View Poll Results: Which one?

Voters
194. You may not vote on this poll
  • Gibson

    57 29.38%
  • Sadowsky

    27 13.92%
  • Collings

    29 14.95%
  • Others (ibanez, yamaha, heritage, etc)

    81 41.75%
Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Posts 1 to 50 of 91
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Hi, i originaly created this thread on thegearpage ( Semihollow battle... Collings, sadowsky, Gibson ES... What would you get and why? | The Gear Page )

    I just wanted to see what'd happen in the jazz forum.

    I'd like to hear some thoughts from actual owners! thanks in advance!




  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    If I were poor- Who am I kidding? If I had to buy one, I'd look at Ibanez. Already have an Ibanez hollowbody with which I'm very satisfied, and I doubt their semi-hollows would be sub-par.

    Somehow, I do own a Gibson ES(139) and I am extremely happy with it. Amazing neck, possibly the best neck I've ever played.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    ok..i'll play

    no doubt..collings

    every guitar i've ever seen, picked up or played by them has been exceptional from fit and finish to tone

    gibson usa qc is now all over the place…no blanket statements can be made…i've seen all sorts of questionable fit and finish issues these last years…you might get a great one, you might not

    sadowsky..is a a mia guitar that's tweaked to perfection stateside..but still

    my 2¢

    cheers

    addenda- tho thinking, im sentimental traditionalist..armed with XXXXXX$$$$ i'd probably search out a nice new gibson..haha
    Last edited by neatomic; 08-19-2015 at 08:00 PM. Reason: ps-

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    I've got a Sadowsky Jim Hall (used) a Kirn Tele, and a Craigslist MIM Strat. Sold a Custom Shop 335, and wasn't knocked out by a 175 I took a long look at. Got to stop worrying about brands.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    I have had a Gibson ES-335 (Larry Carlton) a fine instrument!

    I have a Collings I35LC. I love the Collings.

    I have had a LS17 and Jimmy Bruno, not semis but still Sadowskys...great instruments!

    I have a Comins GCS1-ES excellent guitar...underrated imho. (just threw that in there )

    Semi-Hollow Guitars - Collings vs Sadowsky vs Gibson-a_zps5ati7ud9-jpg
    Last edited by Eric Rowland; 03-02-2016 at 04:34 PM.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Gibson 335 for me...

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    My semi hollow Tele. I don't usually play standing and have never found the 335 style guitars comfortable seated.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    If I ever need a semi hollow, and hopefully I don't, it probably will be a Guild Starfire Hoboken era. I don't like Gibson, Collings are not aesthetically pleasing to me, even though Im sure they sound great, and I'm not too crazy about other brands either... Im odd, I know...

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    I think overall if you find the right Gibson ES-335 that would make most people happiest. But you certainly can find great alternatives as well, both $ and $$$$$$$$

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    There are a lot of great semis out there, and they are all a bit different. Even among es-335 models and eras there is some difference in feel and sound. If you can - visit a lot of shops and see what moves you. From 1980 - 2013 I've tried and bought a lot of semis, I loved the idea of an ES-335 but none was right. Finally the 50th Anniversary 1963 ES-335 nailed my expectations, with the 50th Anniversary 1960 coming in a close second; aside from these 2 models all others were far off the mark for me. The right semi is a wonderful guitar.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    No brainier for me. I owned a Collings (2 actually) a Gibson 335 and the undisputed winner in my studio is my Thorn Grantura. Really not a fair fight. They cost more but I didn't see a limitation on price.


  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    I'd get an old Stromberg and call it a day:


  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    There are so many good semi-hollows out there, you just have to find the right one for you and your style of music. Right now I have 3:

    Seventy Seven Albatross Jazz This is a small-bodied semi with a flat solid spruce top. As flawless an instrument as I've ever seen. The pickups somehow manage to be warm yet detailed. It sounds beautiful clean, or with some distortion. Versatile, easy to play, lightweight. Great value. Because these are not well known, resale value can suffer. But I'm keeping mine!

    Collings Soco Deluxe A beautiful, perfect instrument. Nobody needs to have a guitar this nice (and expensive!) I don't really like fancy, luxury guitars. Kind of showoff-y, if you know what I mean. But it's soooo nice, and I got an unbelievable deal on this one from a private seller. Lightweight and comfortable to play, sitting or standing. I really, really didn't like the Lollar low-wind pickups that came with this guitar. But they're gone now.

    Gibson ES-335 OK, I have a 1964, not something you can just run out and buy. Mine's a monster, a freak, a beast, and my #1 choice for most gigs. The best for rock, blues and R&B. A magic guitar. But I play the Collings more at home because it's a little smaller and more comfy sitting down. 335s can vary a lot, depending on when they were made, pickups, and model. So you may have to try a few. The newer 60s reissues are lightweight and seem to be built like the old ones and are reputed to be very good.

    Last edited by Gilpy; 08-20-2015 at 12:44 PM.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    That's a nice "Vintage Yellow" Exrubato Custom, Bob. That's how Seventy-seven Guitars described it and I thought it looked like pee in the original photos. I regret not choosing it now as it looks a very nice Honey Blonde in your photo. The VY finish is no longer offered.

    I have 2 Exrubato Customs (Transparent Black and Iced Tea Burst), one Hollow (Antique Sunburst), one Jazz (Natural) and one Standard (Natural). I got them in 2010/2011. Some of the best ES-3x5 types around.

    I PM-ed Ruiz and told him that for his jazz studies his best bet was to find a Sadowsky SS-15 used. I even showed him where he could find one for sale. I feel that Ruiz should also consider the Seventy-seven Hawk or Hawk Jazz.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 08-20-2015 at 03:59 PM.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Yes, it looks much nicer in person than in pics. That guitar is one I wish I never sold. I originally ordered it for myself, and then the fusion band I was working with folded unexpectedly and I thought, Ill just order another. Didnt happen though. I think I might be able to get them to do another in that finish . Might be a small upcharge. I cant think of another guitar made today that is built better than the Seventy Seven line, I still have a hell of a time selling them though. Funny thing is, I usually wind up selling a second one to players who wind up buying one. Bob

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    And Sadowsky has drawn alongside Gibson with Others ahead by a nose.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Sadowsky JH -- for single note clarity and chord tone clarity and overall warmth.

    Beautiful Instrument!!
    Last edited by jazzimprov; 08-21-2015 at 12:08 PM.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    My personal favorite is made by Chuck Thornton. His "Professional" model is 14" semi-hollow body that start at ~$4,600. Don't let the single cutaway fool you. The upper fingerboard access is fantastic with his heel design.


  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Interesting. TGP polled 6.5% for the Sadowsky. That is to be expected from TGP. Not too many jazz cats there.

    Ruiz, I really wouldn't buy a used ES-335 without inspecting it or playing it in person unless the seller is known to be an upstanding person. Gibson Memphis churns out too many of them too fast. There are bound to be ones with QC issues. You don't want to get one of those that someone is trying to fob off on the unwary. You are from Colombia and your odds of returning it if it is no good are...no good.

    If you really want a used Gibson ES-335 go to a good Gibson dealer like Dave's Guitars. Ask Dave's to check it thoroughly for truss rod issues, ABR-1 posts issues, etc.. Anything that may bother you in the slightest, ask Dave's to check it out. And when you are happy, buy it in confidence.

    I would stay away from a 2012 ES-335 because as vinny said, the 2-layer laminate Indian Rosewood fretboard is very rigid and will damage the truss rod if the Dan Erlewine method is not used to set neck relief.

    There is a reason why the Sadowsky is slightly ahead in the polls here. Sadowsky archtops are a known quality, both in construction, playability and tone, amongst jazz guitarists here. You simply cannot go wrong with a Sadowsky archtop especially since you say that you will be studying jazz. I pointed you to a used excellent plus condition Sadowsky SS-15 selling for $2400+. The same shop also has a used excellent plus Sadowsky Semi asking for $1880+. Smart money says, pick one up. Put the savings in your pocket for food, books, strings or a good amp. You haven't thought about an amp, have you?

    I love the Gibson ES-335 Memphis. But I simply won't recommend it to anyone as his one and only guitar to be used in his jazz studies, especially a young student who usually does not have much money, especially one that is bought blind over the web. You don't have time to deal with issues and downtime when it goes down. A Gibson ES-335 is a nice guitar but don't make it your only guitar. You must own a reliable workhorse. Make the workhorse a Sadowsky archtop.

    But it is really up to you.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    I am shocked it took this long to get someone to even mention a Yamaha SA 2200. For the $ they are the best I have heard. And they are the smoothest thing going for playability. The Ibanez JSM100 is its modern and probably more celebrated counterpart but the Yammy is better/smoother to me. Fit and finish is perfect on every one I have seen, and even when 'nice and mojo-ed', I think they are the bees knees.

    And someone mentioned the Gibson Johnny A the other day. Not exactly a 335-type, but close enough...

    I like the Eastman El Rey guitars as well.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by travisty
    I am shocked it took this long to get someone to even mention a Yamaha SA 2200. For the $ they are the best I have heard. And they are the smoothest thing going for playability. The Ibanez JSM100 is its modern and probably more celebrated counterpart but the Yammy is better/smoother to me. Fit and finish is perfect on every one I have seen, and even when 'nice and mojo-ed', I think they are the bees knees.

    And someone mentioned the Gibson Johnny A the other day. Not exactly a 335-type, but close enough...

    I like the Eastman El Rey guitars as well.

    HA! I know. When I opened that guitar and looked at it (SA2200), I almost fell off my stool - and then I played it and fell of my stool! Yes it's quite insane that SA2200. My mistake was to look over my shoulder and drool at Sadowsky! I was even tempted to sell it and pool the money for the Sadowsky but I need the extra frets. The last guitar I'll ever buy is the Sadowsky semi hollow - that's IT! ;-)

    Sco is too tied to the model he plays so I steered clear of that. His headstock is very very sweet looking. If it's anything near the Yamaha in craftsmanship and it looks like it is, it's beyond a winner! Similar features too it looks like.

    I have never touched an El Rey but seriously, I probably could have done just fine with my two current Eastmans although the thinner body of the Sadowsky is enticing. I think the El Rey might have almost the same thickness as the Sadowsky.
    Last edited by West LA Jazz; 08-27-2015 at 12:54 AM.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    I have a beaten up SA2200 and a JSM100. I would rather have an AS200 but I got a deal on the pair (SA2200 and JSM100). The JSM100 is mint(y) and the SA2200 has a corner knocked off the headstock. I prefer the color of the JSM100 too. But I would sell the JSM100 first. the only reason I will sell the SA2200 is if I find another.

    To me, the frets are a bit high on the JSM100. Think Sco wanted that because he beats them up. Or has really toughed up finger pads. I like the AS200 better because more like an SA2200.

    Don't know about the Sadowskys. Never played one.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    I just got my SA2200. Tried bidding on a few here and lost and so I found a store in Germany that shipped one to me from Japan. I tested it out and put it away for a while all that craftsmanship made me nervous. I'm used to cheaper guitars. My Eastman T185MX is a WORKHORSE! I'm going to have to get the nerve to put the 2200 in the regular rotation.

    I was in NYC a few months ago but the Sadowsky store was closed. My fault I should have called earlier. Everything I've heard says they're mint. Now I see this Thorn Grantura that's costs as much as a used Honda! SHEESH

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    I'm a 335 guy. Been playing one for years. However, we shouldn't forget The Heritage H-535 and H-555 models. They are beautifully executed and they sound and play GREAT! Check out clips, in particular, of the 555 on YouTube. That guitar kills. [Patrick2 would applaud this inclusion.]

    Semi-Hollow Guitars - Collings vs Sadowsky vs Gibson-heritage-555-jpg
    Last edited by Greentone; 08-27-2015 at 10:56 AM.

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    1992 I had a horrible case of gas for a semi-hollow body. Spent months playing guitars at Zavarella's Chuck Levins, Rolls, (all Metro DC stores). Had pretty much decided on a 335 when the salesman at Chucks asked if I was aware of Heritage Guitars, he handed me a new 535, within a week I bought the 535, loved the fit, finish, playability, it spoke to me. Still have it, love playing it, no regrets.

    Semi-Hollow Guitars - Collings vs Sadowsky vs Gibson-img_0479-jpg
    Last edited by Dirk; 06-17-2020 at 08:47 AM.

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    ESCC,

    Your H-535 is a beauty. I was thinking about all of the old DC-area stores yesterday...I forgot Rolls! I spent a lot of time in there. Zavarellas was my favorite haunt, though.

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    That 535 is nice. I like the satin-y finish on it. Maple is also famous for "blotchiness" when it is stained. The Kalamazoo crew turned this one out nicely, and I also like the cream colored binding. The wooden scratch plate is also perfect for the rest of the top finish.


    Esthetically, I have a weakness for guitars that actually look like the material they are made out of...i.e. wood. Can't go for that '68 Camaro look that you see on a lot of solid bodies, or excessively shiny bodies. Wood....what a concept.

  29. #28
    Not that I have played any of the brands other than Gibson but...
    I'm really happy with my Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion III (crazy name, I know). It's a semi-hollow, but a little deeper than a 335, which gives it a slightly fatter tone. It also features an ebony fretboard and one of those finger tail pieces. I find that it offers a good middle ground between a full hollow body, and a typical semi-hollow. It can do the classic jazz thing pretty well, and if I don't put too heavy strings on it it works really well for fusion, blues and even rock. It might look a little weird to some, but is a really sweet, somewhat overlooked modell that I recommend everybody that appreciates a good Gibson to check out.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone
    I'm a 335 guy. Been playing one for years. However, we shouldn't forget The Heritage 535 and 555 models. They are beautifully executed and they sound and play GREAT! Check out clips, in particular, of the 555 on YouTube. That guitar kills. [Patrick2 would applaud this inclusion.]
    Yep...I loves me some Heritage H-555.

    This is my #1:


  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Northenlights
    I'm really happy with my Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion III (crazy name, I know). It's a semi-hollow, but a little deeper than a 335, which gives it a slightly fatter tone. It also features an ebony fretboard and one of those finger tail pieces. I find that it offers a good middle ground between a full hollow body, and a typical semi-hollow. It can do the classic jazz thing pretty well, and if I don't put too heavy strings on it it works really well for fusion, blues and even rock. It might look a little weird to some, but is a really sweet, somewhat overlooked modell that I recommend everybody that appreciates a good Gibson to check out.


    The HR is just as you describe it, definitely a fatter tone than a 335. (Had one which I sold to finance an acoustic archtop floater.) The 135 and 137 are also fatter body and fatter-tone Gibsons, that are cheaper than 335's.And the 333 model is, essentially, a cosmetically less fancy 335, at a more affordable price.

    I think the 135, 137 and HR Fusion are Gibson's fattest sounding semi-hollow bodies, and sound closer to a 175 hollow body, than anything else they make with the body block in it.

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    I have never taken a close look at the HR Fusion. Look at that tail piece! Man. You're right it sounds fatter than an ES 335. Deserves a closer look. Very nice.


  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Definitely a "sleeper guitar", as is the 137. Achim Kohl and Jack Zucker, both great players, IMO, have great clips on youtube showing what a 137 can do.

    There are so many great tones available in the jazz gtr. world: thunky mid-rangey Gibson goodness (175's, 165's, the HR Fusion, 135, 137, Barney Kessel, 350, 195, 150, 300, 225); lush fullness with or without a set-in pu (L5's, L4's, Heritage eagles); more balanced "chime" (Guilds, acoustic-y archtops, Eastmans (?), Sadowsky's (?)); and bell-like clarity (telecasters).

    Finding the right jazz gtr/sound is like that Billy Chrystal/Jack Palance movie (I forget it's title) where one of the character exclaims that the "secret to life" is finding something really important and pursuing it....and the other guy says something like "But what IS that thing? and the answer comes back...."It's up to you to find it...for yourself"

    (BTW, I've only listed guitars and brands I am most familiar with....and there is a whole huge world of other makers, and instruments out there (Ibanez, Epiphone, Gretsch) which all have their good point, which I haven't played.)

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    My ES-139 Equipped with D'Addario Chromes, 011. It's my main guitar, I use it for traditional jazz tone as well as some distorted fusion, growling rock, and snarky pop.


  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Here's another "different" one. This old Carvin.

    Semi-Hollow Guitars - Collings vs Sadowsky vs Gibson-carvinsh-jpg

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    Unquestionably the ONLY three to buy are:

    - Collings I35 Deluxe Artist
    - 1980 Jacobacci R2L
    - 1980 Polytone Improv II

    [ed] So, now that I have sold all of these guitars, what I REALLY meant to say is that, unquestionably the ONLY one to buy is:

    - German-made Hofner Verythin Standard

    Yeah, that's the ticket.
    Purely coincidentally, I have a couple of these for sale right now.
    How about that, eh?

    Last edited by Hammertone; 08-11-2019 at 12:49 PM.

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    I've owned three ES-335s, but thanks to a good return policy, I've only paid for one. It, too, has flaws, but I can live with them. I really like that guitar. But I bought a used Epi Dot and put Lindy Fralin P-92s in it, and I hardly ever play the 335. There is nothing about the 335 that I like better than the Dot from a sound, build quality, and playability perspective as far as I can tell.

    But never having played a Heritage, Collings, or Sadowsky, I'm betting there is one there that would knock me out. And my Carvin SH550 is still my favorite.

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    Has anyone tried or looked at the Prestige Double Cutaway model (Canada), approx. $1k or the Robin Savoy (Texas), approx. $2-2.5K. Both are well made, great to play and in the case of the Robin, can be found in varying configurations.

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    I voted "Gibson", having wanted one from around 1980 (in the event, I bought Chet Atkins Country Gent and played it for the next 25 years) and having finally scored in 2010:

    Semi-Hollow Guitars - Collings vs Sadowsky vs Gibson-gibsones-335andbluesjr-jpg

    But I missed the ol' Country Gent's Bigsby, so searched and found this 2013 Carvin SH550 on craigslist (Bigsby, cedar top, Seymour Duncan Antiquity II Jazzmaster single coils -- thanks again, Peter):

    Semi-Hollow Guitars - Collings vs Sadowsky vs Gibson-musicroom2_zpsa4b34b64-jpg

    I played the 335 the night before last when a longtime playing partner blew in from Birmingham and we were joined by another, local bandmate with HIS 335. He was plugged into my '59 Bassman LTD, while I got to try out his almost new Kendrick 5E3 tweed clone. Magic and singing tones.

    But IF I were in the market for a new semi-hollow, I would definitely look at the Heritage and perhaps the Collings.

    Thanks to Woody Sound for the vintage Carvin pic....

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    A vote for the Gibson 135.

    Semi-Hollow Guitars - Collings vs Sadowsky vs Gibson-img_6147_zpsdcd5wgxm-jpg

    Also will throw this out there--Godin Premiere. Great guitar for much less than the others.

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    I have a most excellent Prospect that takes a back seat to no Gibson I've ever owned. As a matter of fact, I can say EVERY Heritage I've played was absolutely perfect... An enviable thing to say coming from one who has the Gibson gits in house to compare to.
    Last edited by GNAPPI; 03-02-2016 at 04:21 PM.

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    I paid $450 for a Samick Greg Bennett Royale 3, put RMC synth pickups in it, Buzz Feitened the nut, and made many thousands of dollars with it. It plays and looks great, never let me down, and I never worried about it no matter where I played. I have played many of the guitars listed here: Sadowsky, Collings, Gibson, Yamaha, Guild, Ibanez, etc. Just about all of them were very good and would have done the job, but most of them were too expensive to consider modifying to the extent I did the Samick, and none of expensive ones seemed worth that much more. It's on my short list of "keepers" as I start thinning the herd. Over my 5-decade career, I have come to the conclusion that only truly acoustic guitars are worth several thousand dollars, whether they are archtops, classicals, flamencos or steel-string flat-tops. YMMV.

  43. #42
    D'Angelico NYSS-3B, made in Japan.


    Semi-Hollow Guitars - Collings vs Sadowsky vs Gibson-dsc02124-jpg

    Semi-Hollow Guitars - Collings vs Sadowsky vs Gibson-dsc02129-jpgSemi-Hollow Guitars - Collings vs Sadowsky vs Gibson-dsc02134-jpgSemi-Hollow Guitars - Collings vs Sadowsky vs Gibson-dsc02130-jpgSemi-Hollow Guitars - Collings vs Sadowsky vs Gibson-dsc02133-jpg

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    the seventy seven albatross ranks up there with any of the big boys that I've ever owned. And you can find them cheap. I sold mine for $800 and I another one on here went for $700ish.

    Sometimes we get carried away on the gear forums and think that you have to spend $5k to get a great guitar. I played the collings I35 and Soco recently and didn't think they sounded as good as the seventy seven.

  45. #44

    User Info Menu

    Some of the semihollow headless guitars such as the forshage and the holdsworth and the strandberg are very good as well.

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    This is totally unscientific and meaningless: I had a jam session with a friend from Birmingham and a couple of other guys from around here. Not counting the Alabaman (who is an acoustic only player) the rest of us own two stop-tail 335s, one trapeze 335, a 335-12 and a 340.

    Our preferences may be obvious.

    (For the record, I mostly played the Fender '51 P RI pictured earlier.)

  47. #46

    User Info Menu

    Which Gibson, or which of the others? Each particular guitar is different. In terms of brand, I have many recordings of artists using Gibson guitars but not so many (maybe none) of the others.

    Since musical instruments are consumable goods, rather than investments, I try to have as little money tied up in them. Got this one from Craigslist for $1200, didn't work. Just needed new pots. One of my best guitars, I love it.

  48. #47

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker
    the seventy seven albatross ranks up there with any of the big boys that I've ever owned. And you can find them cheap. I sold mine for $800 and I another one on here went for $700ish.

    Sometimes we get carried away on the gear forums and think that you have to spend $5k to get a great guitar. I played the collings I35 and Soco recently and didn't think they sounded as good as the seventy seven.
    I agree. I have a Collings Soco (original owner paid $6000+) and it's a wonderful, flawless instrument and a joy to play.
    But my Seventy Seven Albatross sounds better. I play the Collings and it sounds really good, then I plug in the Seventy Seven and it's....Wow!

  49. #48

    User Info Menu

    Great to hear a “Wow” in praise of the Albatross because I must tell you all this. I used to think it was hype but I have NEV ER read a single negative comment about the Collings brand. Never. I’ve spent all but 5 minutes on an I35 and it felt like magic but that does not a whole experience make. So I continue to keep an eye out for a single dissenter about the Collings magic. ;-)

  50. #49

    User Info Menu

    I have not played a semi-hollow that comes close to the Collings spruce top I35. It is the finest playing and sounding semi-hollow I've come across.

    Semi-Hollow Guitars - Collings vs Sadowsky vs Gibson-p3_uvxldsggk_so-jpg

  51. #50

    User Info Menu

    I am still waiting to hear a single negative thing about the Collings guitar brand. Incredible how the reviews keep streaming in... all positive.

    Not to take this off the subject. I heard a Collings 01 RW G acoustic guitar outfitted with Throbak strings that literally sounded like an electrified fully hollow archtop (as opposed to sounding like a "regular" acoustic guitar) . Color me green but I was kinda blown away.