I looked at about 25 guitars, without thinking of actually making a purchase, from a '48 Martin D-18 to a '03 Goodall TMhD. The sound of this guitar leaped out and filled the room; I almost couldn't believe the amount of projection and resonation that was created. I played this guitar for over an hour, and knew that I would be taking it home. If it was lost or stolen I would definitely be on the horn making plans to purchase another, although I might lean towards getting a Brazilian with varnish, instead of lacquer, just because. If I had to get another, I'd only be thinking "upgrade", because that's how I operate!
My favorite aspect? That's hard ... I like everything about this instrument. The worst? Hopefully, as it matures, the top will mellow and become warmer in tone. Bill Collings and the gang in Austin make one heck of a guitar; it's a hundred times better than any Gibsons I have played, better than my Guild, it rivals the very best of the Authentic and Golden Era Martins I have tried ... it even sounded better than the 61 year old D-18 (which is saying something, because that guitar was everything you'd want in a Martin.) In 10-15 years, I expect this instrument to be so good that words will not be able to describe the power and resonance of the tone .... Adirondack takes a while to really open up, and this one has just begun to find its voice. And that voice is already wonderful, with tons of unlimited potential. My only regret is that I won't live long enough to hear how IT will sound in 60 years!
Model Year: 2005
Where Obtained: Dream Guitars
Builder: Collings Guitars, Bill Collings. Model: D3A. Type: Dreadnought. Serial #: 10040. Back/Sides: Indian Rosewood. Top: Mastergrade Adirondack Red Spruce. Neck: Honduran Mahogany, 1 Piece. Headplate: Brazilian rosewood peghead overlay. Headstock Inlay: Mother-of-pearl Collings logo. Headstock Bindings: Grained ivoroid binding. Fingerboard: Ebony. Fingerboard Bindings: Grained ivoroid. Fret Markers: None. Frets to body: 14. Bridge: Ebony Belly (slotted). Pickguard: Tortoise-style. Pre-war scalloped bracing. Fully adjustable truss rod. Body Bindings: Grained ivoroid. Top Trim: Violin Lines (Black/white wood strip purfling.) Back Strip: Marquetry multi-color mosaic. Rosette: Select abalone. Tuners: Waverly Gold with Vintage Knobs. Bone nut and drop-in saddle.
Ebony non-slotted bridge pins and end pin. High gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish. Case: TKL. Pickup: none. Body Length: 20 in. Upper Bout: 11 3/8 in. Lower Bout: 15 3/4 in. Body Depth @Neck Heel: 3 7/8 in. Body Depth @Tail Block: 4 3/4 in. Scale Length: 25.5 Nut Width: 1 11/16". Strings Spacing: 2 3/16.
I'd like the action just a little bit lower, and intend on having the nut slots adjusted to my taste. Otherwise, it plays very well. The neck is fast, and the 1-11/16" nut is the most comfortable spacing for my hands. It feels better than anything else I've tried, including my GF-55 Guild that I've played for many years. No flaws, whatsoever. The fit and finish of this guitar, even used, is superlative.
I'm playing this guitar strictly acoustically ... I bought it to play and practice flat-picking/bluegrass. It blends, and sounds very good when playing Stephen Stills, Neil Young, etc. The guitar is exceptionally resonant, with powerful mids, and fat, ringing trebles. It has a distinct, clear sound, with unusual note definition. Beyond the minor nut adjustment, this does not require or need any modifications. It is not "noisy", but it is incredibly loud, with tons of headroom. I would think, that due to the overtones that are emitted, this guitar would be better suited for straight acoustic work, or played on stage.
This is an unusually light guitar for rosewood, but structurally it is very solid, and can be used for live playing without requiring a backup instrument. It does not break strings, and stays in tune exceptionally well. The truss rod has not needed any adjustment. The intonation is very close to perfect. It does not appear to be that sensitive to temperature or humidity changes, and the action has stayed the same, regardless of the RH and temp, although I have not exposed it to any extremes.