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Hollow, how are you? (The Hollow & Semi-Hollow owners club)

Discussion in 'Guitar Owners Clubs' started by imwjl, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Sounds good... no reason why it shouldn't, even with center block. Different tone than hollow body, though. You can distinctly hear the "air" in the electric tone of a hollow body. The center block is primarily to prevent feedback, which some live players want to avoid, and gives a somewhat more solid-body tone. And no reason why jazz guitar can't sound good with a center block, or with a full-solid body for that matter. Jazz is primarily in the player's fingers. (Consider what Julian Lage plays.)

    I am disappointed in that it seems, perhaps, that D'Angelico has changed the design parameters of the Excel SS from hollow body (with small block under the bridge) to what they call a "full center-block", to appeal to performers concerned by feedback. YET, they call the guitar a "hollow body". I don't get that. o_O They also shortened the scale length from 25.25" to 24.75" - so, the Excel EX-SS of earlier days is a fairly different guitar from the current Excel EX-SS (made in either Indonesia or China, I believe.) Mine was made in 2015 in Korea - serial number prefix of "US15xxxx" indicates "Unsung Guitar company" of Korea, arguably the best guitar maker in Korea, and year 2015.)

    The Excel SS made its reputation with the earlier Korean Unsung factory version (which I have). I'm sure that the new incarnation is a wonderful instrument, but you may have to look to earlier production models to get the hollow body with just bridge block.

    There are already a plethora of semi-hollow body guitars (full center block) to choose from - probably because the semi-hollow design suits more live players than the hollow-body versions do.

    If you find a used Excel EX-SS with serial number US15xxxx, for example, or earlier than 2015, that would indicate made by Unsung of Korea in 2015 - likely a very nice guitar. Unsung production quality in Korea was relatively expensive, so in 2016, D'Angelico moved some production to SPG in Korea and to producers in China and Indonesia, for most of their models, where production costs were not as high.

    Have you seen any new Excel SS models in the showroom? Look inside the f-holes to see if the "center block" is only under the bridge, or if it is now more extensive (from neck heel to end of the body).

    The full-length center-blocks are more like solid-body guitars in how they perform, but can still get a very small bit of "air" in the tone, depending on how much the center blocks encase the pickups themselves.

    Some designs, like the ES-Les Paul, are semi-hollow body, but have a considerable amount of open air space inside the body (heavily routed center block) - giving a fair bit of "air" to the tone, despite being considered a semi-hollow design. You can see that the block is very minimal directly underneath the pickups themselves.

    ES-Les Paul interior design:
    [​IMG]

    This also makes re-wiring and pickup changes very easy on these semi-hollow bodies (plenty of easy access):
    [​IMG]

    ES-Les Paul outward appearance: (HS Filter'tron pickups swapped in)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
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  2. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    I bought one this morning. I had to drive 3 hours round trip, but I got if for a very sweet price. It must be an older one, because it is fully hollow (the seller's ad says it's a 1988.) I like it. I will keep my fingers crossed regarding feedback, but actually, if I can control it, it might be nice on some of those Carlos Santana tunes I play. The serial number starts with S16xxx -- I have no idea what the significance of that is.

    Marie.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
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  3. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Mr. Perch... congratulations! Is that an Excel SS? Looks just like mine, aside from plating options (my metal parts are black). Aren't those Super Roto tuners with stair step keys fantastic?

    Beautiful instrument. I'm sure that you're thrilled with it. No block underneath the bridge? A small block under the bridge will give some feedback control vs. entirely hollow (no block at all).

    I was just informed, by Charles at D'Angelico, that currently, Excel SS models are made in S. Korea and Premier models are made in Indonesia. S. Korean guitar manufacturing is typically of very high quality and, thus, more costly to a company than production in Indonesia or China.

    As far as I can tell, yours is likely a 2016 model, perhaps made by Samick. Extremely unlikely that it is a 1988 model - as I don't believe D'Angelico-branded "production" guitars were even in production until 2011.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D'Angelico_Guitars

    Contact [email protected] with your serial number to ask where it was made and in what year.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
  4. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    I had played and attempted to buy a more recent version a couple of days ago. I say "attempted" because before I could get to the bank and fetch some cash, somebody else showed up and bought it. The center block version had a much brighter tone. The bridge pickup was super bright. On mine, the bridge pickup is more subdued.

    Mine does have a small block under the bridge. It also has some kind of after-market pickups, because the Kent Armstrong pickups which I believe were stock are sitting in the little accessory compartment in the case, and some other pickups were installed. I don't suppose there is a way to find out what they are without disemboweling the guitar?

    I am also having trouble getting used to the trapeze tailpiece. I had read somewhere that they make note-bending easier because there is less tension, but I don't find that to be true. There is less tension, but you have to bend the string further to get the desired pitch change. I imagine I will get used to this in a few weeks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
  5. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    From what you say, yours is a similar version to what I have (mine is a 2015 model, Unsung Guitar factory) with center block below the bridge - not a full center block. I'm guessing that yours is a 2016 model from the Samick S. Korean factory, made one year after mine. (You can, and should confirm this with Charles - so that you know what you have.)

    I removed my Kent Armstrong humbuckers, only because I'm not a big fan of the tonal response from humbuckers. The TVJones T-Armond pickups that I stalled sound AMAZING.

    As for what was put in yours? You may never know, even if you loosen the strings and pull one to look at the bottom of it. It sounds like the seller didn't know what the heck he had?

    It doesn't require "disemboweling" the guitar to pull a pickup and look at it. Just loosen the strings (or remove them, when replacing strings) then unscrew the pickup trim ring to look at the underside of the pickup. That may tell you what the pickups are, or it may tell you nothing.

    Ultimately, it really does NOT matter what pickups are in there. Pickups are relatively inexpensive. You can install whatever you desire in that sweet guitar! Then, move forward enjoying the instrument and never look back.

    As for bending strings... give them the muscle that they require! You can do that with a bit of effort.
     
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  6. Fearnot

    Fearnot Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've been in and out of the semi-hollow club the last few years, but the last couple of months have brought me back in bigtime. Here's my (new-to-me) pair of Squier Classic Vibes, a 2010 Tele Thinline and a 2019 Starcaster. Super guitars for not much money.

    squier CVs.jpg
     
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  7. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Well, hollow again, fellow hollow and semi-hollow lovers... I noticed that I haven't posted this guitar in the thread, and it's really one of my favorite hollows/semi-hollows (they're each a favorite, really, if I'm being honest - I love them all!)

    Any who... this is a 2013 Epi ES-339 Pro Natural finish. I went looking for an older model (for the rosewood fretboard and natural finish) and found it on Reverb - beautiful condition! Seller was asking $399, as I recall. I offered $339 (as in ES-339) just for fun and it was ACCEPTED, much to my happiness. :) I bought this to replace an Epi ES-339 Pro P90 Cherry finish that I had sold. I like the natural finish much better and, having humbuckers, I knew I could fairly easily replace them with Firebird pickups!

    So... I ordered a pair of Rob's Cavalier Phoenix Firebird pickups and components to make a new wiring harness - put that all together and replaced the guts with Firebirds and CTS pots/switch. It came out sounding even better than I had hoped it would. Plays great. Loving this guitar just as much as my Gibson ES-339 (perhaps a bit more, in fact, as the Epiphone neck is slightly wider and fuller. The Gibson neck is a bit on the skinny side.)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I had a bit of a bias against Epiphone guitars for quite a long time - in favor of Gibsons. But, I've learned well, after buying a number of Epiphone semi-hollow and hollow bodies, that they can be absolutely awesome guitars - and priced quite sensibly!
     
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  8. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    And I have another semi-hollow guitar to add in... this is a PRS SE Custom Semi-Hollow in Aged Violin finish. I bought it thinking I might replace the humbuckers with something else, but find that the tone (also has a split coil option) is really excellent, particularly in single-coil mode. I did add some pickup covers, because I wasn't thrilled with the look of zebra bobbins, but aside from that, there's nothing I can do to enhance this great guitar. The fretwork, especially, is remarkably excellent - more nicely finished than pretty much all my other guitars. :eek: This was made by the fine South Korean PRS guitar makers at World Music, who really do stunningly beautiful work!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Oh... I did paint the switch knob to match the guitar color. :)
     
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  9. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    I rehearsed with both of my bands last week, using the new axe. My Latin jazz band is a low volume affair and I normally use my ultra-portable 20-watt solid-state Acoustic G20 amp. I discovered that it no longer has enough headroom -- the big tone from the D'Angelico is overdriving the clean channel. So I will shop for a replacement amp with more wattage. On Saturday I rehearsed with my 6 piece R&B/funk band, using my tube amp and pedalboard. I quickly realized that I needed to cut the bass a lot -- I was getting mud. But once that was squared away, it sounded great. I don't know what the aftermarket pickups are, but I love them. I wouldn't use the bridge pickup for soloing, except with overdrive, and then it sounds magnificent. The Santana medley was super fun to play. The trapeze bridge will still take some getting used to, but I am getting there on the note bending. And it does feed back nicely with some gain. I can control it in the old school way, by facing the amp and changing my position as needed.
     
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  10. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Whatever the pickups are, that were installed in your Excel SS, it sounds like they are higher-wound (hotter output) than the humbuckers that you are accustomed to, overdriving the input stage? If that's the case, perhaps you could roll back the volume pot a little, so as to not push the input stage on the amp as much?

    Or, if the loss of headroom is due to having to ask the amp for more output, perhaps the pickups are not providing as much signal as your previous guitar, requiring you to tap the power section harder?

    In any event, the Excel-SS is an absolutely wonderful guitar - I love mine as much, if not more than, my two Gibson and Epiphone ES-339s and my Gretsch G6119T - and those are all sweet guitars!

    Glad that you are loving that guitar!
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
  11. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Did you ask [email protected]rs.com when and where your guitar was made? He's very responsive to questions via email. Just send him the serial number and he'll let you know.
     
  12. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Fixing this 1984 AM75 for a friend of mine.

    It belonged/belongs to the guy I’ve been musically collaborating with for about 40 years. It had a really bad run in with a guitar tech in the 90’s who removed the Floyd licensed locking tremolo and tried to hard tail it. After the badass bridge no longer held tune or intonation, it was given to me. After some deliberation, I decided to fix it up and give it back. I’ve got a couple of amazing guitars already; I need to share the wealth.

    After blocking it (literally), I’ve mocked it up to make sure it holds tune and intonates properly. I’ve known this guitar for decades and never enjoyed playing it. Now it’s a joy to play and a tone monster.

    Next steps: I have to disassemble, fill, sand, seal and paint. It’s going black and gold with blacked out pickup ring screws and height adjusters. Just enough bling to make it classy. Gold plated Ibanez Gibraltar tuneomatic bridge and quickchange tailpiece is on route.

    04B9AD0C-14CD-445E-AF86-3182AC4F6681.jpeg 1D0E0380-E1BF-4031-8C4A-C1D90440B42F.jpeg B1BE4F7F-9332-45C7-B0FB-040D4B73F238.jpeg 2261F320-4220-465E-A6DE-5710A3DF954B.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
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  13. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Seeing double today.

    Since I decided that I’m giving the AM75 back to the guy who gave it to me once it’s finished, I thought I should treat myself to something special. I found a made in February 1981 Ibanez AS100 in a time capsule. It’s not completely unscathed from the last 39 years but compared to my original owner July 1981 AS100 it’s pristine.

    On the left my original AS100, purchased by me in October 1981; all original except for the Seymour Duncan Phat Cat pickups. I have taken good care of it but I’ve played the heck out of this guitar. It’s got all the signs of a well loved guitar, including scapes and scuffs.

    On the right the AS100 I found yesterday. I’ve been keeping my eyes open for another AS100 or 200 for years and this is the first I’ve seen. It’s all original except for tuners (dammit) and speed knobs. It has the original Super 58 Alnico 3 pickups and the wiring looks completely untouched in 39 years. It’s got 3 small scuffs that I had to look for and it has some chips to the finish on the top of the headstock, just like my original one. I guess they are very fragile. It’s in amazing condition and sounds incredible both plugged in or unplugged.

    E1822046-A752-4293-AE61-ACEBCC5595AD.jpeg
     
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  14. TheGreenHornet

    TheGreenHornet TDPRI Member

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    Eastwood Messenger 2 .JPG My Eastwood Messenger. One of the coolest guitars made in the past 5-6 years. Very nice construction.
     
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  15. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Epiphone Sorrento; bought as used recently. Fully hollow, mini-humbuckers. Me Like.

    IMG_1473.jpg IMG_1475.jpg
     
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  16. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    F38955B6-9606-4A15-A3CF-58ED3EAA5D6F.jpeg 8F044BEC-87FB-4775-9171-9CB4FC2EB113.jpeg 52454898-78DF-4C3C-ADB6-13079CEA2A42.jpeg My Chet got lonely for another hollow guitar, so I got this Elite Thinline Tele to keep it company.
     
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  17. Gclef

    Gclef TDPRI Member

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    15951680469424505009913477342051-1.jpg 2018 Ibanez as73g in mint blue. I freakin' love this guitar.
    A 300 dollar gem.


    20190704_165303.jpg
    '01 Carvin h2 holdsworth. You'd be surprised how much full sized semi hollow comes our of it. It's a strat/335 mix. Weighs about 6lbs
     
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  18. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Holic

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    I have a early 50s ES150 that was so wrecked I made it into a faux ES350 (cutaway, added 50s P90 pickup and controls). It works great and have used it on a lot of sessions. I also have a 50s Epi Century that is kinda my ES150 style guitar---Glenn McKerrihan did a bunch of work on it. Nice guitar and clanky like you'd expect for a 30s/40s kinda tone. I bought a Newark St. X175 a few years ago with the repro Franz pickups; a little too bright so that's a work in progress. i really like archtops and played them for many years until the stage volume went up with some people I work with.
     
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  19. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    Perhaps we could share some techniques for keeping hollow bodies in tune -- I find it more difficult than with the solid bodies I have owned. I find that my new guitar goes sharp between playing sessions. I tune the strings down and then stretch them before bringing them up to pitch, so that any possible slippage will take place then, rather than when I am playing. Does anyone else have some tips?
     
  20. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Holic

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    Well, it's not unreasonable to expect to have to tune an archtop between sessions---it's not a big hunk of maple that stays more or less 100% stable. It's a much lighter construction and will change with temperature and other environmental imponderables. Tune an archtop inside, take it out in the sun, and it will change.
     
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