PRS Semi-Hollow vs Hollowbody ii (Core Guitars)

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by DavidRome, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. DavidRome

    DavidRome New Member

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    I'm having trouble deciding for sure which model of guitar to buy.

    Here’s what I have:

    Guitar #1. 2012 - P22 Stoptail 10 Top - Fade Blue Burst with Blue back and neck (I think it’s a custom color) It has factory replaced HFS and Vintage bass pickups in leu of the 57/08’s (Any opinions about 57/08’s vs the HFS would be welcome, I’m interested in your thoughts)

    Guitar #2. 2005 – Hollowbody i (Natural Color) anniversary model with archtop pickups and piezo. – (This could also be upgraded to newer pickups if I decided to go that route)

    Guitar #3. 2014 – S2 Custom 24 Scarlet Red (HFS, Vintage Bass pups) that I like but might sell if I don't feel I need it anymore and that's where my request for your thoughts comes in.

    Also have 2 acoustic guitars either of which could be used live. 1997 Taylor 815Ce and a 2015 PRS SE Angelus Alex Lifeson (incredible bang for buck) - So I don’t have to rely on the electric guitar piezo’s but they do make changing sounds quick and painless.


    I’m torn between ordering a new HBii w/piezo or buying a new Semi-hollow Cu24.

    Option 1: HBii w/piezo but no coil taps (Stoptail) 58/15’s Artist Package, Hybrid Hardware and Rosewood Neck (? unfinished or satin finish) – Limited to Artist color options

    Applicable Video:


    Option 2: Custom 24 Tremolo no/piezo but has coil taps (But piezo could be added later) 58/15’s Artist Package, Hybrid Hardware and Rosewood Neck (? unfinished or satin finish) – Custom color options from wood library. – I do like these colors better. (Could also go Custom 22 if I wanted but probably different color or options)

    Applicable Video:



    Since I can’t say exact pricing I think it would be okay to say that option 2 saves me a little over $2K. I'm concerned that I could spend more on the HBii, wait 6 months to get it without any true benefit.

    The semi-hollow makes me feel more comfortable selling the S2 because I have the tremolo and the 24 fret covered as well as the HFS sound in my P22.

    Also, I’d like to say I’ve compared the PRS HBi that has the old archtop pickups to my hollowbody Gretsch 5422TG with filtertrons side by side. I was quite surprised how close the two are and while it’s a pleasing tone I might consider upgrading to newer PRS pickups at some point. (I’m going to be selling the Gretsch which is why I didn’t list it) – So this older PRS covers a nice range of tones that none of my newer PRS’s will cover. At least that’s my thinking so far.

    I’d love to hear thoughts on anything but here’s some bullet points of what I’m most interested in from those of you who have direct experience with these things.

    -A. Tonal thoughts on differences between the Semi-hollow and HBii.
    -B. How the tones compare to 335 type sounds (Btw, I’m not trying to get that exact sound or I would just buy a 335)
    -C. Tonal thoughts on 58/15’s vs HFS, Vintage Bass (There's no comparison videos of these two)
    -D. Anything else I’m missing.
    -E. Also, considering picking up a used PRS, NF3 after all this is done.

    Sorry to bother you guys with this but this is a big decision for me and I want to make sure I’m factoring in everything I should be. Thank you.
     
    #1 DavidRome, Mar 18, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  2. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    I can't help much with most of your Qs. I can say that my (Spruce) HB Piezo sounds much more hollow than my SH Zach Myers, so if you are looking for similar sound as your HB I you probably will want the full HB.

    The HB II you are looking at is essentially an upgrade/change from your existing HB I - pickups and a maple back instead of hog. So again, if you like you HB I sound but want something a bit different, the HB II will probably satisfy.

    You will get the split coils on the SH CU24, which might be a nice feature if you like that sound. But as you note, no piezo (unless you upgrade aftermarket). Of course, you can always play your HB I for that.

    I am surprised you can't get the full gamut of AP colors for the HB II - the PRS product page indicates the AP color range is available. Did dealer say why?

    And really, the biggest difference might be in the bridge - you looking for some stop-tail sound or the ability to do some whammy action?
     
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  3. DavidRome

    DavidRome New Member

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    Thanks. - I updated the post because I wasn't clear. Yes the AP colors are available, but what I wanted was a slight variation. I like violet with some sort of burst or wrap but not the light mahogany in between and AP colors won't let me do that. However, when dealers do their wood library orders they get custom colors all the time. So the semi-hollows I'm looking at have the custom color options more to my liking. That's what I was trying to say with that part of the comparison.
     
  4. Mr_You

    Mr_You New Member

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    A Hollowbody definitely has a more woody tone than a Semi-Hollow.

    Post 25th Anniversary PRS Hollowbody IIs have a redesigned hollowbody carve. I'm hoping this adds a little more weight to the body because my previously owned Hollowbody I was unbalanced causing the neck to dive away from me. I thought I could deal with it, but it became distracting and frustrating. The Archtop pickups didn't do much for me. The Pattern neck is also going to be slightly different at the fretboard edges compared to the Wide-Fat, but the nut length is the same.

    I prefer Pattern Regular nut widths so I'm leaning toward an S2 Semi-Hollow (rock) and hoping they some day make an S2 Hollowbody (jazz). Now that they're available, I might also go with 57/08s (possibly uncovered in the Semi-Hollow). For the most part I prefer "57" voiced pickups over others, but I'd like to try the 85/15s, 58/15s, and 58/15 LTs.

    Here is a video comparing a Hollowbody I to a 335. I prefer the PRS:

     
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  5. DavidRome

    DavidRome New Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to talk with me body styles etc.

    For an update:
    I ended up going with an existing brand new semi-hollow instead of a HBii. It's a Custom 24 tremolo with 58/15 and like the HBii is also an artist package, with rosewood neck, hybrid hardware and abalone birds. It's also the custom color I was wanting in the HBii that they wouldn't let me order. I got a great price on it and saved a couple grand. I might still buy an HBii with 58/15's but won't order one. I can get an existing one for considerable savings in a different color. So in a few months maybe I'll get a green one or even black gold. How many guitars do I need? Lol

    Here's the one I'm getting. It should be here in a few days. Here is the description from the dealer:

    Violet Purple Burst, Artist Grade Quilt Maple top, Mahogany body, Laceloria fingerboard with the Green Ripple and Paua Bird inlays, Pattern Thin carved Hondouran Rosewood neck, Laceloria headstock veneer, PRS 58/15 bridge and neck pickups, PRS tremolo and Hybrid hardware, PRS Phase III locking tuners, 7.6 pounds, With the Black Paisley hardshell case

    As a side note, I had never heard of Laceloria and the dealer told me they hand picked the wood for all the guitars in this run. They didn't know much about it other than it was a very high graded wood from the wood library. So I called PRS about it. They didn't seem to have much information on it either, other than it is similar to rosewood and ebony in look and musical resonance but of a different genus. I have done internet searches and can't find any information about it. If anyone knows something about it I would love to hear your input.

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  6. beas

    beas I Don't Re-Member

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    Assuming you have received this beauty by now, can you give us a tone report and let us know how it fits with the need you expressed in your original post? Are you selling the S2 CU24?
     
  7. tcaron20

    tcaron20 New Member

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    I have tried really hard to bond with my HB II 20th Anniversary but have not succeeded yet. Will try some flat wound 10s before giving up. Find it to be thin sounding. Have thought about new pups or selling it.

    Any suggestions?
     
  8. DavidRome

    DavidRome New Member

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    Check your pickup height. I have a 20th anniversary HB1 and it sounds good with nice round tones. The archtop pickups are better than I thought they would be. Pickup height can really change the way they sound. Btw, I'm assuming you're using 11 gauge strings on it which is important for the tone, IMHO.
     
  9. DavidRome

    DavidRome New Member

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    Report is coming soon. Sorry for delay. I had 2 heart attacks within 3 days about 5 weeks ago and had a stent put in. I've been dealing with all the doctor follow up ever since. Lol.
     
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  10. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Here's to a speedy recovery!
     
  11. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    Yowzers! Yes, get well soon! The guitar can wait.
     
  12. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Oh Yeah!!!!

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    Damn! Get well!
     
  13. tcaron20

    tcaron20 New Member

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    Hi David,

    Thanks, will try adjusting the height. Am going to put some 10 or 11 flat wounds on it also. Everyone seems to love these Archtop pups so it must be me. I use a Polytone mini brute so I hope the height and new strings help.
     
  14. Huggy B

    Huggy B Always bet on Blade.

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    First off, take care of yourself DavidRome, and hope you have full recovery!!!.

    As for tcaron20, it sounds to me that you are wanting to use the HB as your jazz box? (correct me if I'm wrong), which CAN be done, but it will always be thin sounding compared to a full 16" body arch top guitar. Rounder and more woody than a semi hollow like an Es 335, but you have to roll off most of the highs & Mids to get a Wes Montgomery/Joe Pass tone. Pickup height helps a little but going flat wound is only going to make your lower strings mellower and won't have a significant impact on the unwound strings. String gauge and amp settings will have the most impact on your tone from my experience, and I use my HB primarily for jazz and songwriting.

    For me the weakness is in the top end not the lower strings, which can get a little "boomy" when you turn up the volume knob and turn down the tone knob to get a solid single note line voice. I use a slightly customized set 11-46 (basically a 10-46 set with the top string swapped out to an 11 for better tone) I'm considering going 12-50.

    Hope this helps, it's a continuous tone journey.
     
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  15. tcaron20

    tcaron20 New Member

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    Hi Huggy,

    Thanks for the advice. I have an Eastman ER1 that is my real Jazz box, an amazing but unique guitar, that puts out an archtop like tone. Will be replacing Asian Kent Armstrong with a Manlius pup.

    I really want to like the HB II. Plays like butter but as you described it is not really a traditional jazz box and was built more as an all around versatile guitar.

    Thanks,

    Tom
     
  16. Tucson Thump

    Tucson Thump New Member

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    Think BETTER!
     
  17. Mole351

    Mole351 New Member

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    Wow - speedy recovery...sounds like you're doing ok!

    Beautiful guitar, btw
     
  18. fgeorge097

    fgeorge097 New Member

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    Does the Mccarty Archtop model that is now discontinued get the woody, jazz box, Wes Mongomery sound that you described more efficiently than the hollowbody?
     
  19. garrett

    garrett Not a New Member

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    Yes, especially the original spruce-topped version.
     
  20. Mr_You

    Mr_You New Member

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    I never cared for the Archtop pickups. I would go for the 57/08s instead.
     

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