If you’re looking for information on how to get started with a hollow body guitar, you’re in the right place. We’ve put together a review as well as a six-part buyers guide that tells you everything that you need to know about buying a hollow body guitar.
Whether you’re looking for a semi, or fully hollow guitar this guide should give you everything you need to know.
Hollow Body Guitars
Hollow body guitars have one chamber on the inner part of the guitar. This allows for sound reverberation through the single inner passage. These share a similar construction to acoustic guitars as they both share this method of sound generation.
Best Hollow Body Guitars
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Knowing what you’re looking for can be half the battle with guitars. In this section of the post we look at some of our top rated hollow body guitars. We’ll be giving you a breakdown of what to expect, their construction as well as their sound quality.
Below we’ve listed the 4 best hollow body guitars you’ll be sure to love.
First up on the list we’ve got the Epiphone Casino. If you know guitars or rock and roll this won’t surprise you. We figured if this guitar’s good enough for the Beatles, it’s good enough to make our list.
Look and feel wise you get a maple body with a mahogany neck and a rosewood fretboard. The fretboard comes with 22 medium jumbo sized frets. This is a full sized model weighing 12 pounds and is not the lightest guitar out there. It comes equipped with P-90 pickups and a LockTone Tune-O-Matic Bridge. This helps it stay in tune for longer.
This is a great looking guitar but if you’re not satisfied with this particular option it is available in a variety of different colors.
Moving on to the sound this thing sounds brilliant when it’s unplugged. When plugged in you’ll notice there’s a fair amount of feedback. Although this is to be expected with the guitar being entirely hollow.
Overall this is an excellent guitar that looks great and sounds good too. It’s easy to see why rock icons like the Beatles took to it so fondly.
Ibanez Artcore AF55
Next up on the list we’ve got a full hollow body guitar from Ibanez, the AF55. If you’re looking for something light on the pocket this might be the guitar for you. Retailing with a very budget friendly price tag.
With this you get a mahogany neck and a maple body along with a rosewood fretboard. It comes with white dot inlay ART-ST bridge and VT06 tailpiece infinity R pickups. You’ll find the bridge has been secured using a wooden stand, which seems typical given the guitars classical wooden aesthetic.
When it comes to how this guitar sounds, you’ll be glad to hear it doesn’t sound like a cheap guitar. The fact it’s fully hollow really helps it sound wise. Especially when playing acoustically.
This guitars good for producing great resonance with very little (if any) feedback. This is a hugely versatile option suited to a variety of sounds from jazz to punk rock. Making this a great option for those of you who don’t want to feel limited to a single genre.
You can see for yourself but looks wise we think it’s incredible. The tobacco flat design is definitely easy on the eye and one to be admired. To summarise with this guitar you get a great bang for your buck. It’s great for those of you looking for their first hollow body. Yet good enough for intermediates looking for a change of scenery.
Gretsch G5420T Electromatic
Next on our list we’ve got this beautiful Orange Stain piece from Gretsch. It’s a real head turner and one that just had to make our list.
This guitar comes with a maple body and neck and a rosewood fretboard. You get some good hardware with this step up, including two Blacktop Filter’Tron humbuckers. These are fitted at the bridge as well as the neck position. You get separate volume controls for each of these as well as a single tone control. It’s worth mentioning that you also get a three-way pickup selector switch.
When it comes to the sound this guitar produces you’ll be in awe. This is another great guitar for versatility, coping well with the jazz tones as you’d imagine as well as classical rock sounds. You get the nice clean tones that you’d expect from a guitar in this price range. We touched on the design aspect a little earlier, and this thing looks great in the hands.
To conclude we feel this is a really good guitar from Gretsch. We’d consider this to be a fair step up in terms of quality from the G2622T which we explore later! The G2622T is more of a budget option. That said, these are two different beasts. With the G2622T of course being a semi hollow guitar, rather than completely hollow.
If you’re looking for a high quality guitar without breaking into the thousands then this is the one for you.
Epiphone Emperor Swingster
Next up on the list we’ve got this fine looking thing. The name “Swingster” screams jazz and its archtop styling means its got the look too.
In terms of the body you get a spruce top, maple/laminated burch body with a 3 piece maple neck as well as a rosewood fingerboard. The hardware stands out with its chrome finish. You get Grover Rotomatic 16:1 tuners, thumbnail fingerboard inlays and a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece. The tailpiece comes with a wire arm along with a non-floating tune-o-matic bridge.
You’re gonna love how this baby sounds with tones suited to rock, jazz, blues, as well as country. If you’re looking for something with beautiful clarity this will leave you stunned. It balances tone very well and despite being one of the more expensive guitars on the list, it really earns its money. Not only does it sound great but it looks great also.
This guitar is near flawless in terms of playability and sound quality. Aesthetically it’s down to personal preference but we love the look of this guitar. With the Swingster you get a top quality hollow body guitar that’s got a great balance and looks the part.
Semi Hollow Body Guitars
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Semi hollow body guitars try to capture some of the resonance of full hollowbodies, and reduce the feedback. This allows for the construction of the guitars to be slightly thinner. This is because a solid block of wood gets added to create an air chamber.
Best Semi Hollow Body Guitars
In this section of the post we’ll explore some of our favorite semi hollow body guitars. Again, we’ve gone through what you can expect from them in terms of body, hardware and sound.
Below we’ve listed 4 of the best semi hollow body guitars.
Ibanez Artcore AS73
Next up on the list we’ve got a semi-hollow body guitar from Ibanez. The Artcore Series AS73 is another great looking guitar available in a variety of colors.
With this model you get a maple body with a mahogany set neck and a bound rosewood fretboard. Hardware wise, this comes with two humbucking pickups. The scale length of the guitar is under 25 inches, which will boost the playability of this guitar.
The set neck is something we’re impressed with. For those of you who don’t know, set necks are glued into place rather than being bolted. Typically, this is a feature associated with more expensive guitars.
We would say the sound produced by this guitar is good but not remarkable. This is of course compared to models costing into the thousands. When you consider the price tag of this guitar you really can’t complain about the sound quality.
Overall this is a very well constructed guitar with a reasonable price tag. Boasting features associated with higher price tags, this is great value for money. Don’t be worried about outgrowing this as it’s a great option for even the most competent of guitarists.
Fender Classic Series ’72 Telecaster Thinline
If you’re a fan of the Rolling Stones or Keith Richards this might look familiar to you. The Fender ’72 Telecaster is well and truly a classic guitar.
With a distinctive ash body, maple neck and fretboard this guitar really is stunning. The hardware is great too with Fender wide range humbuckers, a 3 bolt neck plate and a hard tail bridge. This makes it a little easier to restring. Especially when compared to a string through bridge often associated with Telecasters.
On the sound front this guitar is awesome, It’s crisp as well as clear. It’s pretty difficult to sum up the sound capabilities of this Guitar. Versatility is one thing you can be certain of.
The ’72 Telecaster is a guitar we really like. It’s not crazy expensive but definitely can’t be considered a budget option. Overall this guitar gives you an iconic aesthetic with top quality sound.
Next up we’ve got a mid budget semi-hollow body guitar from Gretsch. Meet the G2622 Streamliner. The streamline range makes it easy to get your hands on a great looking Gretsch guitar for a reasonable price.
This guitar comes with a maple body, a nato neck and a rosewood fingerboard. You get 2 humbucking pickups as well as a bigsby tailpiece. Examining how the guitar looks this is a thing of beauty.
Don’t let first glance of the picture fool you, in some images you find online it looks dark enough to be black. You actually get a beautiful Torino green finish that’s a real eye catcher.
In terms of sound and playability we’re impressed. This thing looks awesome and feels great to hold. Despite being deemed an affordable Gretsch model this guitar has an expensive feel. We’ve known more expensive guitars to feel a lot more flimsy.
It sounds good too. The highs aren’t as protruding as they could be, but the mids are just fine.
Overall this is a great looking guitar with an expensive look and feel. It sounds good too and we’re surprised there’s not more of a compromise given this Gretsch models affordable price tag.
Guild X-175 Manhattan
If you haven’t heard of Guild, you’ll be interested to learn this is a guitar company that was acquired by Fender. This great semi hollow body guitar is well worthy of a mention on our list.
Body wise you get a 3 piece neck and a maple body. The fretboard is constructed from Indian rosewood. We love the fact that this comes with a classic rosewood bridge, rather than a tune-o-matic. You get a custom tailpiece, and a genuine bone nut. These kinds of tweaks make this guitar well worth its price tag.
In terms of the sound you get super clean and clear sounding tones from this thing. If you’re looking for a guitar specifically with Jazz in mind, oh boy. Not only does this sound great but the classic sunburst look makes the guitar a real eye catcher too.
We love the detail you get with this guitar. Despite it being a lesser known brand you’re in good hands with fenders acquisition.
Buying a Hollow Body Guitar
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Hollow body guitars get their name due to their hollow construction. The hollow body guitar is an electric guitar that is designed for use by both new and seasoned musicians and is famous for its’ acoustic-like sound.
While this popular hollowed out music maker can plug into an amplifier for amplified sound. It’s evident its’ powerful sound capabilities are present! Even when playing without the acoustic boost that the amplifier provides. This able-bodied instrument boasts a clear consistent sound. Which that carries at a high volume, even before the amplifier is connected!
The hollow body guitar is constructed with F-holes. With the conspicuously absent center block that contributes to a reverberating hollowed out sound.
Why Use a Hollow Body Guitar?
Some musicians swear by hollow bodies and won’t play anything else. Mainly because they are designed to deliver maximum acoustic performance. These instruments provide a lot of reverberation and acoustic projection. Especially compared to their semi-hollow body and solid guitar counterparts.
If jazz is your genre of choice then a hollow bodied guitar is guaranteed to give you that clean warm sound that you’re craving.
Pros and Cons
While many hollow body guitar fans do indeed swear by this hollowed out music maker. There are some who shy away from the instrument due to its’ inability to tolerate high grains while maintaining sound stability.
Some of the pros and cons largely depend on the preferences of the musician that is choosing their instrument. Let’s take a closer look at some of these
- Hollow Construction Produces Reverberating Sound
- Provides Warm, Round Tone
- Clean Sound
- High Acoustic Tone Ideal for Jazz
- Can be Susceptible to Feedback
- Uncontrollable with High GainLimited Genres
- Intolerance to High Gain
Who Should use a Hollow Body Guitar?
Hollow body guitars have become synonymous with the genre of jazz. If you’re a jazz player then a hollow bodied guitar is going to be your best option to produce that deep, mellow, and melodic sound that this genre calls for.
Jazz players aren’t the only players that can benefit from playing a hollow bodied guitar. There have been many successful rock and roll players who opt for a hollow bodied guitar. As we touched on previously, the Beatles that were able to sustain their famous melodic sound by playing one of these hollowed out beauties.
Tips for Buying a Hollow Body Guitar
Finding the best hollow bodied guitar for you is simple. It’s the one that matches your selected genre, your budget, and your current skill level while allowing room for growth. In this section we explore some specific tips for buying one.
Gibson and Epiphone are both leaders in the guitar industry. They’re are known for manufacturing quality and streamlined products. These hollow body manufacturers are some of the most popular manufacturers in the guitar industry. When you begin your quest for your hollow bodied guitar, these are good choices. These are industry leading for an option and opting for one or both of these brands is a safe bet.
Consider Your Genre
The hollow-bodied guitar is suited for creating deep, melodic, and method tones. Often associated with the booming sounds of jazz. Consider the genre that you will be using your new guitar to play the most. Then look for a guitar that you know is suited to that genre.
Create a Realistic Budget
A hollow bodied guitar is a long term investment. Be sure to research and budget for the best guitar that suits your needs that is within your price range. Keep in mind that to get the best fit for your individual playing needs, your price may exceed your expected budget.
Extra Tip: Budget for accessories and add-ons that you may need to buy in order to achieve the best playing experience.
So we’ve given you the basics on hollow bodied guitars. You should feel more confident in making your choice of guitar. These beauties have been around since the early 1930s. We’re sure they’re going to be around for many years to come. Especially as more people recognize the desire to replicate warm round tones and clean acoustic-like sound.
Don’t be ashamed to ask questions! Asking the right questions will save you a lot of time, money, and headaches in the long run.