Proposed hollowbody purchase

englishHobbyist

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Hi. I've been away from the forum for a while - I joined soon after this purchase: https://forums.prsguitars.com/threads/my-belated-ngd-thread.41816/

I bought that thinking it's such a lovely and versatile guitar that I wouldn't want another one. I was wrong. I recently added a S/S/S strat (yes i did try a silver sky, but preferred the strat), as I don't find the split coil of my custom 24 quite does a proper job of single coil.

Now I want a hollowbody. I went to a music shop today, pretty sure I'd walk out with a Gibson ES-something. But having tried a few, I wasn't impressed by the quality control for a high-value guitar. And not the most comfortable to play. So I tried a PRS hollowbody piezo, and a hollowbody McCarty. With the right settings, both managed quite a good ES-335-flavoured sound.
Note, I do still want to try a Heritage H-535 before buying this.

Questions to the forum:

1) They're beautiful guitars. But the aesthetic just isn't right (or at least isn't traditional) for a hollowbody. Does anybody else get hung up on that?
2) Are they super rare? I can't find many available, so not many colour options in the UK (for the core range. There are plenty of SE around). Does anybody know of a place with good stock?
3) Are the pickups exactly the same? Other than the fact that they didn't add the pull-switches to split the coils on the piezo model.
4) I went for a pattern thin neck for my C24. Am I right in thinking I can't have that choice in these models?
5) The McCarty had the natural wood showing on the sides, same as the back of the neck but in contrast to the front and back. I found this an absolutely stunning detail. The piezo didn't have it. Is that an option I'll find if I search hard enough? Or just something the McCartys all have and the piezos all don't have? Or it comes with certain colours?
6) Where's a good second-hand market in the UK? Any model years I should target/avoid?
7) Any thoughts on the choice between the two? As far as I can tell, the differences are that one has piezo while the other has coil-splitting. And the neck being pattern vs. pattern vintage. And the bridge being in one piece or two pieces.
 
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Lacire

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Welcome back. I too thought I would one day own a 335 but when I finally got around to looking for a semi-hollow electric I bought a used 2010, 25th Anniversary SC HB II with the piezo. I wasn’t worried about traditional aesthetics and the PRS I bought was just hands down the better instrument. Absolutely no buyers remorse with this one. At the time I didn’t think they where very rare here in the states. Good luck in your search.
 

englishHobbyist

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Thanks. I definitely agree with you that it's the better instrument. Just a question of whether it's the best for what I want now. My C24 is a super versatile guitar. I initially assumed that these hollow PRS would be too similar. But having heard them, maybe not actually.

Anybody got any idea on questions 3-7?
 

11top

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1) They're beautiful guitars. But the aesthetic just isn't right (or at least isn't traditional) for a hollowbody. Does anybody else get hung up on that?
.

I think “traditional” is way overrated. Maybe new is new and improved. And if it looks good, what does it matter if it’s different?
 

dogrocketp

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I’m an old Hollowbody guy. The last non-PRS in the stable is a copy of Eddie Lang’s L-5. (If you don’t know about him, Google him immediately or your life is incomplete). I would say it depends totally on the sounds you want. Nothing sounds like a core Hollowbody. You either love it, or you don’t. The SE Hollowbody Standard has the closest to a 335 sound to my ears. It is a killer thin jazz box. I would have kept mine, except I only had room for one Hollowbody, and Jack had the nerve to make a piezo SE in BLUE! So it got sold for the piezo. I actually preferred the sound of the plywood SE body guitars to the core I had for a hot minute. But that’s just me. Looks? Fuggedaboudit. The upper fret access on the PRS makes the other hollows feel weak. And nothing has ever played as well as my PRS. I also love the way they look.
 

Moondog Wily

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1) They're beautiful guitars. But the aesthetic just isn't right (or at least isn't traditional) for a hollowbody. Does anybody else get hung up on that?
Are you having a beauty contest or are you looking for a guitar that plays and sounds great (and still looks hot, traditional or not)? I personally think "traditions" of most kinds are a waste of time, but that is an individual choice of course!

2) Are they super rare? I can't find many available, so not many colour options in the UK (for the core range. There are plenty of SE around). Does anybody know of a place with good stock?
Not super rare, but not stocked like CU24s! If you are not in a hurry, put some "notifiers" on reverb and other sites for the specs you are looking for. Call some dealers and ask them if they have any WL or other runs that might float your boat. You can also contact a dealer and tell them, I want the McCarty 594 HBII in this offered color (see links below for colors offered in each model) and you will get it. Might take a while, but it can and will happen, barring some world wide pandemic or other forces beyond PRS control ;~))

3) Are the pickups exactly the same? Other than the fact that they didn't add the pull-switches to split the coils on the piezo model.
Depends. Could be WL versions that vary, but the core models are going to be consistent and for 2021 both have the 58/15 LT pups. Wiring/controls are different.

4) I went for a pattern thin neck for my C24. Am I right in thinking I can't have that choice in these models?
Unless it is a WL run, LTD run or a PS, McCarty 594 HBII will have a Pattern Vintage neck and HBII Piezo will have a Pattern neck for 2021.
https://prsguitars.com/electrics/model/hollowbody_ii_piezo_2021
https://prsguitars.com/electrics/model/mccarty_594_hollowbody_ii_2021


5) The McCarty had the natural wood showing on the sides, same as the back of the neck but in contrast to the front and back. I found this an absolutely stunning detail. The piezo didn't have it. Is that an option I'll find if I search hard enough? Or just something the McCartys all have and the piezos all don't have? Or it comes with certain colours?
See specs and colors sections of the two links above for 2021 color options and wood types.

6) Where's a good second-hand market in the UK? Any model years I should target/avoid?
Can't help you there, sorry!

7) Any thoughts on the choice between the two? As far as I can tell, the differences are that one has piezo while the other has coil-splitting. And the neck being pattern vs. pattern vintage. And the bridge being in one piece or two pieces.
I have not played the Piezo model, but my McCarty 594 HBII is my daily player at the moment! All differences should be clear when comparing the specs on the two links above for 2021 models!

Good luck!!!!
 

Jock68

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I bought mine from Germany and Imported it to the UK, I did not think that they are a replacement for a 335.. they are different in feel and sound. I did not buy the McCarty I wanted the Piezo version, this is a keeper. I like thick necks but this is just a comfortable neck, not thick. PRS has a backlog on all their guitars because of Covid and this is causing higher prices. Can you live without 2 volume/tone can you live without coil split, your choice.

Make sure you get the right one it is a lot f money.
 

RickP

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Not to complicate your decision, but there are more options in the PRS line for hollowbody guitars, past and present. Here are a few worthy of consideration.

Archtop
2014-01-26-0072_psd.jpg

JA15
prs-ja-15-1068612.png

Hollowbody Spruce (my favorite)
prs_hbs-bs_08.jpg

594 Hollowbody II
IMG_3498_2048x2048.jpg
 

englishHobbyist

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Thanks for the in-depth responses, especially @Moondog Wily
I had seen the colour options on that page, but they don't show the sides. Which options have the natural wood side? I think the McCarty I saw in the shop that had it was Trampas green, but the piezo with the black sides was whale blue. I can't see anything on the spec pages that go into the finish on the back and sides, so if I'm looking at a difference between McCarty and Piezo, or if the finish on the sides is matched to those colours of front.
 

englishHobbyist

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Update...

I've got over my reservations of these not looking how a hollowbody is 'supposed' to look. I loved the look, sound and feel, so that's enough for me.

I'm getting a Hollowbody II Piezo in Aquamarine. I had to order it to be delivered... I can only find 2 available in the country, and the local one doesn't seem to be a very good specimen. The two halves on the front don't match each other for grain thickness or colour very well. So I'm getting the other one. Arrives on Tuesday, so look out for a new thread with pictures when it comes.

I think that's my guitar collection 'complete' now. Might treat myself to a Private Stock in years to come after the mortgage is paid off. But for now, I feel like I've got all bases covered between my Custom24, a Strat, and this Hollowbody.

Thanks to everybody who helped me to this decision.
 

RickP

Established 1960, Still Not Dead
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Update...

I've got over my reservations of these not looking how a hollowbody is 'supposed' to look. I loved the look, sound and feel, so that's enough for me.

I'm getting a Hollowbody II Piezo in Aquamarine. I had to order it to be delivered... I can only find 2 available in the country, and the local one doesn't seem to be a very good specimen. The two halves on the front don't match each other for grain thickness or colour very well. So I'm getting the other one. Arrives on Tuesday, so look out for a new thread with pictures when it comes.

I think that's my guitar collection 'complete' now. Might treat myself to a Private Stock in years to come after the mortgage is paid off. But for now, I feel like I've got all bases covered between my Custom24, a Strat, and this Hollowbody.

Thanks to everybody who helped me to this decision.
Congratulations! Be sure to give us a peek once it’s arrived and you have a moment to bond with it. :)
 

Tag

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Fantastic guitars!! I think you will find it has no weaknesses and does everything well. I love both my HB2 and 594HB2!!
 
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