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Semi Hollowbody basses - opinions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Alienwordz, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. Alienwordz


    Nov 4, 2007
    I have seen semi hollow body electric basses only in catalogs and photos but have never heard one or seen anyone play one live. What are your opinions on the type of tones and are they very specific to a certain genre of music or are they versatile?
  2. To be honest, every bass can be versatile (within reason). It's all in the hands of the player and how the signal is processed.

    With that said, hollow-body basses are popular in Queens of the Stone Age style rock, shoegaze, and rockabilly (naturally, although, that's usually upright bass playing, but you get the idea: rockabilly - semihollow guitars).

    Semihollow basses sound more pleasant unplugged compared to semihollow guitars. Other than that, they're (believed) to be warmer sounding. I never had the chance to plug it in.
  3. main_sale


    Apr 26, 2004
    Cape Cod
    I absolutely love them, own too many of them but still want more!!! In general they sound HUGE with an airy third dimension to the tone that is unique. Everyone should have at least one IMHO...

  4. Buskman


    Apr 13, 2007
    Jersey Shore, USA
    Have you ever listened to any of the earlier Beatles tunes?

    Then you've heard a semi-hollow bass! :D
  5. main_sale


    Apr 26, 2004
    Cape Cod
    Don't stop there....how about the jefferson Airplane and Greatful Dead.
  6. I can tell you this one sounds and plays amazing. The neck pickup provides lots of thick ass to the sound. The bridge pickup gives a nice sharp clarity and beautiful tone. IMG_8012.gif
  7. Buskman


    Apr 13, 2007
    Jersey Shore, USA
    The GAS always hits me hard whenever I see that one. LOL!
  8. Some boutique companies offer chambered basses that add that airy dimension, but the modern electronics allow for all sorts of tones between muddy and very high end.
  9. etoncrow

    etoncrow (aka Greg Harman, the curmudgeon with a conundrum)

    Also listen to early Govt Mule (Allen Woody on a signature Epiphone) and some Jack Bruce (Gibson EB-1). Check Rob Allen's web site for audio samples of his semi-hollow bass.
  10. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I love semi-hollow basses, and think they're underappreciated generally in the rock scene. My DiPinto Belvedere sounds absolutely huge. (See www.dipintoguitars.com) With high output single coils and 34" scale, it has plenty of clarity with rounds, and yet has some of the "air" and "thud" associated with semi-hollow and hollow basses. It's an inspiring tone. With two pickups, it has a pretty wide sonic range, and doesn't get muddy unless you want it to. The single coil hum isn't bad either.

    Meev992 is right on about Queens of the Stone Age. To hear a killer semi-hollow tone in heavy rock, check out the live CD/DVD set. (I assume they're not full hollowbodies, because those might generate feedback at QOTSA's gain levels.) I've played heavy rock on my DiPinto, and achieved tones very much like those.
  11. Tom Howland

    Tom Howland Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    Just got a Jerry Jones Bass.
    Love the tone of this bass (kills with flats)
    Big, fat, defined.
  12. BixB


    Jan 23, 2008
    For a current recording with a hollowbody listen to "The Last Fight" by Velvet Revolver. On the recording, Duff McKagan is playing a short-scale Duesenberg Hollowbody with half-round strings.
  13. Hoover

    Hoover Inactive

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City

    If you're referring to either of McCartney's Hofner basses, those are hollow, not semi-hollow.
  14. EpicSoundtracks


    Mar 10, 2006
    Oakland, CA
    Lollar Pickups, Dunlop Strings
  15. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    One that gets consistently good reviews (I have seen, heard, and played one, and I agree) is the Jack Casady Epiphone signature bass.
  16. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I have trouble hearing really significant differences between full hollow and solid body basses - so my theory is that semi-hollows and hollows don't sound much different at all.

    As far as I'm concerned, you can play any type of music on a hollow, semi-hollow or solid body bass. It's only the player's imagination that limits you.

    But consider the source.
  17. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    One difference is that semi-hollow bodied basses are less susceptible than are hollow bodied basses to body resonance feedback.
  18. mr sprocket

    mr sprocket

    Jul 31, 2006
    The hollow bodies can be versatile. I have my stylist string with DR Sunbeams and get an array of sounds. Next I will try some flats for a nice thump. I get some nice comments at church.
  19. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Good point! I must play at volumes where that's not usually a problem. For those in higher volume situations, this might make the difference between a hollow and semi-hollow well worth exploring.
  20. Jeff K

    Jeff K Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    +1 on the Jack Casady. I liked everything about mine except for the neck-side strap button.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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