Best Hollow Body Guitar Under $1000

Best Hollow Body Guitar Under $1000

For you players with a passion for blues and jazz, we present the best hollow body guitars under $1000 available today.

With an axe like these, you can breeze through the sweetest jazz progressions, belt beautiful blues lines, and rock like a true star.

Our Recommendation

Now, don’t get me wrong—every guitar on this list is a winner. But, I do have a favorite and a least favorite, based solely on my personal preference in choosing the best hollow body guitar for under $1000.

Relegated to the last spot is Ibanez’s PM2. Believe me, this is an awesome guitar in every way (for $1000, it better be, right?). But, it feels a bit over-bulky to me if we’re going to be hypercritical, and I really love to have a vibrato tailpiece on my hollow bodies.

While there’s nothing really wrong with it, it would be the last guitar on this list I’d go home with.

When it comes to hollow body guitars, I’ve pretty much always got to hand the win over to Gretsch. They’ve been doing this for almost a hundred years, and their time-tested formula for great semi-acoustic sound is—in my humble opinion—unrivaled in the industry.

For under $1000, you can grab the totally sweet Gretsch Electromatic G5420T to fully enjoy its lovely Bigsby vibrato, its sultry dual humbucker tones, and its vintage coloration to rock the stage.

The Top Hollow Body Guitars Under $1000 – Overview

#5 Ibanez PM2 Pat Metheny Signature Check On Amazon >>

Specs

  • Top – Linden
  • Body – Linden
  • Neck – Nyatoh/Maple
  • Fingerboard – Bound ebony
  • Electronics – Single Super 58 humbucker

Pros

  • Designed by a jazz player for jazz players
  • Fast-playing Ibanez neck with special fret edge treatment
  • Comes with a great, ready to play factory setup

Cons

  • Single humbucker limits the fatness of possible tones

Review

If you’re in the market for a genuine jazz box, look no further than the Ibanez PM2. Designed by Ibanez in collaboration with famed jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, the PM2 Signature model delivers the sweet, soaring jazz tones you’ll be happy to have in your life.

Though it’s made with non-standard linden wood, the voice of the PM2 is something to be proud of. It’s lush and lovely, with sparkling highs and a biting midrange that’s perfect for quick jazz riffs.

With Ibanez’s ArtStar fret edge treatment, you can fly up and down the neck without a hitch. If you know Ibanez, you know they value speed, and you can be sure that the Pat Metheny Signature model is a guitar made for ripping through rapid jazz riffs.

A single humbucker transfers your tone with crisp clarity that will have audiences snapping their fingers in no time.

Its spanky tone in combination with its bright, eye-catching aged amber finish are sure to make this guitar the center of the show.

#4 D’Angelico Premier EXL-1 Check On Amazon >>

Specs

  • Top – Spruce
  • Body – Maple
  • Neck – Maple
  • Fingerboard – Rosewood
  • Electronics – Single D’Angelico Mini Humbucker

Pros

  • Overall bright yet tempered tone
  • Tune stability from stair-step tailpiece
  • Compensated rosewood bridge adds resonance and sustain

Cons

  • Single mini humbucker doesn’t have much kick

Review

Just overtaking the PM2 in terms of jazz tone and playability is D’Angelico’s Premier EXL-1.

This hollow body guitar delivers the most classic jazz tone you can get in modern times, owing to its genuine spruce and maple tonewood combo and single high-quality D’Angelico Mini Humbucker.

With a lot of quack in the tone, you can troll out vintage jazz and antique blues to your heart’s content.

It’s got an adjustable rosewood bridge that adds depths of sustain to every note and that helps to temper the brightness of the maple body to just the right balance.

Below this rosewood bridge you’ll find a beautifully designed stairstep tailpiece. Not only does this look amazing, but its special alignment gives you a ton of tuning stability. With a tailpiece like this, tuning is a thing you’ll only have to do once every great while.

Although the single mini bucker doesn’t give you quite the drive you need to kick into hardcore genres, when you’re shopping for a guitar at this price point you should know that not every instrument is made for every task.

This is an axe designed for sounds of old, so if you’ve got a hankering to reconnect to the roots of modern rock and explore the inner workings of jazz methodology, the Premier EXL-1 is a guitar to take you there.

#3 Washburn J7VNK-O Check On Amazon >>

Specs

  • Top – Spruce
  • Body – Quilt Maple
  • Neck – Maple
  • Fingerboard – Rosewood
  • Electronics – Dual Washburn humbuckers

Pros

  • Double humbuckers for kicking high-gain tones
  • Tune-o-Matic bridge and Bigsby vibrato tailpiece for wacky warbling riffs
  • Versatile and responsive tone and volume controls

Cons

  • Washburn humbuckers are near the bottom of the barrel (could be upgraded)

Review

It’s rare that I ever rank a Washburn so highly, especially on a top-dollar review like this one, but I’m pretty taken aback by Washburn’s J7VNK-O hollow body guitar.

First things first, you’ll notice it’s strikingly beautiful. The JVNK-O features a naturally finished spruce top and amazing quilted maple back and sides. Eschewing the bright colors common on hollow bodies, Washburn presents the JVNK-O au naturel to stunning effect.

Not only do these woods look amazing together, but they sound great too. The spruce top will give you a well-voiced tone in all the ranges and amplify each note’s harmonic overtones to perfect balance with the fundamentals. Once the vibrations hit that maple body, they pick up a spike in treble that adds shimmer and brightness to the tone, sparking the spruce’s voice to vibrant aliveness.

This spanky tone is then perfectly transmitted through the dual Washburn humbuckers. While I’ll always opt for some EMGs over Washburns, these two double coils leave little to be desired. They can be rolled back for soft, clean licks, or cranked to full blast when you want to get down and dirty with rock’n’roll riffage.

Topping it off is the Tune-o-Matic bridge paired with the Bigsby vibrato tailpiece. With this, you can add vintage bends to your chops to sound like a true master of the blues.

While Washburn usually leaves me wanting more, their J7VNK-O is a guitar that impresses in every way.

#2 Godin 5th Avenue CW Kingpin II Check On Amazon >>

Specs

  • Top – Wild cherry
  • Body – Wild cherry
  • Neck – Silver leaf maple
  • Fingerboard – Rosewood
  • Electronics – Dual Godin Kingpin P-90 single-coil pickups

Pros

  • Handmade by a team of Canada’s finest luthiers
  • Interesting and unique tone from wild cherry construction
  • Single-coil pickups with a meaty midrange and high-end drive

Cons

  • Neck is not slim and can be hard for small-handed players
  • Susceptible to feedback

Review

Godin guitars are some of my favorite in the world for many different reasons. Their entry into the hollow body market with the 5th Avenue CW Kingpin II is just another thing to make me love them.

This 5th Avenue hollow body is a rockin’ semi acoustic guitar that can do everything from original blues to 70s rock and all styles in between.

It’s the first hollow body I’ve seen to be built with a wild cherry body, which is impressive in and of itself. The wild cherry gives this guitar a tone that is unlike any other semi acoustic I’ve heard. It’s bright but warm; crisp but mellow. It lacks nothing in any range, with a great balance from lows to highs.

Now, factor in that Godin guitars are handmade by some of the most skilled luthiers in Canada and feature locally-sourced, hand-selected tonewoods, and you’ve got something to really brag about.

The Godin 5th Avenue CW Kingpin II is altogether one of my favorite guitars in any category, but there are a few things you should know before you buy it.

First, its neck is much wider and flatter than you’ll usually find on a hollow body guitar. It’s only a drawback if you let it be, or if you’ve got hands that are simply too small to wrap around the profile. Otherwise, it’s a fun, full-feeling playing field to jam on.

Second, this semi acoustic shakes things up a little bit by using dual single coil pickups rather than humbuckers. The tonal result is a lot brighter and faster on the attack than you’ll be used to in this type of guitar, which makes it awesome for classic rock.

The one issue with this is that it feeds back pretty easily, so cranking up the volume to max is going to be hard.

Aside from this, the Godin 5th Avenue CW Kingpin II is a beautiful sound machine with tons to offer.

#1 Gretsch Guitars Electromatic G5420T Check On Amazon >>

Specs

  • Top – Maple
  • Body – Maple
  • Neck – Maple
  • Fingerboard – Rosewood
  • Electronics – Dual Black Top Filter’Tron

Pros

  • Killer Filter’Tron pickups are great for blues, jazz, and rockabilly
  • Powerful high-end and roaring lows
  • Chiming, crystal clear tone is great for solos and speed playing

Cons

  • Tuning machines need to be upgraded as they don’t hold pitch

Review

Gretsch’s Electromatic G5420T is a guitar that needs little introduction. Not only was the Electromatic one of the first hollow body guitars in the game, but it’s carried on with a strong, well-renowned reputation for nearly a century. You can read Gretsch’s colorful history here.

We like the G5420T so much, we’ve written a dedicated, in-depth review of it that you can read here.

But, since you’re here now, let me tell you its highlights.

First, you get really vintage playability thanks to Gretsch’s classic body design and U-shaped neck. Its strings are on the slinky slide, with a bluesy jangle you’ll only find in the finest Gretsch models.

It’s got an all-maple build that would ordinarily make for a sound I’d call too sharp (I’m looking at you, Fender). But, Gretsch equips this bad boy with a pair of Black Top Filter’Tron pickups that make this semi acoustic sound straight up mean.

It can sing like an angel or grind like a bandsaw. You’ve got your sound under the control of a master tone and master volume knob, as well as a 3-way selector switch to blend your pickups as you desire.

If you crank the volume all the way, you might experience a bit of feedback, which can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you utilize it. This is due to Gretsch’s sound-post bracing, so there’s no easy fix for it aside from dialing back your volume knob a little bit.

The package is complete with the Bigsby B60 Vibrato Tailpiece, giving you the ability to funk things up any way you want.

In the end, the Gretsch Electromatic G5420T is one of the most classic and historic blues and jazz boxes still around.

The Final Word

No matter their ranking on this review, every axe on this list is one of the best hollow body guitars under $1000 in 2020. If you still haven’t found what you’re after, or if you’d like to see some less expensive guitars, check out our review of the best hollow bodies under $500 here.

They play silky smooth, sound fantastic, and are all the guitar you need to hit the big time with.

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