semi hollow body vs hollow body

Semi Hollow Body Vs Hollow Body Guitars – The Complete Guide

Concerning guitars with a semi hollow body vs hollow body, there are tremendous differences in size, style, and sound! I’m regularly asked how one kind compares to the other. The essential distinction is that semi-hollow frame guitars are thinner, with a relevant timber block keeping apart two hollow chambers. In comparison, hollow-body guitars usually are thicker and completely hollow.

The Short Answer – Semi Hollow Body Vs Hollow Body Guitars

Hollow-body guitars are more often than not utilized in jazz and blues music. They produce clear, rounded tones. Semi-hollow body guitars utilize a center block of wood. They’re able to deal with extended advantage.

Semi-hollow body guitars are thinner and hollow on both aspects, with a wooden block down the middle. This offers the guitar structural stability with an extra balanced sound preferred by some Jazz, Rock, Blues, and pop gamers. Hollow frame guitars are commonly thicker and hollow, offering the guitar a mellow and bassy sound most Jazz gamers desire.

The Main Differences In Semi Hollow Body Vs Hollow Body

While discussing the main differences between semi hollow body vs hollow body guitars, we can say, a semi-hollow has a solid or chambered block of timber jogging up the centre of the frame, to which the pickups are set up or in opposition to which the pickups are braced. A hollow-body guitar does not have this centre block; pickups are, as a substitute, secured to the top of the body.

Here is a desk to display the most widespread differences at a look.

Key ConsiderationSemi-Hollow BodyHollow Body
CutawaysTwoOne (Or None)
Internal ConstructionMixture Of Hollow And Solid (Wood)Completely Hollow
Center Wood BlockYesNo
“F Holes”YesYes
BridgeScrewed Into BodyNot Screwed Into Body
Overall SoundLess Acoustic-SoundingMore Acoustic-Sounding
Sounds Best WithClean-To-Mildly-Overdriven TonesClean Tones
Typically Used ForJazz, Blues, Pop, RockJazz And Blues
Prone To FeedbackLess ProneMore Prone

Semi-Hollow Body Guitars

First, allow’s a examine the semi-hollow frame guitars.


Many semi-acoustic guitars are created by routing a hollow space from a solid block. Oates guitars are historically built with bent aspects and arched tops and backs. However, it’s not simply the construction strategies that can be old school; the use of traditional equipment is a big part of the development of those guitars.

Semi Hollow Body Vs Hollow Body

Semi-hollow guitars pass between a solid body and a hollow frame guitar. They usually have cutaways on each aspect (higher bout) of the body. A picture of this kind of guitar is at the bottom of this section.

The frame has a block of wood going for walks down the hidden interior of the centre. It offers the guitar structural integrity, facilitates feedback, and might upload a bit of sustain to the tool. The guitar’s pickups are commonly set up onto the centre block to help improve their sound.

The middle block on a few semi-hollow frame guitars has a speaking channel that connects both hollowed-out chambers to assist the stability of the sound. The internal of the body is hollowed out on each aspect of the middle block, with holes (usually f-holes) for the sound to exit.

The f-holes are somewhat more restrictive than the “sound hollow” in the centre of an acoustic guitar. The bridge is screwed onto the guitar’s body and has a “fixed” tailpiece.


Semi-hollow body guitars are tonally similar to solid body guitars, but with a piece much less maintained and a barely much less targeted low end. These guitars can be performed acoustically. However, while unplugged, they’re far from as loud as regular acoustic guitars.

Nearly all semi-hollows can be equipped with steel strings for magnetic pickups. Acoustic guitars have bronze wound strings that vibrate greater and are louder. These guitars are “all-round” devices which might be a widespread desire for Jazz, Blues, Pop, and Rock.

In a manner, their design presents the maximum flexible sound. Get a semi-hollow body if you’re torn between what solid frame and hollow body guitars can do. Maximum players think of the Gibson ES-335 as a classic example of a semi-hollow body guitar.

Semi-Hollow Body Vs. Chambered-Body

Semi-hollow frame guitars are not similar to a guitar with a chambered frame. Chambered usually refers to a stable frame guitar with wood eliminated within the body to lighten the device’s weight. Semi-hollow has a strong centre body block but usually has a large body with hollow “wings” and soundholes to more visually resemble an accurate acoustic tool.

The guitar’s body is routed in pick-out regions earlier than the timber cap is attached during manufacturing. It additionally enables the stability of the guitar and makes it extra resonant.

Chambered-body guitars are an excellent answer for human beings that play lengthy units status up, exceptionally if they have returned problems. Still, the drawback is that removing the wood can even decrease the guitar’s natural preserve.

It is especially effective for heavy guitars, like Les Pauls. Although most players purchase a Les Paul for its mythical maintenance, you are probably surprised at how many chambered-body fashions are bought yearly.

My Favorite Semi-Hollow Guitar

I prefer my Gibson B.B. King Lucille version out of all my semi-hole frame guitars. It has the Gibson ES-355 frame form, but B.B. Requested’s adjustments make it an exclusive sound.

Semi Hollow Body Vs Hollow Body

The guitar has no f-holes or any openings in the frame. It makes the guitar’s semi-hole structure vibrate acoustically, making it a more muted sound and much less susceptible to remarks.

The guitar has a Varitone pickup selector transfer and is stressed out in stereo with output jacks. There is also a TP-6 tailpiece with first-class tuners. A much less pricey version of the guitar, made below the Epiphone emblem, sounds and performs appropriately.

Hollow Body Guitars

Hole frame guitars are recognised for their warm, smooth tone. It truly is much like the sound produced by using entirely acoustic guitars. They’re also quite flexible, seeing that you can play them just about anywhere on their very own or take them to the level to play with electric-powered amplification.

Semi Hollow Body Vs Hollow Body

Next, right here are the things that outline hollow frame guitars.


In maximum instances, while buying a hollow body guitar kit, the pinnacle, bottom and facets of the guitar can be created from marine ply with a middle block inclusive of both maple or Mahogany walking thru the middle of the frame with binding strolling along the pinnacle of the guitar and in a few cases the lower back and neck.

Hollow frame guitars, because the call implies, are hollow. They had been the primary commercially available electric guitars, so they have a history wealthy in sound and culture. A photograph of this form of the guitar is at the bottom of this phase. The frame usually has an unmarried cutaway to attain the very best frets. However, some guitars are constructed without a cutaway to maximize the guitar’s acoustic sound.

Not like the semi-hole bodies, they have no centre timber clock block. Those guitars have one big inner chamber with wood bracing, making them more delicate to address and more liable to harm. It also makes them greater susceptible to feedback. Hollow-body guitars usually have f-holes on both facets to permit the sound out. The bridge isn’t screwed onto the guitar’s frame but has a “floating” tailpiece.


Hollow-body electric-powered guitars have an even greater acoustic tone than semi-hollow-body guitars, which is evident through how loud and gift they sound whilst you strum them unelectrified. They have the boomiest low stop and the most miniature preserve and are most liable to wild feedback.

Due to the fact hollow frame guitars are larger than semi-hole body guitars, they may be more acoustic-sounding, resonant with a more prosperous, extra mellow tone and are acknowledged for their “bassy” low cease.

Their lack of a centre block offers them less preserve than semi-hollow body guitars. Those guitars are favourites among Jazz guitar gamers and some Blues players. Still, famous a-pop player Chet Atkins preferred the Gretsch 6120, and the Beatles made the Epiphone casino thin-line hole body legionary in Rock songs.

My Favorite Hollow Body Guitar

The Ibanez Joe bypass JP 20 is my preferred number of hole-body guitars I own! It is a hollow-frame electric-powered guitar model added via Ibanez in 1982. It’s miles a signature model for American jazz guitarist Joe skip. The JP20 has modelled off a D’Aquisto sixteen” archtop which bypasses owned and became the primary and handiest signature guitar made for a pass with the aid of Ibanez.

I like gambling it unplugged because it has a rich acoustic sound that tasks appropriately. The guitar has a single pickup that amplifies fantastic Jazz tones via minor adjustments within the guitar’s extent and tone controls. It works appropriately with black Fender amps, just like the twin and Deluxe, and I love the sound via my antique Fender Bassman and Mesa Boogie Blue Angel!

The JP 20 has a petite slim neck, which is tremendously fast despite the strings being set at a higher motion.

Semi Hollow Body Vs Hollow Body

Advantages Of Solid Body Guitars

Semi-hollow body and hole frame guitars may be performed acoustically without an amplifier, providing a rich sound that may venture into a small target audience. Strong-body guitars require piezo pickups to take advantage of their acoustic sound.

My Parker Fly Deluxe and Parker Fly concert are the most effective two-strong frame guitars I own, which could compete with some of my semi-hollow frame guitars. However, they don’t come close to the richness of my hollow frame guitars, just like the JP 20 (discussed above).

Semi-hollow and hole frame guitars may be lighter than solid bodies, but not continually. My Les Pauls are heavier than some other form of guitar I own.

When you play a great semi-hollow or hole frame guitar, you’ll recognise that they’re in a class all through themselves and aren’t a choice to any electric solid body! If you need to play the most comprehensive range of musical genres, get a semi-hole body guitar or a hollow body with a stable frame.

Problems With Semi-Hollow Body And Hollow Body Guitars

Although semi-hole and hollow-body guitars are first-rate instruments, there are some matters to recollect before you take the economic plunge.

Those guitars have less structural balance than stable bodies, especially some hollow bodies. They are safest whilst stored and transported in a tough shell case. Please don’t leave them mendacity round in your bedroom or tune room. If they fall, they may get critically broken!

Semi-hollow and hollow body guitars are more touchy to modifications in temperature and humidity than stable frame electrics. If you stay in a humid or dry area, it’s essential to keep them in a controlled environment and display them intently!

They will require frequent truss rod adjustments. Take your guitar to a certified guitar tech if you don’t have the right tools or training to avoid permanent harm to your guitar neck.

Semi-Hollow & Hollow Body Vs. Acoustic Guitars

Hole frame guitars developed from acoustic metal string guitars. Semi-hole body guitars were the subsequent logical step.Acoustic guitars generally challenge more sound than semi and hole bodies because they have an enormous round sound hollow in preference to smaller f-holes.

However, some current acoustics, like Ovation guitars, have soundhole versions.It allows acoustic guitars to assign a fuller sound farther than semi and hollow-body guitars, which can be played unplugged.

There Are Exceptions To Every Rule!

Even though the semi-hollow body and hole body guitars are not commonly considered “rock machines,” there are beautiful exceptions to every rule!

Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent, the “Motor City Madman,” and one of my favourite rock guitar players, use a hole frame Gibson Brydland as his preferred weapon of mass sonic destruction!

The Brydland first made its appearance in 1955. It changed into meant to be a thinner model of the Gibson L-5CES (cutaway electric powered Spanish) model with a shorter scale and a narrower neck.

It offers Ted the energy and feedback that he craves. Good day; why isn’t Ted in the Rock And Roll Hall Of repute? Possibly a topic for over again, but that’s virtually not proper!

Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry’s name is synonymous with early Rock, and some gamers consider him the daddy of Rock And Roll guitar! Throughout his profession, he used an expansion of hollow and semi-hole frame guitars.

Chuck changed into also regarded for using an ES-350T in the overdue ’50s, which became Gibson’s model of a less expensive Byrdland with much less high-priced hardware and detailing. But, he is first-rate regarded for playing his iconic semi-hole frame cherry purple Gibson ES-355. It’s tough to consider Chuck without envisioning him doing his well-known “duck stroll” across the level!

Billy Duffy

Billy Duffy is using pressure behind the opportunity Rock/Punk sounds of The Cult. His distinct sound started with “Spiritwalker,” The Cult’s debut unmarried.

He is well known for gambling his full-body signature Gretsch White Falcon guitar through a wall of Marshall, Orange, and Vox amps.

At some stage in the COVID lockdown, Billy worked on a chain of the latest tunes for The Cult. Pay attention; you’ll be amazed at what he can do with a hole-frame guitar!

Can You Play Metal On A Semi-Hollow Or Hollow Body Guitar?

The answer is yes. However, it’s, in reality now, not the ultimate method. Most steel players use solid body guitars like Les Pauls or great Strats. Out-of-control, runaway feedback is the most significant problem with the semi-hollow, and specifically, the hole frame guitars played with high advantage and distortion.

The easiest and maximum price-effect manner to manipulate the remarks is to stuff rags inside the guitar, which gamers like Billy Duffy have achieved with the correct effect. The trouble with filling the cavities of those guitars with sound-dampening cloth is that it changes the acoustic profile of the tool.

Nowadays, the exceptional manner to manipulate the remarks is via a noise gate pedal if you want to work on any guitar.

Final Thoughts -Semi Hollow Body Vs Hollow Body Guitar

There are no absolute proper or incorrect solutions inside the semi-hollow body vs hollow body guitar debate. However, positive standards do preserve authenticity. If you’re looking for a smaller-size guitar that’s more comments-friendly and capable of playing an extensive musical genre, then a semi-hole frame guitar might be your pleasant guess.

Final Thoughts -Semi Hollow Body Vs Hollow Body Guitar

However, if you want to maximize acoustic tone and play Jazz tunes or various styles of mellow tunes, you should get yourself a hole frame guitar. The best approach is to play each style of the unit and determine which one excellent suits your gambling style and budget. Also, don’t overlook considering an all-acoustic guitar as a likely alternative.

To play Rock or metallic on a semi-hollow or hole frame guitar takes a chunk of experimentation and noise suppression technology. Anything is viable in case you want it horrific sufficiently, and it can be the answer to supporting you in expanding your unique musical style. You can nicely discover yourself owning more than one guitar but begin with a guitar that does the maximum for your gambling fashion.

Here’s a great video from Andy at Reverb dot com demonstrating the differences between hollow frames, semi-hollow bodies, and chambered guitars. Please take a look at it!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Hollow Body Guitars Have Less Sustain?

Yes, hollow-body guitars have much less sustain than semi-hollow-body guitars, which have much less preserve than strong-body guitars. Usually talking, the more high-density timber a guitar has, the more maintained it is in all likelihood to have

Do Hollow Body Guitars Need Amps?

No, if you are gambling for yourself or a small target audience, you could play each hollow and semi-hollow body guitar without an amplifier; that makes them so flexible. Hearing them in a massive, noisy room or outdoors can be challenging without amplification.


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