Battle of the (semi-hollow) Bodies

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JimBobBass, May 5, 2021.

  1. JimBobBass


    Dec 9, 2020
    I am looking to buy a hollow or semi-hollow bodied bass.
    I want that warm semi-acoustic sound, but still need clarity.
    No muddy sounds thank you. I had an Ibanez Artcore AGB200 but found the production values really poor - it would have cost me a packet to get the frets properly fixed. The tone pot is pretty weak. I part-ex'd it.

    So, tone clarity and decent quality build are what I am looking for. Here are the possibles. Your views greatly appreciated.
    • Epiphone Jack Casady
    • Guild Starfire I - (the Starfire II is a bit out of my budget)
    • Gretsch Electromatic G5440LSB - hollow and fat
    • Gretsch G5442BDC - thin and short scale (I am fine with shortscale)
    • italia maranello cavo (a bit hard to find in the UK)
    • Reverend Dub King - looks super cool, but it seems to have quite a muddy tone
    • Chowny CHB-2 -
  2. You mentioned not wanting a muddy sound, the Epiphone J.C. is an excellent choice, on a similar note would be a Gibson Midtown hollowbody. (2 pickups instead of one). The Guild's and Gretsch's are nice as well. Do your homework and compare the features.
    96tbird, MynameisMe and droo46 like this.
  3. TJIann


    Jul 20, 2020
    Also for consideration the Epiphone Allen Woody signature.
    el jeffe bass likes this.
  4. JimBobBass


    Dec 9, 2020
    Thanks - but is the Allen Woody not solid body,, rather than semi?
  5. MynameisMe

    MynameisMe What will you be remembered for?

    Dec 31, 2018
    I had the Jack Casady and no feedback whatsoever with a meaty tone to match a P bass but kind of woody sounding.
  6. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Shaker Heights, OH
    gretsch is the only fully hollow, so that one. i would say epiphone allen woody is a good option as well, it's a sealed hollow body but it is still hollow and thumps.
    Basically Bob likes this.
  7. TJIann


    Jul 20, 2020
    Semi hollow. No f holes.
  8. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    The DiPinto Belvedere fits the bill perfectly. It has a semi-hollow mahogany body, and several elements that add clarity and keep it out of the mud zone, like single coil pickups, 34" scale, and ebony fretboard. It definitely brings the semi-hollow thud, but stays clear. Just outstanding tone IMO, both live and recorded.

    Unfortunately it's been out of production for a few years, and might be difficult to find.
    webspeare likes this.
  9. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    This one must be pretty good because I haven't touched my L2000s, Thundergun or Bacchus Woodline since I bought it.

    As for the Dub King, it's anything but muddy.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2021
    rodl2005 likes this.
  10. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    Vail, CO
    I was once in the same predicament as you are now. I narrowed my options to the epiphone jack Cassidy vs the starfire 2. The starfire is basically twice as much as the epiphone, but comes with a case.

    Anyway, I went with what I thought was the better product, the starfire bass 2. My reasoning was:

    - the two bisonic pickups. If you’ve never heard those, well, they are amazing. So the sound was my first consideration.
    - short scale , vs the jack Cassidy long scale. Both basses are huge , yet the neck in the starfire is thin (width), and retains the same feel all the way to the body. Think of it as a rickenbacker neck, just smaller and thinner.
    - the colors on the epiphone, well, never been a fan
    - dot inlays on the starfire , which I prefer over the epiphones blocks
    - I prefer the simetric body of the starfire , vs the assymetric body on the epiphone.

    In regards of fit and finish , the starfire is second to none. The last bass that I bought new (a stingray classic) is comparable to the starfire. No fret sprout , no uneven frets , not a single defect.

    Now, there’s one thing that bothers me about the epiphone: it is epi’s best selling bass (probably even Gibson’s), been in continuous production for 20 years, and was designed with jack Cassidy himself, with him deciding all important aspects, right down to the pickup location. If there was ever a “semi hollow bassist’s dream bass, perfected”, then that’s the jack Cassidy. So the thing that bothers me , is that , even though I bought the starfire , I’ll still have to buy the epiphone.

    If money is tight , start with an epiphone viola bass with flats. Those can be found for cheap (200-300), and sound like you’d expect a hollow body to sound. The jack and starfire , they sound more like a regular solid body.
  11. JimBobBass


    Dec 9, 2020
    Thank you for your thoughts.
    In the end I went for a Starfire 1 -- its lovely
    elgranluis and B-Mac like this.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Another consideration is a Lakland Hollowbody with barts for a clear tone.
  13. B-Mac

    B-Mac Happiness is a warm puppy and a great bass Supporting Member

    You gonna post some pix or do a NBD? :hyper:
  14. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    The Casady sounds nothing like a solid body. The center support between the neck block and bridge block isn’t even solid, rather it’s two slabs glued in, one on the top
    And one on the bottom. it’s wide open inside between them. Feedback can be an issue, but fairly easy to control. 2138608E-EE1C-4C15-9A56-36DAB585FB78.jpeg
  15. JimBobBass


    Dec 9, 2020
    1626774888568.jpg 1626774888566.jpg 1626774888562.jpg
    andronik, sears, B-Mac and 1 other person like this.
  16. B-Mac

    B-Mac Happiness is a warm puppy and a great bass Supporting Member

    Gorgeous :drool:
    I can’t think of another Hollow/Semi-Hollow bass with a P style pup. I’m sure there are others, but they must be few and far between. I’m sure @GretschWretch could shine some light on that.

    So how’s it sound? How’s it play?

    I feel G.A.S. building…cheese & rice I don’t need another bass…must resist…must resist…:woot:
  17. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    You're just lusting for that 102nd bass. ;)
    B-Mac likes this.
  18. B-Mac

    B-Mac Happiness is a warm puppy and a great bass Supporting Member

    you’re not help GW!:woot:
  19. JimBobBass


    Dec 9, 2020
    Plays good. Neck is slim, which I like. I had an Ibanez Artcore which had buzzy frets basically because of poor quality parts. The Guild is a similar price and feels better quality.
    Tonewise - the shortscaleness highlights the metal of the strings (roundwound).
    Not a huge amount of variation in the tone, but warm and also punchy when needed.
    Makes a great sound when I slap.
  20. JIO

    JIO Scott Lives Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe