Semi-hollow guitars have been played by some of the greatest performers of all time, including BB King, Barney Kessel, John Lennon, Larry Carlton, Johnny Marr, John Scofield, Freddie King, George Harrison, and Cream-era Eric Clapton, since they were first popularized in the late 1950s. Modern arena rockers like Dave Grohl and Noel Gallagher have carried on the tradition. Not only do the best semi-hollow guitars sound wonderful acoustically, but they also sound amazing when plugged into a guitar amp.
Semi-hollow guitars, as the name implies, fall somewhere between hollow-body archtops and solid-body guitars. Semi-hollows are a warmer, resonant alternative to solid-body guitars, capable of delivering articulate and expressive tones spanning jazz, blues, and rock. They usually have a wooden center block on which the pickups are placed, which helps to lessen the risk of feedback that entirely hollow-body guitars are prone to, especially at high gain and gig volumes.
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Ibanez AS73 Artcore Series Hollow-Body Electric Guitar
- Artcore set mahogany neck Double-cutaway, all-maple body 22 frets Bound rosewood fretboard ART1 bridge Classic Elite pickups Pearl dot inlay Chrome...
- As evidenced by its long-standing association with such giants of jazz guitar as George Benson, Pat Metheny, and John Scofield, Ibanez has been a...
- Part of that legacy is owed to the Artcore collection, which has succeeded in smashing any and all preconceptions in its wake as to what a great...
While the Ibanez Artcore AS73 is a little less expensive than the instruments used by the musicians that have supported the brand, it’s just as good as anything made by Epiphone, Gretsch, or Rondo Music at this price point. In fact, depending on your preferences, you may find this instrument to be preferable to other models selling for a comparable price.
The most impressive aspect of the Artcore AS73 right away is how alive the pickups are for a guitar at this price point. Many budget guitar pickups are dull and uninspired, but the pickups in the Artcore AS73 (Classic Elite in both the bridge and neck positions) are wonderfully articulate and beautifully balanced, especially considering that this guitar costs less than $500 new.
The AS73 is manufactured with maple top, back, and sides, though it’s disputed how much this affects the overall tone of an electric guitar. Although the effects of tonewood in an electric guitar have never been properly proved, some individuals think that maple helps improve high end frequencies in an instrument.
When compared to a guitar with a scale length of 25.5″, the AS73’s scale length of 24.7″ makes it feel a little simpler to play. While the difference may not be significant, an increase in scale length is exactly proportional to an increase in tension. A guitar with a longer scale length will have frets that are farther apart, making it more difficult for novices to reach their fingers to different frets for certain chords. While this isn’t a big deal for a seasoned musician, it does make the Ibanez Artcore AS73 more approachable for newcomers.
The Ibanez Artcore AS73 has a set neck, which is surprising. The term “set neck” refers to a neck that is bonded rather than bolted into place. It’s a function that was previously only available on considerably more expensive instruments. Though there isn’t much of a difference between a set neck and a bolt on, a set neck clearly improves sustain when compared to a bolt on.
Antique Amber, Tobacco Brown, and Transparent Cherry are the three finishes available for the AS73. Unfortunately, unless you want to change out all of the hardware yourself (which is simple but can quickly become prohibitively expensive), you’ll be limited to the factory standard chrome, as the AS73 only has one hardware finish.
When it comes to sound, the AS73 is competent but not exceptional when judged on its own merits. The pickups are serviceable, but they lack the clarity and tone responsiveness of pickups found in higher-end instruments. Changing pickups, on the other hand, is a rather simple task. That’s not to suggest the pickups aren’t good; there’s just a significant difference between the sounds the AS73 can make and the ones a genuine Gibson ES-335 (the AS73’s inspiration) can make. A Gibson ES-335, on the other hand, can cost upwards of $2000 at the time of writing, so while it may sound better overall, the $1500 price difference isn’t justified.
The Ibanez AS73 is on par with every other guitar in its tier in terms of overall quality. It’s as tough as an Epiphone, and it’s as nicely put together as any Fender. There will inevitably be guitars with structural flaws; it’s a fact of life. There are far too many variables in the guitar-making process to ensure that every guitar is perfect, and even if you could make a perfect instrument 100 percent of the time, it may still be damaged by distributors or store owners storing it improperly. However, there is nothing about the model that suggests it is wrong from the start. Just make careful to inspect the guitar when you buy it (or when you receive it if you buy it online) to make sure there aren’t any flaws.
While it may not be as high-end as a custom instrument, the Ibanez Artcore AS73 will meet the needs of the great majority of musicians. It’s an excellent value for the money, and in the hands of the right musician, it has the potential to sound incredible. This is the Best Semi-Hollow Guitar in 2023.
Guild Guitars Starfire V Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar
- Semi-hollowbody Electric Guitar with Laminated Mahogany Top
- 2 Humbucking Pickups - Cherry Red
- 3-pc Mahogany/Maple Neck
The Starfire V is a classic remake of its predecessors from the 1950s and 1960s. The Bigsby tremolo distinguishes the V from the IV, and it retains many of the original, traditional embellishments. This Starfire V remake, for a fraction of the price of the original, could be the guitar for you.
This guitar has a center block attached to the neck and is semi-hollow. It sports a double cutaway with a 16 3/8″ thinline body and a 24.75″ scale length, since it was designed to compete with the Gibson ES-335. The entire body is composed of laminated mahogany with binding and purfling, and the back and top are both arched tops. The neck is made of mahogany as well, but it has a beautiful maple strip running through it.
The neck has a Vintage Soft U shape, an Indian Rosewood or Ebony fretboard, and 22 thin jumbo frets (depending on when it was built). The fretboard radius is 9.5″, the fingerboard is lined with pearloid blocks, and the entire length is bound in 1-ply ABS ivory binding. The Bigsby tailpiece, which allows for the use of a tremolo bar, is readily visible. It’s combined with a Guild TOM bridge with a fretboard base plate made of the same material. Grover Sta-Tite 18:1 tuners are located near the bone nut on the 3+3 headstock.
The Guild Little Bucker LB-1 humbuckers are one-of-a-kind. They’re neither small nor full-size humbuckers, but they’re somewhere in the between. Each Little Bucker has its own 500k volume and tone pots, as well as a 3-way pickup switch that lets you utilize each humbucker or both at the same time. A Master Volume knob is also included.
The sound of the Little Buckers has been described as a cross between single-coil and humbucker. It’s chimey and jangly, yet it preserves the warm and thick tones that semi-hollow body guitars are known for. It has a lot of sustain and doesn’t have the feedback that hollow bodies do. A luxurious, plush hardshell case is included with the purchase of the Starfire. It must be wonderful for various genres, including jazz, blues, roots, and more, as the best semi-hollow body guitar overall.
The Starfire V is proudly one of those guitars that achieves greatness no matter what genre you choose or the sound and tone you’re after. What is the cost? It was well worth it. This is the Best Semi-Hollow Guitars in 2023.
PRS Special Semi-Hollow
- Fully-Hollow Construction
- 22-Fret Wide Fat Neck
- PRS 58/15 “S” Pickups
To the tone-savvy guitarist who needs the ultimate in playability and sonic variety, the PRS Special Semi-Hollow offers a tempting package. The PRS Special Semi-sound, Hollow’s playability, and adaptability are unrivaled. It has three PRS pickups that are exclusive to it, as well as a sophisticated switching scheme.
At both the bridge and neck positions, the 58/15 LT pickups offer a rich and organic vintage tone. The 58/15 LT is based on the successful design of the original 58/15, which made PRS PAF pickups a force to be reckoned with. The LT version, on the other hand, is coiled with fewer wire turns for more clarity and delicacy. With a fat overdrive, these pickups produce a rich, growling tone that nevertheless allows for crystalline note separation inside chords.
The Narrowfield pickup can be found in the center position, working as a Swiss army knife. A humbucker, a P-90, a regular single-coil, and a mini-humbucker can all be achieved with this pickup. The Narrowfield employs a humbucking pickup system. In any event, it keeps the clarity in overdrive while also bucking the hum. With all of these pickups and switching choices, you’ll have a total of 12 pickup combinations to accommodate almost any genre and occasion, all while maintaining excellent playability.
The PRS Special Semi-Hollow also has two mini-toggle switches for separating the pickup coils for single-coil tones, as well as a 5-way pickup selector in positions 2 and 4 for reverse-polarity tones. A Pattern neck is also featured on this PRS. This neck is quick and easy to use, and it never gets old. Finally, the PRS Special Semi-Hollow boasts a PRS Gen III Tremolo vibrato bridge, PRS Phase III Locking, and a lovely F-hole on the resonant body. In a nutshell, this is a fantastic semi-hollow guitar for serious guitarists. This is the Best Budget Semi-Hollow Guitar in 2023.
Squier Classic Vibe Starcaster
- 100% designed by Fender
- Offset semi-hollow body
- Fender-Designed Wide Range humbucking pickups
The Starcaster was once a nearly-forgotten guitar, a short-lived unusual hollow body that didn’t quite catch on. No one could have imagined that almost 45 years after its initial publication, this weird semi-hollow would find a new following.
Fender has released a few guitars that pay homage to this oddity from the 1970s, but the Squier Affinity Series Starcaster could be the most budget-friendly of them all. This budget-friendly axe reduces the Starcaster to its bare essentials while still delivering lots of 70s funk.
The Standard Squier humbuckers do an excellent job of replicating a rich, full-bodied sound that can handle modern rock as well as vintage tones, and the comfy maple neck makes playing a breeze. This is the best semi hollow guitars under $500.
Gretsch G2622T Streamliner Center Block Gunmetal w/Bigsby & Broad’Tron Pickups
- Center Block Construction: The G2622T features a center block construction with a spruce center block that helps reduce feedback and enhances sustain
- Broad'Tron BT-2S Pickups: This guitar is equipped with two Broad'Tron BT-2S humbucking pickups that deliver a powerful and articulate tone. These...
- V-Stoptail: The V-Stoptail is a vintage-inspired tailpiece design that provides excellent tuning stability and enhances sustain. It also adds a touch...
The Gretsch G2622T Streamliner is a semi-hollow guitar with a vintage look and feel that comes at a great price. It not only looks the part, but it also sounds fantastic for the money, thanks to the maple construction. Best of all, the G2622T will not set you back a fortune. This list’s greatest value option is the Gretsch G2622T Streamliner.
When creating the G2622T Streamliner, Gretsch relied largely on the tonal qualities of Maple. The result is a lively, brilliant, and colorful semi-hollow-body guitar at a very reasonable price point. Along with the Broad’Tron pickups, the G2622T has a 5-ply arched laminated body that creates an open tone that can assist cut through a mix. This low-cost semi-hollow also has a lengthy, weight-relieved spruce center block that runs the length of the body. This reduces feedback, which is a common issue with hollow guitars.
The 2622T Streamliner’s electronics include a separate volume control for each pickup, allowing you to dial in your own balance while both pickups are active. Once you’ve dialed in your pickups, the master tone control allows you to fine-tune your sound. The Bigsby-style tailpiece is one of the guitar’s most enticing features, as it not only provides a vintage tremolo sound but also a distinctive appearance. This Bigsby-Licensed tailpiece is based on Paul A. Bigsby’s original design and will offer you with hours of vintage enjoyment. This is the best semi hollow guitars under $1000.
Rickenbacker 360 Semi Hollow Electric Guitar
The Rickenbacker 360 is a pricey guitar, especially at $2,000 per instrument. The Rickenbacker 360’s price is high, though, because of the instrument’s distinctiveness; the first thing you’ll notice about the Rickenbacker 360 is its distinctive design and shape. Rickenbacker’s crescent moon cutaway form, rounded edges, and bound body characterize this instrument. This guitar’s neck is also bonded, which ensures that the fret ends do not protrude from the wood of the neck, especially if the instrument is subjected to extreme humidity variations.
The 360’s body and neck are made of maple, while the fretboard is made of rosewood and features Rickenbacker’s triangle inlays; the neck is a set neck to help with resonance and sustain. When I first picked up the Rickenbacker 360, the first thing I noticed was that the neck was a little narrower than what I’m used to.
The overall tone that this instrument produces is really distinctive, but there are a few things that you should be aware of before purchasing this guitar. Rickenbacker guitars are known for having a bell-like tone. While this means that the Rickenbacker sound works well in a variety of music genres, including Americana, old school rock, Indie, and soft rock, it’s not an instrument you should grab for if you’re into music that requires a lot of gains.
While this does not rule out the possibility of purchasing this guitar, you should be aware that if you are trying to perform in a stronger music genre, you will have a difficult time falling in love with it. The Rickenbacker 360 is a high-quality instrument, as its price suggests, yet it only appeals to a select number of artists. However, this guitar has a distinct tone and feel that you won’t find in any other guitar on the market today, especially a semi-hollow. This is the best semi hollow guitars under $2000.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a semi-hollow guitar?
The guitar’s structure is referred to as “semi-hollow.” These guitars, unlike the entirely hollow version, have a wooden center block on which the pickups are placed. This affects the tone dramatically by enhancing sustain and decreasing feedback at high volumes.
Semi-hollow guitars differ significantly in terms of pickups, bridges, and shape, despite the fact that they all have at least one F-hole. The term ‘Thinline’ is used by Fender to describe their semi-hollow models, but it has a long history in the guitar business. It refers to the semi-hollow guitar’s thinner body, which made these electric guitars simpler to gig with than the semi-acoustics used by jazz artists previously. To this day, semi-hollow electric guitar bodies are often slimmer than their hollow-body counterparts.
While it’s natural to believe that a hollow body area equates to a lesser weight, many semi-hollows have a wider body width than solids and can still weigh around 8 or 9 pounds. Thinline Telecasters, on the other hand, might weigh up to 1.5 pounds less than their solid counterparts. When compared to solid models with the same double-cut body shape, PRS Hollowbody models offer a similar weight savings.
How does a semi-hollow guitar sound?
Semi-hollow guitars use a variety of pickups, including humbuckers, P-90s, and standard single-coil pickups, making defining a semi-hollow sound nearly impossible. However, it’s fair to argue that the hollowed-out region of the body imparts greater tonal warmth than some solid-body electrics.
Rich and bell-like are two words that come to mind when describing these guitars. They have a more complicated harmonic spectrum than their solid counterparts, which is not seen in solids. It’s no surprise, then, that these are the six-string guitars of choice for blues and jazz musicians looking for something different than a normal solid-body guitar.
Difference between Semi-hollow vs hollow electric guitars?
A solid or chambered block of wood runs up the center of the body, on which the pickups are placed or against which the pickups are braced, in a semi-hollow. The pickups are fastened to the top of the body instead of the centre-block in a hollowbody guitar. Hollowbody guitars are similar in construction to acoustic guitars, and semi-hollow guitars are similar to solidbody electric guitars.
The major aim of the centre-block is to reduce feedback: when using a hollowbody design and performing at high volume and/or gain levels, the body will vibrate sympathetically with your amplified sound, making it difficult to regulate feedback. The centre-block of a semi-hollow design dampens sympathetic vibrations, making it better suited to players who want to use strong overdrive, distortion, or fuzz without having to mute their instrument every time they remove their palm off the fretboard.