Video: Hollowbody vs. Semi-Hollowbody vs. Chambered Guitar Bodies

Between fully hollow bodies and today's more-common solidbody guitar, there's a lot of space for variation. Luckily, in our video above, Andy Martin's here to explain.

Before the rise of pickups, luthiers looking to project as much volume from an acoustic guitar as possible found a workable solution in the form of archtop acoustics. In time, they'd find creative ways to add pickups, creating electric hollowbody guitars.

Players like them for their warm tone and acoustic resonance: and companies from Gretsch to Epiphone to PRS make hollowbody electrics to this day.

But as anyone who's cranked up the volume with a hollowbody electric can attest, feedback issues can be common. So semi-hollowbody instruments were developed. On one hand, the solid center block of wood tamped down the potential for feedback, but the hollow bouts still projected some acoustic volume—while retaining classic good looks.

Some of the most famous guitars of all time—like the Gibson ES-335—are semi-hollowbodies, and you can find them made by pretty much every major contemporary guitar brand.

Chambered electrics are a popular variant today that, while technically semi-hollow, are usually constructed with a solidbody as their starting-point. Luthiers carve out one or more hollow chambers within the body to lighten the overall weight and add some woody resonance to the tone, but otherwise retain the shape of a regular solidbody electric.

No matter the construction method, the most important differences are, of course, in how the guitars sound. Be sure to watch the full video above to hear Andy play through various hollowbody, semi-hollowbody, and chambered models. Then, go searching for your next guitar on Reverb.

Gear Used in this Video
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