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Old 10-25-2012, 03:16 PM   #1
BoyLilikoi
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Solid Body vs Hollow/Semi Hollow electrics

So I apologize if this thread has been done to death. I did a few searches and didn't find much outside of "which hollow body should I get?"

I don't have any experience whatsoever with electric guitars. I play on a Seagull S6 Q1 acoustic, so I have experience with those electronics but that's about it.

My playing has progressed some and I've been flirting with the idea of getting an electric. I love the way hollow body electrics look. The thing is though, I really don't know much about them. I know from acoustics that basing a decision solely on looks is a horrible idea. What are the main differences between solid/hollow body electrics? Is it mainly a personal preference type thing, or will you get completely different sounds out of the two. Also what's the difference between a semi hollow and a hollow body? A brief search shows that the Ibanez Artcore and Epiphone Dot are good hollow body options that are relatively inexpensive.

Not being an electric player, I'm not really sure what to look for or where to start. I like the idea of going used, but conversely it may screw me because I won't know if something is wrong with it.
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:57 PM   #2
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You may get some beef for making a 'vs thread,' but hopefully you'll get the help you're looking for!

Generally speaking, hollowbody guitars have a warmer/mellow sound than solid-bodies, and can have less sustain (less body mass to resonate, not always true). There is also more risk of feedback when run with too much gain (also subject to opinion).

A fully hollowboady means the entire body is a cavity, for example a lot of gretches, epiphone casinos, old archtop/jazz guitars.
Whereas a semi-hollow normally has a solid piece in the centre, where the bridge, pickups and neck are all mounted, but two hollow wings on either side. This includes stuff like the ES335/Dot, and the artcores (i think). This helps give a bit more sustain, and reduces feedback.

Its totally up for debate as to what is better, different strokes for different blokes, try a few and see what you feel.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:22 PM   #3
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I have solids, hollows & semihollows- basically, Jaybals' right.

Generally, semihollows give a nice balance between sustain and weight relief.

Yes, the Epis & Artcores are really good for the money. Also look at the Gretsch Electromatic in a similar price range.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:26 PM   #4
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what type of stuff do you play? if you play heavier stuff i'd avoid hollows and semi-hollows.

i'd also say that you can do pretty much everything you can do with a hollow or semi-hollow with a solidbody, but the reverse isn't really true (hollows/semis squeal at high gain). But that might just be my own bias coming through.

that being said, if the stuff you mostly play benefits from using a hollow or semi, then by all means get one.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:33 PM   #5
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Hollowbody guitars are very prone to feedback. I love them for this, but it can get uncontrollable with too much gain.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:34 PM   #6
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There ARE some pretty heavy players who use semis- and those who do tend to have semihollow sig models- but they are far and away the exception.
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:16 PM   #7
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Smaller semi hollows, such as the 339 or AM93 will give you a nice balance between the solid and semi hollow feel. The full hollows are great for folk and jazz, but I find them a little hard to get the right tone out of for rock. I play some heavier stuff and have had good luck with semi hollows, but I've sold a couple hollow gretsch guitars because I couldn't get them to cut feedback without overcompressing them and killing my tone. Just food for thought!
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:58 PM   #8
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I have an Ibanez semi-hollow, one of the Artcores, the AS73. I use it for blues, jazz, and classic rock. I have found it to be very versatile. My only complaint, as stated before, is feedback with higher gain. However, I have to push it a lot to get much feedback. I usually don't get any until I've got the gain and volume cranked to 8 on amp.

Ultimately, it depends on what music you want to play. If you decide to go with a semi-hollow body, I would recommend an Artcore over the Dot, based on my AS73 being of a much better build quality than most Dots I have seen.
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:17 PM   #9
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Look into the PRS SE semi hollows as well. Amazing guitars for the money.
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:53 AM   #10
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I always loved Troy Van Leeuwen's Yamaha. Sadly, it is out of production.

There are ways to get around the feedback issue. Billy Duffy uses foam rubber in his Gretsch White Falcons. Alex Lifeson probably does as well.

Luthier Jon Kammerer has an alternative sound-hole design that minimues feedback.

(Which makes me wonder what kind of feedback issues hollowbodies without sound holes do...)
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:57 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the replies guys! It definitely helps trying to sort out what I may want to get. I don't play anything heavy, and I don't picture myself ever doing so. I mainly play indie rock, bluegrass folky type stuff. So it seems that a hollow or semi-hollow caters to these genres?

In terms of playability, I assume hollow and solid body electrics are comprable? I know with acoustics it just seems that some models are just way easier to play especially with a proper setup.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoyLilikoi
Thanks for all the replies guys! It definitely helps trying to sort out what I may want to get. I don't play anything heavy, and I don't picture myself ever doing so. I mainly play indie rock, bluegrass folky type stuff. So it seems that a hollow or semi-hollow caters to these genres?

In terms of playability, I assume hollow and solid body electrics are comprable? I know with acoustics it just seems that some models are just way easier to play especially with a proper setup.


Semi hollows are great for indie/folk stuff. Then again, so are telecasters, so I would look into the thinline tele's for the best of both worlds.

Playability wise, I find semi hollows easier to play for prolonged periods, likely due to the lighter weight. Insofar as the body is concerned, they are usuall slightly fatter.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:23 PM   #13
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Thinline tele would be good for that. Another option would be a Danelectro. Semi hollow, super light and great playability, and I think the lower-output pickups would be great for your music.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:42 PM   #14
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I have a Jon Kammerer semihollow that is quite the pleasure to play: Strat-type body, 24 fret, 25.5" scale, 2 splittable HBs.

However, he makes a small-body semihollow (@$995) that is just under 5lbs. I'm planning on getting one with Lace Alumitones, which will drop it closer to 4lbs...





EDIT: "plaques" to "pleasure"- typed my response during intermission at a concert.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveHOC
Playability wise, I find semi hollows easier to play for prolonged periods, likely due to the lighter weight.

My experience is actually the opposite. I had an Ibanez Artcore AS73 for a while. It was a great guitar and I found it much nicer than the Epi Dot. But the neck was so thick and beefy that it always felt out of balance to me. Even playing while sitting the body always felt too light to me. I just prefer heavier, solid-feeling guitars and I ended up getting rid of it.

As far as the tone... my Artcore didn't sound much different than the solid-body Les Paul type of guitars I've owned. It was a little more smooth I guess, but not drastically different. Another reason I ended up getting rid of it...
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:01 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoyLilikoi
Thanks for all the replies guys! It definitely helps trying to sort out what I may want to get. I don't play anything heavy, and I don't picture myself ever doing so. I mainly play indie rock, bluegrass folky type stuff. So it seems that a hollow or semi-hollow caters to these genres?
If you're trying to maintain quite a bit of acoustic sound, one alternative is a "hybrid" guitar. Some examples of these are the Taylor "T-5", Carvin AE-185, The Ibanez "Montage", (mostly discontinued),and Crafter's knockoff of the T-5, their "SA & SAT" series guitars.

Here's one example:

OK, these things aren't a "shredders" guitar. But they do have some valuable and unique abilities.

Think of this as a Gibson ES-335, with a piezo. They have a massive amount of sustain due to the full length block through the body. (same as the ES-335).

At least do some research, and listen to some Youtube reviews. There's a lot of positive feedback about these guitars on the web. I have 2 of them in 12 string models. (Actually 1 ATM, and should get another delivered tomorrow, fingers crossed). Since comparing 6 and 12 string guitars is basically an apples vs. oranges folly, I'll let you investigate the 6 string models.

The SAT model, with the humbucker, (as shown), is a stereo guitar. These are MIK, and have a very good build quality. They're not cheap, but they're only about 1/4 of the price of the Taylor equivalent.

"Crafter" is very big in the UK, and Europe in general. These are much harder to come across stateside. By that I mean, they aren't carried by our largest dealers, such as "Musician's Friend". Their US website does have a considerable list of smaller outlets though: http://crafterusa.com/

Last edited by Captaincranky : 10-27-2012 at 05:30 AM.
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:18 AM   #17
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Those Crafter guitars sure seem nice!
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