#1
Hey guys. Lately, I've been playing more and more jazz for different public occasions so I thought that it's time for me to be in the market for a hollow or semi-hollow bodied electric guitar (haven't decided which) to improve my 'jazz sound' - and also because my current "jazz guitar" is very much firewood worthy.
BUT since I've only ever shopped for solid bodied electric guitars before, the hollow bodied type is thus uncharted territory (for now) and I have no idea on how to identify a good one.

So what are the traits/marks of a good, solid hollow [unintentional oxymoron] or semi-hollowed bodied electric guitar that's not going to bail on me? Input would be appreciated
#2
Quote by UnmagicMushroom
Hey guys. Lately, I've been playing more and more jazz for different public occasions so I thought that it's time for me to be in the market for a hollow or semi-hollow bodied electric guitar (haven't decided which) to improve my 'jazz sound' - and also because my current "jazz guitar" is very much firewood worthy.
BUT since I've only ever shopped for solid bodied electric guitars before, the hollow bodied type is thus uncharted territory (for now) and I have no idea on how to identify a good one.

So what are the traits/marks of a good, solid hollow [unintentional oxymoron] or semi-hollowed bodied electric guitar that's not going to bail on me? Input would be appreciated

You basically have to use the same criteria as with a solid body..

The most important (for a full hollow at least) factor is the acoustic tone, hit a G-chord unplugged. How does the sound bloom then decay? Does it sound thuddy in the low end or thin at the top? How loud is it? (As a rule of thumb a louder guitar will be better.) Next play single notes; how is the attack? You should get a slow attack that sort of "creeps" up on you, if the response is too springy move on as the top is likely to be too stiff and the guitar will sound very weedy.

FWIW I dislike semi-hollow guitars for jazz as good ones are few and far between. I can count the number of es335s I would like to have owned on 1 hand... (And believe me I have tried more than my fair share!)

What is your budget and what have you been looking at? If you are at the lower end of the spectrum then I recommend the Godin 5th avenue/Kingpin as the best bang for buck. Also jazz is a broad genre, so what sort of artists/tones do you like? Also what amp(s) do you use?



EDIT: I forgot to mention; if your budget doesn't stretch to a Godin Kingpin (~£500GBP) then I would strongly suggest you save more or buy a solid body as you'll likely be hugely disappointed. Believe it or not a telecaster makes a great instrument for jazz!
For sale: Early 1985 Ibanez AH10 (Allan Holdsworth signature model) PM for details
Last edited by power freak at Jun 1, 2011,
#3
Thanks for your reply Mr. Power Freak.
Well...I actually haven't counted my money yet hehe, but I'm going to (hopefully) get some cash (about R1000) or so for a restaurant gig soon. I'm sure that I've seen Ibanez guitars at a nearby music shop going for about R3000 which is pretty damn decent...and that would be more in my range (I have no idea what the exchange rate is from rands to dollars or pounds is presuming you're from the USA or UK like most people on this forum seem to be)

When I say I play a lot of jazz, I mean all across the spectrum: from your jazz standards like Autumn Leaves and Blues For Alice to funky Herbie Hancock stuff. I have two amps, my Roland Cube 60 and a very old amp, a Starfire Mega 10 (a 40watt amp) which has very nice cleans in my opinion. I also have a Boss ME 70 if that give you an idea of my rig so far.

Also, about hollow bodied guitar bridges. http://www.guitarschools.com/m/red%20hollow%20body.gif
A professional guitar repairer I've spoken to a couple times said that he had a very good Epiphone hollow body with a bridge like this:
http://www.guitarschools.com/m/red%20hollow%20body.gif
but one day it just gave all of a sudden gave in.

Now I get the vibe that this is the best type of bridge on a hollow because it gives more stability: http://cdn1.iofferphoto.com/img/item/101/825/493/qYXwqjHGsamGdAj.jpg
What would you say to that? Is this necessarily true?
#4
Quote by UnmagicMushroom
Thanks for your reply Mr. Power Freak.
Well...I actually haven't counted my money yet hehe, but I'm going to (hopefully) get some cash (about R1000) or so for a restaurant gig soon. I'm sure that I've seen Ibanez guitars at a nearby music shop going for about R3000 which is pretty damn decent...and that would be more in my range (I have no idea what the exchange rate is from rands to dollars or pounds is presuming you're from the USA or UK like most people on this forum seem to be)

When I say I play a lot of jazz, I mean all across the spectrum: from your jazz standards like Autumn Leaves and Blues For Alice to funky Herbie Hancock stuff. I have two amps, my Roland Cube 60 and a very old amp, a Starfire Mega 10 (a 40watt amp) which has very nice cleans in my opinion. I also have a Boss ME 70 if that give you an idea of my rig so far.

Also, about hollow bodied guitar bridges. http://www.guitarschools.com/m/red%20hollow%20body.gif
A professional guitar repairer I've spoken to a couple times said that he had a very good Epiphone hollow body with a bridge like this:
http://www.guitarschools.com/m/red%20hollow%20body.gif
but one day it just gave all of a sudden gave in.

Now I get the vibe that this is the best type of bridge on a hollow because it gives more stability: http://cdn1.iofferphoto.com/img/item/101/825/493/qYXwqjHGsamGdAj.jpg
What would you say to that? Is this necessarily true?

I don't know that much about the Ibanez line of guitars but this: http://www.ibanez.com/HollowBodyGuitars/model-AF105 is a good guitar for the price but it costs around the same as the Godin if memory serves and I'd take the godin.

According to XE R3000 ~ £300; I personally don't think there is a good hollowbody in this price range (new, second hand you may find something.) So I'd move onto semi-hollows or a solid-body guitar. But given the influences you mentioned this isn't necessarily a bad thing.. I would look at the Tokai ES335 styled guitars in that price range. Or even try a telecaster on the bridge pickup with the tone control rolled all the way down (or at least most of the way) you'd be surprised at how good that can sound for jazz. I've heard the ibanez semi-hollows are OK but I haven't tried one before, I would avoid the epiphone ones unless you find one you get on with as the ones I've tried sounded dead.

IMO floating bridges are the best on full hollow guitars, especially those made entirely out of wood (ebony is best.) They have a more delicate sound than the harsher TOM styled ones. On a semi hollow your only choice is really a TOM.


For sale: Early 1985 Ibanez AH10 (Allan Holdsworth signature model) PM for details
#5
I'm a big fan of semi-hollows. But you identify a good one the same way you identify a good solid body -- play it and see how it feels and how it sounds. The biggest difference is that you put more emphasis on the unplugged sound.
#6
Quote by power freak
*KNOWLEDGE*


Thanks again for your input, Mr. Power Freak. I've heard people raving about Ibanez Artcores - in fact there was a guy just now saying how awesome they are. I've always toyed with the idea of a telecaster..maybe this is my chance - mind you Fenders are expensive down here (as well as Tokais) [There's a suburb here in Cape Town called Tokai hahaha]
I'll just have to shop around (luckily I have 3 music shops on my doorstep - good for me) and see what I can do.

HEY!! What about oil can guitars?! They're hollow aren't they? :P

Quote by Spud Spudly
*input*


Thanks, Mr. Spud-Person, I'll bear that in mind.
#7
No problem. The Ibanezes are very good. Think Epiphone too. They originally specialized in semi-hollows before Gibson bought them out and they still have a bunch of very nice ones that a reasonably priced.
#8
If you want to play more traditional jazz, I would recommend a hollowbody as opposed to a semi-hollow. I have an Epi Sheraton II that I got with the intention of branching out into jazz; the benefit of the semihollow is that you can use it for other styles as well and it won't feed back as much as a full hollowbody. That being said, my Sheraton leaves a little to be desired when it comes to those rich jazz tones... it's definitely woody ( I have 57 classics/+ in it), but it's not as deep and rich as a hollowbody. But like I said, semihollows are good if you want a versatile guitar; if that's what you're looking for, I would recommend a Korean-made Sheraton II and switch out the pickups for 57 classics or the SD Jazz humbuckers. Good stuff =)

Also, the amp counts for something; I'm using a Vox AC15. It's very rich and chimey -- I love it <3
Epi Sheraton II or MIA FSR strat > wah Q535 > fuzzface > Keeley C4 > Qtron > Whammy > Liquid Chorus > Triboost > Hotcake > BigMuff > Small Stone > VolumePlus > SpaceEcho > Cathedral Reverb > LoFi > MemoryMan > BYOC vibrato > DD-7 > Vox AC15 C1
#9
Think of a hollowbody as something very close to an acoustic: generally speaking, more money spent means better workmanship, woods, and so forth. There are always exceptions.

When I started out looking for my first electric, my guitar teacher (a ggigging jazz/rock/classical guitarist in high demand here) was helping me with my search. He was impressed by the bang for the buck from Ibanez' Artcore line...but he also pointed out that some of the more expensive Gretsches and Gibsons actually did sound better. Their deeper bodies were more resonant; they projected better. They were also 3x the price of the Artcores. (That was then: some of the guitars in Ibanez's line are every bit as large and resonant- and expensive- as those other makers' models.)

So, figure out your budget and your timeframe (how soon do you need the guitar?) before you decide.
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