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let's talk... solid body vs. hollow body

Instruments and Gear
gx1327  
12 Nov 2009 11:11 | Quote
Joined: 20 Sep 2009
United States
Karma: 9
what is the difference between an acoustic electric and a hollow body electric guitar? obviously the hollow body has pickups, but does the hollow body resonate sound from the vibration of the strings in the same way that an acoustic guitar does? only slightly?

how about semi-hollow body?

i have never used one. heck the only electric i've played is my squier affinity strat. but i'm curious what the differences in sound is with a solid body vs. hollow (vs. semi-hollow) body construction. is it noticeable when the guitar is un amplified? is it noticeable in the amplified output? obviously the construction of the body would affect the tonal qualities of the guitar...

just curious. i really like the design of the ibanez artcore and epiphone dot semi and full hollow body guitars... haven't had the chance to play and compare them.
RA  
12 Nov 2009 12:12 | Quote
Joined: 24 Sep 2008
United States
Karma: 16
by acoustic electric and a hollow body electric guitar. I'm assuming your saying flattop acoustic vs electric Achtop.

well first the flattop is design to be played acoustically verse the electric achtop is design(talk about a bit down) to be played with a amp, also some(most/all in my opinion but some might fooly disagree but i wont go there) just sound bad played acoustically. Also now in days a acoustic electric uses piezo pickups(was going to talk about, but just read wiki on it) where a hollow body electric guitar uses magnet pickups(again wiki for difference), but should just be look at as acoustic electric = acoustic with pickup slapped on, and hollow body electric guitar = electric guitar with a cavity(simplified to extreme also seeing as hollow came before solid)


gx1327 says:
but does the hollow body resonate sound from the vibration of the strings in the same way that an acoustic guitar does? only slightly?


all guitars get at lest part of there sound from the top resonating(even electrics, more to do with how vibrations move through it then the timbre of the wood or material, with electric it[timbre] mostly comes from the amp), just electrics get more from direct string vibrations and electromagnetics.
*timbre talk, is excluding actually finger work which is the main factor*


gx1327 says:
how about semi-hollow body?

little history; swing Jazz is in it's heyday and guitarist are trying to be louder.

guitars,lutes in general, are very quite instrument, very dynamic in all fields of sound, but there highest amplitude is no where near that of a pianos, vio family, brass, ect. instruments. and because of the piano, lutes in generally kind of died in western music for a bit(where still paying for that with all these crappy guitars running a muck

so to be louder they made the achtop guitar to help compete against the others in terms of amplitude. Then the achtop(still very much acoustical) got magnetic pickups slapped on it, now all amp problems are solved? now quite there is a new problem the dreaded "feedback"
you see to give an acoustic guitar the best harmonics and sound quality and amp and all the rest. It's best to have the thinnest top and the lest amount of bracing(think smallman guitars), now obviously best is a matter of opinion/music your playing(flamenco tends to have thicker top for a more percussion sound, but even in classical it varies think Bream vs Williams). Now that it is great for acoustic guitars but all these natural and pleasing vibrations cause massive feedback once the volume get past a certain point. So how to deal with this? First make the top thicker and give more bracing, then make the top lamented to cut down on unwanted vibrations(not all cause feedback there got to be math on it but i don't know it), then came semi-hollow. which is now instead of having the whole thing be hollow put a solid block of wood in it. now this could be like a Rickenbacker with hollow wings or a Gibson 355 with just a block at the top(i think? i would check on that). Then came to where it is now solid body.



gx1327 says:
i have never used one. heck the only electric i've played is my squier affinity strat. but i'm curious what the differences in sound is with a solid body vs. hollow (vs. semi-hollow) body construction. is it noticeable when the guitar is un amplified? is it noticeable in the amplified output? obviously the construction of the body would affect the tonal qualities of the guitar...

Like i said there designed to be electric not acoustic so don't buy an electric guitar over how it sounds unplugged. Do they sound different yes, but as I'm sure you know, everything does, and the only way to know whats right for you is to go out and play.
gx1327  
12 Nov 2009 13:06 | Quote
Joined: 20 Sep 2009
United States
Karma: 9
cool. i know the difference between magnetic and piezo pickups, couldn't think of the names. BUT what are you referring to when you say "flat top" and "arch top"?

acoustic electric i am talking about an acoustic guitar that has the piezo pickup and a small control panel on the top of the guitar. hollow body i mean an "electric guitar" with a full hollow body construction. i believe we are on the same page here, just want to clarify.

the reason i am curious about the way a hollow body sounds unplugged is because i often play with my guitar unplugged (if i'm practicing after hours, or half-listening to TV, or even sitting on the toilet sometimes!), i was curious if the hollow body guitar would resonate sound acoustically more or less than a solid body.

now that i know the differences between an "acoustic" and all forms of electric guitars, what are the differences in sound (amplified) of a hollow body vs. solid body guitar?
nater2  
12 Nov 2009 13:28 | Quote
Joined: 28 May 2009
United States
Karma: 4
well, first off i have and afs75t which is a hollow body electric and i would recommend it to anybody. my guitar actually sounds really good unplugged, it's very clear and it's louder than any other electric I've played and would diffidently be loud enough to play unplugged if your watching TV(i do that too). the difference between a hollow body and a solid body (in my opinion) is that you get a richer clean sound from a hollow body, but if you play really loud (i haven't yet) I've heard you can have some feedback problems with a hollow body. oh, and the best part of all is that hollow body's obviously look WAY cooler than solid body's
Domigan_Lefty  
12 Nov 2009 14:03 | Quote
Joined: 20 Sep 2009
United States
Karma: 8
Solid bodys tend to be thicker and heavier than hollow bodys.
A hollow body should be slightly more sensitive and hold notes slightly longer too.
RA  
14 Nov 2009 16:49 | Quote
Joined: 24 Sep 2008
United States
Karma: 16
@gx first, yes were on the same page, and like i said buy the guitar on how it sounds plugged in, not on how it sounds unplugged but yes it would be louder(but if that's what you want just get an acoustic). Also remember to practice plugged in as well because control is different when it's plugged in vs unplugged and will must up or tone(tone comes from the finger after all). Happened once to me because i have the habit of playing all through the night(i should just get headphone i know). But seeing how it is just for mindless practice who cares what it sounds like unplugged, but it would be louder like i said how much depends. AS for how they sound(hollow vs solid) i could get into it, but it would really just be bull**** and just my opinion, your just going have to go play them at the shop. Easier said then done sometimes i know, but it is the best advice one can give.

also, my comment on classical vs flamenco guitars is wrong classical tend to have a thicker wood top. Flamencos are smaller in size and depth to get there percussive nature, a long with wood choice of course. So like they say when you assume you make a Ass-out of-u-and-me


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