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Semi-Hollow Advice Requested


LPCustom

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I have a nephew that is going to be 12 next Friday (30 Sep). He is really interested in the guitar and loves guitar solos. He is a big fan of Brian Setzer, too. (as well as Joe Satriani, Steve Howe and David Gilmour)

 

I have let him plink around on my guitars and he says he likes my ES-335 more than the others. He likes the sound and the feel (he's BIG for a 12 year old at 5 foot 8) and the neck feels comfortable to him.

 

I have been looking around for a new guitar rig for him on his birthday.

 

I'm trying to find a good analog for a Gibson ES-335. I'm not going to spend over $2000 for a guitar for him. I'm looking for something under $500 that would play like the ES-335.

 

For an amplifier, I fixed my broken Marshall Lead 12 amp (12 watts, solid state, 10 inch Celestion speaker -- nice raunchy overdrive). I'm going to give him that. I bought new knobs for it and new nuts for the input jacks. I cleaned the tolex with turpentine and orange oil (supposed to be an excellent cleaner for vinyl) then treated it with Armor All. The amp looks and sounds like it did when it was new, now.

 

Anyway, does anyone have any good suggestions for an inexpensive ES-335 clone? The $500 mark isn't an absolute but I'd like to keep it under that if possible.

Born on the Bayou

 

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Originally posted by rockincyanblues:

Epiphone has the "Dot" http://www.epiphone.com/default.asp?ProductID=4&CollectionID=1

The DOT is $470 at musiciansfriend.com

 

Ibanez makes some hollow bodies in the "Artcore" line up, (www.ibanez.com)

 

There are lots of great choices that just didn't exist 20 years ago.

 

Good luck.

 

Paul

Thanks, Paul.

 

I've looked at the Epiphone and I think it's a nice guitar. Brian wants a black one like mine but he doesn't like gold hardware (neither do I). Epiphone's black model has gold hardware. I think it's a great guitar and I might go for this one if I can't find something else I think he'd like.

Born on the Bayou

 

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Originally posted by Ricochet:

I've got one of these and absolutely love it! It can also be had with humbuckers, if you prefer. (That's their usual setup, actually. I'm a big P-90 fan.)

Hey, Ricochet (that rhymes :D )

 

I went there and I like the looks of the guitar. The black one looks sweet. I would rather it was available with black speed knobs, but the gold ones look alright.

 

I have a few questions:

 

1. How does the tone of this compare to an ES-335?

2. Does it have a nice powerful bottom end with a nice "twang" to it?

3. Is the tone nice and clear?

4. What is the neck like? I see this has jumbo frets and the nut is a little narrower than the 335. Does yours play fast?

5. How was the action when you got it? Would I have to set it up for him (they live in Jacksonville)?

 

Thanks, Bruce

Born on the Bayou

 

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I was going to mention the OE-30. You can find them at Musicians Friend and tons of them on eBay. Order early because they can be hit or miss. I got a black one and couldn't get the neck completely tight. But for the amount you are willing to spend you can buy new high end pickups for it and still come out ahead. That being said, try the original pickups first - with new strings of course.
Raise your children and spoil your grandchildren. Spoil your children and raise your grandchildren.
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Originally posted by caprae:

I was going to mention the OE-30. You can find them at Musicians Friend and tons of them on eBay. Order early because they can be hit or miss. I got a black one and couldn't get the neck completely tight. But for the amount you are willing to spend you can buy new high end pickups for it and still come out ahead. That being said, try the original pickups first - with new strings of course.

Did you manage to get past the neck problem? I read some of the reviews on MF's website. Seems Oscar Schmidt has some QA problems. Can you give me a rundown on yours?

 

I noticed the neck is a bolt on. How does it sound with that maple body (it's maple, right)? How is the sustain with the bolt-on neck?

 

You said the pickups weren't very good? Will Gibson humbuckers fit in it (I have a spare set of '57 Classics).

Born on the Bayou

 

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Hey, LP, I wanted to mention the OE30 as well. I bought it so I could have something in my office that would help me avoid work. I wasn't expecting much for $120, but I am extremely pleased with it.

Here are my thoughts after having played it for about 6 months:

 

I was thinking of swapping the pickups in it until I plugged it into my rediscovered Chandler Tube Driver (loaded with a Mullard). The harmonics are rich, it really sounds alive. It just sings!

The playability is excellent (after putting 10s on it instead of the rusty 13s it came with).

It's got a nice fast neck, similar to my PRS's wide-thin.

It's a decent looking piece as well as long as you don't look too closely.

The tuners are smooth and precise.

The corners on the nut have a tendancy to want to rip your hands apart, so definitely file them down a bit.

As with any new guitar, a good setup is essential--the factory setup was pretty crappy.

Oh, the first thing you'll want to do it take an adjustable wrench and tighten the retaining nut on the jack, otherwise you'll have a hell of a time trying to fish the jack out of the body :) Maybe a dab of the green loc-tite would be a good option, too.

 

(I hate to say it, but I'm really close to liking this thing more than my PRS. :o Seriously)

 

 

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-H. Matisse

 

Ross Precision Guitars

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Do you have 'Shine' guitars over there? The Other Half of my Duo bought a 335 type recently off eBay for £170.00 (about $300.00 I suppose) and it's pretty impressive for the price. Only problem is - it's pink(ish). But it plays really nicely, and sound Good Enough.

 

G.

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I was very impressed with a Oscar Schmidt strat type, and I'm sure the semi-hollow is worth a look' For the money, the guitar I checked out was awesome! You're gonna need to be the judge on tone. I've also seen some very impressive Samicks lately. 5 years ago I would never utter, much less post such words, but I gotta admit: budget guitars have never been better!
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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You might also think about this one from Rondo Music:

 

Agile Semi Hollow

 

I have this one in natural and it is one of my favorite guitars, with my favorite neck of any of my guitars. Fit and finish is similar to an Epiphone Dot, if not better.

 

Kurt at Rondo is great to work with, and his return policy is excellent...if the guitar isn't what you want, returns are never a problem. Great customer service.

John
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Hmmm. Thanks for all the great suggestions. Here's what I've decided to do. I bought five guitars and I'll compare them when they get here. If I find an even match between some of them, I'll let Brian decide which one he wants.

 

What I ordered:

 

1. Epiphone Dot 335 - Black

2. Hamer Echotone - 2 Color Sunburst

3. Oscar Schmidt OE-30 - Black

4. Agile AS-820 - Black

5. Ibanez Artcore AF-75 - Brown Sunburst

 

I've played the Epiphone before and I've seen the Oscar Schmidt before but not held one. I've never seen a Hamer or Agile before so those will be new territory. I've had a couple of Ibanez guitars before and they were good guitars. The OE-30 has a bolt-on neck and OS appears to have some QA problems but I'm willing to give it a look.

 

I'll send back the guitars that either don't make the grade or Brian doesn't choose.

Born on the Bayou

 

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Originally posted by Geoff Byrne:

Do you have 'Shine' guitars over there? The Other Half of my Duo bought a 335 type recently off eBay for £170.00 (about $300.00 I suppose) and it's pretty impressive for the price. Only problem is - it's pink(ish). But it plays really nicely, and sound Good Enough.

 

G.

I've seen a couple of Shine Strat variants over the last couple of years that belonged to other people. But I've never seen any place here in he US that sells them. They all said they got them second hand.

Born on the Bayou

 

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Originally posted by LPCustom:

Originally posted by Ricochet:

I've got one of these and absolutely love it! It can also be had with humbuckers, if you prefer. (That's their usual setup, actually. I'm a big P-90 fan.)

1. How does the tone of this compare to an ES-335?

2. Does it have a nice powerful bottom end with a nice "twang" to it?

3. Is the tone nice and clear?

4. What is the neck like? I see this has jumbo frets and the nut is a little narrower than the 335. Does yours play fast?

5. How was the action when you got it? Would I have to set it up for him (they live in Jacksonville)?

Bruce, in order:

 

1. Quite similar, I think. Mine has P-90s, which have more "twang" than humbuckers.

 

2. Yes.

 

3. Yes.

 

4. The neck is fairly slender with a rounded profile and a very slick finish. The frets are well done, nice and smooth and level. A couple of professional friends of mine, one who's a blues player and one who's a jazz player, highly praise its feel. The blues guy used it in a gig, and the jazz guy has played it for a long time on several occasions.

 

5. It came with a set of .009-.046" strings, by my micrometer, and was nicely set up with perfect intonation and string height for fretting. I think you'd be happy with it.

 

I soon put on a set of .010s and left the setup alone, figuring it'd be a combination for sliding and fretting, but since I mainly play slide, I eventually put a set of .012s on it, which of course raised the action a little. (I left the truss rod alone.)

 

Knobs, of course, are easily replaceable.

 

I'll also point out that Kurt of Rondo quickly responds to E-mail inquiries and that I know from experience that he will make things right with any problem, with better service than you'll ever get from Gibson or Fender. I bought my son a triple P-90 2500 goldtop, and it's a lovely, wonderful sounding and playing guitar that came with the tone and volume pots miswired. I inquired about a wiring diagram. He offered to send a truck to pick it up for return, which I declined. He sent me a whole factory wiring harness for it. You won't get that kind of support from many vendors.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
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Thanks, Ricochet. That's good information.

 

I had to act quickly since his birthday is next Friday.

 

I ordered one of the black ones earlier today. I should have it well before Brian's birthday next Friday. I can compare it to the others I ordered this morning and make a decision which one to get for him. It looks like it might come down to an N-way split. If that happens, I'll just let Brian pling around in each one and pick which one he wants.

 

The Agile looks really good and very similar to my ES-335. If it plays/sounds as good as it looks it will give the Epiphone a run for its money. The Ibanez Artcore looks pretty promising, too. I'm not so sure about the Oscar Schmidt. But I'll give it a chance.

Born on the Bayou

 

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The Agile used to be a carbon copy of the ES-335. A year and a half ago when the Nashville district judge ruled against PRS for their single cut violating Gibson's trademarks, they dumped a bunch of Agile models super-cheap (too bad I missed that!) and reintroduced them with (in the case of the AS-820) the "horns" on the body shortened, and the headstock reshaped.

 

I E-mailed Rondo that I'd be sorely tempted if they offered one of those with P-90s. Soon it was on their website "Back By Request!" I didn't realize they'd previously offered them that way, but they did.

 

Bet you'll like it. I sure do like mine!

 

I believe the Agiles to be made by the same Korean factory as the Tokai "Love Rocks" models. They are very similar.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
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