1 Inside Collings Guitars
Just off the highway in the rolling hill country of central Texas sits a large metal-framed industrial building nestled among a stand of cedar trees and giant agave plants. The building’s plain facade and absence of any signage to mark its presence gives little indication that some of the world’s finest guitars, mandolins, and ukuleles are produced inside. Then again, there are few places better suited for such an operation than Austin, a cultural oasis of music, the arts, and technology bearing the official slogan of “The Live Music Capital of the World.”
Born into a family of engineers, Bill Collings always had a knack for making things. From building go-carts as a child to restoring classic cars and motorcycles in later years, Collings developed a talent for working with wood and metal and possessed an intuitive understanding of all things mechanical. In his twenties, Collings’ interests spread to musical instruments and he eventually found himself repairing guitars for friends. Intrigued by the fleeting qualities that distinguished a mediocre guitar from a great guitar, Collings was soon building his own guitars out of his one bedroom apartment and eventually gained the attention of several prominent musicians in the area. In the late 80’s, Collings secured a rented shop space and enlisted help from a few friends to form a company that would grow into one of the world’s premier manufactures of high-quality stringed instruments.
Today, Collings Guitars produces around 3,000 instruments each year and are played by some of the world’s top artists and performers. Collings crew of 90 highly trained luthiers combine modern manufacturing techniques with old-world hand craftsmanship to produce stunning, playable pieces of art.