Hollow Body Full of Soul

A few days ago I was reminiscing about the days of my teenager hood. The time when I was ashamed of loving Oasis despite being the musical elitist, they were too popular to be good. Yes, horrible days, but now I can look back and realize two things: it was funny, and I have yet to make a list of best hollow body guitars. I realize this because listening to Oasis now, I can tell you, a lot of their music is recorded using a hollow body electric guitar. You can tell by how their rhythm guitar sounds – warm, well rounded sounds that are lacking the harshness of a solid body guitar.

As a grown manchild I have realized that there is no shame in liking Oasis I have also learned over the years about the beauty of the hollow body. An amazing instrument that combines the best parts of an acoustic and electric guitars. It’s history is deeply rooted in jazz and country and blues so that it may be surprising to know how many rock musicians use the guitar as an asset to their bands. I’ll expand on that a little, but before that, I would like to help all of you out with a list of the best hollow body guitars available on the market.

Top 10 Best Hollow Body Electric Guitars

#ImageGuitar Model
Rating
Check Price
1D'Angelico EXL102 (4.9 / 5)Check on Amazon
2
Guild Starfire V with Guild Vibrato Tailpiece (4.9 / 5)Check on Amazon
3Gretsch G5422TDCG Electromatic (4.9 / 5)Check on Amazon
4Godin 5th Avenue CW Electric Guitar (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
5Prestige Guitars NYS Standard (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
6Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
7Epiphone WILDKAT Royale (4.7 / 5)Check on Amazon
8Dean BOCA 12 String Semi Hollow Body (4.7 / 5)Check on Amazon
9OE30 Oscar Schmidt Hollow Body (4.6 / 5)Check on Amazon
10Ibanez AM53 AM Artcore Semi-Hollow (4.6 / 5)Check on Amazon

D’Angelico EXL102

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Electronics:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

D_Angelico EXL102

This true hollow body guitar is what you get after you combine the perfection of the original D’Angelico design with the modern electronics. This guitar exemplifies the classic hollow body with both its looks and sound. It has a deep, resonant sound with warm tones and exemplary bass. Perfect for you blues, jazz, country gig, if you know what you’re doing. A spruce and flamed maple body with a Kent Armstrong Floating Mini-Humbucker keep this guitar sounding acoustic and precise. The guitar sounds so good, I have a hard time doing it justice in words.

Pros:

  • Vintage Design,
  • Beautiful, Versatile Sound
  • Long Lifespan

Cons:

  • On the Expensive Side

Guild Starfire V with Guild Vibrato Tailpiece

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Electronics:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Guild Starfire V with Guild Vibrato Tailpiece

The Guild Starfire V with Guild Vibrato Tailpiece is an example of how versatile semi hollow body guitars can be. A testament to its name, the guitar has a soaring, warm sound that can sound country, blues or rock’n’roll without an issue. The special Guild Vibrato Tailpiece allows for beautiful note bending while retaining tuning stability. The arched mahogany body has a beautiful double cutaway neck. The two LB-1 humbucker pickups provide a great sound and limit the possibility of feedback to unlikely. It is a sonic supernova bound to keep you coming back to its warm tones and comfortable physique.

Pros:

  • Clear sound
  • Highly individualized pickup controls
  • Design to fall in love with

Cons:

  • Pricy

Gretsch G5422TDCG Electromatic

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Electronics:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Gretsch G5422TDCG Electromatic

The wild west would’ve dreamed to have all the soundtracks ascribed to it by Hollywood to be played by the Gretsch G5422TDCG Electromatic. The reason is simple, this guitar sounds and looks like it could’ve been played by a cigar toting outlaw with a sunrise to ride towards. Don’t be mistaken though, this hollow body is as flexible as it gets. Capable of playing anything short of black metal gain, the guitar earns its rightful place among the top hollow bodies to exist. The double cutaway, maple body, transitions handsomely into the rosewood fretboard. The two  “Black Top” Filter’Tron Bridge Pickups provide the clearest sound, while the mind bending tone bending is courtesy of the bigsby tremolo bar. Elegant, badass and an incredibly talented singer, this guitar will be good company on any musical run you go on.

Pros:

  • Great High Tones
  • Great Tuning Stability
  • Lovely White Design

Cons:

  • No pickup switch
  • Maple Overkill

Godin 5th Avenue CW Kingpin II

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Electronics:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Godin 5th Avenue CW Electric Guitar

When you say the word vintage, the first thing that comes to many people’s minds is wine. What comes to my mind is the Godin 5th Avenue CW Kingpin II Electric Guitar. Royal both in its appearance and name, the guitar sounds like it was blessed by some divinity. It is vintage in its design, with inspirations drawn from 19th century french guitars, and sound, with a twang like no other. A perfect fit for music in the range of country to rock (almost all music), it is bound to bring the feeling of respect into the hearts of anyone who sees it. The hollow body is made of Canadian cherry, with a rosewood fretboard colored to match the rest of the guitar. The 2 Godin original Kingpin P90 single-coil pickups get the satisfying notes out into the amp. In the end all you are left with is a lot of love for what used to be, enhanced with a lot of love for what is.

Pros:

  • Exceptional Sunburst Design
  • Lovely, Single Coil Sound
  • Comfortable Playing

Cons:

  • High Action at the Nut

Prestige Guitars NYS Standard

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Electronics:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Prestige Guitars NYS Standard

A lot of hollow body guitars claim to be able to play rock’n’roll without a hitch. A lot of them are able to do so. But few are able to do it with as convincingly as the NYS Standard from Prestige Guitars. Why? Because this guitar packs an impressive punch in the midrange tones. This means that you can lead your band into rock and roll hall of fame playing nothing but the NYS Standard the whole time. I guess this is why it’s called Standard: most guitars will try to compare themselves to it. The body is made entirely out maple, with the neck being a beautifully C shaped mahogany that effortlessly transitions into a comfortable rosewood fretboard. Two Seymour Duncan Dual SP-90-1 Alnico pickups allow the beautiful midranges to be so well expressed in this guitar. All in all, an amazing hollow body guitar to own.

Pros:

  • Daring Design
  • Scrumptious Sound
  • Stunning Tuning Stability

Cons:

  • Pricey

Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Electronics:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe

There is now way to escape the Telecaster in the modern world and, to be honest, there is no real need to. This guitar is the perfect example why the telecasters are so popular. It is an extremely good hollow body guitar. Having one less F hole than your average hollow body, it sacrifices little for the purpose of the great advantage of having very little feedback issues. The guitar itself looks amazing, as Telecasters do. The body is made of mahogany, with a C shaped, maple neck and a maple fretboard. The two modern Player M-90 pickups provide a clear, warm sound. This excellent guitar makes us ask, and answer, the all important question: will the telecaster ever fail us? Probably not. This is why this guitar sits on the list of the best hollow body electric guitars.

Pros:

  • Telecaster Design
  • Relatively Affordable
  • Delectable Low Tones

Cons:

  • Lacking High Tones

Epiphone WILDKAT Royale

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Electronics:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Epiphone WILDKAT Royale

Have you ever heard a wildcat? Me neither. But if it sounds anything as good as this guitar, I might just have to adopt one. The Epiphone WILDKAT Royale semi hollow body guitar is mesmerizing, in looks, sound or value. A single cutaway shaped, maple body with a white colored, gold bound style, it looks as classy as a guitar can get. The rosewood pickup is simple to access while the two single coil pickups allow the sound of the guitar to shine in any environment. Rockabilly, Country, blues or rock, this is an axe not be easily overlooked. The Bigsby tremolo bar gives you good tuning stability, all the while giving you the little bit the guitar needed to send it over the line to one of the best guitars ever. This weapon is a star among the best hollow body electric guitars in terms of value to quality.

Pros:

  • Great Value
  • Relatively Affordable
  • Lovely, Balanced Sound

Cons:

  • A bit of hum is present

Dean BOCA 12 String

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Electronics:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Dean BOCA 12 String Semi Hollow Body

Ever wanted to play Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin just right? Well, the Dean BOCA 12 String Semi Hollow electric guitar will give you the chance to do just that. It’s unique on this list because of its 12 stings, and the sound this guitar has reflects that. The 12 string guitars already possess a very unique sound, so the combination of the 12 strings and the semi hollow body creates an absolutely riveting sound. A semi hollow body, rosewood fretboard and two humbucking fretboards make this a solid build. Probably one of the only 12 string, semi hollow body guitar under 400 that is even worth considering for purchase.

Pros:

  • 12 strings
  • Relatively Affordable
  • Great Tonewood Combination
  • Captivating Sound

Cons:

  • Need an amp for full effect
  • High pressure on the neck

Oscar Schmidt OE30

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Electronics:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

OE30 Oscar Schmidt Hollow Body

The OE30 Oscar Schmidt Hollow Body electric guitar makes me think that sometimes the best things don’t have to be expensive. The beautiful maple body of this guitar serves as a chamber for sounds that resonate beautifully with your ears. The two Washburn humbucking pickups give you the clear sound well balanced against feedback. This hollow-body guitar may be affordable, but it is everything but cheap. Exemplifying the notion that you don’t have to drop a fortune to produce the sound that you hear in the back of your head on a daily basis. This is one of the best semi hollow body electric guitars you can get for under 300.

Pros:

  • Incredibly Affordable
  • Great Value

Cons:

  • Tuning Stability Issues
  • Laminated Tonewoods

Ibanez AM53 AM Artcore Semi-Hollow

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Electronics:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Ibanez AM53 AM Artcore Semi-Hollow

The Ibanez AM53 Artcore tries to remind us that at its core art is for those who barely have anything but the art. Beautifully vintage in its design, the guitar begs to be played in a range of genres unavailable to so many semi hollow body guitars in its price range. The sapele body is topped off with the Artcore AM Mahogany neck. The fretboard is made of smooth and pleasant to the touch rosewood. The two Infinity R ceramic humbuckers provide a clear, steady sound that can be adjusted to sound anything from country to hard rock. This guitar is perfect for those ambitious enough to think they have what it takes to lead the band in a Jack White style.

Pros:

  • Incredibly Affordable
  • Rustic Look

Cons:

  • Cheap Nut
  • Tuning Stability Issues
  • Stock Pickups

The Hollow body electric guitar is also sometimes referred to as a semi-acoustic guitar. It was first designed for the sole purpose of enhancing the sound capabilities of acoustic guitars. They were struggling to overpower other instruments in bands and orchestras. Initially popular in jazz circles, the guitar quickly found use in other genres such as country, blues and pop. The warm, deep tones excelled in these genres, providing the much needed loud to the beautiful twang of these guitars. Finally with the arrival the experimental rock’n’roll of the 60s found its inclusion in the genre. Thank god for the golden age of rock huh?

Now the guitar is in wide use among numerous musicians. A lot of the times you’ll hear suggestions that the guitar should be used for pop music, light rock, and whatever they think needs a warm sound. Truth is the guitar is widely used among the heavy rock legends of today as well. Dan Auerbach, on his own or with the Black Keys, has found many uses for the guitar. So has the modern guitar god incarnation Jack White. But why stick just to them? The legend of blues BB King and his hollow Lucille had a love story like no other. If none of these leave you content know this – the Beatles, especially Paul McCartney, used the hollow guitar more than anything else. What other proof that if used right and creatively, hard rock, blues and any genre can only benefit from the semi-acoustic guitar do you need?

There are several things to understand about a semi-acoustic guitar before you go ahead and buy one though, so read carefully…

Semi-Hollow vs True Hollow

Yes there is a distinction. Yes the distinction is important. Here is a quick rundown of how and why:

Semi-Hollowbody:

  • In many modern guitars, the feedback issues expected of a hollow body have been almost mitigated through the use of high quality humbuckers, but they remain susceptible to the problem.
  • Can, if the amp is adjusted properly, produce a sound comparable to the solid body
  • These guitars have a very warm tone and are incredibly versatile in their sound
  • Are more versatile and can be fit to play all genres, if adjusted right.

True Hollowbody:

  • Very susceptible to feedback when played loud
  • They have an incredible bass sound, meaning warm, beautiful sounds at the low end of the tuning
  • An even smoother, warmer sound than this semi-hollow body
  • These guitars are the closest thing to acoustic you can get short of getting an actual acoustic guitar
  • Better fit for Jazz, Blues, Pop, or Country

There are other details to consider when thinking of which to buy, but this quick rundown might give you an idea of what you need to be looking for if you have a specific sound in mind.

Amplifiers and Feedback

The amp is no less important to the sound of the guitar than the guitar itself. This is especially the case for hollow-body guitars.

Hollow-bodies tend to suffer from feedback when played extremely loud, which makes them a bad fit for rock and metal. The best hollow body guitars may be better at handling feedback than others, but the problem remains. This is a result of the extra resonance that the acoustic nature of the guitar provides. What happens is basically this:

You play the notes. The pickups convert them to an electronic signal that travel to the amps. The amp expels the signal as sound. The sound waves travel through the space of wherever you are and the hollow parts of your guitar resonate with the waves. This produces feedback that is picked up by your humbuckers or single coils and the amp ends up expelling a bad quality sound.

The bigger and louder your amp is the more likely your guitar is to produce feedback sound. This might not seem like a problem if you are practicing in your room or with your friends – turn down the amp and you’re golden. Events are another beast though. There is no option of turning the voice down at an event.

There are several things you can try doing that might help. One is – step away. The farther away you are from the amp, the lower the probability that you’ll be having feedback issues. If that is not an option you might also want to try covering the f holes on your guitar. This worked for BB King when he was having feedback issues, so it might work for you as well. Finally, the third option is to use a noise gate on your amp.Though this might turn out to be an expensive solution.

Thinking of what you want to sound like

It’s funny to think now that back in the day I used to be ashamed of the fact that I listened to Oasis in the morning. Their tones were the only relaxation I got after long days and nights of Megadeth and Metallica. They are also the ones that introduced me to the concept of a hollow body guitar.They were my gateway into the world of knowing that there is music beyond metal. I’m not ashamed of them anymore. What is something that surprises me is knowing that they used hollow body guitars.

So many artists use this style of guitar. I mentioned Jack White and Dan Auerbach, BB King, Paul McCartney. But there is so many others: Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Dave Grohl and so many others. The beauty is all of them them sound so hard rock. Strange to think that a guitar that was initially intended for jazz has so many uses.

Now that I’ve finished the story of Oasis and dropped some names, here’s the question: What do you want to sound like? Buying a hollow body guitar is a big decision and you should remember that it has its limits to heavy sounds. Yes, many artists have beaten these limitation. These artists also had a lot of time and money to do so. Are you ready to commit that resource to figuring out your unique sound using a hollow body? If the answer is yes, and it is not a rash decision, then go ahead and buy. A good place to start would be figuring out the electronics you’re going to be picking up with your guitar. Ask around, do some research, don’t be afraid to rip off Dave Grohl or other musicians. What they don’t know won’t hurt them, and once you’re famous you can thank them for their influence.

Conclusion

Now that you know more about the hollow body guitars and have a list of some of the best available, I have a question for you. Why are you buying this guitar? If you think that it will allow you versatility and a chance to travel between metal and pop without effort, you are wrong. The feedback issue will be a hard one to beat at any hard rock or metal event. Unless you have a way of mitigating these issues, I would recommend you to pick up a solid body for your metal playing.

If you are buying to experiment and expand your available inventory of sounds, I support and encourage you to do what you feel is right. The hollow body is a great way to learn more about the art of music. The modern rock scene has benefitted greatly from the experimentation done by the greats of the past. You will benefit from this experiment as well.

If this is just one of the many guitars you own, you do not need me telling you what to do. A hollow body guitar is an excellent addition to any collection, both for the unique beauty of its look and it’s sound. Many musicians keep all kinds of guitars available to them so that in case of sudden inspiration they can play.

If this is your first guitar I hope you have thought hard about your decision, since there are many better beginner electric guitars to learn on.

I hope my list of the best hollow body electric guitars has been useful to you. Good Luck!

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here