Used Acoustic Guitars
Collings: USED D1AV(Item ID: USED D1AV Serial#: 22321)
2014 Dreadnought with Mahogany and Adirondack Spruce with Full Varnish Finish and "Vintage Now" Neck with 1.75" Nut Width
Though it is clear from the remarks below that Collings is being careful to temper one's expectations about the 'sometimes less than perfect' cosmetic characteristics of a varnish finish, he does allow that it can have a positive benefit to the sound of an instrument. We think Collings may be a little too modest on both counts. Because in our experience, every Collings varnish finished guitar we have had, while only a few, has been a remarkable instrument not just for the alluring and beautiful golden hue of its appearance, but especially for the splendid dense, rich character of its sound. And this guitar is no exception.
This 2014 custom Collings D-1 is in excellent cosmetic condition with only minor traces of wear to report, and its expertly applied amber varnish finish lends an alluring opulence to its appearance. And, as one should expect of a Collings guitar, its playability is superb. Moreover, if the voice of mahogany guitar with an Adirondack spruce top sets one's standard for clarity of sound, then look no further. With this superb guitar, one will experience a noble voice that is marked by precision with a sound that is firmly centered, open, and imbued with color - clarity on steroids.
Collings on Lacquer vs. Varnish:
"As many of you have noticed by now, there is a marked difference in the appearance of our varnish finish and our lacquer finish. A finish process like this is difficult for us. We've always tried to build very "clean" instruments with nice finishes, and varnish will never have the same appearance as our traditional lacquer finish. We are using an alkyd resin varnish that, by its very nature, will shrink, wrinkle, get "dull" and do a host of other things that we are not accustomed to seeing in our finish. Small imperfections cannot be sanded and touched up as with lacquer. Therefore, you might find specks, scratches, dings or thin spots in the finish.
The varnish does not have the sheen or gloss of lacquer, but has a deeper looking luster like early oil varnishes from the 1800s or the early Loar instruments. Orville Gibson used shellac, prior to Loar, which is evident from scraping the finish off of old instruments. Lloyd Loar used an oil based, alkyd resin varnish like that used on good violins. It was brushed on and sanded off. To "shine it up", they would French polish it with a spirit varnish or shellac, which would often result in a "tacky" or "gummy" finish. We're trying to get a glossy look with the alkyd resin, while at the same time, trying to avoid the "stickiness" of shellac. It has been a challenge, but one that we've enjoyed. It is certainly not conducive to volume production.
The varnish finish is softer than lacquer and will not hold up as well, but the tonal difference will make up for that to some customers. The varnish seems to create a faster response with deeper and warmer treble, and a greater overall dynamic range. Like all other guitars, this will vary from instrument to instrument, and will change over time as the varnish continues to dry during the first year or so. The varnish will continue to harden as the instrument ages, much like concrete does. As the varnish continues to cure, the sensitivity of the finish shouldn’t be as much of an issue."
This guitar includes a deluxe Cedar Creek archtop hardshell case. (used)
Click below to popup a larger image