Larrivee Guitar Forum

Main Forums => Other Guitar Makers => Topic started by: Mikeymac on December 20, 2016, 12:37:28 AM

Title: Any Collings owners here? Waterloo?
Post by: Mikeymac on December 20, 2016, 12:37:28 AM
Just curious - those who have ventured into the higher end world of guitars like Collings (and Santa Cruz, Bourgeois, Lowden, etc.)... just wondering what makes your Collings stand out.

I would also add Waterloo to the thread, since they're made by Collings (and come in a few hundred dollars above the Larrivee 03 series - although the Waterloos are all fully bursted - or black).

Thanks for sharing your experience.

 :donut :coffee

Title: Re: Any Collings owners here? Waterloo?
Post by: broKen on December 20, 2016, 01:40:21 AM
I've never played one, but wonder if they are worth the extra $ above the Larrivée.

Title: Re: Any Collings owners here? Waterloo?
Post by: gtrplayer on December 20, 2016, 02:20:19 AM
  I've upgraded from a very nice Martin that I never bonded with (because of the neck shape) to a Collings OM1A SB cutaway.  The Collings suited me better in several ways and I'll try to explain why.  First, it sounds better.  It has a more dynamic range than my other guitars and it's louder as well.  Effortless sound that just seems to pop from low E to high E.  It's also more resonant than my other guitars.  Fit and finish are superb, playability excellent and a neck shape that I love.  It is a very light guitar.  It's also costs twice as much as my other guitars. 
  My other guitars are Martin and Larrivees which all have attributes that partially compare to the Collings but not completely.  It may just be a case where the Collings sound to me is more appealing.  I still love the clarity and fullness of Larrivee trebles and the bass of Martin (though somewhat muddy compared to Collings).  If I could only have one guitar it would be with Larrivee trebles and mids with Martin's deep bass coupled with Collings liveliness, volume, resonance and playability.
  I only acquired the Collings because I could not sell the Martin which was an expensive model.  The Collings is brand new and soundwise has a way to go.  IMO it's a very nice guitar.     

Title: Re: Any Collings owners here? Waterloo?
Post by: Barefoot Rob on December 20, 2016, 02:44:25 AM
I owned a Santa Cruz OM1 for a while never really bonded with it,I've played and worked on a lot of high end guitars but most were Martin knock off's.I will say that Collins made the best pre war Martin at an affordable price.

Title: Re: Any Collings owners here? Waterloo?
Post by: Krugie_Mtl on December 20, 2016, 03:29:24 AM

Did someone tried of the Waterloo models ? I'm also curious to know. I find them way cool, but they still are somewhat expensive for what they are. I tried two 17 Martin that look like they were made to compete in that market. I liked the 12 fret, not so much the OM.

It seems to me that Larrivée guitars are more versatile and maybe a better choice for the long term.


Title: Re: Any Collings owners here? Waterloo?
Post by: ffinke on December 20, 2016, 04:45:48 AM
I'm a Collings OM2Hc owner and also a Bourgeois owner. I've owned Taylor, Huss and Dalton and Santa Cruz guitars and, as far as I'm concerned Larrivee is in the same class (only less expensive). The Collings is a well-built instrument and, at a seminar, I had the guy sitting in front of me comment on how loud it is. I wouldn't know about that as I was on the back side. I have traded away some of the guitars (I sometimes wish I had the H&D back) but I feel that I've got a perfect combination of guitars right now--I love them all.

Title: Re: Any Collings owners here? Waterloo?
Post by: Mikeymac on December 20, 2016, 06:00:07 AM
Thanks for the feedback so far...keep it coming. It's very helpful and informative.


Title: Re: Any Collings owners here? Waterloo?
Post by: B0WIE on December 20, 2016, 08:25:32 AM
I tried several Larrivees and ended up loving the DSs. So much that I wondered if another maker could make an even better guitar, though I had my doubts.   Nothing that Martin, Gibson, or Taylor made was impressing me more than my Larrivee SD50 and SD60.  After alot of research I took the plunge and bought a Collings DS1A, essentially the Collings equivalent of the SD50. I opened me up to a world that I had no idea I was missing out on. Playability is so much easier because the neck is simply perfect, allowing lower action. This also means the intonation is better, making the tone more pleasing. The body size is about the same as my Larrivees but the bass just has no floor to it. It's not boomy, but it's sooo deep.  When you tune down it doesn't go muddy, it retains clarity.

  The tone is far heavier in overtones than the Larrivees and has a very, piano-like quality. It can be a bit much until you learn how to harness it, drawing out the richness when desired, and subduing it other times. The top end is smooth, never spikey or brash.  The volume and dynamic range are also something else. Something the Larrivees just don't achieve.  There's also something about the Collings build that feels like a $5k guitar should, not some fragile dainty thing.

  Now, that said, there's a reason I've not sold my Larrivee SD50.  It's an outstanding guitar for the money.  The fact that it's brighter and drier sounding works on many songs.  Even though it doesn't feel quite as rugged, it's still beautifully put together and I'd even say it's slightly more attractive with it's flamed maple binding, honey-like mahogany back and sides, and little touches like diamond inlays and pyramid bridge. It might not play quite as easy or have quite the same wow factor in terms of tone, but it's got a charm all it's own and I love it. Every time I think I should sell it because I'm not playing it much, I only need to take it out to rediscover why I've kept it. I'll never be "to good" for Larrivees or feel that buying another would be a compromise. What you get for the money is unsurpassed, IMO.  I wouldn't sell a Larrivee for a Waterloo because Waterloos are specially, throwback guitars. That doesn't suit me.  Larrivees are versatile, modern instruments.

  I've also purchased a Bourgeois DS and it's of comparable quality to the Collings, but just a little more of a traditional, versatile sound and the construction is a little more hand-made than the computer-like perfection of the Collings. The 3rd in my high-end corral is my Randy Reynolds luthier built all-koa 000. The modified X bracing and attention to tuning gives it such an incredible response. I swear it could just play itself.

  I'm not a guy with a lot of cash to blow. Guitars are my one luxury so I've got these rather than a fun car or a favorite bar to go to.  If guitars are your thing and you want to venture into that "just how good can it get?" territory, consider something like a Collings,  bourgeois, or luthier build. No, it doesn't make you a better player but that's not the point. Just like a nice car doesn't make you a better driver, but it's about the ride, the enjoyment of the experience, no matter where your skills are at.

Title: Re: Any Collings owners here? Waterloo?
Post by: Mikeymac on December 20, 2016, 02:43:09 PM
Great post, Bowie - thanks.

However, it does incite GAS...

I'm like you - I don't drive a nice car, own a boat, go to bars, or spend money on other luxuries... but even still, a Collings is out of range for me - at least for now. When I get a little closer to retirement, and have my kid's last two college loans paid off, I might dive in. But it will be a commitment to do so. Some other gear will have to be out of the house by then.

Title: Re: Any Collings owners here? Waterloo?
Post by: LawDogStrgsAttach on December 20, 2016, 04:37:59 PM
O1-Walnut owner here.  As discussed above, Collings builds instruments that are freakishly perfect in terms of build quality.  Nothing is accidental, and the brand has few peers in the quality department.

The tone is solid, albeit hit and miss as far as user preference.  They are based off of pre-war Martin and Gibson models, and I would say they succeed to surpassing them.  Dynamic range is generally second to none, with more overtone content than one would perhaps expect from this class of guitar.  However, certainly not what I would call a modern or fingerstyle forward in many ways, Larrivee instruments I find to be superior in the tone department, so it just depends on intended use.  Some say, and I would agree, that there is a peculiar "metallic" quality to the tone.  Not good or bad, just something that seems to be present across the line.  This is why Collings and SCGC are often compared closely, with SCGC having a woodier and more traditional presence to its signature tone.

Wood quality, like Larrivee, is phenomenal.

But taking my Collings for what it is, there is no equal at any price.  Though 13.5", it kills anything at this size in terms of volume, dynamic range, and comfort.  I cannot lose credibility to suggest that it is louder than an OM, but it sure will put up a convincing fight and can serve as an OM substitute.  Details, fit, and finish are worth the money - and if you dig deep to compare, Collings are not *that* expensive once you consider the level of detail and quality you are getting.  Of course real dollars are real dollars, but Collings are not so outrageous that one could conclude that a person owns one just for the shallow luxury component.  These are real tool guitars that stand out.

Title: Re: Any Collings owners here? Waterloo?
Post by: Gregg E on December 21, 2016, 01:32:46 PM
I have tried almost every Waterloo model that Elderly has brought in.  I like them a lot.  Fundamental tone, which to me means not a lot of overtones & quicker decay.  If you don't like that kind of sound they're not for you, but if you do they are very cool.  Elderly can hardly keep them in stock.  I like them better than the similarly priced Martin 17 series, released to compete with the Waterloo. 


Title: Re: Any Collings owners here? Waterloo?
Post by: Walkerman on December 30, 2016, 07:41:44 PM
I have a Collings mandolin.  It is great.  But no more so than higher model Larrivees.  When I got it, Larrivee was not yet making Mandolins.

Title: Re: Any Collings owners here? Waterloo?
Post by: Caleb on December 30, 2016, 07:51:12 PM
I play a Collings mandolin too.  Have only come across a couple Larrivee mandolins in my life.  They were very quiet compared to my Collings, though they did appear well made.