another 'looking for a new guitar' thread.

(11 posts)

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  1. Matt

    hope i am not being gratuitous, but yes, the search has started fermenting within me.
    i need a new axe.
    i currently have a Hagstrom Swede (made in'74/75) that i do want to keep, but it's limitations lie in the action and tone. i use .013s (which contributes, i assume) but i can not get a good treble tone nor a distorted tone. it is great for more straight ahead endeavor though.

    so i am looking into a semi-hollow guitar, but i am not sure where to start. i have looked into D'Angelico, Gibson es-359, Ibanez artist series, and Hagstrom Viking, but i would appreciate some recommendations (esp. on the Ibanez, are those around? i havent found hardly any).
    overall, i am looking for versatility, being able to play in most idioms and sound good. the setup and playability can be manipulated if needed by a luthier.

  2. Chris

    Stay away from new D'Angelico's, I've heard from a good friend who plays one that the manufacturing quality of them decreased once they were bought out, and that there made abroad in Korea now or somewhere in that region of the world. Just something I heard through the grapevine don't quote me..

  3. gleepglop

    I got one of these recently:

    It's similar to a 335 but with a few upgrades: solid carved maple (not pressed laminate) maple top, ebony fingerboard, real wood veneer (not fiberboard) on the headstock. It is also slightly thinner than a 335, though as a custom guitar you could probably get it how you wanted it.
    His prices are surprisingly reasonable for handmade luthier-built instruments.

    It sounds amazing, far better than any of the recent 335s I've heard from Gibson. The solid top gives it the extra something, IMO.

    Also, I have one of the D'angelico EX-DC semihollows from the first run --before the Comins redesign. I don't know about the newer ones, they are basically fully hollow thinline guitars except for a block underneath the bridge, while the older ones like mine have the 335-type solid center block. It is heavy as a mofo, though, and the stock pickups were garbage. Upgrading the pickups made it sing, I get compliments on the sound every time I play it out. The action and feel are amazing on it, comparable to my Custom Shop L4 (yes, I have too many guitars . . . ), and just as good as the Vestax D'angelicos I've played. The older D'angelicos were made by Peerless, who is one of the best Korean makers for hollowbodies. Again, I don't know about the newer ones. I understand that D'angelico quality control wasn't great, so there may be some dogs out there and I just got lucky.

    Some of the older Ibanez semi-hollows can still be found for decent prices, and they can be amazing guitars.

    There is also a company called Seventy-Seven that is making some sweet-looking 335 copies out of Japan but I have yet to try one.

    FWIW Jack "Sheets of Sound" Zucker has done comparative reviews of a lot of semi-hollows.

  4. david6strings

    you said you're looking for versatility, why not simply a 335. hey the only secret is try a lot of them. you can't just order it on the internet shop. if you have the chance to hear several guitars you will find one with good tone. the 335 is the more versatil electric guitar IMO i love the telecaster but i'm still dislike its jazz sound. the 335 is heard in all styles with a very good tone. for me is the more secure option

  5. jorgemg1984

    The old AS Ibanez from the 80s are usually great. I like 335 for their versatility but I think an archtop has no rival for jazz, even modern distorted full of reverb and delay jazz.

  6. andreu

    I like Collings guitars, a friend of mine has the i35 and is great. If I sell 100000 copies of my record i'd buy the CL Jazz :)

  7. I've mentioned it elsewhere ( and I truly think this is a viable option - not some hipster shtick ), why not a 56u2 danelectro ( perhaps coupled with a 6 band MXR eq ). Semi hollow, doesn't feed back all that bad if at all, feels good and real . Don't put flat wounds of a heavy gauge- I had to take a tire iron to the tail piece.

  8. Sorry, I thought cost was an issue. You can get a better quality instrument for more cash.

  9. gleepglop

    I should mention that I got a good deal on the D'angelico when they were closing them out . . . at the prices they are selling for now I might have more complaints.

    It's true if you can really try a bunch of 335s before you buy one you will probably find one you like a lot. I know some folks that love the 359 and other similar models too.
    Gibson is still making great guitars, they just are a) not in a terribly consistent phase right now b) tending to overbuild their hollowbodies, making the tops thicker and the instruments heavier, which is good for stability and mostly bad for tone c) overpriced in many cases considering a) and b). On the plus side, they probably have the best resale value of almost any guitar, so if you change your mind later you probably won't be out much cash and may even be up a bit if you bought a used one.

    Still, I own two of them, and my other guitars are modeled on their designs.

  10. JorgeRubiales

    I don't know, if you can't get a nice distortion out of a les paul-type guitar, there's something weird.

    First of all, are you using flatwounds? I really hate how they sound with distortion, there's no character at all. Then you should look at your pickups: are they really nice? Let me tell you, I don't know how are the Hagstrom pickups from the 70's, but you might try and find some modern pickups (I like dimarzio a lot, nice pickups and cheap, but everyone has its preferences). Sometimes, low output pickups sound weak through certain amounts of distortion.

    I think it's worth the try to get a lighter gauge strings (.011 maybe?) and if you're worried about being too trebly for jazz, put a .013 and .016 on the E and B strings, so you can have the best of both worlds.

  11. Matt

    i dont know about the pickups. they came with the guitar (bought it on ebay) and there was no mention of new pickups.

    i think you may be onto something with the pickups. i have tried .012s and they sounded okay. i'll look into getting new ones, but i dont want to spend too much money if i will eventually get a new guitar anyway.


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