Collings Guitars is a guitar manufacturer that has a real appreciation for the craft. It was only in 2006 that Bill Collings – then a renowned acoustic guitar-maker – turned his focus towards electric guitars, bringing with him a meticulous and uncompromising approach towards construction and tone. A descendant of which is the Collings City Limits Deluxe electric guitar. This little known gem nails the classic shape of a Les Paul, draped in custom design features and sophisticated subtleties, matched by complex layers of satisfying tone. It’s the perfect introduction to a high-end guitar company determined to set new sonic standards.
UNVEILING A 21ST CENTURY CLASSIC
There aren’t many guitars on the market that have been able to successfully reinterpret that timeless Les Paul shape. Yet with the Collings City Limits Deluxe we have exactly that. With further inspection though, it’s clear that this guitar is instilled with its very own character and personality. The mahogany body and neck are stunningly rich, coated with a high gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish that draws out the intricacies of the grain. The grain of the rosewood fingerboard is just as beautifully subtle. The reviewer’s guitar is dressed in a Tiger Eye maple finish. While not usually one to warm to a quilted top finish, this particular maple top isn’t overbearing or too ‘loud’. It actually suits the ‘modern classic’ vibe of the guitar down to a tee. A nice feature across the guitar’s entire aesthetic is the use of grained ivoroid. Everything from the body binding, fingerboard binding and headstock binding, to the pickup rings and knobs, are in this slightly off cream. This will be hit or miss for some, but considering the overall look and feel of the guitar, these touches really bring home a sense of class.
TAILORED TO PERFECTION
This is a lightweight and carefully balanced guitar. The back of the body is contoured to create a glancing pocket that you can really lean into; it’s a guitar that hugs your body and, overall, is very comfortable to hold. The medium-fat C-shape neck profile fills up the hand nicely when playing chords, and is generally fairly smooth to navigate. While the high gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish on the neck can get a little sticky, it’s not a major drawback. With a smooth fingerboard that also provides great traction for complex fingering, the City Limits Deluxe really delivers on playability.
SOUNDS OF THE CITY
The elephant in the room is the price of this guitar – it retails at just under eight grand. But a clear result of this heavy price tag is the quality of tone found in the guitar. The City Limits Deluxe is equipped with dual Lollar Standard Imperial humbuckers. On the bridge pickup there’s remarkable articulation of highs, mids and lows. With the simple strum of a bar chord the sonic makeup of each note can be heard, after which you’re left with an abundance of sustain. There’s brightness for sure, but by dialling back the tone knobs you can get more warmth. When used with OD the bridge pickup can land a nice country-esque crunch. But with a bit more grunt and fatter tonal character the neck pickup lends itself more to the use of OD. From here it has no trouble dialling in a purring blues sound.
TIME TO TRY SOMETHING NEW
If you’re in the market for an extremely well made guitar that can cover everything from classic rock, to jazz, blues and pop, this is for you. It’s a long-term investment, but well worth a look.
For more information, visit guitarfactory.net
Hits and Misses
Exceptional tonal articulation
Attention to detail and craftsmanship
Delivers on fit and feel
The price of this guitar means it’s not going to be for everybody