Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Semi-hollow questions

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by lammie200, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. Bill

    Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    I have an ES-175 (full hollow body) and and ES-347 (semi-hollow body). Other folks have already pointed out the complete access to the top frets--no need to change your hand position to reach the highest notes. Also it sounds different, more complex and acoustic, woody. It kind of fills things in the way a bit of overdrive does with a solidbody--adds overtones and harmonics. A certain richness.

    I happen to love the looks of an ES, but that's me. I find it a very easy playing guitar with a huge range of sounds. I can cover Tele and Strat territory as well as LP land. Plus great jazz tones like a very articulate hollow body.

  2. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Jun 11, 2010
    I think I got a special '72 Thinline RI with extra mojo and fairy dust in it and it has been a winner since the day I got it. Everything I have tried sounds great on it. For me the lure of a semi-hollow is certainly light weight, but also the way they seem to pull music out of me. Much different than solid bodies. I now have the Tele Thinline, an Epiphone ES-339 and the Xaviere hollow body. They are all certainly different from each other but they fill a sonic realm that the solid bodies don't. Some people don't need to go there. I do.

    DSC03788.JPG IMG_20150703_071201829.jpg IMG_20160723_113252033.jpg
    Hiker, wulfenganck and Zepfan like this.

  3. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Collins, CO
    I was playing a Les Paul and started playing mostly rhythm in a country rock band with pedal steel guitar. I borrowed a friend's 335 type guitar and thought it was perfect for the band I was in. After playing every 335-type guitar in the bay area (a real nice '60's 335 got away from me) I traded the LP for a '66 Epiphone Riviera at Dean Markley Music in Santa Clara. I guess he makes strings or something these days. That guitar has been my life partner. I don't gig her much anymore, but she gets played. With the mini-humbuckers, it has a nice bright sound, but still can be fat for pushing an amp into overdrive. It's the best electric guitar for playing rhythm chordal stuff I own.

    Guitars and Gear 053.jpg

    The stop tailpiece was added later replacing the Epi "Dual Trapeze" tailpiece. It didn't change the tone a bit and made the tuning much more stable.

  4. mtown

    mtown Tele-Meister

    Jun 2, 2011
    Fenton, MO
    A Tele Thinline is actually a chambered body and not a semi-hollow like a 335. The chambered usually have just one f-hole.

  5. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

    Nov 5, 2013
    jayyj, brookdalebill and moosie like this.

  6. paratus

    paratus Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    Semi hollows have a very different feel to me, especially if you can crank them. I have a 335 and and a Ric 360 that are just glorious unplugged or turned up. I have Gretsch 5120 with no center block that will sing if you let it. Besides the fact that they look cool, they make up an important part of my tone palette. That said, my '52AVRI gets the most playing time.

  7. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut

  8. perttime

    perttime Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 13, 2014
    Semi-hollows are cool. I'm currently GASing for a B&G Guitars Little Sister. Would settle for the Made in China version which isn't exactly cheap either.

  9. Crafty Fox

    Crafty Fox Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 25, 2011
    Perth Australia
    Here's my answer: Full hollow body 16" jazzbox under construction. Inspired by ES175/L4.

    Joe Sailor, tomas83 and LeftFinger like this.

  10. outbreak

    outbreak Tele-Holic

    Dec 28, 2007
    Different sound and different feel playing it

  11. ReaL Madras

    ReaL Madras Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 8, 2012
    Different build / specification, different feel, different aesthetics, different proposition.

    I must like them, as I own numerous of varying types and designs.... semi-hollow bodies / hollow bodies, carved out with top.

    Gibson ES135
    Gibson ES 335 Custom Edition
    Gibson ES335 Satin
    Two Rickenbacker 330's
    Ibanez AS103BM ABR
    Gretsch White Falcon
    Gretsch 5120
    Gretsch 5620t

    Epiphone Casino

  12. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    You might as well ask what's the point in having different flavour ice cream when it's all basically just dairy products and sugar.

    I like 335s because they have that classic Gibson twin humbucker tone, but the attack is more open and the low end less compressed then a Les Paul. Occasionally I like the Les Paul tone as well, but I find the 335 more suited to the style of music I play.

    They're also a lot more comfortable to play sitting on a chair than a Les Paul, and on average a bit lighter on a strap, although I have a '65 ES355 that is well into Les Paul territory weight wise.

    I like my 330 because it's much lighter and had a clean sound like a choir of angels, and I like my Gretsches because they're quirky and respond differently so if I'm sick coming up with a part on my Gibsons I switch to a Gretsch and end up coming up with different arrangement ideas.

    But ultimately it's just a design formula that works exceptionally well in creating a fantastic sounding electric guitar.
    dswo, moosie, Piggy Stu and 1 other person like this.

  13. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Aug 17, 2017
    Essex, UK
    A lot of the guitarists I like use / have used semi-hollow guitars. I like the look of them but I love the sound they can make - they do seem versatile in the right hands (and with the right amplification / pedals).

    Anyway, following a rush of blood and a really nice discount, I bought a Gibson ES349 in 60s Cherry. It's way too good for me but I'm hoping I'll grow into it as I learn to play. However, it's as much a thing of beauty as it is a functioning guitar.

    I was told it's a slightly scaled-down ES345. I actually like the slightly smaller size and lower weight though, without the central "block" it does have a tendency to feedback. No problem, I like feedback, now and again!

  14. swampyankee

    swampyankee Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Feb 5, 2015
    Southeastern MA
    Back in the early days of rock and roll, you'd see most players with hollow or semi-hollow bodies. So some of the sounds of those early songs were made using them, so if you're playing that kind of music like I am, and you want to be authentic it's what you play. There's a certain resonance and "woody" tone you get out of a semi-hollow body.
    Right now I have a Gretsch "Historic Series" semi-hollow body with Dearmond P-90 ish pickups, and a Starcaster MP (for the novelty of it). Both guitars offer alot of sonic variety and compared to my solid body guitars. And I can get them to feed back easier than my Strat or Tele.

  15. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    In my opinion, which is of course based on my personal experience and no one else's, semi hollow and chambered guitars don't sound very different from solid bodies. But a follow hollow guitar has a very different "attack envelope" around the note: less sustain, a more percussive snap on the note. It's hard to describe but you notice it right away with a fully carved archtop, for example.

    I did a series of experiment with fully hollow teles--I carved out the cavity, and put a 1/4 inch thick top on it, then screwed the bridge plate to the top. So the top vibrates freely, with not contact with the back, but it's braced and damped a little bit. The result gets some of the attack of an archtop in the form of a tele:

    Tenor Madness

    That guitar looks exactly like a tele except it has a P90 in the neck. But its' completely hollow.

    I don't think you can get that with a solid body, or at least not without going to a fair amount of trouble. There are of course plenty of reasons to prefer a slid body or something with ac enter block, and feedback will be a problem with this guitar at high volume, but in response to the OP I don't there's any good reason, other than weight reduction, for semi hollows.

  16. Frank'n'censed

    Frank'n'censed Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 27, 2011
    Parts Unknown
    Man, where have I been with this model? My preference checklist is loaded with this guitar!
    *chambered *light weight *shortscale *cutaway *spruce top *mahogany *p90 style pickups *tasteful design *a reputable builder

    What's the neck like, (profile & nutwidth)?

    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017

  17. cntry666

    cntry666 Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 16, 2010
    decatur, ga
    I’m a straight up tele guy but I just got a Gretsch G5420T. It’s amazing and totally different from any Thinline I’ve owned. It’s not just weight, it’s got a totally different neck feel and tonally way more versatile than a solid body.
    I had a few Casinos as well and they were very cool.

  18. IgnatzMouse

    IgnatzMouse TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

    Aug 13, 2013
    CT, USA
    I have a Collings I35-LC (laminate, semi-hollow version of a 335) and a Collings CL (solid body, LP style) with similar (not identical) Lollar pickups in each. I would say that compared to the CL, the I35 puts out a more 'open' or 'airy' sound (for lack of better terms), which I find both flexible (straight ahead blues, jazz) and appealing. Both are tremendous guitars.
    moosie likes this.

  19. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Saying there's not much difference between a semi and solid body when talking Teles is one thing (I tend to agree).

    I don't think that applies to archtops, though. No, I have no idea what a solid 335 would sound like, and I don't want to know (too heavy). But as is, it's a very acoustically alive guitar, very woody, very "hollow" sounding.

    Then there's the 330, which is so very similar, but without a center block. And P90s. You might think it's going to sound like a ... hollower .. 335, but it doesn't. It's just this completely different thing. It's got more in common with a 175.
    IgnatzMouse likes this.

  20. tomas83

    tomas83 Tele-Holic

    To me hollow are better than semi-hollow. Take the Danelectro DC59. Or Gibson Johnny A model...

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