Student of Guitar

Collings Vs Santa Cruz: Which is Better? (2022 Edition)

Table of Contents

If you want to learn more about Collings vs Santa Cruz guitars and which is better, you’ve come to the right post!

Collings Guitars

Background

Collings is a Texas-based guitar brand famous for its acoustic guitars. But they also have other stuff, including archtop electric guitars. Bill Collings started the company back in the early 1970s.

Through the decades, they kept improving their manufacturing. By the mid-2000s, Bill Collings had a bigger factory and modern CNC machines.

These days, they’re a highly respected guitar brand. All of their guitars are high-end. We’re talking about high-quality woods and custom-order guitars. It’s probably not something you will find in your local music store.

Some Great Acoustic Guitar Model Examples

We can divide Collings acoustic guitars into four main categories. We have 12-fret, 14-fret, baritone, and traditional models. The Traditional series, or T series, is their most popular one.

Check out this video to get a sense of the OM2H

OM2H is a pretty popular one. It’s an Orchestra Model-type body with incredible tonewoods and a hand-sanded finish. You can notice some super nuanced aesthetic details on it as well. OM1 is pretty similar and is also one of their most popular guitars.

Here’s a demo of the D1AT.

D1AT is a dreadnaught-style guitar and part of their Traditional line. It’s all solid wood and it features super precisely leveled frets. There’s also a super-thin finish on it that gives its own feel and tone.

Check out this video for a demo of the D2HT!

D2HT is somewhat similar to it. But it’s a more upgraded version. Nonetheless, we have all the wanted traits, especially with its thin finish. It also comes with a standard spruce top along with a somewhat unconventional rosewood back.

And here’s a demo of a CJ model.

The CJ model is also pretty popular. It’s the so-called Collings Jumbo guitar. This is the Company’s twist to the slope-shouldered dreadnaught shape. We have a simple yet very effective guitar with a spruce top and mahogany back and sides.

Santa Cruz Guitars

Background

Santa Cruz is also a company that started its work back in the 1970s with Richard Hoover as its founder. They focus only on acoustic instruments. Their acoustic guitars are their most popular products.

This is a pretty small and limited production. Santa Cruz guitar luthiers make less than 1000 guitars per year. And, most importantly, it’s all done through custom orders. You can even ask them to make a guitar almost entirely according to your specs.

Santa Cruz Guitar Models

Check out this video for an interesting overview and demo of a Santa Cruz model.

Santa Cruz’s basic offer comes with nine different series. This also includes baritone and bass acoustic guitars. There are also standard shapes like 000 and dreadnaught bodies. And they also have mandocello guitars.

Now, each model comes with its own specs. And you can get your hands on a few different variants within the same series. However, things aren’t that simple for Santa Cruz. Their most popular options are custom ones.

This means that you can tell them exactly what you want. Take any of its standard body shapes and choose tonewoods. For each model, there’s a standard choice of tonewoods. But for each change, there’s an upcharge. Then there are bracing patterns, some dimensions and features, and a few other aesthetic or practical features.

A standard unchanged model is roughly the similar price as any Collings equivalent. Maybe slightly more expensive. However, most people go towards fully customized guitars. And these get up to $20000 or more, depending on your preferred specs.

Collings Vs Santa Cruz: Which is Better?

The first thing that we need to cover here is the number of guitars each company makes per year. Santa Cruz makes a substantially lower number of guitars. Collings isn’t that big either, but they produce approximately 2000 to 3000 guitars. Meanwhile, Santa Cruz produces under 1000 and closer to 500.

So we’re talking about two companies that focus on quality rather than quantity. Essentially, they’re both great. However, most Santa Cruz instruments are more expensive than Collings instruments. And while I can’t exactly judge whether the price is justified, Santa Cruz instruments are often next-level instruments. After all, some of their orders can go over $20000.

If we’re comparing the highest-end Collings and highest-end Santa Cruz, then Santa Cruz wins. But then we have the obvious price issue.

But if we’re looking into the same price tier, it’s really hard to say. It just comes down to personal preferences.

From what I can tell you, Santa Cruz objectively wins here. I’m not a guitar builder, so I’ll not claim that there’s some sort of magic with them. But that’s the closest that I can get to describing them. This includes the way they sound, how they feel when they vibrate, the clarity of each note, and pretty much everything about them.

Nonetheless, I’d say you can’t go wrong with either of these. Both are traditional-oriented brands. However, I feel like Santa Cruz gives a more genuine old-school feel. And, of course, that comes with a higher average price.  

Conclusion

I hope this post has helped you think through which guitar brand might be better for you!

And if you want to read more about acoustic guitar brand comparisons, check out:

Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related topic!

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