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Author Topic: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars  (Read 1557 times)

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Offline MissouriTiger

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Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« on: September 25, 2014, 07:59:14 PM »
Hello friends,

I'm hoping some of you might have experience or suggestions to share on this subject. I'm interested in transitioning to some type of (inexpensive) electric guitar, something I can continue to play country blues on, play with my fingers like I do on acoustic, and eventually get into some of the early electric blues from the 40s, 50s. I've never heard an acoustic guitar with a pickup that I liked, so I'm not interested in going that route.

A hollowbody or semi-hollow guitar seems like a sensible direction, but I know little about them. There are tons of different models on the market, and I would love to dash out to the local guitar store and try them all out, but there is an utter darth of these instruments in the local stores. Guitar center has a hundred strats & teles , but virtually no hollow/semi-hollow guitars.

Anyone have any suggestions? Preferably in a budget price range.

Do any of them have a wider string spacing similar to an acoustic guitar? I don't know if I could play fingerstyle on a narrow strat-sized neck.

Ibanez has a whole line of "Artcore" guitars that look interesting. They seem to be very popular, and they're cheap. Anybody have one of these? Do any of them give a good blues tone?

Just for reference, I'm posting a video to give an idea what I'm after. This guy is playing a 1959 Hoffner hollow body guitar. The tone is pretty good, though just a tiny tad on the thin side. I would buy one of these, but they go for a lot of dough on ebay.



I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has experience playing these type of instruments.

Thanks,

Greg

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2014, 01:24:02 AM »
Suggest going on eBay and searching for Harmony or Kay guitars. Scrolling through, you'll eventually find one with a pickup. They're cheap and vintage. Make sure the neck is straight and the action comfortable. The Hofner was reissued a couple of years ago, made in China I believe, and much cheaper than buying a vintage one.

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Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2014, 04:52:59 PM »

   Unfortunately, most of the hollow, or semi-hollow bodied guitars that would give you the sound and neck width you're looking for, are in the "Vintage" or "Collectable" category and most of the new hollow/semi-hollow bodies (Gretsch, for example) are far from the budget price range.

My advice is to scour the pawn shops and Craig's List and hope to get lucky.

 Sorry I couldn't be more uplifting but wish you good hunting.

Offline waxwing

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2014, 05:38:40 PM »
You might not want to give up on the idea of using an acoustic guitar with pick up. Check out Jim Schwall of the Siegal Schwall Band, two jewish boys who played with everybody (everybody) in Chicago in the '60s. Lots of their early recordings on YT. Schwall played a Gibson B-25 with a pickup taped over the sound hole. Nothing wrong with his tone. He has an active website, as he is a professor of Music in Madison WI and you can email him and ask what amps he played through. With the electric sound, the amp is a big part of tone.

Wax
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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2014, 08:56:22 PM »
Sometimes you can score a GibsonL50 archtop for a reasonable amount of dough. Slap a dd'armmond pickup on one of those and Bob's yer uncle. Don't overlook thrifft stores and antique shops for old silvertones, kays and Harmonys. Eastman makes good hollowbodies and i've recently played an Ibanez which aside from the brands total lack of mojo was really a damn fine guitar so dont go by brand go by what sounds and feels good.
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Offline colm kill paul

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2014, 11:36:02 PM »
Greg,

To get started on defining what you are looking google the Gibson ES 335. This is an expensive guitar but it is the tool of choice for many players heading in your direction. With electric guitars the tone is effected by the pick ups installed and the amplification used (as wax states above) and putting your sound together can involve some effects also so bear this in mind when judging the sound as thick/thin. BB king modified his Es 335 to close off the sound holes as the semi hollow body can give feed back problems when playing at volume. There are variation of his Lucile guitar that you can explore also. You should also google Gibson's Jazz boxes and get an idea of what they have to offer. The good news is that there are generic copies of all these Gibson guitars and Once you have a more informed view you can begin to refine your search. Also bear in mind you'll need a combo amp with a warm sound so you should do some googling in that area also. Good luck with this.Colm

Offline blueshome

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2014, 04:57:43 AM »
A good cheap alternative to a 335 is an Epiphone Sheraton, try and pick up a 2nd hand Kroean made. Better would be a 40/50s Harmony/Silvertone with a retrofit pickup for the old sound. In any case you should play through a small valve (tube) amp. forget the effects.

Offline unezrider

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2014, 08:50:49 AM »
Hello friend,
I am of the camp that feels having the proper amp will get you in the ballpark for the sound you are looking for regardless if the guitar you are using is solid body or hollow. Definitely give the amp you're going to use some thought. It really will make that much of a difference.
& for what it's worth, this advice is coming from someone who's dream electric guitar is an ES-175 with P90's.  :P
"Be good, & you will be lonesome." -Mark Twain

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2014, 12:54:34 PM »

 All of the guitars that have been recommended are fine instruments, for sure. However, in the original posting, MissouriTiger said he was looking for a guitar that had, string width spacing, similar to that of an acoustic.
  I'm not sure that any of those mentioned (except the '40's/'50's Harmonys, which are in the pricey, collectable category) fit the bill.

Hey John; Last year while rummaging through stuff, I found my old "Say Siegel Scwall" button, from the '60's.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2014, 09:42:10 PM »
Also check out G base sort of a site where a lot of dealers post their inventory
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline dunplaying

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2014, 06:31:23 AM »
Hofner Club 60 in mint condition was for sale at Hounddog Music Whitley Bay UK.
He wanted ?1000,a ridiculous price in my opinion ,then you would have to ship it to the States.
It was 1959 vintage.

I have just checked ,it is still showing . To be honest it looks as if it is new!!! I have dealt with the proprietor before and he is trustworthy.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2014, 06:38:32 AM by dunplaying »

Offline stevedenver

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2014, 12:44:56 PM »
new dude to the site,
I agree about a 335, or its boat anchor brother, the Lucille. Cant go wrong. very versatile, but, not 'accoustic' in any way. I think amps are also critical as mentioned, but, while I use a 5E3 and bf twin, and sometimes a 1x12 JCM 800!,  I am leaning toward an acoustic amp, due to the notch filters they have, and adding brown with pedals. It really depends on the fit of any guitar with an amp. 

Respectfully, the last place I would go in your shoes would be ebay. I'd go to the dreaded guitar center, so you can play it , and return with no hassle.  I t might take you a week or more to get an idea of what is a fit for you.

The only other factor I might suggest , is something less than 3" in thickness with both magnetic pups and a piezo, so you can go acoustic or electric, amped.

I play a L5C style, 3", with a floating pup.  It is not only my jazz guitar, but also, a fine guitar for picking and slide!  I prefer a cutaway.  I prefer a spruce top, and carved -both add a lot of price, but give a brighter and more acoustic punch than lam tops. amped its not a big deal, you can eq a lot.

I think an Ibanez artcore, low end gretsch hollow body-which GC does carry!!! and not too pricey either-

or, Heritage 335 or even 175 (not an acoustic hollow body) might be worth looking at.  The Heritages, are great quality, but do not have much in holding resale.  You must buy them as low priced, and imho, used, as you can. Sellers like to tell you they are better than Gibsons, but, re-sale wise, they aren't close.  Otherwise, I agree.

I would think about what it is you really want, as other than 335, most hollows will feedback, and its a pita. If you're playing in a band, give this real thought.  ditto p 90s, which are cool as can be, but have serious 60 cycle hum in some situations.  been in and out of love with those.  Close are p 100s, not as gritty, but brighter than hums and no 60 cycle hum (cos they are stacked singles as a humbucker).

eastman makes some nice hollowbodies that aren't too pricey,even it not exactly blues mojo laden.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2014, 12:29:33 PM by stevedenver »

Offline slidnslim

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2014, 01:58:32 PM »
 Why not just put a DeArmond sound hole pickup into your regular acoustic? thats  what I do, mix that with a mic if you wish, works real well,

if your like me and can't get along with skinny electric necks and low action, it works
great!

Kenny,

Offline MissouriTiger

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2014, 09:17:16 AM »
Thank you to all who have replied to this post. I really appreciate all of your suggestions and info. You are helping me to learn.

As it turns out, I recently bought a Fender Blues Junior NOS amplifier. I have been wanting one since I started playing a few years ago, so I finally got one. I wanted it for playing electric guitar, but it might work for acoustic as well.

All things considered, maybe my next step should be a sound hole pickup. That should be cheaper than a new guitar, and give me a chance to experiment. Might even help me get a better idea of what exactly I'm after.

Once again, thank you all for taking the time to assist me!

-Greg

Offline pete12string

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2014, 08:09:35 AM »
Maybe take a look at a Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin.  It's an Archtop Hollowbody with a P-90 Pickup and goes for about $700 brand new. 

Offline RobBob

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2014, 03:40:14 PM »
Eastman makes some interesting one offs of old Gibsons.  Also Godin has an interesting line of F hole guitars with one and two pickups.  All of these are under a Grand but much cheaper used.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2014, 02:57:10 PM »
Google "Danelectro Convertible". I've been after one of those for years since I saw a guy play country blues on one in a bar somewhere outside Austin. Formica top, sound hole, lipstick pickup, excellent guitar, quite extraordinary.

Gretsch guitars are very nice for fingerpicking, I have a single cutaway Chet Atkins reissue, nice and wide at the nut and very wide at the bridge.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2014, 03:42:07 PM »
I'll second River's recommendation about  Danelectro. They were made up the road from where I grew up in NJ and were the first "real" electric guitar for some of the guys I grew up with--an appropriate instrument for those who were not quite ready for (or could afford) a Gibson, Fender, Gretsch or Mosrite. Even when they moved up, some still held on to them. Twang!

Offline Rivers

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2014, 04:02:31 PM »
I'd add a Keeley compressor pedal to the signal chain for a, for example, early Howlin Wolf band approximation. Amp choices are, as mentioned by several previously, probably more important. Fender Deluxe Reverb would be my choice but I'm not really up to date on amps. Add a Keeley compressor pedal and you'll be hard pressed keeping it under control, but boy, what a lot of fun.

Offline frailer24

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2014, 11:27:07 PM »
As others have stated, from personal experience, the Godin 5th Avenues are a great deal.
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Offline Mike Shipman

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Re: Seeking advice: Hollow/Semi-hollow electric guitars
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2014, 10:20:02 PM »
Hi, I used to play electric 20+ years ago as a gigging musician 2/3 nights pw, and used 1980 Gibson 335 with a Fender twin reverb, thenn went to a Fender Super 60 as it was half the weight ( but still valve), gave a great sound. I sold the 335 (along with a1966 Epiphone Casino, 1980 Gibson Les Paul deluxe  / strat / tele) over the tears to fund other purchases. Past 20 years have been all acoustic but recently had a hankering for an Electric and Got an Epiphone Dot neck off ebay for ?160 anf a Fender Blues Junior fir ?350. The Epiphone is very well built, straight neck, good action, and sound and feel very reminicent of the 335. Im very pleased with this budget option.
The feel is quite different from my acoustics Which have very wide necks 1 7/8", Im not aware of any semi acoustic guitar with that nevk width, but I dont have to "dig in" for volume as i do with the acoustic so that helps.
Not sure it'll get much use but at that price I didnt mind. They are worth checking out new too as they are only around ?350ish IIRC. Good luck with
the search.
Mike Shipman
New Forest - Hampshire, UK.

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