Well on an impromptu trip to a store, since I was in semi close proximity, I played a HB II(doublecut) with 5708's. A brief encounter, because I didn't have a ton of time. Played thru an SE50 head/2x12 cab. I dialed the amp in with a Mira since I've at least played one before, then quick tried a Mira 25th soapie(also really cool sounding). I used the mixmag jack.
Initial impressions were this:
The HB has a "woodiness"(don't like the term, but not sure how to describe) to it's tone that's very warm but clear. I tried both clean and with high gain, a little more with gain because I play more gain than straight clean and I wanted to get an idea of what it would sound like under my normal playing conditions. It's got a certain punchiness and low end response that most solid bodies don't have. Or maybe it's just a different type of bottom end. At any rate, it's a very "real" and upfront tone that's different to me - probably because I don't have any hollow body guitars. I think Emil Werstler described them being "honest", which seems accurate. I'm excited to hear the HB II, Singlecut hollow side by side along with a 5708 McCarty and a P22. Those are the main guitars I've got in the running for my next purchase. Either HB guitar would give the most diversity in what I already have for guitars.
Good luck with the decision. I can't wait to see what you end up with.
One thing I'm really curious about is... I love 5708's but, I usually like a slightly hotter pickup so the Archtop pickups are a big question mark for me.
Can anyone who's played both, describe the tone difference between the single & double cut on the mag pickups?
Nuthin' Fancy.....HB Spruce. It's a metal machine.
Not like the other kids...
Well I played a single and a double cut HB II and think I prefer the overall electric tone of the SC HB II. I hadn't much considered the hollowbody I because I didn't know how many were on the market, but I don't want to rule them out either. Or the Singlecut standard HB...but I don't see any of those out there anymore really. I doubt I'll be able to try a SC HB I or a standard before buying though.