by Michael Molenda – Editor in Chief – Guitar Player Magazine
Semi-Hollow & Hollowbody Rumble!
TESTED BY THE GP STAFF
THAT THE ACOUSTIC AND ELECTRIC WORLDS TRULY CONVERGE IN A SEMI-HOLLOW OR hollowbody guitar is one big “duh.”” Traditional jazzers are pretty much required to play one, of course, and, in the hands of archtop magicians such as Brian Setzer, these babies can spew big-band chords, mysterious single-note lines, rootsy Americana riffs, and hyper-distorted turbo-charged rock all in the same sentence. They’re diverse little doggies, and they typically make you work a bit to unleash the beast within. But when you first stand in front of a roaring amp, and feel a hollowbody resonating into your guts and chest—reacting almost physically to your every pluck and finger movement—it’s a pretty darn sensual experience. So consider that the seven boxes going head-to-head in this month’s Fight Club can trigger a plethora of pleasure centers.
I plugged the four models I reviewed into a Mesa/Boogie Stiletto head and Old Dog X-Cab, a Marshall JVM 210H head and Marshall 4×12, an Egnater Rebel-20 and Rebel-112X cab, a Vox AC15, and a Traynor Custom Special 50. Barry Cleveland tested the Gretsch Electromatic 5122 through a Rivera Venus 6 and a Fender Deluxe Reverb, while Reggie Singh used a Crate 120 2×12 for his assessment of the Reverend Club King RT. Art Thompson’s evaluation of the PRS SE Custom Semi-Hollow Soapbar involved a Victoria Golden Melody and a Dr. Z MAZ “Junior NR.” Matt Blackett helped with the Hutchins Memphis evaluation, plugging it into the Victoria Golden Melody at the GP offices.
These seven new hollows and semis provide a marvelous opportunity to evaluate a broad offering of models in a specific niche. But as these instruments exhibit different sizes and price points, fairness dictates that we can’t do an apples-to-apples Fight Club and name an overall winner. So we decided to have some fun, and label each model’s attributes with the name of a famous actor. As you’ll see, the labeling makes a certain amount of giddy sense, and it should help point you to the model that best enhances your technique and musical endeavors.
Best guitar I’ve ever played and I played many