Collings CJ Custom Slope Dread Pays Homage to Vintage Gibson J-35

A word from one of our owners, Jim Baggett, on three spectacular Collings CJ Custom guitars – prototypes of Collings’ upcoming  CJ35 acoustics that he’s been working on with Bill Collings. (NOTE: ALL of the prototype CJ35/CJ Customs we received prior to Collings release of the new CJ35 model have been added at the end of this article – check ’em out!):

The Collings Custom CJs at Mass Street Music were inspired by my late 30s Gibson J-35. These are different than most modern guitars – with a short scale (24 7/8″ on two of them) and three non-scalloped tone bars (on all three). These sound very different from a typical Martin or traditional Collings. We intentionally tightened these guitars up. The sound is compressed significantly and the short scale makes me feel like a real guitar player. It’s really amazing what a fraction of an inch can do, giving you easier reach and less tension. We collaborated on three variations of these.

Collings CJ Custom Slope Dread Sitka with Mahogany

The CJ with a Sitka top and Mahogany back and sides is Jim’s favorite.


The CJ MH SS SB Custom is a short scale with  Sitka Spruce/Mahogany, the CJ MhA SS SB Custom is a short scale Adirondack Spruce/Mahogany, and the CJ G Maple SB Custom is a standard scale (25.4″) German Spruce/Maple.  The fact that every player in our store seems to prefer a different guitar is very encouraging. I have tried to block out the opinions of others and make my own decision. The Sitka/Mahogany sent me home with tired fingers  – I just couldn’t put it down.

Collings CJ Custom Slope Dread Adirondack top Mahogany back and sides

Our Repair Shop Manager, Mike H. favors this CJ Custom with the Ad top and Mahogany back and sides.

My old fav, the J-35, is still at Collings right now, but if my memory serves me, this Sitka/Mahogany is the Alpha pup. Not the loudest like the Adirondack, nor the prettiest like the German Spruce/Maple, but the one that continues to surprise and tickle my curiosity.

Collings CJ Custom Slope Dread German Spruce, Maple back and sides

Our acoustic manager Tim Nelson says this Collings CJ Custom with a German Spruce top and Maple is “very responsive to even the lightest touch”.


JUNE 2012 – We just received a few more of these incredible Collings CJ35 Prototypes/Colling CJ Customs based on Boss Jim’s vintage Gibson J-35. Here they are:

The Collings CJ MhA SS SB Custom

Collings CJ MhA SS SB Custom acoustic from Mass St Music

All the elements come together so well in this CJ MhA SS SB Custom. This one also has the non-scalloped, 3 tone bar bracing (traditional X bracing). Check out that burst! It’s doesn’t get any better.


The Collings CJ MhA SS Custom with an Adirondack top –

Collings special CJ MhA SS Custom from Mass St Music

This CJ MhA SS Custom also features non-scalloped bracing with 2 tone bars instead of 3 – and a sweet ivoroid binding against the natural Adirondack top. Wow!


And this gorgeous Collings CJ Mh SS SB Custom – with a Sitka top and 2 tone bar, non-scalloped bracing –

Collings CJ Mh SS SB Custom acoustic from Mass St Music

This Collings CJ Mh SS SB features a Sitka Spruce top, again with straight, non-scalloped bracing – here with 2 tone bars.

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  1. Mass St Music August 2012 Staff Gear Picks! | Mass Resonator - August 6, 2012

    […] Baggett – Collings CJ MhA SS Custom Acoustic (5725) My staff pick is the latest arrival in our CJ/Collings Custom guitar project, and happens to have three non-scalloped tone bars, a Sitka Spruce top, bound fingerboard and […]

  2. Flynn, you ready for your close-up? Mass St Music Videos! | Mass Resonator - August 7, 2012

    […] demos and the most elusive – one of boss Jim Baggett waxing poetic on the amazing Collings CJ Customs he collaborated on with Bill Collings. Until then, check out our first […]

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