Introducing The Collings Traditional T Series



“In the early and mid-70s, I was thinking about how to make guitars that would hold up better than most of the ones that came across my repair bench. I wanted to make guitars that were powerful, had more volume, and would last for a hundred years because they were built right. I made them so that when you put in a little, they would give you more than you put in! They had a fast attack and a sparkle to them. Now, maybe because I’m older or because I’ve been studying old guitars for the Waterloo project, I’m listening differently. I’m hearing things that could be done a little different, something a little warmer and rounder. These new guitars have a more fundamental sound; they take things in a different direction than we’ve gone before.” – Bill Collings

The new Traditional or “T” Series of dreadnought and OM guitars reflect Bill Collings’ return to his guitar making roots and offer a new tonal variation on the distinctive Collings sound. Prompted by the development of the depression-era inspired Waterloo guitars, Bill had an idea for a new series of Collings guitars that would possess a strong fundamental tonal response characteristic of vintage guitars from the 1930s era.

Each T Series guitar is built using animal protein glue and a very thin all-nitrocellulose lacquer finish on the body, making them exceptionally dynamic and responsive. Bracing and tone woods are adjusted for weight and thickness to create a voicing characterized by warm rounded highs and a present low midrange, while retaining a quick attack and strong projection. The T Series models also feature a new Traditional neck profile based on our Vintage Now neck, but with a slightly more tapered carve and rolled fingerboard edges. Vintage-inspired appointments include gold mother of pearl inlays with maple/rosewood purflings for 1-style guitars and small brown herringbone purflings for 2H-style guitars. A full list of the Traditional Series specs can be found below.

One of the most exciting elements of the Traditional Series is the inclusion of the new vintage-inspired Collings hardshell cases. Each Traditional Series guitar will come with one of these handmade lightweight cases designed and built in the Collings shop. The vintage-style construction and fit of each of these new cases is perfectly matched to the instrument it contains. The pairing of these new Traditional guitars and cases makes for a combination of old world quality and aesthetic that is unprecedented among instruments available today.


The Traditional T Series construction/voicing package is available for D1, D2H, OM1, and OM2H models with the following specifications:

– Specially selected premium tone woods
– “Traditional” voicing with pre-war style Sitka spruce bracing
– Animal protein glue
– Very thin all-nitrocellulose lacquer body finish w/ aging toner
– Maple/rosewood purfling (1-style) or small brown herringbone (2H-style) w/ custom wood rosette
– Gold mother-of-pearl logo and fingerboard inlays
– Custom vintage neck profile
– 1 3/4″ bone nut w/ 2 5/16″ bridge spacing
– Cutthrough bone saddle
– No tongue brace
– Tortoise (1-style) or Ivoroid w/ black dot (2H-style) bridge pins
– Collings original vintage-inspired case

Shewchuck Custom F Style Mandolin

We’re very pleased to introduce you to this new custom F-style mandolin! This Cool Kid is a one-of-a-kind mandolin from a fine local luthier, Joel Shewchuck, who’s quality instruments are often difficult to come by. Known and revered in the concert violin world, his pieces are lovingly crafted with only the finest materials. He crafted this very special mandolin exclusively for Acoustic Vibes, and we couldn’t be more ecstatic to share it with all of you!

“The thought process in the design was to have a mandolin that could cross into different styles with a balance between punch and resonance, with a historical instrument look. The soundhole design allowed the use of an X-brace, a major component of the design.” — Joel Shewchuck, Luthier


Shewchuck (13 of 20)

Shewchuck (4 of 20)


-Adirondack spruce top and braces
-Historical early instrument style soundhole
-X-bracing top & back
-Quilted Big-Leaf maple back and sides
-Brazilian rosewood headplate and binding
-13.85″ scale


See the listing for this gorgeous mandolin on our website by clicking here!


Bedell Guitars Brazilian Rosewood Promotion

Bedell Guitars has always been at the forefront of sustainability, stewardship, and forest preservation. Recently, the guitar company partnered with Stand For Trees, a forest conservation platform that empowers individuals and businesses to protect the world’s most spectacular forest landscapes and the communities and wildlife that call them home.

As a special promotion, with every Brazilian rosewood Bedell guitar purchased and registered, the guitar company will buy $100 Stand For Trees certificate in your name, which goes towards specifically supporting conservation efforts in Pará, Brazil.

“Bedell Guitars recognizes the rareness of this revered tonewood,” states Tom Bedell, founder Bedell Guitars. “Even though the Brazilian rosewood we use for our guitars was harvested legally Bedell wants to go further to support conservation practices in the area.”


See our selection of Brazilian rosewood Bedell guitars by clicking here.

Find out more about the project by clicking here.


Quick Guide: Choosing A Tonewood

So you have decided to dive into the world of solid wood acoustic guitars and are now faced with the choice… which wood do you choose? There is no “right” answer to this question, as it depends on what style of music you play, technical habits, and your personal ear. Acoustic guitars are defined by the wood they are made of, and that wood directly affects the tone and sound.

The range of different tones largely comes from the guitar body, which is divided into two sections: the top – or soundboard, and the back and sides – usually grouped together, as they are always made of the same material. It is the combination of these parts that gives each guitar it’s own unique voice. If you’re just starting out or having trouble deciding on a wood, here’s an outline of the most popular wood choices and their one-of-a-kind tones.


Spruce –


Spruce is the most popular wood used for guitar tops. It’s characterized by its pale color and understated figuring. Spruce has a very good all-rouder tone: sweet and smooth, but not outrageously bright, with just enough warmth so that it doesn’t sound thin. Spruce sounds good when combined with just about any other tonewood. Sitka spruce is the most commonly found type, with grain varieties such as ‘bear claw’ that add to the aesthetic appeal. Sitka is characterized by is clear fundamental harmonics. Engleman spruce is typically from North America, and has a warmer, creamier tone than Sitka. Adirondack is a lesser-used type of spruce, with a louder and brasher tone.


Cedar –


Most likely the second most popular wood for guitar tops, cedar’s color is a bit richer and redish-brown. Cedar is lot less dense than spruce, which makes it quieter and less bright, with less sustain. However, cedar is much warmer, and takes less time to reach its full tonal potential. As a result, cedar is a popular choice with finger-style players.


Mahogany –


Mahogany is a dense wood with a dark finish and close grain. It has a much warmer, darker tone than both spruce and cedar. Mahogany-topped guitars play with a strong “punchy” tone that would be well-suited for country blues playing. As it’s dark color alludes, mahogany is tonally deep and robust.


Koa –


A hardwood from Hawaii, koa’s tone is the midrange of mahogany mixed with the top end of maple. Due to its density, a new koa guitar starts out sounding a little bright and tight. But the more a koa guitar is played, the more the sound opens up, expanding the midrange with a richer, sweeter, more resonant tone. Koa has a somewhat more “midrangy” tone that works well for rhythm and truly shines in guitars made for Hawaiian-style slide playing.


Back And Sides:

Rosewood –


One of the most desirable and sought-after guitar woods, rosewood takes the strong midrange of mahogany and expands it in both directions. Rosewood sounds deeper in the low end to create a complex bottom, and brighter on the top end which contributes to a fatness of tone on the upper registers. Guitars made of rosewood also have a pronounced “reverby” tone, caused by a strong, clear set of sympathetic harmonics. It has a traditional, iconic sound that’s very familiar to the ear.


Mahogany –


When chosen for the back and sides, mahogany has somewhat high velocities of sound, contributing a lot to overtone coloration. Lacking low-end frequencies and sustaining reverberation, the tone of mahogany is described as “woody” as opposed to “metallic”.


Koa –


Koa makes a very balanced sounding guitar when used for the back and sides. It combines the warmth of rosewood with much of the brightness of mahogany. Koa seems to have a little more fullness in the midrange, and can tend to be a bit variable.


Maple & Walnut –


Maple and Walnut tend to be more acoustically transparent than other tonewoods, due to a low velocity of sound and a high degree of internal damping. This means that they allow tonal characteristics of the top to be heard without the addition of unneeded coloration and may even serve to reduce some of the overtones from the top. The harder, denser examples of these woods tend to lean slightly more toward the tonal direction of mahogany, while softer examples tend toward greater tonal transparency.


There are so many different choices and combinations of woods that your acoustic guitar can be made of. We suggest playing a wide variety of guitars to find the perfect one that matches your style and character.

George Lowden At Acoustic Vibes Music

We were so honored to host George Lowden at our shop for an informative, enlightening workshop! For those of you who could not attend, we’d like to share this video of the event filmed by the great folks over at Direct Current Video. Enjoy!

An Evening With George Lowden

An Evening With George Lowden

of Lowden Guitars


March 25th, 2016 at 7pm here at Acoustic Vibes Music 

Join us for a meet and greet reception for George lowden where he will give a seminar on his philosophy of guitar making and there will be a concert featuring Lowden guitars by a local artist!

Acoustic Vibes Music 2070 E. Southern Ave. Tempe, AZ 85282 P: 480-656-7749

7 Intriguing Facts About Taylor Guitars

Taylor is one of the most admired and revered brands in acoustic guitars. The guitars are known for their easy playability and undeniable, signature sound. Throughout their 40+ years in the industry, Taylor has created game-changing innovations all while concentrating on ecology and sustainability. Here are 7 facts about why Taylor is one of our favorite brands!


Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars

1. Before co-founding the company, Bob Taylor used to build instruments in wood shop class at school in the early 1970’s, trying to replicate the Echo Ranger 12 string. He later teamed up with Kurt Listug in 1974 to buy a guitar shop in southern California and Taylor Guitars was born.


2. The NT (New Technology) neck is a patented Taylor innovation. While most guitar companies were building necks with V profiles, Taylor designed his necks with slimmer dimensions to feel better in the player’s hand, with low, even action. The NT neck offers optimal contact of the wood and perfect neck angle.

The Taylor NT neck


3. Another Taylor exclusive is the Expression System (ES), which creates one of the most natural-sounding acoustic guitar pickup possible. It uses sensors to capture the movement of the top wood. With a low-profile set of controls, the ES system allows a player to plug an acoustic guitar straight into the board to produce natural, warm and woody tones.

The Taylor ES Expression System


4. Taylor is a company that is dedicated to wood conservation and sustainability. In recent years, they’ve taken on a more active roll in responsible forestry. The company operates an ebony mill in Cameroon, and co-ops in Honduras in order to source mahogany responsibly.

Bob Taylor selecting ebony pieces


5. The Taylor 614ce won Best Acoustic Guitar of 2015 by Music and Sound Retailer. This model features an array of tone-enhancing refinements that transform the maple’s tone profile into a richer, warmer, more complex sound.

The Taylor 614ce


6. The 145,000 square foot Taylor manufacturing facility is located about 20 miles east of downtown San Diego in El Cajon, California. A free, guided tour of the guitar factory is open to the public every Monday through Friday.

Inside the Taylor Guitar factory


7. Some notable Taylor Guitar musicians and artists include: Gustavo Cerati, Jason Mraz,Taylor Swift, Israel Houghton, Joe Ely, Rob Thomas, RJ Thompson, Switchfoot, Tony Iommi, Rowan Meldal-Johnsen, Air Supply, Hillsong, John 5, Dave Matthews, Rolling Stones, Jars of Clay, Shawn Mendes, Jewel, Johnny Rzeznik, Iron & Wine, Tori Kelly.

Taylor Swift and her red Taylor Guitar


Taylor Guitars is truly one of the most iconic, innovative acoustic guitar manufacturers in the industry. Once you play a Taylor guitar it’s easy to see why they are so well-loved. We’re proud to carry this brand in our shop, and we know that Taylor Guitars will continue to craft quality, great-sounding instruments.

This March – Super Hot Taylor Days at Acoustic Vibes!

2785-Email_AcousticVibesThis coming March we’re double dipping in the Taylor pool with 2 days in a row of Taylor Sunshine, here at our shop in warm Arizona.


Starting on Friday, March 18th at 7pm we have the Taylor Roadshow. It will be an evening of guitar talk and demos with the very impressive Eric Sakimoto extraordinaire and Taylor factory staff. We want to know what YOU want to see and play. Please let us know so Taylor can build it and bring it! Just email Kathryn directly at or reach her by phone: 480-656-7749

You can also RSVP and register here to win some Taylor gear and strings.

Saturday, March 19th from noon-4pm we have our annual Find Your Fit sales event. Our Taylor Factory experts will give you a personal guitar consultation and help you discover the perfect fit for you.

It’s gonna be an awesome weekend – we look forward to having you here!

Scott Fore with Bourgeois Guitars

Ladies n’ Gents…musician Scott Fore with Bourgeois Guitars located up in Lewiston, Maine stopped in yesterday here at Acoustic Vibes Music in Tempe, AZ to play us a little jig.
He chose our Bourgeois Dread, Fully Torrefied Aged Tone Hide Glue beauty. She has a dry, woody sound, with a nice chime and sustain. Great balance and articulation, as well. Rich colors, a strong, pronounced grain and a very sleek glossy finish.
See the photos and specs here 

Freeeeee Banjo Workshop!

Who doesn’t love the sound of Free? And when it’s in conjunction with the words Banjo and Workshop, it sounds even better.

Tom Nechville of Nechville Banjos will be doing a free workshop here at our store on Tuesday, November 24th at 7pm.

Learn from Tom how to get the best sound out of your banjo! So bring your picks and even your banjo!

Wanna see what Nechville Banjos are all about? Go here.



Craig Thatcher and The Martin Experience

Last night was fantastic! Great evening with Craig Thatcher and our Martin rep, Jim. Thanks for coming out and making it a fun night, bringing lots of awesome guitars, free shirts and other Martin swag!                                                                                                                                                                                                               Here’s a quick video of Craig Thatcher playing our Martin Custom Shop OM – it’s Adirondack Spruce top, Guatamalan back and sides with koa binding. She’s gorgeous, you can find her here:                                                                                                                                                                                   Sorry for the shakiness… we’re musicians not videographers 😉

Are you doing it right?

A thorough understanding of humidity and how it affects guitars is essential to guitar care and maintenance.  Your high-end acoustic guitars are at risk when your humidity becomes excessively low or high.


So how does relative humidity affect guitars?

Every organic, porous substance tries to equalize to the surrounding air, both in temperature and humidity. Wood also equalizes to the surrounding conditions. When wood takes on moisture, it swells, and when wood gives up moisture, it shrinks. This is a physical characteristic of wood.

Forty-five to fifty percent relative humidity is considered optimum for effective preservation of wooden objects like guitars. If the humidity where you store your guitar stays around 45% relative humidity, you minimize the risk that your guitar will become damaged. At the Martin factory, they maintain a temperature of 72° Fahrenheit and a relative humidity level of 50%. They believe that if these levels are maintained where you store your guitars, then your instruments will benefit by remaining stabilized and close to factory specification.

What Can You Do?

Guitars will display symptoms of improper moisture content, and these symptoms can be detected. Remember, just because a guitar has not yet cracked doesn’t mean that it is in good condition. Use the information below to determine the condition of your guitars.

Keeping a watchful eye on your guitar inventory will help you maintain proper humidity and keep your guitar stock in perfect shape.

Low Humidity

Low humidity is usually more of a problem. The guitar slowly dries, the wood slowly shrinks and the top slowly lowers, bringing the strings along with it. With no other way of relieving the stress, the wood cracks.

The obvious answer is to use a humidifier. The largest problem lies in determining how humid you should make the air, so you will need a hygrometer to measure humidity. Hygrometers are available in various price ranges with less expensive models sacrificing accuracy. For players with extensive inventory, a professional humidity monitor is probably more appropriate.

Excessive Humidity

Guitars that are exposed to excessive humidity begin to swell. When they reach their limit, seams separate, bridges become loose and action is unbearable. Humidity can be subtracted with a dehumidifier. In the summer, when it is humid outside and you air-condition your home, you are in effect dehumidifying your home. In some areas additional dehumidification may be required, and there are desiccant and refrigerant varieties of dehumidifiers available.


Typical Effects of humidity changes on guitars

At 60% Relative Humidity or Above

High levels of humidity can be detrimental as well. Typical symptoms are tarnished frets and strings, corrosion to nickel, chrome or gold plating material on tuning machines, swelling of the top and other wood components, high action and loose braces and bridges.

At 45-50% Relative Humidity

All guitars are in good condition.


At 40% Relative Humidity

Guitars may begin to show sharp fret ends. The area of the fingerboard that extends over the body may begin to develop a small crack from the 12th or 14th fret down toward the soundhole.


At 35% Relative Humidity

Tops begin to shrink; the surface of the soundboard may look and feel rippled or “dried in.” Sharp fret ends will be more evident.


At 30% Relative Humidity

A guitar may crack, but even those that are not cracked have lost a considerable amount of moisture and the tops are sunken. Often a higher saddle is necessary to make the guitar playable.


At 25% Relative Humidity

Most guitars crack. A lot of fret filing is needed.
Information retrieved from C. F. Martin & Co., Inc.

Steve Martin & Edie Brickell Music Video “Won’t Go Back” with ML-1 Baritone Banjo by BÉLA FLECK

The day after Steve Martin purchased his ML-1 (Béla Fleck Baritone Banjo) he called Gold Tone to tell co creator Wayne Rogers that he was so inspired by this instrument that he had already written a song. A few months later it became the title track of Steve and Edie Brickell’s new album “So Familiar”The album comes out October 30th by Rounder Records.

Steve Martin, as you know, is an accomplished comedian. However, a lot of people do not fully realize that he is also a longtime and very accomplished banjo player. As of late, Steve Martin has been very involved in his musical efforts, particularly with his bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers. This record album “So Familiar” is a follow up to a previous collaboration between Martin and Eddie Brickell on their 2013 debut “Love Has Come for You”.

“All my banjo playing friends agree, when you get a new banjo there’s always a new song in it waiting to be discovered,” says Martin of the genesis of “Won’t Go Back.” “I had just acquired a new baritone banjo — one that’s pitched lower than a regular banjo, and uses thicker, wound strings. I was introduced to it by Béla Fleck who spearheaded its invention. I picked it up and started noodling on it, and this banjo tune came out. I sent it off to Edie, and she worked her magic on it. ~ Steve Martin

“I took a long walk one morning listening to Steve’s banjo track playing on my phone and heard myself singing this song as I walked along,” Brickell recalls of writing the track. “I realized I was determined to leave behind a painful way of thinking and move on to better times. So grateful Steve’s banjo melody inspired me in this way.” ~ Edie Brickell

Click here to see our ML-1 here!

Watch the video below or Learn more about the Gold Tone ML-1 Bela Fleck Baritone Banjo.