Hollobody VS Solidbody Guitar

Hollowbody VS Solidbody Guitar

miscellaneous Feb 13, 2015

Hollowbody Guitar Question by Bryan
(Tucson, AZ, USA)

Hello Marc,

I play a solid-body guitar, but for a long time I've been wanting to get a hollow-body guitar to play jazz. I've watched dozens of videos online of people playing them, and I've personally tried out quite a few of them in local music stores.

However, my dilemma is that I can't really hear a large difference in sound between a solid-body guitar and a hollow-body guitar when they are being played through an amp. For example, in several music stores I played with only the neck-pickup on, the tone low, and no amp effects for both guitars, and the differences were very minute to me. However, playing unplugged, the hollow-body sounds very different from the solid-body; the hollow-body has a nice woody, resonant acoustic sound, while the solid-body has a sharper, harsher sound to it.

I know that when you play an electric guitar through an amp, the vibrations in the guitar string create a disturbance in the magnetic field of the pickup beneath it, and this disturbance is translated into a current that runs into the amp. The amp then takes this current and translates it into a sound.(please tell me if I am wrong about this)

So, with all these in mind my question is:

Does the body type of a guitar (hollow or solid) have any effect on the string vibration that is sensed by the pick-up?

M-A Answers to Bryan on "Hollowbody versus Solidbody Guitars"
Hello Bryan,

A question for the ages!

"Do you need a Jazz guitar in order to play Jazz on the guitar?"

To be brutally honest, I do not know how to answer the more technical part of your question. I mean, of course if you pluck just a string in the air (with a pickup attached), the sound coming out of the amp will be different than if the string has a piece of wood attached to it (i.e. solid body guitar).

Or even more different if there's a whole wooden box attached to it! :-)

I guess, the subtlety of an amplified arch top guitar tone comes from the sustain. But I may be wrong! (Anybody, please feel free to leave comments below.)

Isn't the overall resonance patterns (the timbre) of the the vibrating string affected by the piece of wood it is attached to?

So, in the fear of becoming too scientific about this (LOL) , let me just give me my basic pointer for solid body VS hollow body:

Listen to Podcast #2 here ...

The discussion is pretty complete in the podcast. My whole opinion is right there.

Or, as Louis CK would put it "I don't know any more things, ok?"


Marc-Andre Seguin
"Improve Your Jazz Guitar Playing with a REAL Teacher"


For intermediate guitarists ready to "crack the code" in jazz


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