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Best Hollow/Semi-Hollow Body for Blues/Jazz?

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bb-bill
(@bb-bill)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 32
Topic starter  

I currently have a strat which I really like, but I'm hankerin' for the
full fat sound of a hollow or semi-hollow body guitar for classic blues,
rock, jazz.

What guitar would you recommend?

Thanks!


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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Posts: 5038
 

What's your budget?

-=tension & release=-


   
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bb-bill
(@bb-bill)
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Topic starter  

My budget is around the 2k range but if I can get great tone
and playability for less - that would be great.


   
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NoteBoat
(@noteboat)
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The Gibson ES series is tough to beat in that price range.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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greybeard
(@greybeard)
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Try the Heritage range with ES335 "clones" (silly because Heritage builds guitars in the original Gibson factory with all the old Gibson machines).

Yamaha have a very good hollow body - the SA2200 at around $1000 - I was very impressed by this guitar, except for the neck, which I found a little thick, but the rest of the guitar was finished far batter than any other Es335 clone I've seen

Ibanez have the excellent John Schofield at around $2000

Epiphone Elitist are supposed to be very good at 1000-1500

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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Tucker
(@tucker)
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Posts: 144
 

Try the Heritage range with ES335 "clones" (silly because Heritage builds guitars in the original Gibson factory with all the old Gibson machines).

Yamaha have a very good hollow body - the SA2200 at around $1000 - I was very impressed by this guitar, except for the neck, which I found a little thick, but the rest of the guitar was finished far batter than any other Es335 clone I've seen

Ibanez have the excellent John Schofield at around $2000

Epiphone Elitist are supposed to be very good at 1000-1500
Seconded on the Heritage front - if you want a Gibson ES from the 70s, that's the closest you'll get to getting a new one as they're made on the old Gibson rigs. Also, on the Ibanez side of things, let's not forget the George Benson signatures.

I know it'll probably work out to be about $1000 less (and, judging from that price range, the country of origin may put you off instantly), but have you considered a Japan-crafted Tokai? Those guitars are absolutely mint, I tell you.


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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Okay ...

Let's start with the ES-335 semihollow, often characterized as one of the most versatile guitars around. Greybeard's recommendation of the Ibanez John Scofield is a good one. At just under US $2k, it is one of the best 335-types around. If you want cheaper, try the Gibby ES-333 -- a stripdown version for about a grand. Heritage guitars have a mixed rep (guess they really do emmulate Gibson!), but some guys swear by them. A 335-type will get you many nice-to-nasty usable tones, resist feedback and have a fair amount of sustain. Very good for blues, rock, rockabilly, fusion, and okay to good for standard jazz (hardcore standard jazzers generally say "no.")

Also check out these semi-hollows:

Gibson ES-135, ES-137, Lucille (as in BB King)
Epiphone (Elitist) Sheraton II
Godin Montreal
Various Hamer models.
G&L Bluesboy (semi-hollow Tele) and Fender Tele- Thinline

The deep, mellow jazz sound is the domain of true hollowbodies, which also come in many different archtop designs and types: laminated maple tops, pressed maple tops (cheapest), carved solid-maple, carved solid-spruce. The last two are the classic jazz boxes and are usually very pricy. A Gibson L-5 (played by Wes) is a carved solid-spruce top beauty that probably goes for at least twice your budget -- it's also the one with that beautiful jazz sound. In your price range you can find laminated maple-top hollows that will also sound very good and be a bit more flexible than an L-5, but not nearly so flexible as a 335.

Other hollows to try:
Gibson ES-175 (used and new, players: Steve Howe, Ted Nugent)
Gretch various (Brian Setzer, buy only recent vintages for quality reasons)
Hofner President and Jazzica -- very highly regarded carved-tops, but might be a bit outside your range.
Epi Emperor Regent and Joe Pass models (less expensive guitars)

"Modern" hollow alternatives also exist. Godin makes some very reasonably priced carved-top small body guitars that are gaining a following: Try the Flat 5 (jazzer pun) and/or Multiac Jazz. PRS's McCarthy hollow is loved by some, but is about $3k.

There are more, but that's a start.

-Greg

-=tension & release=-


   
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markminni
(@markminni)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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I have 1979 Gibson ES-347, it's a semi-hollowbody guitar. Great for blues, jazz, and rock. It is the most versatile guitar that I own. I bought it used in the mid 80's for $600us :D


   
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bb-bill
(@bb-bill)
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Topic starter  

Thanks for the feedback! Great suggestions! I'm going to research the guitars you've mentioned. I do hear a common theme about the Gibson ES335 - versatile, great sound, etc.

Of the holloy bodies I've been able to play to date, I've liked the ES335 and ES175 the most. I will definately check out the others you've recommended.


   
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Racer Y
(@racer-y)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 114
 

I got a D'Armond Starfire that's Pre-Fender.

LOL you got enough money for the Gibson... Go ahead and get it
you know you want to.....

I dunno How about a Steinburger... LOL it's a Semi-hollow with out the body LOL
When going thu gutiars before I decided on this -I tested an
Epiphone DOT model..... (Department Or Toystore) model
that really left a mark on me.
It was eeeww...Yeah, i'd sing the blues if I was stuck with that Axe

The Gibson Was Very nice that I tried But the problem with me and something like a Gibson, Is I get intimidated sort of. I'm afraid I'll
have a freak accident and wind up with an electronic toothpick.

Also, The Gibson was Pretty Expensive and since I only play in
my den and I got bills and kids and this horrible addiction to eating

I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but when
you're a 22lb sledge, do you really have to be?


   
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DaveM
(@davem)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 91
 

I'll 3rd the Heritage. They are great guitars. I was looking at the Gibson ES-175 a couple of years ago. It's a good guitar, but I went to get the Heritage H-575. I thought it was better made and better electronics. I've not regretted my decision. Plus it was about $1k less. And Heritage will do anything for you. I put in an ebony fingerboard with a "tree of life" inlay. It's great! You won't be disappointed in Heritage.

Dave

Sometimes in life you get shown the light,
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.


   
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waltaja
(@waltaja)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 170
 

Okay ...

Let's start with the ES-335 semihollow, often characterized as one of the most versatile guitars around. Greybeard's recommendation of the Ibanez John Scofield is a good one. At just under US $2k, it is one of the best 335-types around. If you want cheaper, try the Gibby ES-333 -- a stripdown version for about a grand. Heritage guitars have a mixed rep (guess they really do emmulate Gibson!), but some guys swear by them. A 335-type will get you many nice-to-nasty usable tones, resist feedback and have a fair amount of sustain. Very good for blues, rock, rockabilly, fusion, and okay to good for standard jazz (hardcore standard jazzers generally say "no.")

Also check out these semi-hollows:

Gibson ES-135, ES-137, Lucille (as in BB King)
Epiphone (Elitist) Sheraton II
Godin Montreal
Various Hamer models.
G&L Bluesboy (semi-hollow Tele) and Fender Tele- Thinline

The deep, mellow jazz sound is the domain of true hollowbodies, which also come in many different archtop designs and types: laminated maple tops, pressed maple tops (cheapest), carved solid-maple, carved solid-spruce. The last two are the classic jazz boxes and are usually very pricy. A Gibson L-5 (played by Wes) is a carved solid-spruce top beauty that probably goes for at least twice your budget -- it's also the one with that beautiful jazz sound. In your price range you can find laminated maple-top hollows that will also sound very good and be a bit more flexible than an L-5, but not nearly so flexible as a 335.

Other hollows to try:
Gibson ES-175 (used and new, players: Steve Howe, Ted Nugent)
Gretch various (Brian Setzer, buy only recent vintages for quality reasons)
Hofner President and Jazzica -- very highly regarded carved-tops, but might be a bit outside your range.
Epi Emperor Regent and Joe Pass models (less expensive guitars)

"Modern" hollow alternatives also exist. Godin makes some very reasonably priced carved-top small body guitars that are gaining a following: Try the Flat 5 (jazzer pun) and/or Multiac Jazz. PRS's McCarthy hollow is loved by some, but is about $3k.

There are more, but that's a start.

-Greg

didn't ted nugent play a gibson byrdland?

"I got a woman, stay drunk all the time!"

-Led Zeppelin-


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

didn't ted nugent play a gibson byrdland?

You are probably correct -- I was working from memory on that. There are many versions of the 175 and some look close the Byrdland -- the cutaways may differ. The Byrdland is another interesting hollowbody.

-Greg

-=tension & release=-


   
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Racer Y
(@racer-y)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 114
 

Hmmm... What about the Epiphone Casino? I don't much care for their
DOT Model, But the Casino looked OK. I say "Looked" cause I just
sort a noticed it in passing and as it was surrounded by A Rickenbacker
and some sort of Gibsons.

Actually, what about Rickenbackers and Blues? Or would that be more like
Trying to play a Pantera song with a pipe organ?

I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but when
you're a 22lb sledge, do you really have to be?


   
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