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The style of music you play will influence the type of electric guitar you choose. There are three types of electric guitar bodies: hollowbody, solidbody, and semi-hollowbody. This guide will help you learn the difference between each type and how to decide which semi-hollowbody electric guitar is right for you.
In the 1930s, the first electric guitars are hollowbody, typically a jazz archtop acoustic with a pickup added.
By 1951, guitar maker Leo Fender is using a solid slab of wood to mass produce a solidbody electric guitar, the Fender Telecaster.
In 1958, Gibson creates an electric guitar that is part hollowbody and part solidbody —the semi-hollowbody ES-335.
The semi-hollowbody guitar looks like a hollowbody but has characteristics of a solidbody. It has a solid block of wood running through the center of the guitar that is glued to the back and top of the guitar, in effect creating hollow "wings" on the sides. Depending on the design of the guitar and who is describing it, semi-hollowbody electrics are also called semi-solid and semi-acoustic.
Thewas created for players who wanted some of the resonance of a hollowbody guitar with some of the sustain and bite of a solidbody. Unlike hollowbodies, which tend to feedback at higher volumes, the solid center design of the semi-hollow makes it more feedback resistant.
The semi-hollowbody guitar is generally described as having the woody, resonant sound of a jazz hollowbody as well the bright, punchy sound of a rock-and-roll solidbody. This best-of-both-worlds sound continues to make semi-hollowbody guitars a favorite of players from a wide range of musical genres. Here are a few examples:
Gibson ES-335 – the first successful semi-hollowbody electric guitar. Has become the archetype of the semi-hollowbody design. It spawned a succession of variations.
Gibson ES-339 - a smaller, lighter version of the ES-335 that has its own distinctive sound with a little more bite. A semi-hollowbody for solidbody players.
PRS SE Custom - has the distinctive PRS craftsmanship and looks, with a tone that includes a little high-end bite.
Gretsch Duo Jet - more accurately described as a semi-solid body, it has routed chambers that provide acoustic resonance.
Ibanez AS73 - entry-level semi-hollowbody model with humbuckers and an adjustable bridge.
Fender Telecaster Thinline - a solidbody routed with chambers to make it lighter and more resonant. Can be called a semi-solid or semi-acoustic.
Italia makes several distinctive semi-hollowbody electrics.