If you’ve seen the Foo Fighters play, you’ve probably noticed how special Dave Grohl’s guitars are. The frontman mostly uses Gretsch semi-hollow guitars, and they offer the vintage, smooth sound that makes the tone of the band.
We’re talking about something other legendary guitar players have in common, people like Paul McCartney, John Lennon, B.B. King, Brian May, and George Benson have all used hollow body guitars. (In particular, Paul McCartney also played a hollow-body bass guitar on The Beatles).
It’s an easy pattern to see: amazing rock has been made and played with hollow-bodied guitars. Some of the most iconic songs in history have been made with these instruments.
Gibson invented these guitars about 80 years ago. They represent an alternative to the aggressive, fat, and rock-hungry solid-body guitars. Guitarists become attracted to the traditional hollow bodies because they offer both electric and acoustic tones, thus the result is a softer, vintage-like tone.
There’s definitely something about hollow bodies. They re aesthetically cool and give you the vintage looks and feel. More so, they are combined with amazing pickups to give you an amazing sound.
Because it’s not particularly easy to choose a hollow-body guitar, I’m here to help you choose from the top 10 hollow body guitar 2020 reviews I have listed below.
However, I need to explain why you should buy a hollow-body guitar, as they are not a toy for everyone, as I’m about to explain. In summary, whereas they provide the tones solid body guitars can’t, they lack the overall raw power of their competitors.
Even so, there’s so much competition in the market right now you can definitely find something of your taste. In fact, if I had X amount of money for an electric guitar, I’d rather go for a hollow body than a solid-body.
So come with me: I’m showing you everything you need to know about hollow guitars. For the sake of this article, we’re referring to “hollow guitars” as both hollow body and semi-hollow body electric guitars.
Hollow and semi-hollow guitars produce enough resonance that you can play without an amp and hear yourself.
Before we go on, I invite you to tell me in the comments, what’s your favorite hollow or semi-hollow guitar and why?
- 1 What is a hollow-body guitar?
- 2 Why should you buy a hollow or semi-hollow guitar?
- 3 Top 10 best hollow and semi-hollow electric guitars (2020 reviews)
- 4 Top pick: Epiphone ES-339 PRO semi-hollow electric guitar
- 5 Best Value: Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe semi-hollow electric guitar
- 6 Mid-range choice: Gretsch G5420T hollow electric guitar
- 7 Ibanez Artcore AS53TRF semi-hollow electric guitar
- 8 Fender Modern Player Starcaster semi-hollow electric guitar
- 9 Epiphone Wildkat Pearl White LE semi-hollow guitar
- 10 Godin 5th Avenue CW (Kingpin II) hollow body guitar
- 11 Epiphone Limited Edition ES-335 semi-hollow guitar
- 12 Epiphone Casino Thinline hollow guitar
- 13 Premium choice: Gretsch G6136T White Falcon hollow body guitar
- 14 Final considerations
What is a hollow-body guitar?
A hollow-body guitar (or a semi-acoustic guitar) combines the acoustic, natural sound of acoustic guitars plus the style and capacities of solid-body guitars.
Gibson changed the game when they first introduced these instruments in the ‘50s, and they continue to be revolutionary with distinctive tones and a wide array of items to choose from.
Hollow body guitars and their evolution, the semi-hollow guitars, still attract the attention of professional and enthusiasts musicians from any genre and any part of the world. Here’s a brief summary of what they offer:
- Hollow body guitars are great for blues, jazz, and classic rock. They produce clear, clean and soft tones. You can recognize them because they have two f-shaped holes on its large bodies.
- Semi-hollow guitars have increased gain and are better suited for rock and other modern genres. You can recognize them because they have either a single or two f-shaped holes on its sides, and they feature a smaller body, much like an electric guitar and less like an acoustic guitar.
Let’s understand the differences between these two kinds of guitars, both of which remain very active and popular.
- Hollow guitars
Hollow guitars came to the light on the ‘30s to compete against the loudness of large jazz orchestras and bands. They were archtop guitars like the Gibson Super 400 CES, which is an expensive, limited rarity nowadays.
The guitar uses a large open body with old school low output pickups. You can learn more about this type of pickup in this guide, which is something I recommend because most hollow and semi-hollow guitars employ these vintage alternatives.
These instruments were very successful in jazz because of their warm and clean tones. More so, they feel as smooth as a regular electric guitar.
Hollow body guitars have a shortcoming, though: they are very susceptible to feedback on high volume or gain. Some legendary players like Chet Atkins or George Benson have learned to use this in their favor. Alternative rock players also use this feedback for increased sustain and ambient noise, such as Steve Howe from Yes.
- Semi-hollow guitars
These are the most popular choice of the two because they have one feature that separates it from its older sibling.
Semi-hollow guitars have a wooden center block where manufacturers mount its pickups, unlike a full “hollow” body. It eliminates feedback.
These guitars work naturally with music genres that require distortion or overdrives because they have high-output alnico pickups.
B.B. King popularized these guitars and has inspired countless musicians with his passionate jazz.
Other aspects of a semi-hollow guitar include a thin body, a single F-hole, a fixed stop bar, a Bigsby Bridge (also tremolo arm, whammy bar, or vibrato tailpiece).
In essence, semi-hollow guitars represent a beautiful balance of contemporary and classic design and tones. All-action live guitar players would love these guitars, and one of the best modern examples I have is Foo Fighter’s frontman, Dave Grohl, who even has his own signature semi-hollow guitar, the Gibson Memphis. I would choose the Memphis as one of the top 10 best hollow guitars if it wasn’t so hard to find.
Another modern rocker I can add as an example is the late Chriss Cornell (Audioslave), who also used a signature Gibson ES model).
Nowadays, semi-hollow guitars can feature any kind of guitar mics, from low-output to powerful humbuckers.
Gibson created the hollow and semi-hollow guitar segment with the iconic Gibson ES-335.
Where did hollow-body guitars come from?
Manufactures came together to build amplifiers when the guitar was growing in popularity in the 1930s.
The first electric models came in the late 40s, and they were archtop models similar to acoustic guitar. They had a pickup placed in the area where the acoustic whole would b, and they had f-shaped holes on the sides like a violin.
Gibson began mass-producing these guitars. However, the archtop guitars produced too much feedback when guitar players cranked the volume up to compete with the rest of their bands.
Jazz guitar player Les Paul solved the problem when he introduced the first Gibson Les Paul guitar in the early ‘50s. While the model eliminated feedback, it lacked the traditional acoustic resonance as the archtop guitars.
So Les Paul decided to create an electrified archtop that could eliminate feedback while also preserving the acoustic resonance of traditional guitars. After years of trial and error and after Gibson debuted the Les Paul electric guitar in 1952, the company produced the first-ever semi-hollow guitar, the Gibson ES-335, a model that continues today.
The Gibson ES-335
The Gibson ES-335 is the most acclaimed hollow-body guitar there is. When Gibson introduced it, it had an overwhelming response.
When it came out, there was nothing similar. Basically, the ES-335 is an acoustic shell with a log inside where the hardware and neck are mounted.
The guitar was so slim Gibson successfully claimed the term “Thinline” back when it debuted in 1958. And as Les Paul intended, the ES-335 could play at high volumes, distortions, and overdrives without any feedback problems and while keeping the warmth as the richness of archtop hollow-body guitars.
B.B. King, who was one of the first professional players to fall in love with this guitar, has his own signature model, the Lucille ES-345, which has a switching circuit that facilitates his vibrato-style.
Gibson luthiers created these guitars with blues and jazz orchestras in mind.
Why should you buy a hollow or semi-hollow guitar?
If you’re looking for a new guitar, or for your first guitar, you’re probably now wondering about the split personality of semi-hollow guitars or the vintage feels and looks of hollow guitars.
Ultimately, the guitar’s body is the single most important factor determining the sound of your guitar. It affects the sound, the tone, the looks, feels in a very real way.
If you need some proof, you can simply grab an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar and see how they sound without amplification. There’s a major difference: acoustic guitars have a deep, hollow ringing sound you can feel, while electric guitars are less resonant and offer a thinner sound. These two guitars have marked differences due to the density of their bodies.
This is an extreme example to illustrate how a guitar’s body creates sound and playability. Now, when you plug in hollow and semi-hollow guitars (which is what we’re talking about), the body absorbs this acoustic resonance through the pickups, creating extra layers of depth and making your guitar feel like its breathing, like its alive. Or, at least, that’s the way I hear it.
It’s not the same as an electro-acoustic guitar, though, as these units only need to be louder with the pickups.
If you’re a beginner guitar player, I recommend you go for solid-state guitars instead, as those models are easier to play and often times cheaper.
With that in mind, let’s put the acoustic resonance to rest and focus on how the body and electronics of a hollow or semi-hollow guitar could be something for you.
- Hollow body guitars have nothing inside of their bodies other than electronics. They have a profound effect on the sound: the pickups capture the resonance of the strings vibrating with the hollow inside, but because there’s nothing shielding the pickups on the inside, they are highly susceptible to feedback and don’t mix well on distortion.
Still, they are a great choice for jazz, blues, classic rock, and other rock genres that don’t require such power. For instance, classic rock music tends to have soft guitars: instead of using distortion or overdrive pedals, they achieved overdriven sounds by simply cranking a tube amp. More so, lead guitars had a softer volume than rythm guitars.
Lastly, hollow bodies have larger bodies, a feature that offers open and natural tones for more subtle and subdued music genres.
- Semi-hollow guitars have only a portion of its body hollow, which is the area above the strings, where the F-hole is.
Each brand creates semi-hollow guitars with unique qualities, particularly unique pickups. In summary, these guitars will make people covet your guitars and make you look more professional right out of the bat; they offer the same dynamics as an acoustic guitar as you can vary the power output of the piece simply by the strength of your strumming; they feature an additional layer of sound that makes it feel more alive; and they give you all of the vintage advantages of classic guitars plus the modern technologies of modern, rock-fueled guitars.
But because semi-hollow guitars are so different from each other, it’s best if we take a look at the items of my list below.
If you want further information about the other features of a guitar (like tonewood, frets, size, strings, pickups, pickup configuration, etc…), you can check this electric guitars buyer’s guide.
The F-shaped hole is the typical characteristic of hollow and semi-hollow guitars
Top 10 best hollow and semi-hollow electric guitars (2020 reviews)
My guide will help you find the best hollow body guitar as well as the best semi-hollow body guitars. I’m sharing 5 models of each category, some of which are very affordable.
As the market is filled with both competitive and subpar alternatives, I’m here to show you which ones are good for you and why. Few people know how to choose these kinds of instruments.
My list features the best hollow and semi-hollow guitars you can buy right now. That means I’m cutting out custom, rare, and vintage guitars you couldn’t find -or probably afford- in the market.
One last thing: because hollow and semi-hollow guitars have been so coveted by iconic musicians, high-level alternatives of these kinds are very expensive, much more than solid-body guitars. Thus, the following order is based on how affordable and accessible these guitars are, not on which is better.
I left out the Gibson ES-335 guitars out of the list because they are very difficult to find and because they are pretty expensive.
Top pick: Epiphone ES-339 PRO semi-hollow electric guitar
The Gibson ES-339 is such an amazing series that anything you choose with that name belongs to the quintessential hollow body guitars.
Gibson introduced the ES models (ES short for “Electric Spanish) in 1936. It became an instant hit and it’s still a modern success.
They are capable of playing at high volumes while maintaining classic guitar tones. Commonly the ES-339 series packs low-output alnico pickups, which feature softer, mellow tones.
In 2007, the company reissued the guitar as the Gibson 1959 ES-335 Dot Reissue, which retains the sound and feels of the original and its handcrafted in Gibson’s Custom Shop. So, as you can imagine, this is a very rare, and very expensive guitar.
Instead, I’m sharing the Epiphone ES-339 Pro, an affordable, available, superb semi-hollow body guitar from Gibson’s budget-friendly subsidiary. This is a scaled-down Gibson ES-339 (which is a hollow guitar) featuring a modern rendition of electronics and hardware.
Furthermore, it has the same construction and materials, only smaller and lighter, which makes it more comfortable and better suited to other genres other than jazz and blues. In fact, this guitar can play anything except for metal: rock, blues, jazz, alternative rock, pop, pop-rock, funk, punk, and even country.
Because of these characteristics, the Epiphone ES-339 PRO feels comfortable for almost any player.
As of features, this is a small scale guitar with 14.25’’, which makes it friendly for small players. At the same time, a small-scale body delivers thinner tones than a larger guitar.
The guitar achieves its high levels of versatility thanks to its two Epiphone Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers, which are modeled after Gibson’s 57 Classics (vintage pickups). More so, with this guitar, you get individual coil splitting from pish-pull switching on each volume knob, which can blend half of each humbucker for the resulting tone.
Overall, this is a pretty impressive guitar with an easy action, good playability, plenty of versatility, and a rich, lively acoustic tone.
- Neck: three-piece mahogany, 24.75’’ scale, D profile neck.
- Fretboard: 12’’ rosewood.
- Freets: 22 medium-jumbo freets.
- Tuners: Vintage-style tuners.
- Body: aminated maple top body, semi-hollow with a solid center block.
- Controls: individual tone and volume knobs for each pickup plus push-pull coil-split switching on volume pots.
- Pickup configuration: HH.
- Strings: D’Addario XL .010-.046.
In summary, this is a clever re-imagining of the classic ES-339. It’s well put together, it has impressive features, and sells for a mid-level price. It delivers the “semi” tone and offers split-coil options.
It’s our top pick because it represents one of the best investments you could make into guitars: it’s both affordable and available, and its quality competes with guitars selling for three times its price.
Best Value: Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe semi-hollow electric guitar
Fender has been at the front of guitar making since they debuted the Fender Telecaster in the early ‘50s. When they followed with the Stratocaster, they began to ascent towards guitar supremacy.
Fender introduced the Thinline series of semi-hollow body guitars in 1972. The series features a single F-hole, an extended pickguard, and humbucker pickups to create the natural Telecaster tones.
The Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe is an “entry-level” semi-hollow guitar that looks and plays like a professional gear.
This is a smooth guitar suited for hard rock, alternative rock classic rock, blues, jazz, and anything in between. It ships with two Modern P90 single-coils, which mix a vintage tone with modern electronics. It has a tone control for each pickup and a three-way pickup switch for various sound combinations.
The tone is bright and sparkly. With a bit of overdrive, it offers a crunchy sound perfect for classic rock playing. This is an excellent choice for beginners.
Overall, this is a unique Fender guitar that’s, in my opinion, one of the best sounding guitars of the category.
- Neck: C-shaped maple neck.
- Fretboard: maple fretboard.
- Freets: 22 medium-jumbo freets.
- Body: aminated maple top body, semi-hollow with a solid center block.
- Controls: individual tone and volume knobs for each pickup plus a switch to select a blend between pickups (both, ore only one of them).
- Pickup configuration: SS.
I consider this guitar like the one offering the best value for the money. I understand many customers are looking for this, and such products are not easy to find. It produces one of the best sounds and catches instant attention. In fact, I find everything about it perfect.
Mid-range choice: Gretsch G5420T hollow electric guitar
Gretsch hollow guitars are very special as they thrive on retro looks. Even so, their designs are classy, timeless and have been used by countless legendary musicians like George Harrison and Chet Atkins.
G5420T is a very popular model from this iconic brand. I choose this because it’s a perfect mix of premium and affordable.
This model draws inspiration from classic hollow-body guitars. One of its design features that can definitely catch your eyes is its color, which might be “Orange Satin,” “Fairline Blue,” or “Aspen Green.”
The construction and finish of the guitar feel like its twice as expensive as it really is, although this model is mass-produced in Korea. It has two oversized bound f-holes, a maple body and a silver pickguard where the Gretsch logo rests. It’s a simple and stylish look from neck to body.
Furthermore, this is a large-scale 24.6’’ guitar, which makes it deliver fatter tones and suited for adult players rather than young ones.
The hardware inside is top-quality. An amazing feature it has is its two Blacktop Filter’Tron humbuckers at the neck and bridge position. They have individual volume controls plus a master tone control for a decent amount of versatility. More so, you have a three-way pickup selector.
It also features vintage-style tunning machines, which can hold the tune decently. Another feature to mention is its Bigsby Adjusto-Matic whammy bar, which is very sturdy and smooth and has the capacity to return to its original position after you use it.
You’ll get the classic tone you’d want from Gretsch, which is especially good for hard rock genres like alternative rock, stoner, funk rock, etc. It’s Filter’Tron humbucker pickups give you a wide array of vintage voices, from punchy clear to crunchy tones to a warm, jazzy tone. It even goes right up to an overdriven growl for heavier styles, so this guitar is also a good choice for metal genres (although not the heavier subgenres) and progressive rock.
Overall, I’d say the tone is an acid, Queens of the Stoneage-type tone, as you can see in the video above. Furthermore, I’ll change your opinion that hollow body guitars can’t “djent” with the following video:
Uner the three-zero mark, this is simply the best alternative there is.
You should remember Queen, precursors of the metal genre, plays on hollow-body guitars.
- Size: 24.6’’.
- Neck: shallow D neck.
- Tuners: set-lock vintage tuners.
- Fretboard: rosewood fretboard.
- Freets: 22 medium-jumbo freets.
- Body: maple hollow body.
- Controls: individual volume knobs for each pickup, a master tone knob, and a switch to select a blend between pickups (both, ore only one of them).
- Pickup configuration: HH.
Ibanez Artcore AS53TRF semi-hollow electric guitar
Back in 1945, a Japanese company named Hoshino started selling a Spanish guitar named Ibanez. 15 years later, Hoshino purchased the rights of the Ibanez name and started selling odd guitars to the U.S. That’s how it got its name, and to this day, Ibanez has made countless beginner-friendly guitars with top-notch quality and features.
The AS53TRF semi-hollow guitar handles every genre it possibly can for it’s very versatile. It also keeps feedback at bay because its pickups are mounted into a sustain block. Such configuration increases sustain and, coupled with ACH pickups, it gives a warm tone plus a quick response.
Its best feature is the Sure Grip III knobs, which gives you precise control over its fret plus a classy look.
Overall, this is a guitar for beginners and professionals alike. It’s slim, comfortable, affordable, and easy to play.
Fender Modern Player Starcaster semi-hollow electric guitar
The Fender Starcaster is the reissue of a 1970s hollow body guitar. Some players may disregard it because it has a bolt-on neck. However, many appreciate the guitar because it’s thin, light, and very easy to play.
It’s not a faithful reissue, though, it’s more of a modern re-imagining that keeps the same shape of the old guitar.
As all guitars from the Modern Player line, this Starcaster is beginner-friendly, affordable, and features a mid-range quality. These were the reasons why we chose it for the list. Additionally, this is a really easy guitar to find, you’d probably see it on your local music store, ready to be tested.
These guitars were discontinued in the 80s for Gibson was the leader of the hollow and semi-hollow market. At first, the Starcaster was sort of an oddball. However, the guitar rose again when indie players like Radiohead’s Jony Greenwood and The Killer’s Dave Keuning began using them.
In 2013, the Starcaster came back to the market and added a four-bolt neck joint plus a Gibson-style Adjusto-Matic bridge and a stop bar tailpiece. Plus, is has a comfortable C-shaped neck and a 25.5’’ scale.
All in all, this sounds like a Fender guitar, with all of its vintage warmth plus a snappy acoustic response.
As for pickups, it has two Fender humbuckers that offer plenty of versatility for rock and pop genres. Think of Radiohead to understand how wide is its range.
If you want to get the maximum of this guitar (and remember some professional guitar players use this piece) use a spring reverb plus an analog delay. Here’s some guidance on delay pedals for electric guitar.
This is the guitar to play alternative rock, progressive rock, hard rock, rock, pop-rock, indie rock, and almost any genre that needs effects to work. However, if you’re looking for the bottom-end definition genres like blues or metal need, this isn’t the guitar you should go for.
Epiphone Wildkat Pearl White LE semi-hollow guitar
Epiphone knows more about semi-hollow guitars than Gibson, and they translate their tricks and trades into affordable models that still retain the performance and qualities of a Gibson guitar.
One of Epiphone’s most successful models is the Epiphone Wildkat Pearl White LE, an “entry-level” semi-hollow guitar that offers a great combination of tone, build quality and hardware
It offers a lot of value for the buck, so I had to include on the top 10 best hollow and semi-hollow guitars list.
The aesthetic and design of the Wildkat model follow the standard semi-hollow blueprints, which have remained practically unchanged over the years. It has a maple D-shaped neck plus a standard rosewood fretboard.
As for hardware, it offers decent enough components for its price, with a quality Adjusto-Matic bridge and a Bigsby tailpiece and tunning machines. However, don’t go too hard on the whammy bar or you’ll have some trouble.
Regarding pickups, it has two P90 Dogear Classics single-coil pickups, which enhance live performance as much as possible. Each one has its own volume and tone knobs. There’s also a master volume and a pickup selector switch.
Everything with the guitar works smoothly, and it’s versatile enough to play classic and modern rock genres, as well as blues, jazz, and even reggae. To get the best possible sound out of this guitar, you need to tune it first, because the Wildkat has a pretty fragile intonation. Secondly, you need to understand these pickups are darker compared to other semi-hollow guitars, so this guitar can serve better for more acid and less melodic musical style.
Overall, this is a superb guitar by Epiphone. You won’t find the value it offers for its price anywhere else.
Godin 5th Avenue CW (Kingpin II) hollow body guitar
Godin is a Canada-based guitar manufacturer that has a solid track record innovating in the music industry. They have made MIDI-equipped electro-acoustic guitars, 11-string guitars, electric guitars with nylon strings, and much more. Everything they do is state-of-the-art.
The company expanded its shelves in recent years and added archtop-style guitars, and the Godin 5th Avenue CW is one of their best hollow body guitars available. And, see, Godin is already king regarding acoustic guitar, and they are now excelling in the hollow-body range.
The Kingpin II looks like a 19th Century-style French guitar selling for a sensible budget. It has “the soul of a 1950s archtop” with the pros of a modern guitar. And it sounds just as beautiful as it looks.
This guitar is made in Godin’s HQ in Canada and is crafted from Canadian wild cherry, a lovely, quality wood that comes in three eye-catching colors: the natural that shows of the grain; a burgundy finish; or a “Cognac Burst.”
The finish and design of this mid-priced guitar are top-notch, and you should expect no less from Godin. Amongst its features, I list the classic f-holes, a tortoiseshell pickguard, a cream biding around the body, a set neck made of leaf maple, and a 21 medium-jumbo freets on the rosewood fretboard.
As for hardware, the Kingpin II has modern electronics and pickups for a modern rock sound. The guitar ships the sustain-enhancing TUSQ bridge protected with a chrome tailpiece. And at the other end, it has sealed chrome tuning machines.
It comes with 2 custom-made Godin Kingpin P90 single-coil pickups. Single coils have proven their worth on hollow-body guitars.
The controls are easy as it has a simple master volume knob and single tone control, plus a three-way toggle switch. That might represent the downside for you as it doesn’t give you as much versatility as other guitars on the list.
Even so, the sound gives you a level of authenticity and detail other guitars fail to give. More so, it does so with affordable single-coils that are made for jazz, rock, classic rock, pop, and other soft genres.
The sound it delivers is balanced on low ends and warm, with a lot of clarity on mids and highs. In essence, it gives a smooth, jazzy tone. When you put some gain, the result is a fiery sound for delta blues and rock & roll.
In summary, this is a classy looking and great sounding guitar with a mid-range price tag. And although it packs formidable single-coil pickups, it lacks the versatility required to carry different musical genres.
Epiphone Limited Edition ES-335 semi-hollow guitar
The Epiphone Limited Edition ES-335 is a top-choice on the semi-hollow guitar market. The only downside is that it is heavily inclined towards blues, jazz, rock&roll, and country, so if you’re more of a modern player, this is not for you. However, if you think of B.B. King as an idol and an inspiration, you will love his guitar.
The Epiphone ES-335 is the affordable and available version of the legendary Gibson ES-335. It retains the same style and tone, added some modern upgrades, and made some key compromises to cut the prices.
The guitar features the same classic 24.75’’ archtop body of the original Gibson archtop. It has a mahogany neck glued into the body and features a 1960s D profile neck that offers great comfort and control.
It has a modern circuitry that offers a clean, reliable tone. The sound is handled by two passive Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers (which model Gibson’s 57’s pickups). It has a three-way selector switch and individual volume and tone controls for each pickup. Plus, it has a volume up that has a push/pull function.
These two humbuckers feature an impressive sound. The clean sound o the guitar is warm and full, which is why is very popular with jazz players. Some gain produces gritty and punchy tones suited fr blues. Furthermore, the coil-splitting feature adds some extra versatility
Lastly, you have Vintage Classic tuners with a tulip-design.
In summary, this is a great guitar heavily influenced by the Gibson ES-335. For an affordable price, it has a solid build, a timeless design, and an impressive sound. This is truly a worthwhile guitar for blues, jazz, rock & roll and everything in between.
Epiphone Casino Thinline hollow guitar
If this list heavily featured Epiphone is for a good reason: whereas Gibson is at the top of the professional hollow and semi-hollow guitars section, Epiphone is at the top of the mid-level segment.
The Epiphone Casino hollow guitar is a beautiful, timeless guitar famous for its sunburst tones and classic tones similar to a Beatles song.
What makes them so special, more than its tone, is their looks, for they are hand-painted and ship in plenty of colors.
This is a thin-line guitar made of maple, with a trapeze tailpiece, and a mahogany neck.
Its hollow construction comes with twin P-90 pickups. You would be wrong to think this is made for early rock. Instead, the sound coming out of this guitar is aggressive, punchy and warm, and it’s perfectly suited for alternative rock and progressive rock styles.
As for controls, it has individual volume and tone controls for each pickup plus a three-way selector switch.
More so, this is also the guitar for all-hands frontmen who want a versatile guitar that can do anything: throw a stable lead line, jump to a tasty riff, and launch a face-ripping solo. It can do anything while keeping that classical, vintage tone full of warm mids, rich highs, and subtle lows.
Overall, this is an all-time model that still goes strong.
On the downside, I’d say this is not a guitar for everybody. It does create some feedback on overtones, thus it might create an issue with a second guitar. That’s why I recommend this piece for power-trios or for guitar-piano-bass bands.
I’d also say this is a hard-to-play guitar, as you’d need to palm mute the guitar in order to erase the sustain
Even so, the guitar vibrates and feels alive like no other guitar on this list, and creates such a nice sustain on low overdrive levels that makes everything feel crunchier.
Premium choice: Gretsch G6136T White Falcon hollow body guitar
I’m closing the list with this premium pearl by the American brand Gretsch.
The Gretsch G6136T model excels at the hollow category and it’s probably the best one right now. It truly delivers another level of performance producing deep, and complex tones that can easily elevate your strings.
Much like the prior Gretsch, this model has two high sensitive Filter’Tron humbucker pickups that deliver pristine and balanced harmonics.
I love about this guitar that even though it’s large, it won’t tire you on the stage as it only weighs 24 pounds.
Furthermore, it has a U-shaped design that’s easy for playing. Its sensitive Filter’Tron pickups make it one of the best instruments in its league.
This is our premium choice because everything about this guitar is top-notch. Simply put, the violin-looking White Falcon is a premium guitar that offers the best specs, which includes weight, shape, angle, pickups, materials, and electronics.
I’d always go for a semi-hollow body over a hollow or a solid-body guitar because they simply represent the best of both worlds: they combine the richness and warmth of hollow-body guitars plus the feedback-resistance of overdrive-fueled solid-body guitars.
Furthermore, they are resonant enough for you to practice without an amp, which is a great advantage.
Lastly, these guitars feature a straightforward sound that is easy to use and requires not too many pedals, which is why many guitar players love these guitars above their counterparts.
If you’re into fast rock or heavy metal, chances are this wasn’t the article for you. However, if you’re more of a Noel Gallager, Dave Grohl, or The Edge-kind of guy, I strongly recommend you choose one of the above guitars. Take notice of the genres they are good for and the money they cost and go get it.
Lastly, I must add that, except for a couple of choices, beginners will feel more comfortable on solid-body guitars. Although if you’re reading this guide, I bet you already know about a thing or two about electric guitars.
What’s your take on this? What do you think are the best and the most affordable hollow and semi-hollow electric guitars? Leave your comments below!