The Waterloo WL-AT is inspired by the small-bodied budget archtops of the early 1930s like the Gibson L-30 and the Epiphone Olympic. With a lower bout measurement of 14 13/16’, it doesn’t have the power to drive a large dance band but it makes up for the lack of volume with a sweeter tone and a lighter touch. (The smaller size is very comfortable to hold, too.) The top is carved, solid spruce and the back and sides are solid mahogany. The back is flat rather than arched, which increases the sustain and warms up the tone. You can think of it as archtop L-00. The Waterloo WL-AT is a great fingerpicking guitar and it responds well to flatpick, as well.

The History of the Waterloo WL-AT

Bill Collings’s original vision for Waterloo Guitars actually included plans to offer an archtop guitar as part of the lineup. He kept a 1930s flat-backed Recording King archtop in his back office, usually thrown haphazardly into the backseat of a stripped down 1940 Ford convertible, which he had plans to someday restore. The guitar was disassembled into pieces, but he would occasionally pull out the body or neck and inspect it, contemplating on how he might re-create such an instrument with his own twist. He was especially intrigued by the flat mahogany back, which is an integral part of the sound that runs consistently through the Waterloo line. With Bill’s untimely passing in July 2017, his plans for this model were sadly cut short.

However the Collings crew never forgot that a small affordable hybrid archtop was something their friend and mentor had always wanted to do and continued the project. The WL-AT takes the concept of a small-bodied archtop guitar to a new level of tone and playability.

stock no. 58257

ModelWL-AT, Sunburst
TopSolid carved spruce
Back and sidesSolid mahogany
Frets to body14
Nut width1 3/4" Ebony
Scale length24 7/8"
Bridge spacing2 5/16"
Bridge material2-piece adjustable ebony
Fretboard MaterialIndian rosewood
Neck materialSolid mahogany
BindingIvoroid bound top and back
BracingParallel tone bars
Inlay6mm acrylic dots
Neck profileProminent "V" shape
Total frets19
TunersGolden Age Restoration
FinishSemi-gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish
CaseOrig. Hard
Serial No3438
Weight3.82 lbs.