Jazz Guitar Today continues the series of articles featuring ‘Flattops in Jazz’. Mark Althans of Collings Guitars discusses the beginnings of the Julian Lage Signature model.
Collings Guitars and Julian Lage began closely working together at the advent of our new Waterloo line. The flagship Waterloo model, our WL-14 ladder braced with t-bar neck, was of particular interest to Julian for reasons that would carry over into his fondness for our Traditional series, and then provide fodder for a prototype OM1 A T, which soon paved the way for the Collings Julian Lage signature OM in 2016.
An instrument with an honest and neutral tonal character was the running theme of discourse, but dynamic nuances and “weight” of individual notes across the frequency range became the focus of continuing objectives.
In further pursuit of this, several distinctly different necks were built to bring out observable variances in response and vibrational dwell. These different neck constructs were listened to (all on the one prototype body) by Bill Collings, Julian Lage and lead Collings builders to determine which neck construction would offer the desired vibration and frequency exchange from
Julian was not interested in an instrument that made everything sound beautiful and harmonically rich in an exaggerated way. He wanted a guitar that only rewarded strong technique and confident execution. It was very important to him that the guitar did not flatter weaker efforts and impulses, and it was quite fascinating to discover the aspects of the guitar build that would attenuate or boost this type of response and resonance behavior.