The Best Hollow Body Guitar Brands
Here are the best hollow body guitars that will be sure to catch your attention with their classic looks and their acclaimed warm and clean tones.
Hollow body guitars, also called semi-acoustic, are not to be confused with acoustic-electric guitars. These electric guitars are designed with a single hollow cavity within the body. They can produce low volume acoustic sounds when unplugged, but their true character shines when plugged in. Although mostly associated with jazz music, hollow body guitars have left their mark on all styles of music including country, pop, rockabilly and even hard rock.
When you think of hollow body guitars, the first thing that will usually come to mind is Gretsch. Although Gretsch was not the first in the market, they have improved on the classic design to the point of making the hollow body style their own. Their quality and intricately designed instruments became popular and widely used. The most popular of which is the Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins model, which is arguably the best hollow body guitar. Up to this time, it continues to be favored and used by many professional guitarists.
Gretsch G6120 Chet Atkins Hollow Body
(Gretsch G6120 Chet Atkins Hollow Body pictured above - Get the latest prices and reviews at Amazon.com)
Made popular by guitar legend and virtuoso Chet Atkins, the Gretsch 6120 is a mighty fine instrument. When you plug-in your Gretsch 6120, you can know that other notable players used the same guitar including Eddie Cochran, Duane Eddy, George Harrison, Setphen Stills, Neil young, and Brian Setzer among many others.
Gretsch Guitars G6136T White Falcon with Bigsby
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Fender's partnership with Gretsch helped improve their current production guitars and made sure that all their re-issues are vintage-correct. This includes the Gretsch G6136T White Falcon which sports the same 1959 style, Bigsby, arched top and gold-sparkle binding.
The retail price for the Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins hollow body guitar is $2,274.99. The stylish Gretsch G6136T White Falcon is tagged with a price of $3099.99. There are other mid priced Gretsch hollow body guitars for budget conscious musicians.
In 1936, Gibson's first attempt to make production line electric guitars resulted in the first ever hollow body guitar with a pickup attachment, the ES-150. Gibson then improved on this design and by 1949, they came up with the ES-175 that had built-in electric pickups, which is largely considered as the first ever fully electric semi-acoustic guitar. It subsequently became the working template that other hollow body manufacturers improved on. Up to now guitarists world over prefer the ES-175's simple yet effective design.
Gibson Custom ES-175
(Gibson Custom ES-175 pictured above - Get the latest prices and reviews at Amazon.com)
The Gibson Custom ES-175 brings the successful classic design for modern players to enjoy. Although widely used in Jazz as exemplified by Joe Pass and Howard Roberts, masters from other genres like Pat Metheny, Keith Richards and Steve Howie also preferred this instrument. Its florentine cutaway, P-90 pickups, gorgeous looks is more than enough reason for many to want to own this iconic hollow body guitar.
Epiphone Casino - Get the latest prices and reviews at Amazon.com
Epiphone, a sub company of Gibson also made waves among hollow body guitar enthusiasts with the Epiphone Casino. Having been favored by the Beatles and notably John Lennon, this is the guitar that put the Epiphone brand on the map. Although it looks like a Gibson ES-335 (the ES-335 came top of our Semi-Hollow Body list), the Casino is a true hollowbody guitar, bringing with it a unique warm and ringing tone.
To own a remake of the iconic ES-175, you have to be willing to shell out $3499 for the Gibson Custom ES-175. The Epihphone Casino is more budget friendly with a retail price of $599.
Rickenbacker started making semi-acoustic guitars in 1958. These guitars have a wider body that uses a sleek dash on one side instead of the traditional f hole. The unique look, Fireglo finish and widespread exposure with the Beatles helped propel the Rickenbacker brand up the ranks. Instead of the usual jazz connotations, their hollow bodies became ideal for pop and rock, and even became a strong competitor to Gibson.
Rickenbacker 330 Electric Guitar
(Rickenbacker 330 Electric Guitar pictured above)
Some tend to classify the Rickenbacker 330 as a semi-hollow, but according to Rickenbacker themselves, the 300 series are hollow body guitars. They sport a single hollow space inside the body surrounded by wood that is thicker than those of other brands. According to many, the resulting tone lies somewhere between a semi-hollow and a hollow body. This gives the Rickenbacker 330 its unique appeal and sound.
The Rickenbacker 360 was a common sight back in the 1960's during the British sound invasion. The current available models are slightly updated but still emit the same classic British retro vibe that Rickenbacker is known for. Notable features include dual truss rods, single coil pickups and its unique body contour.
The MSRP for the Rickenbacker 330 Electric guitar is $1,999. The slick Rickenbacker 360 is priced at $2499.. The retail price would be a bit cheaper and there are quite a number of used Rickenbackers in pristine condition that you can get for cheap.
More information is available from Rickenbacker.
The strength of Ibanez lies mostly with the quality of their artist endorsers, which for their hollow body guitars include John Scofield, Pat Metheny and George Benson. Knowing that these virtuosos endorse the brand gives you an assurance that you won't be disappointed. They offer various models that borrow from classic hollow body guitar shapes but to keep their products budget friendly, they employ affordable materials and production techniques. Ibanez is one of the first to provide quality hollow body guitars at affordable prices.
Ibanez LGB300 George Benson Signature
(Ibanez LGB300 George Benson Signature pictured above)
The George Benson LGB300 is the latest incarnation of the George Benson signature, one of the best that Ibanez has to offer. It features a wider full hollow body, set-in neck and Super 58 pickups perfectly suited for jazz savvy guitarists. Having passed the stern specifications of jazz great George Benson, don't be surprised if you get to like it.
Ibanez Artcore AF75
At the opposite end of the spectrum is the affordable Ibanez Artcore AF75. You get big archtop tone for just a few bucks. It has an all maple hollow body that gives you the same resonance as other expensive guitars. Some guitar players report that swapping the stock pickups with something better yields even more amazing results.
The George Benson LGB300 model does not come cheap, and retails at $3,599. Budget conscious guitar players however will be elated by the price of the Artcore AF75 which is only at $399.99.
Other Hollow Body Guitar Brands
Aside from these top brands, other guitar manufacturers also offer hollow body designs. It is important to note that some guitar players go to small scale guitar luthiers and would testify that these small scale manufacturers build the best hollow body guitars in terms of tone and quality. If you have your own list or feel that a specific brand or model should be included, you can let everyone know via the comments section.
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