Jump to content

Chambered Guitars


funkle
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've noticed that many, if not most solid body projects end up being chambered, or semi-hollow. I was just wondering what it is about this approach that is attractive to everyone. I personally love chambered guitars. Once I got my Ibanez AM300, I was hooked. I love the mellow, open, woody sound. It's interesting to me that they are so appealing to builders, but are so scarce as production instruments.

-Sven

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The hollow and semi-hollow body sound will probably always be sought after by players and listeners, even if we have periods, such as the 80's, where the sterile solid body, hot humbucker, floyd rose sound is very popular, people's ears will seek for the hollow-body sound again and again.

The electric guitar has become pretty boring, since everything that can be done with it, has been done. It started out way back, as an acoustic with a pickup, with not much sustain, then the 80's took the sustain as far as it could go, so it has kind of gone backwards now.

Maybe it comes down to the fact that electric lead guitar appeal has worn very thin, and creative rhythm playing is more important. You don't need solid body sustain for good rhythm playing, and a hollow-body sounds more interesting for rhythm.

Chambering is a fast and cheap way of making a solid-body sound more like a hollow/semi-hollow body. It's also much more stable. A hollow body electric can be hard to keep a consistant string action on, because the body is affected by weather changes and moves, causing the string action to rise and fall a little, so you end up leaving it a little higher than you would on a more stable solid-body.

Maybe someday, they'll create a geat sounding synthetic wood that can be molded into hollow-body shapes, and allow a great sounding hollow-body to sell really cheap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i was considering sawing the top off a guitar and drilling as many holes as i could like a honey comb kinda style to lighten the guitar as much as possible, then glue the top back on... not really an answer... just a though

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think thats because of the cost in producing verse's the market

Yeah, I thought of that, but I don't think that's the case, because there are plenty of cheap semi-hollow ES335 type guitars, which are harder to produce than a chambered solid guitar. And even in the higher end market, you don't see that many. The thinline Tele is really the only major one around.

Maybe the market is driven more by looks than sound? Or it could be because guitarists are so conservative about body styled.

-Sven

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i was considering sawing the top off a guitar and drilling as many holes as i could like a honey comb kinda style to lighten the guitar as much as possible, then glue the top back on... not really an answer... just a though

Warmoth offers that as an option. Seems like a good way to go if you want to lighten the instrument and open up the tone a little without causing feedback issues.

Here's something to drool over, and maybe get some ideas from:

http://www.kbguitars.com/

he has really maxamised this technique

-Sven

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Derek, I sort of did that, on a scaled-down stratish body that was very heavy and didn't sound that great to me. It had a pickguard, so I only drilled what the pickguard would hide. As many 3/4" inch holes as I could get in there with a forstner(sp?) bit. I then made my first wood pickguard, which was actually plywood, with a nice looking oak veneer on the outside. The guitar sounded better and I sold it within a year. I think my alder body strat with a "swimming pool" rout sounds much better, so I think I'll stick with that variation for my strat bodies with pickguards.

You wouldn't have to saw the top of a body off, you could just sand/plane the top to fresh bare wood, perform the 'Canadian chamber hole massacre', then glue a top over it. Problem would be if it's a body with contours, so I'm really thinking a tele body would be best.

I'm wondering with drilling several holes, instead of a big "pool" rout, if you make the guitar sound bigger ? Because there's so much more area for the sound vibration to travel. I could be all wrong, because I don't really know how that stuff works (if the sound travels to every outer edge of wood and if that makes anything worthwhile or noticable to the sound).

Then theres the option of removing wood between bridge and neck, or to the sides of that (thinline) or both ? I think there is such a thing as taking away too much wood. At least I got that idea from an article I read about John Mooney modding his strats with an over-sized "pool" rout under the pickguard, to simulate the sound of his other guitars, which were less road-worthy National hollow-bodies. He was quite pleased at how close he got the strats to sound like those hollowbodies, but he said a company that routed some bodies for him, actually routed out too much wood, and he glued some wood back in. How he knew what the right amount to take out is, is a mystery to me. I didn't rout my strats quite as much as a photo of his looks, just to be safe. Maybe I'll rout a little more out on another body and see.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well i don't put gut cuts on guitars for myself so i'd do the back with no worries..... about removing to much wood, i wouldn't go drilling to many holes in the center of the guitar where the majority of the tension is.... just behind the bridge and on the wings,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think thats because of the cost in producing verse's the market

Yeah, I thought of that, but I don't think that's the case, because there are plenty of cheap semi-hollow ES335 type guitars, which are harder to produce than a chambered solid guitar. And even in the higher end market, you don't see that many. The thinline Tele is really the only major one around.

Maybe the market is driven more by looks than sound? Or it could be because guitarists are so conservative about body styled.

-Sven

I've got a '99 Gibson Les Paul Double Cutaway and it has a chambered body. I am pretty sure that all of the DC models have chambered bodies. I love it because it sounds great, is a lot lighter than a regular Les Paul body and the DC shape gives you more fret access.

Gibson_dcemg_02a.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Getting back to Brian's market-driven idea (and pointedly ignoring the slam at '80's guitar gods), this is from Vintage Guitar Info:

"In late 1968, Fender introduced the Telecaster Thinline. Much like Gibson's 335, the Thinline has a solid center with hollow "wings" and a single "F" hole. Apparently Fender’s supply of lightweight ash was drying up. Fender looked for ways to use readily available, but heavier grades of ash for the Telecaster. Their solution was to hollow out portions of the body to reduce weight. The body was routed from the back on each side of pickup assembly creating hollow "wings".

And keep in mind, the first real "electric" guitar was Les Paul's "log" - a solid body that had hollow wings glued on to make it salable. The only guitars that get produced are ones that a manufacturer can reasonably expect to sell in large numbers. That's why there are cheap 335 copies (30+ years of sales history) but not many cheap boutique style guitars. It's all about the dollars, especially at the big manufacturers. Oh, and Vai still rules! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...