Electric Guitar Body Types

There are three basic types of electric guitar body styles, each with its own characteristics: the solid body, the hollow body and the semi-hollow body.


Electric Guitar Body Types

While styles and models may vary, electric guitars operate on the same general principles. The pickup mounted on the electric guitar’s body functions as a magnetic field. When a metal string is plucked and vibrates, it generates a current. That current is transmitted by the pickup through a preamp circuit with tone controls to the guitar cable, and in turn to the amplifier. The amplifier boosts the signal and modifies it with various tone controls and effects, depending on the amplifier's design and capabilities The signal is then output to a speaker. The type of pickup(s), tone controls, strings, playing techniques, and other factors built into the guitar's design all influence the signal that is sent to the amplifier. In short, each component of the guitar affects how the guitar sounds.

  • Solid Body

The solid body electric guitar is the most common body type and is made from a solid slab of wood. Solid body guitars can range from a simple, single-pickup model, to an ornately figured and decorated, multi-pickup instrument with a slew of electronic options. While there is not as much resonance created by a solid body electric guitar, the wood certainly makes a difference in how the guitar sounds.

  • Hollow Body

As the name suggests, these electric guitars have bodies that are hollow—much like an acoustic guitar—and produce more resonance due to their design. These guitars usually feature an archtop, and are more prone to feedback. Many jazz guitarists prefer the hollow body for its full, rich tones, and deep bass response.

  • Semi-Hollow Body

Similar to the hollow body, the semi-hollow body has more resonance than a solid body. However, semi-hollow guitars are designed with a solid center wood block that adds stability and sustain, and helps cut down on feedback. Many blues players like the warmth of the semi-hollow and the increased attack and sustain offered by the center block. Semi-hollow guitars can be great for a wide variety of music - from blues and jazz to punk rock.

(collectibles: musiciansfriend)