Skip to content
Notifications
Clear all

Semi Hollows

24 Posts
13 Users
0 Likes
4,769 Views
rparker
(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
Topic starter  

I was out and about with my wife today. Had some time to kill, so we went into a Sam Ash. What a nice wife I have. :) at any rate, I decided to play some semi-hollows. I played an Ibanez(kind of a thicker bodied one), an Epi Sheraton II, Epi DOT Deluxe and a Gretsch Guitars G5120. I forgot to play the Epi Lucille. :oops:

At any rate, the Epiphones did have a nice jazzy sound to them. I found them to not be quite as easy to play as my Epi LP custom, but nothing is.....or was. The Gretsch G5120 was absolutely incredible. I'm going to have to re-visit that one some time. The action was dead on perfect all the way up and down the neck. It's not much of a secret around here that I am an Epiphone fan, but as far as playability, this Gretsch really shined. The tone was a little twangier than the Epiphones. Maybe brighter? That rockabilly sound or whatever it's called. I'm not quite into that. I like the blues/jazz tones better. Damn though, this thing was good. I am very impressed. I bet I could coax the tones out that I like..... :twisted:

Hated the Ibanez. You had to really jump on the strings to get the guitar going. Seemed odd to me. I wish I remembered the model.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
Quote
TRGuitar
(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3709
 

Cool Roy! Only semi I got is my Oscar Schmidt Delta King. Bolt on neck ... thats the cheap part. Grover tuners, actual different Washburn pickups at neck and bridge. Very cheap too. Paid $119 back when they were trying like heck to get rid of them. Not super smooth to play but sounds good and I figured the parts were worth more than I paid. I actually like to play it. I should get it out and take it for a spin. Thanks for reminding me I got it Roy! :mrgreen: :note1: :note2:

Cause of the solid block it handles distortion just fine but will get real bluesy too. Very versitile! It's just big is all.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
ReplyQuote
U2Bono269
(@u2bono269)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1167
 

the whole gretsch electromatic line is really really good. I don't have the semihollow but i have the solidbody. great guitar. i've played that semihollow and it's fantastic.

you're right on the ibanez ones...they're nothing special. i havent found an ibanez ive liked, and i've owned two of them.

the best semihollow ive ever taken for a spin in the epi sheraton II. great guitar. it might be my next one.

http://www.brianbetteridge.com


   
ReplyQuote
TwistedLefty
(@twistedlefty)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4113
 

Cool Roy! Only semi I got is my Oscar Schmidt Delta King.

+1 on the OE30!
i still love mine, try some flat wounds on it if you get a chance.

#4491....


   
ReplyQuote
greybeard
(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

Of the ES335 type of guitar, I think that the 2 best ones that I've tried are the Heritage 535 and the Yamaha SA2200. My Washburn (the big brother of the Oscar Schmitt) is also an excellent guitar for the money. I dropped the idea of an Epi Dot, because the couple that I'd tried had very low, flat frets, which I don't like.

The Hagstrom line has a couple of nice playing semis, too.

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?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
ReplyQuote
rparker
(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
Topic starter  

I think I'll have to hit the GC soon to see if all of the Gretsches in that price range are built like that or was this one an odd-ball.

There's another one from Guitar Fetish that looks interesting. http://store.guitarfetish.com/xvsehoflmaal.html Could not find any soundbites on it though.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
ReplyQuote
Nuno
 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3995
 

Some months ago I was also trying several semi hollows. I was playing an Ibanez, I didn't remember the exact model but I liked the feeling and tone. I also played a Washburn but I think it was a hollow guitar, one of those jazz guitars.


   
ReplyQuote
Dan T.
(@dan-t)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5044
 

Cool Roy! Only semi I got is my Oscar Schmidt Delta King.

+1 on the OE30!
i still love mine, try some flat wounds on it if you get a chance.

I still have mine too. I pretty much keep it in open G tuning most of the time. 8)

Dan

"The only way I know that guarantees no mistakes is not to play and that's simply not an option". David Hodge


   
ReplyQuote
gnease
(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

I wouldn't expect any generically-selected semi to have a "great" jazzy sound. a lot of that comes from the natural resonances of the guitar, which is a lot easier to build into a hollow body (not semi), but can be found on some semis and even solid body guitars with just the right pieces of wood. construction and combos of pups (some Teles are. some ES335s are. not all). does that make sense? The Gretsch G5120 is a full-depth hollow not a thin-line semi (ES335 type). very different animals. I would expect a better jazzy acoustic sound from the Gretsch because a far better design for low end resonance, and won't depend as critically on the actually laminated woods -- although nothing is a given, as makers can screw it up ... so we play 'em before we buy 'em. (BTW, a hardcore jazzer may very likely say none of these will do, except a full-sze hollow archtop with hand-carved carved solid top in spruce or maple a neck mounted floating pups. for gig playing, they might concede use of a lam-archtop with cut-in humbuckers. we do not live in that universe)

things to remember about the guitars you are trying in places such as GC:

1. they often are not set up well, and that can be fixed, as most decently designed guitars can be set up reasonably well (umm ... if the truss rod is not broken). if you like the sound, but the feel/action/playability isn't quite there, then see if the store can set it up for better playing. Gretsch is not traditionally known as an "easy playing" instrument -- usually because of higher action setup to suit tone and a heavy playing style, while OTOH, Ibanez is known for easy action. you've had the reverse experience. it's only because of the setup differences.
2. so-called "jazzy" and rockabilly sound usually comes from: archtop hollowbodies (but see above comment regarding expections), strung with flatwound strings (strong, thumpy bass = little bass sustain). rarely are GC guitars strung with flats. many of those Gretsches and Ibanezes hollows should be, as it's an amazing sound adn vibe!
3. lots of these archtop style guitars ship with a piece of foam between the body and the wooden bridge pedestal. that must come out to hear the sound properly. Ibanez ships this way and most of the in-store guitars still have it.
4. there are many, many Ibanez Artcore models. not shilling for Ibanez, but that name includes a lot of guitars, hollow, semi, full-depth, thinline, with trem, w/o trem, floating neck pups, cut-in 'buckers ....

finally, the OE30 is a great guitar for the $$, as is a Squier '51, but that's what we call damning praise. you can do better.

-=tension & release=-


   
ReplyQuote
rparker
(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
Topic starter  

As always Greg, very informative insights. I enjoy them.
Gretsch is not traditionally known as an "easy playing" instrument -- usually because of higher action setup to suit tone and a heavy playing style, while OTOH, Ibanez is known for easy action. you've had the reverse experience. it's only because of the setup differences.

This is what's so odd. The Ibanez action was lower than the Gretsch as you expected. The Gretsch action was higher, but not out of acceptable range. Very easy to fret cleanly, and very quickly too.

I'm very much at ease with the Epi Sheraton's neck. Same scale length and nut width as the Epi Custom I'm always raving about. It's just a tweak or two away from being just like it too. It wasn't that bad. For some reason, the Gretsch felt so much better. I've never had that happen with any other guitar before. I'm in unfamiliar territory.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
ReplyQuote
rparker
(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
Topic starter  

Had to go over that way again today, so went into GC instead. They have my amp there. Helps a lot. I played:

Epi DOT Studios (two different ones, $30 apart)
Epi DOT Deluxe
Epi Sheraton II
Gretsch 5120

The cheaper DOTs were poorly set up. Didn't even sound any where as good as the Deluxe or the Sheraton. No go. The DOT Deluxe and the Sheraton sounded similar. The Sheraton has more curb appeal going for it is probably part of the price difference. I would not object to either of them.

The 5120 sounded better than I remember. Perhaps it was the amp. I know that some claim the HRD and the BDRI amps are the same clean, but they ain't. The HRD has more of a bite to it. Regardless, the Gretsch wins in one category. It's even more different than what I already own than the Epi's are. That'll probably be the deciding factor. I found the tones to be nice in all three positions, again very playable despite the GC lack of set-up. (Our Sam Ash actually does limited set-ups, string changing and cleaning before putting them on the wall. 8) ) I might even go with the 5122 when the time comes just because it's a double-cut instead of the common LP shape. I still will test drive the Epi Lucille. Supposedly has push-pull POTs for splitting or whatever it's called.

One actual question. On the Gretsch web-site, it mentions "2 Chrome Covered Dual Coil Humbucking Pickups ". What is that? Is that just hype for an ordinary humbucker?

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
ReplyQuote
gnease
(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

those ordinary humbuckers of the Gretsch variety -- marketing hype.

go for the Gretsch, Roy --it's a little unusual, and you already are sold. you might even get a Harley design airbrushed onto it :wink: -- same vibe.

-=tension & release=-


   
ReplyQuote
rparker
(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
Topic starter  

I'm leaning that way heavily. It'll be a couple months. Surgery and new HVAC units happen next month. We'll see what's left over. :|

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
ReplyQuote
Ignar Hillström
(@ignar-hillstrom)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5349
 

Just MHO but I wouldn't judge a guitar's playability that quickly. My AF75 (full hollow) plays great a decent setup, and so did all AF's I played that didnt hang in a store. These guitars sell less often then cheap strats and LPs so hang in the store longer, yet they dont cost enough compared with other 'longer selling items' such as Gibsons or Fenders' to justify regular check-ups. From my experience it seems Ibanez (and Yamaha!) guitars are among the most consistently build, if you find one that plays badly I'd ask the people in the store to try and fix it first.


   
ReplyQuote
rparker
(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
Topic starter  

From my experience it seems Ibanez (and Yamaha!) guitars are among the most consistently build,

I'm with you on that one. I love my GAX-70. In fact, I just put the original pick-ups back in yesterday. It has the jazziest tone I've got. I've beefed up almost everything else, so back to stock with this one. A nice ring to it. It was my starter and still play it often.

The hollow-body I tried out the other day had decent action and the pick-ups didn't look too low. I just didn't like the tone at all. I was rather surprised to be honest. Sam Ash didn't have a strong selection and I am not quite sure exactly which one it was. It was thicker than anything else I tried.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
ReplyQuote
Page 1 / 2