Bill Collings, founder of Collings Guitars and Mandolins, dies

2011 Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Bill Collings, a highly respected luthier, whose treasured guitars have been played by Keith Richards, Lyle Lovett, Pete Townshend, Joni Mitchell and many more, has died. He was 68.

Collings founded Collings Guitars and Mandolins as a one-man shop in the mid-’70s and grew the company to a bustling business in Oak Hill with roughly 90 highly skilled employees producing some of the most coveted musical instruments in the world.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Collings Guitars are close to perfect

The following statement was posted to the Collings Guitars and Mandolins Facebook page on Saturday morning:

We lost our dear friend and mentor Bill Collings yesterday. He was the amazingly creative force behind Collings Guitars for over 40 years. Through his unique and innate understanding of how things work, and how to make things work better, he set the bar in our industry and touched many lives in the process. His skill and incredible sense of design were not just limited to working with wood, but were also obvious in his passion for building hot rods. To Bill, the design and execution of elegant form and function were what mattered most

Perhaps even more exceptional than his ability to craft some of the finest instruments in the world, was his ability to teach and inspire. He created a quality-centered culture that will carry on to honor his life’s work and legacy. He was loved by many and will be greatly missed. Our hearts are with his family.

We’ll have more on his life and legacy later today.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to correct the number of employees at Collings Guitars and Mandolins


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