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 the best hollow body electric 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.
Table of Contents
- Top 10 Best Hollow Body Electric Guitars
- Semi-Hollow vs True Hollow
- Amplifiers and Feedback
- Thinking of what you want to sound like
Top 10 Best Hollow Body Electric Guitars
|Godin Montreal Premiere TriplePlay||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon
|Guild Starfire V with Guild Vibrato Tailpiece||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon
|Gretsch G5422TDCG Electromatic||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Godin 5th Avenue CW Electric Guitar||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon
|Prestige Guitars NYS Standard||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon
|Schecter Corsair Custom BB||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon
|Epiphone WILDKAT Royale||(4.7 / 5)||Check on Amazon
|Dean BOCA 12 String Semi Hollow Body||(4.7 / 5)||Check on Amazon
|OE30 Oscar Schmidt Hollow Body||(4.6 / 5)||Check on Amazon
|Ibanez AM53 AM Artcore Semi-Hollow||(4.6 / 5)||Check on Amazon
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:
- 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.
- 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.
Now that you know more about the hollow body guitars and have a list of some of the best hollow body guitars, 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 benefited 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!