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Hollow Body Points of View

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by LegendInMyMind, Nov 29, 2013.

  1. Hello -

    I have been shopping for a new hollow body bass and have narrowed the choices down to 3 -

    1. Fender Coronado (the new re-issue from Fender)
    2. Epiphone Jack Casady Signature Edition
    3. Ibanez Artcore AFB 200

    I typically play with small jazz / blues combos in lounges and small halls..

    I have read a lot of reviews outside of the TalkBass website - but these typically do not include any real world, playing live types of impressions..

    I would really appreciate any input you might have..

    All the Best !
  2. Guinness20


    Jan 24, 2013
    Liverpool, UK
    Haven't been able to try out a new coronado yet. A lot of people like the Casady, but it really isn't for me! Have you consider the Gretsch G5442BDC (Electromatic short scale) - in red it's gorgeous, and it plays beautifully!
  3. The Jack Casady works for me for blues and jazz and folk. It's very responsive to right hand positions and very responsive to the type of strings you put on it. It also has a 3 position Varitone transformer switch so that you can quickly change tones.
    very versatile.
  4. mordechai


    Dec 8, 2007
    Unfortunately I've never owned any of these basses so I can't give you any real world advice. I do want to point out that the Jack Casady bass is 34" scale length and the other two options are 30". I've always liked hollow bodies that have a shorter scale length, FWIW.
  5. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    Jack Casady


    Dec 13, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    I've played all three and I like the Jack the most. It's a little off balance, but its just takes a little getting use to. It's one of the few basses that sounds good with any kind of string too.
  7. donn


    Mar 28, 2011
    Of your three, I understand the Ibanez is really a hollow body, if that makes a difference.
  8. Thanks everyone for the responses.. I will have the opportunity in a couple of weeks to play them all side by side... Hopefully I will come away with a winner - which I think will be the Casady based on your input.
  9. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    The Casady is actually a kind of hybrid between a hollowbody and semi-hollowbody: It has a solid block like a semi -- which helps reduce potential feedback problems -- but the top is not attached to the block and so is free to vibrate like a true hollowbody.
  10. pastorjamesc

    pastorjamesc Cheap Ability, Expensive Taste Commercial User

    Jun 26, 2012
    Waco Texas
    Owner/Operator of Cotten Patch Sound Design. Burns of London Guitars and Basses retail. I do sound design, resetting, and education for churches, organizations, and small venues with no Sound personnel. Studio for "self-produced" rental use.
    I have the AGB200 (Not the same and I'm not sure the differences with the AFB) which has the same neck and pubs at the AFB. I really like it BUT I'm not a gigging player so I haven't had it "out". I'm not a huge fan of the short scale necks but have to say I don't feel like I'm going to "snap it off" like I do with the hofner and some other short scale. It has a nice thumpy low sound which is what I wanted. I also have a set of Rotosound flats (my preference) on it. Great bass for the cost for what I'm playing.
  11. donn


    Mar 28, 2011
    Interesting, where could one read more about this? By "not attached", you mean "not glued"? The only references I found were two here on talkbass, both from yourself. It would be interesting to see a picture of what's inside, too.

    Empirically, though, I've plucked a string on a Casady, and it doesn't sing out like a Gretsch hollow body for example. Not saying there's anything wrong with that - I guess something like 99% of bass players prefer not to play a hollow body bass, so evidently it's a good thing.
  12. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    The "hybrid" statement appears in the standard product description at most web sites that sell the bass. Here's the one at Musician's Friend, for example:


    That's not where I first learned about this, though: I remember reading a more detailed explanation somewhere, long ago -- on Jack's site or the Epiphone site or in an interview with Jack -- but I'm sorry I can't remember or readily find that source any more.

    Anyway, my understanding was that in a semi-hollow, both the top and the back of the body are glued to an internal wood block, but that in the JC only the back is. The idea was to create more a true hollowbody sound, but including the block to reduce feedback problems.
  13. donn


    Mar 28, 2011
    The minimal version of this in hollow body construction is the "sound post." Standup basses have sound posts, as do the violin family, located pretty near the bridge (but not right under.) Archtop guitars generally don't, I understand it's not such a great idea there, but with an electric bass the acoustic expectations are very different and it might make more sense. I've read that Epiphone does it with their viola bass. `The proof is in the pudding', as they say.
  14. Killer Kadoogan

    Killer Kadoogan

    Aug 19, 2013
    I took some photos with my phone by sticking the end of it through one of the f-holes. They aren't very good as there isn't room to manoeuvre the angle of the phone very well, and the flash causes some glare. Here are a couple though, which I hope helps.


    Taken from the upper f-hole and shows the centre block which only rises around half an inch from the back of the bass.


    Taken from the lower f-hole showing a similar thickness block running along the top of the bass.

    There is a block directly under the bridge that connects the top and bottom of the body, but otherwise it is one big chamber rather than two separate ones divided by a block in the middle which is how I understand many semi-hollowbody's are constructed.

    Hope that helped!
  15. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    You know how to make it tough! IMO these are three good choices. I have the Casady, and here are the reasons why:

    - The Coronado is lovely but it's more than 9 pounds, and I'm not a fan of heavy basses. However, its tone controls offer a lot of sound variation and it's a classic-looking bass. I think it's chambered, not hollow - but I haven't researched that.

    - The Casady does it all better than the other two, IMO. The varitone switch gives you three substantial variations in sound, and the Casady just KILLS for rock and jazz. It has a monster sound and is a pleasure to play. However, it has the biggest body of the three and for me at 5'8" it's just a bit on the large-bodied side. It's a chambered bass and therefore you should not expect it to behave or sound like a full hollowbody.

    - I really checked out Ibanez when it came out, as it has a great look and nice size. I had some issues with quality control such as uneven frets, and the finish wasn't as good as either the Fender or Casady. Also, plugged in the sound of the Ibby as a bit "meh". It sounded OK, but not special. The Casady's sound is special and the Fender is more versatile. The Ibby is a semi-hollow, meaning it has a center block.

    There's nothing wrong with a semi-hollow, which is pretty much the category for all three of these. They are less prone to feedback than hollowbodies, and they usually balance better. Hollowbodies are often pretty neck-heavy and therefore more prone to neck dive than semi-hollows.
  16. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I've only played the Casady and the Artcore. The Casady was a much better feeling and sounding instrument.

    And, as others have said, the Fender is not a hollow body. It is solid down the middle.
  17. Shovel


    Jun 4, 2013
    I would second the Gretsch electromatic. It plays very well, and has a wonderful sound. (Not to mention it looks great too).
    PawleeP likes this.
  18. donn


    Mar 28, 2011
    Cool! Well done, wouldn't have guessed anyone could get a picture of the insides without busting the thing open.

    I like that term. Per the dictionary definition, `hollow' just means there's air space inside, given which the word `semi-hollow' doesn't make any sense. The question really is, what is that air doing in there, its role in the design.

    We're kind of arbitrarily reserving the term `hollow body' for an acoustic design similar to an archtop guitar, where that air is a resonating chamber for a soundboard top, driven by the strings pressing down on the bridge. (Unlike acoustic bass guitars, where the strings are attached to the bridge, so they pull on the top.) It's too bad `hollow' is such a poor word for that, but it's the one that gets used; of course the word isn't as important as the concept, which is in a practical way very different from a bass body that simply contains air. The Casady is more that way, if only because of that plank I think I see running along the top center, along with the block under the bridge.

    I have the medium scale Gretsch that was made for Guitar Center - the scale is perfect, takes any 34" strings. Not for everyone, I can't imagine it's much for rock-and-roll heavy metal, but great for someone whose sound concept is somewhere between the upright bass and the big body electric jazz guitars.
  19. blastoff99


    Dec 17, 2011
    SW WA
  20. Rugaar


    Apr 11, 2007
    The AFB200 is full hollow, not semi.