Opinions on semi hollow build quality?

Discussion in 'Other Guitar Discussion' started by nicholas, Sep 22, 2021.

  1. nicholas

    nicholas Strat-Talker

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    Good morning, folks.

    I'm in the market for a mid-to-low price semi-hollow guitar and wanna know ya'lls experience on different brands.

    I've been eyeing some Gretsch Streamliners and want to know if ya'll've had much experience with Gretsch semis.

    The only brands I've played a lot of are Epiphone and Ibanez. Epiphone, I was impressed with the playability and sound, but they all felt a little bulky in my hands. Ibanez just felt like chambered electrics with thick candy coatings of finish. The frets weren't for me either.

    I need to try and get my hands on some, but guitar shops are a dying breed here, and I hesitate to trust anything in Guitar Center. Might ask the folks at Gretsch-Talk about specific models.

    I'm open to other suggestions as well. I mostly want something that's not massive and can get good clean tones
     

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  2. Hanson

    Hanson Senior Stratmaster

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    I play edge of break up to over driven tones the majority of the time, but I love this Epiphone ES 335. I play this guitar more than my Gibson LP Traditional. It is upgraded with Gibson Classic 57 pickups.

    Great quality, playability and tone. An ES 335 body style feels very comfortable to me, but may not to you.

    I’m actually in the process of selling my MIM Strat to purchase one of the new Inspired by Gibson ES335’s, I like it that well.
     

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  3. nicholas

    nicholas Strat-Talker

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    Epiphone is definitely working some magic with their semis. They're better than a lot of the solid body Gibsons I've played, IMO.

    P90s are my preference, but I'd be happy with some humbuckers that are more vintage voiced with good cleans
     
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  4. HighwayStar106

    HighwayStar106 Senior Stratmaster

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    You could try and find an Epiphone ES-339 with P90s, which would have a smaller body than a 335 and my feel less bulky. I don't think they make them anymore, however.

    I can't speak for that particular model of Gretsch, but I've played a few other Streamliners and Electromatics and they were all great guitars.
     
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  5. dante1963

    dante1963 Senior Stratmaster

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    I have two Semi-hollow or hollow bodies. I have Guild Starfire IV, and I recently picked up a Gretsch Streamliner.

    Guild 1.JPG

    Amp With Gretsch.jpg

    I can highly recommend the Guild. It has a great neck, really great fit and finish, the pickups sound good, and it is very versatile. The only quibble I have with the Guild is the pots and wiring are a little cheap. The pots can get a little scratchy. But that's not a deal breaker. It listed for $1100 with a nice hard case when I bought it. Don't really know what they are going for now. Every now and then I dream of replacing it with an actual ES335, but, as much as I love Gibson, I'm having trouble believing that the ES335 is really worth 3X the price of the Guild.

    As for the Gretsch Streamliner, I like it, but the jury is still out. I only bought it (used) a month ago, and it's been in the shop since then. The pickups were okay, but not great. Kind of weak and a little lifeless, so I got some TV Jones pickups and a whole new wiring harness with treble bleed and I'm having them installed. But the real issue for me was the nut was obviously cheap. And very, very, very badly cut. You could see where strings would bind on the nut in the B, G, and D slots. If you so much as looked at the Bigsby, it would go out of tune. So, I'm having the tech either re-cut it, or replace it.

    Having said that...The Streamliner is an extremely fun guitar to play. I'd never played a full hollowbody before, and I really like the way it felt. I also like the way it sounds unplugged. And for the price, it's a really nice mod platform. So, I think it can be a good one to start, and then if you want to invest a bit along the way, you can make it even better. That's kind of what I hear most players say about that particular model.
     
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  6. nigelr

    nigelr Senior Stratmaster

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    I can't help you here because I would recommend the ibanez models but you've already ruled them out.
     
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  7. nicholas

    nicholas Strat-Talker

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    That might be a viable option. I'd want to get my hands on one, 'cause the shape isn't ideal, but that's worth looking into.
    It's funny, I like smaller guitars, but I'm not a small guy.

    I'm a fan of Guild guitars in general. They make good stuff, from what I've seen.
    As for the streamliner, modding isn't out of the question. The big thing for me is playability, first and foremost

    It's a shame, a lot of them are pretty and have a good form factor, but they're just not for me
     
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  8. Pandamasque

    Pandamasque Strat-O-Master

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    I haven't tried one, but I recently Vox unveiled some semi-hollow guitars called Bobcat, available with single coils or P90s.
     
  9. Bob Spumoni

    Bob Spumoni Senior Stratmaster

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    For the dedicated cheapskate: Grote (Ebay).

    Looking to spend a little more? Ibanez. Two of my jazz guitars are Ibanez, and they're great.

    Looking to whiz just a little higher up that pole? Gibson! (Notify your luthier.)
     
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  10. Packrat

    Packrat Strat-Talker

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    I would get a PRS SE Hollowbody ll.
     
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  11. Miotch

    Miotch Senior Stratmaster

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    If you're ever near Tulsa, you might check out Barnett Music Exchange on south Memorial, out near Bixby. Last time I was in there, they had some of the $400-ish Gretsch guitars and the one I played was pretty nice.
     
  12. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Fuzz Meister General

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    PRS SE Hollowbody II is the best I’ve played under $1,500. My favorite is my ES 335 Traditional.
     
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  13. fezz parka

    fezz parka fezz parka

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    If you can find a used Hamer Echotone .. that's a great mid priced 335 type.
     
  14. nicholas

    nicholas Strat-Talker

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    I had a fruitful and informative trip into the city. I went to two shops and was able to find a few Gretsch semis.

    The Gretsch G2655T at Guitar Center had worse than no setup, but I could still tell the Bigsby changed too much and was bulky.

    I happened to find a G2655, which doesn't have the Bigsby, at another shop. Lovely guitar, but I couldn't get much out of its humbuckers. I also found a nice hollowbody Ibanez. Wasn't what I was looking for, but better than the Ibanez semis I've played. Can't recall the model.

    PRS might be nice if my budget were just a little higher.

    I know the Gretsch G2655 also comes in a P90 version. I might look into that more.
     

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  15. Agtronic

    Agtronic Senior Stratmaster

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    Same. My dad has a recent Ibanez, forget the model, but it's basically their version of a 335. I was pleasantly surprised. Very nice instrument. Quite a bit heavier than a real 335 but sounds and feels great IMO. He also bought an Epiphone 339 but he couldn't stand it and returned it. I tried to convince him that it just needed a good set up, but he didn't want to deal with it. The Ibanez was perfect out of the box.
     
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  16. blasphemoustrat

    blasphemoustrat Most Honored Senior Member

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    I have a Washburn hb35s that I snagged with a hard case for like 350. It's a tremendous guitar.
     
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  17. Packrat

    Packrat Strat-Talker

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    Ibanez makes some world class archtops. Yamaha does as well.
     
  18. Justin226

    Justin226 Senior Stratmaster

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    I had an Epi dot, and if someone had put a sticker over the logo I would’ve sworn it was a Gibson. The build quality was amazing. Can always upgrade electronics later too.
     
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  19. Bakelite1

    Bakelite1 Strat-Talker

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    Epiphone makes some very good guitars.
     
  20. soulman969

    soulman969 Senior Stratmaster

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    Epiphone semi-hollow and hollow bodies are top value guitars. I've owned four of them and still have two; an ES339 P90 Pro and Casino. The other two were an ES355 Lucille and a regular ES339 Pro.

    I just preferred a Casino to the Lucille and P90s to humbuckers in the ES339. All are/were excellent guitars. These models seem to be a real strong point in the Epiphone line. I've been offered more than I paid for mine but won't sell them.

    But I've also played Ibby Artcore models and a Gretsch that I also liked but not quite as much as the Epiphones. It's all just a matter of personal taste.