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Thread: Collings A models Different models, differnent tones?

  1. #1
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    Dickson, TN

    Default Collings A models Different models, differnent tones?

    I am interested in reviews from those familiar with Collings with the difference in tone between the f holes and oval holes, as not only are the holes different the bracing is also, tone bars vs x-bracing. How does this affect the tone? So the MT vs MTO and/or MT2 vs MT2O. I am also interested in the difference in perceived tone the MT vs MT2 and/or MTO vs MT2O. Does the wood differences and in the MT2 series (engelmann vs adirondack or Italian, for example) translate to tonal differences with the MT series? Thank you in advance.
    Tony Huber
    1930 Martin Style C #14783
    2011 Mowry GOM
    2013 Hester F4 #31
    2014 Ellis F5 #322
    2017 Nyberg Mandola #172

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  3. #2
    Mando-Afflicted lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collings A models Different models, differnent tones?

    I can't compare, but having owned a Collings MT and I can attest to their top notch fit and finish, great tone woods (appearance and sound) and that A5 had a modern sound, but excellent for chop chords and clean resonant notes, as well. A truly great mandolin from my modest perspective. Sorry if I am not addressing your question in any complete manner. Just wanted to state the case for these beautiful mandolins.
    2020 Pava Pro A5 Torrefied Varnish
    1930's Stradolin A5
    1912 Gibson A Oval

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  5. #3
    Registered User
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    Big Stone Gap, VA

    Default Re: Collings A models Different models, differnent tones?

    we've had 3 base MT's, MT2V, base MF pass thru our home this year. We still have one MT and the MF. during my hunt I played over a dozen Collings of the mixed models.

    my thoughts are these-and they may vary with other folks.

    I feel the gloss top alone on any model tends to add a brighter tip to the note.
    I feel the englemann adds a bit of warmth and darker note quality vs adi tops.
    All of them can be loud, so I don't think about lack of projection with a Collings.
    They react with string choice and pick choice a lot.
    I feel a softer more controlled right hand works best on Collings vs a hard driving right hand(or vice versa for lefties).

    The MTO come with a standard neck profile that's fuller than the standard MT and 1 3/16" nut width. The shoulders are thicker and to my hands, has a less defined soft V and more of an oval shaped neck. I find the Pava and Northfield neck profile to feel close to the MTO. I found the MTO I had with GT to have too many overtones to suit my taste.(keep in mind this was the only MTO I have owned/played and the new owner loves it)

    I have recently found a satin finish base MTO that has a much more preferred tone for myself, but I still prefer F holes.

    The MT2V had the most responsive, complex, pretty tone I've heard in a Collings. adi top.

    I've found I prefer total satin finish in most mandolins, and definitely in Collings. I like the darker tone I get from the satin finish, and I prefer the feel and look of the satin-just personal preference.

    All of the Collings I've experienced have an ease of adjustability for the setup, come with excellent cut nut slots and typically spot on first fret action. They tend to arrive with what I call medium high action at the bridge and too much relief for my style of play. Takes less than 10 minutes for me to adjust some relief out and set the saddle flush to the bridge and play buzz free. Fret work has always been exceptional.

    Pick choice will effect tone with Collings in a very noticeable way, imo.

    I find the satin finish MT to feel almost weightless. my satin finish MF feels lighter than many other F models. Going on feel, have not actually weighed them.

    I have not played any with german or Carpathian spruce tops.

    I recently traded into a base MF that is probably one of the best mandolins I've had my hands on.


    **if you want a soundclip on the satin finish MTO send me a PM with your email-Tejonstreetmusic has it in stock, its one of the best sounding MTO's I've heard-but that's just me, YMMV**
    Last edited by darylcrisp; Feb-14-2016 at 11:15pm.

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  7. #4

    Default Re: Collings A models Different models, differnent tones?

    Tone is subjective, and subject to a lot of variables on any mandolin. Different strings, different picks, different players, instrument setup, etc. That said, wood pairings also make a huge difference. Collings makes a wide array of A model mandolins with different wood pairings, and various finish options. Bill purchased some maple from a violin builder several years back and has made a few mandolins with it. The A model built from this wood killed my appetite for a a Gilchrist A that I had been looking at. So, there are a lot of different Collings A models out there that you've never seen nor heard.

    They've made great strides tonally since the days of their single model offering- the MT2 (these were scarce as hen's teeth back in the early 2000's). The last few Collings mandolins that I have played have all been custom builds, but have also been scary good.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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  9. #5
    Registered User CelticDude's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    West Hartford, CT

    Default Re: Collings A models Different models, differnent tones?

    I have both an MT and an MT-O, both with Englemann tops, both with gloss tops. Thus the only difference on paper is the sound hole and corresponding bracing. Both are, IMHO, good examples of these instruments, very nicely made. Both sound rather nice to me. I'd describe the difference as: the oval hole is more "open" in tone, the f-hole is tighter. Not just a bit more resonance to the oval, but something that I'm at a loss to describe precisely. The MT has more "chop" as I understand it, and is thus better for BG. Otherwise, I like both for most genres, although at the moment I prefer the oval by a good margin. Especially for the Irish that I play mostly.

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