Bill Collings has been making some of the most highly regarded acoustic guitars in the world for quite some time, so when he decided to build electric guitars, musicians were chomping at the bit to see what would happen. The flawless construction, the incredible attention to detail, and the Collings quality are all here.
Collings has redesigned a classic guitar with players in mind and the now famous meticulous construction, and attention to detail is nothing short of astonishing. This City Limits Deluxe with a Premium Quilted Maple top, is the ultimate Les Paul and with Lollar Humbuckers, this guitar was born for rock and roll!
From Collings' website: "Crafted with the finest seasoned maple and mahogany, the CL Deluxe is built for tone. Lightweight, resonant mahogany combined with a carefully hand-set mortise and tenon neck joint bring tonal complexity and sustain to the table in spades. Sleekly contoured for comfort and style, we've brought new life to an American classic." We, honestly, could not agree more. The CL Deluxe is clearly influenced by classic American solidbodies of the past, and to say they hit their mark is an understatement.
The body is cleverly designed with ergonomic contouring at both sides of the waist. This commonly overlooked feature is quite brilliant, making already effortless playability even more comfortable. Weighing in at a just over 8 lb., the CL Deluxe is easy to manage and perfectly balanced. Whether on the stage or in the studio, the CL Deluxe feels right at home.
The neck profile is a well rounded C shape that is unique to the Collings lineup. The neck joint is angled toward the cutaway; following the body lines. This slight change fills your hand in a more natural way, easing the curse that other single cutaway guitars have. Playability is what we have come to expect from a Collings - effortless and untroubled up and down the fingerboard. Combine that with Collings reputation for intonation perfection - and you have a force to be reckoned with.
Collings has collaborated with Jason Lollar for all their pickups. While the particular pickups they use are specially wound for Collings, they are darn close to his standard Imperial Humbuckers. Lollar manages to capture the airy top end, tight lows, balanced midrange, and complex overtones of the best original PAF pickups. In reviews they are consistently given high marks for their balanced frequency response. Unbalanced coils keep the bottom end tight for the amount of fullness the pickups have, overtones build after each note is played.
Alnico 5 magnets are de-gaussed to specific levels, unique to the neck and bridge positions. The sound Collings has developed with these pickups can certainly be described as mature. The neck position pushes out a lovely warmth and depth - ideal for jazz chording or chunky blues. None of the pesky midrange honkiness that can be found with bridge humbuckers is present. The bridge pickup is certainly hotter and more aggressive, but maintains full-bodied presence without any harshness. Use of the individual volume and tone knobs to balance and pair the two pickups against one another yields a practically endless variety of voices and tones.
Collings is renowned for their nitro finishes on acoustic guitars - and the story remains the same here. The finish on the CL Deluxe is nothing short of perfect - incredibly thin and flat as can be. The thin nitro finish allows this guitar to breathe and resonate like the aged vintage pieces of old. The unplugged acoustic qualities the CL Deluxe exhibits are simply remarkable. It's the little considerations like this that will satisfy even the most discerning of vintage fans.
The beautiful quilted Maple top is hand-sprayed with a flawless iced tea sunburst, giving it an instant classic LP look. Aesthetic balance is a bit of a passion for Mr. Bill Collings, and each of his electrics exhibit their own understated style - unique from model to model. The fit and finish of the CL Deluxe may be astonishing to some - but it is what we have come to expect from the folks at Collings. No detail is left incomplete, yet nothing is overdone or exploited. The body is bound with grained ivoroid, a refreshing change from blindingly stark white plastic. The truss rod cover, tuning buttons, pickup knobs and covers all share this same material - and its one of the many features that set Collings apart.
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