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Semi-hollow guitars have a warm and beautiful sound suitable for jazz, blues, and classic rock.
We look at the best semi-hollow electric guitars for clean tones, bluesy overdrive, and lush jazzy chords.
Featuring PRS, Ibanez, Gretsch, and others.
Semi-Hollow electric guitars offer greater versatility with a warmer tone and better clarity than solid body electrics.
At the same time, they are not as prone to feedback as electric-acoustic guitars, especially when played at loud volumes and with distortion. This makes them a preferred choice for many jazz, blues, and rock guitarists.
For this list, we’ve rounded up the seven best semi-hollow electric guitars on the market.
It is an improved version of the traditional semi-hollow that is the paradigm for this type of guitar: the Gibson ES-335. However, it comes with better components and reduced cost than the original 335.
So, here are our candidates for the best semi-hollow electric guitars.
Heritage Standard H-535 Electric Guitar (Our Pick)
Gretsch G2622T Streamliner (Best Value)
PRS Special Semi-Hollow (Premium Choice)
Ibanez John Scofield Signature JSM100
D’Angelico Premier Mini DC XT
Epiphone Sheraton-II PRO Semi-Hollow
G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-hollow
1. Heritage Standard H-535 Electric Guitar
Heritage guitars have a solid reputation as builders, especially for hollow and semi-hollow guitars. Their instruments are well crafted and are renowned for having a beautiful tone.
The Standard H-535 semi-hollow guitar is no exception. It is a homage to the original 335 sound of the ’50s, but with some modern attributes for increased comfort and playability. This superb instrument is our top pick for this list.
These pickups work in conjunction with a three-way selector, plus there’s an individual volume and tone control for each pickup. You can choose to either combine the volume and tone of each pickup for your ideal blend or dial them in separately for two completely distinct tones when used on their own.
In other words, you’ll have the tonal versatility afforded by a 335-type guitar, without having to pay those higher Gibson prices.
The Heritage Standard H-535 also offers comfortable and fluid playability as you’d expect from a great guitar. This is thanks to its genuine mahogany neck with Heritage Guitar’s Standard C neck profile.
Additional features on this Heritage semi-hollow include 1.6875″ nut width, Corian nut, adjustable bridge, 2-piece stop bar tailpiece, and Grover tuners.
Weight-relieved spruce center block for feedback-free tone
U-shaped nato neck with laurel fingerboard
3 volume controls and 1 tone control create exceptional sonic flexibility
Bigsby tailpiece provides smooth vibrato action
Gretsch relied heavily on the tonal properties of Maple when making the G2622T Streamliner. The result is a semi-hollow-body guitar that is lively, bright, and colorful, all of this for a truly affordable price point.
Two mini-toggle coil-split switches, 5-way pickup selector
PRS Gen III Tremolo vibrato bridge
The PRS Special Semi-Hollow offers superior sound, playability, and versatility. It features proprietary three PRS pickups and a versatile switching scheme.
The 58/15 LT pickups at both the bridge and neck position produce a rich and organic vintage tone. The 58/15 LT is based on the original 58/15’s successful design that made PRS PAF pickups a force to be reckoned with.
However, the LT version is wound with fewer wire turns for even more clarity and nuance. These pickups sound really good with a fat overdrive, giving you a thick, snarling tone that can still give you crystalline note separation within chords.
Technically, the Narrowfield uses a humbucking design. In any case, it maintains clarity in overdrive while bucking the hum at the same time.
All of these pickups and switching options give you a total of 12 pickup combinations that will likely cover any genre and situation, all of that with superior playability.
Additionally, the PRS Special Semi-Hollow is equipped with two mini-toggle switches for splitting the pickup coils for single-coil tones, while a 5-way pickup selector gives you reverse-polarity tones in positions 2 and 4.
This PRS also features a Pattern neck. This neck is fast and comfortable and never tiring. Finally, the Special Semi-Hollow features a PRS Gen III Tremolo vibrato bridge, PRS Phase III Locking, and a beautiful F-hole on its resonant body.
In short, this is an incredible semi-hollow guitar for discerning guitarists.
4. Ibanez John Scofield Signature JSM100
Few jazz/fusion/funk guitarists in history have the level of respect and long career that John Scofield does.
A consummate improviser with supreme musicianship, “Sco” has been a longtime Ibanez user.
Half bone/half brass nut for balanced highs and lows
G510BN bridge position pickup, Super 58 humbucker at neck
The JSM100 features the exact dimensions as requested by the legendary guitarist. It also includes Scofield’s preferred “castle” headstock shape, beautiful pearl/abalone block inlays, and gold hardware.
The JSM100 also features a thick sound block and a rigid top that provides very high resistance to feedback. In practical terms, you can trust that the JSM100 will keep you sounding smooth and in control of your tone even at very high volumes with or without saturation.
Additionally, Ibanez and Scofield designed this guitar with a half bone/half brass nut, as well as two Super 58 humbucking pickups for a classic, rich tone.
The D’Angelico Premier Mini DC XT features a reduced-size laminated maple body with a laminated maple top. Its design features a solid center block for maximum tone and sustain, with a maple neck boasting a comfortable C profile.
This semi-hollow will be a great buy for many, especially players that prefer smaller bodies or just want a more streamlined instrument.
As far as electronics go, this guitar features a Seymour Duncan SH-2n Jazz Humbucker pickup on the neck and Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Humbucker for the bridge. These are controlled by 2 x volume, 2 x tone, 3-way toggle pickup switch.
Additional features include locking tuners, and a custom PPS nut that aids sustain and eliminates string binding. The scale length is 25″, nut width of 1.6875″, and features a Tune-O-Matic bridge.
6. Epiphone Sheraton-II PRO Semi-Hollow
It is hard to find a guitar company that has been around for as long as Epiphone. Founded in 1873, this company rose to prominence in the middle of the 20th century and was quickly snapped up by Gibson. Epiphone should not just be dismissed as the “budget” arm of Gibson as that would overlook the quality of their instruments, plus the company offers plenty of unique product lines that are separate to Gibson.
5-piece maple/walnut neck with pau ferro fretboard
Two ProBucker pickups (coil tapped) based on the Gibson BurstBucker
Coil tapping for tonal dexterity
SlimTaper neck profile for greater comfort
The Sheraton-II PRO features two Epiphone ProBucker pickups for that bell-like 335 tone. These pickups have a 4-wire design with coil-tapping inspired by Gibson’s legendary BurstBuckers to produce the sound of the original hand-wound PAF humbuckers.
ProBuckers pickups feature the same components under the hood as the original PAF and BurstBuckers.
These include Alnico II magnets, Elektrisola magnet wire, 18 percent nickel silver unit bases and covers, as well as pole screws, slugs, and bobbins built to original Gibson specifications.
This semi-hollow guitar also features a pau ferro bound fingerboard, 22 medium jumbo frets, 24.75″ scale length, 12″ radius, GraphTech NuBone XL nut, and 1.6875″ nut width.
Additional features include a Urethane body finish, laminated maple for the body and top, Epiphone LockTone Tune-o-Matic Bridge with LockTone Stopbar, plus Grover Rotomatic tuners.
Overall the Epiphone Sheraton-II PRO is a great instrument for serious students and professionals that don’t want to splurge.
7. G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-Hollow
G&L Musical Instruments was founded in the 1970s by George Fullerton, Dave Hyatt, and Leo Fender. Yes, you read that right, Mr. Fender himself!
The G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-hollow guitar features not only a Tele design originally conceived by Leo Fender but also pickups designed by him while at G&L.
Last but not least, this guitar has a fantastic cost-benefit ratio.
The neck is made of maple with a comfortable medium C profile as well as a 9.5″-radius fingerboard for extra comfort.
This semi-hollow Tele-style guitar features a Paul Gagon-designed neck humbucker that produces a PAF-like tone.
On the other hand, the bridge position pickup is a Leo Fender-designed single-coil Magnetic Field Design with an extra-thick bar magnet that emits an ultra-tight magnetic field. This design produces a great amount of energy around the coil for superior output and attack.
This single-coil pickup also features individually adjustable pole pieces to give you complete control over your tone.
Additional features on the G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-Hollow include a classic boxed-steel bridge with individual brass saddles for vintage-flavored sustain and precise intonation, sealed tuners for reliable stability, tinted neck finish, and a tortoise pickguard.
In short, this is a great option for those that want a semi-hollow guitar that does not employ the typical 335 body shape and features, at a great price.