Before the invention of solid body electric guitars, it was hollow body guitars that ruled in the realms of rock, blues, and jazz.
These guitars are not only electric, but they can be played acoustically as well. This gives them quite a distinction in their sound and tone that is not found in solid body electric guitars.
The sound of a hollow body electric guitar can be heard in a diversity of songs. From the Beatles “Don’t Let Me Down” to BB King’s “The Thrill is Gone.” Hollow body electric guitars have their fingerprints all over epic songs and styles.
If you are looking to get your rock and blues to sound like the old days, you should take a hollow body for a spin.
So, saddle up as we review the best semi-hollow and hollow body electric guitars on the market…
- Top 10 Best Hollow And Semi-Hollow Body Guitars In 2020 Reviews
- 1Gretsch G5420T Electromatic Hollow Body Guitar with Bigsby – Orange
- 2 Godin 5th Avenue CW Electric Guitar (Kingpin II, Cognac Burst)
- 3 Epiphone WILDKAT Royale Semi-Hollowbody Electric Guitar with Bigsby Tremolo, Pearl White
- 4 Hagstrom Tremar Viking Deluxe Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar – Black Gloss
- 5 Epiphone ETZ2VNNH1 Zenith Hollow-Body Electric Guitar Reissue
- 6 Ibanez AG75BS Artcore Hollow Body Electric Guitar, Sunburst Finish
- 7 Gretsch G100CE Synchromatic Archtop Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- 8 Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe, Maple Fingerboard – Black Transparent
- 9 Epiphone Limited Edition ES-335 PRO Electric Guitar Vintage Sunburst
- 10 Guild Starfire II ST Hollow Body Electric Guitar
- Best Hollow and Semi-Hollow Body Guitars Buyer’s Guide
- So, What Are The Best Hollow and Semi-Hollow Body Guitars?
Top 10 Best Hollow And Semi-Hollow Body Guitars In 2020 Reviews
1Gretsch G5420T Electromatic Hollow Body Guitar with Bigsby – Orange
A new voice in an old look.
The Gretsch G542OT Electromatic Hollow Body is a mix of the old and the new. The guitar offers you a sound that is bold, dynamic, and articulate. As a hollow body guitar, this Gretsch has sweet resonance and lots of body. A truly, lovely-sounding guitar thanks to its build and hardware.
The body of this guitar is 5-ply maple top, back, and sides. A hollow body guitar with a maple body means you are going to get a bright tone with plenty of sustain and bite.
It features a bound cutaway which allows you get way up on the neck and hit some humming solo notes. The body is balanced and lightweight.
The neck is made of maple as well and has a rosewood fretboard with twenty-two medium jumbo frets and Pearloid Thumbnail/Half Moon inlays. A sturdy, sleek and quick neck that is easy to play, it feels natural in your hands.
The bridge is an Adjusto-Matic that allows to easily adjust the action to your liking. It also includes a Bigsby B60 Vibrato tailpiece, vintage open-back tuners and chrome-plated hardware. All of which gives you a vintage looking hollow body guitar.
The real kicker for this guitar is the Black Top FilterTron humbucking pickups on the neck and the bridge. These humbucking pickups provide you with oodles of punch and twang. Each pickup has its own volume control knob. Create the perfect balance between punch, bite, and brightness with just a few turns of the knob.
There is a master tone control knob that allows you further hone the sound you want.
This guitar is great for blues, jazz, country, and funk. The hollow body design combined with FilterTron humbucker pickups means this guitar has plenty of sustain and wail that shimmers with color and class.
2 Godin 5th Avenue CW Electric Guitar (Kingpin II, Cognac Burst)
Sweet sound and style.
This archtop hollow body electric guitar is a sweet-sounding instrument that offers loads of tonal dynamics in a stylish package.
The Godin 5th Avenue is made from distinctive woods. The body and sides are made of Canadian wild cherry along with a wild cherry archtop as well. This kind of design is like that of the archtops from the 1950s. But with even more projection and natural reverb from the low and mid-range tones.
The cutaway body offers you more room to reach higher up on the neck, and the double F-shaped sound holes add extra sustain and natural acoustic resonance and tone. You will notice that this guitar has a defined woody tone that gives you a vintage archtop sound that is soulful and defined.
The neck is constructed from silver leaf maple and features a rosewood fretboard. The neck also includes a double action Truss Rod which means you get greater stability and ease of play.
The tuners are high-ratio open gear tuners, and the bridge is an adjustable TUSQ bridge made by Graphtec that lets you easily adjust the height of the action. It also comes with a Trapeze tailpiece to round out the vintage appearance.
With a Cognac Burst finish and cream binding, the Godin 5th Avenue looks fantastic.
The pickups are Godin’s own Kingpin P-90 active single-coil pickups for both the bridge and the neck. There is one master volume control knob and one master tone knob, and a three-way toggle switch. You can really dial in some serious, moody, woody, bluesy tones and sounds that are rich and full.
With the Godin 5th Avenue you can be sure you get a real vintage hollow body sound and tone that is rich and full of warm overtones.
3 Epiphone WILDKAT Royale Semi-Hollowbody Electric Guitar with Bigsby Tremolo, Pearl White
A limited production reissue of true beauty.
The Wildkat Royale is a semi-hollow body electric guitar with a distinctive appearance and plenty of classic tones and bite.
The body is made of mahogany with a maple archtop. The semi-hollow mahogany body gives you extra warmth, fat tones, and sustain. It has two F-shaped sound holes and a cutaway that gives you more room to maneuver higher up the neck.
The neck is slim-tapered mahogany that is set-in. The fretboard is made of rosewood and features 22 jumbo frets and Pearloid dot inlays. There is no buzzing with the frets, and the rosewood is smooth and fast.
The bridge is a Locktone Tune-O-Matic that works well in combination with the Bigsby B70 Vibrato Tailpiece.
The tuners are Grover tuners that hold your strings in tune for longer periods of time.
All the hardware is gold-plated, and it features a vintage-style Epiphone head badge. The entire body and neck are done out in a gorgeous Pearl White finish.
The pickups are classic dog-ear P-90 single coils. Each pickup is gold-plated to match the hardware.
These pickups offer all kinds of bite and bark. You will get punchy and stinging tones that work with numerous styles. You can have this guitar purring with warmth and sustain, then just as easily turn it mean and nasty.
The vintage pickups are the same ones found on many of the Beatles’ jangly rhythms and leads.
With a master volume control and two separate volume knobs for each of the pickups, you can shape your sound to get the right amount of balance and brilliance.
A stunning sound and appearance, Epiphone has long been a leader in high-quality semi-hollow body guitar designs. And continues the tradition with this fine guitar.
4 Hagstrom Tremar Viking Deluxe Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar – Black Gloss
Whoa, Black Betty.
Built to recreate the glory of the old Hagstrom guitars. This semi-hollow body electric is super easy to play while providing you with a new dimension of tone and nuance. The body is contoured flame maple which means it is bright and accentuated. It features two F-shaped sound holes and double cutaway at the neck.
The neck is made of maple, which makes it strong and stable. It also features the H-Expander truss rod created by Hagstrom. This kind of truss rod design provides for enhanced stability and intonation throughout the length of the neck.
The fretboard is made with Hagstrom’s own unique Resinator wood.
Hagstrom resonator wood is made from composite wood that is engineered to provide a balanced density and overall stability. It is similar to ebony but is more durable and adds clarity to the tone and details to the harmonics.
This guitar combines Hagstrom’s vintage Vibrato bridge with their own high-quality hardware. The Vibrato bridge is made with heavy use in mind, and keeps the guitar in tune and ensures that the intonation is pristine.
With custom Hagstrom HJ-50 humbucking pickups, you can expect that this guitar is sweet and smooth when it needs to be. But, it has plenty of growl and howl when you need to rock.
All the hardware is chrome-plated, and the body and neck are finished with a beautiful Black Gloss. The Viking Deluxe is a solidly built guitar that has a lovely sound and excellent playability.
5 Epiphone ETZ2VNNH1 Zenith Hollow-Body Electric Guitar Reissue
The Zenith Masterbuilt is back.
Originally introduced in the 1930s, the Epiphone Zenith is a fully hollow body electric guitar that is expressive and warm.
The top of this guitar is solid spruce, and the back and sides are made from laminated maple.
The combination of a maple body with a spruce top provides you with a very bright sounding tone that has natural woody overtones. Two F-shaped sound holes give you additional resonance and volume that lets you play it as a pure acoustic guitar.
The finish is aged Gloss and brings out the natural grains and looks spectacular.
The neck is a classic design construction. It is made using a five-piece mahogany/maple blend which offers lots of stability and great intonation. It is a rounded C-shaped neck which lets you move up and down the neck effortlessly.
The fretboard is made of ebony, complete with Falling Leaves inlays.
The bridge on this guitar is actually an integrated Shadow SH-100 pickup.
With an integrated pick in the bridge, there are no external controls. You simply plug in and play. It also means that you can get amplification from the vibrations of the guitar body more so than the vibration of the strings. The overall effect is lots of bright warmth that is ideal for jazz and blues styles.
The Zenith reissue also includes a Trapeze tailpiece and Epiphone’s own Historic Tuners.
As a reissue of one of Epiphone’s most iconic guitar, this hollow body with take you back to a time when tone and sound were clear and sang with soul.
6 Ibanez AG75BS Artcore Hollow Body Electric Guitar, Sunburst Finish
The Ibanez Artcore Hollow Body is a very reasonably priced guitar that offers fat, clear tones.
The body is made of maple for the back, sides, and top. The full maple hollow body has lots of clear and bright-sounding tones. Two F-shaped sound holes help increase the overall resonance while adding texture and natural volume. A single cutaway to give you easier access to the higher frets.
Decked out in a lovely Sunburst finish, this guitar has the vintage look of an older hollow body guitar.
This guitar features a set-in, Artcore neck made of solid mahogany. It is designed for better sustain higher up on the neck and provides you with smooth, fast action and playability.
The fretboard is bound rosewood with large frets and block inlays. The tuners are Sure Grip III that ensures precise control and will not slip out of tune.
The bridge and neck pickups are both humbuckers. Each pickup has dedicated volume and tone control knobs. It also features a three-way toggle switch that allows you to change between the pickups, depending on how much fullness and body you want.
This hollow body is a true hollow body. There are no sound-blocks, so the tone and sound are very hollow and full with loads of woody richness.
At a very affordable price, the Ibanez AG75BS is a great hollow body that can handle all kinds of music styles and trials.
7 Gretsch G100CE Synchromatic Archtop Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
All that jazz.
Gretsch has a long reputation of making excellent vintage-style guitars, especially hollow body designs.
This guitar is another fine entry in the long line of Gretsch guitars. The body is made of maple with an archtop that delivers rich and mellow tones which are both bright and warm. The finish is an elegant natural urethane that is reminiscent of the classic hollow body aesthetics.
The neck on this guitar is also solid maple, with a bound rosewood fretboard that features block pearloid inlays. It is fast and slick. The frets don’t have any buzz and are comfortable – they deliver easy playability.
The bridge is an adjustable Synchromatic Bridge. This is a solid and sturdy bridge that can be used to tweak the action to your liking effortlessly. The rosewood bridge works in combination with the Chromatic tailpiece to keep your intonation true and holds the strings in tune for longer.
With the G-100CE, Gretsch took a different approach to the pickup. Rather than using two pickups, Gretsch opted to use just one of their own single-coil pickups set at the neck position. The pickup has tone and volume control knobs.
Not only does this guitar feature a single neck pickup, but the pickup is also placed closer to the neck than on most hollow body guitars.
Having only a neck pickup can seriously affect the range of tone you can dial in. Neck pickups give a warm, rounded earthy tone on hollow body guitars. By placing the pickup even closer to the neck, you will find the tone to have more pronounced low and mid-range frequencies.
There is less bite, but more fullness. Gresch worked diligently to capture a pure “jazz box” sound with this pickup. So, you can rely on this guitar to serve up all kinds of mellow silkiness and smooth walking chords.
This guitar is the ideal instrument for the die-hard jazzman.
A uniquely designed hollow body guitar, Gretsch continues to produce fantastic-sounding instruments.
8 Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe, Maple Fingerboard – Black Transparent
Absolute Fender goodness.
Fender is proud to present a new take on one of their most popular and legendary guitars. The Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe stays true to its roots but adds modern and some unconventional new features.
This Telecaster is a semi-hollow body electric guitar with a single F-shaped sound hole. The body is made of mahogany that creates wonderful warmth with rich and full sustain. The Transparent Black finish is distinctive and will definitely catch a more than a few eyes.
The neck is C-shaped and made from maple with a maple fretboard. The 9.5-inch radius of the fretboard gives you comfort and speed when playing. Twenty-two jumbo frets that are smooth and ring true.
The six-saddle, hardtail bridge is made to further enhance the precision of your intonation. It allows for greater adjustability to the action on individual strings. You would normally find this kind of bridge on a Stratocaster.
The bridge means that you can set the action to your personal playing style. You can lower the action on the top strings if you are a rhythm guitarist or raise them to bring more shine and sustain to your high-end solos.
The big modern addition to this guitar is the pickups. While Telecasters typically include Texas Special single coil pickups, the Modern Player Thinline boasts two MP-90 pickups. These are still single coil pickups, but they are modeled after P-90 pickups.
Classic Telecaster pickups are known for the twang and rawness that they deliver. The MP-90 pickups are not nearly as twangy, but are more balanced and offer a wider-variety of sounds and tones. This makes these pickups a great fit with any musical genre.
Both the neck and bridge pickup are further refined with dedicated volume and tone control knobs. This means that you can easily shape your sound. Set both pickups to have similar tones and levels or have them set as dueling opposites. A three-way toggle switch makes jumping between diverse tones a cinch.
Fender’s Moder Player Telecaster is a highly versatile guitar that works from sunup to sundown without ever breaking a sweat.
9 Epiphone Limited Edition ES-335 PRO Electric Guitar Vintage Sunburst
Limited Edition Elegance.
First introduced to the world in the 1950s, Epiphone ES Series guitars were the standard for rock. This limited edition ES-335 Pro does an incredible job of introducing the younger generation to the true hollow body experience.
Made with an arched maple top and back, this guitar is slightly thinner than other hollow body guitars. This thinner design makes playing this guitar feels very similar to a solid body electric, but lighter. Double cutaway design and a Vintage Sunburst finish.
A set-in mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard, small block inlays, and twenty-two medium jumbo frets. The neck is fast and easy.
Sticking to those roots in Kalamazoo, the ES-335 Limited Edition features Alnico Classic PRO Humbucker pickups. These are quiet and powerful, full and clean, with tons of long-lasting sustain.
Other classical features include the Tune-O-Matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece and Wilkinson vintage tuners.
This guitar is nothing but hollow body magic. It retains a classic tone and sound but has just the right amount of modern sophistication thrown in.
10 Guild Starfire II ST Hollow Body Electric Guitar
Uniqueness, only a Guild, could build.
The Guild Starfire II hollow body electric is stylish and full. It is a thinline hollow body which means that it is 90% hollow. The design offers more natural acoustic volume and resonance, along with added sustain and woody overtones.
The body is made of extra-thin mahogany that features a Florentine cutaway, all in a beautiful Natural High Gloss finish.
The neck is also made from mahogany and has a rosewood fretboard. This neck is smooth and quick that lets your high notes ring with splendor.
The Starfire II features two replicas of Guild’s LB-1 Little Bucker pickups. These are humbucking pickups that are smaller than normal humbuckers. They provide a stellar amount of tone and sound that can cover any style.
From sweet and airy cleans to crunchy and fuzzy overdrive, the Little Buckers are uniquely designed for this kind of guitar.
Also included is a Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece. These help to increase the overall sustain and ensure your strings are balanced and taut.
A new member of the Guild family, the Starfire II is made with care and a commitment to quality.
Best Hollow and Semi-Hollow Body Guitars Buyer’s Guide
Now that we have checked out the best semi-hollow and hollow body electric guitars, we want to offer you a few more thoughts.
It is important to keep in mind that semi-hollow and especially full hollow body electric guitars can generate a whole lot of feedback. This is due entirely to their design.
On the plus side, this means the sustain and resonance of a hollow body guitar are pronounced and full even unplugged. You can easily use any hollow body guitar as an acoustic guitar.
The flip side is that the sustain and resonance don’t make a good pairing with heavily distorted musical styles. You will get an intense amount of feedback trying to run a hollow body through multiple overdrive effects and/or amps.
Hollow body guitars are nuanced and offer great tone and sound, but are more for laid-back styles of music and playing.
There is a reason you don’t see Metal and Punk guitarists using hollow body guitars.
So, What Are The Best Hollow and Semi-Hollow Body Guitars?
All of the guitars we reviewed here are quality instruments that offer smooth playing and excellent tones. But in the end, only one will echo out its greatness.
The best hollow body electric guitar is, therefore, the…
This guitar epitomizes what a hollow body electric should look, feel, and sound like. The Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers ensure a wide array of tone shaping possibilities while offering rich and detailed sustain and body.
This guitar was the standard-bearer in its day for blues and rock musicians. It is a real treat to have to the opportunity to touch a part of musical history. This was the guitar that Chuck Berry played after all.
The price is right, and the quality is superb, even if it is assembled outside of the US. A truly remarkable guitar that you won’t be putting down any time soon.
We hope you enjoyed learning about the best semi-hollow and hollow body guitars available. And, are now better informed as to which guitar is the right one for you.
Have fun with your new hollow body electric guitar. We are confident that your days and nights are going to be filled with many memories of musical magic.