By Jason DeLorenzo
As a guitar player with endless possibilities for a rig and obsessing over the smallest details, it’s possible that maybe the biggest pieces of the puzzle can get missed. For a second, let’s step away from your cabinet, pedals, cables, even picks—and focus on the most important piece aside from your amplifier: your guitar. No brainer, right? Maybe, but also possibly overlooked. Of course there are numerous rabbit holes you could wander down on this discussion, however, let’s explore beyond tone woods and pickups and zero-in on another interesting topic: solid vs. semi-hollow body guitars.
Solid bodies guitars are thought to increase sustain and be the perfect complement for rock, metal and punk players. Purist Les Paul followers will insist that the best Les Paul, is the heaviest Les Paul. Modern players don’t want any of those swiss-cheese, hollowed out bodies nor do we want our grandfather’s acoustic guitar. We want to plug in a loud, mean, sunburst Les Paul and crank it! Growing up with a picture of Jimmy Page on the wall was an iconic symbol of rock history that rooted a lot of us in our current tastes. Of course, in his hands you’ll find a Les Paul shadowed by a still-in-production Orange AD Series in the background.
Holding this revered image in mind, once upon a time I insisted on a heavier guitar. I didn’t want a Les Paul with holes in it or half the body hollowed out and missing; that’s not a real guitar, I thought. Where’s the sustain going to be if the manufacture removed pounds off the instrument? Will it still sound good? My concerns weren’t limited to just a Les Paul, it didn’t matter if it was semi-hollow or even a hollow body–it didn’t entice me. Looking at telecasters over the years and seeing the open f-hole on one side of the guitar peaked zero interest for me. Sure, it looked nice (and we know guitar players can be a bit superficial) but I looked upon those guitars as something for the faint of heart not for someone that wanted to dime it.