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

Shopping for a hollow/semi-hollow electric - any tips? advice?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by SecretSquirrel, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jul 2, 2015
    I had a Godin LG solid body, was very impressed with the quality, and I've seen 5th Avenues on CL, but wasn't after that sort of thing then. I'll keep my eye out now, thanks.
  2. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jul 2, 2015
    I was just looking at some Casinos online. As you suggest, in ways it'd be hard to go wrong. Lots of offerings from Epiphone in the general department.
  3. cabra velha

    cabra velha Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jan 21, 2016
    estados unidos
    My suggestions would be (in order of expense)

    Epi ES-339 (either HB or P90 version)
    Epi Casino
    The Godin Kingpins
    An older MIK Ibanez AF120
    The Ibanez PM2

    beyond that you are talking relatively large-bucks things from Gibson, Heritage, D'Angelico (asian), and maybe Collins.
  4. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jul 2, 2015
    Very helpful, thanks. The Epi 339 is looking better and better. I might even feel confident enough to order online, if I don't find anything nearby. But I'm pretty sure there are specimens I can try locally.

    Man, my GAS is intensifying. I'll venture out tomorrow to see what I can find.
  5. Matthias

    Matthias Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 30, 2003
    Epiphones aren't my go-to brand these days... I've had a couple and not bonded. YMMV, though. Some people get along very well, but I found my Dot rather heavy and muddy, even with a pick-up change.

    If you can, do check out the Grestch G2622 and G2622t streamliners. They seem similar to the Epi 339s and Dots in quality, but they have Filtertron pups and a bit more overall character, IMHO.

    Def look at the Ibanez options too. I've never had one, but I've heard many good things about the Artcore.
  6. jimmyv723

    jimmyv723 Tele-Meister

    Dec 28, 2017
    Western New York
    Some great suggestions and seems like the Gretsch Streamliner stuff gets great reviews as well. I was looking into the same guitars as you but ended up going with a Gibson 339 Studio from CME when they had a 15% coupon going on with Reverb. I just figured when you factored in the cost of a nice case along with an upgrade to the '57 Classic pickups the extra few hundred was worth it.
  7. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    If you want thump another way to go is flatwound strings. Put flatwounds on a Jazzmaster, use the neck pickup, turn the tone knob back, and it's pretty darn jazzy.

    Or put flatwounds on a Telecaster. But the OP has got a GAS itch that's gonna be scratched no matter what, I can sense it.....
  8. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

    Feb 10, 2009
    I would look for something used and American. Maybe an old Guild or something. Try to save up a little more and get something really nice.

    I bought this Heritage 535 for $1000 a couple years ago. I was in the market for a 335 and this one had been sitting for a while.

    Personally, I think the Heritage is a better guitar than the Asian models but I'm in the minority on that here on the forums.

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
    bottlenecker likes this.
  9. sammy123

    sammy123 Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

    Jul 25, 2011
    I have the Sorrento reissue. They are worth checking out if you can find one. Nice pups and fully hollow.
    noah330 likes this.
  10. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jul 2, 2015
    Thanks, a Gretsch is kind of on my list for this year anyway, so I have my eye out at the stores.

    Thanks!—yeah, just the other day my girlfriend was telling me I should try flat wounds with this particular guitar (whatever it turns out to be). I owe it to myself to try it and will pick up a set after I choose a guitar.

    That is gorgeous! $1K is really outside my budget, and if I don't spend this money now, there's a danger I'll fritter it away later on frivolities such as food, rent, bills etc. :oops:
  11. Veltek

    Veltek Tele-Holic

    Sep 17, 2016
    Blues country

    Well I will say my Gibson ES-335 Satin Cherry is my FAVORITE guitar. It sounds great, feels great, smells great.

    I also have a cheap archop hallow body. It feed backs and howls like crazy, even at moderate bedroom volumes. But its got a killer sound.

    Just careful of some of the archtops as they can have a floating bridge.(the bridge will fall off if you take all the strings off.)
    SecretSquirrel likes this.
  12. zook

    zook Friend of Leo's

    Aug 6, 2003
    Cochise, AZ
    Remember, his budget is $400
    Boomhauer, SecretSquirrel and MDent77 like this.
  13. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jul 2, 2015
    Well, I spent 2-3 hours at Guitar Center playing Epiphone ES339 and ES335 Pros (humbucker models), plus tried an Ibanez AF7?-something and a Epi Dot (all 'new'; there was nothing comparable in the used section).

    My GC 'sales associate' was a young lady with pink hair whose vocabulary mainly consisted of the word "Totally." Or in threes: "Totally, totally, totally." She was helpful enough, and if I go back I'll look for her so she gets the sale.

    - So: I'm pretty sold on the 339, though I did like the 335 too, sound and feel are pretty similar. But on the 335 the output jack is on the front of the body and that just bugs me. Add the extra weight of the 335—though it was not too heavy, I could live with it—and between those two, I'm definitely leaning to the ES339. Totally.

    A note on the 339s I tried: noticed some "pings" when tuning. I loosened the high E and lifted the string out of the nut slot; it caught and scraped—obviously not cut quite right. I noted this flaw, and whatever else I could think of, to the associate, with discount in mind if I pull the trigger there.

    - The Ibanez AF was sweet, and really pretty in red. Different from the Epiphones but just as nice to play and hear. However, Dismalhead advised me to look for the 90 series (better pickups etc.), and this was a 70s series, so I sort of crossed it off the list.

    - The Epi Dot just didn't move me much, and it lacks the coil taps found on the 335 & 339 Pros. And again the jack is on the face of the body, sort of spoiling that nice expanse of guitar. (The 335 & 339 jack is on the side, where it should be.)

    - There were some Gretsches, but they all had Bigsbys and/or P90s (I'm convinced I want HBs for this guitar), so I moved on.

    Heading home, I saw a pawn shop I'd never noticed before, so I popped in. Lo and behold there was a black Korean-made Sheriton, as suggested by Dismalhead and Obsessed. (I couldn't tell if it was a "II" version.) It was set up pretty well but had .09 strings, so felt all wrong (easy fix of course). And when I plugged it into their test amp, no sound came out except an angry 'HUM'.

    They said, "We'll give you a deal on it!" Right. I almost offered $200 on the spot—asking price is $430—but, a) I doubt they'd go that low, and b) I don't want a "project" for this guitar, I want something working, and am leaning more toward "brand new."

    Okay, sorry this is long, I thought my report might be useful. Anyway, I'm thinking of going back to CG for a ES339 Epi.

    Three questions:

    1. Do they have unopened ones in back? Or am I stuck with what's on the wall? I know they can order in from other stores, but will they also have been previously pawed by 1,000 weekend shoppers? (I forgot to ask about this while there.)

    2. In light of the above, would I be better off ordering a 339 Pro brand new online?

    3. Most important question saved for last: Sunburst or Cherry? (I've decided against the Natural finish.)

    Again I must thank everyone for their advice and knowledge—walking into the store, I felt much more informed about my options. Thanks, folks!
  14. Bill

    Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Only part I’d chime in on is the coil tap a previous poster mentioned. I have a semi-hollow with that (a Gibson ES-347). The coil tap is so immensely useful that I don’t know why every humbucking guitar doesn’t come with that. It really widens the range of tones.
    SecretSquirrel likes this.
  15. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jul 2, 2015

    The 335 actually has the jack in the front, as I'd mentioned earlier.

    Another note on both the 339 and 335 is that the nut slots were too shallow, for me, anyway. Clearance under the first fret, with the low E string fretted at the third fret, was notable higher than usual. Nothing deal-breaking, I can deepen the slots (and widen them, as noted earlier.)

    Another question if anyone is still reading:

    At GC, can I expect to negotiate a discount from the price on the card?

    But since new 339s (with humbuckers) everywhere are priced at $499 or up, maybe there's little room for discount. (P90 versions are $50 less but I want the HBs.)
  16. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jul 2, 2015
    I must agree. And I really liked the tones I was getting with the tap on the 355s & 339s. So I can see using a 339 for much more than just the 'jazzy tones' I'm after with it.
  17. alathIN

    alathIN Tele-Meister

    Oct 25, 2017
    I have one of these and I'm delighted with it.
    I got mine about $40 less than this, off eBay, because it was B-stock. It took me three months to find the tiny cosmetic blemish that made it B-stock.
    I did wind up changing the pickups for SD Seth Lovers and putting a treble bleed mod on it, but there was nothing wrong with the stock pups and sometimes I wonder if the treble bleed might have made more difference than the pickup change.
    The guy I get to do my setups was very impressed with the guitar.
    elmoscafeo likes this.
  18. elmoscafeo

    elmoscafeo Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 29, 2012
    Chicago Suburbs
    I've got the Epi 339 pro, and though it sounds nice, it's not problem free. Aside from some strings sticking in the nut slot (easy fix) the pickup selector switch is open. My guess is this is done on purpose because I regularly have to remove it for cleaning to get rid of the pops, crackles and even dead silence when switching pick ups.

    My go to Semi is the Ibanez AS73. The Transparent Cherry Red looks better in person than it does online. Great sounding instrument and I've not had any problems with it..ever. Darker sounding than the Epi 339 pro, which is fine for me. I find the neck pick up in to a BF Bassman to be very bluesy. Bridge pickup...rock and roll baby!
  19. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jul 2, 2015
    I just checked and that's the Ibanez model I tried at CG, and really liked. Since I was advised to look for the '90' series over the '70' series, I moved it down the list.

    The price makes it tempting, though. I could pay the $499 for the Epiphone but that is a little outside my budget.

  20. raysachs

    raysachs Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    May 21, 2017
    Near Philly
    Another vote for Ibanez - I have a relic-finish version of the AS-153 that I only paid $600 for (with case), but that was heavily discounted and they’ll probably be discontinued really soon. But I played a few in the $400-500 normal price range and the differences between those and the more expensive models aren’t that big. Nicer hardware, more switching options, a slightly nicer neck and fretwork. But the cheaper options were really REALLY nice.

    But to me you can’t know whether you’re gonna prefer Ibanez or Epiphone or something else until you play em. To me, a guitar lives or dies on its neck feel and it’s totally personal preference - it’s not better or worse, it’s just what you like. I loved the Ibanez necks, even the Rosewood necks which I usually don’t like. The Epiphone I played I didn’t like at all - all big grain rosewood with a really grabby, frictiony feel. Which some people love, but I can’t stand. So go play some. I wanted an Epi 339 too, until I played a couple. I liked everything about them but the neck, which is everything. You may love it - but you have to find out for yourself.

    Lots of surprisingly good options in your price range, particularly if you can stretch close to $500...

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