Do Semi Hollow Guitars Sound Different [Reason]

The sound of a guitar mostly depends on its body type. Generally, three body types are invented till now for guitars. They are solid body types, semi-hollow, and hollow body guitars. So, after experiencing solid and hollow body guitars, when you go for the semi-hollow one, your mind asks, do semi hollow guitars sound different?

Do Semi Hollow Guitars Sound Different

Well, the answer is very simple and direct. Yes, a semi-hollow guitar is surely going to sound different. It is simply because the body type significantly affects the tone that ultimately contributes to producing sound. Moreover, each of the body types has different structures.

So, to enlighten yourself more regarding the sonic differences of semi-hollow guitars, bear with us till the end.

Solid Body vs Hollow vs Semi Hollow Body Guitars Sound Differences:

When you talk about semi-hollow guitars specifically, the other two body types come into discussion automatically. Hence, it is important to know about all three types and their comparison.

Solid Body Guitars –

Solid Body Guitars

Solid-body types are most common in electric guitars. All popular and renowned brands make their electric guitars solid bodies. These solid-body guitars are entirely made of solid wood. There is no hollowness.

However, this does not indicate that the entire instrument is made of one-piece wood. Rather different types of wood are used by different brands to make different parts.

Nonetheless, it does not matter how many wood pieces the manufacturers are combining, the pieces have to be solid. The wood should not be hollowed out of the guitar body except where the pickup and other control features are added.

Needless to say, solid-body guitars are more sustainable compared to the other two types of guitars. It is simply because of the wood density. It highly contributes to the guitar’s durability. It also makes the guitars more resistant and their low end becomes more focused and tighter.

From mainstream play to heavy metal play, everything is possible with a solid-body guitar. Also, they have great feedback rejection.

Hollow Body Guitars –

Hollow Body Guitars

To speak fact, a hollow-body guitar has nothing inside it even if it is an electric guitar. The construction of the guitar is exactly the opposite of solid-body Guitar. A hollow-body electric guitar is more like an acoustic guitar. But it does not have a hole for sound.

Inside the guitar is entirely hollow. It produces sounds more like acoustic ones. Thus, the guitars are best for jazz and blues. Moreover, you are going to get better feedback. But if you choose to play with intense distortion of a lot of gains, then hollow-body guitars are not suitable.

However, the feedback is great because the guitar has a lot of air and space inside it and the pickup works great as well. This is also the reason why hollo-body guitars cannot play hard rock or metal genres.

Semi-Hollow Body Guitars –

Semi Hollow Body Guitars

The semi-hollow body guitars may look similar to the hollow-body guitar but they are different according to their look, sound, and others. Generally, semi-hollow guitars are larger than other body types. Moreover, they also have more cutout designs on their body.

However, semi-hollow bodies also have different variants. In some variants, only a small section of the guitar is hollowed out. They are distinguished as ‘f-hole.’ Nonetheless, the main variant of semi-hollow guitars comes with a more hollowed-out body.

This feature is convenient when there is a center block seen in a guitar. This feature allows maximum airflow and situates at the center of the guitar body. Nonetheless, semi-hollow guitars are more sustainable than hollow-bodied guitars, but, a bit less than solid-bodied ones.

Moreover, compared to solid-bodied guitars, they also offer less concentrating low end and feedback is also less. Again, the semi-hollow guitar sounds louder than solid guitars.

Do Semi Hollow Guitars Sound Different?

Compared to solid-body and hollow-body guitars, semi-hollow guitars sound distinctly different. For example, strumming a semi-hollow body guitar will produce a different distinct sound from the solid-body guitar. But surely the tone is way louder.

Hence, guitarists from music genres like blues, blues-rock, and jazz choose semi-hollow body guitars. Moreover, semi-hollow guitars offer a tone in between solid-body and hollow-body electric guitars.

The guitar can offer almost the same focus and tightness as a solid-body electric guitar. Then, again, like the hollow guitars, semi-hollow produces a sound that has a more acoustic and round tone.

Nonetheless, the sound of a semi-hollow guitar mostly depends on how much the body of the guitar is hollowed out. Therefore, you get an acoustic tone accordingly. Moreover, this body type offers fewer feedback issues if you intensify the gain.

Advantages of Semi-Hollow Body Guitars:

  • Semi-hollow body guitars are suitable for almost any kind of music genre but are best for blue rocks, jazz, blues, and other modern music genres.
  • Increased gain can provide the best feedback on guitars.
  • They suited-gain and clean tones.
  • Some semi-hollow guitars offer feedback only at a higher gain.
  • The electric semi-hollow guitars produce rounded acoustic tones.
  • At lower volumes, the guitars are more resonant as you can feel the body of the instrument vibrating.
  • These guitars are way louder than the guitars of solid-body types.
  • Semi-hollow guitars are lightweight, comfortable, and have higher playability.
  • Also, good for practicing since the guitars are way more audible without amplification.

Disadvantages of Semi-Hollow Body Guitars:

  • If not properly dealt with, semi-hollow guitars may show feedback issues as they are more prone to it.
  • Sometimes the guitars are microphonic.
  • Also, most semi-hollow guitars come with a heavy neck.
  • You will not find any semi-hollow guitar as a substitute for solid-bodied guitar.
  • Semi-hollow guitars are not suitable for metal.

Best Guitar Models for Semi-Hollow Body Type:

Best Semi Hollow Body Guitars

Almost all reputed and well-known brands manufacture semi-hollow guitars for their customers. From Gibson to Yamaha all of them have created semi-hollow guitars. However, to give you an example of the best model it is surely the Gibson Es-335.

This particular semi-hollow guitar model comes with an F-hole and also, a solid center block. Moreover, some of the greatest guitarists out there are famous for playing semi-hollow guitars.

John Lennon, Chris Cornell, B.B. King, and John Scofield are the individuals who made the semi-hollow guitars everyone’s favorite.

Some other best brands also have beautiful collections of semi-hollow guitar collections. These brands include Fender, Strandberg Salen, Ibanez, Gretsch semi-hollow guitars, and others.


Question 1: What is the advantage of a semi-hollow guitar?

Answer: Semi-hollow guitars are undoubtedly versatile and have a lot of advantages. However, what makes them special is the wooden center-block feature.

This feature mount pickups and declines feedback that you face while playing a hollow-body guitar. Thus, if your music genre requires distortion or overdrive, then a semi-hollow guitar is surely the best deal.

Question 2: Do semi-hollow guitars sound acoustic?

Answer: Yes, semi-hollow guitars almost sound acoustic but not entirely acoustic. To get a full acoustic sound, only a full hollow-body guitar can help you. However, to some extent, semi-hollow guitars sound acoustic but are not truly acoustic.

Question 3: Are semi-hollow guitars harder to play?

Answer: Well, semi-hollow guitars are easy to play at least than solid-body guitars. Due to the solid wood used to make solid-body guitars, they are wider, thicker, and larger in comparison to semi-hollow instruments. So, they are easier to play.

Then again, hollow-body guitars are lighter than semi-hollow ones. It is because only some parts of the guitar are hollowed-out. Nonetheless, according to playability, semi-hollow guitars have a good reputation.

Question 4: What does a semi-hollow body guitar sound like?

Answer: Tonally, a semi-hollow guitar is almost similar to a solid-body guitar. However, unlike, solid-body guitars, they sustain less. Also, when it is a matter of low end, the semi-hollow guitars are less focused.

Last Updated on March 31, 2023 by Perry Garner

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