Collings Acoustic Guitars Sunburst Options

Posted by Bill Warmoth on

We field questions about Collings sunburst finishes from clients frequently. If you have questions about the differences you may see in variable color patterns and designs in sunburst finishes from Collings, that is not unusual.

To give you a better understanding of the basics, Collings has a specific model nomenclature that relates to Rosewood models (2-Style) vs. Mahogany models (1-Style). If you are familiar with Martin guitar models, you might use the parallel “28” vs. “18” model names.

That said, Collings has devised their own unique recipe for specific colors and patterns for Sunbursts that best compliment with less contrast to the darker Rosewood vs. lighter colored Mahogany back & sides.

1-Style vs. 2-Style Appointments

The 1-Style vs. 2-Style appointments are all in keeping with well thought out esthetics and tradition. It helps to understand how these “style appointments” are then applied to various models. Here are some examples:

As examples of 2-Style models, consider their D2H Dreadnought, whereby the top purfling (next to the body binding) is a wood mosaic herringbone pattern. This holds true for other models as well (OM2H, 0002H, 02H, etc.).

Their 1-Style appointments will instead feature what is sometimes called a ‘violin purfling’, which is a wood veneer strip made up of thin layers of Ebony and Maple. This notation may show up in various builders’ spec list as “B/W/B”, indicating a 3-ply (ebony / maple / ebony) wood purfle line inset next to the binding.

(Read more about Collings Acoustic Appointments by Model Style, here)

Sunburst examples:

  • 2-Style Sunburst


  • 1-Style Sunburst


  • Western Shaded Top Sunburst

  • Full Body Sunburst

  • Tobacco Sunburst (CJ, C10, SJ)


  • Dark Vintage Sunburst


Collings Traditional "30's Vintage" Sunbursts (D1T left, D2HT right)

Collings D1A Traditional 30's Vintage Sunburst 


Other Finish Options

  • Doghair Finish

  • Jet Black Finish

  • Walnut Stain

From their website...

“Each Collings instrument is finished in nitrocellulose lacquer. We also offer an alkyd resin varnish finish as an option on our acoustic guitars and mandolins. With each finish we are aiming for a perfect balance of protection and musicality.

Each porous wood first receives a “grain fill” that levels the wood surface and allows for the later perfectly flat, mirror like finish appearance. Grain filler is also what allows us to create our popular “Doghair” finish, a contrast of white grain fill against a black stain.

We offer a wide variety of finishes across our instrument lines, several sunbursts and custom finish options. After each finish has been sprayed it hardens and cures before moving on to the wet sanding stage.”


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