View Poll Results: Jazz guitarists do you prefer sold body or hollow body?

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  • I prefer solid body

    66 14.35%
  • I prefer hollow body

    394 85.65%
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  1. #1

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    I'm new to jazz guitar. I prefer solid body electric guitars. I'm curious about how many jazz guitarists prefer solid body to hollow body.

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  3. #2

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    That depends. If I am going just around the corner or in my own car and can carry my guitar myself, the sound level is reasonable and the venue is peaceful, I'd take a hollow body. If I'm going to another continent by airline and have to change plane four times and there's no way of taking the guitar as hand luggage, I'd bring the solid body.

  4. #3

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    For straight ahead jazz, I prefer a hollow body. But I have a fully hollow, a semi-hollow, and a solid body. I use and love all three.

  5. #4
    I have a few solidbodies (mostly strats), but I also have semis and full hollowbodied guitars. I tried to get guitars with examples of most of the pickups available, so I have strat single coils, a couple of P90-equipped guitars, a tele, humbuckers, a guitar with a floating humbucker etc. Right now, I find myself drawn towards the warm tone of a full hollowbody archtop with humbuckers. I usually roll the tone off, and its heavenly...

    I guess I'm of the "a different guitar for each different tone in your head" school of thought...

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Karol
    For straight ahead jazz, I prefer a hollow body. But I have a fully hollow, a semi-hollow, and a solid body. I use and love all three.
    I could have typed my own post, but Tom sums up my feelings exactly.

  7. #6

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    I own, use, and love all three. But if I could only choose one as a personal instrument on which to play jazz, it would be a solid carved top non-cutaway hollowbody archtop with a floating pickup.

  8. #7

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    How many guitars does a guitarist need?

    Just one more.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhaskins
    How many guitars does a guitarist need?

    Just one more.
    How about it?

    With the Heritage coming in this week I've gotta move some old stuff, methinks...1 in, 2 out, maybe?


    Back to the OP, I really couldn't imagine having a solid body (tele) semihollow, and a full hollow, but if I could have only one, I guess it would be the semihollow...more versatile...then again, I've been quoted as saying "versatility is overrated."

  10. #9

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    I think it more about setup and if you have more than one guitar. I love my tele and when in music school and playing around the clock I could put 11's or 12's on it and get a good jazz sound and still bend strings for Blues and Funk. Also a solid body is easier to throw in a gig bag and if it was damaged I'd be sad, but solid body guitars are a lot easier to find replacements for.

    I love sound of hollow bodies and had a few over the years, but sometimes the bodies can be big and feedback can be an issue. So having both a solid and hollow body is optimal solution. All that said when my working days as a guitarist my main guitar was a 335 semi-hollow and could cover any type of gig.

    Back to setup either type guitar can be setup for jazz.

  11. #10

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    I do not have a simple answer to your poll, but:

    >>> I'm new to jazz guitar.

    I would list the top 101 items in order of importance:

    1. through 7. - Setup
    8. - Pick
    9. - Strings
    10. Type of guitar

    So the type of guitar is important, but not the main consideration in my opinion.

    Chris

  12. #11

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    I just love archtops... the size and the feel of the guitar. Even when I play "modern stuff" I always prefer an archtop although I have a cheap 335 clone that I like a lot.

    One funny thing I realized about guitar types: these days most people tend to play with 335 guitars. Here all the young cats use those guitars because they are usable in lots of styles and because most of them thinks Kurt Rosenwinkel (which I love) was the first jazz guitar player on earth (actually most jazz students these days don't even like jazz but that's a whole other subject)

    Playing with an archtop has set me apart from most other guitar players here which is a good thing

  13. #12

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    Semi-hollow should have probably been a third choice in the poll. My personal preference is anything other than a full size archtop.

  14. #13

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    I have sold almost all of my solid guitars since starting to play jazz pretty much exclusively. I even use a semi- for rock & blues gigs.

    The only solid guitar I'm keeping is my Squier Tele, the one with ridiculously loud pickups, and that's for fun more than anything else.

    A hollowbody breathes, sounds more natural, to my ears. The notes hang in the air.

    YMMV, obviously.

  15. #14

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    For me, it's easier to get a traditional jazz tone from an archtop. Still, you can dial in a good sound from most platforms and in the end, playability, practicality, and what you like just because you like it matter most.

  16. #15

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    Like most have said, I love both, but for straight ahead traditional jazz, (if I could only have one guitar) it has to be the hollow-body archtop. The lush organic resonant tones just roll out of one so easily.
    Solid-bodied guitars I have fight with to get a useable tone to my liking.

    I will say that I love the durability, comfort, and ease of play of solids though!

  17. #16

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    Definitely a semi or three...Ibanez AS100 and AGS83 and custom build on the way...I do own a Strat and will get a Tele at some point but semis are whee it's at for me...

  18. #17

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    I prefer a solid body's tone, durability, portability, and playability (i.e. easy action), but I prefer a hollow body's ergonomics (mine will have a 16" bout with only a 2.25" deep body). For me, ergonomics are important enough to make my hollow-body my main guitar with my solid-body being my back-up/office/travel guitar.

    I think my perfect guitar would be a short-scale, chambered (i.e. light weight) solid-body with a neck that connected to the body at the 14th fret like an archtop.

  19. #18

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    Solid body without question. More due to personal shortcomings than anything else - I trashed a couple of expensive guitars when I was young and now that I'm a lot older, my coordination hasn't improved. I had a couple of semi-hollows recently and they had to be handled more delicately than I liked. I've since pared the guitar collection down to a solid body-Squier 51 neck and hardware, USA Custom Guitars body (Strat sized but routed for Squier 51 fittings), and Pete Biltoft Vintage Vibe pickups. I played this one to the exclusion of everything else I had so I sold ll the rest (over a dozen of them!) and haven't looked back.

  20. #19

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    For me , i own a usa tele with gibsoin classic 57 in neck , tone to die for, oozes out but my cheaper stock epi archtop just looks so much cooler and like someone already mentioned sets you apart from the masses using solids and makes you more memorable also the big 17" archtop always draws attention even from non musicians ,, so yes as much as we hate to admit it a guitar that looks more trad jazz will always to ,most everyone be more appropriate for trad jazz gigs even if the solid body sounds better , i was told once unfair as it sounds that 'audiences listen with their eyes ' and as a performing muso i tend to agree , so my tele is used when i get booked for studio sessions and my archtop goes to live gigs

  21. #20

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    Yeah, people do listen with their eyes...

    Sometimes you just gotta have the right tool for the job...and sometimes the right "uniform" too.

    Doesn't bother me really...more excuses for owning multiple guitars...

  22. #21

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    I really think it's a matter of personal taste. For me, an archtop is what I love to play most. I also have a semi, and a strat that are wonderful guitars, but I always reach for one of my 2 archtops.

  23. #22

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    I prefer my solidbodies (Les Pauls and Strats) for about 85 percent of what I play. Smaller, more intimate venues? The hollowbodies do very well. Bang for buck , portability and not being in my 20's-30's anymore, a solidbody and combo does it for me. (Favorite combo being either my Carr Rambler or my Line 6 Spider I 2x12)

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by PTChristopher
    I do not have a simple answer to your poll, but:

    >>> I'm new to jazz guitar.

    I would list the top 101 items in order of importance:

    1. through 7. - Setup
    8. - Pick
    9. - Strings
    10. Type of guitar

    So the type of guitar is important, but not the main consideration in my opinion.

    Chris
    Which are the main reasons why I like my Danelectro '56. The other reason is red.

    Last edited by bborzell; 05-16-2012 at 12:04 PM.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hexatonics
    9 times out of 10 you can tell if its a solid body because the tone and the quality of the notes is just not the same. Teles and solid bodies in general have too much sustain. You just lose that melancholy tone.
    Yeah it makes me laugh when people are advertising a Jazz box
    and they say 'amazing sustain' etc
    Jazz box ain't supposed to have long sustain dude

  26. #25

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    I use solid bodies for gigs, mostly, because my carvetop feeds back so easily. But when I listen to recordings of my band, I sound pretty much the same on my Tele with single coils, my solid body with a humbucker and my carvetop. If I don't know which guitar I was playing it is hard to tell. My nylon strings sound different...

  27. #26

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    Sustain can be controlled by easing off pressure from the fretting fingers.

  28. #27

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    I voted for the hollow body, where I actually meant a semi-hollow.
    (You should have included a third option of a semi-hollow in your poll).

  29. #28

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    Then you should update for Jazz_335

  30. #29

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    [Hexatonics] >>> id put money on my archtop sounding 'better' than your Tele for 'most jazz' applications.


    Wow, something in the water I suppose is contributing to the vibe?.

    I suggest listening to some of Keira's playing.

    I'd put money on her Tele sounding better than,...

    Chris

  31. #30

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    True, someone like Keira (love the vids, by the way) could play a cement block with vermicelli strings and get a sound I could only ever dream of getting. But I have to agree that archtops have a quality of sound that is distinctive and can't be replicated by any solid-body with any setup. Even Joe Pass, on his Synanon album (which I have, and love his performance nonetheless) I can tell that he's playing a solid-body instrument, and personally prefer his sound with the 175.

    I also agree that one big problem is way too much sustain in solids. Sure, I use both my right palm and left fingers to dampen the strings, but it's not as much of an issue with the hollows and sometimes I like that natural decay of the notes as they blend. It's musical.

  32. #31

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    Hey before this goes any further please re read my post , i simply said my tele with gibson 57 classic in neck and 12 flat wounds sounds better than MY archtop NOT ALL ARCHTOPS and i was making the statement i still use my archtop at gigs cos of how it looks and adds to the vibe and it sounds pretty good until i compare it to my modded tele 8-) oneday i too hope to own a "killer" archtop but till then my epi will have to do

  33. #32

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    In my opinion your post was 100% clear about your Tele. My post regarded the seemingly obtuse comment regarding your point about your Tele.

    [Retro'68] >>> way too much sustain in solids

    Yeah, and hard to reduce this a great deal. I once made a solid body with a very scooped waist on the back as well as the sides to get the sustain down. It worked, but was uneven in response vs. frequency, plus the somewhat shortened sustain sounded odd with the still pretty "solid body" sound. Not a success - but it is possible that further refinement of the idea could work.

    There is that German (I think) white guitar with the faintly "Hello Kitty" look that is a very thin solidbody - but I have never tried one. (Sorry, I forget the name of the guitar.

    Chris

  34. #33

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    I play a Heritage H575 Custom hllow body when I am playing solo, dou or trio and playing nothing but jazz, I play a Gibson Es 137 semi hollow body when I play rock/fusion or reggae, I play a Fender Tele with a humbucker in the neck when I play blues rock/ classic rock, I play a Gitane D500 for my acoustic swing jazz brunch, and I play a rodriguez 1a cutaway for brazilian jazz and my classical repetoire. If my house was on fire and I could only pull one out it would be my Heritage it is just so beautiful and i have a sentimental attachment to her.

  35. #34

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    For a distorted fusion sound I prefer a solidbody, but for the clean sound the hollow archtop is great.I hate running a hollow body thru a distortion pedal.If you have a nice warm tube amp that overdrives naturally,it's not so bad.IMO

  36. #35

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    I have a couple of hollow bodies, a semi hollow, a nylon string electric and a solid body (G & L Legacy Special that plays like a dream). Each one has a different voice that the others don't have and I like them all and would love to have more if space and finances permited. I once was quoted that the reason for having so many different guitars is that "you would never paint a painting with just one color". Now if I could just convince my wife.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randooley
    For a distorted fusion sound I prefer a solidbody, but for the clean sound the hollow archtop is great.I hate running a hollow body thru a distortion pedal.If you have a nice warm tube amp that overdrives naturally,it's not so bad.IMO
    In general terms I agree with you - but have you tried a Gretsch with Filtertrons? A 6120 for example is fully hollow and yet can take a lot of distortion at high volumes without feeding back. The sound that one gets I find absolutely incredible.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Karol
    For straight ahead jazz, I prefer a hollow body. But I have a fully hollow, a semi-hollow, and a solid body. I use and love all three.
    Hello all, first post...

    I've been wondering about this... I'm looking for a guitar that can do jazzy stuff as well as stuff with a little grind to it. Not straight-up jazz, I'm talking western swing/honky tonk/rockabilly type stuff. For those of you who might know some of these artists: Wayne Hancock, JD Mcpherson, Asleep at the Wheel...

    I already have a Gretsch Hot Rod, which does the Brian Setzer thing well of course, but those filtertrons don't really get...warm. Not a warm guitar. Not a spruce-topped Epi Zephyr or Broadway, for example. I also have a tele that actually does quite well for these styles, and the neck pup does a convincing warm jazz tone.

    SO- I was thinking of splitting the difference... going with a thinline tele with charlie christian in the neck... just wondering how different from a solid body IS a thinline, and how similar IS a thinline to a hollowbody? Does a thinline tele really "split the difference"?

    FWIW, I'm not really interested in the thinline semi-hollows like the 335, etc... If I'm getting a guitar that size, I'll just go full hollow.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by jorgemg1984
    Then you should update for Jazz_335
    You are right. Even if I still keep the 175, and I like playing it, I own two semi-hollow and am going for a third one!

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9
    Hello all, first post...

    I've been wondering about this... I'm looking for a guitar that can do jazzy stuff as well as stuff with a little grind to it. Not straight-up jazz, I'm talking western swing/honky tonk/rockabilly type stuff. For those of you who might know some of these artists: Wayne Hancock, JD Mcpherson, Asleep at the Wheel...

    I already have a Gretsch Hot Rod, which does the Brian Setzer thing well of course, but those filtertrons don't really get...warm. Not a warm guitar. Not a spruce-topped Epi Zephyr or Broadway, for example. I also have a tele that actually does quite well for these styles, and the neck pup does a convincing warm jazz tone.

    SO- I was thinking of splitting the difference... going with a thinline tele with charlie christian in the neck... just wondering how different from a solid body IS a thinline, and how similar IS a thinline to a hollowbody? Does a thinline tele really "split the difference"?

    FWIW, I'm not really interested in the thinline semi-hollows like the 335, etc... If I'm getting a guitar that size, I'll just go full hollow.
    6120 will sound like a 6120 with just about any pickups. It's the finer details that the pickups will offer that make the difference. I love Tele's but my ear only really knows the traditional tele sound. Benedetto makes the Bambino, which is a LP/Jet ish type of body that is chambered with a spruce top(correct me if I'm wrong, going from memory). The Soft spruce top would give it a nice jazzy tone. A wood vaguely similar to Spruce is Soft Pine. So, If I wanted a Jazzier tone out of a Tele, I'd probably try building a Pine Bodied Tele & see if I could find a Mahogany or Rosewood neck to warm it up a bit. Charlie Christian should be a good PU.

  41. #40

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    I'll honestly play whatever but I like the feel of the hollowbody. Love that acoustic thump!

  42. #41

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    For me nothing is better than a traditional carved archtop for traditional jazz.
    However there are three flavors starting with Charlie Christian. P90 and PAF when it comes to the SOUND rather than feel and vibe. While I do have a Tele with a Charlie Christian neck it sounds amazing through a tweed deluxe. This Tele does not feel anything like an archtop but can easly do Country, Blues, Rock, Swing or Jazz.

  43. #42

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    Sorry picture worth many words

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9
    how different from a solid body IS a thinline, and how similar IS a thinline to a hollowbody? Does a thinline tele really "split the difference"?

    FWIW, I'm not really interested in the thinline semi-hollows like the 335, etc... If I'm getting a guitar that size, I'll just go full hollow.
    IMO opinion, semihollows don't really split the difference between solidbody and hollowbody guitars. They usually sound far more solid than hollow to me, and I think the reason for that is the pickups usually aren't sitting on top of a floating soundboad, rather, they are on a soundboard glued to a center block. The center block influences the sound tremendously by giving the guitar a great deal of sustain similar to a solidbody guitar.

    The only way a solidbody can sound like a hollow is to ditch the center block like the ES 330, Epiphone casino, or the Eastman El Rey. IMO these guitars have much more of the hollowbody punch than their center block cousins.

  45. #44

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    I've also found that to be true. It's one of the reasons I never could warm up to Semis.

  46. #45

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    I like not only archtops, solidbodies, but also gypsy jazz guitars, Martin Dreds, Nylon strings,Baritones, etc..Hell I guess I just like playing jazz guitar on guitar..

    I gig with a Martin D-18 and a stock epi es-175. Sold my Tele just recently *sniff* but a friend is building me one so It should be done in 10-20 years..

  47. #46

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    I cast my vote for the fully hollow archtop guitar. I play a 2010 ES-175 and compared to any other guitar it is above and beyond in jazz tone. I use D'Addario ecg26 (.013s) on that axe through a monster cable into the Fender Princeton Reverb. It sounds like Wes which is good enough for me.

  48. #47

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    It seems odd to me that jazz players generally scorn the Les Paul, which is basically the ES-175 circuit on a solid body. I personally dislike the shape and weight of it, but you can easily get a good jazz tone with one.

  49. #48

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    +1 on the LP. I had for awhile the Gibson faded LP ( more budget than quality unfortunately ) with the 490 & 498 PUP's that could conjure up some jazz mojo tone. I guess the solid mahogany was also a considerable factor here.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norman931
    It seems odd to me that jazz players generally scorn the Les Paul, which is basically the ES-175 circuit on a solid body. I personally dislike the shape and weight of it, but you can easily get a good jazz tone with one.

    Agree



    that Alnico V neck pick up is something else.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by PTChristopher
    ....[ ]...There is that German (I think) white guitar with the faintly "Hello Kitty" look that is a very thin solidbody - but I have never tried one. (Sorry, I forget the name of the guitar.
    Chris
    Jens Ritter.