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Les Paul w/"tone chambers" = semi-hollowbody guitar?

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  • Les Paul w/"tone chambers" = semi-hollowbody guitar?

    Lately, I've been toying with the idea of saving up for a good semi-hollowbody guitar--maybe a used Guild Starfire IV, or if possible, a used ES-335 (I'm not much for Rickenbackers--it's a silly aesthetic thing, really--I know they are excellent guitars)--that said, I already have in my possession a Gibson DC Les Paul Studio, which apparently already has "tone chambers" (as per info on the Gibson site: http://www.gibson.com/magazines/amplifier/1997/11/ax.html ) ...

    Anyways--my question is: would a Les Paul w/"tone chambers" (for example: the LP Double-Cut Standard and DC Studio, the Les Paul Supreme and the Custom Shop Cloud 9 series) actually be considered a "semi-hollowbody guitar" in the way that a Dot or a Starfire would be? Indeed, don't Gretsch guitars like the Duo Jet have "tone chambers" as well?

    Your educated thoughts and comments on the similarities and differences re: all of the above would be most welcome.

    All best, take care.
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  • #2
    i dont think theyre big enough.

    also, the shape of the weight relief holes in a les paul arent quite made for resonating. bunch of circles.

    a real semi hollow still likes to resonate acoustically.

    i dont know if tone chambers is the same as weight relief though.

    i think if it actually had wings like a semi hollow, like ive seen some les paul designs, itd be cool.
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    • #3
      Good question. I've got an ES-335, a G&L Bluesboy, which is semi-hollow but no f-holes and various solid bodies. Don't know about the Gibsons, but the G&L does take on some of the characteristics of the 335, sort of in between a true semi-hollow and a solid. It has the thicker, more vocal tone you associate with semi-hollows.

      I don't think you'd offically call them semi-hollow, but there's definitely a difference between them and a full solid body.

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      • #4
        Guild Bluesbird?
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        • #5
          I believe those "tone chambers" are more for weight relief than anything else.

          As for the sound, a semi-hollow guitar is a lot closer sonically to a solid body than most who've never played one realize.
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          • #6
            Depending on the size, tone chambers can have quite an effect on the sound. When comparing Les Pauls, I think they serve to really clean up the mids that are usually more muddy on their solid body counterparts. I've perforated the control plate on my LP DC Standard with tiny drill holes and it seems to have an effect on the overall sound of the guitar, almost serving to clean the sound up even more.

            It's by far the best sounding guitar I own.
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            • #7
              I had a LP Supreme last year and it was a bit acoustic sounding, but not nearly as alive as my Cloud Nine CR9 is. The tone chambering is a bit diffferent.
              I also have a CS 356F-59 and that sounds different from the Cloud Nine LP.
              I like the tones better on the semi-solid body LP's and 356's then the true solid body LP's and the 335.

              The tone is a bit more woody sounding on the LP and 356 then the 335 and Supreme is with a sweeter, clear treble without being harsh. The bass sounds a bit more even to the other frequencies also.

              The solid body LP's have too much of a focused tone for me with harsher sounding notes and a muddier bass.
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              • #8
                "tone chamber" is just a 50 cent word for weight relief

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                • #9
                  Sorry Booty but you obviously don't have any experience here, or at least not with the particular Gibsons we are discussing.

                  I've played a 356 - it's a smaller body variation of the 335 - and it was the guitar that closest resembled the sound of my LP DC. It's exactly as C-4 described it. If it weren't for that Custom Shop price near $3000, I'd have bought one by now.

                  Weight relief is when you basically drill holes through the wood to relieve weight and there are some LPs done that way. The LP DC is not one of them.

                  Tone chambers are indeed chambers. I removed the control plate on my LP DC and shined a flash light down in there. I could see and feel where the chambed area opened up and that front chamber is huge. I don't know about the chamber size in the neck area of the body but a large percentage of the body below the bridge is one large kidney shaped chamber. This is the same chamber that I 'tap' with the perforated control plate.

                  You can hear a difference playing the guitar unplugged with and without the perforated control plate - it is very resonant like a hollow body with the perforated plate, not as much so with the non-perforated plate but still not as muddy as a solid body LP.
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                  • #10
                    I think that chambered guitars do, in fact, have difference tonal characteristics than solid bodies of the same external configuration. Consider the classic ES-335 semihollow and BB King's Lucille...Lucille is technically chambered (since the body is entirely enclosed) and it is very much a semi-hollow for tone. The physics of tone chambers is shrouded in mystery, however, if you look at acoustic interferograms in a dreadnaught, some patterns (pun!) emerge:


                    IN particular, "sound chamber" sized foci are associated with mid-range harmonics. This is precisely where semi-hollow's and full hollows show their stuff. The natural mids make the guitar's voice lively and organic. This is possibly the reason that PAFs work magic in a 335.

                    Just my 2-cents.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Dark Horse
                      Sorry Booty but you obviously don't have any experience here, or at least not with the particular Gibsons we are discussing.


                      well, its not the first time I didn't know what I was talking about, and probably won't be the last.

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                      • #12
                        LOL.
                        Gibson LP DC Standard -> HBE Power Screamer ->Fender Blues Deluxe

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                        • #13
                          Thank you all *very much* for your thoughts and responses!

                          Any other thoughts on the matter would be most appreciated.

                          Till again, take care.
                          **per ardua, et astra**

                          Righteously *excellent* HC Classified transactions with: SHOVELHEAD, Derivicus Jeff.

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                          • #14
                            I've always considered "semi-solid" guitars, or guitars with tone chambers and a solid top to be something like a more resonant, full-sounding solidbody, which is the reason i went with a chambered body for the tele i'm building, to take some of the edge off of the tele's natural brightness.
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