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  #1  
Old 12-30-2013, 01:36 PM
jebsong jebsong is offline
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Smile Collings AT 16 can anyone compare this guitar to other acoustic archtop makers?

Hi, I'm thinking of getting an acoustic archtop guitar and have been looking at the Collings AT 16. But not being familiar with the different makers and archtops would like to get some input and reviews and comparisons. I'm looking for an archtop that would be the best for fingerstyle but also flatpick rhythm and lead.

Thanks, jebsong
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Old 12-30-2013, 01:46 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is online now
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Come on Jeb, you know nothing would compare with a Bill built !
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Old 12-30-2013, 02:47 PM
FloridaGull FloridaGull is offline
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Here's a link to the Collings AT-16:
http://www.collingsguitars.com/Instruments/?ID=56
A beauty, to be sure...
Have you looked at the Eastman line?
http://www.eastmanguitars.com/archtop-guitars/
Some beauties there as well...
Or, how about a 1936 Gibson L-4?
http://www.gbase.com/gear/gibson-l-4-1936-sunburst
Only $3850...
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Old 12-30-2013, 04:54 PM
jebsong jebsong is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
Come on Jeb, you know nothing would compare with a Bill built !
You may be right Silly but it doesn't hurt to get a unbiased opinion! LOL

Check out Trenier guitars and let me know what you think?
http://trenierguitars.com/new/

jebsong
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:01 PM
jebsong jebsong is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaGull View Post
Here's a link to the Collings AT-16:
http://www.collingsguitars.com/Instruments/?ID=56
A beauty, to be sure...
Have you looked at the Eastman line?
http://www.eastmanguitars.com/archtop-guitars/
Some beauties there as well...
Or, how about a 1936 Gibson L-4?
http://www.gbase.com/gear/gibson-l-4-1936-sunburst
Only $3850...
I have a 1936 Gibson L-7 and while it is a great guitar I''m looking for something that's more modern and with a slimmer neck.

jebsong
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:52 AM
Archtop Guy Archtop Guy is offline
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I have two 17" L-5's, a '46 and a '77. I also have a Manzer 16". I have never owned a Collings archtop, but I have played a few and I am a Bill Collings fan in general, having owned a D-3 since '95.

The Collings archtops are pretty much loved by everyone who plays one. But still, IMO, there is no such thing as a perfect guitar, just horses for courses. A 16" would TEND to be a little better for fingerpicking, but as we all know, variations between individual guitars are greater than generalizations between types of guitars. At any rate, you can expect a Collings to be a very versatile instrument and to respond to a wide range of picking styles and touches.

But you mention Bryant Trenier... I own two Trenier's, a Magnolia Classic and an Excel, and I have another on the way. All 17". IMO his work is more of a continuation of the work of D'Angelico and D'Aquisto than any working luthier. I love the design of his guitars, but the sound is also unmatched. Since he is still a pretty young guy and his work is not as well known, you can get one of his instruments for a fraction of what you'd pay for a Collings, and you would get to work with Bryant personally to optimize it for your needs. Although the name is not as well known, I think they match the quality of the Collings, and he is a total pro to work with.

Enjoy the hunt!
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Old 12-31-2013, 06:15 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is online now
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Hi Jeb,
Someone suggested a '36 L-4 - I have a '34 L-4 (F-holes) which I got from Archtop.com in Seattle - it needed some work as the frets had been filed almost flat but after an excellent refret - it plays fine. Tuners are a bit tired. It's a lovely old guitar but I can't help but feel that there AT-16 would beat it.

I also have an Eastman AR805e which, frankly, is a tad better/louder sounding than the Gibson.

However another luthier that you might lke to consider is Daniel Slaman - who makes a highly regarded version of the 1923 model 16" L-5 - see this:
http://www.newvintageguitars.com/video-1923-model.html

His price seems to be 8250 Euros = $11,350 - plus shipping and whatever import taxes the US might charge. However he has a stock item selling for Euro-7450 ($10257).

In fact if you look at his YouTube channel he has filmed the entire build.
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Old 12-31-2013, 09:16 AM
myanocsk myanocsk is offline
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you need to experience the at16 for yourself.
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  #9  
Old 01-01-2014, 04:00 AM
jebsong jebsong is offline
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Hi everyone, Thank all of you for you input! I've been wanting a collings AT 16 for several years and I've found a used one at Cotton Music in Nashville and Kim has it on hold for me until after the first of the year. The video recordings she has sent me are not very good so it's hard for me to tell how good it sounds. To me it sounds a little to bright but that might be because of the room where it was recorded and the probably not so good mic on the video camera. This AT 16 is one of 4 that somehow were shipped to authorized Collings dealers without any stamped serial number or any other identifying marks. Kim has got a letter from Collings that will come with the guitar stating that these guitars were made between Nov of 2005 and Feb of 2006 but they don't know the exact date of each individual guitar and what dealers they went to. At that time Collings would sign his name and the date the guitar was made in pencil on the inside back of the guitar. These guitars would be the 14th to 17th AT 16's built. Starting with number 18 Bill started writing the serial number in them so number 18 would have AT16-18 hand written inside the guitar. This will all be documented in the letter and they will also send a label with Bills signature.

I've played on one several years ago here in Denver and liked the sound.


My problem is that I found this video of Eric Schoenberg playing "The Good Ship Lollipop" on a 1929 L-5 and that's the sound that I'm now wanting but I don't think the Collings will sound like that.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRjtkXq-uus

The Trenier's come pretty close to that sound I think. But I don't want to wait 3 years to have one made. There are 2 or 3 used ones for sale for around 5K but they have 1 3/4" nuts which I don't like.

On the other hand I think the lower serial number At 16's will become more valuable once the news gets out that Bill is no longer making them himself. For the last 4 to 5 years Aaron Huff has been the one building them. Bill first started making the AT 16 in the early 90's but discontinued the model in 96 and reintroduced them in 2004. I don't know how many he made in the 90's but I do know that there have been 74 made so far.
So I think I'm going to go ahead and get the Collings and I can send it back if I don't like the way it sounds.

Thanks again for all your input and let me know if you think the serial number issue is a positive or negative to the AT 16's future value? I'm from Austin originally so I go back often and I can take the guitar next time I go and have Bill sign it for me.

jebsong
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Old 01-01-2014, 04:39 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is online now
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Jeb,
just a thought for the new year - when I was searching for a 0002h in the UK and found one on E-bay - and was worried about buying sight unseen - a friends said - "How bad could a Collings be?"

Don't worry about whether it was built by Bill or not - you know that if it has "Collings" written on the headstock - it will be fine.

I think your decision is the right one - order it - get it in your hands - once that happens - I have a feeling that it will only leave your grasp when your hands are cold and dead ! (Hopefully many many years away!)
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Old 01-01-2014, 07:15 AM
myanocsk myanocsk is offline
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I asked if Aaron had been making these. The answer is no, he was helping with the City Limits Jazz models.

Buying an instrument thinking it will appreciate is dangerous. More than a decade ago people bought D'Angelicos thinking the prices would continue to soar. The prices bottomed out. Buy the guitar to play it.

This is one of those guitars most players want to buy, but many shy away from when it comes down to the actual purchase. When I bought mine there were at least 8 people in line in front of me to buy it. The list whittled down to one other person very quickly and as I had every intention of making a purchase I drove four hours to the store, took out my checkbook and wrote the dealer a check and told him to call that person and tell them he had a buyer standing at the counter paying cash. I drove home with the guitar an hour later.

I had a friend over a few months ago who is a hot shot picker. He sat and played mine until his eyes glazed over. I've come to the conclusion that it's not worth anything to you unless you play it. There's no way to forecast if these will increase in value. Plenty of people have lost money on musical instruments. If you want it, buy it.
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Old 01-01-2014, 07:39 AM
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fazool fazool is offline
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Wow! - that AT-16 is one of the most attractive acoustic guitars I've ever seen.

If I had *any* knowledge of how or what to play on archtop, that thing would give me an incurable case of GAS.
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:16 AM
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Sounds like a wonderful instrument!
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:36 AM
6L6 6L6 is offline
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IMO, Bill Collings builds the finest guitars in the world, regardless of price.

I consider myself very fortunate to own two of his creations:

'99 D-1:




'11 D2HA:




Truth is, I have played a ton of Collings guitars over the years (I live just 15 minutes from Gryphon Stringed Instruments) and I have never played one that sounded "average". All were simply stellar instruments that I'd love to own!
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:45 AM
Archtop Guy Archtop Guy is offline
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I don't think an x-braced Collings will sound like a '20's L-5, but it should still be a great instrument. Opportunities like yours don't come around often, so I'd second this: get the Collings now and worry about other guitars (and money?) later.

Still, getting in line for a Trenier is a good idea, too! (And I doubt if it's three years, I just waited a year for my most recent.)
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