I recently purchased my first Semi-Hollow Body guitar, an almost new Alvarez AAT-33 from their Jazz and Blues series. I found it used at a local resale shop. It was in mint condition, and I paid what I thought was a fair price. I upgraded the pickups with some Seymour Duncan Antiquity pickups, and WOW! It sounds fantastic. I spent around $500 for the guitar, and the pickups installed were around $400, so I have one nice guitar now and can channel my inner Noel Gallagher.
For those who don’t yet know, hollow-body guitars are electric guitars with a hollow chamber in their body, giving them a distinctive sound and appearance. They are often used for genres such as jazz, blues, rockabilly, and country. Still, they can also easily handle other styles. Hollow body guitars are known for their warm, rich, and resonant tones, as well as their vintage vibe and aesthetic.
However, hollow-body guitars can also be expensive, especially if you want a high-quality instrument from a reputable brand. Fortunately, some affordable options can deliver outstanding performance and value without breaking the bank. In this blog post, I’ll present some of the best hollow-body guitars under $500 in 2023. This is not an exhaustive list but a distilled list of outstanding values based on my research of reviews an Youtube videos.
1. Epiphone Casino Worn: The Epiphone Casino Worn is a classic hollow body guitar used by many legendary artists, such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Oasis, and Radiohead. It features a fully hollow laminated maple body with a mahogany neck and an Indian laurel fingerboard. It has two P-90 single-coil pickups that produce a bright, crisp, and punchy sound with plenty of bite and character.
The Casino Worn also has a Tune-o-matic bridge, a trapeze tailpiece, a 60s C-shaped neck profile, and vintage-style tuners. The Casino Worn has a worn finish that gives it a vintage look and feel. It is available in four colors: Worn Blue Denim, Worn Ebony, Worn Olive Drab, and Worn Vintage Sunburst. MSRP currently $499.00
The Epiphone Casino Worn is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a classic hollow-body guitar with a versatile sound and a stylish appearance. Many reviews claim that it is easy to play, comfortable to hold, and great for any genre. It is also among the most affordable hollow-body guitars on the market, making it an excellent value for money.
2. Gretsch G2420 Streamliner: The Gretsch G2420 Streamliner is a modern hollow body guitar that combines the best of both worlds: the vintage Gretsch sound and style with contemporary features and playability. It features a single-cutaway laminated maple body with a nato neck and a laurel fingerboard.
It has two Broad’Tron humbucking pickups that deliver a powerful, balanced, and articulate sound. A supposed strength of this guitar is that it delivers plenty of clarity and definition. The G2420 Streamliner also has an Adjusto-Matic bridge with a V-stop tail tailpiece, a thin U-shaped neck profile, and die-cast tuners. The G2420 Streamliner has a gloss finish in three colors: Aged Brooklyn Burst, Phantom Metallic, and Village Amber.
The Gretsch G2420 Streamliner seems to be an excellent choice for anyone who wants a modern hollow-body guitar with a vintage flair. It is also one of the most popular hollow-body guitars on the market, making it a reliable and reputable option. MSRP currently $449.00
3. Ibanez Artcore AF55: The Ibanez Artcore AF55 is a hollow-body guitar that has garnered a considerable amount of praise for its remarkable quality and value. Numerous online reviews and Youtube videos have highlighted its fully hollow linden body, nyatoh neck, and walnut fingerboard, which work together to produce a rich, warm sound with impressive sustain.
The AF55 is equipped with two Infinity R humbucking pickups, an ART-ST bridge, and an ART-ST tailpiece, as well as chrome hardware and a medium C-shaped neck profile. It is available in two attractive finishes, Tobacco Flat, and Transparent Black Flat, and features a smooth satin finish, which adds to its overall appeal. The AF55 is a highly-regarded guitar that is sure to exceed the expectations of both novice and seasoned players alike.
4. EART E-335: The EART E-335 is a semi-hollow body guitar that offers excellent quality and features at an affordable price. It features a semi-hollow mahogany body with an arched maple top and back and a mahogany neck with an ebony fingerboard. It has two Alnico V humbucking pickups that produce a rich, warm, versatile sound with plenty of punch and bite. The E-335 also has an adjustable bridge with a stop bar tailpiece, a slim D-shaped neck profile, and Grover tuners. The E-335 has a gloss finish that comes in four colors: Black Cherry Burst (BCB), Blue Burst (BLB), Honey Burst (HB), and Vintage Sunburst (VS).
The EART E-335 is a great choice for anyone who wants a semi-hollow body guitar that offers excellent quality and features at an affordable price. It may not be a household name, but I’ve read many favorable reviews that were devoid of negative comments. It is also one of the most attractive hollow-body guitars on the market, making it an eye-catching option.MSRP currently $399.00
Hollow-bodied guitars are unique instruments that can produce a rich and warm sound. If you are interested in getting one, here are some quick tips to help you out:
- Choose a guitar that fits your style. There are many brands and models of hollow-body guitars in the sub $500 category, so research and compare the features and prices before you buy. Finding good quality hollow body guitars under $500 can be challenging. In this price category, manufacturers cut corners to deliver at this price point. Look at fit and finish, ensuring you are happy with the overall appearance and playability.
- Try out different guitars in person. Nothing beats the feeling of holding and playing a guitar that suits you. You can also hear how it sounds unplugged and plugged in.
- Finally, take good care of your guitar. Hollow-body guitars are more sensitive to humidity and temperature changes than solid-body guitars, so store them in a case and avoid extreme conditions. Also, regularly clean and tune your guitar to keep it in good shape.
Now go get started on that next Beatles or Oasis tune!