Best Hollow Body Guitars for the Money

Best Hollow Body Guitars for the Money

For diehard fans of true blues, the best hollow body guitar for the money is a great choice of axe.

These full-voiced tone machines pump out creamy chords and soulful melodies like no other.

If you’re ready to take your love of vintage guitar music to the next level, this list is for you.

Our Recommendation

Do you love the wide-open hollow body sound and acoustic-like playing feel but don’t want to drop a grand on a guitar?

The Johnson Delta Rose JH-100 is a solid choice for beginners looking to explore the grounds of hollow body territory.

Its sound isn’t going to blow your socks off, but it will give you the semi-acoustic experience you’re looking for at a low price. You can check out more low-cost hollow bodies in this review.

If you’re serious about hollow body musicianship, Guild’s X-175 Manhattan is the best hollow body guitar I’ve come across yet.

It’s got an amazing sound, great playability, and handcrafted construction that will keep you rocking into old age.

The Top 6 Hollow Body Guitars for the Money- Overview

#6 Johnson Delta Rose JH-100

Specs

  • Top – Spruce
  • Body – Mahogany
  • Neck – Mahogany
  • Fingerboard – Rosewood
  • Electronics – Dual Alnico humbuckers

Pros

  • Small profile is easy to play
  • Spruce + mahogany tonewoods give growling earthy sounds
  • Resistant to feedback

Cons

  • Low quality tuning machines
  • Shabby construction

Review

This Johnson JH-100 is a good deal smaller than the average hollow body guitar. Consequently, it’s much easier to manage for players with smaller bodies. This reduced, lightweight build also cuts back on player fatigue.

It’s made from quality tonewoods that combine to give you a tone that’s got its feet in the mud. With an earthy, natural voice, this is a guitar that sounds great in the genre of its namesake, the delta blues. The dual vintage-style Alnico humbuckers do a great job of bringing this sound through your amp.

At such a low price, there must be something wrong, right? Well, unfortunately, there wasn’t much care put into the minor details of its build. As such, there are issues with the nut notches and bridge placement. You’ll need a good setup to get the most out of this guitar.

#5 Washburn J600K

Specs

  • Top – Spruce
  • Body – Maple
  • Neck – Maple
  • Fingerboard – Rosewood
  • Electronics – Vintage Mini Humbucker

Pros

  • Twangy sound that’s great for rockabilly
  • Beautiful antique finish
  • Dependable tuners

Cons

  • Weak wooden pickguard can easily break
  • Single floating pickup without much drive

Review

I’ll be straight up, this Washburn J600K is mostly up here for its looks. Of all the hollow body electrics I’ve reviewed, this is one of the coolest, most classing looking guitar I’ve seen. I’m in love with its aesthetic.

Tone-wise, it delivers a nice, treble-heavy sound that’s great for jazz, folk, and rockabilly. Its twangy responsiveness makes riffing a lot of fun in any genre.

Unfortunately, it’s only equipped with a single pickup, and it’s not even a full humbucker. This Washburn mini humbucker gives enough power for softer genres but doesn’t have quite enough juice for grittier rock and blues.

If you’re in the market for a beautiful instrument, this hollow body is an amazing piece to add to your collection. It won’t exactly make you sound like a superstar, but its looks are stunning enough to distract from any sonic shortcomings.

#4 The Loar LH-309

Specs

  • Top – Spruce
  • Body – Maple
  • Neck – Mahogany
  • Fingerboard – Padauk
  • Electronics – The Loar P90 humbucker

Pros

  • Hand-carved solid spruce top
  • Aims to reproduce sound of original archtop guitars
  • Real bone nut for added resonance

Cons

  • Single pickup owes to feedback problems

Review

The Loar LH-309 is a nod to the first guitars of this category in both looks and tone. It’s a historical-looking archtop with construction specs to match.

Its spruce and maple tonewood combo gives you a balanced tone that leans toward the treble end of the spectrum. This makes for a chiming, bright-voiced guitar that’s great for classic rock and jazz.

Thanks to its mahogany neck and nut of real bone, you get loads of sustain and resonance from this hollow body.

My only issue with this model is the single pickup. The Loar’s P90 is a decent piece of electronics, but it may not give you the kick you’re after with a hollow body. You can, of course, always upgrade to a more powerful pickup, but this is something to keep in mind when considering this guitar.

#3 Gretsch G5420T

Specs

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

Pros

  • Bright yet warm; crisp yet rounded
  • Bigsby vibrato tailpiece for smooth pitch bending
  • Loose playing feel for jangling jazz and blues

Cons

  • High feedback due to trestle bracing

Review

Gretsch is known to make some of the best hollow body guitars on the market. They’re a safe choice for choosing a semi-acoustic no matter which model you go with.

The G5420T is one of their lower-cost hollow bodies, but this small price tag doesn’t mean it underperforms. In fact, it’s one of my favorite guitars, one we’ve done a full review of in this article.

In terms of tone, the G5420T has an overall bright sound that’s owed to its all-maple build. This makes it a great choice for your lighter genres. Add a bit of distortion and all manners of classic rock and blues are at your fingertips.

Gretsch utilizes the famous Bigsby tailpieces, equipping this model with the B60 vibrato edition. With this, you can easily bend your notes, mixing in lots of extra flavor to your lead lines.

Though the trestle bracing setup gives more feedback than I’d like, the G5420T is one of the most solidly performing hollow body guitars I know of. Read more about Gretsch’s trestle bracing here.

#2 Ibanez LGB30

Specs

  • Top – Spruce
  • Body – Flamed Maple
  • Neck – Nyatoh
  • Fingerboard – Ebony
  • Electronics – Dual Super 58 humbuckers

Pros

  • Silky ebony fretboard for quick riffs and smooth chords
  • Powerful Super 58 humbuckers for rock and more
  • Artstar fret edge treatment makes playing feel flawless

Cons

  • Nyatoh neck is a subpar tonewood choice

Review

As a big fan of Ibanez guitars, I love the LGB30 more than most hollow bodies. It’s got the fast-playing qualities that Ibanez models are famous for while keeping true to the bluesy voice that makes a hollow body electric.

The body made with spruce and maple gives a tone with lots of clarity while holding enough rumbly warmth to make your riffs roar. Arguably, the sound could be a lot better with a neck of higher quality, but the rocking Super 58 humbuckers make up for this one fault.

Despite its mean-looking build, this guitar does just as well in jazz as it does it growling rock, making it a versatile instrument for many types of musicians.

Though the Ibanez LGB30 is on the pricier side of these hollow body guitars, it’s a choice that will meet most of your softcore playing needs.

#1 Guild X-175 Manhattan

Specs

  • Top – Spruce
  • Body – Maple
  • Neck – Mahogany
  • Fingerboard – Indian Rosewood or Ebony
  • Electronics – Dual Franz P90 single coils

Pros

  • Guild vibrato tailpiece lets you bend your notes without intonation problems
  • Fiery P90 pickups add sizzle to the balanced tone
  • Handcrafted quality ensures dependable construction

Cons

  • Expensive

Review

Of all the hollow body guitars available today, the Guild X-175 is one of the best in every way.

First, it’s handmade. Handcrafted guitars are often superior in all regards since each piece is custom-fitted and honed to perfection. You’ll have no issues with the construction of the X-175 and can buy it knowing you’re getting a top-notch semi-acoustic.

Next, the tonewood combo of this model is, in my opinion, unbeatable. Spruce and maple is a common pairing for hollow bodies, but rarely do they top this off with a mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard. This gives you a full sound that is beautifully harmonic in every range.

While I tend to prefer humbuckers in a hollow body, the Franz P90s of this Guild are nothing to squawk at. They deliver a feisty, full-throated voice that handles gain really well. They’re mean when you want them to be, but clean up handsomely for times when you want to play it cool.

With its price set pretty high, this isn’t exactly a beginner’s guitar, but it’s sure to be one you’re happy to play for years on end.

Buyer’s Guide

What Makes a Great hollow body Guitar?

The best hollow body guitars for the money should, above all, have quality that matches their price.

You don’t have to spend a year’s salary to get a great hollow body; you just to need to make sure you’re getting what you paid for.

When looking for an awesome hollow body guitar, the first thing I’d pay attention to is the build quality. Is it put together well? Are there any obviously cheap parts? Is everything in working order?

While elements like tuning machines can be easily replaced, you should stick with guitars that won’t need too much work upfront. This means checking that the bridge and saddle are in good order. Definitely pay mind to the neck. If the neck is bent too far out of shape, take that guitar out of your realm of choices.

Next, check out the tonewood choices. Tonewood preferences vary from person to person, so you’ll want to choose a guitar that has the construction styles you like.

Some tonewoods will give you a crispier, treble-heavy sound, while others will boost your bass frequencies, and still others will lend a balance to every range.

Knowing the different sonic qualities of the various tonewoods can help you greatly in choosing the best hollow body guitar for the money.

Why a hollow body Guitar Might Be Right for You

Hollow body electrics were the original electrified guitar. As such, they give you a truly vintage sound that’s great for blues, country, and classic rock.

If you value acoustic tone but want the boost of electric hardware, hollow body guitars could be the instrument for you.

Typically, they’re deep and bold sounding, giving you stunning rhythms and sultry smooth lead work. You can read more about how their body type affects their tone is this article.

Who Should Buy a Hollow Body Guitar?

These guitars are great for many different types of musicians, but really show their stuff in older genres of music.

I’d recommend a hollow body above all to fans of the original blues styles. There’s no guitar that can carry these tunes better than a hollow body electric.

They also make sweet-sounding jazz, able to pull off crisp, clean chords with a huge amount of resonance.

If classic rock is your jam, they’ve got the ability to bite with just the right amount of grit. At the same time, they’re clear and resonant for when you want to kick in some fancier riffage.

With that being said, you should know that hollow body guitars can only handle light distortion and overdrive. They’re definitely not made for hard rock or metal. For heavier styles, take a look at our review of great semi hollow body electrics.

This is because owing to the unfilled sound chamber, they are very susceptible to feedback. It can happen even playing fully clean at high volumes.

So, as long as you don’t need too much grime in your tone, these guitars can be wonderful instruments.

The Final Word

Hollow body guitars are a great middle-ground between acoustic and electric models. Handling more overdrive than acoustic electrics but providing a greater depth and resonance than most solid bodies, they’re wonderful instruments for a variety of genres.

If you crave the sounds of old, choosing one of these best hollow body guitars for the money is a perfect way to satisfy that yearning.

Leave a Reply