A vintage-style parlor guitar with a big sound.
by Teja Gerken
October 16, 2017
From its very beginning, Collings Guitars has taken inspiration from the classic steel-strings built during the Golden Era of American flattops, the 1920s and ‘30s. Now the company has dipped even further back into history with the introduction of its new Parlor models. We had a chance to check out a Parlor 2H T, generously provided by Gryphon Stringed Instruments, in Palo Alto, California.
With a width of only 12¼ inches across the lower bout, the Parlor’s size is about halfway between Martin’s size 1 and 2, which were popular in the mid-to-late 1800s. The guitar has a 12-fret neck with a slotted headstock, as well as other vintage-style touches including a pyramid bridge and herringbone purfling. It’s constructed with Sitka spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides, and all the materials used are of excellent quality.
As part of Collings’ relatively new T series, the Parlor 2H T has a nitrocellulose finish that is thinner than the company’s standard finish. It is also put together using animal protein glues and is built very lightly—our demo guitar was one of the lightest steel-strings I’ve ever held. The neck has a modified V shape and relatively wide string spacing, giving it more of a vintage feel than some contemporary necks. Also in accordance with other T series models, the Parlor 2H T includes Collings’ vintage-style handmade case. Featuring durable three-ply poplar construction with tough vinyl covering, these cases offer a custom fit and excellent protection.
Playing the Parlor 2H T was tons of fun. With its small dimensions, it is a perfect guitar to play on the couch, and its full and balanced sound makes for a sonically satisfying experience. The guitar’s quick response works especially well for playing fingerstyle or even classical material, but it also had enough headroom to sound great for light strumming or flatpicked single notes. It doesn’t have the volume or punch of a larger guitar, but in situations where power isn’t a concern, the Parlor 2H T offers a delicate, yet surprisingly rich voice that may be just the right thing for the living room or the studio. For players who prefer mahogany back and sides, Collings also offers the Parlor 1H T.
SPECS: Parlor-size steel-string flattop. Solid Sitka spruce top with scalloped X-bracing. Indian rosewood back and sides. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 24⁷/₁₆-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₁₆-inch string spacing at saddle. Waverly engraved bronze tuning machines. Made in USA. $5,130 street. Collingsguitars.com
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