Best Hollow Body Electric Guitars of 2021 – Ultimate Review

| Last Updated: May 6, 2021

Hollow body guitars have had a place in popular music since the Bebop era, even into the new era of music.

But there are tons of options, and choosing the right one may seem like an impossible task.

That is why in this guide, we are going to take an in-depth look at some of the best hollow body electric guitars as well as some vital information you can use to make your decision-making process easier.

What is a Hollow Body Guitar?

Hollow body guitars are designed with a completely hollowed out body. This type of guitar looks like an acoustic without a soundhole, which gives the guitar a specific and unique sound. The pickups of these guitars amplify the resonance of the strings as they vibrate inside the body. They do tend to be larger in dimension than a traditional electric guitar. These guitars are also called "jazz boxes."

Perks of Hollow Body Electric Guitars

Hollow body guitars are electric guitars with designs that are similar to an acoustic archtop. These guitars offer a wide variety of classic jazz tones and have a similar sound to acoustics. They feature a lot of great qualities, but also have a few drawbacks. Hollow bodies do have elevated levels of feedback, and only a medium volume level to counteract that; they deliver a warm, bass sound. 

Improved Tonal Quality

The hollow design of this guitar gives an acoustic look with all the sound capabilities of an electric guitar for the best of both worlds. The design creates a warm, clear tone that other electric guitars are not capable of producing without a multiple pedal chain.

Versatility of Music

The tonal quality brings with it an ability to utilize the guitar in a multitude of music genres. This gives the guitarist a wide range of options when it comes to music genres.

Sound Clarity

The clarity created by the improved resonance from the hollow body design gives the guitar a rich, full sound that is crystal clear.

What Should I Look For When Buying a Hollow Body Electric Guitar?

When you go into the process of deciding which hollow body electric guitar is the right one for you, there are certain features that you should be looking at. By using these features and functions as a guidepost, we are sure that you will find the right guitar for you and your musical needs.

Materials

There are a lot of features that make up a great guitar, but the body itself and what they are constructed of is vital. When using tonewoods like basswood, ash, or alder, you will find a lot of different tonalities. So, looking into what the body is built with can be crucial to designating which guitar is right for your sound.

Fretboard

You will want to choose a guitar with the right size fretboard for not only your experience level but your hand size. The smaller the fretboard, the easier it is for smaller players and beginners to play.

Neck

The neck is a vital part of the playability factor. For those who are looking for a fast-playing comfortable guitar, then you will want to look for one that is made with a nice tonewood like mahogany.

Comparison Chart of the Best Hollow Body Electric Guitars

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Best hollow body electric guitar overall
  • Adjustomatic bridge built into design for better sound stability
  • Crafted with Tron pickups that elevate the quality of sound capabilities
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  • Crafted with Art core neck for improved neck sustain
  • Designed with a fast-playing neck with wider frets for better playability
  • Controls are built to be easy to use for increased precision in sound crafting capabilities
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  • Best for the Money
  • Designed with good quality hardware for improved sound precision
  • Use of high-quality tonewoods and good pickups helps offer a rounded and full sound
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  • Best Semi-Hollow Body Guitar
  • Comes with a hard case for the improved protection and portability
  • Multiple features built into a guitar that enhances the expression capability of the unit
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  • Best Left-Handed Hollow Body Electric Guitar
  • Crafted with a proprietary mini-humbucker for improved tonal capabilities
  • Ergonomically designed build that is available in both right and left-handed versions
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Review of the Best Hollow Body Electric Guitars

Now that you have a good idea of what makes a great hollow body electric guitar, it is time to take a look at our comprehensive list of the best options on the market.

Best Overall:
Gretsch G5420T Electromatic Hollow Body Guitar

Gretsch G5420T Electromatic Hollow Body Guitar with Bigsby - Orange

PROS

  • Fretboard is fast and easy to play
  • Offers the guitarist the patented Gretsch sound
  • Guitar has an aesthetically pleasing design and look
  • Crafted with high-grade materials for enhanced durability
  • Design and features allow for a comfortable and graceful playability
  • Built-in Humbucker pickups with a variety of controls for improved sound crafting

CONS

  • Some have issues with the spacing of the bridge pickup
  • Definite tweaking of the pickup heights will have to be made

What Recent Buyers Report

When you talk to the recent buyers of this guitar, you will soon see why we made this our overall top choice. They rave about the action and sound quality. The only complaints seem to be about the switch up of inlay designs. Other than that, most agree that this is a great choice for any guitarist.

Why it Stands Out to Us

When you are looking for a good guitar, sure, looks matter, but the true test is the sound capabilities and qualities. For us, this what stands out the most with this guitar. Built with a bridge you can adjust for improved stability and with humbucker pickups, this guitar gives a warm twangy sound that is perfect for a variety of genres.

Who Will Use This Most

This guitar is built to twang, and that makes it perfect for old school rock and roll or even rockabilly. The deep warmth and growl also can be used effectively with grunge style music. The guitarist who is recording these types of music will definitely get the most from this guitar.

Bottom Line

This guitar is sweet to look at and even better to listen to. The Gretsch sound is something many guitarists seek out, and with this model, the company certainly has given the musicians of the world one of the best hollow body guitars ever crafted.

Runner-up:
Ibanez AG75BS Artcore Hollowbody Electric Guitars

Ibanez AG75BS Artcore Hollowbody Electric Guitar, Brown Sunburst Finish

PROS

  • Easy to use, high-quality build
  • Price versus value is impressive in comparison to other models
  • Crafted with a floating bridge for better personalization of intonation
  • Delivers a smooth retro sound that is perfect for a variety of music genres
  • Design and functions allow for ease of play no matter your experience level

CONS

  • Some have taken issue with the output volume
  • Finding instructions for adjusting the bridge is a bit difficult

What Recent Buyers Report

The guitarist that has recently invested in this model has a lot to say, and most of it is good. Other than a few complaints about the knobs, most users love the low, fast action and the amount of value you get for such a reasonable price tag.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The design of this guitar is crafted to allow for increased playability and enhanced sound. Everything from the large fretted fast-playing fretboard to the highly precise knobs, this guitar simply screams quality. So, for us, the overall build design is what stands out most to us (especially the neck).

Who Will Use This Most

This guitar would be an excellent addition for any guitarist, but the one that will get the most from this model is by far those who do a lot of live shows. Perfect for the blues or jazz guitarist who plays in an ensemble and needs a good sound presence that can be heard alongside the rest of his or her band.

Bottom Line

The design of this Ibanez model is outstanding, and because of the attention to detail present in most models from this iconic company, the sound quality is superior as well. All of that, combined with a price that will astonish even the most budget-conscious player, is why it finds itself as one of the best options on the market today.

Best for the Money:
Johnson JH-100-WNB Delta Rose Electric Guitar

Johnson JH-100-WNB Delta Rose Electric Guitar, Wineburst

PROS

  • Accessible to a wider range of players
  • Guitar offers a stunningly clear and warm tone
  • Price versus value is well above many of its competitors
  • Designed with a build that is ergonomic and easy to play
  • Compact and lightweight design makes it great for smaller guitarists
  • Crafted with high-quality materials for a well-designed and durable body

CONS

  • Issue with the pickups being average quality
  • Suffers from excessive feedback, according to one user review

What Recent Buyers Report

Though this guitar is versatile, according to recent buyers, it does best in the blues/jazz genres, as it is not built for the heavy music genres. Other than that one slight issue, most feel that this a cheap yet high-quality guitar that is built well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One word immediately came to mind when we looked at this model -- playability. With its fine design, sturdy build, and easy to use controls, this guitar not only is a budget-friendly option but offers a comfortable and easy to play option for any guitarist.

Who Will Use This Most

This guitar has a lot to offer, especially for the beginner guitarist. It is easy to use and more compact than other options, yet it still offers a 24” fretboard. This also makes it great for smaller performers that want a high-quality sound from an easy and comfortable to use guitar.

Bottom Line

When you are just starting, most guitarists don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, but still want an instrument that offers a sound quality that will aid them in getting to know the tonal spectrum. This hollow body does just that and so much more.

Best Semi Hollow Body Guitar:
Guild Starfire V

Guild Guitars Starfire V Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar, Cherry Red, Double-Cut w/tremolo, Newark St. Collection, with Hardshell Case

PROS

  • Aesthetically pleasing build that is also durable
  • Made with dual f-holes for a premium semi-hollow body sound
  • Tonal qualities and build give this guitar a wide versatility of uses
  • Designed with features and functions that offer a warm soulful tone
  • Crafted with high-grade materials and an ergonomic design for increased playability

CONS

  • Issues with the case being damaged on delivery
  • Some feel the price is too expensive for the level of craftsmanship

What Recent Buyers Report

This guitar offers no drawbacks, if you are to believe its most recent buyers. They love the versatility of tonal sounds offered by the plethora of built-in features, plus the entire look of the guitar itself. Though some may feel that the price is a bit steep, they still recommend this guitar as a viable semi-hollow body option.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The inclusion of two f-holes on this semi-hollow body guitar gives it a unique sound, but the thing that really makes it shine is the features and materials used in this instrument’s construction. All of this combines to give you a lightweight, well-made guitar that is perfect for a wide variety of guitarists.

Who Will Use This Most

Though it indeed offers a wide variety of choice of many different types of guitarists, it benefits a few genres best. Play the guitar anywhere, from the stage to the studio, and the sound will be there. But play jazz or blues on the stage or in the studio, and the sound will really shine.

Bottom Line

If you are looking or a warm, clear, soulful tone, then this is the right guitar for you. It just so happens to be the best semi-hollow guitar, in our opinion. Crafted to optimize playability and sound, the Guild Starfire is a great choice to add to your kit.

Best Left-Handed Hollow Body Electric Guitar:
D’Angelico Premier Series EXL-1

PROS

  • Price versus value is among the best
  • Aesthetically pleasing retro design for improved style
  • Guitar offers high-quality sound with full, bell-like tones
  • Comes in multiple styles to accommodate left-handed players
  • Designed with quality hardware that is chromed for a more beautiful look
  • Neck is built on high-grade tonewood and is designed for improved playability

CONS

  • Some find fault with the inclusion of a floating pickup
  • Issues with the versatility of tonal quality when playing jazz

What Recent Buyers Report

The small world of left-handed guitar options is more than in the past, but often they are not quite built right and, therefore, less comfortable to use. That is why many of the guitarists that have opted for this model love it. Well, that and the amazing value you get for such a humble price tag.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The fact that the left-handed version of this instrument is so well crafted is undoubtedly the main reason this guitar made it on our list; that said, there is another reason that it impressed us. The inclusion of the mini-humbucker floating bridge allows for an enhanced level of tonal quality and versatility that is an amazing asset to add to any guitarist’s arsenal.

Who Will Use This Most

This guitar has a lot of great qualities, and they would best be used while rocking out old school or getting down into your feelings with a little blues. The sound and portability of this guitar make it the perfect option for musicians who are traveling from gig to gig that want a wide tonal range and quality.

Bottom Line

When you want a guitar and are left-handed, your choices are slimmed down a bit, and the ones you usually do find are often uncomfortable or awkward to play. That is why we chose this guitar to put on our list. It is by far one of the best left-handed guitars and simply the best left-handed hollow body one, hands down.

Best Gibson Hollow Body Guitar:
Gibson L-4 CES Mahogany Hollowbody Electric Guitar

PROS

  • Offers the player classic Gibson quality and performance
  • Neck is crafted in mahogany and is built in the 23 2/4” scale length
  • Designed with an ergonomic design and lightweight materials for better playability
  • Neck also improves playability with a shortened scale for other L series Gibson guitars
  • Hardware and internal design has left the guitarist with amazing tonal quality and versatility

CONS

  • Issues with volume levels being too low
  • Some customers don’t like the gold-accented knobs and hardware

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent purchasers of this guitar feel like it will only get better with age and play. They love the fact that it offers a stunning look and a full, rich tone that is compatible with a wide range of musical stylings. Though some would rather not have the gold accented hardware, this is just a preference and in no way takes away from the awesome sound.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Gibson name goes pretty far when it comes to incomparable reputation, but the name alone does not make a guitar. What makes this guitar is the use of high-quality materials and hardware that all combine to give the guitarist an elevated sound.

Who Will Use This Most

With its high-quality build and design, any guitarist would be well suited to make this their guitar, but there are always those that will get the most out these fine qualities. In this case, it’s the musician playing small venues -- in particular, the funk or blues musicians.

Bottom Line

If you love the classic Gibson sound and want one of the best models on the market today, then this guitar is the right choice. It comes fitted with internal bots that heighten the sound and a look that will keep you rocking a classic style for years to come.

Best Fender Hollow Body Guitar:
Fender Classic Series ’72 Telecaster Thinline

Fender Classic Series '72 Telecaster Thinline, Maple Fretboard - Natural

PROS

  • Built-in micro-tilt adjustable neck plate
  • Aesthetically designed for optimized style
  • Hardware and design give this guitar a wide versatility of use
  • Comes with the vintage tonality that has built Fender’s reputation
  • Crafted with materials that are lightweight for better portability
  • Guitar uses high-quality materials and a superior design that give it an improved durability

CONS

  • Some players wish there were more color options
  • Small fretboard may not be great for players with larger hands

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have a lot to say about this amazing guitar. Other than the fact that it is crafted with classic Fender level quality, it offers a great tone and playability. Even though some guitarists may find fault with the smaller fretboard, that doesn’t take away anything from the guitar.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This guitar is a sweet-sounding semi-hollow Fender that is built with hardware that optimizes the sound potential. This is why we have included it on our list of the best options on the market today. That, coupled with the high-quality build, makes this stand out above many of the competitors.

Who Will Use This Most

This guitar is a great option for many guitarists, but the ease of use and the quality of sound makes it perfect for the beginner. The well-designed knobs and internal mechanisms will help with a clear tone and versatility of sound.

Bottom Line

This guitar is full of amazing features and design functionalities that combine together to make one of the best options on the market. It is a cool looking model that offers the versatility of playability that will elevate any guitarist's performance and skills.

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying?

There are not just physical factors to think about when looking into the options available to you on the market. The things you need to know or think about before you buy a new guitar are the following:

Genre

You will want to know what your intent is and where you plan to play your music for sure. But you also need to consider what genre you will be playing. Each guitar will be suited for particular genres of music or have features that highlight those specific music styles.

Hand Orientation

You will also need to consider which hand is your dominant hand. The guitar will be designed for specific hands, so look for one that works with your hand orientation, especially if you are left-handed.

Budget

Lastly, you need to know your financial capabilities. Knowing what you have to spend will help eliminate options so that your choice is made easier.

Conclusion

Now that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision regarding the best hollow body electric guitars, you should be set to find the one that works perfectly for your needs.

People Also Ask

Even with all of the knowledge we laid out above, there may still be some questions you have that you want to answer before you make your final decision. So we gathered together a few of the most commonly asked questions and answered them below.

What is the Difference Between Hollow Body and Semi-Hollow Body Guitars?

Hollow body guitars are designed with a completely hollowed-out interior that gives an almost acoustic-like sound to the guitar. The pickups usually are super responsive to the resonance of the strings and are a little larger than the typical electric guitars. A semi-hollow only has part of the body hollowed out and has a cut-out instead of a solid body.

What Does a Hollow Body Guitar Sound Like?

The electric guitar has a more acoustic-based tone. They tend to have a deep low end and a reduced sustain. They are often called jazz boxes as they have a very twangy, warm tone.

Can You Play a Hollow Body Guitar Without an Amp?

A hollow-body guitar will definitely not give you any sound without an amp. Even the slight noise it does make will not be loud enough to hear. This means that you need to use an amp for any hollow or semi-hollow body guitar. 



Thalia has spent most of her life loving two things - writing and music. Thalia's passion for music saw her learning to play several instruments throughout her childhood and teen years. This passion also led to her earning two qualifications in Sound Recording Engineering, which she now uses by writing about musical instruments, studio gear, and the processes involved in making and producing music.