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View Full Version : Chambered bodies - pros / cons ??


ES330
10-26-2011, 07:10 PM
I was all set to order a strat body today, when it was suggested that I consider a chambered body.
I didn't wan't a semi-hollow sound, but I was assured that it still sounds solid.

Chambered was suggested for I was interested in lightweight...

Appreciate your experience :bonk

EADGBE
10-26-2011, 07:19 PM
I've never owned one but I believe a chambered body would tend to have less sustain than a solid body.

cutaway
10-26-2011, 07:22 PM
I've never owned one but I believe a chambered body would tend to have less sustain than a solid body.
i had a Guild Bluesdbird that sustained like no other guitar i've ever played and it was a chambered guitar.

omfg51
10-26-2011, 07:48 PM
The chambering is intended to "increase sustain and tonal warmth" over that of a solid body guitar. To be honest, it's really just luck of the draw with sustain. Some guitars just do it better than others.

Rotten
10-26-2011, 07:59 PM
Played soft and clean, a noticeable difference in sound. Cranked, similar sounding.

Seegs
10-26-2011, 11:37 PM
In a general sense while still sounding very teleish my thinline seems to be more open and airy than my solid body teles...

I notice the same difference in a chambered Les Paul I demoed compared to a solidbody R8 I used to own...

They seem a bit more full frequencied and not quite as focused as a solid body guitar...

In comparison they ring for days and are also quite a bit louder acoustically...

I actually like them more...

Chow,
Seegs

halfnote
10-26-2011, 11:42 PM
I like a chambered body. Les Pauls are awesome with chambers..
Music Man does a lot with chambers. The JPX is fantastic.
I have also noticed Warmoth is selling more and more of there chambered bodies.
Go for it!

Drowned Rabbit
10-27-2011, 12:54 AM
I like chambered guitars as long as they are built by someone who knows what they're doing.
When done by a skilled builder, chambering is more like "tuning" the wood.

I'm not interested in swiss cheese holes.

=JL=
10-27-2011, 02:49 AM
With routs for three pickups and a vibrato, Strat bodies are pretty well chambered already, there really isn't a lot of wood underneath the strings.
I'm sceptical about how much difference more holes (in less relevent areas) are going to make.

Eagle1
10-27-2011, 03:28 AM
Plus;
Weight.
Minus;
Often you get certain notes that are louder and dead spots .
Meh;
different tone ,

Personally I've yet to play one that was as good a the right weight solid body.

mslugano
10-27-2011, 03:44 AM
I'll never buy chambered again.

My Anderson Hollow T played great and was very loud acoustically and rang like a piano but lacked the focus of it's solid mate. Maybe they call it "warmth" but it's more like "dull" to me.

I also owned a Tyler Hollow Elite (and it's like REALLY hollow the way he does it). Played great...sounded awful. No punch or focus.

A strat really isn't an overly heavy guitar in the first place so I see no reason to buy a hollow strat body just so it will be lighter.

buddaman71
10-27-2011, 07:55 AM
I love my hollow classic Anderson, and many guitarists over the years have told me it's the best sounding strat-style they've ever heard. It's more airy, sparkly and chimey than my solid bodies and does have a bit less focus and punch, but I certainly never found it dull sounding in the least. Just my opinion.

SW33THAND5
10-27-2011, 08:04 AM
i have played several chambered and non-chambered les pauls and i like the chambered ones :shrug:

as the one poster said above... a strat is already well chambered with all the pickup routing. not sure why it would need more.


personally .... weight is not a big deal to me. it's really lauded by others. if weight is imoportant to you...then i would consider it. i think the most important thing about a guitar (to me) is nice wood, nice fit and finish, nice comfortable neck...with well dressed frets and edges, nice action, quality pick-ups and hardware. i consider all these things before i even plug it in and consider whether it is chambered or not

plaintopper
10-27-2011, 08:16 AM
I was all set to order a strat body today, when it was suggested that I consider a chambered body.
I didn't wan't a semi-hollow sound, but I was assured that it still sounds solid.

Chambered was suggested for I was interested in lightweight...

Appreciate your experience :bonk

In a Les Paul/LP style guitar, at least, you tend to hear less of the focused, compressed, nasal mids in a chambered guitar. What you get back are more open sounding, rounder, smoother tones. I love how chambered guitars sound on the top three strings, especially lead playing, very fat. But then they sometimes don't seem to have quite the same thump and cut you expect on the bottom end.

If most of my playing was clean or semi-clean, I'd definitely lean toward chambered or even semi hollow guitars. They just sound better to me for that. For heavy/distorted stuff, I find the opposite.

dspellman
10-27-2011, 08:43 AM
The chambering is intended to "increase sustain and tonal warmth" over that of a solid body guitar. To be honest, it's really just luck of the draw with sustain. Some guitars just do it better than others.

There's nothing about chambering that will increase sustain.

And there's nothing about "luck of the draw" when it comes to native guitar sustain (that is, without the aid of electronics); the parameters are well known and have been since the early '70's, when there began the Great Search For Sustain. One of the best sustaining guitars in history is the Yamaha SG-2000 (another is the Ibanez Artist AR 300). The SG-2000 is a neck-through heavy, thick, dense SOLID mahogany bodied guitar with a 10.5 oz brass sustain block bolted to the body. To that is bolted the heavy Yamaha bridge. The neck is a three-piece mahogany/maple sammich, there's a heavy headstock, heavy tuners and an ebony fretboard.

dspellman
10-27-2011, 08:46 AM
I like chambered guitars as long as they are built by someone who knows what they're doing.
When done by a skilled builder, chambering is more like "tuning" the wood.

I'm not interested in swiss cheese holes.

So you're saying, NOT this?:

http://www.gb93.com/site_images/2011-10-03/cheese-guitar.jpg

pcovers
10-27-2011, 08:50 AM
I've never owned one but I believe a chambered body would tend to have less sustain than a solid body.

One might imagine that, and yet the ones I have had (particularly of the LP variety) rang out as long as my non chambered. Note the chambered and not the "holes of cheese". Still, I imagine the ones with swiss cheese weight relief would be just fine, as well.

Heck, I have a 335 style with a block of wood in the center and it sustains as long as the LPs I've had.

pcovers
10-27-2011, 08:51 AM
To be honest, it's really just luck of the draw with sustain. Some guitars just do it better than others.

A voice of reason.

atquinn
10-27-2011, 10:27 AM
Unless a guitar is designed to be chambered, they end up sounding "fuzzier" than their solid counterparts IME (I'm talking chambered strats, teles, LP's). I'm not a fan.
-
Austin

mslugano
10-27-2011, 10:53 AM
Unless a guitar is designed to be chambered, they end up sounding "fuzzier" than their solid counterparts IME (I'm talking chambered strats, teles, LP's). I'm not a fan.
-
Austin

Agreed. Fuzzier, less focused, less punchy, IME.

440gtx6pak
10-27-2011, 11:14 AM
I compared Historic LP's chambered vs solid. Some might say the chambered one sounded 'better' depending on taste. The problem was it did NOT sound like an LP. It lost that 'angry' tone that a solid LP has when pushing a medium gain non-master volume amp. The chambered ones were more polite sounding and 'blurry', which is likely better for cleans. I agree that with pre-amp/pedal high gain, there might be little difference, because everything sounds close then.

9fingers
10-27-2011, 01:21 PM
I like the complexity of tones/overtones/harmonics from a good chambered body. That said, I can see a place for the more focused sound of a solid too.
My chambered LP Studio sustains as long as I fret the string, minutes if I hold it. (I guess that is long enough).

Mark Barna
10-27-2011, 01:50 PM
There's nothing about chambering that will increase sustain.

And there's nothing about "luck of the draw" when it comes to native guitar sustain (that is, without the aid of electronics); the parameters are well known and have been since the early '70's, when there began the Great Search For Sustain. One of the best sustaining guitars in history is the Yamaha SG-2000 (another is the Ibanez Artist AR 300). The SG-2000 is a neck-through heavy, thick, dense SOLID mahogany bodied guitar with a 10.5 oz brass sustain block bolted to the body. To that is bolted the heavy Yamaha bridge. The neck is a three-piece mahogany/maple sammich, there's a heavy headstock, heavy tuners and an ebony fretboard.

That's funny. I've always heard that the 10 pound 70s LPs were a mistake by Gibson engineers who thought heavier means more sustain, and also meant cost-cutting because they could use heavy mahogany. Maybe a builder could chime in.

scaryfoot
01-15-2012, 05:51 AM
I wouldn't mind one
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvPkBxT9V4Y

Marty s Horne
01-15-2012, 07:03 AM
I've had a number of chambered guitars as well as solidbodies. I like the extra warmth and resonance chambering adds as well as the reduced weight. I never found chambering to hurt the guitar's sustain either. Solid bodies do IMO cut through the mix better and have as others have said, a more focused sound. For the record, I have 2 McNaughts that are chambered and sound great and I have a McNaught strat type guitar on order that will be solid. I would go with a solidbody for a strat type guitar.

SinglecutGuy
01-15-2012, 07:08 AM
I gotta say, I was always against chambered, but the airyness tends to open up a lot of the tonal spectrum that gets "thickened" out by a solidbody.

I think if you're going for a lot of soloing, get yourself a solidbody for sure. If not, you might find a chambered body that will surprise you.

crzyfngers
01-15-2012, 07:09 AM
i have a chambered strat. nobody has ever mentioned that it sounded like a hollowbody. i love the weight.

craigoslo
01-15-2012, 07:12 AM
I have a chambered tele that I built. Very light, great resonance, I'm not sure if the chambering increased the sustain though. If I were to build another guitar, I would chamber it for sure.

doublescale1
01-15-2012, 07:46 AM
I have a chambered Suhr T style, no F hole, w/ 2 P90's - Basswood body - maple top. It also features a tone control that really works - all the way up it has a lot of top end sparkle and the low strings have a lot of zing to their top end, with an amp dialed in bright it will twang all day long - take the tone control half way down and it becomes a warm jazzy type guitar. It has become a very versatile guitar for me that can cover a lot of sonic ground - and it's light. Also have a CS336 which I love for it's "chambered" Les Paul leanings. It is a little more articulate in the very lows than my LP R9, but not so much that what ever your playing does not sound "right". The Gibby tone controls are not as wide as the Suhr's but it can still get to some spanky funk strumming as well as nice Allman Bro's type OD tones - both guitars sit and can cut through in a band mix live very well.

s2y
01-15-2012, 07:48 AM
A lot depends on the depth of the chambering and where it's located in relation to the center block. You can do it for weight reduction for minimal tonal impact if you do it right. I might do this on a guitar I'm planning on ordering later.

patentcad
01-15-2012, 07:52 AM
I recently acquired a chambered LP. In comparison my cheap Korean LP knockoff is a tone monster, what with its 9lb+ solid two piece mahogany body and ebony fretboard. It will be interesting because I'm going to replace the Fralin Pure PAF neck pickup with a Gibson Classic 57 next week (same pickup that's in the neck on the LP) and I'll be able to make a more direct tonal comparison.

440gtx6pak
01-15-2012, 08:17 AM
I recently acquired a chambered LP. In comparison my cheap Korean LP knockoff is a tone monster, what with its 9lb+ solid two piece mahogany body and ebony fretboard. It will be interesting because I'm going to replace the Fralin Pure PAF neck pickup with a Gibson Classic 57 next week (same pickup that's in the neck on the LP) and I'll be able to make a more direct tonal comparison.

Chambered vs Solid bodies do sound different in any guitar. I too prefer solid(or weight-relief) instead of chambered for the Les Paul tone I expect. Some like what chambered does to sound. My PRS sc245 is chambered, and it sounds good, just different. There are plenty of new and used 'soild/weight-relief' Les Pauls around in the price range of your chambered LP. Since some do prefer chambered, it just sounds like you made the wrong choice for your expectations.

markbosko
01-15-2012, 08:33 AM
This is what Warmoth claims regarding their chambered Tele:

For years we heard the cry for lighter weight bodies - here it is! Our uniquely engineered cavities allow the body to remain very stiff while affording a minimum of 25% weight reduction!
These bodies are very resonant, they even feel alive when plucked. Sustain is improved over their solid body counterparts and feedback isn't even an issue. Tone wise: Alder, Ash, and Mahogany each maintain their traditional tone but it's more open, full, fat, and chunky. Choose the body core material (Alder, Ash, or Mahogany) for your "wood tone" preference. Choose the face or Lam top wood for the look you prefer. Whether you're simply looking for less weight or exciting fat tone, you won't be disappointed.

mad dog
01-15-2012, 08:44 AM
Two of my favorite guitars are chambered. The Soloway Swan and a partscaster tele with Chandler, spruce topped body. Chambering on those seems to be very much a part of why they sound so good. Had several others that didn't come across nearly as well. This is something pretty hard to generalize about.
MD

Timmo
01-15-2012, 08:46 AM
Played soft and clean, a noticeable difference in sound. Cranked, similar sounding.

TRUER WORDS have never been spoken.........:rotflmao

John Coloccia
01-15-2012, 09:33 AM
It's like asking "Duncan '59...pros and cons". Sorta depends on the specific guitar, playing style and what the player is looking for. I make a chambered model and I can tell you it's not obvious (at least not to me) exactly how chambering will effect the final product until I actually try it.

I find it odd that no one concerns themselves with trem, pickup and and control cavity routes, but get all wrapped up in "chambering".

robertkoa
01-15-2012, 10:10 AM
It's like asking "Duncan '59...pros and cons". Sorta depends on the specific guitar, playing style and what the player is looking for. I make a chambered model and I can tell you it's not obvious (at least not to me) exactly how chambering will effect the final product until I actually try it.

I find it odd that no one concerns themselves with trem, pickup and and control cavity routes, but get all wrapped up in "chambering".

Interesting- and a very honest statement.

I mentioned on another post that MANY Luthiers and Builders, some famous and some not have told me that the best way, and only SURE way to tell what the final tone result is going to be is after the build- with different woods and construction and "recipes"- but there are general guidelines, general formulas which work , most said.

=JL=
01-15-2012, 10:57 AM
I find it odd that no one concerns themselves with trem, pickup and and control cavity routes, but get all wrapped up in "chambering".

Me too, I've said it before on here many times, but with a swimming pool rout over a trem spring cavity, with a thin plastic pickguard on top, a Strat is almost a banjo.
Drilling a few extra holes near the strap button won't make any difference IMO.