Full Hollowbody Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by overlook1977, May 15, 2021.

  1. GearGeek01

    GearGeek01 Tele-Meister

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    If you've honestly got 10 grand you can spend on ONE guitar... then you've got enough money to buy an airplane ticket to a major city which has multiple dealers with several top name archtops. Plus a motel stay for a couple nights, plus enough money to eat at restaurants while you're there, where ever there is... you'll need to do some simple Google searching to find such a dealer.

    Fly in, sit down and do some face time real time test drives.

    If you have that kind of cash, then you can probably take several weekends and fly to several major cities and find the EXACT guitar you are looking for.

    DON'T BUY **** OFF THE INTERNET !!!

    And don't buy **** from the limited supply of any Guitar Center store. They only sell what they can sell fast. Which is why most Guitar Centers have 50 or less stomp boxes on the floor. -- In comparison, Marty at Motor City Guitar in Waterford, MI (north side of Detroit-ish) carries over 1,500 stomp boxes under glass and on display at all times. You can sit down in that one store and test drive stomp boxes all day long. There are sure to be hollow body stores somewhere in the US that would have a nice selection of archtops for the test driving.

    Reading forum's opinions and staring at pictures and YouTube videos isn't going to make it. If you got 10 grand you can spend on one freaking guitar, then $200-300 for a plane ticket is nothing for cash to you in order to find the right one. If you're gonna stare at pictures on the Internet and let someone else's opinion sway you for the purchase you'll probably never play Russian Roulette or win the lotto enough to find YOUR guitar.

    As far as which brand, well I don't tell you what kind of underwear to wear... only you can decide what kind of archtop to buy.

    The first one I'd run like hell AWAY from is a PRS. Roberto Venn (a famous luthier) gave me a generous tour of his shop and school... showed me the brace/clamp thing he uses to bend the archtop into an archtop. According the Venn, it takes SIX MONTHS to shape ONE archtop top. PRS just CNC's the guts of the thing and slaps the PRS name on it, and charge you $10,000.00 ... NOT the same. By comparison when Gibson makes an "archtop" for (say) an ES-335 they smash it "arched" with a die and a press... not the real thing...

    As far as Gibson goes... totally required to do a in-store test drive. Gibson is notorious for making farts and turds with crap quality and finish issues. Like I said, don't buy **** on the Internet.

    Do a study of what professional jazz guys buy for a real guitar. Some do possibly use an Asian brand, but surely the guitar they use on stage was NOT one off the shelf at Guitar Center. The company on the headstock most likely crafted that ONE guitar for them with their best possible luthiers as a one-off. Regardless if they went into production with the artist's name on the model. Guitar makers have been pulling that fool-the-public thing for decades.

    Besides Gibson, check out some Heritage Guitars. A smaller company that can spend more time on fit and finish and overall quality. Instead of blasting out productions as fast as possible to please the bean counters and stock holders. Find a store with a whole wall of Heritage guitars and buy your plane ticket and go check them out.

    You've got enough money for some type of vintage guitar, but I don't do vintage. Always on pins and needles if you're gonna scratch it, devaluate it, oops, its old and a pot went out, so a mixed age of parts inside... just not my cup of tea. Plus you damn well better know what you're doing if you're gonna do "vintage" anything. Lot's of rip-offs, counterfetis, and (ahem) "upgraded" vintage guitars that are not worth their stated value because they are no longer "original"... IMHO, the worst investment ever. I just never do "vintage" anything.

    I personally wouldn't spend that much on a single guitar EVER, but if you think throwing money at a guitar will get you better quality, or bragging rights on a forum, then that's up to you. But if you take some of that money, maybe even take a couple days off work to get-r-dun, fly to somewhere who has a selection, test drive and be finally satisfied.

    I also don't understand the philosophy of buying an "Ibanez Artcore AF75G ($450-ish)" figuring out you hate it (must have bought it online...) then SPENDING EVEN MORE MONEY on it trying to make a turd into a diamond by buying pickups, etc. Plus, its a better investment of about (less than ) $30.00 to gut the electronics FIRST (replace the cheap pots, switch, jack, wires...) than it is to waste the money for new pickups only... then route the new pickups through the same strangled cheap electronics. That doesn't make any sense, either.

    Buying pickups isn't supposed to make a turd into a diamond... first the diamond must be a player's player, then the new pups are an upgrade, not a hopeless pressurizing of dinosaur poop.

    Seems like a lot of folks here are listing some Asian-made guitar they love which with $10,000 to spend, are all under the quality or brag-ability of what you can spend.

    I might conclude with this... every guitar is different... you can't look at pictures on the Internet and tell anything about what it plays like or sounds like... the folks who are posting the Asian guitars the love have found the one's with the "soul" that you'll only find by sitting down with one in your hand, and test driving. You can't do that on the Internet (until Scotty can beam us to the place they have them for sale with his Star Trek email transporter beam).

    - take suggestions
    - do some more homework (seems if you're asking here you don't know enough about hollow bodies to make a firm decision)
    - find a store that carries multiples of what you are looking for (NOT Guitar Center)
    - buy a plane ticket, reserve a motel
    - do the homework of test driving the instrument
    - don't buy **** off the Internet

    Easy as pie
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2021
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  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I got my Washburn “Montgomery” with a HSC for $500.
    It has a few bumps and bruises, but it’s nice, fully hollow, blonde, long scale, Super 400 size beast.
    I don’t have a pic on this device, and it’s in the shop getting a new pinned bridge.
     
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  3. buster poser

    buster poser Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    I'm in the market as well, lots of great info in this thread.
     
  4. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    The budget is not 10k, its 2-3k Max

    It's really pretty simple to buy online, though there is more risk of not liking it and the hassle that comes with shipping something back. For some people, it's the only way to get a certain guitar. I certainly would like to try 5 G6120s in person before I buy, but no, not possible. I know made in Japan Gretsch quality is impeccable and that's exactly what I got when I ordered it online.

    Outside of pot resistance, there is nothing significantly going to change by swapping a harness out. The loom wire capacitance will come into play--kinda. That is until you plug in some suspect 20ft cable.
     
  5. GearGeek01

    GearGeek01 Tele-Meister

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    Not sure if you're stating this from experience or your imagination, but every guitar I have upgraded with a new harness has had significantly much better tone.

    Its like putting headers and a 4-barrel carb on a small block Chevy motor... it can breathe... not on the same scale with guitar guts, but a similar effect.

    I have a '93 MIJ Fotoflame Strat... love how it plays... hated all but one pickup selector position (#4)... at one time even considered hard-wiring the guitar to that one pup selector setting. -- Gutted the electronics, left the same pickups, did a faraday box of copper shielding tape... After the surgery I had a completely different and toneful axe... so don't try to tell me that nothing is going to significantly to change by changing the guts of a guitar. You can look at it like an electronics scientist and quote theorems and values, but doing it IMHO has great results. Now done on several guitars, all with the same great results. So any scientific experiment you do that repeats the results is more of a Law than a theory...

    Sorry didn't catch the $2k-$3k price point. But to me, that's a sh!tload of money, and could still afford a $200 plane ticket to do a sit-down test drive. I would never spend that kind of money without touching the guitar first.
     
  6. timbraun

    timbraun TDPRI Member

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    I found a beat up es-330 years ago and it was my grab it and play guitar for years. But it couldn't handle the stage volumes at church.. so I've migrated to solid bodies mostly.

    I then was playing an es-125 for my solo / trio gigs.

    Neither of those are big body archtops, though both float the bridge. Neither was $2k back in the day.

    Anyway archtops are great, check out the Godin kingpins.
     
  7. ALNICOJOE

    ALNICOJOE TDPRI Member

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    I picked up a Bill Comins GCS-1 a while back, it does everything well.The GCS -1ES had a source to and it's biased a little more towards jazz. Check them out
     
  8. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Maybe you shouldn't use an archtop to play REALLY LOUD (and I'm looking at you, Nuge), but jazz guys manage to do it. The more "acoustic" and lively an archtop is, the more it is prone to feedback. But there are mitigations: where you stand, a notch filter, taping the f-holes, even stuffing the guitar body.
     
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  9. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I used to build and sell harnesses, but you know I wasn't making money unless I charged 100 bucks for them or more or started being dishonest about "superior tone improvements". It's all about shielded wire capacitance and the R value of pots, and to a much lesser extent, tone cap values. Which is tiny compared to every other factor at play within an electric guitar.

    It's completely not like a Chevy motor, but that would sell my Gretsch "Hot Rod" harnesses pretty well. If you can't explain what's going on with the electrons dancing inside, I'm afraid I'm not convinced. Same experience with dozens of other guitars and upgraded wiring jobs I've done. It's mostly about reliability and finding the right pots/switching combo that works for the player. Certainly not as important as the pickup, or how well the player likes what they're playing or think they're playing for that matter.
     
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  10. Bandboy

    Bandboy TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    I play basic rock and have gigged with a 330 or Chinese Epi Casino for years. My Casinos need a good setup and I have rewound the pickups in a couple. I prefer my 330s but for the money the Casino is hard to beat. I am partial to the gold ones.
    1392205C-E4CD-42C7-9AA2-57A3808B21F4.jpeg
     
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  11. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I believe this is the guitar model mentioned in the original post:

    [​IMG]

    While a Casino or ES-330 are hollow, they are not what you think of when you hear "full hollowbody". I would have to at least hear "thinline".
     
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  12. flatfive

    flatfive Friend of Leo's

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    I'm surprised no one's mentioned Peerless.
    A few years ago I bought a Peerless Gigmaster and love it.
    Peerless archtops run about 2-3K new. I got mine used.
    Guitars 'n Jazz in New Jersey carries a lot of them.

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. JazzDreams

    JazzDreams Tele-Meister

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    I also disliked the Artcore series, largely for the same reasons... my AFJ-91, however, is a much different animal. YMMV

    And I LOVE the Peerless Monarch!

     
  14. goodguy

    goodguy Tele-Meister

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    Gibson ES-330, D’Angelico Excel 59, Gibson ES-175, Epiphone Casino, PRS SE Hollowbody (piezo), D’Angelico EXL-1, Guild, Gretsch,
     
  15. dgregory

    dgregory TDPRI Member

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    I'm a little surprised that DeArmond has not come up more. Their X-155 is a full hollow body that features the great Goldfoil pickups, making it a bit more versatile than many of the more straight jazz boxes that have come up. While they're creeping up on a grand on Reverb, with a bit of patience and research you can find one closer to $500, which is an incredible value.
     
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  16. Supereditor

    Supereditor TDPRI Member

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    I’m in this camp. Gretsch makes great hollowbodies. You can spend a fortune on the high end models but Electromatics are pro-grade instruments.
     
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  17. petermillis

    petermillis TDPRI Member

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    I really like my D'Angelico Excel. $1500 or so new, and I got mine used for less than half that. A little tinny if just played acoustically (which I'm OK with), but plugged in it's perfect. Feels great, plays great, and so far (three years) it's been absolutely stable. Only complaint, really, is the case hardware. I think it's made in Indonesia.
     
  18. drlucky

    drlucky Tele-Holic

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    I'd check out a Guild. If you don't mind buying used you should be able to find a USA made one well within your budget. CE-100D, X-175, X-150 are ones to look for for a full hollowbody.

    The MIK Newark St. Guilds are also really good.
     
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  19. yamatele

    yamatele TDPRI Member

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    Eastman guitars made in Beijing are amazing. There are several models with Seymour Duncan top quality pickups and run $1,500 or less depending on model. Epiphone ES 335 Pro are good but you'll probably want to swap pups & harness - done that three times. Check out the Eastman vids on YouTube.
     
  20. CowTownPickers

    CowTownPickers TDPRI Member

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    I had an Eastman semi-hollow 12 string and regret selling it all the time! It was a very good guitar for a fair price.
     
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