When it comes to old school guitars, there are few that can beat the sound and tone of hollow-body and semi-hollow body guitars. These were once all the rage among blues and jazz players. They were also the guitar of choice for country and bluegrass pickers.
This later changed once solid-body electric guitars made their way onto the stage. But for a time, starting around the 1930s, hollow-body and semi-hollow body electric guitars spread the gospel of blues and jazz around the globe.
The sound from a hollow-body electric guitar offered booming volume, warmth, dynamics, and some of the earliest grit and crunch that defined the sound of blues.
Oscar Schmidt was incorporated in 1911 and by the 1920s had factories in Europe and America. They made stringed instruments of all kinds, including banjos, mandolins, and a variety of guitar models and styles.
The company gained a reputation as a high-quality producer of guitars that offered a superior tone and volume. Especially among the rural areas of the United States, Oscar Schmidt was the choice for bluegrass, country, and blues musicians alike.
This was partly due to the fact that the company was one of the only guitar-makers who sent salesmen into the poorer parts of the South and Appalachia. In those parts of America, there were no retail stores selling the latest guitar models, so Oscar Schmidt’s venture in the backwoods of America paid off handsomely.
Many guitar players are unfamiliar with Oscar Schmidt guitars, but in recent years that has started to change. The company was bought by Washburn after suffering through some financial distress. Since that acquisition, Oscar Schmidt guitars have slowly recaptured the imagination of nostalgia-seekers and vintage consumers.
…the craftsmanship is superb, and the prices are unbelievable for such high-quality instruments.
If you are interested in tapping into the old school vibe of electric guitars, the Oscar Schmidt OE-30CH Classic Semi-hollow body electric guitar is a great place to start.
So, let’s have a look at just what makes this blast from the past tick…
Oscar Schmidt OE30CH Classic Semi-Hollowbody Electric Guitar
This guitar features a semi-hollow maple body. Double cutaway with two F-shaped soundholes and a stellar cherry red finish. The body on this guitar was crafted with precision and care making is reliable and strong.
The use of maple for the body gives this guitar a bright tone that is not sharp or overpowering. Maple is known for its long sustain and bite. When maple is used in semi-hollow body designs, the sustain is further extended and fattened while the brightness is warmed up considerably.
Semi-hollow body guitars differ from true hollow-body guitars because there is a solid piece of wood running down the middle. This adds heft to the weight and dynamics to the sound.
With a semi-hollow body design, there are two chambers for the sound to reverberate as opposed to just one big chamber like in a full hollow-body. Add in the solid middle piece of maple, and you have got a tone that shines and hums with a hint of aggression and lots of character.
Also made from maple, the neck is sturdy, strong, and smooth. Solid maple helps to produce more bite and grit but also works to balance the tones. The neck is also done out in the same cherry red finish.
The fretboard is made of rosewood and features twenty-two frets and dot inlays. Rosewood acts as a magnifier to the musical properties of the wood used in the neck. It is one of the reasons rosewood is a popular choice for fretboard construction.
Rest assured this maple neck is going to endure all kinds of use and abuse without ever slowing down.
Oscar Schmidt wanted to keep the look of a vintage semi-hollow body guitar but needed to add some modern accessories to make it make adaptable and versatile. Rather than going with a Trapeze bridge and tailpiece, the Oscar Schmidt OE-30 opted for a standard Tune-O-Matic Bridge and tailpiece.
This upgrade provides better string tension and stability. It also means that adjusting the action is much easier as well.
The Tune-O-Matic Bridge is the same kind of bridge that you would find on a Les Paul.
The tuners are standard, modern tuners. Again, this is just a little bit of modernization that makes this guitar easier to keep in tune by replacing the old open-back tuners that tend to get dirty, making them less accurate.
In another break from tradition, Oscar Schmidt decided to swap out the soap bar-style pickups for something a bit punchier. The OE-30 features two standard humbucking pickups, each one with independent control knobs for volume and tone.
This again gives you the kind of on-the-fly flexibility in tone-shaping that makes dual humbuckers so appealing. It is easy to adjust just how much each pickup is kicking out, along with the ability to play with the color of the tone.
A three-way toggle position selector lets you mellow this guitar into a deep sullen valley on the neck position. Then you can switch to the bridge for aggressive bite and brilliance.
Basically, the humbuckers give you versatility and range like a solid-body guitar. But, keep the lush flavors that accompany a semi-hollow body guitar.