How much do guitars weigh these days? I didn’t know, so I decided to find out – here’s a guitar weight comparison of some of the most popular models on the market right now
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Electric guitars have been the centerpiece of popular music for the better part of the last century. From the blues of the Mississippi Delta to the hard rock of Sunset Strip, electric guitars have been a major part of western culture for over seven decades – and they’re still as popular as ever.
But beyond the myriad of tonal possibilities, one of the most practical considerations for any guitarist is the actual weight of the instrument. How heavy should a guitar be? Does weight affect the tone? Let’s delve into the world of guitar weights and explore these questions.
Electric Guitar Weight Comparison Table
|Brand||Model||Approximate Weight Range (lbs)|
|Fender||American Professional Stratocaster||7.5 – 8.5|
|Fender||Telecaster||7 – 8|
|Gibson||Les Paul Standard||9 – 10|
|Gibson||SG Standard||6 – 7|
|Epiphone||Les Paul Standard PlusTop Pro||8 – 9|
|Epiphone||SG Special||6.5 – 7.5|
|Squier||Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster||7 – 8|
|Squier||Affinity Telecaster||7 – 8|
|Harley Benton||SC-450||7.5 – 8.5|
|Harley Benton||TE-52||7 – 8|
|Schecter||Hellraiser C-1||8 – 9|
|Schecter||Omen 6||7 – 8|
|Gretsch||G2622 Streamliner||7 – 8|
|Gretsch||G2622T Streamliner with Bigsby||7.5 – 8.5|
|ESP||LTD EC-1000||7 – 8|
|ESP||LTD M-1000||7.5 – 8.5|
|Ibanez||RG series||7 – 8|
|Ibanez||S series||6 – 7|
The Ideal Weight For a Guitar
The ideal weight of a guitar is highly subjective and depends on several factors such as the player’s physical strength, comfort, and the style of music they play. Most players tend to prefer guitars that range from 6 to 10 pounds (2.7 to 4.5 kilograms).
This weight range provides a nice balance, being heavy enough to feel substantial but not so heavy that it becomes uncomfortable during extended playing sessions.
Is 4.5 kg Heavy for a Guitar?
In the realm of electric guitars, 4.5 kilograms (roughly 10 pounds) is on the heavier side. Guitars of this weight are often solid-body types made from denser woods like mahogany, common in models like the Gibson Les Paul.
Some players might find this weight taxing during long gigs, especially if they’re standing. Still, plenty of the best in the business are more than willing to bear the extra weight for the sustain and warm, full tone these heavier guitars often provide.
The Average Weight of an Electric Guitar
The average weight of an electric guitar tends to hover around 8 pounds (approximately 3.6 kilograms), although this can vary widely depending on the model and materials used. Guitars with semi-hollow or hollow bodies, for example, are typically lighter than their solid-body counterparts.
Plus, modern Les Paul guitars – both Epiphone and Gibson – are now significantly lighter than they were in the 1970s, for instance, thanks to innovative weight-relief technologies that keep all the best bits (the tonal richness) but reduce the gross weight of the assembled guitar.
Lighter or Heavier Guitars: Which Is Better?
Whether a lighter or heavier guitar is ‘better’ largely depends on personal preference. Lighter guitars, such as those made from woods like alder or basswood, are easier to handle and can be more comfortable for extended periods of play. These are great for energetic performances where the guitarist moves around a lot.
Heavier guitars, on the other hand, often offer better sustain and a warmer tone, which many players prefer. They also tend to feel more substantial and balanced, which some players find enhances their performance. However, they can be fatiguing to play over longer periods, especially when standing.
Gibson’s Les Paul has been known to be something of a back-breaker, especially the older, vintage models that do not have any chambering (weight relief systems) inside them. But, again, what’s a little back pain if you’re getting killer tone?
Factors That Affect Guitar Weight
Several factors can influence the weight of a guitar:
- Wood Type: The type of wood used for the body of the guitar is the most significant factor. Denser woods like mahogany and maple are heavier, while lighter woods include alder, basswood, and poplar.
- Body Design: Solid-body guitars are typically heavier than semi-hollow or hollow-body guitars due to the additional wood used in their construction.
- Hardware: The type and amount of hardware can also contribute to a guitar’s weight. For instance, a guitar with a Bigsby tremolo will be heavier than one with a simple hardtail bridge.
Heaviest Types of Wood
The denser the wood, the heavier the guitar tends to be. Notorious for their heft, mahogany, rosewood, and maple top the list of the heaviest woods commonly used in guitar construction.
Each of these woods is lauded for its unique tonal characteristics and sustain. Ash, another popular choice, can also be quite heavy, but its weight tends to vary more than the aforementioned types.
The Weight-Tone Relationship
Does the weight of a guitar have any bearing on its tone? The answer is a complex yes. Weight, often a byproduct of the type of wood used, can indeed influence a guitar’s tone.
Denser woods like mahogany or rosewood, typically associated with heavier guitars, often produce a warm, rich, and resonant tone with excellent sustain. In contrast, lighter woods such as alder or basswood tend to yield a brighter, more cutting tone.
However, it’s important to note that the weight-to-tone relationship is just one piece of a much larger puzzle. The guitar’s construction, the pickups, the hardware, and even the player’s technique all play significant roles in shaping the final sound.
While some players swear by the thick, resonant tone of a heavy Les Paul, others prefer the bright, punchy sound of a lighter Stratocaster.
Ultimately, the ‘best’ weight for a guitar is a highly personal matter that depends on a player’s physical comfort, stylistic preferences, and the specific sound they’re after.
Balancing Weight and Tone
Striking a balance between a comfortable weight and the desired tone can be a challenge. If you find heavier guitars uncomfortable but love the warm tone they produce, consider models with chambered or semi-hollow bodies.
These guitars have portions of their bodies hollowed out, reducing the weight while still maintaining some of the tonal characteristics of heavier woods.
Alternatively, consider using a wide, padded strap to distribute the weight of the guitar more evenly across your shoulders. This can make playing a heavy guitar more manageable during long practice sessions or gigs.
The Bottom Line
The weight of a guitar is a significant factor in its playability and tone. While a heavier guitar can offer rich tones and excellent sustain, a lighter guitar is often more comfortable to play, particularly over extended periods.
As with many aspects of selecting a guitar, the ‘ideal’ weight boils down to personal preference and comfort.
It’s always a good idea to try out several different guitars in different weight ranges to find what feels and sounds best to you. After all, the ultimate goal is to find a guitar that inspires you to play and create music.