Collings 0002H Custom Traditional Limited Edition, AKA The Joe Henry 000

The story of this Limited Edition Collings 0002H Custom Traditional started with a casual text conversation between Joe Henry and Folkway’s store owner, Mark Stutman. Joe’s been a friend of ours for many years and has sourced a number of his favorite vintage guitars from us; he and Mark are in fairly regular contact about all things guitar. The two were discussing Joe’s OM1JL; he loves that guitar’s perfect intonation and clean fundamental, and Joe was contemplating ordering a 12 fret model from Collings to accompany the Lage OM1 on the road and in the studio. Mark suggested that they spec out a custom 12 fret model that captures some of the sweetness, smokiness, and vibe of Henry’s 1931 13 fret rosewood Gibson Nick Lucas Special, which Mark had converted to pin-bridge a few years prior. The thought of blending design elements of the Nick Lucas with a Collings 12 fret 0002H was very appealing to Joe, so Mark got busy creating a list of specifications for this dream guitar, understanding what Joe was after and how to tinker with the Collings 0002H blueprint to make it all come together. The end result turned out incredibly well and was highly acclaimed by both Joe and the Collings team, who have now released this exact model in a limited run of 24 guitars (or 25, including the lefty we also received).

The guitar is a Traditional Series 12-fret 000 built with Indian rosewood back and sides and an Adirondack spruce top. It’s designed with a body that’s 3/4” deeper than a standard Collings 000, making it the depth of a dreadnought. The top was spec’d for lightness with finely scalloped Sitka bracing and thinner bridgeplate, akin to how a 000 from 1929 was built. Like all T-Series instruments it features a thin nitrocellulose lacquer finish without poly sealer coat, a 30’s style abbreviated bridge plate, and a neck support system that combines an adjustable truss rod with centralized reinforcements to approximate the tonal signature of a steel T-bar.

The 12 fret neck was designed with a decidedly vintage feel. It features a shorter 24-7/8” scale, 1-3/4” nut, and a string spread at the bridge of 2-5/16”. The carve has a wonderfully rounded shape with the slightest hint of a V. The headstock is gorgeously adorned with engraved Waverly 3-on-a-plate tuning machines with ivoroid buttons.

The guitar is appointed with standard Traditional Series purflings and pearl. It features a dark Cremona sunburst that harkens back to Gibson’s hand-rubbed bursts of 1930-32 along with a full-size beveled tortoise celluloid pickguard. Pyramid bridge, bone nut and saddle, ebony pins.

After all that description you’re likely wondering how the guitar sounds. Well, other dealers are calling it the best sounding Collings they’ve heard; the builders at Collings decided that it was the kind of guitar that deserved its own limited production run; and it’s generated significantly more hype on social media than the top brass at Collings imagined. It’s all that, for starters.

With its deep body, Sitka-braced red-spruce top, short scale, and Traditional series specifications, the guitar has a wonderfully well-developed warmth and a woody openness overtop of its clean and strong midrange fundamental presence. It’s darker, smokier, and more overtone rich than most any other Collings model we’ve played but still retains its characteristic Collings muscle. It takes a hard attack really well – all Collings do that – but its magic lies both in how it can express under a less forceful right hand, and the palate of tonal color that emerges when coaxed. And that’s what we hear in it at only one week old. It’s an exciting guitar that offers the best in tone, playability, and looks.

With hardshell case

Click HERE to check out our video introduction.