The Top 10 Hollow Body Guitars On The Market

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Last Updated: Feb-25-2017While reviewing this article we realized not much had to change – such is the strength of the guitars in our chart. However, we added the new Danelectro ‘59M Spruce which adds a little extra ‘modern vintage’ to the list. To make way for this new guitar, we removed the slightly older Danelectro D59MOD-BLK Modified.

What do B.B. King, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, George Benson, and Brian May all have in common?

Come on, it’s easy! They have all enjoyed recording and gigging with hollow bodied guitars, and have created some of the most iconic music on these wonderful instruments.

More than 80 years after Gibson first invented the hollow body electric guitar, they keep growing in popularity. A remedy to some of the aggressive, rock-fueled modern solid bodies, players are attracted to these traditional hollow bodies as they can provide the best of both acoustic and electric tones.

There’s something beautiful about a hollow body. Perhaps it’s the traditional vintage look and feel, combined with the powerful, rich and well-rounded sounds on offer.

And while they certainly aren’t for everybody, as we explain below, they are capable of producing tones that solid bodied instruments struggle to. These days there are so many exceptional hollow bodies on the market competing for your attention, which is great for us consumers!

10 Best Hollow And Semi-Hollow Guitars:

ImageElectric Guitar / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Godin 5th Avenue CW Electric Guitar (Kingpin II) Godin 5th Avenue CW Electric Guitar (Kingpin II)

Total of 4.82/5  

Godin produce a Canadian masterpiece with the Kingpin II.

+ - Gretsch G5420T Gretsch G5420T

Total of 4.84/5  

A classy model with an outstanding design.

+ - Guild Newark St. X-175 Manhattan Guild Newark St. X-175 Manhattan

Total of 4.80/5  

A superb recreation of a vintage classic.

+ - PRS SE Custom 22 Semi-Hollow Body PRS SE Custom 22 Semi-Hollow Body

Total of 4.72/5  

Sleek and modern, with a great overdriven sound.

+ - Gretsch G100CE Synchromatic Gretsch G100CE Synchromatic

Total of 4.68/5  

An art deco wonder from Gretsch.

+ - Ibanez AM93AYS Artcore Expressionist Ibanez AM93AYS Artcore Expressionist

Total of 4.78/5  

A beautiful looking Ibanez with a great sound.

+ - Epiphone Wildkat Pearl White LE Epiphone Wildkat Pearl White LE

Total of 4.82/5  

A pristine Wildkat that oozes class.

+ - Fender Modern Player Delux Thinline Telecaster Fender Modern Player Delux Thinline Telecaster

Total of 4.62/5  

A superb semi-hollow for soft rock.

+ - Danelectro ’ 59M Spruce Danelectro ’ 59M Spruce

Total of 4.48/5  

Fifties-inspired semi-hollow bodied classic rocker, with retro style and sounds to match.

+ - Oscar Schmidt OE30 Oscar Schmidt OE30

Total of 4.48/5  

A fantastic price for a quality beginners hollow body.

Even if it’s incredibly obvious, it’s worth mentioning that this style of guitar is much more suited to specific genres of music. For example, jazz, country, blues and soft rock styles can all benefit from the presence of a hollow bodied guitar.

So, before we start our breakdown of the best on the market, a word of warning to beginners that have a passion for punk, rock or metal – you’ll be much better off learning with a solid body electric guitar. Again, more on the reasons why later.

Still keen on hollow bodies? Great, because we’ve tried and tested some of the best around, and have summarized the best in their categories. Check out our list, and keep reading for more advice on purchasing a hollow body.

The 5 Best Hollow Body Guitars Under $1000:

Godin 5th Avenue CW Electric Guitar (Kingpin II)

Godin 5th Avenue CW Electric Guitar (Kingpin II)

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Godin are kings when it comes to acoustic guitars, and they have excelled themselves in the hollow body electric range with this wonderful instrument. Combining true 50’s style with modern components and playability, the 5th Avenue Kingpin II – reviewed in full here – deserves attention. The body is crafted from Canadian wild cherry with a molded arched top and back, and is finished with a sleek 19th century-style French polish that leaves a slender satin sheen. It also features a silver leaf maple neck, with a rosewood fretboard and 21 frets. As for the voice, there are two Godin Kingpin P90 single-coil pickups, which offer formidable sound quality, with enough versatility to cater for many different styles. Well worth the money.

Gretsch G5420T

Gretsch G5420T

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This beauty from Gretsch is a top contender for the best guitar on this page (and also featured on our best guitars under $1000 list), with a snazzy vintage look and equally good vintage sounds. The guitar has a single-cutaway five-ply maple body, with two F holes, as well as a maple neck and rosewood fretboard, with 22 medium jumbo frets. Its twangy, sparkly vintage sound comes from two Blacktop Filter’Tron humbuckers at the bridge and neck positions, and is perfect for pretty much any style of music – in particular it’s excellent at emulating those sweet 50’s/60’s tones, with a great overdriven sound. With solid craftsmanship and playability, this is a hollow-body that will satisfy your thirst for vintage fun. Make sure to check out the full review of the G5420T here.

Guild Newark St. X-175 Manhattan

Guild Newark St. X-175 Manhattan

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Here we have the rebirth of an absolute classic, as part of Guild’s Newark St Collection, which revived eight 50s and 60s models, staying true to the originals in both sound and style. And the X-175 Manhattan remake has seen real vintage style balanced with modern playability. The arched back and sides are made from laminated maple, with an arched laminated spruce top, while the neck is a three-piece made from maple and mahogany. This modern X-175 Manhattan (reviewed in full here) has plenty of original charm aesthetically, while the two DE-1F single-coil pickups help replicate the familiar Guild tone perfectly, and is ideal for jazz and R&B. The floating rosewood bridge takes a little getting used to, but this is a must try for all vintage hollow body fans.

PRS SE Custom 22 Semi-Hollow Body

PRS SE Custom 22 Semi-Hollow Body

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A superb tone and great playability make this semi-hollow model from PRS a standout option. The whole look is sleek and modern, and features a double-cutaway body with a chambered mahogany back and maple top, finished with a good-looking flame maple veneer and a ‘canoe carve’ sound hole. The body is light and comfortable to hold, while the wide and fat neck – with 22 fret rosewood fretboard – is lovely to play around on. It’s voiced by two PRS-designed SE humbuckers at the bridge and neck, controlled by a three-way selector switch and volume/tone controls. The acoustic tone is clear and resonant, while plugged in it offers more punch, as well as very good overdriven performance – with no feedback issues. Make sure to read our detailed review for more information.

Gretsch G100CE Synchromatic

Gretsch G100CE Synchromatic

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As we mention in our full review of the Gretsch G100CE, this superb vintage model is heavily influenced by the 1940’s Gretsch Synchromatic 100 model. The modern remake is an elegant guitar, with a design and hardware that stays true to its 40’s art deco roots, including block neck inlays on the fretboard, a large faux-tortoiseshell pick guard, and a rounded 40s headstock, proudly displaying the Gretch logo. There’s a laminated maple back and sides with a spruce arched top, along with a laminated C-shaped maple neck and rosewood fretboard housing 20 extra broad frets. Comfortable and playable, and excellent maneuverability for jazz. It features one Gretsch-designed single-coil pickup at the neck, with snappy sounds that are perfect for country, jazz and blues playing.

Top Semi Hollow Body Guitars Under $500:

Ibanez AM93AYS Artcore Expressionist

Ibanez AM93AYS Artcore Expressionist

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Here’s an accomplished semi-hollow body guitar, injected with some classic Ibanez quality and flair. The resulting AM93 is a masterpiece, with sophisticated vintage styling and some great modern conveniences, making it one of the best jazz guitars around. The body – top, back and sides – is constructed from quilted maple, which is visually striking in either yellow or black finishes. There’s a three-piece mahogany and maple set neck, which offers good sustain, with a nice bound rosewood fretboard and 22 medium frets. It’s loaded with two golden passive Super 58 humbuckers at the neck and bridge, offering smooth jazzy tones, with enough bite for some blues and funk playing. Make sure to check out the detailed AM93 review for a better look at its features.

Epiphone Wildkat Pearl White LE

Epiphone Wildkat Pearl White LE

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Meee-oow! This beautiful Wildkat from Epiphone has everything you could ask for in a small semi-hollow body guitar, with style, sophistication, and attitude in abundance. The Wildkat – reviewed in full here – features a mahogany body with a maple top, and is finished in pristine white, with golden trim and hardware, giving this a truly regal look. There’s a glued-in SlimTaper D-shaped maple neck, offering great sustain, with a rosewood fretboard and 22 medium jumbo frets. As for the sound, it’s fitted with two P-90 Dogear Classic single-coil pickups at the bridge and neck positions, offering a big voice – a little noisy at times, but with bags of character for everything from blues to soft rock. An excellent guitar for the price – Epiphone have done it again!

Fender Modern Player Delux Thinline Telecaster

Fender Modern Player Delux Thinline Telecaster

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An entry-level guitar from Fender that looks and plays anything but. With the classic Telecaster single-cutaway body shape, there’s a semi-hollow mahogany body, with one F hole. It has a C-shaped maple neck, maple fretboard and medium jumbo frets, and is very playable – as you’d expect from a Tele. It comes loaded with two Modern Player MP-90 single-coils at the bridge and neck, with tone controls and a three-way pickup selector switch for a myriad of sound combinations. It sounds wonderful, with a full range of bright sparkly tones at the bridge. With a bit of overdrive it’s nice and gritty, and is perfect for classic rock playing. Excellent for a beginner, but experienced players will have just as much fun – check out the full Telecaster Thinline Deluxe review!

Danelectro ’ 59M Spruce

Danelectro ’ 59M Spruce

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One of Danelectro’s newest models, the ‘59M Spruce is an excellent semi-hollow bodied performer, with bags of vintage style and tone to go around. It features a solid spruce top and frame, with an offset sound hole, and is light and comfortable to play. The bolt-on neck is made from maple and features a C-shaped profile, with a rosewood fingerboard and 21 frets. As for sound, the ‘59M has two ‘56 Lipstick single-coil pickups, which are wired in series – bright and clear individually, with a full, high-output tone when played together. Throw in an adjustable wraparound bridge, an aluminum nut, and stacked tone and volume control knobs, and this vintage rocker is well worth considering. Check out our full review of the ‘59M for more details.

The Best Rated Budget Hollow Body Electric Guitar For Beginners:

Oscar Schmidt OE30

Oscar Schmidt OE30

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Doing semi-hollow on a budget? Look no further than the Oscar Schmidt OE30! While the American manufacturers aren’t as well known as the bigger companies, they know how to combine quality and affordability, and this OE30 – which we’ve review in full here – is a prime example. With a semi-hollow mahogany body, there’s a bolt-on maple neck and rosewood fretboard, which is very playable and great for beginner fingers. The Oscar Schmidt-designed humbuckers are basic but sound good, and certainly offer enough tone and twang for a wide range of musical styles. You also get a range of volume and tone controls, and a secure tune-o-matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece. Well worth checking out.

Are Hollow Bodies For Me?

A good question, with an answer that ultimately depends on the kind of player that you are, or aim to become.

Are you into fast rock or heavy metal? If so, chances are you aren’t even reading this page because hollow body guitars just don’t suit this kind of music – much like a Dave Mustaine “Angel of Deth” signature model wouldn’t appeal to jazz guitarists!

A solid body guitar suits guitarists looking for heavier and louder sounds much better than a hollow body, because solid bodies offer more sustain, while avoiding the feedback issues that occur with hollow bodied instruments at higher volumes.

On the flip side, hollow and semi-hollow bodied guitars appeal to those playing softer styles, such as jazz, country and blues, as well as soft rock and pop. Modern players such as Noel Gallagher, The Edge, and Dave Grohl have all used hollow bodied guitars to great effect, and there’s no reason you can’t either.

These guitars tend to offer a full, rich and well-rounded sound with plenty of bass, while a semi-hollow is naturally very warm in tone and lend themselves well to lighter, more contemporary music.

If you are a beginner, it’s probably worth sticking with a solid bodied instrument (and there are plenty of great solid bodied guitars under $200, as they offer a slightly easier platform to learn from.

But make sure to try a few hollow and semi-hollows out, if you have the time and they are available to you. Why not? You may find something that resonates with your style, and make the best purchase you’ve ever made!

The Final Word Before Buying a Hollow Body Guitar

Before you buy, make sure you try! We can’t stress that enough. Whether you are looking at purchasing in a store, or have found a bargain online, it’s worth your time to test out a few guitars to see if they work for you. Especially if you are looking at a used model. With these it’s imperative to try the guitar out through an amp to feel and hear any potential flaws – there may be a reason they are trying to get rid of it!

If you can’t try out the exact guitar you want, reading in-depth reviews and watching videos online is the next best thing. This is a great way to learn everything you need to know about your possible next guitar.

Check out some reviews on Guitar Fella, and good luck with your purchase!


Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. I purchased a Gretsch 5420T Limited Edition Ice Blue. It was being advertised as limited run 1 of only 25 made. Other colrs are also being advertised with the same misleading statement. I contacted Gretch to get a certificate. Gretsch could not supply and stated there were 25 made in 2014 and possibly another 48 in 2015 to date. They could not confirm if anymore would be made. Love the guitar however the misleading advertising is very disapionting coming from a company the caliber of Gretsch/Fender. Hope others who purchased these guitars are informed

  2. And one other thing. Maybe you also want to include Yamaha CPX 500II on your top acoustic electric guitar list. That guitar has built in tuner, volume control, and tone control. It is a good all around guitar, plugged or unplugged.

  3. I play rythem (Country music) on a Jumbo flat top guitar and love that quality sound. I’ve injured my right shoulder and need something either smaller or thinner. been thinking about a hollowbody electric??? I don’t know, but would like some feed back. thanks

  4. I think you should replace the PRS Custom with PRS SE Custom 22 Semi Hollow or PRS SE Zach Myers, because they are more common in the market and still maintain outstanding quality

  5. Hard to believe the Washburn HB35 was not on the list at $649. I use the HB35 in live venues and will place it against all at any price range.

    • I absolutely agree Steven T, The washburn35 outperforms anything I have ever tried in semi-hollow body, bar none.

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