few authorized Gibson repairmen in the United Kingdom. You have to be an excellent guitar builder, so you can get such an award.
In 2011 he began with the construction of own guitars, the company Collins Guitars exists since 2015. At present, 15 to 20 instruments leave their workshop every year, with a long-term goal being 48 per year, which would be one copy per month of each model. At present, a full-time employee and a trainee are supporting the small company, which should then probably be expanded. Despite the small number of pieces, James offers a wide range of options, which means that he is in no way inferior to a custom shop. There will be no more models for the time being, the four cover the entire catalog of options with the broadest possible catalogs. Condition: The basic styling must fit, as James Collins’ design style polarizes perfectly. After all, there are plenty of boredom on the market.
The basis of the GTA is a one-piece, mahogany body. Ebony, Curly Maple, English Walnut or Cocobolo are available for the flattop ceiling. The glued mahogany neck is locked with a cocobolo looper and features a 12 inch rosewood fretboard. In the test instrument, the profile thickness is an average C, with the customer choosing between Thin, Medium and Heavy. In the case of the neck contact, the master attaches great importance to optimal vibration transmission, which he wishes to realize in classical design by means of a long throat as in the case of the old Les Pauls. A striking and, as I find, extremely tasteful ornamentation is the thin maple in the fingerboard, which extends over the entire neck length to the end of the head plate, supplemented by two narrow maple strips as “side outlines” and subtle mother-of-pearl dots as fingerboard markers. This design is the most prominent trademark, so to speak, the corporate identity of the Collins creations. Between the ceiling and the corpus is a thin layer of maple, which, like all the map elements, creates fine contrasts, which are opened to the observer only on closer inspection. An 18% nickel-silver alloy was used for the medium bundle wire, while a gilded bundle wire was also available for an additional charge. The cranks are flawlessly dressed and rounded, the Grover Keystone Tuner with an 18: 1 ratio and a bone saddle complete the high- quality equipment. In the case of the hardware, the customer can also choose between nickel, gold and black.