Types of Electric Guitar According to Body Shapes

In Part 1 we covered 5 types of electric guitar body shapes – Stratocaster, Telecaster, Les Paul, SG and PRS. Now it is time to cover some more.

Semi-Hollow Body Type

The semi-hollow guitar is based on having a “tone block” that runs down the center of the body of the instrument. This reduces feedback issues while still maintaining the woody tone of the true hollow body instruments that are widely used in Jazz.

The  Gibson ES-335  is a long-time favorite of electric blues and fusion players, and is growing in popularity in other fields such as indie rock While these guitars are known for their warm woody sound, they are capable of being used in almost any genre that doesn’t require massive amounts of gain, which is prone to feedback.

Hollow Body Types

True hollow body guitars sound very similar to semi-hollow guitars, with the main difference being that there’s a higher presence of an acoustic-like tone. They also have a tendency to feedback more than semi-hollow instruments, which makes them a poor fit for genres that require high levels of gain. While many people associate the term “hollow body” guitar with big jazz guitars, the real definition is that a hollow body guitar doesn’t have a wood block running down the middle. So there are hollow guitars with the same body style as semi-hollow guitars.

While hollow guitars are best suited to jazz, there have been a handful of cases where rock musicians have utilized fully hollow jazz box guitars in rock and roll.

Single cut or double cut

A cutaway on the guitar construction is an indentation in the upper bout of the guitar body adjacent to the guitar neck, designed to allow easier access to the upper frets. Instruments with only a lower cutaway are known as “single cutaway” instruments, and guitars with both are called “double cutaway”. These terms are sometimes shortened to just “single cut” or “double cut”.

The advantage to any guitar with single or no cutaways is that the body of the guitar has more room to resonate and therefore will have a larger sound. The double cutaway has the advantage of a thinner body, and easier access to the higher frets.

Offset

The offset body style includes three main instruments: the Jaguar, the Mustang, and the Jazzmaster. While there are definite differences between them, offset guitars all generally have a bright and clear sound with a subtle mid and low-end response. These guitars are also well suited to rhythm work depending on how their tone knobs are adjusted.  

Offset guitars are very well suited to genres that require a lot of effects, especially fuzz. Good examples of this would be grunge, shoe-gaze, and alternative.

Miscellaneous (e.g. Flying V, Explorer)

Gibson released a number of famous guitars in the 50’s with their eyes set towards the future. They nailed it, because these guitars still look amazing and futuristic even nowadays.

The Flying V offered many of the same benefits as the SG with a much more distinctive body shape. It is now a very common guitar among heavy rock and metal guitarists. This electric guitar style has experienced surges and lulls in its popularity, but has never fallen off the scene, due to the number of great players who have chosen to use it.

Alongside its brother, the Flying V, the Gibson Explorer allows easy access to the highest notes of the instrument, alongside dual humbuckers and massive sustaining bodies. The Explorer, much like the V, is now a very common electric guitar shape in the heavy rock and metal genres, but was widely used in other styles as well.

Did we miss any guitars? If you have some questions left, feel free to leave a comment below or join our Guitar Family and start a conversation there.

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