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Acoustic Vibes: An Incredible Phoenix Acoustic Instrument Store

Sometimes it's a hard job to write this blog. I have to endure great hardships, and this is a case in point.

On my recent trip to the desert, aka Phoenix, Arizona, I squeezed in a trip to an absolutely amazing music store, Acoustic Vibes.  I discovered them via a search for Collings guitar dealers.  Since I have only drooled over Collingseses from afar, I thought I might get an opportunity to fondle play one in person.

I have to say, I was totally overwhelmed at Acoustic Vibes.  There are so many incredible instruments I didn't know where to start.  I could have spent days there.

Jeff (the owner) and Delta, who oversees the drooling customers (don't know her actual title), are laid back and very helpful.  I had the run of the place and played a number of great guitars.  Nice folks and a stunning array of instruments.

We're in a golden age of instrument making now.  There are a lot of small, very high quality makers all over the world, and Acoustic Vibes is proof of that.

This is the 'main' room - Breedloves, Martins, R. Taylors and other delights are here.  If you like tonewoods, you'll be in heaven here.  Not only are the guitars great to look at (and play), but the room is very relaxing...and it smells great!  (It's the wood).

A row of Martins.  I counted 31 on this wall.

I got the opportunity (finally) to play some of the vintage-style models.  Really nice.

But that room is just the beginning.
Another room is full of Collings guitars.

I could have spent all day in this room.  I played 4 or 5 of them, and they are deserving of their reputation.  I'm window-shopping OM-style models right now, and I was able to compare the Martin OM to a Collings OM.  I think I'd need more time with them, but my first impression is that the Collings blows the Martin away.

The Martins are...well....Martins.  They're fantastic.  But the Collings are are on a different level build-wise.  The finish is incredible.  It's the best I've ever seen.  And they sound amazing.

A row of the beauties.

I realize in looking at this picture that I need to go back.  And play some more!

Now that my eyes were popping out of my head, I went into the third (!) room.  Are you kidding me?

Here we had some used guitars, as well as archtops, classical guitars, mandolins, banjos, and UKULELES!

Check out that Gibby Hummingbird on the top row.  I played it, it played great, but I was underwhelmed at the tone after the Martin-and-Collings-Experience.  But I bet somebody will grab it - it was very reasonably priced.

Did I mention classical guitars and archtops?  You betcha.

I played an absolutely killer blonde Eastman archtop here - it was just gorgeous.

 This shot is for my friend the banjo-player-who-shall-remain nameless.  I know nothing about banjos aside from the fact that these are just amazing.

I probably should have tried to get more shots of individual instruments than I did.  But here's one that knocked me out - it's a Collings mandolin.  I could look at that flame maple all day.

Fortunately I don't play mandolin, that's all I can say.  Otherwise I'd be so tempted to snag this one.

This gives you an idea of the flawless finish incredibly clean craftsmanship on Collings instruments.  Modern classics without a doubt.

Three rows of ukuleles!

The top row is Kamakas, the middle is Kanile'a and others, and the bottom row is all Collings!

If you look closely, you may see an arrow pointing to a particular Collings UT-2 (gloss mahogany tenor).  Let me just say, that instrument is no longer there...and leave it at that!

If you are in the Phoenix area, I highly recommend a trip to Acoustic Vibes - and bring your checkbook!


Post a Comment 1 comments:

  • Max Canyonhiker said...
    August 14, 2013 at 8:43 PM
    Nice review! I too spent a day there when I went down for a Steve Kaufman flatpicking workshop. The place is definitely a pickers paradise. I hadn't planned on it, but I ended up going home with a used Santa Cruz pre-war type that I absolutely love as a second guitar. Jeff, Delta and the crew were very pleasant to deal with!

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