Collings OM1 JL Julian Lage Signature Model
When Bill Collings first met the brilliant young jazz musician Julian Lage, in 2014, the two began a series of in-depth conversations about their respective crafts. Lage's profound insights as a guitarist would play a key role in the creation of Collings' T (Traditional) Series guitars.
This rare collaboration, which continued right up until Bill's passing, in July, 2017, has yielded another exceptional new guitar with an old soul. The Julian Lage Signature OM1.
Though Lage’s guitar shares the same foundational specs as the OM1 T, it is unique in some key ways. Its neck feels like no other Collings guitar. That’s because it’s modeled after Lage’s cherished 1939 Martin 000-18. This pre-war gem is heard on the guitarist’s 2015 solo album, “World’s Fair,” and was his main touring acoustic for years.
As an extension of a T-Series, the OM1 JL (*) is built with a traditional approach to voicing that emphasizes strong fundamental tone with warm, rounded highs, solid projection and a crisp attack.
The 000-18’s neck—which was of course originally hand-shaped and sanded—has a distinctive taper altered by decades of wear. For Lage, this particular neck had come to feel like home. Through careful analysis and digitization of its unique dimensions, Collings was able to precisely recreate its worn-in, asymmetric feel on his signature model.
Lage has an affinity both tonally and aesthetically for vintage guitars whose finishes have mellowed after years of playing. To recreate this effect they initially considered a varnish, but to achieve the ideal combination of a thin finish application and a vintage aesthetic, Collings landed on a custom satin lacquer.
This new finish offering not only feels and looks right to Lage, he finds it has the same inherent openness of tone that is present in the best pre-war instruments.
With his typical descriptive eloquence, Lage characterizes his signature model as a “lovingly neutral” guitar. It has a remarkably even response between registers. It’s not an empty flatterer, but an instrument that rewards you when you’re playing your best. In this way, Lage, whose own education is unending, sees the guitar as a teacher.
Lage’s signature model incorporates a script peghead logo not seen on a new Collings instrument in decades. This is the inlay that Bill hand-cut some 30 years ago when he started out in a tiny shop in Austin, Texas. Collings sees this as a loving tribute to their late leader, who in his final project was able to realize the perfect new steel-string for one of today’s most exacting guitarists.
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Top Wood: Sitka Spruce
Back Wood: Honduran Mahogany
Nut Width: 1 11/16"
Bracing: Sitka Spruce - Traditional Series pre-war scalloped X-brace no tongue brace
Inlays: Gold MOP Short Dot Pattern
Rosette: Custom Wood
Neck Wood: Mahogany
Nut Material: Bone
Saddle Material: Bone
Saddle Spacing: 2 3/16"
Bridge Pins: Ebony Pins w/ Gold MOP DOT Inlays
Tuners: Nickel Waverly tuners
Purfling: Custom Wood
Body Binding: Tortoise Style Binding
Pickguard: Tortoise-style Pick Guard
Backstrip: 1-Style Walnut Backstrip
Headstock Shape: Solid 15 degree headstock angle
Headstock Overlay: Ebony
Headstock Inlay: Gold MOP Vintage Script Collings Logo
Frets To Body: 14
Neck Profile: Julian Lage
Body Length: 19 1/4"
Total Length: 39 1/2"
Case: Hardshell Case Included
Misc. 1: No Tongue Brace
Misc. 2: Animal Protein Glue
Misc. 3: Collings Traditional Style "Light Build"