Jul 262018
 

I’ve always loved jazz guitar.

John La Chapelle & Larry Coryell having fun playing music together.

One of the highlights in my life was being able to study with the extraordinary jazz guitarist, John La Chapelle (above left), who was Larry Coryell’s guitar teacher when he was a youngster and introduced him to jazz, and the two maintained their friendship over the years.

Left to right: Jeff, John, and Larry. It was a real treat meeting Larry after the concert!

Jazz guitar is perhaps the most difficult to learn well of the guitar styles I enjoy, and I wish I had more time learning with John, but my time with him was cut short when he became ill, and then subsequently passed away.

As a result, I got a glimpse into what it means to play jazz competently on the guitar, but didn’t get there myself, so one of my goals now that I’m retired is to learn to play the guitar better.

There’s four kinds of guitar playing I really enjoy listening to and want to get better at: jazz chord melody and improvisation, fingerstyle arrangements, as well as classic rock or blues (think CSNY, or Clapton, McCartney, or Young Unplugged).

Collings short scale OM cutaway.

It really helps to have the right tools for what you’re doing, and I’m pretty well equipped for fingerstyle guitar with my short scale Collings OM2C (above), which is a beautiful sounding and playing guitar.

For acoustic blues my Waterloo (by Collings) WL-14L is a wonderful guitar (below left). Mine’s got the optional ladder-bracing and carbon fiber T-bar, and it is an extremely light, comfortable, and responsive guitar to play.

Collings Waterloo WL-14L (left) and Gibson Advanced Jumbo (right).

I really have been wanting a smaller and more comfy to hold jazz-focused guitar, and I noticed that Joe Vinikow (Archtop.com, in Seattle) had a used Collings Eastside LC Deluxe archtop guitar for sale on his website (below), so I made an appointment with Joe to take a look at it.

Photo by Joe Vinikow

The Collings Eastside LC Deluxe archtop guitar utilizes a single Lollar Charlie Christian pickup (the Charlie Christian is by far my favorite style of jazz guitar pickup), and it was designed to have vintage tone for the professional jazz player (with attention to detail like using a DiMarzio 500K pot with a Jupiter Vintage Yellow cap, for example).

I’ve been agonizing about whether or not to keep my Adirondack Spruce and Brazilian Rosewood Gibson Advanced Jumbo (above right), as I wasn’t playing it much, but it was such a beautiful and great sounding guitar that I was loathe to let it go.

Gibson Custom Shop “Luthier’s Choice” Advanced Jumbo, Brazilian rosewood back & sides, Adirondack spruce top, Waverly tuners, 2001.

After agonizing about it, I decided I would trade my Gibson AJ (above) in on the Collings if it played well, which I figured it probably did, as Collings is known for their quality construction and setup.

Larrivee Model P-09 Rosewood Parlor with fossil ivory bridge pins.

I also decided to consign a couple of other guitars that I had, my mint Larrivee Model P-09 Rosewood Parlor guitar (above), and my mint Eastman Uptown AR910CE Archtop guitar (below).

Eastman Uptown AR910CE Archtop

I am the original owner of all of these guitars, and if you think you might be interested in one of them I’m giving you advance warning, as they will be appearing on Archtop.com for sale in the near future. If you think you want one you can reserve it early by sending Joe an email HERE.

Joe’s place, Archtop.com, in Seattle.

I had done an all-nighter the night before so I was really beat, but made to the road trip to Joe’s yesterday morning to look at and try out the Collings Eastside LC Deluxe he had for sale, which was on consignment from a pro player in LA.

Joe’s place, Archtop.com, in Seattle.

Joe has a beautiful selection of guitars, and many of them are consignments from pro players around the world who only trust Joe to get them sold to a deserving client looking for a nice guitar.

Joe’s place, Archtop.com, in Seattle.

Joe’s store is a lot of fun, with more amazing guitars than you can imagine, like the beautiful selection of Selmer-Maccaferri style of guitars above. Just a heads up, Joe had a number of beautiful guitars by Shelly Park, if you want to avoid the long waiting list this is your chance.

Joe’s place, Archtop.com, in Seattle.

New guitars are coming in all the time at Joe’s, and only a fraction of them are up on his website at any given time due to it taking time to get them all checked out and listed, so if you are looking for something in particular, you can contact Joe and find out what he has that hasn’t been listed yet.

Collings Eastside LC Deluxe archtop guitar.

I was so tired from doing an all-nighter plus the long drive to Seattle I could barely see straight, but I got a chance to play the Collings Eastside LC Deluxe archtop guitar. It only took a few seconds to determine the Collings was in great shape and played beautifully, so I bought it.

I also got a chance to briefly play a number of the other guitars at Joe’s while he was writing up the sale … the stuff of dreams … before turning around and making the long drive home.

I was so tired driving home I made a couple of stops to get out and walk around a bit to stay alert, and then when I got home I immediately took a couple hour nap and called it an early night.

Next time I do a road trip I plan to make it more leisurely, but I have a time crunch going on right now, so this one was compressed time-wise.

I’m back home now and have lots to do on the audio front, but this morning I’m focusing on a little guitar playing!

I just had the sudden inspiration that I should investigate having BTPA make me a custom guitar cord out of Belden 8402.

Update: I contacted BTPA and placed the order, and they’re making one up for me with Neutrik connectors. I let you know how it turns out!

As always, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you!

 Posted by at 8:23 am

  11 Responses to “Today’s Fresh Catch: The Collings Eastside LC Archtop Guitar”

  1. Hi Jeff,

    Good Choice of Collings Eastside. Hope we can make some sounds together in the near future.

    Ron Barbee

  2. Jeff,

    Congrats on the new guitar. I had the same idea just put it in the back burner awhile back. I got some “vintage” Toured Beldon mic cables ready to cut for guitar cords. One part of me wants to hear it for stereo so bad, but thats not why I bought it though. That Gibson acoustic looks super nice. I just recently got me a tele style guitar to fit a certain area I don’t have yet. Totally hand made from NOVO. I’m more into dirt tones. Love acoustics tones too though just hard to afford all of it. Its great being surrounded by musical instruments the warmth it brings. I wish I had more room for it.

    Cheers,

    Bill

    P.S. Can we add drop box photos here? I tried it said it was spammy.

    • I was in in a hurry your new guitar is gorgeous! Love that finish, binding and pick guard lines.

      • Thanks, Bill, appreciated. It’s in remarkably good condition for a used guitar previously owned by a pro player. It looks like it just came out of the case as a new guitar.

        I’ve just double checked the setup of the floating bridge, and the intonation is right on. I ended up dropping the CC pickup down a little on the bass side, as it was sounding a little bass heavy, and that helped give it smoother and more uniform response across the strings.

        Guitars are a lot of fun!

        Kind regards,

        Jeff

    • Hi Bill,

      I’ll report back when I get the Belden 8402 guitar cable, it’ll be interesting to hear if has those same nice “vintage tone” qualities as a guitar cable as it does for interconnects. I suspect it will.

      I’ve seriously thought about a Tele too, I really like the tone that Tim Lerch gets out of his Tele with a CC pickup.

      I know what you mean about the cost of guitars (and their amps!), as well as the warmth it brings to life, there’s lots of guitars I’d love to play with but just can’t fit it in the budget.

      I haven’t found a WordPress plugin yet that makes it easy to add photos into the comments. No doubt somebody will come up with a good one eventually and then I’ll add it in, but for now I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. Sorry about that.

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

      • Jeff,

        I put off a tele style guitar for so many years I just had to do it I’m glad I did. Lots of ground covered more than I realized. I look forward to what you got to say on the Beldon. I’ve also considered making speaker cable with it if your running an Amp head to a speaker cabinet it may work good there. Iv’e considered rewiring one my guitar cabs with Deulund as well. No problem on the photo thing.

        Kind regards,

        Bill

        • Bill,

          regarding using Belden mic cable as speaker cable, DON’T. The conductor wires in mic cable are too small to carry the current, and would be likely to overheat & short out – with the attendant risk of melting an output stage. Mic leads are designed to carry very small signals (milli-volt, low current), speaker cables need to carry large signals (multi volt, high current). Use proper speaker cables – if you want to make your own, try the Dueland 16ga…

          Cheers… G

          • Hi Gareth and Bill,

            The Belden 8402 microphone cable utilizes 20 gauge tinned-copper conductors, so it is best used as interconnects in an audio system.

            In my Westminster-based system I use DCA12GA for speaker cables, and 16 gauge speaker cables for my vintage Altec’s (either Duelund DCA16GA or vintage Western Electric WE16GA).

            Kind regards,

            Jeff

  3. Hi Jeff,

    Congratulations, that’s a really nice guitar.
    I’m wondering why you don’t use a vintage tube amp (to make music), since you’re using a some really nice vintage tube gear for listening to music.
    I’ve rebuilt a Dutch PA (ef86, ecc83/12ax7 2x el84/6bq5) to use as a guitar amp and it sounds better than anyting available in the stores. There are plenty of affordable small vintage PA’s around that you could rebuilt and modify for guitar use. The fun part is tuning it with the right parts. My amp really started to sing after putting a vintage silver/mica capacitor on the input.
    Biggest conributor to the tone (in my experience) is the speaker, I’ve built a replica of the Standel 25L15 (great jazz amp) and a big part of the magic in that amp is the JBL D130. That it’s built like a hifi amp doesn’t hurt either (two chokes, big transformers, seperate pre and poweramp) 🙂

    I’ve been using the Belden 8402 for a couple of years as a guitar cable, you won’t be dissapointed, it sounds great. The only downside is that it isn’t as flexible as standard guitar cable.I used Switchcraft plugs to be vintage correct.

    If you use flatwounds (I do) you might want to try the Thomastik JS112 strings. They have that vintage sound (to my ears at least).

    Have fun playing your new guitar!

    Kind regards,
    Peter

    • Thanks for the kind words, Peter, appreciated.

      A tube amp is in my future for sure, just can’t afford that step quite yet. I love swapping in and out caps, resistors, and the like to shape tone too, it is a lot of fun.

      Thanks for the tip on the strings, I just ordered a set to try out. The stock string set for the Collings is the D’Addario NYXL1252W nickel wound strings, with a light wound 3rd, 12-52. I’ve used the Thomastik-Infeld SB111 Acoustic Spectrum Series on one of my acoustic guitars, and they had really nice tone. I’ll look forward to giving the JS112’s a try!

      Originally I had planned to order the Belden 8402 with Switchcraft connectors, but the tech at BTPA encouraged me to give the Neutrik’s a try, so I went ahead and did that. I’ll report back on the results.

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

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