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The Collings CL Deluxe
Austin based Collings Guitars, long known as an exceptional acoustic luthier, is a serious contender in the current electric guitar market with premium models including the CL Deluxe. Short for City Limits, the CL Deluxe is a first-rate instrument offering Collings’ characteristic style and tone.
Founded in 1973 by Bill Collings, the company commenced to producing a line of electrics during 2005 from its Texas facility. Among the recent Collings solid-body collection is the high gloss single cutaway, CL Deluxe. Sleek as well as sophisticated, when it comes to quality, the CL has few competitors.
Follows his calling
As a skilled craftsman, Collings literally took somewhat of a circuitous route to becoming a master luthier, as his website explains:
“Bill Collings moved from Ohio to Texas in the mid 1970s. Spurred by a lack of interest in medical school, this move enabled him to combine lifelong interests in both guitars and tools into the challenge of stringed instrument building and repair…His reputation for outstanding quality and meticulous attention to detail quickly spread.”
What you see is what you get with Bill Collings and the CL Deluxe. Perhaps some of Collings Guitars’ continued success has been its approach to manufacturing which promotes a transparent public relations policy, daily on-site shop tours and instant access virtual excursions for buyers as well as general sightseers.
The solid 24-7/8″ scale length Honduran mahogany body and carved flame maple top are standard on the CL Deluxe. Quilted maple is another option. While the Rosewood fingerboard may not be unusual, the headstock veneer, available in Pearloid, Rosewood or Ebony and then flared, adds an air of refined excellence.
Bindings abound on the CL Deluxe. The handsome grained ivoroid trimming the body and neck is typical, though the binding is also presented in Tortoise, along with black and white purfling, as a custom request.
The high gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish, available as everything from tobacco, iced tea and cherry sunburst to root beer, crimson and caramel, is stunning. In jet black, the CL Deluxe looks a lot like a PRS relative. As another alternative, the gold hardware is also eye catching.
The CL Deluxe brings a number of choices to the table when it comes to electronics. The selection includes a pair of P90s, 50s wound P90s, dual Mini-Humbuckers, a High Wind bridge Imperial Humbucker, all by Jason Lollar, or TV Jones Classic Filtertrons.
Why such a variety of pick-ups? According to Collings, “The CL Deluxe is built for tone.”
A Tone Pros bridge and tailpiece and closed back nickel tuners with vintage buttons round out this thoroughly American made package. In addition, the CL’s usual dot inlays can be changed for a distinctive parallelogram design.
There’s no “Fenderish” bolt-on in the company of Collings. The CL Deluxe’ hand set mortise and tenon neck joint support comfortable playing ability while maintaining the utmost tonal characteristics.
The dipping cut out of the lower bout, vaguely curious, is at the same time familiar. The tightly fitted ivoroid knobs and matching pick-up rings add just the right accouterments without being too showy.
With a hardshell case, the Collings CL Deluxe carries a suggested retail cost of $5450. Online the CL, which is only sold by way of selected dealers, can be located for around $4800. It’s a steep price but no matter how you look at it, rock, jazz and blues, traditional or “funkified,” the CL has it all covered.