Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by HeeHaw, Jun 12, 2006.
Gassing for a semi-hollow, but don't know if I want a fullsize 335. The PRS looks pretty cool.
I played a whole bunch of 335 guitars on my last quest, and ended up with a HBII. It is an incredible instrument and feels/sounds much better to me than a 335. I am not the best person to describe the differences. It is really an apples/oranges comparison. To me, the PRS has a more balanced frequency response, more complexity and acoustic response. The HBII also has a real class emmanating from simplicity in design and a high level of execution.
The 335 feels more like a nice Gibson solidbody with an unmistakable 335 sonic imprint (mid-range resonance). I have heard the right 335 in the right hands sound really nice, but none of the ones I tried grabbed me and messed with my head. The Johnny A might be another one to consider. There were some threads comparing them on the Birds and Moons.
I do like that Johnny A. model as well as his music, but those things are like $6K or something.
Not quite that bad. I've seem prices $2,700 to $3,200 and have heard of lower and higher pricing as well.
There is an HB2 in the house here. That being said, the Johnny A's I've handled have been wonderful guitars too.
I did some work a few years back on a PRS HB spruce. Really nice... really manufactured, but really nice. the finish was great, played great, looked great. as for semihollow, the first guitar i ever made was a neckthrough copy of a prs hollowbody I (looks an awful lot like the picture they put up on the website about six months after i finished it too). I played one or two of the real ones at GC and got measurements and whatnot. didn't get a good ear for it due to the people, but i know it certainly sounded better than any 335 i ever played. i was never much for that 335 sound, too clunky.
I played a regular PRS hollowbody which I believe was a spruce top. It was a no frills guitar that flat out sounded great. This being said I just bought a Hamer Monoco spruce top which is very similar IMHO to the PRS but cost a lot less. Sure it has a longer scale length but these kind of differences mean very little to me. BTW the PRS I played was $1800, I bought the Hamer for $1200. Either guitar would be a superior jazz box compared to aGibson because they possess better sonic qualities when played unamplified.
I have a Johnny A, a PRS Hollowbody I, and a PRS Hollowbody spruce. The HB spruce can be had used relatively cheaply (under $2K) if you look hard and are willing to forgo the piezo, which adds about $500.
The Johnny A is more like $3K used; nice quilt ones with a Bigsby are a bit more.
FYI, both the JA and the PRS are closer to fully hollow -- whereas the ES-335 has a block that runs from the neck joint to the bottom of the body, the JA and PRS only have a small block or trestle under the bridge, sort of like a '59 Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120.
The Johnny A has a more distinctive tone than the PRSi. It's woodier and more traditional -- so if traditional Gibson and Fender tones are what you like to hear, I'd go with the JA. The PRS' tone is more neutral; a lot of that is because of the pickups, which of course can be changed. The interesting thing about the JA is, it's extremely versatile. You can make it sound like an ES-295 or 175 with P-90s, you can make it sound like a Gretsch, you can make it sound like a Les Paul, you can even make it sound pretty close to a Tele. And all of those sounds are *good*; for someone who plays a wide variety of styles, I can hardly think of a better guitar.
What I actually recommend is that you try to play each of the guitars, including the Hamer. Your best bet, given where you live, is to get in the car and take a road trip to Willcutt Guitars in Lexington, KY. They're pretty likely to have all of them in stock; call ahead to be sure. (and to "gain clearance" to the part of the shop -- basically a warehouse -- where the good stuff is stored)
I've owned both. The PRS does have a more neutral tone, whereas I prefer the character of the 335's sound. I also thought the HB2 looked kind of weird -- I like the more traditional look of the 335. But the HB2 is amazingly light and comfortable to play, and I got some great recorded tones out of it.
I went through this exact search a few months back. The 335 is my all time favorite guitar but with some shoulder problems I decided to try a Hollowbody II.
I have been very pleased! I've played it for jazz gigs where it has a very nice modern jazz tone, as well as with a full rock band.
The players in the audience have nice comments about the tone, both clean and distorted. I still prefer a bound fretboard and 12" radius but I have adjusted easily. These are great guitars.