Take 5: Mike West & His Collings D2H Guitar
Mike West - Musician, Guitarist, Producer, Engineer & Author
Guitar: Collings D2H with a Fishman Matrix pickup
Home Base: Lawrence, Kansas
Bands: Truckstop Honeymoon and 40 Watt Dreams
Studio: 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor
Mike West, along with his talented wife Katie Euliss (check out their truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story on the Truckstop Honeymoon website here), have shared their rousing bands, love of New Orleans and deep musical souls with Lawrence since they left New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. Mike and Katie's studio, the 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor has produced everyone from fiddlin' Betse Ellis to Drakkar Sauna, Maw, Shawn Mullins, New Amsterdams, LaBretta Suede and Motel 6, Pat Nichols and many more. The bands he plays in, Truckstop Honeymoon and 40 Watt Dreams, have packed houses everywhere they go. Along for the ride with Mike has been his Collings D2H guitar which he purchased new at Mass Street Music back in 2001. But it's not the guitar he thought he'd get that day.
"From Alaska to Tasmania"
Before then, Mike said he was never really into dreadnoughts, nor the the style much, but there was something about the Collings D2H.
“I couldn't deny the tone of the thing. It's the only guitar I play on stage,” he said. “I needed a guitar I could lay heavy into with a pick, but also be able to play lightly with my fingers – it 'speaks' when you nail and it speaks when you barely touch it.”
Mike's D2H guitar is not what you'd call pristine – it shows the well loved, well played characteristics of an instrument that's alive and has traveled heavily over three continents – North America, Australia and Europe, or as Mike likes to say “from Alaska to Tasmania”.
Mike's not afraid to do a little home repair from time to time - hello Superglue!
His Collings has had a few repairs over the years too, including two repaired cracks and a fret job even though Mike says he likes low frets. While our own shop has done a few of the repairs, Mike said he's done a few himself and pointed out the superglue visible near the soundhole.
When we asked him if he had any issues with the guitar, Mike had one beef - all the bridge pins were lost in the first month as the slots were a bit of a loose fit, plus they were all black.
“When a string breaks on stage, you can't find them in the dark! It's gone and you're just not going to find it,” he explained. All the bridge pins have since been replaced with .30 size – in white, just in case he needs to locate them on a dark stage again.
Even the headstock shows it's been around the continents a few times.
Check out Mike and his wife Katie in action with Truckstop Honeymoon here and with Katie's band 40 Watt Dreams here. You can also see one of the special gifts they've brought to the Lawrence community, the annual Mardi Gras Parade here! Learn more about Mike's great studio, the 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor here. Learn more about Collings Acoustic Guitars here. Don't miss Truckstop Honeymoon performing live at the Lawrence Arts Center Saturday, November 22, 2014!