“Do Guitars With More Mass Have More Sustain?”

Some guitars are super heavy, and weight over 10 pounds, but some only weight half as much.

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So what does this mean for the tone?In this article, I’ll compare heavy and light guitars, in terms of how they sound, and how they are to play, so you can decide which is the best option for you.

The weight of a guitar affects how it sounds and how easy it is to play.

Heavier guitars tend to have better sustain, and have a thicker and fuller tone.

However, they are harder to play on than lighter guitars, which are easier to sit and stand with.

There are several factors that affect the weight of an electric guitar.

These are:The neck and body woodBody sizeBody type Hardware

wood typeThe type of wood the guitar is made from is one of the biggest factors in affecting the overall weight of the guitar.

The body wood in particular is very important.

Most electric guitar bodies are made from alder, ash, basswood, mahogany or maple.

Alder, ash and basswood are all pretty lightweight, whilst mahogany is pretty heavy and maple is even heavier.

Guitar Body Wood

The neck wood also comes into play here too.

Mahogany and maple are the two most common neck wood types, with maple being the heaviest of the two.

This is related to how much body wood there actually is.

Some guitars are made from thick slabs of wood, like the Les Paul for example.

Whereas the Stratocaster on the other hand, is made from a much smaller, thinner chunk of wood, contributing to it’s lighter weight.

body typeThere are three main electric guitar body types: solid, hollow and semi-hollow.

Solid body guitars e.g Strats, Les Pauls, Teles, are the heaviest, whilst hollow body guitars are the lightest.

This is because the middle of the body is empty, so despite them looking larger, they are actually lighter than solid body guitars in most cases.HardwareThis is a less important factor when it comes to determining a guitar’s weight, but it’s still worth mentioning.

Hardware includes the pickups, electricals and things like the tuner heads.

How Weight Affects Tone

Okay, so now you know what factors affect a guitar’s weight, let’s move onto why this is actually important.

One of the biggest reasons why a guitar’s weight matters, is because it ultimately affects the tone.Heavier guitars generally have better sustain, and more resonance than lighter guitars.

This is often due to the wood type, and the body size.

Thicker guitar bodies, cause the tone to be fuller, warmer and louder.It’s also good to remember how body type influences tone.

Solid body guitars are made from a thick piece of wood, that doesn’t have any gaps inside.

Hollow body guitars on the other hand, have a more acoustic sounding tone.

They have less sustain, but sound warmer and emphasise the bass more than solid body designs.

Take a look at this article I’ve written about the differences between semi-hollow and hollow body guitars to learn more about this topic.

How Weight Affects Playability

So apart from affecting the tone, why else does a guitar’s weight actually matter?

Well, weight influences playability.

And this is a huge thing to consider when choosing an electric guitar.

If you choose a 10 pound guitar, and you have a fairly small frame, or you’re not the strongest, then you’ll undoubtedly start to feel a bit uncomfortable after playing stood up for half an hour or so.

The weight of the guitar can start to become an issue when it rests on your thigh for a while.

Lighter guitars are often easier to sit and stand with, so can make better choices when it comes to gigging.

So don’t automatically pick a heavy guitar just because you prefer the tone, make sure you consider how easy it is to play.

This is a much harder thing to alter than tone, which can be adjusted using pedals and different amp settings.

How Much Do Guitars Weight?

So now you know how weight affects both the tone and playability of a guitar, you’re probably wondering how much a guitar’s weight actually varies.

The average weight of an electric guitar is around 8 pounds, however the range is between 6 and 12 pounds.

You’ll rarely find a guitar heavier or lighter than this.

Here’s a quick chart to show how much the most popular models of electric guitars actually weight.

I’ve written a complete buyer’s guide for electric guitars which takes you through all the things you need to consider and a step-by-step method to narrowing down your selection and choosing the best option.

That’s the difference between heavy and light guitars!

Here are some other posts you might find useful:5 Reasons Some Guitars Sound Better than Others6 Ways to Make a Cheap Electric Guitar Sound Great 7 Tips to Make your Amp Sound Better

For guitarists, the weight of a guitar is significant since it may dramatically impact their playing experience.

Different weights of guitars are available, and players frequently favor heavy or light guitars.

So, what’s the difference?Lighter guitars are more comfortable and easier to play, whereas heavier guitars often provide a fuller, richer tone.

In this post, we’ll examine the benefits and drawbacks of both heavy and light guitars.

This will educate you on the elements that affect a guitar weight.It’s a prevalent fallacy that different guitar weights are needed for different sorts of people.

However, neither the weight of the instrument nor the players’ skill level are related to either.

It is only related to the tone and sound of the guitar.

What Affects the Weight of a Guitar?

What Affects the Weight of a Guitar?

Weight And Guitar’s Tone

Average Guitar’s Weight

Why does a guitar’s weight matter?

How do electric guitars produce sounds?

Does the sound of an electric guitar require any wood?

How can I make a lighter guitar sound like a bigger guitar?

Does Really Guitar Weight Matter?

This has to do with how much body wood there is in reality.

Some guitars, like the Les Paul, are constructed from substantial wood slabs.Contrarily, the Stratocaster is constructed from a considerably smaller, thinner piece of wood, which contributes to its reduced weight.

The size of the guitar has a huge impact on the weight.

Alder, ash, basswood, mahogany, and maple are all fairly light in weight.

Solid-body electric guitars are generally heavier than acoustic guitars, which are lighter.Considering the amount of wood, it will take a very large piece of wood to make a guitar with a heavier gauge (thicker) body.

Electric guitars are usually made of solid wood, while acoustic guitars are usually made of hollow wood.

Hollow woods are lighter than solid woods.WoodOne of the most significant elements impacting the total weight of the guitar is the type of wood used in its construction.

Wood has a lot to do with the weight of the guitar.

The heavier the wood, the heavier the guitar.Generally speaking, guitars made of rosewood are lighter than those made of cedar or mahogany.

The heavier the wood, the easier it is to handle.

In particular, the body wood is crucial.

Alder, ash, basswood, mahogany, and maple are the most common woods used to construct electric guitar bodies.While mahogany is quite heavy and maple is significantly heavier, alder, ash, and basswood are all rather light in weight.

The neck wood is also relevant in this situation.

The two most popular varieties of neck wood are mahogany and maple, with maple being the heavier of the two.Furthermore, different types of wood have different weights.

For example, solid-body electric guitars are made up of different types of wood.

Alder, mahogany, and maple are the types of woods used.

Solid-body acoustic guitars are usually made from a single type of wood, but they usually weigh less than solid-body electric guitars.When comparing lighter and heavier guitars and which players prefer them, the type of wood that is used often has a greater impact than the actual weight.

For instance, mahogany and maple are two hefty kinds of wood that, when combined, create a very heavy guitar that most players would, obviously, find uncomfortable.However, despite its debilitating weight, the Gibson Les Paul’s bottom-heavy mahogany tone and explosive high-end snap are combined to produce such a bright and luscious tone that it has become the industry standard.Gibson really made an effort to solve the issue without changing the tone of their well-liked heavyweight since he was aware of it.Every American-made Gibson Les Paul was altered between 1982 and 2007 to be lighter by eliminating two to three pounds of mahogany from the interior before the maple cap was attached to the body.Since 2007, the firm has taken things a step further by releasing a walled body that is up to 5 pounds lighter.

While many loved the more articulate sound produced by, the lighter Les Pauls, not everyone was happy with the adjustment and claimed it negatively impacted tone.Alder, ash, and basswood are some additional tonewoods that tend to be lighter.

Additionally, each conducts a unique trademark pattern of frequencies, which has a big impact on the sound of the guitar made from them.Therefore, the tone is communicated via the wood’s tonal characteristics rather than its weight.

For instance, the Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters openly depend on the clear transparency of ash and the balanced spectrum of alder for their tone just as much as they do on their recognizable single coil pickups or even the body design itself.Even while it’s still possible to get a Strat or Tele that weighs a few pounds more than the norm, it will still sound very much like them.TypeElectric guitars’ three basic body styles are solid, hollow, and semi-hollow.

The heaviest guitars are those with solid bodies, including Strats, Les Pauls, and Teles, while the lightest ones are those with hollow bodies.This is the reason why, while appearing larger, they are typically lighter than solid body guitars since the center of the body is empty.Weight And Guitar’s ToneThe fact that a guitar’s weight eventually impacts tone is one of the main reasons why it matters.

In general, heavier guitars have greater resonance and better sustain than lighter guitars.

This is frequently caused by the body size and kind of wood.The tone is richer, warmer, and louder when the guitar body is thicker.

It’s important to keep in mind how tone is affected by body type.

Solid-body guitars are constructed from a large piece of wood with no internal gaps.This improves sustain and lessens response problems.

Conversely, hollow-body guitars offer a more acoustic-sounding tone.

They feel warmer and emphasize the bass more than solid body designs, although they have shorter sustain.When your amp’s output or distortion is increased, they are more prone to feedback problems.Average Guitar’s WeightNow that you are aware of the impact that weight has on a guitar’s tone and playability, you may be curious as to how much a guitar’s weight changes.As it happens, quite a bit.

An electric guitar typically weighs between 6 and 12 pounds, or about 8 pounds on average.

Hardly will you find a heavier or lighter guitar than this.Why Is There the Problem Of Heavy And Lightweight?Most of us believe that beginners and children should use lightweight guitars while pros should use heavyweights.

The guitar’s kind, tone, and sound are intimately correlated with its weight.Due to the type of wood used and the depth of the instrument, some guitars are heavy, and others are light.There are several guitars with thin, hollow bodies constructed of light wood.

These guitars are so light in weight that two fingers can be used to pick them up.These guitars, however, cannot create deep and rich music.

These guitars have far less resonance and sustain than heavy guitars.

These guitars are for listeners who want concise music and light.On the other side, heavyweight guitars are those with bodies that are solid or semi-hollow, composed of thick, heavy wood.

These instruments are renowned for generating deeper and fuller music compared to lighter instruments.Additionally, they offer much better resonance and sustain.

Additionally, one must not claim that everyone enjoys hearing the richer, denser, warmer, and louder sound that heavier guitars and thicker bodies provide.However, neither a heavy body nor a light body guitar has a fault.

You may select the one that best suits your musical preferences because they are made for folks with a variety of musical likes.Why does a guitar’s weight matter?Well, playability is affected by weight.

And this is a crucial factor to consider when selecting an electric guitar.

Most electric guitars weigh heavier as compared to acoustic guitars.If you pick a 10-pound guitar and you’re not the fittest person or have a petite frame, you’ll surely start to feel a little uneasy after playing while standing up for around 30 minutes.

When the guitar is resting on your thigh for a time, the instrument’s weight may bother you.Lighter guitars are frequently more comfortable to sit and stand with, making them better performance alternatives.So keep in mind that sound isn’t everything.

Therefore, consider how simple it is to play before choosing a heavier guitar just because you like the tone.Compared to tone, which can be altered by utilizing pedals and other amp settings, this is far more difficult to change.Which Type of Guitar is Lightweight?You must divert your attention from electric guitars as most lightweight guitars are not electric; if you want to learn which sorts of guitars are light in weight.A lightweight electric guitar may occasionally be available, but it won’t perform as well as a heavyweight instrument.

First, among the lightest guitars available on the market are acoustic models.They have entirely hollow bodies, and their sound is so astounding that you won’t ever bet on anything else producing a lighter, more supple sound.

Second, a semi-acoustic guitar is a sort of lightweight instrument you could own.They are comparable to acoustic guitars but vary in that they have an amplifier, tuner, and sound EQ built right in.

These items take up some room and are a little heavier than acoustic ones due to their weight.The travel guitar is the final form of guitar that fits under the lightweight category.

They are contemporary and unorthodox guitars.They are smaller and lighter than a traditional guitar.

They lack a real body like a traditional guitar, which accounts for their modest weight.

Instead, the majority of them are composed of lightweight wood.Frequently Asked QuestionsIn this section, we will answer a few FAQs to clear your mind further.How do electric guitars produce sounds?The magnets in the pickups of the guitar magnetize the strings.

The flux in the magnetic field caused by the magnetized string moving across the stationary wire coil produces voltage.What does it truly mean when a guitar is described as “heavier”?Typically, when the word “heavier” is used to describe an electric guitar, it alludes to the particular sound made by instruments with heavier bodies, like the Gibson Les Paul.

The sound of a lighter guitar, like the Fender Stratocaster, will alter.Does the sound of an electric guitar require any wood?No, wood is not necessary for an electric guitar to produce music.

Some electric guitars in manufacturing utilize no wood at all.

Synthetic material is employed in place of wood, or entire metal is utilized, like in the case of the Gittler electric guitar.How can I make a lighter guitar sound like a bigger guitar?An electric guitar uses the pickups and amplifiers system to provide its main sound.

An overdriven amplifier or effects pedal combined with humbucking pickups will result in a “heavy” or overloaded guitar tone.Does Really Guitar Weight Matter?The answer varies from musician to musician.

Certainly, the instrument’s weight matters when discussing its tone and weight.

Additionally, a heavier guitar will have a fuller tone that is liked by listeners of all genres, particularly jazz and blues music.Should a novice always opt for a light guitar?The idea that a novice should always pick a lightweight guitar is untrue.

If you prefer playing a heavyweight guitar, no one will make you switch to a lighter instrument, and learning to play a heavyweight guitar is not difficult.ConclusionIn conclusion, guitar players should think carefully about the guitar weight while making a purchase.

Players who desire a big, rich tone should choose heavy guitars, whilst who seek ease of playing should choose light guitars.

A perfect weight is significant.Before making a purchase, it’s crucial to test out various guitars and consider each one’s advantages and disadvantages.

Players should select the instrument that feels the most comfortable to them since, in the end, the weight of a guitar is a matter of personal taste.

A week hardly ever passes without someone asking me, “is a heavier or lighter electric guitar better?” I have to say, most players believe heavier is better, but it isn’t that simple.

It depends on many things, like the type of music you play and the nuances of the sound you’re trying to achieve.

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The Short AnswerWhat Determines A Guitar’s Weight?Approximate Weights Of Popular Electric GuitarsThings Affected By A Guitar’s WeightToneSustainPlayabilityComfortCostBeware Of Guitars That Are Too Heavy!Frequently Asked QuestionsFinal ThoughtsTell Me What You Think

There is no one best weight for an electric guitar.

It all depends on what you value most, tone, sustain, playability, comfort, or cost.

Each player is different, so guitars are available in various weights and styles.

The best way to choose an electric guitar is to play it sitting and standing.

If you’re ok with the way it feels, plays, and sounds then that guitar may be a good choice for you.

What Determines A Guitar’s Weight?

Any number of factors can determine the weight of a guitar.

However, some of the most common things are the type and amount of wood used in making the instrument’s body and neck, the age of the guitar, electronics, and hardware.

The guitar’s body type also factors into the weight equation.

Wood Type, Body Type, And Wood Seasoning

Wood and body type primarily determine the overall weight of a guitar, although each individual part adds to a guitar’s weight.

It’s important to understand that some woods are denser and, therefore, heavier at the same volume.

Generally, solid body guitars are heaviest, semi-hollow body guitars are lighter, and hollow body guitars are lightest.

Body type can vary widely.

For example, a Les Paul guitar is one of the heavier guitars, primarily because it has a thick solid body made from mahogany with a maple cap, both of which are high-density woods.

A Strat or Tele has a smaller solid body (usually alder or ash) that is less dense than mahogany and maple.

Wood from various geographic areas and tree species can vary in density.

For example, Gibson typically uses Michigan Maple to make its American guitar necks and bodies.

However, Michigan has several species of maple, each varying in wood density, like the Red maple (Acer rubrum), Striped maple (pennsylvanicum), and Mountain maple (A.

A guitar’s age can also affect its weight.

The best way to think about the weight of the wood on a guitar is to understand what density is.

This simply means that a denser chunk of wood of a specific size (height, width, and depth) will weigh more than a less dense piece of wood with the exact dimensions (and vice versa).

Guitar Part (typical use)Wood Type (seasoned & dry)Density (Lb/Ft3)BodyBasswood20-36.8BodyAlder26.2 – 42.5BodyAsh40.6 – 53.1Body and NeckMahogany31.2 – 53.1Neck and Body (cap)Maple38.7 – 46.8FingerboardPau Ferro50.5 – 54FingerboardRosewood51.2 – 56.2FingerboardEbony69.3 – 83

For electric guitars, basswood is typically selected as a lighter wood, with alder and ash in between and mahogany and maple on the heavier side.

Guitar bodies are typically made from basswood, alder, ash, mahogany, and maple (cap).

In contrast, the necks generally are made from maple or mahogany to help (along with the truss rod) prevent warping.

The guitar neck may be one-piece maple or mahogany.

Ebony is the heaviest tonewood and is typically used on neck fingerboards.

A guitar’s hardware can add some weight to the instrument, particularly the tuning machines and bridge, especially if it is a vibrato bridge.

Electronics consist of a guitar’s pickups, wiring, volume and tone controls, and switches.

Approximate Weights Of Popular Electric Guitars

Dan Electro makes some of the lightest guitars on the market, like the ’59 Mod NOS, which is mostly hollow inside.

Generally, Fender Strats and Teles are in the same weight range, while Jazzmasters and Jaguars tend to weigh more.

Gibson electrics run the weight gamut, from SGs being the lightest and Les Pauls being the heaviest.

PRS (Paul Reed Smith) SE Custom 24, Custom 24, and SE Singlecut models weigh approximately the same, while the McCarty Singlecuts are typically a little heavier.

Here is a table that shows the approximate weight range of several popular electric guitars.

Guitar ModelApproximate WeightDanelectro ’59 Mod NOS5 to 5.5 Lbs (2.27 to 2.5 Kg)Fender Thinline Telcaster6.75 to 7.75 Lbs (3.1 to 3.5 Kg)Fender Stratocaster7 to 8 Lbs (3.2 to 3.6 Kg)Fender Telecaster7 to 8 Lbs (3.2 to 3.6 Kg)Fender Jazzmaster8 to 8.5 Lbs (3.6 to 3.8 Kg)Fender Jaguar8 to 9 Lbs (3.2 to 4.1 Kg)Gibson SG 7 to 7.5 Lbs (3.2 to 3.4 Kg)Gibson ES 3358 to 8.5 Lbs (3.6 to 3.8 Kg)Gibson Les Paul9 to 10.75 Lbs (4.1 to 4.9 Kg)PRS SE Custom 247.5 to 8 Lbs (3.4 to 3.6 Kg)PRS Custom 247.5 to 8 Lbs (3.4 to 3.6 Kg)PRS SE Singlecut7.5 to 8 Lbs (3.4 to 3.6 Kg)PRS MCCarty Singlecut8 to 8.5 Lbs (3.6 to 3.8 Kg)Ibanez RG Series7.0 to 8 Lbs (3.2 to 3.6 Kg)

For more info, see Semi Hollow Body Vs Hollow Body Guitars – The Complete Guide.

Things Affected By A Guitar’s Weight

Click Here To Grab My Free 54-Page eBook: Playing Tips For Beginning, Intermediate, & Advanced Players.

Tone – How the guitar sounds before you plug it into an amplifier (acoustically)

Sustain – How long a note sounds before decaying to zero

Playability – How easy or difficult the guitar is to play, lighter is not always easier

Comfort – How comfortable for your body (hands, back, etc.) the guitar is hold

The weight of a guitar can have a significant effect on its tone.

To hear a guitar’s true tone, play it without plugging into your amp.

Usually, the heavier the guitar, the more resonant the tone can be.

Don’t forget that the guitar’s wood type also determines the weight and affects tone, which is why it is often referred to as the “tonewood.”

Three Types Of Electric Guitar Body Types

A guitar’s body type not only affects its weight but also affects its tone.

Solid-body guitars have an overall tone that is generally balanced across the frequency spectrum of the instrument.

Semi-hollow body guitars have a small resonant chamber.

They can give you an excellent tonal compromise between a solid body and a hollow body guitar.

Hollow body guitars feature the largest resonant chamber.

They sound the most like an acoustic guitar with the playability of an electric one.

Solid Body

Semi-Hollow Body

Hollow Body

Don’t forget that, even though a guitar’s strings add very little weight, they can profoundly affect tone, depending on the gauge, material, and winding configuration of the string set.

Sustain measures how long a note sounds before decaying to zero.

Generally speaking, the heavier the guitar, the better the sustain.

Light guitars typically have less sustain but are more comfortable to play sitting and standing.

For example, the Danelectro ’59 Mod NOS guitar has a chambered semi-hollow plywood body with a hardboard top.

It is extremely light at a weight of between 5 to 5 ½ pounds!

Dan Electro guitars were initially made with a lightweight body material called Masonite.

On the other side of that coin, If I ask you which guitar has the best sustain, you will probably say a Les Paul.

It has a thick mahogany body with a maple cap and a glued-in mahogany neck.

the design and weight of this guitar make it a “sustain machine!” The trade-off is that the weight of this guitar can make it challenging to play, especially standing up for long periods.

By “playability,” I mean how you think a particular guitar plays.

The guitar you think plays best might be totally different from what other players think.

Sometimes a guitar’s weight can affect how a guitar plays for you.

I know players that swear by lighter or heavier guitars.

Also, sometimes a guitar can play better for you by setting it up for your particular needs, like changing the action (string height), string gauge, or tremolo adjustment.

So, what you think could be a weight issue might be somewhat correctable by a complete guitar setup.

A guitar can also become more playable as you continue using it and get used to the best way to pick and finger the strings, adjust the volume and tone controls, etc.

As you eventually “wear in” a guitar, the fingerboard edges will become rounder, tonewoods will age, and pickup outputs will change.

These can also be perceived in a change in tone and playability.

Neck And Body Size

Neck and body size can affect weight and playability.

Guitar necks on the heavier side can be more challenging to play, particularly if they are “beefy” and you have small hands.

Single-cutaway guitars like the Les Paul can be heavier than double-cutaway guitars like the Gibson SG, and an extra cutaway can make it easier to reach the highest notes.

I think the Gibson SG is one of the easiest guitars to play because of the way its double-cutaways are attached to the lowest part of the guitar neck.

It’s also an average-weight guitar, at 7 to 7.5 Lbs; that sounds great!

Don’t get me wrong, most electrics on the heavier side, including the Les Paul, play fine!

It’s just a matter of what works and sounds best to you.

Weight aside, playability is usually a function of guitar neck size and shape, fingerboard wood and radius, fret size, and body design.

When it comes to comfort, lighter is usually better.

The excess weight of a heavy guitar can be problematic if you play standing for long periods of time.

If a guitar is uncomfortable to play or hold, you’re less likely to play it as much.

The average weight of a solid body electric guitar is about 7 to 8 pounds.

The hollow body and semi-hollow body guitars are typically lighter.

Of course, most Rock and Metal players prefer solid body guitars for their tone, look, and ease of controlling feedback.

A semi-hollowbody guitar can be a good compromise for weight and tone.

Ted Nugent plays a Gibson Byrdland hollow body guitar and really makes that baby scream!

Guitar body

The Fender Stratocaster is an excellent example of a guitar whose double cutaways and comfort contours in the front and rear make it lighter and shaped for a genuinely delightful playing experience!

Stratocaster Body Contours

The front body contour makes it more comfortable to rest your right forearm on the guitar’s lower bout, and the rear contour (“belly carve”) gives it a nicer fit against your body, especially when playing sitting down.

Guitar Neck

Here are the most important things to look for in a comfortable playing neck.

Different size and shape guitar necks feel different to various players, depending on hand size.

Players with average size hands can play just about any guitar.

If you have small hands, look for a neck that is less deep from front to back and less wide across the fingerboard.

Players with large hands are usually more comfortable with deep, wide necks.

Large bulky maple or mahogany necks will add additional weight to the guitar but can help improve the tone and sustain of the instrument.

Although this measurement doesn’t really affect the weight of a guitar, it can be an essential measurement for playing comfort.

The fingerboard radius (or fretboard radius) measures how “curved” the wood under the frets is.

An average fingerboard radius for a modern electric guitar is about 9 inches.

“Vintage” neck shapes are typically around 7.5 inches.

Necks designed to play Rock and Metal are usually flatter, at 12 to 17 inches.

Strat Neck With 7.5-inch Curved Fingerboard And Vintage Frets

Ibanez PIA3761 Guitar Neck With 16.9-Inch Flat Fingerboard and Jumbo Frets

A compound radius neck is more curved at the nut for chord playing comfort and progressively flattens as you move higher up the neck to make string bending easier.

Always choose the fingerboard material that plays best and feels most comfortable under your fingers, not the one that looks best.

However, unfinished fingerboards might feel better to play.

The right guitar strap can go a long way to improve playing comfort, especially if you perform long stage sets.

Wider guitar straps are usually more comfortable than thinner ones, particularly for heavier guitars like a Les Paul.

If you use a single strap, find one that works best with all your guitars.

Adjust your strap length for the best playing comfort, not for looks.

Wearing your Les Paul too low to look cool like Jimmy Page probably won’t allow you to play your best and can get uncomfortable quickly!

Don’t feel bad; we’ve all tried it, especially if you play a Les Paul!

Heavier solid-body guitars with thicker bodies or exotic tonewoods can be more costly but not exclusively.

For example, a non-vintage Gibson Les Paul is a great guitar that is fairly expensive and on the heavier side.

However, you can pay a lot more for a Paul Reed Smith Private Stock guitar that weighs less but plays and sounds even better.

This PRS Private Stock Custom 24 with a stunning curly maple top, figured mahogany back and neck, and Brazilian rosewood fretboard will set you back at almost $12,000!

Heavy guitars can be great when it comes to playability, tone, and sustain.

However, the extra weight can become bothersome if you have problems with your back, hips, or knees, especially if you play standing up.

For extended travel distances, a lighter guitar may be best if you carry your guitar in a gig bag with shoulder straps on your back.

Here are some of the questions I get asked about guitar weight.

Why Are Guitars Different Weights?

The type and amount of wood used to make a guitar determine the majority of its weight.

Most electric guitars weigh an average of 7 to 8 pounds, but some guitars are purposely designed to be lighter or heavier.

As guitars age over the years, they can lose water and become lighter.

Which Guitar Wood Is The Lightest?

Basswood is the lightest wood that is used to make guitar bodies.

It is not well-suited for guitar necks because it is relatively soft compared to other tonewoods.

Which Guitar Wood Is The Heaviest?

Ebony is the heaviest commonly used guitar wood.

It is used for neck fingerboards but not to make guitar necks and bodies.

What Is A Good Weight For A Guitar?

There is no best weight for a guitar; it depends on your playing requirements and personal taste.

Guitars that are too light may have poor tone and sustain.

Heavy guitars may be difficult to play for long periods.

How Do I Balance My Guitar’s Weight?

The best way to balance a guitar’s weight is to position it properly on your lap or with your strap if you play standing.

A guitar strap with a “grippy” shoulder material can prevent the guitar from moving while you play.

So, is a heavier or lighter electric guitar better?

There is no “perfect weight” since every player has different needs regarding tone, sustain, and playability.

The main things determining a guitar’s weight are its wood type, body and neck size, and thickness.

Denser woods will make guitars of the same size and thickness weigh more and give them more sustain.

The weight of a guitar can affect its tone, sustain, playability, comfort, and cost.

See Why Is My Guitar Tone So Bad?

Basswood, alder, ash, and mahogany are commonly used to make guitar bodies.

Maple is primarily used to make guitar necks and as a cap on the wood of a guitar body, such as a Les Paul (maple on mahogany).

Pau Ferro, rosewood, and ebony are primarily used to make guitar necks.

Guitars are often designed to address both comfort and weight.

Using the right guitar strap can help improve a guitar’s comfort, especially with heavier guitars.

Heavy guitars can cause or worsen some back, hip, and knee problems if you play standing up for long periods.

Can a heavy guitar, like a Les Paul, be made lighter and still sound great?

Here’s a video from Brian at Musician’s Friend that demonstrates him playing a Gibson Custom Shop limited run 1959 reissue chambered guitar.

It weighs in at just 6.8 pounds and sounds incredible, so check it out!

Admittedly, he is playing through a Friedman amp, but you can really hear the guitar’s tone and sustain come through!

Please leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article, have any questions about guitar weight, or want to give your point of view.

Do you prefer playing a lighter or heavier guitar?

What is your favorite guitar?Which guitar(s) do you currently play?

Are you happy with its weight?After reading this article, are you thinking of switching guitars?

Guitar weight is something that worries a lot of players.

It’s no fun to play a show with an instrument that feels like an elephant hanging from your shoulder.

However, in their quest for tone and sustain, many guitarists have ended up picking heavyweight instruments because they are convinced they sound better.

But do heavier guitars really have more sustain?

Heavier guitars don’t necessarily have better sustain.

However, weight can be an indicator of density, and more dense, harder tonewoods from which these guitars might be made are known to improve sustain because they absorb less energy from the vibrating string.

In this article, I will dive deep into the factors that influence the sustain of the notes on a guitar, and discuss whether its weight is one of them or not.

After leaving this page, you will have a clearer idea about what it takes for a guitar to have more sustain than others, and why weight is not a direct indicator of it, but something to take into consideration.

Is weight a good indicator of a guitar’s sustain?What are the factors that define the sustain of a guitar?Is sustain really important on a guitar?Are there any reasons to choose a heavier guitar?Are lighter guitars always better?

Weight alone is not a good indicator of a guitar’s sustain.

Weight alone is not a good indicator of a guitar’s sustain.

Sustain is more directly correlated with the hardness and stiffness of the components that make that guitar, namely tonewoods, construction, and other hardware.

If that string resonates attached to softer materials that act like a cushion, they will slowly but effectively absorb a big part of that energy, thus making it stop vibrating earlier.

Now, think of the same string resonating against a way harder material than the previous one.

It’s more likely that this stiffer medium remains unaltered by the vibrations and hence takes less energy away from the string.

All of this is just to say that the really important thing that defines a guitar’s sustain is how hard its tonewoods are.

But the interesting thing here is that these harder tonewoods are usually heavier, so there’s a certain correlation between weight and sustain, but it’s not correct to say that sustain depends on weight.

What are the factors that define the sustain of a guitar?

Some of the factors that determine how long a note will sustain on a guitar are the materials from which it’s built, the way the instrument is constructed, being it bolt-on, with a set neck or neck-through, the quality of its construction (better bonds between its parts), and the magnetic pull of its pickups on the strings.

If you want to know how the amount and strength of the pickups on a guitar affect its sustain, I recommend you check out the following article:

Is sustain really important on a guitar?

In my opinion, no, sustain is not of utmost importance on a guitar.

Of course, if we are talking about extremely affordable instruments where you might struggle to make some notes to even maintain ringing for a few seconds, I’ll give it to you, sustain might matter.

But at a certain quality standard, from intermediate guitars upwards, sustain tends to not be a problem, especially when playing with a bit of distortion or overdrive.

There are alternatives in the market such as an ebow or sustainer pickups if you really need infinite notes on your songs.

You can also try to get an infinite feedback loop with your amp if you are playing with speakers and live sound.

Are there any reasons to choose a heavier guitar?

There’s no real reason to pick a heavier guitar because of its weight, however, its mass can be a proxy for other important features that might matter to you.

For instance, and as I mentioned earlier, heavier guitars are usually built with harder tonewoods.

Think of a Les Paul as a staple of this assertion.

Does Guitar Weight Affect Tone?

Are lighter guitars always better?

Lighter guitars are not necessarily better, although many players gravitate towards them because of their practicality.

A lighter guitar model, when talking about averages, will mean that the instrument is built with softer less dense tonewoods that have a slightly different sound than heavier ones.

Some players might like that better, others won’t.

Now, when comparing guitars from the same brand, model, and materials, a lighter instrument might mean that there’s less humidity captured into its tonewoods, and that might improve its overall resonance.

But apart from all these technical nuances, I really think you should go for the guitar that feels better to you.

Some players prefer the struggle of carrying around a heavy chunk of wood because it feels like the real thing and lets them dig harder into what they are playing.

Other players prefer instruments lighter than a feather that can be carried around while running across the stage effortlessly.

Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years.

From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.

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