Collings D1 dreadnought acoustic guitar with optional Adirondack braces and "no tongue brace" options. These bring the guitar a little closer to the specs of a pre-War Martin D-18, which for many folks is the holy grail of bluegrass guitars.
We've pasted Collings' more detailed explanation of these features below.
- Dreadnought body
- Sitka spruce top
- Mahogany back/sides
- Ebony fingerboard
- No tongue brace
- 1-3/4" nut width ($75)
- 25.5" scale
- 2-3/16" string spacing
- Modified V neck profile
- Collings TKL deluxe hardshell case
- Serial 30548
What is a tongue brace and why would I want to leave it out?
The tongue brace is a flat, thin brace that runs across a guitar's upper bout underneath the tongue of the fingerboard. String tension is always pulling the neck and fingerboard towards the body of an acoustic guitar and a tongue brace helps to reinforce this area to prevent the top from cracking along side of the fingerboard tongue. This cracking is only a potential problem and one that most likely wouldn't be an issue for 40 or 50 years. The tongue brace was originally developed in the late 1940's after cracking occurred on some popular pre-war instruments.
There are a few reasons why people order guitars without tongue braces or remove them:
1) Some players believe that the absence of the tongue brace allows the top to vibrate more freely, and therefore produce a subtly more open sound.
2) Some players like to try and duplicate pre-war bracing designs as much as possible.
3) Clarence White's 1935 D28 didn't have a tongue brace. Many builders offer "Clarence White-style guitars" like our CW model in which we leave out the tongue brace.
In the past 25 years that we've been building the CW model, we've never had a problem with the top cracking along the edges of the tongue. In the long run, a tongue brace is a good safeguard against tension cracks, however if you would prefer to have it left out it should not appreciably affect the structural integrity of the guitar for many years.
What is the difference between Sitka and Adirondack spruce for bracing?
Sitka spruce is the standard brace material in most of our guitars and it is both strong and responsive. Generally sitka has a less rigid structure than Adirondack which makes it more responsive to a light touch or finger-style playing techniques. Adirondack is both light and rigid which gives it a subtly quicker and clearer response, however it sometimes requires more picking effort to achieve full volume and tone. The tonal advantage of Adirondack's extra stiffness is increased headroom, the guitar will retain more tonal clarity as it is strummed harder. In either case the tonal difference of brace material will be subtle, but we offer the option to use Adirondack or sitka spruce for bracing as another way to tailor your instrument to your personal playing style and tastes.