Collings 290 or 360 lt m

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Attuned, Dec 4, 2019 at 3:36 PM.

  1. Attuned

    Attuned TDPRI Member

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    Hello all,

    I am debating between the collings 290 and their 360 lt m model. I was wondering if any of you have had a go at these models and can offer your perspective on them. I'll admit I am a little intimidated (and intrigued) by the tremelo system.

    I am also interested to hear what amps you guys have tried with these guitars and which combo you liked best. I am personally looking for a small amp that will give me some clean sounds and hair/dirt at a reasonable volume without pedals. Reverb would be nice.

    So far I am an acoustic only player and play fingerstyle blues and folky stuff and flat pick bluegrass tunes. I also like coming up with my own stuff. My favorite electric guitar heroes are Peter Green, Kim Simmonds, Mike Bloomfield, Danny Kirwan, Duane Allman, T-bone Walker, J B Hutto, Hubert Sumlin, etc. These days I'm very intrigued by math rock bands who seem to have a penchant for telecasters.

    This will be my first and only electric guitar. I will be playing slide in open tunings on this as well.
     
  2. gitold

    gitold Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sounds like most of your hero’s play a Les Paul? That said I’ve only played the 290 and it’s a great guitar.
     
  3. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    every Collings guitar I've ever played was a pretty wonderful guitar. That being said, I don't own any. At one of the summer NAMMs in Austin, I got to play a few of the Collings electrics when they first came out.

    Seems like the main difference between the two, other than cosmetics is that the 290 is equipped with Lollar P-90's single coil pickups. The 360 comes with Lollar mini-humbuckers. There are several 290 versions, in both single cut and double cut as well. The 290 seems to be mostly based on the Les Paul Junior models and the 360 on the Les Paul Standard and other such. That's a pretty rough analogy though. I might be wrong.

    If you are not familiar with either of those pickup sets, it would probably be worth your time to check out some sound samples on the Lollar website and see if you like one style more than the other. P-90 versus mini-humbuckers. Both are wonderful choices, but you might prefer one over the other. Just looking at your list of players, I'd guess that most of them mostly played humbucker versions - but - most players have quite a bit of experience with all kinds of stuff and I'm sure you could find examples of all the players you've listed playing all kinds of different pickups over the years.

    but for that kind of investment, and not knowing in which part of Oregon you reside, you would be best served to make a field trip to the nearest Collings dealer that has those models on hand.

    Small amp, clean but dirt at reasonable volume says Fender Champ; either BF or SF. If you are patient enough, you can find pretty good samples out there. the vibro champ comes with built in tremolo (the kind that Fender calls "vibrato"). You will probably get a few hundred other amp suggestions here. My best advice is to just take your time and play through as many amps as you reasonably can.

    Allow me to express some skepticism when I hear the words "my first and only electric guitar"...;) many members here can wistfully remember having had that thought by the time they owned their fifth guitar. :)
     
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  4. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    I've only played the 290, and only in a store, but it inspired covetousness and greed -- what a nice guitar. You may find that you miss the zing of a maple cap, though, which seems to be an option on the 360.

    If you spend all that money for a guitar, you might not have all that much left over for an amp, in which case a Blues Jr / AC10 / Marshall Origin 20 will do you fine for starters.
     
  5. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Good thought on the pickups. If not familiar:
    -mini's will be very middy, but stay clean on the lows and bright on the highs.
    -P90's will be not quite as middy with a more gutsy sound, maybe a "bit of grit" is a better way to say it. Not noiseless either.
     
  6. Attuned

    Attuned TDPRI Member

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    gitold - ha, yes most of the guys I like from the 60s/70s use LPs, for the most part (Green used a strat too). I do find myself gravitating more towards the single coil, slightly brighter, punchier sound. But I've never played an electric guitar for too long, so who the hell knows. Humbuckers have always sounded too dark (in comparison) at the stores. The 290 sounds yummy for sure. Thanks for responding, I appreciate it!

    teletimetx - thanks for your reply! The 360 lt m has some kind of a P90, I'm not too familiar with electric guitars to know how exactly the alnico pole P90s (in the 360) differ technically from the regular P90s (in the 290), but in all the vids they sound brighter/punchier/twangier. Which is theoretically my preference but the 290s sound so darn good too. Gah, it's like choosing between redheads and brunettes. It's almost not fair (oh first world problems... Haha). I wonder if the 360 will be more versatile.

    Thanks a lot for the tip on the Fender Champ. I'm going to look into them. A guy I know told me to get a 'tweed' to pair with a guitar with P90s. I had no idea what that meant and was too embarrassed to ask him to clarify. But it seems to be a popular opinion (now that I read on it a bit).

    And no I certainly don't think this will be my only electric (nor my current acoustic my only acoustic). Or, I certainly don't prefer it to be that way. I just don't think I'll be able to afford anything (perhaps not even shaving blades) after this purchase for a long time :eek:

    (I'll be getting one of these guitars, and the amp probably, used off Reverb - which is already too rich for my blood. But I'm settled on either of these two models and the heart wants what it wants..)

    If I had the bones I'd be running out to get me another Waterloo or two (the wl-s for sure), perhaps even a guild m20 (the new usa ones are amazing and a very good price, very daintily built tho, I saw one crack and split on the top at a shop with just a slightest accidental bump into another guitar by the shop owner), a c10-35, a Dell Arte gypsy jazz guitar, and one of those collings small body 12 strings! Boy do I dream well at night :D

    That said, and wild dreams aside, I do think that it takes time to build a relationship with an instrument and learn the nuances of how to use it best. I am looking forward to spending quality time with one of these bad boys
     
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  7. Attuned

    Attuned TDPRI Member

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    Hey KC - thanks for the tips on those amps. I appreciate it. Man buying an electric set up is more complicated than getting an acoustic, for sure! Soon I'll be jonesing for a pedal or three.. yikes

    schmee- hey thanks for that synopsis. Do you by any chance have experience with the alnico pole p90s?
     
  8. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's

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    I've also only really played the 290 - actually owned one for a while. It's a great LP Special type guitar, and has more twang/jangle than an LP Special because the P90 pickups on it are underwound. It was like you put an Tele down on the ground, walked 10 steps and put an LP Special down on the ground. Now walk back toward the Tele 2-3 steps.

    It's probably a "guitar I wish I hadn't sold" but it was also far above my skill level as a player. I found I was gravitating back to Strats and Teles so I sold it to a much better player than I who could really make the Collings sing. But he sold it because mine had what they now call the "60s neck carve" (i.e. slimmer depth) and got a double-cut one (the one he got from me was the single cut) with their normal 50s-style neck carve.

    Here's my old one:

    [​IMG]

    I did play a 360 when they were first released - but it was the original model (the 360 ST) with 25 1/2" scale, carved top, 3 single coils and a Gotoh tremolo. Think a single cutaway set-necked Strat. I didn't care for it at that scale length; I would love to try one of their current models with the 24 7/8" scale length. For kicks here's their archived page on the 360 ST so you can see what I'm talking about:

    https://www.collingsguitars.com/electric-guitars/360-st/
     
  9. Attuned

    Attuned TDPRI Member

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    Hey thanks John. I appreciated hearing that the 290 has some honk and twang, if one wants it. Sounds perfect! Do you remember what amps you liked to play it thru? And that's a beautiful guitar! I myself prefer fatter necks too. That 360 at looks wonderful as well, but like you I prefer the shorter scale.
     
  10. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's

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    It looks like all the 360 variants Collings is making now are their 24 7/8" scale lenght; that 3 single coil/25 1/2" scale model is not currently on their website; only in their archives.

    I played it through a Mesa/Boogie Lone Star Special (4 EL-84s, 30/15/5W variable switching). I had to sell the Lone Star when we moved from Kentucky to Kansas - I didn't want to move it in the car, and we were putting some things in storage while we were between houses for a while. Prior to the Lone Star I was using a Fender Princeton Reverb RI, and after the move I just grabbed a Fender Blues Jr. III from Guitar Center to have something at the house while I looked for other amps. As I say I wound up gravitating back to Strats and Teles (American Standards at that) so I just kept with the Blues Jr.

    The Collings sounded good with the Blues Jr., but better with the Princeton and best with the Mesa.
     
  11. Attuned

    Attuned TDPRI Member

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    John, thanks for that info. I've been looking at a gries 5 so far.

    There is a really cool 360 lt m (I've decided that's what I want even though the 290 fits my budget better) on reverb. I made an offer. What's a good price for these used? Reverb doesn't have a price guide on that model. New prices vary quite a bit based on so many variables.

    By the way, if you gravitate towards strata and teles, I think you'll really like the LT M model. Here is the official vid on the website (gah, so pretty!!):

     
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