#1
Hi, I am new to ultimate guitar in terms of the forum, but I was looking at advice for purchasing a new guitar. I have strange tastes, and I do not like the traditional look of acoustic guitars (i.e. a simple hole in the middle) so I was looking at jazz box guitars such as the Gretsch G5120, or the Epiphone ES-175. Are these types guitars even playable unplugged in terms of sound quality or tone? Sorry for my lack of insight in these areas, and any advice/insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
#2
Essentially; no they really aren't a substitute for a real acoustic guitar. I play a Ibanez Artcore (Not quite the same quality range obviously but it applies the same and I have played a Gretsch G5) and it's too quiet by far, when played unplugged, to compete with acoustic guitars or even a moderately loud vocal.

Another issue is that due to the position of the F holes as compared to a soundhole in an acoustic you get nowhere near as much low end so it sounds very tinny.

And this isn't my specialty at all, I'm a sound guy not a luthier, but I'm quite sure the wood is totally different in semi solids and acoustic, but I could be wrong.

So No those guitars wont serve as a subsitute for a real acoustic but they are great guitars. Especially the Gretsch.
#3
I was in the same boat when I was looking for an acoustic; I eventually caved and just got a traditional one.

But to answer your question, a jazz guitar won't do what you want. Although, you *could* get an archtop acoustic, or an ovation maybe?

Jazz guitars look a lot like archtops, and in some cases *are* archtops, but they're designed to be plugged in, so they won't have as high-quality a sound, acoustically.

The main thing to be aware of with archtops is that they project a lot more mids, and less high and low end than a traditional soundhole. Ovations, I'm not so sure of; I've heard they sound amazing plugged in, and less impressive acoustically.

Hope any of that helped.
#4
Acoustic archtop guitars were meant to be played in early, non-amplified jazz bands and combos and as a result have powerful projection.
They are generally set up with rather heavy strings and as one player said, "I sweat a lot".

You would either like the tone or not...Good ones are quite expensive as they are built just like orchestral "stringed" instruments.

There are all sorts of wild-looking instruments available; exotic woods, funny soundholes, graphite construction... Take your pick. However, the design of a standard guitar is the result of about 500 years of design evolution. Chances are you won't find a great improvement in sound.
#5
Quote by Bikewer
However, the design of a standard guitar is the result of about 500 years of design evolution. Chances are you won't find a great improvement in sound.

To be fair, arched-body, guitar-like instruments are equally old, if not older.

Ultimately, they just sound different. The only useful way to judge which you prefer is to physically play a few of each. There are as many styles as there are players.
#7
the guitars you mention don't sound at all like a "regular" guitar. jazz guitars have much less sustain and overtones because of the type of music they're made to play, and unless you like that specific sound, chances are you'll be disappointed playihg them unplugged.

i suggest you try some boulder creek guitars - the solitaire and solitaire OM may interest you. also although composite acoustics is out of business, my local sam ash and l.a. guitar sales both have most of the line except for the cargo. they're narrow but sound very big, some have corner holes, and they all have an interesting look plus LOTS more bass than you'd expect from guitars that shallow. they feel great, easy to play, and depending on finish they range from an open well-balanced sound (the gloss tops) to tons of bass (the RT versions). i have a cargo RT, and found that using DR rare pb's gives it some top end sparkle to go with the bass - probably the best sounding guitar in our house. http://www.laguitarsales.com/pages/3040/mfg/268/

ah, and perhaps if you want something different, you might check out the blackbird rider. it's also carbon fiber, and looks a bit like a paddle. i was utterly blown away by the sound - just amazing, one of the most beautiful full sounds i've heard. http://macnichol.com/product/blackbird-rider-steel
#8
Awesome feedback! Thank you everyone for your input, I wasn't expecting such a large educated response as I have received! I am understand now that those jazz body guitars aren't meant as an alternative to an acoustic, but maybe a hybrid between an electric and an acoustic. I may just have to sell my electric to get a little bit of both worlds. I will have to head to guitar center to actually try one of these beasts to see if I even like the sound first though. Thank you all, thanks frames for the link, I am now looking between the Godin Kingpin and the Gretsch g5120. Also, Patticake, I actually do love the look of the Composite Acoustics X RT-CH, the first traditional looking guitar that I loved the look of, however it is a bit out of my price range. Thanks again all, if you have any more advice I would love to hear it!
#9
The sound quality is going to be compromised if you buy one of those guitars to play unplugged. There are some unique looking acoustics out there. What about the Laguna brand acoustics? Their design is a little different and some of them actually sound pretty good.
#12
I tried one in a shop and it's a well built, great sounding guitar. I think they first produced them in the 70s, but they just started making this unique shape again, both steel string and nylon, they even have a 12 string version. The price is around $500.
#14
how much was a 12 string? If it was really $500 I am excited
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#16
was looking at that a while ago, my mom wants to learn guitar again and she owns a yamaha FG-180, I might get her into putting some money in, she loves 12 string guitars....
Dempseys68's Chord
e|0
B|5
G|0
D|5
A|0
E|5 Only Gingers and Dempsey can use!
Oh Gingonia Oh Gingonia, We pledge our orangeness to thee. We are so Frickin' white like candles in the night
Oh Gingonia Oh Gingonia We pledge our SPF Ging to thee
#17
words to live by!

Quote by obeythepenguin
And remember, looks aren't everything; don't get me wrong, I think archtops are the sexiest damn things, but sex appeal should never be your main reason for buying an instrument.
#18
Thanks obeythepenguin! I am going to go test a ton of these out when I go to guitar center. I may trade in my Schecter C-1 Hellraiser in favor of a good electric archtop so that I would have one good guitar instead of a few mediocre ones. Don't get me wrong, I love my C-1 but I made the same mistake that you are referring to. I bought the C-1 because it was sexy and because the fantastic reviews, however it is definitely a metal/shredder guitar, and not "great" for the music that I love. As lame as it is, I like music like Damien Rice, Monsters of Folk, Bright Eyes, and Two Gallants. I also found out from a music video yesterday that Adam Stephens of Two Gallants uses a hollow body Gretsch.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AWCRkcCKm8
Not that that means anything, great musicians use all different types of guitars, but I do like that sound. I would be fine with plugging it in to get its full potential as long as it provides more and higher quality feedback than just playing a non-hollow body guitar unplugged.