The choice among semi-hollow body guitars is admittedly quite large and in the end depends a lot on the specific preferences of a particular person. Whether someone prefers a semi-hollow body guitar for live performances or for the rehearsal setting, and more importantly depending on specific sound preferences deriving out of the playable genre.
Semi-hollow body guitars are well-known and appreciated for their long sustain, nice distortion, and good bright sound. This is complemented however by some great warm clean tone as well. More than often though it is about the sustain.
In order to make choosing a good quality semi-hollow body guitar easier, this list here aims at bringing out some of the best guitars currently out there. The list includes guitars in the medium, as well as in the higher price range.
1. Gibson 1959 ES-335 Historic Reissue Semi-Hollowbody Electric Guitar
This well-known Gibson has a laminated maple body with an arched top and two f-holes. It also features a solid maple center block for enhanced sustain and clarity, along with trademark Mickey Mouse ears. It also has a hide-glued mahogany neck with a ’59 neck profile along with rolled binding on its rosewood fretboard. Other features include Kluson single-ring tuners, classic truss-rod assembly and dot inlays.
This expensive Gibson features a pair of great MHS (Memphis Historic Spec) pickups. There is also a four-knob control section, Bumble Bee tone caps, and three-way Switchcraft selector switch. All in all this is perhaps the best guitar on the list, but also by far the most expensive.
2. Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe
This nice Fender has a mahogany body, a C-shaped maple neck and a maple fretboard with 22 medium jumbo frets. It also has three-way toggle pickup switching, three-ply pickguard, four skirted amp knobs (two volume, two tone). Other features include vintage-style Stratocaster string-through-body six-saddle hard-tail bridge, nickel/chrome hardware and vintage-style tuners.
What makes this guitar especially good are of course a pair of single-coil Modern Player MP-90 pickups, making it one of the best moderately priced live show guitars on this list.
3. Godin Montreal Premiere P90
This nice semi-hollow body guitar has a carved spruce core inside its Canadian wild cherry top, back and sides. It also has a mahagony neck and a 20 fret medium jumbo rosewood fingerboard along with a Trapeze tailpiece and die-cast tuners. The guitar also has some really nice Godin P-90 pickups.
All in all it is a great guitar suitable for a variety of different genres. It has great resonance, sustain and sufficient warmth in its sound. This however also reflects in the rather high price of this particular guitar.
4. Epiphone Wildkat Archtop Electric Guitar
This great Epiphone semi-hollow body guitar comes with a mahogany body and flame maple top. It has a nice rosewood fretboard, an authentic Chrome Bigsby tailpiece and 16:1 Grover machine heads. The P-90 Dogear Classic pickups are great as well. All in all this Epiphone is capable of producing some really nice warm sustain and sounds really good.
The price of the guitar is moderate as well, so it would be a value for money deal for anyone looking for a good semi-hollow body guitar for live show or the rehearsal room.
5. Fender Starcaster Semi-Hollowbody Electric Guitar
This Fender comes with a thin semi-hollow offset body, bound maple top and back, as well as Stylish bound f-holes. It also has a great “C”-shaped maple neck and a curvaceous Starcaster headstock. The guitar features some truly great Dual Fender Wide Range humbucking pickups, 3-way toggle switching 3-ply black pickguard, and four skirted control knobs.
Other features include Fender Standard Cast/Sealed tuning machines and pinned Adjusto-Matic with Anchored Tailpiece.
All in all it is a semi-hollow body guitar with really good sound and works very well in any live setting. The price of this guitar is pretty moderate as well.
6. Ibanez AM93AYS Artcore Expressionist Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar
This great Ibanez semi-hollow body guitar has Quilted maple top, back, and sides. It also has a 3-piece mahogany/maple set-in neck, white block fretboard inlays, a bound top and a 20 fret fretboard. The guitar also has an ART1 bridge, Quik Change III tailpiece and gold hardware. The Custom 58 pickups are pretty fine as well.
This Ibanez has superb intonation and warm sustain, so there aren’t much complaints as far as its sound goes. The price is reasonable as well, making it perhaps the best semi hollow body guitar if value for money is concerned.
7. Italia Mondial Classic Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar
This nice semi-hollow body guitar has an agathis chambered body with “Acousti-Glass” top, while also having a hard maple neck. It also features a nice 22 medium jumbo 25.5″ scale rosewood fingerboard and Wilkinson EZ Lock Tuners. The great thing about this guitar is that it has 2 Wilkinson WVC humbuckers and a hand built piezo bridge, which makes it suitable for many genres and a rather versatile instrument.
8. Guild X-175 Manhattan
The Guild X-175 has laminated maple back and sides along with a laminated spruce top. It also has a 3-piece neck, as well as a rosewood fingerboard and bridge with 20 jumbo frets. Additionally it also features some great Dual Guild single-coil pickups, nickel hardware and Grover tuners.
There really isn’t much of anything bad to say about the Guild X-175. It sounds really great and has really good resonance and sustain. It works for different genres and is a great live concert instrument. The price also isn’t that high if compared to similar high end instruments.
9. Epiphone Dot Archtop Electric Guitar
This good quality Epiphone features a laminate maple body with a mahogany center block, and a set maple neck. It also has a 22-fret rosewood fretboard along with Alnico Classic Humbucker pickups and a 3-way pickup selector, 2 tone and 2 volume controls. Other features include the LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece. It has a reasonable price and can be considered a value for money hollow-body guitar suitable for a variety of genres and different settings.
10. PRS SE Custom Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar
This guitar comes with a maple top and flame maple veneer with mahogany back. It also features a 22 fret wide-fat mahogany neck along with a rosewood fingerboard. Additionally this nice semi-hollow guitar has SE humbucking pickups with volume and tone control, while it also has a PRS designed stoptail and PRS designed tuners.
All in all it is a pretty versatile guitar and suitable for a variety of genres. It has really nice reverb and resonance along with great sustain.