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A Blues on my Waterloo ladder braced - Warning: Waterloo Content

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Here is a short blues instrumental I recorded yesterday playing my Waterloo WL-14L ladder braced guitar, a Collings version of an old Kalamazoo KG14 (Robert Johnson guitar???).

Kalamazoo sound with Collings build and setup! I got this guitar in a trade for a guitar I was selling on consign a few years ago and just wouldn't sell. I was going to buy it anyway! Ha! And I got a Hiscox case to fit! I have a pickup system on order for it but virus is delaying it.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the beast:

 

uJBTtcPh.jpg

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

Edited by BluesKing777
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You lyin' bastard! That can't be a ladder-braced guitar!

Is there anyone in your household that breaks out in applause when you record these? Too good!

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Thanks JZ!

It is still in the factory setup too! They do a great job of making these things.

P..S. The new guitar racks here are empty, even the Matons have been skun...plenty of Taylors.

P.S.S.  - No applause here, JZ - all well and truly sick of me!

 

BluesKing777.

 

Edited by BluesKing777

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Sounds great!   Thanks for posting it!  Ladder braces guitars do get an unnecessary bad rap ad they work great with some types of music and certain styles.  The just don’t have the same sound spectrum as X braced guitars on strummed/chorded music.  Otherwise, they work fine for fingerpicking and melody playing and slide from my experience.

QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff 

Edited by QuestionMark

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Thanks QM!

This guitar is also great for plunking along on something like Bob tunes...plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk...behind vocals. It leaves plenty of space to hear the singing.

It is also built by Collings so the intonation is great. Chords in tune on a ladder brace!

But yes, the main reason for purchasing one of these is...blues...fingerpicking and slide. Game, set and match. There are a row of guitars I wouldn't have bought if they had invented these Waterloos first. 😁 The story is that Bill Collings (RIP) came running out of his office yelling: "Listen tho this, listen to this!" when he first made some prototypes......

Yeah, there are probably 40 million Hummingbirds and J45s sold for every one of these sold. Marginal!

I have both the X braced (in black) and the ladder braced!:

 

huTrfarh.jpg

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

Edited by BluesKing777

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Thanks QM and KC!

We are in full virus lockdown with 9pm curfew to boot in Victoria, Australia and it is a good distraction to have a houseful of acoustics! 

Even had to fix the lawn mower and do the lawn myself!

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

Edited by BluesKing777
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Very nice.  I would love to hear you playing that though on something like my Oscar Schmidt-made Galiano jumbo. 

5b689426-e7e4-4fb6-aeac-92e6251b5986-zps

And I still say you need a Harmony Sovereign H1260.  Then again I think everybody does.

Edited by zombywoof

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7 hours ago, zombywoof said:

Very nice.  I would love to hear you playing that though on something like my Oscar Schmidt-made Galiano jumbo. 

5b689426-e7e4-4fb6-aeac-92e6251b5986-zps

And I still say you need a Harmony Sovereign H1260.  Then again I think everybody does.

 

Thanks ZW!

 

I would love to hear me playing those items too! 😄

But for ‘old sounds in a new box’, Waterloos are hard to beat. They also have the old time geometry I like with 1 3/4” nut, 2 3/8” bridge spacing and the wonderful chunky V neck.

BluesKing777.

 

 

Edited by BluesKing777

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I just played the ladder braced Waterloo burst to do my regular Saturday morning ‘Blues in C’ practice......every Saturday morning for many, many moons, I rein in my ‘all over the placeness’ 🥶 and play country blues in C with a capo on 3 in a Hurt/Stokes style, starting with a couple of the easier numbers and coming home hard!

I love this neck! And it passes my ‘Cannonball Rag’ test. (Skinny neck - please don’t even apply for that job.)

Up next, pickup fever.....I have a Trinity dual source with internal mic in the mail for this guitar plus 3 mics to turn some current pickup’d guitars with V necks to dual source. Yep, we mean bizness. The delivery man has stopped over at Honolulu for a surf but should be here next week...... I already had a dual source pickup installed in my Cargill custom 00 and that is the sound I have been looking for........(a Maton with a fat neck?)

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

 

Edited by BluesKing777

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14 hours ago, BluesKing777 said:

 

Thanks ZW!

 

I would love to hear me playing those items too! 😄

But for ‘old sounds in a new box’, Waterloos are hard to beat. They also have the old time geometry I like with 1 3/4” nut, 2 3/8” bridge spacing and the wonderful chunky V neck.

BluesKing777.

 

 

 

 A Fraulini  or a Hauver will get you closer than a Waterloo.  But in the case of the Fraulini you will have to dig a whole lot deeper into your pocket.   I do love those V necks though.  My '35 Capital which I just sold had one.  My 1920 L3 has a  very deep roundback D neck.   My '32 L1 has a more modern feeling C neck.  I have played some upper end 1930s Gibson archtops which have that same neck carve so I assume with Gibson what neck you got depended on how much you paid for the guitar.  But to be honest I would not mind it one bit of the L1 had a V neck.

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Well, while I have not seen a Hauver or Fraulini in the flesh, I did use to see them talked about in very small blues picker circles and they were pitching against Collings type prices.

The genius of Bill Collings’ Waterloos are based on the ‘cut back in finishes and costs’ but still keeping quality workmanship......not much finish, bound on front and not the back, glues drips left etc. And a sensational setup and playability straight from the shop!

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, BluesKing777 said:

 

Well, while I have not seen a Hauver or Fraulini in the flesh, I did use to see them talked about in very small blues picker circles and they were pitching against Collings type prices.

The genius of Bill Collings’ Waterloos are based on the ‘cut back in finishes and costs’ but still keeping quality workmanship......not much finish, bound on front and not the back, glues drips left etc. And a sensational setup and playability straight from the shop!

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

 

Once upon a time Collings offered a Waterloo based on a Schmidt Sovereign which  had a hand rubbed varnish finish.  I want to say there was only a one year run of them as that is one heck of an upgrade considering what that model sold for.   A guy I know offered to sell me his and I am still second guessing myself for not jumping on it.  And chances of running into something like a Fraulini in a shop are slim and none.  Only sure way to get one is to order it and then play the waiting game.

It will be interesting to see what will happen with lines such as Tony Klassen's Crooked Star and  Iris  which are a collaboration between Fairbanks and Circle Strings.  Like the Waterloos they are based on instruments from the 1930s and early-1940s but are factory guitars being team built using CNC machines and cutting corners where they can such as substituting plastic position markers for MOP.  

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The Waterloo WL-S Deluxe is the Stella style with hand rubbed varnish - it is still listed on their website but who knows if Collings are still building anything. There are 7 or 8 for sale on Reverb....

I can tell you that one (1) landed in this country that I know of from scanning the local ware. Chances are Matt Damon or Hilary Swank could order one from Mars and be playing it long before I ever see one!

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

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Update:

I bought and had installed a K&K Trinty Pro pickup system for the Waterloo above.

Sounds superb for fingerpicking using in-ear monitors and the mic AND pickup on FULL /11!

Obviously it would scream like a chicken in an amp without various boxes and gadgets and anti feedback treatment.

The preamp is miniaturized to a little black box belt clip type arrangement, tricky to set first without 'knowing how' but there is a bit of info on the old internet. And I admit these old computer staring eyes had to resort to the magnifying glass PLUS my reading glasses to see the gain, EQ settings with the lid off the box! Small and hard to read but saves having a giant preamp box in the way (which I may buy next!)😁:

Anyway, it is all part of my mission to get a guitar with neck etc I want -  and to sound great like a Maton plugged with their superb inbuilt pickup system. It is nice, very close to the mission accomplished status but too many bits and pieces to lug around - the Maton has it all inbuilt and you just plug her in! Close though! Great sounds. I ran it to a Baggs Align EQ - so we have not much in the guitar but a preamp that needs a stereo lead and then the patch lead to the EQ then lead to mixer etc.

https://kksound.com/products/trinitypro.php

P.S.  I also bought 3 of the K&K microphones that need to be soldered to 3 K&K Mini pickups I already have installed in other guitars - the stereo cable above is then used to run it to the Trinity preamp. I am deciding on soldering it to the jackplug myself or getting my luthier to do it for me - he has a lovely little gadget that melts some rubber over a solder join to give it a bit of protection ...I would have to use Gaffa tape!

BluesKing777.

 

 

Edited by BluesKing777

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Update for those interested in acoustic guitar pickups:

I grabbed the Waterloo ladder again to play plugged with intention of fine tuning the miniature controls on the preamp. I don't know if it is the guitar itself or the pickup or the preamp, but I started to get a buzz when I played B on the 5th string. There were some WTF moments when I realized that I can't go running to the luthier to fix it - we are in lockdown. He was doing 'client pickups and returns' for a few weeks there, but he and his assistant may have worn themselves out.

So I tried the preamp with the gain right down on both channels, but still got the buzz on B. Annoyed, I mentally consigned the guitar to the long grass near the back shed near the roller blades. Back in its case and wait to see what happens here with the Virus lockdown easing a bit so I can get to the luthier. He is working but everything has to go to him by courier. I just don't have the courage at the moment to do that......

I have the other 3 K&K mics to get installed and soldered to the endpins of my guitars that have K&K Minis. I think I might get one installed and see (hear) if the (to be shared) preamp is ok - process of elimination, but I do think the actual piezo part is loose or faulty. Bummer!

Lucky I have a spare guitar or two.

BluesKing777.

 

 

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Another update....

The mission is almost complete!

Both my Waterloos above have a K&K Trinity pickup system now! Trinity is a K&K Mini on the bridgeplate and a mic in the soundhole held by velcro. Both run to the stereo jackplug. A stereo lead is needed to run to the Trinity Pro beltclip style preamp. It has gain, bass, middle, treble controls in miniature inside the box and outside the box, a volume control for pickup and another for the mic. I have set the gains low but left the EQs flat. I run another lead out to a preamp/DI/EQ. Then to mixer!

They both sound terrific! The mic gives the K&K that extra thing that makes it all real to hear and also to play. All in guitars that have the neck and sound I want. It has taken years to get here! All I need is my custom plexiglass screen and I will be ready to do the strange gigs of the near future......guitarist/singer behind plexiglass and the audience spread out 5 feet apart outside in the weather!☹️

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

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