Semi-Hollow Bass vs. Solid Body Bass
Which one is better: a semi-hollow, semi-acoustic bass, or a solid body bass? Both have their advantages, and guest blogger Sarah Jacbos from Know Your Instrument will help you to decide...
Here at Eastwood Guitars we sell a wide selection of bass guitars - both solid-body, or semi-hollow, and some people might find it hard to decide which one is right for them. (for the record - it's worth mentioning we also sell full hollowbody basses and tone-chambered basses, too.)
So... how to choose which bass is right for you? Guest blogger Sarah Jacobs will give you a few pointers about the main difference between semi-acoustic basses vs. solid body bass guitars.
Semi-acoustic or Solid body?
There are pros and cons to the incredible range of different guitars available – and for most, the pros outweigh the cons. Who wouldn't want to put different guitars to the test and see just what kind of sound they can get out of a semi-hollow bass vs. a solid body? Let's take a look at the pros and cons of both and you decide which one sounds like the perfect fit for your needs.
Solid Body bass
Let's look at the classic bass guitar first – the solid body. It's easy to see why they're king of the bass guitars – they can sustain amplification for a lot longer and louder than their semi-hollow or acoustic counterparts, without running into issues with feedback.
Because they rely on complete amplification and no resonance due to their robust build, they are the ideal bass when it comes to effects. If you're an effects kind of person and playing the guitar primarily for this purpose, then you'll want to use a solid-body bass. However, because of the reliance on amplification, they're limited to the rock and pop genres as they don't do blues and jazz as well.
BEST FOR: rock, pop, loud music on stage, using with fx pedals
WATCH: Sidejack Bass 32 demo
Now, let's look at the semi-acoustic. A semi-acoustic or semi-hollow bass guitar is the perfect alternative if you're looking for something that's still going to amplify that “bassy” noise you love, without being entirely electric.
In the same vein, it isn't too acoustic either – it can still carry the punch of a bass with the resonant sound of an acoustic, so as an ideal medium, it's a win-win. However, there is some question around feedback and just how well it works when amplified versus an utterly electric bass – it doesn't guarantee you a clean sound due to the interfering acoustics from the semi-hollow body. On the other hand, it'll provide you with a warm sound you wouldn't get from a solid-body.
BEST FOR: blues, jazz, warmer tones, using in the studio, whenever you want a richer tone.
WATCH: Classic 4 bass demo
It's not easy choosing between two different types of bass guitar, mainly because in a lot of ways they're used for separate things - and in an ideal world you should have both in your arsenal, to use according to your different needs in the studio or live.
However, there is one that comes out slightly on top, due to its diversity and ability to cover a broader range of music. The winner is the semi-acoustic. This is because it is the answer to anybody out there looking for the perfect combination of a solid body bass and a hollow body warmth.
This way you get the best of both worlds – the ability to amplify and play within the rock and pop genres, while at the same time turning up the resonance to get swinging with some blues or jazz. It's the ultimate alternative to either side of the spectrum.
It's never easy choosing the perfect bass guitar, so don't just take our word for it! As long as you're choosing the one that's best going to suit your playing style, you'll be happy.
- by Sarah Jacobs
Sara writes for Know Your Instrument, a website dedicated to musical instruments info, lessons and reviews.