chambered bodies on ash/alder single coils guitars, good idea?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by jero, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. jero

    jero Member

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    Just wondering,

    A lot of builders offer chambered body options. I can understand that if you have a mahogany body with humbucking pickups you might want to go for that option, to create a bit more open, 3D sound. What I can’t imagine is why you should opt for this on an ash or alder strat/tele with single coils. Won’t chambering make the sound of these guitars very thin?

    But if this was the case, why would byuilders like Anderson, Suhr, Tyler

    Any thoughts, experiences?
     
  2. Drunkagain

    Drunkagain Member

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    My Melancon is chambered swamp ash, with an h-s-s config. What it seems to do for me is take some of the bite out of the single coils. Rounds out the notes a bit. Overall the guitar sounds fantastic. And as a bonus you get a guitar thats light as hell. I've never weighed my Mel, but I would guess it weighs in right around 5 lbs. I could wear the thing all day without my back and shoulders aching.
     
  3. cnardone

    cnardone Supporting Member

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    Exactly. If you've ever listened to a saloway, they are all warn and round. I believe that most of his backs are ash. I am having a Chapin built right now and we are chambering for that exact reason.
     
  4. hendrix2430

    hendrix2430 Member

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    I have a chambered swamp ash melancon T (I think mel's chambered T model is almost thinline), and besides being very light, it does smooth out the high end compared to a solid body tele. I could very well see someone not liking the chambering of a tele style, but personally, I love it. It's perfectly balanced, and retains just enough tele crisp for *me*.

    For what it's worth, a bare knuckle set was put in that guitar: "the boss", is the name of it. It's a little more muscular than your typical vintage style tele pickups. I think it's somewhere near the fralin blues special set, as far as output. I'm not quite sure how really low single coils would fare in there, though, but the bareknuckles sound spectacular, especially the bridge pickup, which I like even more than the suhr broadcaster pickup. (that is saying a lot!)


    So I say: go for it.
     
  5. suhr_rodney

    suhr_rodney Supporting Member

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    IMHO it really depends on the woods used. Because of the wood removed, chambering (IMHO) attenuates the tonal characteristic of that wood type. And the lighter weight is a nice bonus.

    For example, one of my guitars is a chambered ash Suhr Classic T (tele). It has a chambered ash body with an ash top. I would expect this to be a fairly bright sounding guitar. (Some would argue too bright.) But as Drunkagain states, the tone is just right - slightly softer and with more depth, with slightly mellowed highs. Not so drastic that a purist would not love it, just subtle changes.

    Another of my Classic Ts has a chambered mahogany body with a maple top. The maple top adds a little presence to the tone, which is slightly mellowed by the chambered mahogany. It is one of my favorite gutiars.
     
  6. leofenderbender

    leofenderbender Supporting Member

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    I have a strat with a Warmoth chambered ash body. Since it is hollow, it vibrates more like a guitar than a plank of wood.

    I have Suhr V60LPs in it - they are slightly overwound in comparison to vintage specs. The hollowed body does take some of the spike out of the highs but retains the midrange thump.
     
  7. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Supporting Member

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    I can only speak for our guitars, but we do chambered ash all the time and certainly don't think they sound thin. Here's a clip that was done with an all-ash chambered Swan with Lollar Blackface Strat single coil pickups. You can judge for yourselves.

    http://www.jimsoloway.com/TascamDemos/E098-1.mp3
     
  8. Marty s Horne

    Marty s Horne Member

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    Sweet sounding guitar, Jim. If anything, I think the chambering gives it a rounder, warmer sound.
     
  9. Bajan

    Bajan Member

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    By far the best sounding strat I have ever played (by a wide margin) is a hollow swamp ash Warmoth that I helped my cousin put together. The sound of that guitar is huge and fat and I think the chambering is totally responsible for it. It seems to make the guitar sound much fuller and more responsive and it softens the highs of the ash just enough to make it perfect. Plus the thing is extremely light. I liked it so much I am about to put very nice G&L Legacy up for sale to finance building one for myself.

    Shane
     
  10. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    I think making any kind of sweeping judgements like this only results in generalizations that may not apply to the specific instrument you have in mind.

    That being said, I think chambered bodies do not sound thin at all per se. Different? Yep...maybe not always as great a choice for rock (I don't think chambering generally improves overdriven tones) but not a bad sound. Probably work a bit better with jazz, funk, country (i.e., clean stuff).

    But FWIW, if I was playing rock music, I'd be less inclined to order a chambered body for tonal benefits...for benefits to your back? That I can definitely understand.
     
  11. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

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    [​IMG]
    This one is hollow ash with a lacewood top. We used Bill Lawrence 290/280 pickups. It is a bright guitar, rolling back the tone control a touch gives an astoundingly full tone with great clarity and attack. I like subtle chambering on guitars with single coils, but but find that more extreme chambering works better with minibuckers or full-size buckers.

    This one is fully-hollow purpleheart/redwood with a Bartolini mini. Fat and clear. I wouldn't like it with traditional Fender-type pickups.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    Both my Melancon's and my Thorn are all chambered (the Melancon's are both Ash with Koa top) and they are spectacular sounding; not thin at all. In fact, they p-h-a-t as anything. :D
     
  13. hendrix2430

    hendrix2430 Member

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    spruce arched top?! I didn't know suhr did that...
     

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