Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 32

Thread: Collings mandolin redesign

  1. #1
    Registered User Russ Jordan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Tryon, NC
    Posts
    1,087

    Default Collings mandolin redesign

    In the fine article linked below, Steve Nall says “ Eventually I was tasked with helping re-design the mandolins…..”

    Can anyone (I’m thinking Mandobar can!) address what the redesigned features were, and when they began?

    https://acousticguitar.com/steve-nal...ibextid=Zxz2cZ
    Russ Jordan

  2. #2

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign?

    Russ, I don’t have a clue, and to be honest, I haven’t seen a recent mandolin build from Collings in two years. TME gets I think 10 mandolins from Collings a year, maybe. Most are pre sold.

    I read part of that article and stopped with the part where the interviewer states that Bill was not a very good business man. Bill was a savvy businessman, and he knew how to make money.

    To be honest, most of the people I knew and worked with at Collings are gone. I think the last Collings instrument I bought was in 2020.
    karma... it's a thing

  3. #3
    Registered User Russ Jordan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Tryon, NC
    Posts
    1,087

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign?

    Thanks, Mandobar.

    Yes, he needed an editor—I wonder if he meant that exactly the way it came out…….

    “It seems like Collings was much less a savvy businessman than a brilliant luthier and engineer”
    Russ Jordan

  4. #4

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign?

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Jordan View Post
    Thanks, Mandobar.

    Yes, he needed an editor—I wonder if he meant that exactly the way it came out…….

    “It seems like Collings was much less a savvy businessman than a brilliant luthier and engineer”
    Russ, that was a HUGE turnoff of me and one of the reasons that I no longer read Acoustic Guitar.

    As for the case building, Collings may have to resort to building some, because Gibson has bought up Ameritage and GWW. Collings uses the Ameritage cases for all their electrics.
    karma... it's a thing

  5. #5
    Registered User Matt Hutchinson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    589

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign?

    What I do know is that Collings currently has one person working on mandolins, so thatís why output isnít high at the moment.

    I interviewed Steve Nall last year. Hereís the episode if you want a bit more context about the company. Steveís a really cool guy. Incredibly passionate about Collings and also incredibly humble.

    https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcas...=1000570000710

  6. The following members say thank you to Matt Hutchinson for this post:


  7. #6
    Adrian Minarovic
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, Europe
    Posts
    3,297

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign?

    After reading the article I think the "redesign" may be a thing from past, not recent. Collings mandolins don't show much change in physical shapes from their beginning. I believe Mike Kemnitzer was involved in the initial design but the internal details like exact form of neck joint or somejigs, fixtures or methods of building may have changed any time and factories would that call redesign as well.
    Adrian

  8. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Invergordon,Scotland
    Posts
    2,760

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign?

    All this makes me think I'm quite glad I got my Collings MT when I did. It's been a very good mandolin for me. I've had it for a while now.
    David A. Gordon

  9. #8

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    After reading the article I think the "redesign" may be a thing from past, not recent. Collings mandolins don't show much change in physical shapes from their beginning. I believe Mike Kemnitzer was involved in the initial design but the internal details like exact form of neck joint or somejigs, fixtures or methods of building may have changed any time and factories would that call redesign as well.
    Actually it was Will Kimble who helped with the initial design. If you search around on the Cafe archives I think there is a thread where Will explains a bit of the background. Bill was certainly an innovator though and he designed and redesigned a lot of the jigs, joints, etc.

    I don’t believe there’s any plans to up production on the mandolins at this point. Mandolins are going to dribble out of there for the foreseeable future. Right now they are concentrating on electrics and acoustics. I looked at the new price list….and I had to sit down. But TME still has a really nice selection of used Collings mandolins that they have managed to acquire, some the likes of you may never see again. And they are still reasonably priced, so if you are looking for a high end Collings mandolin, especially a varnished model, it’s the time to buy it. Some of the ones they have even have the handmade cases.
    karma... it's a thing

  10. #9
    ************** Caleb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    DFW, Texas
    Posts
    3,607

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign?

    Is the lack of mandolin personnel at Collings due to a shortage of talent/qualified people, or has the demand for their mandolins gone down? It's hard for me to imagine the latter scenario being true.

    I work in the manufacturing world and do aircraft repair work. I know in our field it's getting harder to find qualified people (or people who even want to learn) to do the work. In fact, I got my job by already being at the company in another role but showing a willingness to learn. It's actually kind of scary how many skilled jobs there are out there going unfilled.
    ...

  11. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    334

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign?

    I was not involved in the design of Collings mandolins.

  12. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Will Kimble For This Useful Post:


  13. #11
    Adrian Minarovic
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, Europe
    Posts
    3,297

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign?

    I'd had some conversations with Mike K. many years ago and although the old email account is gone I still have the impression that he was somehow involved in the CAD design. I even was gifted my first CADCAM software from him with some basic 3D models of F-5. You can see the Collings f holes are distinctivly similar (same?) to older Nugget f holes, kinda upright on the body (Nugget changed the f holes few years later to a more slanted style closer to Loar shape) and they also collaborated on the TOB A-model.
    All of this may not be fully correct as I'm digging really deep into old memories here with no material to check....
    Here is one old thread that has some info from Will Kimble:
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...llings-history
    Adrian

  14. #12
    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Lawrence, KS
    Posts
    3,473
    Blog Entries
    12

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign?

    Better link for the above with Will's comments. I may weigh in later today if time permits. There are statements being made here that are not accurate. Bill talked to a lot of builders about details which should be no surprise.

  15. The following members say thank you to Mandolin Cafe for this post:


  16. #13
    Fingers of Concrete ccravens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Crockett, TX
    Posts
    1,038

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign?

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Kimble View Post
    I was not involved in the design of Collings mandolins.
    So this is the 2nd or 3rd time he has denied the rumor that he helped with the design.

    By now, do you think we should take his word for it?

    It sounds like Will is no longer suffering fools..
    Chris Cravens

    Girouard A5
    Montana Flatiron A-Jr.
    Passernig Mandola
    Leo Posch D-18

  17. #14

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign?

    Quote Originally Posted by ccravens View Post
    It sounds like Will is no longer suffering fools..
    Really?

  18. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    334

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign?

    Honestly I donít mean to be fussy. I have so much love and respect for Bill Collings and still have friends there. I would be embarrassed for them to think that I thoughtÖ. I mean I built my first mandolin in 2000 and there were already Collings mandolins on the market. Besides, the truth - as I thoughtfully shared in the referenced post - is more than interesting enough. Best to all, Iím outta here!

  19. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    1,110

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign

    Someone recently told me that Bill knew and maybe at some point worked with Tom Ellis, or maybe just good friends, and that Ellis had some influence on Collings mandolins. I never have thought the two mandolins were similar, at least in sound, but neither do I think the Pava mandolins sound like Ellis mandolins. I would be curious what the difference in construction between an Ellis and a Collings and what would have prompted a change in the Collings.

    PS: I have probably not played enough Pavas to render my opinion as particularly valid.
    Linksmaker

  20. #17
    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Lawrence, KS
    Posts
    3,473
    Blog Entries
    12

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Jordan View Post
    In the fine article linked below, Steve Nall says “ Eventually I was tasked with helping re-design the mandolins…..”

    Can anyone (I’m thinking Mandobar can!) address what the redesigned features were, and when they began?

    https://acousticguitar.com/steve-nal...ibextid=Zxz2cZ
    Just read the article. Changes to the mandolin line did occur. Exactly when I wasn't told, but I noticed the difference at the last NAMM Show held in Anaheim (but not the previous year, so some time between) before the pandemic shut it down for a few years. I point blank quizzed a senior Collings employees I'd known for probably 20 years--I'm not going to name but probably some can guess--who was always at the show, had a major hand in a lot of business (particularly their mandolins) at the company and that person confirmed. Steve (Nall) used the word "re-design" in the article. That word hearkens all kinds of possible scenarios if you allow your mind to go there. But it was clearly and exactly what he said about the company later that is telling. His exact words in the article were: "... if we had rested on our laurels. If you would’ve left it up to the young me, it would have been, Don’t mess with it if it ain’t broke. And that is just not the motto of this company."

    There was an internal consensus the mandolins could be improved and they took steps and made the changes they thought would achieve those results. It was never announced and that was by design. They saw an opportunity to improve a product and took it. I can't see this as any kind of big deal. That's what great companies do.

    And I get it that some people don't like what was said about Bill's reputation as business operator, but it doesn't change facts. If you don't like it, it's best to take it up with the people in the industry who have plenty of opinions about that subject, those that lost their jobs, and the many that survived and are still there. That's not just Steve Nall's opinion. It isn't a secret that profit wasn't what motivated Bill. He wanted to build great products and did. And they still do, a testament to his legacy. You can say he's a great businessman because he built a company that has manufactured legendary products with few parallels. But that's different than being a financial success. Which brings up another fact: those vintage cases will never appear again manufactured new by Collings. Never. Cost more to produce than to manufacture. Then there are other details that make it impossible for that to occur.

    A combination of factors of how they operated set up the perfect storm a lot of business endured: a city with skyrocketing labor costs and home prices, then a pandemic. There are other "sausage making" details that don't need to be aired that have made it a tough run of late for Collings as a business, but I don't think anyone thinks it has had an impact in the quality of their instruments. In an industry that's hard enough to run, in a pricey town where median home prices skyrocketed in a short period of time, see Austin Monitor article, they're moving on and continuing to build great instruments. Fewer, yes.

    I thought the article was spot on.

  21. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Mandolin Cafe For This Useful Post:


  22. #18
    Registered User Russ Jordan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Tryon, NC
    Posts
    1,087

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign

    Thanks, Scott. It sounds as if the "re-design" was subtle. I's like to have a new and an older model side by side to see if these old eyes could spot the changes!
    Russ Jordan

  23. #19
    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Lawrence, KS
    Posts
    3,473
    Blog Entries
    12

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Jordan View Post
    Thanks, Scott. It sounds as if the "re-design" was subtle. I's like to have a new and an older model side by side to see if these old eyes could spot the changes!
    Never said this was visual. It's possible, although I don't think so, and I should have said as such. It was the sound and response I noticed. You can make a lot of changes to how an instrument sounds by altering tops, internal bracing, etc.

  24. The following members say thank you to Mandolin Cafe for this post:


  25. #20
    Teacher, repair person
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    3,592

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign

    In manufacturing, re-design is a big word, and can mean anything from big changes, such as changes in graduation, bracing, and voicing, to smaller changes, such as fret size, nut width, etc.

    The only way to find out what Collings might have meant would be to contact them and ask.

  26. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Hiram, Maine
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign

    Quote Originally Posted by Links View Post
    Someone recently told me that Bill knew and maybe at some point worked with Tom Ellis, or maybe just good friends, and that Ellis had some influence on Collings mandolins. I never have thought the two mandolins were similar, at least in sound, but neither do I think the Pava mandolins sound like Ellis mandolins. I would be curious what the difference in construction between an Ellis and a Collings and what would have prompted a change in the Collings.

    PS: I have probably not played enough Pavas to render my opinion as particularly valid.
    If I remember correctly, Ellis ran the mandolin production side at Fillings before hanging his own shingle. Pava also worked in production at Collins as well.

  27. #22
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    South of Cleburne, North of Hillsboro, Texas
    Posts
    4,481

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign

    The full quote from Steve Nall:

    Eventually I was tasked with helping re-design the mandolins, redoing the necks, because I was using the skills that Bill had helped me develop.
    indicates the changes were to the mandolin necks.
    WWW.MARKGUNTER.NET
    Coming Soon: New site, The Amateur Mandolinist
    ----------------------------------
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN

    ----------------------------------
    HEY! The Cafe has Social Groups, check 'em out. I'm in these groups:
    Newbies Social Group | The Song-A-Week Social
    The Woodshed Study Group | Blues Mando
    - Advice For Mandolin Beginners
    - YouTube Stuff

  28. #23

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign

    Quote Originally Posted by Mainer73 View Post
    If I remember correctly, Ellis ran the mandolin production side at Fillings before hanging his own shingle. Pava also worked in production at Collins as well.
    ? Maybe autocorrect at work there, but this does not sound quite right, after having listened to the Mandolins & Beer Podcast with Tom Ellis. Some folks that worked at Collings, including Pava, may have contributed something to processes there [Ellis mandolins], but IIRC he was never with Collings, with a few intervening years of doing solely inlay work ("jobbing" for some big manufacturers) between mandolin production.
    2019 Northfield NF-F5S
    some home music videos

  29. #24
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    1,152

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign

    Just to add a detail, Stefan Passernig told me several years ago that he helped to build the first 50 or so mandolins at Collings, all MT2s. But I don't think he had any input on design. Rather, he learned how to build them there and then went out on his own.
    Cary Fagan

  30. #25

    Default Re: Collings mandolin redesign?

    Sorry but I'm a newbie and am wondering what/ who TME stands for?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •