A second guitar page...

...created 15 June 2005

I wrote the original page about my instruments early last year, and a few things have changed since then, so a new page seems appropriate.

In November last year I was in Seattle at a harp event hosted by Dusty Strings, a terrific music store. For much of the weekend I was unemployed so spent rather too much time in the very well-stocked shop.

I played loads of different guitars and mandolins, and there was one particular model that had "TAKE ME HOME" inlaid on the front! So I did.

The guitar (pictured right) is a brand new Collings OM-1E. It's pretty much a replica of my 1930 Martin OM-18 - mahogany back & sides, (Engelmann) spruce top, ebony fingerboard & bridge. Like the original it's very lightly built, and has an explosive sound. As soon as I played my first chord of E major on the guitar I knew that it would be a fantastic recording instrument as it has a very bright top end - just like the old Martin.

Anyway, out came the credit card and the deed was done. I arrived back in Manchester a couple of weeks later and declared the guitar to customs, and had much the same experience I'd had in 2000 when I first imported my OM-42. This time the only person who knew how to do the paperwork was in the other terminal so I had to wait for the officer to arrive. They seemed quite surprised that I had volunteered to declare the guitar...

I have no immediate plans to use the Collings live, but it's proving fabulous in the studio. I'd only had the guitar for a few weeks when I was approached by Dan Miller, the editor of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine in the US, with news that a CD was being planned that would feature exclusively Collings instruments, and would I be interested in participating? The CD, Songs for Sophie, was arranged as a fundraiser for the daughter of the Collings general manager so I was delighted to get something together.

The CD is now available from this site - proceeds will be sent to the medical fund in America. It's an extraordinary recording that features some very good players. Details about the CD here.

So, a new toy was introduced into the arsenal as 2004 ended but worse was to follow in early 2005. Just before Christmas I sold my Gibson A-40 mandolin so found myself mandolinless (is that a word?) for the first time in years. I started to look around for something suitable and was pleasantly surprised to see how inexpensive really decent mandolins can cost. I was about to plump for an Eastman when I spotted a Collings MF-5 (left) on ebay. Much more money than I was planning to spend, but it is an impressive piece of work. In the same way the OM-1 guitar is based on the original Martin design the mandolin seems to be a remake of the original Gibson F-5. It's beautifully made throughout, but far more importantly, has an unbelievable sound. It arrived too late to feature on the previously mentioned CD but has been earning its keep in the studio during past weeks. It'll certainly be much in evidence on future releases.
The credit card has now been placed in a sealed vault! Well, for a little while anyway...a couple more instruments are on the way although no delivery dates are fixed. One's coming all the way from New Zealand while the other is from much closer to home. More info (and pictures) in due course...

Songs for Sophie fundraiser CD
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine
Previous guitar page from 2004
Go to shop
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Old Bridge Music
PO Box 7, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 9RY, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1943 602203   Fax: +44 (0)1943 435472