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Digital Subscriptions > Guitar Magazine > Aug-18 > COLLINGS I-30 LC


The Texan company reinvented the ES-335 with its much-admired I-35 model. Now it’s the turn of the ES-330. Chris Vinnicombe takes a look under the hood…


The Collings Guitars story began in the mid-1970s, when Bill Collings moved from Ohio to Houston, Texas, ditched his pre-med course in favour of an engineering job and began building guitars in his kitchen. Although Bill sadly passed away in July 2017 following a battle with cancer, he left behind a formidable instrument-building legacy and a company famed for its exacting standards whose instruments are loved by artists around the world.

Though Collings’ reputation as one of luthiery’s leading lights was built on his fiat-top and archtop acoustics, the company introduced its first mandolins in 1999 and by 2006 Collings was building electric guitars, too. First seen in prototype form at Winter NAMM then officially unveiled in November 2017, put simply, the Collings I-30 is to the Gibson ES-330 what the I-35 is to the ES-335. Although its inspiration comes directly from Gibson’s golden-era in Kalamazoo, a closer look at the I-30 reveals that a series of intelligent refinements have been carried out down in Austin, Texas. Aside from its more compact 15-inch lower bout, the most dramatic departure from the ES-330 blueprint can be discovered by peering through the I-30’s bassside f-hole. Unlike the hollow interior of an ES-330, the Collings features parallel trestle braces.

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About Guitar Magazine

The August 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine is on sale now and this month it’s all about Player power as we run the rule over four new models from the Player series: Fender’s replacement for the Mexican Standard line. As well as more traditional configurations, the Player series contains several guitars and basses that are far from standard, such as the nifty HH Jazzmaster that readers of the print mag can find behind the barn doors of our special edition cover. Elsewhere in this month’s issue we fly to Iceland to find a man dipping guitars in volcanic hot springs, investigate the issue of gender politics in the guitar industry, meet band-of-the-moment Boy Azooga, get to grips with an incredible staple-pickup ‘56 Les Paul Custom and put hot new gear from Collings, ThorpyFX, Fractal, Keeley, EarthQuaker Devices and more to test. On top of all that we have not one but two fantastic competitions with pro Audio-Technica monitor headphones and a one-off custom-painted Strat up for grabs. It’s a hot one, alright – download your copy of the August 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine now.