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SJ-41 Alaskan Blue Bearclaw Sitka Spruce and Cocobolo

SJ-41 Alaskan Blue Bearclaw Sitka Spruce and Cocobolo


We have always felt a strong kinship with the good folks at Collings.  Apart from being fantastic people in an all around sense, they seem to champion ideals that are in line with our own: quality before quantity, principal before profit, and prioritizing performance value (i.e., playability and tone) over ornamentation in the guitars that they build, which is to say they chase high quality not necessarily high end.  We also appreciate that Collings rarely deviates from their conventional offerings in terms of options and tone woods, choosing instead to focus on that which they know will generate consistent results.  Along that line, there is historically virtually no dilution of the core line with periodic limited productions or artist models—they just concentrate on making what they make as best as possible with whatever customizations a dealer might specify within the limited options available.  Subsequently, whenever Collings does decide to offer some exotic material or grace an artist with their endorsement (e.g., Julian Lage or Pete Huttlinger), you can rest assured that the decision was quite deliberate and that whatever they bring to market will be truly special and very limited!  

So it was that Collings generated quite a buzz back in 2021 when they announced an exclusive run of six stunning guitars all featuring a very unusual and rare Alaskan Blue Bearclaw Spruce, which had been salvaged from floating logging camps in Southeast Alaska.  Of course, these exclusive guitars were allocated to their very top dealers.  Yet, Collings clearly anticipated that this exclusive run would germinate no small degree of envy in any other “top dealer” (ahem!) who didn’t quite qualify for inclusion in the über dealer echelon, so they offered each of the remaining top dealers one of remaining sets of this highly exotic Sitka spruce. 

With that said, it is interesting we and the folks at Down Home Guitars were of like minds when it came to designing our respective Alaskan Blue Bearclaw Sitka guitars—we both opted for SJs with some more exotic back and sides and some similar tasteful aesthetic upgrades.  In the case of our SJ, which was built for our 40th Anniversary and pre-sold, we selected Koa for the back and sides, rosewood binding for the entire guitar, and abalone rosette, engraved Waverly tuners, and custom banjo fingerboard inlays.  Meanwhile, this SJ was appointed with an exquisite set of quartersawn Cocobolo, Koa binding for the entire guitar, a Style 41 top border, an abalone rosette, gold Waverly tuners with Snakewood buttons, and Adirondack bracing for a bit more pop from the top.  In each case, the result was an outstanding instrument that was also an understated visual showpiece—the natural beauty of the wood is the chief focus, while the tasteful elegance of the other aesthetic embellishments becomes more pronounced and appreciable as one examines the guitar in detail. For example, the wood fingerboard and headstock binding also feature a faint and tasteful purfling line of grained ivoroid that gently highlights the binding (this is a rather distinctive bit of flare on the part of Collings, and we’ve always found it very appealing!). Meanwhile, the blues, greens, and purples of the abalone rosette complement the blue-ish hue of the top, while the Style 3 multicolor chevron backstrip adds just the right amount of contrast to the back and sides. 

Most importantly, however, the visual appeal of this magnificent Cocobolo SJ is matched and surpassed by the beauty of its voice.  In concert with the innately powerful and broad projection of the SJ body, the dense yet reflective physical properties of the Cocobolo back and sides contribute a distinctively glassy response that is also earthy and firm.  This, combined with the powerful sustain, crisply definition, and powerful dynamic range for which Collings is known,  translates to a wonderfully malleable tone with seemingly unplumbed depths of color and harmonic complexity to be coaxed forth as one explores the guitar’s range.  To play this SJ is sublime, as it is the opportunity to experience the confluence of high craft and paramount function.  Indeed, while we maintain that all guitars are unique, there will never be another Collings quite like this one!



This guitar was meticulously maintained and shows no signs of use.  It has, however, had a Snakewood Waverly strap button added to the treble side of the neck heel.  EXCEPTIONALLY FINE Condition

  • Small Jumbo Body
  • Reclaimed Alaskan Blue Bearclaw Sitka Spruce Top
  • Pre-War Scalloped Adirondack Top Bracing
  • Quartersawn Cocobolo Back and Sides
  • Koa Top and Back Binding
  • Style-41 Abalone Top Purfling
  • Style 3 Multi-Color Chevron Back Strip
  • Abalone Rosette
  • High Gloss Nitrocellulose Lacquer Body Finish
  • Honduran Mahogany Neck
  • Mortise and Tenon Hybrid Neck Joint
  • C-Shape Neck Carve
  • Ebony Fingerboard with 14-26” Compound Radius
  • Koa Fingerboard and Headstock Binding
  • Grained Ivoroid Fingerboard and Headstock Purfling
  • Mother of Pearl SJ Modern Diamond Fingerboard Inlays
  • Ebony Headstock Veneer
  • Mother of Pearl Headstock Logo
  • Mother of Pearl SJ Modern Diamond Headstock Inlay
  • High Gloss Neck Finish
  • Ebony Belly Bridge
  • Waverly Gold Tuning Machines with Snakewood Buttons (16:1 Ratio)
  • Bone Nut and Drop-In Saddle
  • Ebony Bridge Pins and Endpin with Mother of Pearl Dots
  • Faux Tortoiseshell Beveled Pickguard
  • 1 11/16” Nut Width
  • 2 3/16” String Spacing at the Bridge
  • 4” Scale Length
  • TKL Deluxe Geib-Style Hard Case
  • Waverly Snakewood Strap Button Added
Serial Number(s) 31724