#1
From what I understand, it would make a difference because of the resonance, but what type of difference would it make? More of a certain harmonic? More sustain?

Supose someone makes two guitars of the exact same mass, but otherwise are identical (same pots, neck, pickups, etc.). What would the sound difference be?
Just a teenage girl who loves playing guitar way too much, if that's even possible.

I live for my girlfriend. <3
#2
It's impossible to answer your question. Different solid body electric guitars acoustically resonate differently. Same thing with hollow bodies. You need to define what specific guitars you're comparing.

You also cannot acquire a hollow body guitar that has the same mass as a solid body. If you could, the body would have to be far larger than anything that currently exists on the market.
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#3
gogiregion 
Your guesses about resonance, harmonics, and sustain as the causes are basically correct.

When the string is picked, the energy in the string is eventually damped and absorbed by the body and the air. The overtones of the note are not all damped at the same amount or the same rate.

With a solid body guitar, some damping is through the nut and bridge saddles where the string energy is conducted into the body. The usual bridge is a mass of metal which tends to pass just a little of this energy gradually. The air around the string absorbs some of the energy as well.
With a hollow body, the bridges are often wood with the strings passing over it to a tail piece; this allows more energy into the body to be absorbed, and the air around the string includes the air within the body, so more energy is absorbed there, too.

So the general difference in sound (the signal from the pickups) is a result of what the motion of the string looks like as a result of the energy in the string being damped out - which frequencies and overtones are the first and fastest to be removed.

There is no way to tell for sure how all this complexity interacts in specific cases; but in general the solid body guitar will tend to preserve higher frequencies and have a more "plink plink" sound with longer sustain, and the hollow body guitar will tend to preserve less of the high frequencies and have more of a "thump thump" sound with less sustain... but with variation in guitars, tone and pickup circuits, playing style, effects, and amps, etc... there is a lot of overlap in tone character.
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#4
In the mid-60's, "Beatle" guitars were sort of the rage. Mostly semi-hollow-body guitars including Riks, ES-335s, Guilds, Epi Casinos, etc. 

Several guitarists, including Eric Clapton, were on a search for sustain and more treble. A guitar that had been discontinued by Gibson a few years before that had a small, dense, thick solid body, and provided both. While other guitar players had also found the late-50's Les Paul, one album changed everything: John Mayall's Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton. Eric played a '60 LP through a Marshall amp and things changed. 

By the early '70's, guitar makers were outdoing themselves trying to find ways to maximize native guitar sustain and treble output. I have a couple of guitars from that era that epitomize that mindset. One is a Moonstone Vulcan, one of 35 built that had a thick once-piece solid maple burl body, set neck (multiple pieces of maple and purpleheart) and active Bartolini pickups with two separate treble boosts. others include the Travis Bean guitar, which used a solid piece of aluminum that ran all the way from the bridge to the tuners and mounted everything that touched the strings to that, and then surrounded that with a koa or magnolia-wood body. The Yamaha SG2000 is a neck-through guitar with a very heavy set of mahogany body wings, a maple cap and a 10.5 ounce chunk of brass bolted into a rout in the body under the heavy bridge. And the Dan Armstrong guitar had a body of solid Lucite. 

Amp manufacturers were in on this as well. Tube manufacturers were pretty much disappearing, Marshall and Fender amps were in trouble and in '70 and '71 everyone was putting out powerful solid state amps that had horn tweeters, closed-back cabinets, and even 15" speakers. Look for old Acoustic, Vox SuperBeatles, etc., to see them.  Gain and fuzz had been discovered, but it was mostly a severely cranked amp that provided them. 

Depending on the configuration of a hollow body (or semi-hollow) guitar, some of the energy in the strings was transferred to the body of the guitar. Generally (again, that word) a hollow body guitar will be louder when played without an amp than will a solid body guitar. You can hear something going on with a solid body, but it's much quieter. If you remove energy from the strings to make the guitar acoustically louder, you will reduce energy in the strings themselves, and will have a stronger attack and a quicker decay.  Slower decay, however, is the definition of sustain.    It also turns out that the highs (treble), which have less energy anyway, are also the most easily removed from the overall string harmonics. 

In short, and purely in general terms of guitar construction (no electronics involved), a solid body guitar will be quieter when played acoustically, a hollow body louder, and these resonances remove string energy to differing degrees, with the treble response usually first to disappear.

EDIT: And PlusPaul beat me to all of this, above....
Last edited by dspellman at May 10, 2017,
#5
Okay, so hollow bodies sustain less and the trebble frequencies fade out first? That's interesting.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
You also cannot acquire a hollow body guitar that has the same mass as a solid body. If you could, the body would have to be far larger than anything that currently exists on the market.


Just a teenage girl who loves playing guitar way too much, if that's even possible.

I live for my girlfriend. <3
#6
Quote by gogiregion

Is there a problem?

That is what you specified. 2 guitars of the exact same mass. One solid, one hollow. The body of the hollow body guitar would have to be very, very large to have the same mass of wood as something like a Les Paul.

But because you never specified the 2 guitars you're comparing, how is anyone meant to know otherwise?
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#7
gogiregion 

Less sustain, specifically in the higher registers is my limited experience with a semihollows, as noted by dspellman. I think they might also have more potential for "tone wood" effects than solidbodies. My Westone Rainbow 1 was much darker sounding a solidbody with identical pickups and very similar electronics.
#8
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Is there a problem?

That is what you specified. 2 guitars of the exact same mass. One solid, one hollow. The body of the hollow body guitar would have to be very, very large to have the same mass of wood as something like a Les Paul.

But because you never specified the 2 guitars you're comparing, how is anyone meant to know otherwise?


I meant that it was a facepalm moment to think about a hollow body and solid body with the same mass.

Quote by Tony Done
gogiregion 

Less sustain, specifically in the higher registers is my limited experience with a semihollows, as noted by dspellman. I think they might also have more potential for "tone wood" effects than solidbodies. My Westone Rainbow 1 was much darker sounding a solidbody with identical pickups and very similar electronics.


That's cool, I guess. I think I'll stick to my solid bodies.
Just a teenage girl who loves playing guitar way too much, if that's even possible.

I live for my girlfriend. <3
#9
a different short of attack. but i don't buy the less sustain argument. 
my hollowbodies sustain forever. 

it really just depends on the actual guitar though. 

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
It's impossible to answer your question. Different solid body electric guitars acoustically resonate differently. Same thing with hollow bodies. You need to define what specific guitars you're comparing.

You also cannot acquire a hollow body guitar that has the same mass as a solid body. If you could, the body would have to be far larger than anything that currently exists on the market.

well that's interesting to think about...are you talking about the mass of the guitar including the space occupied by the chambering?

because you can make the two equal depending on wood density. 
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
Last edited by AcousticMirror at May 10, 2017,
#10
I have an Ibanez AF75 hollow body just for the reason stated (very well ) by PlusPaul and DSpellman. When I do 1st set "dinner music" at a restaurant/club gig it has to be at a low volume. The hollow body's deeper low end carries much better at lower volume levels than say my Epiphone Sheraton (semi hollow) and a whole lot better than one of my Les Paul's. It's the best "tool" for a low volume, light music situation. 
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at May 11, 2017,
#11
Quote by Rickholly74
I have an Ibanez AF75 hollow body just for the reason stated (very well ) by PlusPaul and DSpellman. When I do 1st set "dinner music" at a restaurant/club gig it has to be at a low volume. The hollow body's deeper low end carries much better at lower volume levels than say my Epiphone Sheraton (semi hollow) and a whole lot better than one of my Les Paul's. It's the best "tool" for a low volume, light music situation. 


That really makes sense.
Just a teenage girl who loves playing guitar way too much, if that's even possible.

I live for my girlfriend. <3
#12
Something most people don't realize about electric guitars is that the guitar body actually robs string energy.  Heavy, dense, and solid guitars don't resonate as much as their hollow counterparts which means the strings vibrate longer and more of the strings energy is sent to the pickup.  Hollow body guitars sound mid heavy because the light tops on them are better at resonating high frequencies which means more top end is robbed from the string.  Stings do, however, vibrate in sympathy with the body so if the body is vibrating from all the top end it is sucking up it can sometimes be given back in the midrange due to sympathy vibrations.  This means that some frequencies will resonate longer and some significantly less.  The sounds the guitar body give back to the string are not the same as the sounds they took so you get a more tone that is more airy, woody, and some would argue more complex. The mid boost further emphasises the lost top end and makes the low end seem less significant as well.  This causes hollow body guitars  to sound warmer, darker, and fat.  It also explains why some seem to get incredibly long sustain while others seem to get significantly less.  It's all about the frequencies you are trying to produce.
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#13
Quote by CorduroyEW
Something most people don't realize about electric guitars is that the guitar body actually robs string energy.  Heavy, dense, and solid guitars don't resonate as much as their hollow counterparts which means the strings vibrate longer and more of the strings energy is sent to the pickup.  Hollow body guitars sound mid heavy because the light tops on them are better at resonating high frequencies which means more top end is robbed from the string.  Stings do, however, vibrate in sympathy with the body so if the body is vibrating from all the top end it is sucking up it can sometimes be given back in the midrange due to sympathy vibrations.  This means that some frequencies will resonate longer and some significantly less.  The sounds the guitar body give back to the string are not the same as the sounds they took so you get a more tone that is more airy, woody, and some would argue more complex. The mid boost further emphasises the lost top end and makes the low end seem less significant as well.  This causes hollow body guitars  to sound warmer, darker, and fat.  It also explains why some seem to get incredibly long sustain while others seem to get significantly less.  It's all about the frequencies you are trying to produce.


Okay. That explains everything.
Just a teenage girl who loves playing guitar way too much, if that's even possible.

I live for my girlfriend. <3
#14
Here's a great example of the difference in sound. Listen to Clapton playing on his L5 hollowbody at around 1:50 on [url="(Invalid video video code)]this video, then compare it to his same solo played on his solid body guitar at Abbey Road on the White Album. 
#15
Here's a great example of the difference in sound. Listen to Clapton playing on his L5 hollowbody at around 1:50 on [url="(Invalid video video code)]this video, then compare it to his same solo played on his solid body guitar at Abbey Road on the White Album. 

Okay, I own White Album, but the link is broken so it would be hard to compare.
Just a teenage girl who loves playing guitar way too much, if that's even possible.

I live for my girlfriend. <3
#16
Quote by gogiregion
Okay, I own White Album, but the link is broken so it would be hard to compare.


The link was to the same song from the Concert for Bangladesh. The point is that the sounds of any guitar are based on many different factors. Hollow or solid is just one of them.
#17
Quote by gerdner
The link was to the same song from the Concert for Bangladesh. The point is that the sounds of any guitar are based on many different factors. Hollow or solid is just one of them.


Which song was it? I just want to look it up now, because I'm curious.
Just a teenage girl who loves playing guitar way too much, if that's even possible.

I live for my girlfriend. <3
#18
Quote by gogiregion
Which song was it? I just want to look it up now, because I'm curious.

While My Guitar Gentle Weeps. YouTube videos of Clapton are usually a good source for material to dispel myths about the relationship between gear and tone. Check out Cream's original Sunshine of Your Love and the same song on their reunion tour. The original was played on a Gibson SG, on the reunion Clapton played his famous Strat "Blackie". Both of them sound like Clapton. 
#19
Quote by gerdner
While My Guitar Gentle Weeps. YouTube videos of Clapton are usually a good source for material to dispel myths about the relationship between gear and tone. Check out Cream's original Sunshine of Your Love and the same song on their reunion tour. The original was played on a Gibson SG, on the reunion Clapton played his famous Strat "Blackie". Both of them sound like Clapton. 


Okay I'll look it up. I listen to the original so much I won't have to relisten.

Also, I feel so stupid, because you originally mentioned Clapton, and I should've known which song it was.

Edit: I watched the video. I can hear the high end having less sustain instead of that infinite sustain sound that the original had, although the amp wasn't the same so I can't make any tonal changes out.
Just a teenage girl who loves playing guitar way too much, if that's even possible.

I live for my girlfriend. <3
Last edited by gogiregion at May 29, 2017,
#20
Quote by gerdner
While My Guitar Gentle Weeps. YouTube videos of Clapton are usually a good source for material to dispel myths about the relationship between gear and tone. Check out Cream's original Sunshine of Your Love and the same song on their reunion tour. The original was played on a Gibson SG, on the reunion Clapton played his famous Strat "Blackie". Both of them sound like Clapton. 

Clapton's current strats have a mid boost in them to give a more humbucker type sound. since it's Clapton playing no shock it sounds like Clapton  
#23
I agree with the post about Clapton.  This might as well be a tonewood thread.  Electronics make electric guitars sound different.  Not wood or lack there of.