Hollow Body-Semi Hollow Body Help!!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Landon Evans, May 2, 2016.

  1. Landon Evans

    Landon Evans Member

    May 2, 2016
    I am the frontman for a country band. I play rhythm on acoustic (Have played Fender, Takamine, Zager, Martin, and Taylor trying to find the perfect fit) and occasionally will play a little Telecaster on certain songs. I suck at lead, but like to pretend.

    Anyways, I was watching live performance video of Green Day of all things, and heard an awesome tone. I would love to try to get something like this for our shows. So I can still have the nice acoustic rhythm, but also the ability to play some lead riffs when I so desire. (The link to the video is below)

    Thing is, hollow body is a new realm for me. I have no idea what kind guitar that guy is playing, whether its hollow or semi hollow. I would like to purchase something equivalent for between $500 and $800 new if possible. As far as amps, what's good? I have a Fender Deluxe Reverb that I love, will that work good? Any effects pedals I need? Any advice for a new hollow body owner, whether that be playing technique, live sound, or anything else would be greatly appreciated.

    TLDR; what gear do I need to replicate this sound?

  2. kiki_90291

    kiki_90291 Member

    Mar 15, 2006
    Portland, OR
    Here's some info on the guitarist playing that part: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason_White_(musician)#Equipment Looks like he's playing a Gibson ES-335, which is semi-hollow and pretty pricey (even used they seem to be over $2000). I'm guessing that he's using the Fishman pickup to get the acoustic tone, as a 335 typically does not sound like that :) But he goes to full electric for the end/solo-ey bit, which sounds very 335-ish to me (reminds me of Soundgarden tone and I think Cornell played a 335).

    There are tons of less expensive options - the Epiphone Dot is a pretty good version and Ibanez version seem to get good reviews, too. Not sure if any of them would have the equivalent of the Fishman system. A Epiphone 339 Ultra may get you there, but I have no experience with the Nanomag pickup, so you should do some research on that.

    Another option for an acoustic tone from an electric would be a Variax. I have one and they are pretty convincing.
  3. Chris Pile

    Chris Pile Member

    Apr 3, 2016
    Mr. Evans - lots of NICE semi-hollow stuff out there. Suggest you buy used, that way you can get a better quality axe. Also, you'll be able to sell it for the same money that bought it for if you don't dig it. Good luck shopping!
  4. Digidog

    Digidog Member

    Jun 11, 2012
    Stockholm; Sweden
    For like $500-800 I would look into Ibanez Artstar semi-hollows, and maybe mod them or pedal-tweak to get close to the tone you seek.

    A used ES339 or an Epiphone are closer to the point, but could claim higher prices depending on what you find and the quality of the instrument.

    SPROING! Member

    Dec 5, 2011
    The Epi 339 Ultra has an acoustic pickup. Should make those sounds no problems.
  6. snow and steel

    snow and steel Supporting Member

    May 9, 2013
    SW Ohio
    When I was looking for a semi-hollow body I played quite a few Epi's and thought they all felt horrible - particularly the fretwork. I also really don't care for the "D" neck. I played quite a few others mentioned here on the forum as well, and even some Gibson's.

    The guitar that seemed to be really resonant and played well and had a good vibe was - ironically - an Ibanez. It was a Limited Edition AM83 - which is basically a AM73 in a limited edition finish. I didn't care for the stock pickups -they weren't the worst [just dark sounding], but I knew a set of Dimarzio 36th anniversaries would really cook it. So I got it, installed the new Dimarzio's, and later I did have the nut changed to a Tusq XL [I had to do something with it as I changed the strings/set up to "light top/heavy bottom" a 10-52 set]. I also installed a good set of matched alpha pots, some orange drop caps, new push back wire, switchcraft switch and switchcraft output jack. The pickups and nut/strings/set up are solely personal choices. Setting the amp a touch brighter would probably accomplish the same thing, and the rest is feel. upgrades cost me all of about $200 total, which along with the cost of the guitar broght me to about $700 - WAY under what most other hollow bodies were going for.

    The guitar looks good, and plays/sounds amazing. Its the only non-US guitar I own, but it plays, feels and sounds every bit as good, and I'm never embarrassed to have it sitting next to my others at a show.

    Here's an anecdote for you;

    I was backing a reasonably well known blues guitarist and about 2/3 the way through the night his guitar crapped out [we weren't sure if it was caps, pots, loose wiring... just literally stopped working]. His spare was still in their vehicle and we would have had to wait several minutes for someone to run out and grab it and tune it for him [I was told later it was left in the vehicle because it was having issues holding intonation and they were still working on it, they thought his regular guitar - a Gibson LP - would get him through the night.]

    To speed things along, I handed him my spare, which on that night was my Ibanez. He took it, though I could tell by the look on his face he was thinking he wouldn't be pleased. By the end of the second song with it he was digging it [you know how this goes - making body contortions and faces while playing solos, even giving me the "did you see that?" grin every now and then]. At the end of the night he thanked me, and commented that it played and sounded great. He asked how much it cost. I told him and he was shocked, and said he might have to get one. I said I had been very happy with it, but did change the pickups and give it a good set up.

    He said with a grin "Wouldn't be interested in selling it I don't suppose?"

    "No sir, but I'll take your interest as a very deep compliment."

    I think I've got some clips somewhere of it rocking pretty hard too, ha ha!

    The guitar in question;

    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
  7. great-case.com

    great-case.com a.k.a. "Mitch"

    Aug 14, 2007
    Semi and fully hollow bodied guitars tend to garner a higher price - they are markedly different builds than solids. Your price range forces you to settle for the lowest shelf of choices. As an acoustic player, you may welcome the better feel of a hollow over a semi hollow. In particular, an arched top hollow will give you the tactile equivalent of an acoustic.

    Net recommendation is to save up a little more and look for a used Eastman (~ $800). You wil be surprised.


    If you reach for the upper shelves, you'll have to test drive a PRS Arch Top. Having played almost every option on the market, the original design by Knaggs - PRS Arch Top is my favorite. I prefer it over the latest model and included a snapshot of mine below.

    The cabinet is for hydration and by no means a sign of an underplayed guitar... the thing screams play me every time I see it!
  8. Mikhael

    Mikhael Member

    Jan 2, 2013
    I put the Graphtech Ghost piezo system into a couple of my guitars, and I've been happy with the results. It works especially well if you run it into a Fishman Aura preamp. I've not cared for the Fishman piezo pickups, though; I switch them out for the Ghost saddles every time.
  9. custom53

    custom53 Member

    Dec 18, 2006
    Hamer 3 Hole Duotone.. Piezo Bridge with Humbuckers.. Separate output jacks, switchable between the Piezo and the Humbuckers or use them together.. I usually run the Piezo through the PA and the Humbuckers through my Amps.. Go "acoustic" then switch to a "heavier" lead and back.. Works for me.. It also has some "mini" adjustments on the back for the Piezo to get the tone you want..




  10. rwmct

    rwmct Member

    Apr 2, 2016
  11. smiert spionam

    smiert spionam Member

    Feb 29, 2004
    North Zeamaysistan
    You ought to take a look at a few Gretsches before you make any decisions. The Korean Electromatics (54xx) are awfully good, and in your price range.
  12. cutaway

    cutaway Supporting Member

    Jul 24, 2009
    North Carolina
    To the OP: regardless of what you get, the only way you're going to get that acoustic tone is with an acoustic pickup. Semis and hollows DO NOT SOUND LIKE AN ACOUSTIC
    smiert spionam likes this.

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