The square-shouldered 14-fret dreadnought is the most popular steel-string acoustic guitar body shape in the world. While Collings is certainly not the only company to build them, we bring a new tonal clarity to the depth and warmth usually associated with such a large, deep-bodied guitar. Although its bass response makes the dreadnought ideal for vocal accompaniment, Collings versions are also often employed by bluegrass flatpickers who must compete with inherently louder instruments such as banjos and fiddles. The wide range of woods and neck sizes offered allow dreadnought fans to find a Collings model ideally suited to their playing style and tonal preference.
Each and every time we have a D1A in the shop with a hand-rubbed varnish finish, it is time and time again one of our favorite guitars in the shop. This is a highly customized version featuring many of our favorite upgrades along with master grade Adirondack Spruce and Mahogany, brought to life by the masterful builders at Collings!
Thinner than nitrocellulose lacquer, the varnish finish is more flexible and allows the wood to resonate more, significantly smoothing out the mids and highs of the Mahogany and Adirondack, while enhancing the low end and warming the highs considerably. For the die hard rosewood fans here in the shop, this guitar bridges the gap between rosewood and mahogany, projecting incredibly articulate note definition common with mahogany and the power and low end associated with rosewood.
The Adirondack Spruce drives the top of this guitar and provides ample power and headroom for heavy handed flatpickers while the fast response of the varnish provides a much better fingerstyle experience as opposed to lacquer.
The "Vintage Now" neck has slightly wider spacing at the saddle (2 5/16”) with 1 ¾” at the nut. This neck is slightly larger than our standard (non-vintage) profile, but is not quite as large as some of the chunkiest vintage Martin necks. This neck has more of a vintage feel, but is more palatable than our standard Vintage neck (see below) to a lot of players. The neck shape is slightly rounder (less V) in the lower position and moves towards a modified V shape as you go up the neck.
This D1A also was also custom built without a tongue brace. As people search for the mythical tone of old guitars, the tongue brace comes into scrutiny. Martin added the tongue brace in 1940 and it has become standard every since. The absence of a tongue brace frees the top to allow enhanced vibration and results in a richer, fuller, tone with more low end resonance. This is a great feature for players who may be looking for a compromise between the mahogany and rosewood dreadnoughts. It is speculated that Martin added the brace to prevent top cracking, but the years have proven this to have been unnecessary and actually decreases resonation.
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