Guitar Weight and tone,,plus of course Compromise / usability..Not Tonewood..

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KevSKevS Frets: 477
edited April 2 in Guitar
I was going to add this to a already existent thread ,but I thought it was definitely derailing it..

OK first to say as above....This is non species related,,so hopefully not seen as a tonewood debate..

Finishes are added as I am a Guitar Geek..lol..Plus it identifies them..
Wish I had an easier way of posting pictures..
It keeps going wrong..So I have gave up..

Anyway,this is more a weight or there really is no consistency happening at all debate...So again no species involved..
I think that wood of one species is so variable,,it may not matter,,but that's not the discussion,,why I'm trying to remove the species angle....

So.....Why do guitars sound and respond differently,,does weight Matter..?

OK now my findings over nearly 40 well aged wizened,worn out years of playing..lol

Magazines / Books say variable stuff,,much of it doesn't match up with real life my experience..

Both my Teles Blonde heavier and lighter 3 tone Sunburst maple fingerboard are under 8lbs but above 7.5 this works out for me..All weights decimal by the way..
Both sound good and are physically manageable..The lighter a bit more airy..The few oz heavier..A touch more lower mids and focus..

I have 2 Strats Surf Green lightest in weight and slightly heavier Olympic White maple boards.. same pickups One is a bit over 7.5 Lbs,,the other just over 8lbs,
The 8lb one does sound a bit more muscular and potent,,can't think of the right term here..
The lighter one is a bit more airy and less focused..The 8lb is a little better for lead playing..
The 7.5 easier to carry..It still sounds good,but the 8lb has the magic..

All my Fenders are Alder Bodied..The Teles are 3 saddle bridges with brass saddles and the same set of Fender original 50's pickups,I think they are called..Flat Pole Alnico 3 ones..I love the sound of these..
The Strats have a 6 screw trem and it's operational,not locked down..I bar added of course....250 k pots .47 mu cap,exact same pickup set,same with Teles..

I allow a little more weight for a Strat I find both sides of 8lb to sound best and not be too heavy..
Maybe the trem block,,no idea..I just know what weight they are..
A Tele to be under 8 lbs,the Strat top horn makes it feel a little lighter strapped on..

Just my findings,,I had to buy scales and weigh a guitar for a post on here..
At the time I felt a bit forced into it,but it ended up being quite informative and helping influencing my purchase choice after that.

My heaviest full fat bound Les Paul is a Trans Amber Les Paul Standard at just over 10lb's,I have heart problems,this does feel heavy,but I have an emotional attachment to this guitar..The one I have owned the longest is an older style 1960 on the pickguard Lightburst Les Paul Classic..
Not flamed top or anything..This is around 9.5 pound..I love this guitar..It sounds great..The 10 lb sounds a touch thinner and brighter..The 9.5 has more body..Then we have the 9 lb more modern Honeyburst Les Paul Classic..I bought new about a year ago..Great guitar,,wish it had bigger frets..The 60's neck has more shoulder than the other 2 60's necks..A refret isn't cheap..The 9.5 is the one though..The other 2 kind or draw,although the newer one with bigger frets..HMMMM !..The heavy one is the real looker..Trans amber and some,but not too much flame,,only prob apart from weight is the binding is much thicker leaving less rosewood meaning the strings can slip of the edge on the high E if doing unabandoned pull off in the middle of the board....

I should mention that I have experimented a lot with the Les Pauls, when it comes to pickups and ended up making choices on what didn't work before with my particular choices...With my newer Classic,I told Ash at Oil City my info and he sold me a pair of his pickups..Very good they are too..

For the Geeks.  Amber has Bare Knuckle Mules 500 k pots a .22 uf cap on the neck .47 uf on the Bridge..
Lightburst has Lollar Imperials  500K pots a 47 uf cap on the neck and a 22 uf on the Bridge..
Honeyburst has a Beano in the Neck and a Night Fighter Alnico IV in the bridge..500 k pots and a 22 uf cap on both..
This one Still has the Gibson Circuit Board in there..The other 2 have no coil splitting and are pre circuitboard.. 

Interestingly I had a Goldtop Les Paul Classic Modern with the extended cut away / thinned down heel joint area...
This was also 9.5 lbs..When Strapped on it felt like 12 lbs..
So I think weight distribution matter a lot to perceived weight.. 

Also how the wood was cut from the tree and which part of the tree more that the species,,wood is not a consistent material..
I do think there may be sweet spots as far as weight goes though,,but that could just be in my case having owned a fair amount of guitars..Where and how the wood was cut could negate what I have found with weight..
All I know is a good guitar is a good guitar..Maybe with time you perceive them as better guitars as you play more and more ones that aren't as good as your one..So it is partly the bond rather than the ageing..

Not trying to start a tonewood debate..In fact maybe the opposite..
But strat pickups are mounted in plastic..
So that would mean tone plastic.. ?

Probably more info than needed here..I do tend to enthuse about guitars,a self admitted Geek..

I'm not sure if weight matters..

BUT.  both sides of 8lbs for a Strat...A bit under 8lbs for a Tele,,too light and they can get neck heavy..
Between 8.5 and 9.5 lbs for a Les Paul..Maybe even less works OK..
I think too light may influence sustain..

It could just be the character of the Wood in a non species related way..
Because the wood is totally non consistent it could all be pure chance.. 
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Comments

  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 8491
    Weight distribution definitely makes a difference. I had a 10lb LP with a lot of weight in the lower bout & still have a 10.8lb Gretsch jet, and the jet felt lighter as it's better balanced.

    And yes, I don't have lots of like for like experience, because there are always more variables at play. But where I do I've found that heavier guitars are tighter, more solid in the low mids and punchier, and lighter guitars are airier but more clouded in the lows.
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  • DanielsguitarsDanielsguitars Frets: 3290
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    I'm only interested in my guitars being under 8lbs, my new carved tops will be around 7.5lb or slightly under and they'll still sound good.

    I've had heavy LP etc and it didn't sound as good as the lighter weight ones, I want the jangly type LP unplugged tone personally, 

    I see no reason to have a heavy guitar these days and I'm purposely not using mahogany anymore unless it'd chambered, I'm using Spanish cedar instead for a typical mahogany maple build.
    www.danielsguitars.co.uk
    (formerly customkits)
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  • timmypixtimmypix Frets: 2383
    I've had thin-sounding heavy guitars and thin-sounding light guitars. I've had heavy guitars that are lively and full of body and depth; I've had light guitars that are lively and full of body and depth.

    I really don't think overall weight itself has any effect on "tone" / timbre beyond your comfort and how you approach that guitar.
    Tim
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 14422
    KevS said:
    ..The lighter a bit more airy..The few oz heavier..A touch more lower mids and focus..
    This randomly selected statement is anecdote rather than evidence. You need to show data to support your assertions.

    By way of reply, I'm going to stick my neck out. 

    I hereby assert that there is no direct correlation or reciprocity between a guitar's weight and its sustain, tone, acoustic resonance or dynamic range.

    I'm not going to provide any supporting evidence because, by the precedent set in this Discussion, there appears to be no need.

    Have a nice day.
    You say, atom bomb. I say, tin of corned beef.
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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 10319
    tFB Trader
    I think the role of weight in guitar 'tone' got over stated by Les Paul in his 'log' experiments ... after all, Les Paul didn't design the Les Paul (he never even liked the pickups they put on it as standard at least for recording) . I think structural integrity and stiffness play a big role in note envelope but ever since I built a very long sustaining Tele body out of Masonite and pine pallet wood for framing and a trestle style bridge block ... I've thought weight is just a comfort thing.     
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog 7 String.org profile and message  

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  • KevSKevS Frets: 477
    I've vaguely found from my limited experience too heavy LP types can start to sound thin,
    but too light Fender types can sound too airy and unfocused....
    I don't know about how light a LP could go..I had a very light Studio weight relieved and that was neck heavy..
    It had other problems too..Pity it was a real looker..
    I have a Guild Bluesbird which is under 7lb's,but it has a JB in the Bridge..
    I used that yesterday in a practice room and it worked in a band situation,but the JB is really high output,,
    well for an alnico pickup anyway..The SD 59 works well in the neck though..
    That is weight relieved / Semi Hollow but visually like a thinner Les Paul..

    I don't think it can be all about the electrics if they are the same basically..
    The hardware too..

    So does variance in wood influence anything tonally..?? 
    I'm thinking it must,,I can hear obvious differences ,but is this basically a gamble like a roulette wheel there is so much variance..?  
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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 10319
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    KevS said:
    I've vaguely found from my limited experience too heavy LP types can start to sound thin,
    but too light Fender types can sound too airy and unfocused....
    I don't know about how light a LP could go..I had a very light Studio weight relieved and that was neck heavy..
    It had other problems too..Pity it was a real looker..
    I have a Guild Bluesbird which is under 7lb's,but it has a JB in the Bridge..
    I used that yesterday in a practice room and it worked in a band situation,but the JB is really high output,,
    well for an alnico pickup anyway..The SD 59 works well in the neck though..
    That is weight relieved / Semi Hollow but visually like a thinner Les Paul..

    I don't think it can be all about the electrics if they are the same basically..
    The hardware too..

    So does variance in wood influence anything tonally..?? 
    I'm thinking it must,,I can hear obvious differences ,but is this basically a gamble like a roulette wheel there is so much variance..?  
    If you are talking 1970s Norlin Gibson LPs when you mention the too heavy ones sounding weak ... that could well be because a lot of Norlin era pickups were a bit 'meh' and weedy ... 
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog 7 String.org profile and message  

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  • KevSKevS Frets: 477
    edited April 2
    KevS said:
    ..The lighter a bit more airy..The few oz heavier..A touch more lower mids and focus..
    This randomly selected statement is anecdote rather than evidence. You need to show data to support your assertions.

    By way of reply, I'm going to stick my neck out. 

    I hereby assert that there is no direct correlation or reciprocity between a guitar's weight and its sustain, tone, acoustic resonance or dynamic range.

    I'm not going to provide any supporting evidence because, by the precedent set in this Discussion, there appears to be no need.

    Have a nice day.
    <ADMIN: Deleted, for offensive insinuations>

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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 8491
    KevS said:
    Of course I don't have scientific evidence..
    I don't have a lab and the instruments thereof..
    So by the rules you have just set,,you have won your own competition..Well Done..
    There wasn't a competition set up by me though..
    I would think that obviously wasn't the idea of my post,,.
    Are you trying to make my post and an conversation invalid by your remark..?
    Sorry if that sounds confrontational,but that is how it comes across at my end..
    Why would someone do that..?

    I'm glad you replied before I did, because I'd have been much more rude.  :)
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  • KevSKevS Frets: 477
    KevS said:
    I've vaguely found from my limited experience too heavy LP types can start to sound thin,
    but too light Fender types can sound too airy and unfocused....
    I don't know about how light a LP could go..I had a very light Studio weight relieved and that was neck heavy..
    It had other problems too..Pity it was a real looker..
    I have a Guild Bluesbird which is under 7lb's,but it has a JB in the Bridge..
    I used that yesterday in a practice room and it worked in a band situation,but the JB is really high output,,
    well for an alnico pickup anyway..The SD 59 works well in the neck though..
    That is weight relieved / Semi Hollow but visually like a thinner Les Paul..

    I don't think it can be all about the electrics if they are the same basically..
    The hardware too..

    So does variance in wood influence anything tonally..?? 
    I'm thinking it must,,I can hear obvious differences ,but is this basically a gamble like a roulette wheel there is so much variance..?  
    If you are talking 1970s Norlin Gibson LPs when you mention the too heavy ones sounding weak ... that could well be because a lot of Norlin era pickups were a bit 'meh' and weedy ... 
    I had one just like that..My first Gibson..I got it at 22 years old in 1990..That was a significant life event back then...All I can say to coin a cliche is..It made a Man out of me..It weighed a ton,the neck wasn't remotely comfortable..A refret improved it a bit as it had a 10 inch camber and by that point very low frets..The sustain died above the 14th fret and it was a bitch to play..If you hit a note too hard,it seemed to do this compression thing and the note got quieter..It was a Gibson though and I always wanted one..I had to be able to play it,,no choice..That is just how I thought they were....A few years later when I played a good Brand new Fernandez Copy,,I was Gobsmacked..Another World..My Budget Les Paul Classic 1960 is way better than that Norlin,way better..The Norlin 75 early 76..One of the Deluxe Standards,,Deluxe factory routed for Humbuckers...Probably worth 4 grand or something now..Awful thing..I have found a lot of variance in all things Gibson though..Maybe more than any other brand..That is in my experience though..

    Now if I could find that Fernandez I tried in early 1994..There was a Fernandez Goldtop that was just as good,,so easy to play..
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 17597
    tFB Trader
    I'm wondering myself as I have a 79 LP Pro which is by far the best sounding LP I've ever played but it weighs a stupid amount to the point where I don't like playing it on a strap.

    It could be that it's the ebony fretboard and maple neck, but there is something very special about it
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  • rze99rze99 Frets: 2281

    Dunno about tone through the amp, but my '73 Les Paul Custom just under 10 pounds great and true to the cliche sustains for days. But so does my Custom Shop Les Paul R4 and that's a least a pound and half lighter.

    I have many Teles that vary in weight by as much as a pound. They all sound great to me (with some differences mostly pickups). Some play just a little easier than others.  
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 14422
    KevS said:
    <ADMIN: Deleted, for offensive insinuations>
    Cirrus said:
    I'm glad you replied before I did, because I'd have been much more rude.  :)
    Hello Modmins.

    If you think that anything I posted earlier warrants deletion, please go ahead.

    To anybody else, I recommend the book Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. ISBN-968-0-00-724019-7
    You say, atom bomb. I say, tin of corned beef.
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  • NCoNCo Frets: 156
    KevS said:
    <ADMIN: Deleted, for offensive insinuations>
    Cirrus said:
    I'm glad you replied before I did, because I'd have been much more rude.  :)
    Hello Modmins.

    If you think that anything I posted earlier warrants deletion, please go ahead.

    To anybody else, I recommend the book Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. ISBN-968-0-00-724019-7

    Always viewed weight as a comfort, rather than an actual tonal attribute.
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  • floeighty2floeighty2 Frets: 158
    I’ve had various Les Pauls over the years (including Tokai versions of said guitar) and without doubt the ones that sounded best were on the weighty side. The lightest Les Paul sounded weak, a bit thin on every front. A change of pickups didn’t help matters.  Neither did a hardware change of bridge, tailpiece and top wrapping to see if that altered things. It was just a dull dud.  This of course is purely based on my experience, but I don’t think heavier automatically means better or vice versa. It’s very subjective. 
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  • DannyPDannyP Frets: 1676

    I have seven solid body electric guitars ranging from ultra-light to ultra-heavy.

    The lighter guitars feel like they offer a faster “uptake” of the note, producing sounds that, to me, suggest adjectives like springy, responsive and lively.

    The heavier guitars feel like they have a slower uptake of the note that I feel inspired to describe as more assured, authoritative and commanding.

    Those descriptions, purely subjectively, feel like they stand outside of factors like sustain, frequency response, and amplitude, even though my brain tells me they could only be objectively measured by a combination of those factors.

    Maybe it’s also how they feel in my hands and torso? It’s almost certainly influenced by the observer-expectency effect!

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  • guitars4youguitars4you Frets: 14210
    tFB Trader
    Pre WWW and we barely talked about weight when buying and selling guitars - Now it has to be part of the product/sales description - To be fair, jut about all sales prior to WWW were via a showroom transaction, so the potential customer played the appropriate guitars in the shop - maybe we brought it up in conversation, as you evaluated the guitar by actually playing it and handing it , but it was never the be all and end all that it appears to be today

    I do hear a difference in tone between different guitars, but not convinced that it is better, or indeed worse, because of weight - I've owned a Yamaha SG since 1978 and by far the heaviest guitar I've owned and still own - At the time it was my be all and end all - Did all my gigs in the 70's and 80's - No shortage of sustain whatsoever - Tone is to hard for me, with not enough warmth about it - is that down to the weight alone and/or the density of the wood - I suspect both - I've tried different paf based p/ups on it to warm it up, but its inherent natural tone doesn't allow it go go in a warmer way - For some, such a one is ideal but not quite for me - Probably works better with more gain, but again that is not me, as less is more for me when it comes to gain - But it plays well and won't be sold by me, partly due to nostalgia, as Dad brought it for me for my 18th - It is still a great guitar but not my go to guitar these days

    I've known Fender Guitars that are to light and lack 'body' within the tone and yes pun intended - Especially Tele's - Talking about closer to 7lbs - they maybe airy, but can lack guts as a result 

    Whilst most of us like a 'certain' type of weight, within a certain +/- factor, weight alone will not tell me how it feels, plays, sounds, responds to me, my playing and touch - I've known some heavy guitars that have a lot going for them - I've known some light guitars that have little going for them - IMO the hands on test is the only true evaluation and certainly no science method will tell me any more about the guitar than my hands and ears - I think we can get drawn into theory to much and as such just listen to the guitar and listen to what it offers you 
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 8701
    There can be an association between material weight and resonance and EQ, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. For example, Maple transmits sound better than Balsa, Ebony is brighter (ie less absorbant of sound) than Rosewood. This is to do with wood’s cell structure, where heavier wood tends to have denser structure.
    Tree recycler, and guitarist with  https://www.undercoversband.com/.
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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 10319
    tFB Trader
    I think an interesting thing is that the last three or four semi acoustics I've had havn't lacked sustain or 'authority' in a note  ... so if your argument  goes:  'it's more massive therefore it sustains more'  Then semi acoustics should have way less sustain and 'note authority' than a heavy Les Paul for example ... yet markedly they don't. 

    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog 7 String.org profile and message  

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  • Strat54Strat54 Frets: 2369
    It's all swamp ash's fault.....and people Joe Bonamassa forever harking on about their amazing lightweight vintage Fenders. Anyway won't be an issue now because unless you buy Custom Shop your typical new Fender will weigh over 8lbs. Talked to a dealer who had taken delivery of five high 8lbs 70th Anniversary US 54 Strats and was dreading the enquiries.....
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