What Is a Thinline Guitar and What’s the Difference?

two women side by side each holding a different thickness guitar

The guitar is arguably one of the most resilient musical instruments we have. Part of the reason it has this impressive longevity is its versatility. A great example is the thinline guitar, which stands out from others for various reasons.

A thinline guitar is an acoustic instrument that is either hollow or semi-hollow and has a thinner body than a standard guitar. Fender Telecasters and Gibson, with their ES series, are some of the most notable manufacturers of these guitars, but other companies have their versions. 

These guitars have a long history dating back to the 1950s and are still relevant today. They have allowed musicians to create unique sounds for different occasions for years. Continue reading to understand everything you need to know about thinline guitars.

Thinline Acoustic Guitars vs. Standard Acoustic Guitars

woman on the left playing a thinline guitar and another playing a regular guitar on the right

Music lovers and guitar enthusiasts understand that guitars come in various shapes, sizes, types, and models. One such type is a thinline guitar. So, what is a thinline guitar, and how is it different from other types? This article will answer your questions on this guitar type and give you a robust understanding of the differences.

Thinline acoustic guitars differ in a few obvious ways from standard acoustic guitars. The difference lies not only in their tones and timbre but also in their shapes and weight.

Defining an Acoustic Guitar

Acoustic guitars are some of the most famous musical instruments you can find. They come in many versions, but the underlying principle is similar: these guitars do not use electronics to amplify the sound.

It is common to see people placing a microphone next to the instrument while playing to make the tones sound better. However, the richness of the music comes from the strings’ vibration and the resonance throughout the body. Since the sound comes from multiple sound holes, it’s sharp and long.

What Is a Thinline Acoustic Guitar?

A thinline acoustic guitar is an acoustic guitar with a thinner body than the regular model. It sounds different since it is lighter and has a diverse manufacturing design. It is similar to traditional guitars; thinlines are easy to hold, and one can easily confuse them with electric guitars.

Like an electric guitar, it is compact and easy to hold when playing. These guitars are user-friendly, meaning anybody can comfortably play them without making significant adjustments. It is easy to use in any environment, so many musicians across different genres prefer this guitar type.

young woman musician playing a thinline blue acoustic guitar

The Differences Between Acoustic and Thinline Acoustic Guitars

There are three significant differences between acoustic and thinline acoustic guitars. They have different shapes and user interfaces and produce different sounds. A few key features differentiate these two types of guitar:

  • Shape
  • Sound
  • User interface

The following segment shall elaborate further on these features that put them apart.      


Their shape is the most notable difference that can help you distinguish these guitar types. Regular acoustic guitars have large barrels, and most people find them bulky. On the other hand, thinline acoustic guitars are thinner than standard models and are easy to carry around.


The shape and size of the guitar affect the sound it produces. Regular acoustic guitars have a deep and thick body, giving them a powerful sound. Thinline acoustic guitars, on the other hand, have a narrow body and produce minor and more novel sounds. 

The regular guitar can produce an element of bass sounds, while the thinline will produce sharp and bright tones.

User Interface

Traditional acoustic guitars are difficult for some people to hold and play due to their size and shape. Thinline acoustic guitars have thinner bodies, giving them an added advantage over regular ones. Musicians can easily see the neck while performing, resulting in incredible solo performances. This feature makes them compatible with people of all ages, sizes, and abilities.

One can easily spot the difference between models such as the Dreadnought and Parlor Acoustic Guitars. The Parlor is very thin and light, giving it a unique compact look compared to the bulkier Dreadnought. This difference in shape affects the sound and ease of handling while performing.

Thinline Electric Guitars vs. Solid Body Electric Guitars 

The most notable difference between a thinline and a solid body electric guitar is that thinlines are chambered guitars with an f-hole. They also have their controls on an extended pickguard. On the other hand, solid bodies are simple solid-body instruments with no f-hole, have a less prominent pickguard, and have their controls on a metal plate.

Most people can easily spot the difference between these two guitar types. The thinline has an iconic look and is available in many variations. In addition to their tone comparison, their construction and look tell the two guitars apart. 

Here are a few key factors that differentiate thinline and solid body electric guitars:

  • Tone comparison
  • Construction process
  • Look and feel

We will delve further into their comparison in the following segment.

Tone Comparison

The solid body electric guitar has a brighter and thinner tone than the thinline variants. The reason for this is that most of them are made from alder wood. The thinline has a warm tone since it has a semi-hollow body often made from ash wood. While they both have two single coil pickups, musicians voice them differently.

Construction Process

The solid body electric guitar is constructed as a compact instrument with no hollow chambers. Therefore, it has a different center block, making it stand out from the thinline. The thinline has a hollow chamber with a prominent center block and is often seen as a merger between an acoustic and electric guitar.

Look and Feel

The guitars have a similar shape, featuring a single cutaway. The most notable difference between their forms lies in their weight. A typical solid body weighs between seven and eight pounds (3.18 to 3.63 kg), while a thin line weighs between six and seven pounds (2.72 to 3.18 kg). 

Therefore, the thinline is more comfortable to play than the solid body, and one can use it for long periods without getting tired.

How Thick Are Thinline Guitars?

Thinline guitars are thinner in body than their standard counterparts. While their variants differ, most of them have a typical thickness of about 1.75 in (4.45 cm), of which 1.5 in (3.81 cm) is the thickness of the main body, and an additional 0.25 in (.64 cm) accounts for the cap. 

A thinline’s thickness is proportional to the guitar’s model. Most thinline guitars comprise 40-60% of the width of standard acoustic guitars. Electric ones are often as thin as standard electrics since they have hollow sections in their body.

Guitar manufacturers make thinline guitars differently depending on their type. Thinline Telecasters comprise chambers hollowed out to achieve top sound quality. Most thinline guitars have a single f-hole. The part of the body where the electronics are mounted is solid, but the upper body is hollow.

Do Thinline Guitars Produce Different Sounds From Regular Guitars?

Thinline guitars produce different sounds from regular guitars. For instance, a thinline Telecaster guitar has less twang compared to a regular Telecaster. This is because it is more rounded than traditional models and, therefore, produces a warmer sound.

With a thinline guitar, it is possible to produce a more dynamic sound with a strong midrange, especially compared to using a standard guitar. Thinline guitars are versatile, which makes them suitable for many music genres. The construction style and size of the hollow body often mark the difference in how these instruments sound.

Thinline guitars have a distinguishably different sound from traditional solid body guitars. However, that difference depends entirely on the type of thinline guitar and how its manufacturer made it.


Thinline and regular guitars vary from each other in many ways. In addition to how they sound, feel, look, and weigh, there are various considerations, especially for first-time buyers. These guitar types are great for most music genres, and they can own more than one type to get the most out of their uniqueness.

While thinline guitars came in much later than the traditional models, they are still common among the music community, and some have a real pedigree. Your musical ability, favored genre, and mood can help you decide which type is suitable for you.

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