Chambered body guitar. Is it a better option than a solid-body electric guitar?

Today you may see a wide selection of guitars which sometimes can be confusing since the difference among them may not be obvious. That is why you should learn the main characteristics of different types of guitars in order to choose the most suitable for your needs.

If you’ve studied something about guitars you may have noticed that “chambered guitar” is pretty common. The chambered body simply makes the guitars lighter and therefore easier to use than other guitars.

While choosing among guitars you should take many factors into consideration. It is not only about the sounding. In order to prevent back and shoulder problems the guitar should have a good backup. To choose the one you should know which characteristics of the instrument are crucial and how the style of the construction may influence the weight and convenience.

Chambered construction is known for making an instrument lighter, but still, some guitarists prefer solid construction due to some disadvantages and tonal characteristics a chambered one may have.

In what follows we will discuss the benefits of the chambered guitar body and also have a look at some other common types of the guitar body and compare them. Keep reading.

chambered body guitar

Chambered guitars. What is this?

Each guitar has a base of a solid block of wood. Since wood can be really heavy, especially when you play the instrument for several hours, many manufacturers are trying to make them more bearable. In this case, a chambered guitar body can be a great solution since they reduce the load on the shoulders and back.

Those guitar bodies are made by removing the material from the wood blank. It helps to create air pockets (chambers) which reduce the weight of the instrument. Moreover, air pockets influence the sound of the guitar. Many users admit that chambered guitars have a warm, airy, and woody tone.

So if you compare solid-body electric guitar with a chambered one you’ll notice a significant difference in weight and sound. However many guitarists still prefer solid-body guitars because they sound more familiar to them.

You can recognize the chambered guitar body by the higher volume it produces.

A typical solid-body guitar is a sound that people call rich overtones. But when you remove the material wood starts responding differently to vibration changes. When you pluck a vibrating body (in our case it is a string), oscillated air is set in motion.

Nevertheless chambered guitars tend to have a recognizable tone which depends on the designer of the guitar and its routing patterns, today many brands manage to make chambered guitars sound almost the same as those which have solid bodies.

The energy of those vibrations goes through the bridge to the body of the guitar. Then those vibrations are transferred to chambers which makes them vibrate too. This style of the guitar creates a recognizable airy sound. Those tones are extremely popular in country music but actually can handle different genres, even high-gain rock, and roll.

Actually, the body has the same function as any kind of guitar. It is just that, for example, the hollow body bridge is mobile and a thin-walled body bridge is semi-mobile.

We can say that any change in tone depends on the difference in weight between two pieces of wood. So sometimes different materials which were chambered down to the same weight will have very similar tones.

Generally, the sound produced by a chambered guitar body may be called specific and not many guitar users like this style of music, so even though it is lightweight they still prefer non-chambered guitars.

Chambered guitar body. Disadvantages

As we have mentioned the body of those guitars has chambers that act like air pockets. That is why the chambered body is light and easy to use. But still, there are some disadvantages which mainly depend on the state of the wood, the material removed, and the routing pattern.

Resonance frequency

The routing affects the quality of the sound and tone. A particular guitar may have different dominant frequencies. The energy which goes through the guitar’s body makes your guitar sound louder.

Sometimes this resonance frequency may result in sound which is not pleasant to hear.

We may call it feedback which may appear when the material dries up or when the body wasn’t chambered properly.

There is another situation when particular frequencies may be muted, which is usually heard like a lifeless play.

Heavy neck

In case you keep the neck that originally came with the guitar everything is fine, but if you want the neck to be changed you are likely to make it heavier. You should choose the neck based on the model of your chambered guitar. To be more exact it depends on the amount of removed material and where it was removed.

Chambered bodies don’t have sustain

This is rather controversial since many users admit that a chambered guitar body has enough sustain. It may depend on materials and the designer, but a good chambered guitar may have even more sustain than a solid body, which is great for a long playing session.

Actually sustain depends on the type of pickups you put on your guitar. So even though chambered bodies are lighter than solid ones, it doesn’t always mean that they possess less sustain.

Les Pauls

Accordingly, the Gibson Les Paul Standard guitars are made with a solid body. However, in order to relieve weight and make the guitar more bearable some of the Les Pauls models are made with a chambered body.

But still, even with reduced weight, the majority of their instruments are made with a solid body.

Originally those guitars have mahogany backs and maple tops and they can weigh more than 11 pounds. In order to reduce it, manufacturers produce those mahogany bodies with pockets that had been carved before the top was glued on. This helps to create a warm and fatter sounding with a soft treble response.

Other types of guitar bodies

Even though today many users are more likely to play the guitar with a chamber body, we still advise you to search for other options since you may find them more suitable to your needs. Let’s find the ideal instrument for you.

Solid-body guitars

Those guitars are made with solid wood cores. Solid-body guitar sustains well, considered to be lightweight. It only has space for hardware and pickups which are routed from solid body material. It doesn’t involve the construction of the neck. It can be bolt-on, set neck or neck-thru. The body can be made of various types of wood.

Generally, a solid body guitar can be manipulated by amps and pedals. Even though solid bodies have a higher weight than chambered ones, they are still very popular and used for playing different kinds of music. Due to the characteristics of the tone, a solid-body electric guitar can be used as an amplified instrument.

Hollow body guitar

This type of construction is originally used for electric guitars. Hollow-body guitars sound different while plugged and unplugged (when they are unplugged the sound is much louder).

A hollow-body guitar is equipped with F-Holes in the top which help resonate and project the sound. Another thing about this type of guitar is that they can be even more affected by the style of bracings and construction than a chambered body or a solid body guitar.

Hollow body guitars have an open sound, low-end and strong feedback. This type of guitar is popular in playing such kinds of music as jazz. The tone is characterized as warm and rounded. You may see low-output humbuckers used for capturing their broad tones.

Semi-hollow body guitars

This type of construction is something between a solid body and a hollow body. They consist of a large body with a hollow type of construction and a solid center block. This construction helps semi-hollow guitars to be sustainable and resonant. It may also be equipped with chambers to reduce weight but not always.

The tone is characterized as warm, mellow, rounded, and jazzy. However, they manage to handle higher volumes much easier than hollow-body guitars. Such instruments will be good for Blues, rock, punk, and grunge.

Which guitar sustains longer?

Since a chambered body is considered to have less sustain many users ask whether heavier bodies are better at this.

Well, at some point they may be better at this, but lighter models also can have enough sustain.

The crucial factor is pickups. Also, the material of your instrument has more impact than weight.

Another sound feature

Many people wonder whether chambered construction makes the tonal characteristics of the guitar brighter. At some point, they can be called bright, especially if we compare them with those that solid guitar produces. But again it may vary depending on the material.

A swamp ash body is known is considered to produce a significant bright sound, which is pointed out to be sizzling. Other materials will cause the guitar to produce a different sounding.


What is a chambered guitar body?

This style of guitar construction is equipped with special air pockets carved into the wood which make it significantly lighter. Such construction gives a uniquely warm sound. The tone is considered to give more attack and be more focused. The reason why people choose a chambered guitar body over a solid body is that more suitable for long playing sessions.

Do chambered guitars sound different?

Yes, they do. The difference is that the chambered guitar body gives a unique woody airy sound, which is not likable by some users.

Why do you chamber a guitar body?

The main advantages of chambered guitar are weight which is lighter in comparison with other constructions and tone. Even though for some people it is rather specific, others find it amazing.

Do chambered guitar feedback?

Yes, those guitars are known for giving strong feedback, especially at higher gain.

To draw a conclusion. Which guitar to choose?

As you may see there is a wide range of options to choose from. While selecting the most suitable guitar pay attention to such characteristics as construction, materials, weight, sustain, and sound.

While the chambered guitar is considered to be the lightest it has a specific sound that is not to everybody liking. A solid guitar is the most universal option, but it will be hard to handle for several hours. Hollow construction is ideal for jazz, but it has strong feedback. The semi-hollow guitar will be the most suitable for Blues.

Also Read About The Different Benefits Of A Chambered Body On A Bass Guitar

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James/ author of the article

If you got to my page, it means that you are fond of music and are trying to record songs on your own. In my blog, you will find out exactly which options for sound equipment will be appropriate, depending on the specific case.

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