Even though the popularity of solid-body electric guitars is as big, if not bigger than ever, more and more players have been seen using hollow-bodied electric guitars in many circumstances. I know that I recently have become very attracted to them for their kind of sound, playability and really the sheer challenge of playing such an instrument.
These kinds of guitars have always been more challenging than their solid-bodied cousins, and of course, it’s the reason in the first place that folks such as Les Paul, Paul Bigsby and Leo Fender started to design sold-bodies in the ‘40s. One thing is for sure, that if you want to play them loud, or even semi-loud, they will present you with feedback problems. I happen to really like the artistic challenge of playing with that feedback, and using it to my advantage. I used a hollow-body ES 330 on my latest album “All Tricked Out”, and, it really sang like a bird with that sweet “on the verge” kind of feedback that is so much fun to control, and to “play” with! I wasn’t playing super loud, but it was already feeding back a lot….I have NO idea how Ted Nugent manages to play at the volumes he does using a Gibson Byrdland, which is a purely all-hollow bodied guitar!
If you’re in the mood for getting into a more “personal” kind of sound, and doing solo guitar gigs that involve things such as fingerstyle and even solo Jazz guitar, then I would certainly recommend taking a look at the hollow-bodies. Gibson and Epiphone have always led the way with their beautiful hollow-bodied instruments, and the two I have pictured here are certainly no exception! The clarity, quality of construction and overall dependability of these guitars has always been the thing of legends, and I certainly recommend them as highly as possible!
In terms of my own personal approach these days, these kinds of instruments have been my guitars of choice, especially in quieter types of gigs. I have been doing some of them strictly solo, which has its own rewards, and also as a duet with my daughter, Lexie Roth, who has a new album out, and who loves to play acoustic and electric hollow-bodies as well. It certainly brings out the best in me, as far as my old days as an accompanist, or “hired gun” as many call it, and of course, those were also great years of learning for me, as well!
So in no way am I asking for you to put down that beloved solid-body baby of yours, but I highly recommend that you give the poor and sometimes “lonely” hollow-bodied electric a try. You really may just find a new “friend”, and a whole new array of sounds and textures at your more “resonant” fingertips! Enjoy…..