If you’re a guitarist who enjoys playing blues, jazz, and country music, a semi-hollow body electric guitar would be the ideal one for you.
These guitars tend to retain the signature bite, but they tend to have a warmer and bolder tone that’s reminiscent of an acoustic guitar. On top of that, these instruments will also be much lighter, which could make a big difference if you play long gigs on stage or find yourself playing for hours.
But there are so many different brands and models of these guitars, so choosing the right one for you might be pretty tough. So to make things easier for you, I’ve chosen seven of the best semi-hollow body guitar under 500 that you can find on the market today.
All of the models featured in this list will be of the highest quality, but they won’t exactly require you to bust the bank. That makes all these guitars ideal for those starting out with the guitar or for players who are starting to take the craft seriously and want a more premium instrument.
Read on to learn more.
- Top 6 Best Ibanez Acoustic Guitar Reviews
- Top 6 Best Three Quarter Size Electric Guitars Reviews
- Top 5 Best Half Size Electric Guitars On The Market
Top 6 Best Semi-Hollow Body Guitar Under 500 On The Market Today
#1, Ibanez Artcore Series AS73 Semi-Hollowbody Electric Guitar – The Closest You Can Get To The ES335 On A Budget
- Artcore set mahogany neck Double-cutaway, all-maple body 22 frets Bound rosewood fretboard ART1 bridge Classic Elite pickups Pearl dot inlay Chrome hardware Case sold separately
- As evidenced by its long-standing association with such giants of jazz guitar as George Benson, Pat Metheny, and John Scofield, Ibanez has been a constant pioneer in the world of hollow-body guitar building for more than three decades
- Part of that legacy is owed to the Artcore collection, which has succeeded in smashing any and all preconceptions in its wake as to what a great hollow or semi-hollow ought to be
- The Artcore formula builds on equal parts luthiery know-how, daring design, and a passion for warm, full-bodied tone
- The AS73 features a select-grade Maple semi-hollow body, a set-in Mahogany neck and Rosewood fretboard contribute to the warm-sounding characteristics of the AS73
Kicking things off is one of the best Ibanez models out there you can get on a budget. It comes in a transparent Cherry finish, which will really shine on stage or at a jam session.
It has a set Mahogany neck, an all-maple body, and a rosewood fretboard. This is a very common setup and combination for a quality electric guitar, and when paired with Classic Elite humbucker pickups, it makes for a very full and detailed tone.
This guitar is the closest you can get to a Gibson ES335 without busting the bank, and while it may not be the cheapest guitar out there, it is well worth the investment. It has a double cutaway, so you can easily reach the higher frets without stressing out your hands. This is a great addition for guitarists who find themselves playing a lot of lead parts when jamming.
This is a very comfortable guitar to play, and it sounds great, especially if you’re partial to the semi-hollow body tones. A great pick for any guitarist who’s starting to take the craft seriously.
#2, Squier By Fender Classic Vibe 70’s Telecaster Thinline Electric Guitar – The Best Semi-Hollow Telecaster Type Guitar
- 100% designed by Fender
- Inspired by 1970s-era Telecaster models
- Fender-Designed Wide Range humbucking pickups
- Vintage-tinted gloss neck finish
- Nickel-plated hardware
If you’re looking for a Telecaster, Stratocaster, or any Fender-type guitar on a budget, then Squier is one of the best brands to consider. This is because the company is owned by Fender and pays the same close attention to detail, the only difference is that the materials are more affordable, making the guitars more accessible.
This Thinline model from Squier has a very classic look to it. It has a mother of pearl design on the pickguard, which complements the bright yellow-brown finish on the guitar. It has two humbucker pickups and a three-way selector, which gives it the signature Telecaster sound.
The guitar is made of a combination of Poplar and Maple, which is a great combination of tonewoods. On top of that, it’s also a very affordable combination, which is why this guitar demands a much lower price than standard Fender models.
It has a vintage-style bridge and machine heads, which make it very reminiscent of 70’s-era Telecasters. So if you’ve been looking for the classic bright and full sound of a semi-hollow body Telecaster but don’t want to bust the bank on a Fender, this might be the one for you.
- Infinity R pickups feature warm, balanced articulation and excellent response for various music genres
- Art-St Bridge provides tuning stability
- Easy access to higher notes
No matter what guitar you get, if you’re looking for a high-quality one, expect to drop a lot of money. But sometimes, if you look hard enough, you can find great models on a budget.
This Ibanez piece is a perfect example of that. It comes in below $300 and is constructed very well. It has a very thin body and a transparent black finish, which gives the guitar a very sleek look overall.
It also comes with Infinity R pickups which are known for being very warm and balanced. This guitar would be a great pick if you’re looking for classic blues and rock guitar tones. It has a Mahogany neck with a Rosewood fretboard and an entirely Sapele wood body.
This makes for a lightweight and ergonomic guitar that’s ideal for those who are getting started and are looking for a quality semi-hollow guitar.
While this guitar may have its quirks, it’s a great entry-level instrument that even mid-level players would enjoy!
- Body Material: Laminated Maple
- Neck: Nato, Thin “U”
- Fingerboard: Laurel, 12” (305 mm)
- Bridge: Secured Adjusto-Matic
Next up is a model from Gretsch, one of the most respected brands when it comes to hollow-body and semi-hollow body guitars today. These guitars have been used by famous guitarists and musicians from all over the world, and this model is a great example of why.
It has a beautiful deep red finish, a secure Adjust-o-Matic bridge, and gives off a very warm tone ideal for jazz and blues players. The body is made of a combination of maple wood, the neck is made of nato, and the fretboard is made of Laurel. This gives the guitar a very warm and balanced tone, while also keeping the price of this guitar down a bit.
It has two humbucker pickups that give the tone a bit of flexibility, and the machine heads will make sure that your guitar will stay in tune for your whole set. If you’re a mid-level guitar looking to upgrade your setup with a high-quality guitar, this one is definitely worth looking at.
- SEMI-HOLLOW GUITAR: Jam out with this semi-hollow guitar that provides a customizable, dynamic sound
- DUAL HUMBUCKER PICKUPS: Enjoy a warm tone, and low, bassy sound for a wide range of music
- 3-WAY PICKUP SELECTOR: Jam out and experiment with different styles and genres of music with adjustable sound
- DOUBLE CUTAWAY DESIGN: Cutaway shape allows you to more comfortably reach past the neck to hit higher notes on the fretboard
- COMPLETE ALL-IN-ONE KIT: No need to spend extra money on accessories, this all-inclusive kit comes with a shoulder strap, carrying case, capo, tuner, and strings
Next up is our top-pick for beginner guitar players. This set will come with just about everything you need to start learning the guitar. Included in the kit are a semi-hollow body electric guitar in a beautiful red finish, a tuner, a gig bag, a spare set of strings, a capo, a strap, and a pick.
All you’ll need to get to complete the set up is an amplifier, but since this is a semi-hollo model, you can even play it acoustically! The body is made out of basswood, while the top and sides are made of Linden plywood, which isn’t the best material out there but is great for beginners.
It has two humbucker pickups, so you’ll be getting a very warm sound with a lot of low end from this guitar. And the double-cutaway design also makes it very easy to play lead guitar parts on it. So if you’re a beginner looking for a place to start, then this might be the right model for you.
- 2020 NEW PRODUCT FROM GROTE
- Laser Security Trademark & Metal truss rod cover
- Full Scale size & Set-in Neck
- Controls: 2 Volume/ 2 Tone/ 3-Way Toggle
- Thicken cotton bag, Guitar Cable, Pick Sampler
Wrapping up our list is the best set you can find for the money. This set comes with a very well-made guitar with a deep and glossy red finish, a gig bag, Allen key, cable, and picks. Finding a well-made guitar available as a complete kit is pretty rare these days, which is exactly why this Grote model made it on the list.
The guitar is made of maple with a rosewood fretboard, which gives it that classic look. And when combined with the very nicely made humbuckers, you can get some pretty fat tones from it, especially if paired with the right amp.
It also has a Tune-o-Matic bridge, which will keep your tuning and intonation very stable, especially if you set it up correctly. This is a very well-made instrument that would be great for mid-level players looking to upgrade their beginner guitar.
Advantages & Disadvantages Of Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar
In this section, we’ll be discussing the pros and cons of using a semi-hollow body electric guitar.
First, we have to take a look at the advantages. The first one would have to be the fact that these guitars are much lighter than solid-body ones. This is because some of the wood has been taken out, which removes a lot of weight. This will make it much easier for you to carry the guitar and play it for extended periods of time.
Next up, you have the tone. This may be kind of subjective, as everyone will have different tastes. However, these guitars will have a unique blend of an acoustic and electric guitar tone, which makes them great choices for musicians looking to play jazz, blues, and country music.
Aside from that, the way these guitars are set up allows for something called sympathetic string resonance. This gives the guitar added richness and fullness when it comes to the tone, and it also makes playing these guitars are more tactile experience.
Lastly, these guitars have a very unique look. Not every guitarist or musician out there would prefer these to solid-body designs, but there’s no denying that they are unique.
The main disadvantage of these instruments is the feedback. This is mostly because of how soundwaves travel within the instrument. That being said, it also results in more sustain, especially if you know how to mix it properly.
While most guitarists will stand by the extra fullness and richness in the tone, others may not find it to their liking. The tone of these guitars tends to be a bit louder, which may not be ideal for certain playing styles.
Lastly, because of the way these instruments are made, you won’t be able to have a tremolo bridge as with a solid-body guitar. This can be limiting, especially if you’re playing heavier and “shredd-ier” music. This isn’t a guitar recommended for shredding and other heavy types of music.
What To Look For When Buying A Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar
- Size & Scale Length
When buying any guitar, the first thing you would have to check is the size and scale length. Guitars usually come in ½, ⅞, full-size, concert, and dreadnought sizes.
If you’re an adult looking for an electric guitar, then we highly recommend you get a full-sized instrument. This is because they are designed for adults and will fit your hands and body just right. Getting smaller sizes might end up feeling uncomfortable and unplayable.
Scale length refers to how much your strings stretch on the guitar. This is also called string length. Guitars with a longer scale length will feel tighter and harder to play but will have a brighter and punchier tone. Those with shorter scale lengths will have less tension, making the strings looser and easier on the hands.
The tone of any electric guitar is largely dependent on the pickups used. These are basically microphones that use magnets to pick up the vibrations of the strings. Different brands and different guitars use different pickups, so make sure to do some research on that before deciding on which guitar you should get.
There are three basic types of pickups used on guitars, single-coil, humbucker, and P-90’s. On a semi-hollow, you’re most likely to find humbuckers and P-90’s which have a fatter and thicker tone than single-coils, but they don’t have the same clean response. That being said, there are still a lot of semi-hollow body models out there that use single-coils, or a combination of different types of pickups.
Aside from the pickups, the tonewoods used in a guitar also have an effect on the way it sounds. There are so many different woods and combinations out there used in guitars and all of them affect the sound differently.
Just remember, darker tonewoods tend to produce warmer sounds while lighter ones tend to produce brighter sounds.
Another very important aspect of any guitar is how playable they are. The only real way to test this is trying the guitar out yourself. The reason for this is that all guitarists and musicians have different standards. What might be comfortable for you may not be comfortable for another person and vice versa.
That is why getting to test out a guitar before using it is very important.
Are Semi-Hollow Guitars Good?
Yes, especially if you’re looking for a more rounded and warm electric guitar tone. These instruments may not be ideal for heavy metal but for rock, jazz, blues, and country, they make for great light instruments that won’t hurt your back.
What Is A Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar?
Semi-hollow guitars are electric guitars with two bouts hollowed out. These instruments also usually have f-holes. That gives them a much lighter feel, unique look, and distinct tone that would be hard to miss.
Can Semi-Hollow Body Guitars Be Played Acoustically?
While you might be able to play a semi-hollow body acoustically when you’re alone, these instruments will not be loud enough to be played with other musicians. So if you’re heading to a jam session with one of these guitars, make sure to bring an amp.
What Are Hollow Body Guitars Good For?
Because of their tone, hollow-body and semi-hollow body guitars are great for blues, jazz, RnB, rock, and country music. And since they are lighter, they are also ideal for musicians who often find themselves playing for hours on end.
Why Do Semi-Hollow Guitars Feedback?
This happens because the semi-hollow body tends to reroute sounds coming from the amp back to your pickups. The extra resonance of semi-hollow and hollow-body guitars make them very susceptible to feedback, which can be solved easily by either lowering the volume of the amp or moving away from it.
And that concludes our list. While all the guitars featured on it were very high-quality, there are definitely some that were made for experienced players and some made for beginners.
The reason for that is so that just about anyone can find the right semi-hollow body guitar for them in this list. And if you think that one of the featured products suited all your needs and preferences, then all that’s left to do is to get your hands on one.
And before you know it, you’ll be rocking away for hours on end.
My name is Demarcus M. Greiner and I was born and raised in the mid-seventies on the flat country near Stamford.
From the age of twelve, I received classical lessons from the guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Two years later, I work on playing the electric guitar on the side and self-taught and is part of various rock band constellations.
Since 2004 I have been giving private guitar lessons and since 2005 I have been a lecturer for classical and electric guitar at the New York Guitar Academy. In the years 2006-2010, I study at the New York City Guitar School in the subject “classical guitar”.
After completing studies and obtaining a diploma as an instrumental teacher, I completed a further training course in the field of jazz guitar, similar to a course of studies, with the – beyond this scene – renowned guitarist Chuck Berry.
Later I was addicted to dark metal. Years later Carter USM, Pop Will Eat Itself, Jesus Jones followed. Then the electronic stuff. Techno, Warp stuff, Ambient. Today I listen mainly to Indie, Shoegaze, Dream-Pop, Folk, Post-Rock and Electronica.