Guitar body styles for electric guitar include solid body, hollow body and semi-hollow body. Solid body electric guitars are made of solid pieces of wood, usually glued and pressed together, while hollow body and semi-hollow body guitars have one or two f holes carved out for greater resonance and a fuller, warmer tone. There are also a number of guitar body types for acoustic guitar but this article will go over the three major electric guitar bodies and some of the most notable models and brands.
Solid body electric guitars are the most common in today’s music. Maybe it’s their simplicity that makes them so popular, or maybe they’re a little cheaper to construction than a hollow body since there’s no need for carving out a chamber. Just like the name, they’re usually constructed from a few pieces of solid tone woods glued or bolted together, though some solid body guitars have been made of other materials like plastic. There are no chambers or f holes here, and the majority of the tone comes from the wood and the electronic pickups.
Notable solid body guitars are Les Pauls from Gibson, Stratocasters, Telecasters, guitars from Schecter, PRS, and so many more!
These guitars are just like the semi-hollow bodies but the entire body is hollow instead of having a wood block in the middle. These are the most resonant tone of all three types of electric guitars. This means you’re going to get a ton of feedback and distortion. Thanks to the big hollow chambers of these guitars, they have been historically been played without distortion. A lot of these guitars were introduced in the 1930s and Gibson created their first guitar of this type in 1936, which was the Gibson ES-150. These types of guitars were often played by jazz and blues players.
Notable hollow body guitar models include the Gretsch White Falcon, and the Epiphone Casino. The White Falcon is a traditional hollow body guitar since it’s fairly thick, while the Casino is thin with an archtop and hollowed out middle section.
Think of a semi-hollow body guitar like a mix of the fully hollow body and a completely solid body guitar. These guitars are solid right in the middle of the body, but also include at least one or two f hole sound chambers that give it a bit more resonance. Since the original hollow body designs gave too much feedback to the amplifiers, semi-hollow bodies use a block in the middle of the body to counteract the problem. This meant that semi-hollow body guitars still gave players a sense of warmth that they were looking for but also the versatility of adding a bit of gain without having to worry about the sound being drowned by noise.
Notable semi-hollow guitars include the Gibson ES-335, which includes two f holes. B.B. King’s signature guitar, Lucille is also a variation of the semi-hollow guitar, but may also be referred to as a chambered guitar because it has two hollow chambers but no f holes.