Thinking about getting a PRS Hollowbody II...Any experience out there?

skhan007

Member
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9,708
I played one owned by a friend a while back and really liked it a lot. He was a jazz guitarist and I'm a rock guitarist interested in learning jazz. This seems like a good "in between" guitar for rock and jazz from what I can tell.

I really like the models with the piezo system. I'm noting some models say "Archtop" on the truss and others are designated as "McCarty." I really can't find any info that explains differences (if any). Anybody know?

Also, does anyone NOT like these models for any reason? Curious what owners and previous owners think of these models. Thanks in advance.
 

jazzrat

Member
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1,084
I had one. Gorgeous guitar. Mine did not have the peizo. I bought it for jazz tones which it can do just don't expect it to sound like a 335. The HBII has it's own thing going on.
I'm not a PRS expert but I think the Archtop is a particular model distinct from the HB I and HBII which say McCarty on the TR cover.
 

Fred132

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4,924
I've got a singlecut HB II and love it.

Seems like you could use it for just about anything. I even saw a guy playing one in a bluegrass band.
 

Mark Ray

The RockTrain
Platinum Supporting Member
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5,318
The Archtop had a deeper body (front to back) than the Hollowbody. All great guitars-I'd still like to get one sometime, although for my use the P22 would be a better choice.
 

59Bassman

Plank Cranker
Gold Supporting Member
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Another way to test the waters would be with one of the import SE models. I've played a pile of the SE semihollows, both with P-90's and with humbuckers. I like the P-90 models a bit more, although they're not made anymore. Also, this year PRS came out with a new Zach Myers sig model that's a semihollow singlecut. Worth a look.

I have played a number of the archtops and hollowbodies. I will say I'm not as much of a fan of the current HBII's (maple top and maple back) as I am of the older (and sadly discontinued) HBI (Maple top, mahogany back) and HB Spruce (spruce top, mahogany back). Maybe not quite as stunning visually, but I found both the HBI and HBS to have a more woody tone that I'd typically associate with a jazz guitar.
 

dawgtired

Member
Messages
327
Absolutely get one! I have a singlecut hbII and it's easily the most versatile guitar I have. (I have other Tom Andersons and PRS guitars). It can do jazz easily but it can rock hard as well. Not exactly a 335 tone, but it is it's own thing. Plus it has a very good piezo system as well.
 

skhan007

Member
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9,708
Good to know about the 335 comparison. I've looked at about a 1/2 dozen newer 335's and they all had terrible set ups and played like crap. Really disappointing. They sounded good, though. I'm hoping the HBII will be the ticket. Thanks for the feedback!
 

jads57

Silver Supporting Member
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6,135
335 has a more pronounced midrange as opposed to the PRS Hollow more lows and highs. Both do their own thing wonderfully! Have owned both PRS HB 2 as well as a Std. all mahogany Single Cut Hollow. PRS guitars are more consistent to one another than most older Gibson 335's. You really need to play one to see what works for you!
 

moozak

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
957
i've got one... an artist model with an all rosewood neck and a brazilian board. it's a fabulous guitar! seems like the first thing everyone does is compare it to a 335... you need to get that out of your head and listen to it for what it is. it's not a 335, nor is it meant to be... it's really it's own thing and personally... i think it's 335'ish enough. i think it's an amazing guitar with plenty of hollow jazzy tones... plus it will do the funk, blues and rock thing as well. it's got a solid piece in the center for the pickups to mount into... but it's not a block all the way thru like a 335... it's just enough block to mount the humbuckers. plus, it has a sound post under the bridge... that is connected all the way thru... from one side to the other the top/back are connected via this sound post... so the guitar just rings. it's just about a perfect guitar (for me). the one i have has the 57/08 pickups in it... amazing pickups for sure... not so sure about the older pickups that are in some of the prior models out there. i would suggest you try to look at a newer model with 57/08's in it. it really is an amazing guitar, i don't think you'll be disappointed in any way.

oh... and here's a pic of it:




here's a pic of the back... the all rosewood neck is really nice... feels great and very articulate

 
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Mesa

Member
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404
I played one years ago with the Piezo system and I absolutely love it. I have always wanted one and just never had the $$$$ for it.
 

AaeCee

Silver Supporting Member
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18,521
Look int the spruce version, that one sounds the best imo.
I agree. I was really taken by the spruce HB I played, but since I already own an Archtop Spruce which I adore, getting something so close would have been redundant.

IMO, the spruce versions give a little more 'wood' to the sound than the maple topped, but all of them sound pretty damn good in any case.
 

jrjones

Silver Supporting Member
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8,294
I own a HBII piezo. It's a remarkable guitar in every sense of the word. The neck is awesome, it's super light so back issues don't happen with this guitar, the 57/08s sound awesome, the piezo sounds great and is usable to fake acoustic sounds, the stereo outs give two independent signals. I have no complaints.
 

Jaredstepp

Member
Messages
698
+1 on the HBI/Spruce. I have one that is my #1 guitar - it's a 10 top and the grain is awesome too. I prefer it's sound to the HBII's I've played. It rocks hardcore - has usable feedback when you want it. The McCarty Archtop pickups provide creamy cleans, roll off the tone a little and boom - jazz world. The piezo gives believable acoustic tones (direct in, not through your electric amp) and adds serious bite to your driven tones if you mix it in there.

Most of them have a thick neck like a baseball bat cut in 2. I didn't think I'd like it but it is awesome and makes for amazing intonation. The whole guitar is light, I felt like I was going throw it when I got crazy with the stage presence at first. But I can play it forever - my back loves it.

Anyway... do it
 

phoenix 7

Senior Member
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25,744
I owned two HB 2's. Very nice-sounding guitars but they looked like weird, tacky furniture to me, so I sold them. That might sound weird, but I really couldn't stand to look at them.
 

dawgbeach

Member
Messages
154
I had an HB1 back in 2000 for a few years—I think that this is when they first came out.

For rock & funk, it was amazing. Plain & simple. Raw, controlled feedback, variety of great tones, just tons of fun. There is a certain well-known jam-band guitarist who uses a similarly shaped hollowbody—you can easily come close to his tone with one of these.

Using the piezo in gigs, especially with the mixed sound was always an adventure, because sound guys were thrown off by it. Oftentimes, the piezo sounded way out in front of the rest of the band, including my magnetic pickups, for at least a song or two. Clear communication with the sound guy was essential here, especially if you use it improvisationally.

It was kind of a ridiculous guitar to take to a blues jam. I know it's just me, but I felt awkward playing a beautiful, brand new PRS at a blues jam. How down on my luck could I really be, especially with freaking mother of pearl birds flying down the neck?

Mine got a big chip on one of the horns and… well, I don't think PRSi look too good with wear & tear, not the way a Gibson or Fender does.

I sold mine in favor of workhorse guitars and (at the time) a true jazz box (also gone now). I would like a similar guitar someday, but if I'm going all out for a beautiful hollowbody, it's going to be a Myka.

Nevertheless, I totally understand the appeal of an HB1 or 2. Give it a go—they do sound good.
 

moozak

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
957
everyone is entitled to their reasons to own or not own a guitar... but i really don't feel like a guitar has to be "beat" to play the blues... PLENTY of examples of blues being played on nice guitars. as far as having to be down on your luck to play blues... most of our blues heroes have millions in the bank... that doesn't make me feel like they're down on their luck at all. the funny thing is: had all these new style guitars been around back in the day, i guarantee you they would've been used to make some of the music we treasure today. as jrjones said in an earlier post... they are remarkable guitars.
 
Messages
530
I had a single cut hollow body in Tobacco Burst. It was beautiful with no issues whatsoever, wish I still had it. Another victim of GAS! Steve
 




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