What Is a Semi-Acoustic Guitar?

A semi-acoustic guitar has electronic pickups and acoustic chambers. Having the knowledge to identify and understand the elements that are used to create a semi-acoustic guitar will make it possible for you identify and select the appropriate guitar for your needs. There are several types of semi-acoustic guitars, each one has its own characteristics that change the timbre of the instrument. Choosing the correct instrument for your needs is a matter of personal preference.

Semi-Acoustic Guitars

A semi-acoustic guitar houses a soundbox that makes it possible to create a guitar that combines both acoustic and electronic methods to create sound. For instance, the sound box consists of a hollow chamber in which the vibrations from the string reverberate, just like with an acoustic instrument. The sound then goes through a process of electrical amplification to make it louder and more robust. Semi-acoustic guitars are typically designed to use an amplifier as the sound box does not provide enough sound on its own.


Semi-hollow semi-acoustic guitars tend to provide a rich and full sound. This is partially due to the fact that the sound is produced acoustically and then amplified electronically. This combination allows for a natural resonance within the instrument and provides a much more realistic sound. Semi-hollow guitars are semi-acoustic guitars that have a solid block that runs through the center of the guitar. This is similar to the soundblock found in acoustic string instruments.


The fully-hollow semi-acoustic guitar does not have a sound block and consists of a larger hollow chamber. This provides more room for the vibrations of the strings to resonate within the instrument. These instruments provide a larger sound than semi-hollow guitars and the tone tends to have more layers with a more dense timbre than the semi-hollow semi-acoustic guitars. One caution with these instruments is that they can create a feedback loop between the natural resonance of the instrument and the electronically amplified sound.

Thinline Hollow Body

Thinline hollow body guitars are novel guitars that don't have the traditional rounded guitar shape. These guitars are completely hollow inside and have a thinner shell to create a smaller physical footprint. Paul McCartney from The Beatles famously used a type of thinline hollow body guitar in his solo studio recording work. Thinline guitars are useful as they are light and easy to manipulate on stage. The thinline hollow body guitar has a large hollow interior producing a large, multilayered sound.


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