How much is hollow in a semi-hollowbody?

RickP

Established 1960, Still Not Dead
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I couldn’t find a picture of the internal cavities of a 594 Semi-Hollowbody. Can anyone tell me what section(s) are hollow and solid?

I assume the 594 Hollowbody II has just the bridge block like the McCarty Hollowbody I and II, but didn’t know if just the top area with the f-hole is hollow on the semi, or if there is a center solid portion (like a 335) and the lower bout is also hollow and just not vented.

Any help or pictures would be appreciated!
 
I assume the 594 semi hollow is much like the CU22 semi hollow. The hollow part is quite small. Probably best to think of it more as a chamber than a hollow.

I don’t know if I can get any meaningful photos. I’ll take a look later today.
Thanks! I thought there might be a “during construction” photo somewhere, but I couldn’t find it.
 
Only thing I have ever found...

prs-semi-hollow-build-back-cavities.png

However, I am not sure if this is exactly how PRS themselves make their Semi-hollow bodies.

I do think the type of construction that PRS use, as in taking a solid Slab of Mahogany and routing out 'Chambers' has a similar impact as a 'Chambered' Solid body (no F hole) - ie, predominantly weight saving. Obviously, the 594 is a bit thicker than my Special Semi-hollow, so they could make the Chambered a bit deeper, but it can only be a certain depth as the Mahogany also forms the back of the guitar.

That's quite different from their Hollowbody II builds where the back is a Thick piece of Maple (like the Top) and is carved out inside to match the Carve on the outside. That makes the Chamber much deeper as well as being completely hollow, bar a block for the Bridge.

48428166966_22a978b6a9_o.jpg

86744120-jpg.1147


The second picture shows how the underside of the Maple top/back is also carved to match the outer carve - The bridge block shows the thickness of the maple top/back and how its carved on the inside to thin the top/back.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Maple top on a Semi Hollow is carved on the underside too but I still think its more 'weight saving' than like a '335' type Semi Hollow.
 
Thanks! I thought there might be a “during construction” photo somewhere, but I couldn’t find it.
I've never seen a construction photo of a semi hollow. I recall a sketch of how they chamber, but don't think that is an exact match for a semi hollow - not based on what I see in mine.

Here are a few photos that might give you a sense of the semi hollow.
Looking towards the bottom of the carve, you can see edges. The top is NOT a full carve as it is on a hollow body.
CK_153MochaChamberDown.JPG

This was hard to get much light to, but I think you can see that the outer edge of the carve is quite far from the outer edge of the guitar. Again, much more wood remaining than on a hollow body.
CK_159MochaChamberTop.JPG

You can clearly see that the back is not carved like a hollow body. The back of the chamber is flat.
CK_154MochaChamberBack.JPG

One last one. The chamber is not very deep. Total air volume is much smaller than a hollow body. The wood is thicker everywhere except around the f hole.
CK_158MochaChamberShadow.JPG
 
I'm too lazy to climb two flights of steps to look at an actual SH594, but I did walk 10 feet to grab the Cu22 SSH off the wall. It looks like the first picture that Mozzi posted above. I can see all the way up the horn, and it definitely extends beyond the bridge block. I can't see exactly how far, but I would assume close to the strap button area. One thing about the SSH, the maple cap. Unlike on my Archtop, you can see the maple cap for most of the hollow area. The top from the F-hole to the bridge block is fully hollow (top to bottom), but beyond that the full maple cap is part of the hollow area. Hope that makes sense. I guess what I am saying is that other than the area around the F-hole (from side to bridge block and the length of the F-hole) the maple top is carved out, as is the mahogany back. Other than that area, only the mahogany bottom is hollowed out.
 
Thanks to @Mozzi @veinbuster @bodia for that great info! Looking at my Hollowbody I, I can see and feel the way the spruce top is carved to an even thickness all across, with the bridge block in the center only under the bridge itself. I didn’t think about the carve from the underside, but that does make sense if it is more for weight reduction than top vibration in the SH.

I really like the Hollowbody I, and also like the neck, pickups, and playing feel of the 594. Sounds like I better stick with getting the 594 Hollowbody II as the melding of the two!
 
In my opinion, if the solid 594 is like a Les Paul, the Semi-Hollow 594 is like a weight-relieved Les Paul and the 594HB is a bit more like a 335 - just in a smaller body size.
 
No one near me has a 594 HBII I can go play at the moment, so I’m pretty much hoping I can glean some useful intel from the trusted folks here. My guy at Sweetwater is offering me a very good deal on ordering one, as even they are out of everything but 10-Tops, WL, and PS right now... all out of my price range.

I saw a nice SH on Reverb, which prompted the question here. Looks like I’m either ordering and waiting or banking the cash and waiting. Either way, it looks like I’m waiting!
 
No one near me has a 594 HBII I can go play at the moment, so I’m pretty much hoping I can glean some useful intel from the trusted folks here. My guy at Sweetwater is offering me a very good deal on ordering one, as even they are out of everything but 10-Tops, WL, and PS right now... all out of my price range.

I saw a nice SH on Reverb, which prompted the question here. Looks like I’m either ordering and waiting or banking the cash and waiting. Either way, it looks like I’m waiting!
I love my SH 594, but it's a WL, odd duck. Maple neck and board, AP top, Swamp Ash back. It's a keeper, for sure.

4OV6M1Y.jpg
 
In my opinion: there is no substitute for a fully hollow guitar IF that's what you really want. I could not imagine wanting and being able to afford a HBII, but settling on a SH. Good things are worth waiting for.
 
I believe the equivalent Gibson to the HB would be the 336 for that analogy as it has carved bits rather than the laminates on the 335 and 339.

Point I was trying to make was more about the 'sound' rather than the construction. The Hollowbody build of a PRS, whilst it is all solid wood and carved, has more in common tonally with the 335 despite it being a 'semi-hollow' and made from Laminates. Maybe because the body is much smaller, the actual volume of air inside may well be similar. Also, a LOT of 'Hollowbody' guitars don't have a post/block linking the back to the top under the bridge. These often have a LOT more issue with Feedback.

A lot of people associate Hollowbodies with those big Jazz box guitars but I think these Hollowbodies from PRS (yes I know they have done others like the Archtop and JA-15) are more like guitars we associate as being 'semi-hollow' without the issues associated with Hollowbodies - like the Feedback issue with gain and body 'bulk' - even a 335 is 'massive' by comparison.

I also picked on the 335 as its a more well known and more common instrument. Its more a point of reference that I think more people would be able to identify with from a tonal perspective and could use the 'difference' between a Les Paul type tone and '335' as a guide to understanding what the difference between a Solid 594 and Hollowbody 594 is like. It was NOT about the Construction, as that had been discussed earlier. If you were expecting a Semi-Hollow 594 to be more like a Semi-hollow 335 and the Hollowbody 594 more like the Archtop Hollowbody guitars, just because of the solid, semi, or fully hollow body type construction, the tonal impact of those 'chambers' doesn't quite align. The Semi-Hollow PRS tends to be more like other Solid bodies - just with some weight relief and the Hollowbody is more like the traditional semi-hollow. Whilst they can be more susceptible to feedback, PRS Hollowbodies are far more controllable and usable.

If you were concerned that the Hollowbody 594 for example would have the issues associated with hollowbodies in general and potentially put off, then this is also important to know. I wouldn't want someone to buy a 'PRS hollowbody' for example and expect it to be like an Archtop or buy the PRS Semi-Hollow expecting it to sound more like other Semi-hollows instead of being more like a lighter weight Solid body. So therefore I have tried to explain how the sound differs and equate it to instruments that many people will be familiar with to be able to visualise and make a more informed decision as to which PRS, Solid, Semi or Hollow, is the right one for them...
 
There’s a incoming NGD post elsewhere, but I did stay with the 594 HBII, ordered today. After getting lots of great input here, along with pics of a couple of jaw dropping guitars, I decided this was what I’m looking for. Thanks again to all who shared their knowledge and experience!
 
I just ran into a great video showing the inside of the 594 Hollowbody II. The guy is not at all “in the know” about PRS details, but he takes it apart (so I don’t have to) and uses a scope inside to show exactly how/where it is chambered.

Disregard the PRS-ignorance in the commentary. I’m posting just for the interior views, which are the best interior shots I’ve found so far.

 
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