Originally Posted by Gresh
What's your take on the hollowbody vibe, how different of an animal is it from the others...a mini-review from your perspective would be cool if you can spare a moment to pontificate...
I really like the PRS Hollowbody II, but the only other hollowbody I've owned in my life was an Ibanez Artstar AS120, so there's quite a difference between the two in terms of $$$.
Overall, the PRS HBII has impeccable craftsmanship, great playability, smooth tone. However, the Korean-made AS120 was just as playable and had a different but equally nice tone. The moral of the story: As always, with PRS you pay for the attention to detail!
It's amazing how light the HBII is--it doesn't have a center block like most hollowbodies. It feels like the lightest guitar I've ever owned. It still feels very solid; however, given that it has basically no internal bracing I certainly wouldn't want to drop it down a flight of stairs.
My HBII has flamed maple front & back (not 10-top, I must add). Personally, I think it's a little too bright for standard jazz work (I play in a 30-piece big band)--the HBI (which has a maple top and mahogany back) or HB-Spruce (spruce top and mahogany back) would both have slightly warmer tones. (So, why did I get HBII then? Let's just say I got a deal...)
This is definitely a "clean playing" guitar... the pickups are very low output. Soloing on it with light distortion requires a lot more effort than most guitars, and obviously heavy distortion isn't an option. I think other hollowbodies (ES-335, the Artstars) hold up better if you do want to switch in a little distortion for a solo. I've been debating putting McCarty pickups into it (at least in the bridge position) for just a little more power when I need it.
The piezo system is top notch... similar in implementation to the double-edge... 2 output jacks with a 3-way switch, or 1 output jack with a mix control. It sounds great plugged directly into the PA or an acoustic amp... actually, it sounds better than either of my acoustics (both Guilds with Fishman prefix blender preamps) plugged into a PA/acoustic amp.
So there's a few random thoughts on it (probably not enough to merit calling it a review!). When you consider what Gibson wants for a hollowbody, comparing the Gibson craftsmanship to PRS craftsmanship, the PRS doesn't look like as bad of a deal. However, if I was to quit playing in the big band, I'd probably sell it and buy a much cheaper hollowbody to have around. It's cool, but at the end of the day I'd probably rather have a couple more solidbody McCarty's!