10 Best Semi-Hollow Body Guitars

Over guitar history, there have been many highly regarded semi-hollow body guitars known for their quality craftsmanship, sound versatility, and popularity among musicians. Here are some of them.

Gibson ES-335

Known as a classic and iconic semi-hollow, the ES-335 offers a versatile tone and has been used in various genres from blues to rock.  The Gibson ES-335 is a semi-hollow body electric guitar that has been a staple in the guitar world since its introduction in 1958.

The ES-335 features a semi-hollow body construction, which combines elements of both solid-body and hollow-body guitars. The body is typically constructed with a solid maple block running through the center, surrounded by hollow chambers on either side.

This design helps to reduce feedback at high volumes while still providing the warmth and resonance associated with hollow-body guitars.

The body of the ES-335 is usually made of laminated maple, which contributes to its bright, articulate tone. The neck is typically made of mahogany, providing stability and warmth, and is often set into the body for improved sustain. The fingerboard is usually made of rosewood or occasionally ebony, offering a smooth playing surface with excellent tonal properties.

Pickups and Electronics: The ES-335 traditionally comes equipped with dual humbucking pickups, which are known for their fat, warm tone with reduced noise and interference.

Gibson has used various pickup configurations over the years, including the classic ’57 Classic pickups and Burstbucker pickups, among others. The guitar typically features a three-way pickup selector switch, along with separate volume and tone controls for each pickup, allowing for a wide range of tonal options.

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The ES-335 is also known for its high-quality hardware, including a Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, which provide excellent tuning stability and intonation.

It often features vintage-style Kluson or Grover tuners, adding to its classic aesthetic and functionality. Gibson offers the ES-335 in a variety of finishes, including classic sunburst, cherry, natural, and custom colors, allowing players to choose a look that suits their style.

The ES-335 is renowned for its versatility, making it suitable for a wide range of musical styles, including jazz, blues, rock, and even heavier genres. Its warm, resonant tone and smooth playability have made it a favorite among professional musicians for decades.

This guitar has been used by countless legendary guitarists, including Larry Carlton, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, and many others, contributing to its status as an iconic instrument in the world of music.

Epiphone Casino

The Epiphone Casino is a classic hollow-body electric guitar that has earned its place in music history. Here are some key features and details about this iconic instrument:

The Casino features a fully hollow body design, which contributes to its distinctive tone and lightweight feel. The body is traditionally constructed with laminated maple for the top, back, and sides, providing a warm and resonant sound.

P-90 Pickups: One of the defining features of the Casino is its use of P-90 single-coil pickups. P-90s are known for their bright and articulate tone, delivering a clear and responsive sound with a hint of midrange bite. The Casino typically has two P-90 pickups, one in the neck position and one in the bridge position.

The neck of the Casino is often made of mahogany, contributing to its stability and warm tonal characteristics. The fingerboard is typically made of rosewood, providing a smooth playing surface.

The Casino has a distinctive full-sized hollow body with f-holes, similar to other classic archtop guitars. The lack of a center block, common in some semi-hollow designs, allows the Casino to produce a more open and resonant sound but may be more prone to feedback at high volumes.

Hardware: The Casino features a Trapeze tailpiece, which enhances its vintage aesthetic and contributes to its unique sound. It often includes a Tune-O-Matic bridge, providing stability and allowing for precise intonation adjustments.

blankThe Epiphone Casino gained significant popularity in the 1960s and beyond, especially due to its association with The Beatles. John Lennon, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney were known to use the Casino extensively, contributing to its iconic status in the world of popular music.

Over the years, Epiphone has produced various versions of the Casino, including different finishes, pickups, and limited editions. Some models feature a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece for added versatility.

The Casino’s unique combination of a hollow body and P-90 pickups makes it well-suited for a variety of genres, including rock, blues, jazz, and pop. Its lively and resonant character, coupled with the distinctive P-90 sound, provides a unique tonal palette loved by many players.

The Epiphone Casino remains a highly regarded and sought-after guitar, appreciated for its vintage charm, distinctive tonal characteristics, and its significant role in the history of popular music.

Other Instruments in the Top 10

  • Gretsch G2622 Streamliner:
    • Part of Gretsch’s more affordable Streamliner series, this guitar combines vintage aesthetics with modern features and a broad sonic palette.
  • Ibanez AS73:
    • A more affordable option with a versatile tone, the AS73 is a part of Ibanez’s Artcore series, known for its playability and sound quality.
  • PRS SE Custom 22 Semi-Hollow:
    • Combining the aesthetics of PRS with a semi-hollow body, the SE Custom 22 offers a well-balanced tone and comfortable playability.
  • Gibson ES-339:
    • Similar to the ES-335 but with a smaller body size, the ES-339 offers a more compact and comfortable design while maintaining a semi-hollow sound.
  • Epiphone Riviera Custom P93:
    • Featuring three P-90 pickups, this affordable semi-hollow body guitar offers a unique and distinctive tone, suitable for various genres.
  • Gretsch G5420T Electromatic Hollow Body:
    • With its classic Gretsch styling and Filter’Tron pickups, the G5420T provides a vintage-inspired sound and a striking appearance.
  • D’Angelico Premier DC:
    • D’Angelico is known for its high-quality guitars, and the Premier DC is a semi-hollow model that offers a balance of vintage aesthetics and modern playability.
  • Ibanez Artcore Expressionist AS93:
    • Part of Ibanez’s higher-end Artcore series, the AS93 provides a combination of quality craftsmanship, versatile tone, and an elegant appearance.