Best Hollow Body Guitars Under $500 Reviewed

best hollow body guitar under $500 reviews & comparisons

Hollow body and semi-hollow body guitars are great sounding instruments, although a bit genre-exclusive.

If you’re an experienced player looking to hone your skills on a hybrid guitar, or a beginner with a passion for country-rock, these best hollow body guitars under $500 are the most affordable options on the market.

Top-Rated Hollow Body Guitars in 2019

ImageModelWoodPrice
Gretsch G2420 Streamliner

5 out of 5 stars

  • Top – Maple
  • Body – Maple
  • Neck – Nato
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Epiphone Dot Semi Hollow Body reviewEpiphone Dot Semi-Hollow Body

4 out of 5 stars

  • Top – Maple
  • Body – Maple
  • Neck – Mahogany
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Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe reviewFender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe

4 out of 5 stars

  • Top – Mahogany
  • Body – Mahogany
  • Neck – Maple
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Oscar Schmidt OE30 semi hollow body acoustic guitarreviewOscar Schmidt OE30

4.5 out of 5 stars

  • Top – Mahogany with maple veneer
  • Body – Mahogany
  • Neck – Maple
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Ibanez Artcore AM53 reviewIbanez Artcore AM53

3 out of 5 stars

  • Top – Sapele
  • Body – Sapele
  • Neck – Nyatoh
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Gretsch G2420 Streamliner

Gretsch-G2420-Streamliner review

  • Top – Maple
  • Body – Maple
  • Neck – Nato
  • Fingerboard – Laurel
  • Pickups – Dual Broad’Tron BT-2S humbuckers

Gretsch is a maker of some of the best hollow body guitars on the market. The G2420 is a mid-range fully hollow body that packs a wallop in the high and mid ranges.

It’s a great guitar for clean musical styles and sounds awesome with chorus-modified jazz chords, though it can handle a bit of distorted overdrive as well. “U” shaped necks aren’t my favorite, but I’m not looking at a hollow body for speed metal capabilities.

For all its intended purposes, the G2420 Streamliner is a great hollow body guitar.

Final verdict

This is my favorite hollow body guitar on the list. You get a good solid tone, nice sustain, and solid electronics for under $500.

However, if your budget goes a bit higher and you’re looking for a really great hollow body, check out our Gretsch G5420T review, a cousin to the G2420 with upgraded pickups and a tremolo tailpiece.

Pros

  • Sustainable woods for low-cost production
  • Bright, punchy tone
  • Thin, “U” neck profile

Cons

  • Maple hollow body can lack in bass response

Epiphone Dot Semi-Hollow Body

Epiphone Dot Semi Hollow Body review
  • Top – Maple
  • Body – Maple
  • Neck – Mahogany
  • Fingerboard – Rosewood
  • Pickups – Alnico Classic and Classic Pro humbuckers

The Epiphone Dot is a bright sounding semi-hollow body nearly identical in build to the classic 1958 Gibson ES-335.

With vintage-style humbuckers offering a smooth voice, quick sustain, and clear attack, you can keep the tone clean for blues and country or crank the gain up for rock.

Final verdict

The main problem with the Epiphone Dot is loose wiring. Your local guitar tech can fix this for a relatively low cost, and once they do you will own a professional quality vintage style guitar that rivals some of the priciest Gibsons.

Pros

  • The remake of the vintage Gibson ES-335 model
  • Slim neck for fast playing
  • Locking bridge for tuning stability

Cons

  • Loosely soldered wires

Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe

Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe review
  • Top – Mahogany
  • Body – Mahogany
  • Neck – Maple
  • Fingerboard – Maple
  • Pickups – Dual MP-90 single coils

I was skeptical of the Fender MP Telecaster Thinline Deluxe, as I’m not a huge fan of the treble-happy Telecaster in general, but the extra bass brought out by the single F-hole semi-hollow body really made this guitar work for me. Despite its unusual design, I think it’s a very versatile instrument that handles harder rock styles much better than a conventional hollow body.

Final verdict

If you’re willing to experiment with this unique take on a classical guitar, you’ll find that Fender made some bold gambles that paid off well. It’s in the mid-price range, so an absolute beginner might want to seek something more budget-friendly, but anyone with a hint of skill will be able to excel at their craft on the Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe.

Pros

  • Mahogany body+Maple neck combo creates a unique tone
  • Semi-hollow sound with a Telecaster feel
  • ”C” shape neck profile for strong chords and fast riffs

Cons

  • Single coil pickups with a semi-hollow body create a lot of buzzes
  • Unconventional guitar overall

Oscar Schmidt OE30

Oscar Schmidt OE30 semi hollow body acoustic guitarreview
  • Top – Mahogany with maple veneer
  • Body – Mahogany
  • Neck – Maple
  • Fingerboard – Rosewood
  • Pickups – Washburn W421 and W423 humbuckers

Oscar Schmidt offers a very low-cost hollow body guitar in OE30. Known as the “Delta King,” this guitar’s tone is well described as grimy. The all-mahogany body has a strong earthy tone with a thick low and middle end, brightened just a bit by the maple veneer top and sprightly maple neck. Ideal for raw, soulful music styles like the delta blues, you can sound great with the OE30 without selling your soul at the crossroads.

Final verdict

Like many guitars in this price range, the OE30 could use a little wiring work and possibly a pickup upgrade, but all in all, it’s a great buy.

Pros

  • One of the most affordable hollow body guitars
  • Mahogany with maple top provides well-rounded tone
  • Dependable stock tuning machines

Cons

  • Hot pickups with high gain cause feedback issues
  • Thick low end, muddy sound, not great for all genres

 

Ibanez Artcore AM53

Ibanez Artcore AM53 review
  • Top- Sapele
  • Body- Sapele
  • Neck- Nyatoh
  • Fingerboard- Laurel
  • Pickups- Dual Infinity R humbuckers

Ibanez’s Artcore series has some good contenders for the best hollow body guitars under $500, of which the AM53 is the most affordable. It’s so affordable, in fact, that it could be considered an entry-level guitar if you want to a semi-hollow as your first axe.

The AM53 isn’t a toy, but it is pretty basic. Sapele in the body mimics mahogany in its lower end resonance, but the nyatoh neck lacks sustain and really diminishes the tone. The Infinity R humbuckers are also basic, but they do a good enough job of transmitting a non-squawky tone from a lower-end guitar.

Final verdict

For your money, you could get a much nicer acoustic-electric or solid body electric, and I would recommend that over the Ibanez AM53 semi-hollow body guitar. If you’re seeking your first instrument, it’s not the worst you could do, but you’ll get much better playability and tone from a guitar in another category in the same price range.

Pros

  • Inexpensive guitar with decent semi-hollow body sound
  • Attractive looks
  • Few feedback issues

Cons

  • Lowgrade tonewoods
  • Unimpressive stock pickups

Hollow Body and Semi-Hollow Body Buyer’s Guide

What’s a Hollow Body Guitar?

Hollow body guitars were the original electrics – Spanish style acoustics fitted with prototype pickups. Since then, they have evolved into renowned semi-acoustic instruments prized for their full tones, vintage looks, and unique playing feels.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Hollow Body Guitars?

Advantages- Hollow body guitars have great earthy tones overall. Generally, with thick necks, they offer a firm base for strong chords with full sustain. Great for rhythm or blues and country leads, their unique voice has kept them popular among musicians since the 1930s.

Disadvantages- Despite their semi-acoustic nature, you never get many tones from a hollow body guitar unless it’s plugged in. While they shine in certain genres, your options are largely limited to plugged-in acoustic music or softer electric styles.

What’s a Semi-Hollow Body Guitar?

A semi-hollow guitar is closer to an electric than it is an acoustic, both in tone and playability. They have a solid middle section outfitted with two hollow wings and usually feature dual humbuckers. Great for blues, jazz, rock, funk, fusion and beyond, they’re a favorite of many high-profile players.

They’re more fit for high gain than full hollow body guitars, but still can’t handle the heaviest distortion of all out metal.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Hollow Body Guitars?

Advantages- Semi hollow body guitars can perform in a huge range of genres, with just about the only exception being heavy metal, and even then you could do that if you tried hard enough.

Their double humbucker design handles heavy gain well, while their choice blends of tonewoods and semi-acoustic nature set the spotlight on their clean tones. They play fast, have thinner bodies than hollow body guitars, and are never made too cheap.

Disadvantages- Semi hollow body guitars are more in the semi-pro range than most other guitar types. Those with the best tone cost a lot, and the average sound for the affordable-range semi hollows is mostly unimpressive.

They’re not as warm as acoustics, not as fast as electrics, but sit somewhere in the middle, great for many genres but really bad for a few.

What Can I Expect from a Guitar in this Price Range?

There aren’t many options for either hollow body or semi-hollow body guitars under $500.

It takes a fairly intensive bracing system to eliminate the feedback problems these guitars face at high volumes, so most low-cost models utilize a very simple lightweight sound-post bracing system that saves on time and labor but contributes to tone issues.

The good news is, no one is making any semi or hollow body guitars that are very low in quality, so even the least expensive is going to be a decent instrument.

Expect the best tone from the guitars just under $500, the Epiphone Dot and the Fender MP Telecaster Thinline Deluxe.

They have true quality builds and good pickups, and their few problems are easily remedied. Guitars on the lower end of this price range will have mid-grade tones and want for better electronics, but are all crafted to be 100% playable.

Who Should Buy a Hollow or Semi-Hollow Guitar for this Price?

Advanced Players

If you’ve played music for years and are now curious to take a trip down HollowBody Lane, guitars in this price range are a great option for you to expand your skillset.

Intermediate Players

As an intermediate player with 13 years experience, I’d be happy to keep any of these guitars at home.

I love acoustic and electric both, and am curious to see what I might write on a hollow body guitar. If you know the fundamentals of chords, scales, rhythm, and basic theory, a guitar in this price range can be the perfect tool for you to further your skills in jazz, blues, rock, etc.

Beginners

I would suggest all entry-level beginners start with a decent acoustic.

But, if you’ve got a really specific dream of playing the blues on a hollow body, I’d recommend you stick with one of the lower-cost options in this list. Hollow and semi-hollow body guitars are kind of niche instruments, and unless you’re sure that’s what you want to play, you’ll be better off with an acoustic or solid-body electric guitar.

Final recommendations

Although the choices are few in this realm, these five best hollow body guitars under $500 are all true to the name. If you’re a beginner looking to start with true-to-form blues, you’ll find the price and playability of the Ibanez AM53 and Oscar Schmidt OE30 to be right up your alley.

My favorites are a close tie between the Epiphone Dot and the Gretsch G2420, but in the end, I’ve got to give my hat to Gretsch for doing what they do best.

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