#1
Hi, this may seem a silly question, but just try Googling the subject and there aren't many if any very clear answers, and can't be many more confused and misunderstood aspects of guitar.

I understand electric, acoustic and electro acoustic and why you would use any of these.

I understand why the semi-acoustic was developed.

What I am not clear on is why you would play one today? I know they are noted for warm jazzy sounds, and obviously if the look and style appeals that would be another reason.

However, What I need help understanding is specifically: Assuming you can afford more than one guitar and can have one for every need, why would you use a semi-acoustic?

I want unplugged: Therefore I play acosutic
I want that acoustic sound but I need to project: Therefore I play electro acoustic
I want to use specific FXs said and want that electric sound: Therefore I play electric

I want ???: Therefore I play semi-acoustic


Thanks.
#2
Because it produces a distinctive sound that some people want to hear when they play.

Since you're looking for a description, it's something in between the full hollowbody and the solidbody. It's what you want if you want some air to come through in your tone but not as much as a full hollowbody.
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#3
I think the warm clean tones you mention is the main reason, although that can be obtained with lots of other guitars. Some people refer to these guitars as jazz guitars or jazz boxes but they can be used for any style music. There's many different designs of electric guitars that don't really need to exist other than the fact that some people like them and therefore there is a market. Lets face it, with electric guitars, nearly any style or sound can be accomplished with a couple guitar designs(plus amp, pedals and whatnot). I own a Les Paul style semi-hollow body. I bought it because it looks cool! LOL It is also a good guitar.
#4
Have a look at the vintage market for the Gibson ES-335, 355 and others in that family. Especially for the ES-335, I think you'll quickly realize there is a huge draw to these semi-hollow body guitars, not only for their collector value, but also for playing. The guitars are semi-acoustic, as you mentioned, which gives them an entirely different tone. One of my go-to guitars is a Taylor T3b, which is a semi-hollow body electric guitar - it shares the same body shape/style as the Taylor T5, but that's where the similarity ends. I own both guitars and neither sounds anything like the other. The T5 is an acoustic-electric hybrid.
#5
The standard jazz box is the big hollowbody numbers like the Gibson 175. Nice as they are, they are expensive, somewhat fragile, and prone to feeding back at higher volumes, like big outdoor gigs and festivals. The semi-hollowbody essentially solves all these problems.
I've got one, an Ibanez. Vastly cheaper than a big hollowbody, and very compact as well.. Fits in a regular electric guitar case.
#6
Thanks guys.... Helpful. This is what I thought the answered would be, but good to know for sure. I guess I have been struggling with the idea of a guitar that is harder to play (with the action of an acoustic rather than electric) when a lot of the benefit lies in its electric guitar capability.

You guys have answered this though... They have a distinct sound and that is a draw.

Thanks.
#7
Quote by Limeydog
Thanks guys.... Helpful. This is what I thought the answered would be, but good to know for sure. I guess I have been struggling with the idea of a guitar that is harder to play (with the action of an acoustic rather than electric) when a lot of the benefit lies in its electric guitar capability.

You guys have answered this though... They have a distinct sound and that is a draw.

Thanks.
Well, there a couple of details which haven't been touched upon.

Semi-acoustics feedback less than their hollow body counterparts.

The true semis, like Gibson' ES-335 are closer to the playability of solid bodies, than they are true acoustics, But, strings are the main arbiter of the fretting performance.
Were you to stuff a set of .013 to .056" strings on the ES, and a set of .010 to .047's on even a jumbo acoustic, and provided both guitars were set up properly, the acoustic would be easier to play.

The ES-335 has a laminated maple top! Gibson tried putting solid tops on the guitar, but artists claimed they fed back too much.

B.B. King's ES-335 goes one step further, and has a top with NO F-holes.

Why don't you pop down to the local music store and try the Epiphone "Dot", "Sheraton", and I believe they've released a couple of others. Ibanez also markets a line of semi-hollows, in both smallish and standard body sizes.

Semi-hollows also have a bit more volume unplugged, which may help with practice.

And some people simply enjoy the fit and feel of these type guitars.
#8
As Cranky says. I chose the Ibanez because it has a somewhat smaller body than the 335 clones, and since I'm older and have creaky shoulders... Just works better from an ergonomic standpoint.

As well... The neck and action are very close to my main acoustic, a Taylor GS Mini. The neck feels almost exactly the same so there's no problem transitioning.
#10
none

it robs quality from the sounds, this is why all good classical players always play though microphone

an acoustic and especially classical guitar, will always sound ten times better through a microphone or natural
#11
^ Classical guitarists don't play through a microphone. Classical music is acoustic music.

A semi acoustic sounds nothing like an acoustic because it uses electric guitar pickups. But as said, semi acoustic guitars have their own kind of tone and feel and that's why people use them.

So the point of a semi acoustic guitar is not to sound like an acoustic guitar. That's what electro-acoustics are for.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#12
Quote by MaggaraMarine
^ Classical guitarists don't play through a microphone. Classical music is acoustic music. ...[ ]....
I think the point Mr.Punk was trying to make, (and I've sort of frightened myself being able to tune his wavelength), is that the most puristic of classical guitar players, use an external mike to either perform with, or record the classical guitar, and not piezo type pickups.

Quote by MaggaraMarine
A semi acoustic sounds nothing like an acoustic because it uses electric guitar pickups. But as said, semi acoustic guitars have their own kind of tone and feel and that's why people use them.
I had tuned back into this thread to define the sub-category, "semi-hollow", within "semi-acoustic" as a whole.

As you likely know, "semi-acoustic guitars", are those which have thin bodies, (less than 2" or 50mm), most often with electric guitar pickups, (as you pointed out), and arched, F-hole type tops. Gretsch makes several models of this type guitar, with fully hollow bodies.

Gibson's family of ES-335 guitars are considered, "semi hollow" as well, with a "tone block", or, "sustain block", running the full length of the guitar, inline with the neck.

Quote by MaggaraMarine
So the point of a semi acoustic guitar is not to sound like an acoustic guitar. That's what electro-acoustics are for.
Oddly, in the US, these are always called, "acoustic electrics", the polar opposite of the convention in Europe. I always have to make that reversal, when I'm trying to decipher Thomann ads for would be buyers in the EU.....