In this guide, we’re going to be reviewing our picks for the best semi-hollow and hollow-body guitars on the market.
Semi-hollow body guitars are known for bridging the gap between an electric guitar and an acoustic. While they’re technically considered electric guitars, they have a much more resonant tone than a typical solid-body guitar.
This makes them great for lower gain types of music, such as blues as jazz, because you won’t need to push the amplifier as hard to get a sound.
While they’re great, semi-hollow body guitars simply aren’t as common as solid-body guitars, so it can be difficult to know which one to choose that will fit your needs.
After reading this guide, you’ll be able to find the best semi-hollow or hollow-body guitar that suits your needs as a player that is within your budget.
Let’s get started.
Our Top 12 Best Semi-Hollow and Hollow Body Guitars
Don’t have time to read the guide? In short, here are my picks for the 12 best semi-hollow and hollow-body guitars:
- Ibanez AS53 6 String Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar
- Ibanez AG-75 BS Artcore Hollowbody Electric Guitar
- Guild Starfire V with Guild Vibrato Tailpiece Semi-Hollow Body
- Epiphone Limited Edition ES-335 PRO Electric Guitar
- PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 22 Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar
- Gretsch G2622 Streamliner
- Squier by Fender Vintage Modified ’72 Thinline Telecaster
- Epiphone Riviera Custom P93 Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar
- ESP LTD X-Tone PS-1 Semi-Hollowbody Electric Guitar
- Gretsch G5420T Electromatic Hollow Body Guitar
- Johnson JH-100-WNB Delta Rose
- Fender Modern Player Starcaster
Ibanez is one of the premier electric guitar brands since 1957. They are originally a Japanese guitar manufacturer but also offer affordable versions of their popular guitars that made in Indonesia and China.
While they are more well known for their aggressive super strat style guitars suited for metal, they also have some excellent options for those who want a more classic look and feel.
Now, let’s take a look at this semi-hollow guitar from Ibanez. The Ibanez AS53 is an outstanding entry-level guitar that brings everything you would expect from a semi-hollow body guitar at a very affordable price.
It has a classic design. The Sapele body is about the size of a classical solid-body guitar, so you will find it quite comfortable to hold and play.
The featured Infinity R pickups have a smooth and warm sound profile. They are very responsive to the touch and easy to control.
It’s versatile enough to allow you to play different genres of music like rock, country, jazz, and whatever else you throw at it. Just keep in mind that it’s a semi-hollow, so it’s not really meant for high gain music. But if you’re reading this post, I’m sure you already know that.
If you’ve never owned a Semi-Hollow body guitar before, then I think this is an excellent entry point.
Just take a look at this quick test jam:
In terms of design, it does stray away from a typical Ibanez style guitar.
However, like any Ibanez, the playability is astounding. You’ll have easy access to higher frets and the neck is extremely comfortable.
The pickups are mounted on a solid block of wood which has decent sustain. Additionally, this provides for reduced feedback.
Another reason why this guitar is perfect for beginners that want to get into electronic guitars is the fact that it is going to be relatively easy on the pocketbook.
- Light and comfortable to play;
- The humbuckers provide a warm and smooth tone;
- Quality finish and feel;
- Suitable for many different genres;
- You may want something with stronger output;
- Prone to fret buzzing;
Next on the list is the Ibanez AG-75.
This is another Ibanez hollow body guitar, but with more of a bulky, classic style than you’d expect from Ibanez.
If anything, it’s more reminiscent to a Gibson 335.
Ibanez does not disappoint with this one. The Artcore series offers not just quality but also the chance to get into different genres of music.
The mahogany neck has a longer sustain, and the fretboard is made from bound Rosewood. The humbuckers produce great tones; however, they may be a bit too weak.
The maple (top, back, and sides) body has a classic look that does impress with its finish and quality. The guitar overall is light and very comfortable to play. It is about an inch thinner compared to some other hollow-body guitars.
It has jumbo frets, so it’s easy to maneuver around the fretboard.
In addition, I really haven’t noticed any fret buzz on any of the models that I’ve tried, so the fretwork is very good for a guitar at this price point.
A hollow-body guitar like this one will have more feedback compared to semi-hollow or solid body guitars.
The guitar is very resonant, almost like an acoustic guitar.
Check out this short demo to hear how the guitar plays:
- Great for beginners and as a started guitar;
- High quality look, finish, and feel;
- Great mid-range sound and tone
- Suitable for a multitude of different genres like jazz, rock, blues, and more.
- Prone to feedback;
This is an arched mahogany semi-hollow body guitar. It has Guild vibrato and Guild humbuckers, and a beautiful Guild-branded pickguard and two f-holes.
The neck connects to the body at the 18th fret. It has a full sound and a very expressive vibrato. The guitar is very playable and lightweight.
The hardware on this guitar provides for a great versatility making it suitable for rock, roots, blues, jazz, and so much more.
The cleans sound outstanding: the warm bass and vibrant treble are perfect. And if you are after some dirty tones, worry no more, as this guitar can easily meet and surpass your expectations.
On the downsides is the fact that this guitar is definitely not the cheapest one on the market.
To get a better feel of how this guitar sounds take a quick look at this short video:
- Premium sound quality and tones;
- Great build quality;
- Plays nicely;
If you want a Gibson, but don’t to pay the Gibson price, then Epiphone is your best bet.
Epiphone is the subsidiary company owned by Gibson, so they can create officially licensed versions of Gibson guitars, but at a more affordable price range.
Overall, Epiphone is known for producing guitars that are suited for beginners and intermediate players.
The Epiphone ES-335 Pros is an archtop semi-hollow guitar. When it comes to archtop guitars, you can’t go wrong with this model from Epiphone.
This guitar is Epiphone’s take on the iconic Gibson ES-335
The overall look and style of the classic Gibson ES-335 have been preserved.
For the neck, it features the same 24.75-inch scale length made from laminated maple and birch wood.
It has a Rosewood fingerboard and mahogany neck with 22 medium jumbo frets.
The guitar uses two passive Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers, which are placed on the neck and the bridge.
And the pickups just sound great. Even when designing the pickups, Epiphone said that they tried to use the same materials and specs; however, even though they do sound really good, they are not like genuine Gibson pickups.
Their sound profile is similar to that of the Gibson version, but it lacks a bit of clarity in comparison.
They can be tuned by the three-way switch, and there are individual volume and tone controls, and an overall volume knob which can be used as a coil-splitter too.
Coil-splitting is a good feature to have for anyone who likes to have the option of turning the humbucking pickup into a single-coil pickup.
Archtop guitars like this one are well-known for their mellow tones. They usually sound very smooth throughout all ranges and sounds great for blues, jazz, country, or rock.
Just take a look at how the ES-335 Pro performs by checking out this short test jam:
- Comes with coil-splitting;
- Great budget-friendly model;
- Great intonation and sound;
- Low price;
- Bulky and heavy;
PRS guitars are quite possibly my favorite brand of guitars overall.
From my experience, I have never played a bad PRS.
The attention to detail, quality control, and aesthetic of these guitars are top-notch, even on their affordable line of PRS SE guitars.
And the PRS SE Custom 22 Semi-Hollow version is no exception.
The PRS SE Custom 22 is a class PRS shape that everyone knows and loves.
This particular is exactly what you’d expect, except it has a semi-hollow body.
It is a chambered mahogany body with a finished maple top. The body is light and thin; nonetheless, you can feel the quality and how solid the guitar is.
When designing this model, PRS placed two of their 85/15 S humbuckers, which sound excellent. They are well balanced and have a wide range and can be used to play different genres. They also have a beautiful vintage reminiscent sound to them.
These pickups are designed to model the exact sound profile of the real 85/15 humbuckers in the PRS Core line of guitars but at a much more affordable price.
In a way, this guitar offers the sustain and low feedback typical for a solid-body guitar while combining that with the extra sweetness of the tone, which is typical for semi-hollow-body guitars.
It has a single volume and tone controls and a three-way toggle switch.
The PRS SE Custom line of guitars is suitable for all levels of play, whether you’re a beginner or a professional.
You’ll honestly never need to upgrade, so if you want something that will last you a while, then definitely take this into consideration.
Take a look at this short video of how the PRS SE Custom 22 plays:
- Great value;
- Light and thin;
- Plays amazingly well;
Gretsch is well known for its vintage looking and sounding guitars. Gretsch has a reputation for designing guitars that are targeted at the country and rockabilly fans.
However, this is not your typical Gretsch, as you will find out in a bit.
The streamliner product line is focusing on providing you with the best things that made Gretsch so famous in the first place at a very affordable price tag.
So how did they do it? Let’s take a look.
The body is a double-cutaway is semi-hollow made from laminated maple. The G2622 features a beautiful white binding with black purfling. There is also a black pickguard. All these little details are a welcomed addition as they will help to keep your guitar look and sound great.
Despite being a budget-friendly model, Gretsch stayed true to building a quality product here.
This is an excellent beginner to intermediate level guitar.
It is easy to play with low action on it. The neck is nice and thin, and the whole body of the guitar also feels very thin and light despite having that center block in it. The inlays on the neck are easy to spot. And it is very easy to switch between the pickup positions while playing the guitar.
This guitar has two powerful Broad’Tron humbuckers. They go through a three-way selector. There is also a master volume, volume for each pickup, and overall tone control.
The sound is great. The guitar allows for a lot of versatility; you can even play blues on it.
This is to be the budget-friendly version, and I do believe it lives up to its name. You can expect it to be, on average, a lot cheaper compared to other guitars while still delivering outstanding value.
For a quick demo of the guitar, take a look at this video from Gretsch:
- Very lightweight;
- Fixed bridge;
- Great sound;
- Easy to play;
- It doesn’t have the traditional sharp Gretsch sound;
- Not the best high-fret access;
- Can have tuning stability issues
This guitar is just evidence that guitars can sound exceptionally good at almost every price point.
The Fender Squier ’72 may be cheap, but it certainly doesn’t feel, nor does it sound cheap.
Make no mistake about it. Just because it’s a Squier, doesn’t mean it’s bad.
This Squier does an excellent job of capturing the signature twang tone that Telecasters are known for. It’s a real Telecaster in every sense of the word.
It comes with two wider range humbuckers, which provide for a broader sound range. And with its bright and spanky pickups produce tones that are pretty much unrivaled, especially at this price point; and this guitar plays like a dream.
You can feel and see that Fender had great attention to detail when designing this guitar. The semi-hollow ash body is beautifully made, and the nice white pickguard well matches it. The smooth maple neck is a pleasure to play.
Make sure to check out this awesome demo in order to hear how clean the sounds are, as neither pictures nor words can do this guitar justice.
- Great built quality;
- Fantastic and clean sound;
The Riviera is a classic Epiphone model, but this guitar is the new take on it.
It still harbors a very premium classy look to it.
The standard color this guitar comes in is a deep wine red – it is definitely a looker.
All the parts are gold, and it has a great Bigsby vibrato.
The semi-hollow body is made from premium laminated maple wood with a mahogany center block. The neck is also made from mahogany. And on the front, you will find two f-holes.
It comes with three P-90 pickups that provide for a lot of versatility. The guitar has a very distinct and beautiful woody tone.
The controls are a little different compared to other guitars. It has three volume and one master tone controls.
Unfortunately, the tone and volume controls don’t have a lot of customizability.
On the other hand, one of the cool things is that you can control the middle pickup independently. If you turn it off, you end up with a two-pickup guitar.
The end result is an excellent blend of different tones and sounds. All this provides for exceptional versatility and playability. It can be used for many and different genres of music.
In terms of size and weight, this guitar is on the heavy side. The neck is also a little too wide. And this may be a deal-breaker for some people.
Make sure to check this great demo:
- Gold hardware;
- Premium sound and built quality;
- Three pickups;
- Wider neck;
- Lacks in volume controls;
This model from ESP shines with its versatility and affordability. It is a semi-hollow body guitar with a mahogany body and a single F-hole.
Most don’t think of semi-hollow body guitars as shred guitars.
But if you know anything about ESP, you’ll know that fast shredding metal is their specialty.
And the ESP LTD X-Tone is no exception. It’s probably the most aggressive sounding Semi-hollow body guitar I’ve ever used.
It has a maple neck with a bound Rosewood fretboard with 22 extra-jumbo frets.
It has a nice low action, flatter fretboard radius, and thin neck, which makes playing on it a breeze.
The two humbuckers produce a beautiful and fat sound. They play equally well when it comes to both clean and dirty tones. It is a very versatile guitar great for both jazz, rock, and even some heavier genres of music too.
So, if you’re someone who normally likes to play heavier music, but wants to have the versatility to play low gain as well, this might be a perfect fit for you.
It comes with two volume and tone controls for each pickup and a three-way switch.
Check out the video below to see exactly the types of tones you can expect from this guitar.
- Good value;
- Plays nice and easy;
- Very versatile;
- Much more aggressive than a typical semi-hollow body
Gretsch is one of the companies that have proven themselves in the realms of the hollow body guitars. Their guitars have a little more appeal to the retro fans and always had a great design.
This guitar is going to leave you flabbergasted. Quite literally. It is probably one of the best ones you can get for yourself.
It looks very attractive and stylish. There is a distinct vintage air about it.
This guitar is a single-cutaway hollow body 5-ply laminated maple with two F-holes on the sides. The neck is made from maple, as well.
And the fretboard is from Rosewood with 22 medium jumbo frets.
But it is not just about the looks.
The sound is magnificent and will leave anyone wanting to hear more. It has spanky, bright, very playful, and twangy sound. It has a floating bridge, so it is not recommended for hard rock and metal.
This guitar will leave pretty much everyone satisfied regardless of what style and genre they like to play. If you are a true fan of that old vintage tones from the 60s, this may be just the one you need.
The guitar has two Blacktop Filter’Tron humbuckers, which are placed on the bridge and the neck positions. The guitar also comes with a Bigsby Adjusto-Matic tremolo bridge, which works amazingly well.
And in case you are wondering, take a look at this quick demo of the Gretsch G5420T hollow body guitar and how it sounds.
- High-quality craftsmanship;
- Outstanding vintage look and sound;
- The neck can be a bit too wide;
- A little too expensive;
- Pots are not that great;
If you are starting out and you are looking for a great and cheap hollow-body guitar, look no further.
Johnson guitars are definitely not as famous as Gibson or Gretsch; however, this doesn’t mean that they are not worth their salt.
Let’s take a look at this model and what makes it great.
This is a single-cutaway hollow-body guitar. The back and sides are constructed from laminated mahogany, and the top is from spruce. It is a very compact and lightweight guitar. The mahogany neck connects to the body at the 19th fret, and the rosewood fretboard has 22 frets.
The guitar comes with two covered humbuckers, which are nothing mind-blowing but are still very good and do the job well.
However, with the lower price do come certain downsides as well. The old adage you get what you pay for is true here.
The electronics and hardware are of average quality, and the guitar can be prone to producing little feedback sometimes.
But despite its lower price tag, it doesn’t sound cheap. Admittedly it is not able to compete with the complexity of some of the more expensive models, but it does undoubtedly have a good range, clarity, and big and full tones.
It can be a good first guitar for somebody that is just starting.
It is great mostly for jazz and blues, and even rock.
If you are interested, be sure to listen to this great demo of the Johnson JH-100-WNB:
- Smaller frame;
- Good build-quality;
- Great entry-level guitar;
- Lacks complexity;
- Tuners and electronics are of average quality;
- Tends to have feedback;
The Starcaster is an older model from Fender, which they used to produce a while ago. The original Starcaster was a hollow-body guitar. However, this one is a semi-hollow body that reduces the feedback problems the older models used to have.
It is also an offset guitar, so it is a bit reminiscent of a Jazzmaster.
The guitar has a laminated maple body, and both the body and back are arched. The neck is from maple, and it is C-shaped. It has a 9.5-inch radius, which is making it very easy to play.
There are two volume and two tone controls for each of the two pickups.
This model comes with two wide-range Fender humbuckers, which provide for a wide tonal range.
It has a good punchy sound with a good gain on it. By switching to the neck pickup, you can get a warmer and woody sound, which is typical for the hollow body guitars.
It is perfect for a wide range of different genres, like jazz, blues, and more. It can have a good bite to it, and with a little fuzz and overdrive, you can turn this guitar into a mean sounding instrument — definitely a unique and different sounding instrument than most of the other guitars.
It is made in China; however, the quality is on point; just take a quick look at how the guitar plays.
- Easy to play;
- The sound is nice, warm, and very smooth;
- Quality craftsmanship;
I hope you found this guide helpful!
While all of the guitars on this list are great, my overall winner would be the PRS SE Custom 22 Semi-Hollow Body Guitar.
Like I’ve said, I have never played a PRS guitar that wasn’t amazing. I think this option is the best value on this list whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player.
If you’re on a tighter budget, then my best recommendation would be to go with the Johnson JH-100-WNB Delta Rose.
It’s an excellent value for the price and is a great entry-level model for beginners or people who are new to semi-hollow body guitars.
Good Luck! 🙂