Heavier Guitars Sound Thicker?

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by Elkoki, Nov 18, 2018.

  1. GearHo

    GearHo Senior Member

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    Guitar weight has NO bearing on tone,period.

    I have had heavy guitars that sounded thin and brittle, and ones that sounded big and fat. I have a 6.5 lb tele that sounds big and fat, and once owned a strat that weighed over 9lbs, that was shrill, and lifeless.

    Weight became a topic of great conversation, right around the time that many players started to get older, and all of a sudden weight became an issue. Then it morphed into a tone issue, les Paul's now were limited to 9 lbs, or less, because that's where the tonal boundary ended.

    If it sounds good it is good, weight has nothing to do with anything other than they get tiresome to leave strapped on for several hours.
     
  2. HogmanA

    HogmanA Senior Member

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    I wasn't going to add to this thread - but your observation is absolutely identical to my findings too. My main LP is swiss cheesed, very resonant and 8lb exactly. It's a bit on the light side, my previous being 9lb.
    What I have found as a general non scientific observation is that heavier guitars often have greater definition. Turn up the overdrive, you'll still have reasonable definition, hence the thicker sound. Turn down the tone - still got definition - hence thicker sound.
    Lighter LP's, especially mine seem to lack this definition, or have less of it at least. Thickness can easily turn to mud.
    Why my 8lb swiss cheese LP sounds better at high (100w head on full loud) volumes? who knows?
    (comparitively - not just because everything sounds better at loud volumes)

    As for the engineering bit:

    Of course weight/ mass has a bearing on the sound!

    A guitar is a resonant system and the weight/ mass of each component in that system will have an effect on the overall resonance.

    It is, however, an incredibly complex system. So much so that the near endless combinations of each aspect that makes up an electric guitar means that we can't really say what will be the effect of more /less weight on a certain guitar. Make it lighter, it is no longer that same guitar by multiple factors other than weight. It can't properly be tested.



    Excerpt from here:

    MINISTRY OF AVIATION Aeronautical research papers: The Damping of Structural Vibrations

    http://naca.central.cranfield.ac.uk/reports/arc/cp/0596.pdf (good reading for any nerds out there)


    "...NOW when a force varying in space and time is applied to the surface of a panel, the response is determined not only by the frequency and panel stiffness and mass, but in a complex way by the spatial distribution of the forces and of the nodal pattern of the manif'old modes of resonance of the panel. However for the present purpose it will be sufficient to consider a localised point force acting on a single-degree-of-freedom osoillator... "



    !
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
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  3. DarthPaul

    DarthPaul Senior Member

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    Heavier strings sound thicker.
     
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  4. ehb

    ehb Chief Discombobulator Gold Supporter Premium Member

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    Heavier strings are thicker.
     
  5. bulletproof

    bulletproof aka tarddoggy Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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  6. bluesguitar1972

    bluesguitar1972 Senior Member

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    false
    I've owned an 11 pound LP that was great, and I've played an 11lb LP that was a dog. I've played lighter guitars that resonate very well, and other that don't. I've bought/traded probably 200+ higher end guitars in the past 8 years or so, and I've seen no correlation either way between weight and tone.
     
  7. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    I did a lot of tone searching last weekend (gonna use a different rig at our next gig) and by far, my heaviest and thickest guitar (the Northern) is the brightest and punchiest (exactly how I LOVE it).
     
  8. korus

    korus Senior Member

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    Yes. Heavier guitar of the same model (same parts, same setup) always have stronger low overtones.

    People with relatively average hearing ability might get confused in what they hear by too hard metal hardware that shifts whole tone towards higher frequency range. Hearing loud and sharp, shrill treble caused by wrong hardware (too hard alloys) masks lows and cloud perception of low overtones.

    There is a easy tweak at hand to help hear/comprehend to anyone with any hearing ability. Remove treble the same way on guitars being compared. Roll off tone pot all the way down, to 0 on guitars of the same model being compared. With tone pot on 0 heavier guitar will be louder, because it has stronger low overtones, due to greater mass/being heavier while having the same dimensions. Obviusly, the difference will be more obvious, pronounced with heavier (vs lighter) gauge strings on both/all guitars, and if played on wound strings (vs plain ones) on both/all guitars being compared, of the same model, same parts, same setup.

    Surely, use too hard/wrong metal hardware on a guitar and play it into bright setup amp and any guitar will sound exactly like mosquito, or mosquito's fart. Regardless, heavier one will still have louder low overtones, but it will be harder for untrained ear to detect.

    I guess there is no way for all of us to avoid all these, many and long but utterly obsolete discussions if laws of physics are correct, caused by limitations of general public's hearing ability as long as general public is buying/paying for millions of guitars per year.
     
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  9. JesseXGibson

    JesseXGibson Senior Member

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  10. S.A.T.O.

    S.A.T.O. Member

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    One small factor I always felt contributed to thick tone was how snug the heel of a guitar neck fit into the neck joint on the guitar body. I’ve always felt that’s the leg up Gibson and other manufacturers have that don’t use bolt on necks.
     
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  11. HogmanA

    HogmanA Senior Member

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    "Korus:
    Yes. Heavier guitar of the same model (same parts, same setup) always have stronger low overtones.

    People with relatively average hearing ability might get confused in what they hear by too hard metal hardware that shifts whole tone towards higher frequency range. Hearing loud and sharp, shrill treble caused by wrong hardware (too hard alloys) masks lows and cloud perception of low overtones.

    There is a easy tweak at hand to help hear/comprehend to anyone with any hearing ability. Remove treble the same way on guitars being compared. Roll off tone pot all the way down, to 0 on guitars of the same model being compared. With tone pot on 0 heavier guitar will be louder, because it has stronger low overtones, due to greater mass/being heavier while having the same dimensions. Obviusly, the difference will be more obvious, pronounced with heavier (vs lighter) gauge strings on both/all guitars, and if played on wound strings (vs plain ones) on both/all guitars being compared, of the same model, same parts, same setup.

    Surely, use too hard/wrong metal hardware on a guitar and play it into bright setup amp and any guitar will sound exactly like mosquito, or mosquito's fart. Regardless, heavier one will still have louder low overtones, but it will be harder for untrained ear to detect.

    I guess there is no way for all of us to avoid all these, many and long but utterly obsolete discussions if laws of physics are correct, caused by limitations of general public's hearing ability as long as general public is buying/paying for millions of guitars per year."


    end quote...________________________________________________________________



    Spot on post in my opinion.

    My early 90's swiss cheese LP came with the zinc hardware, as well as being on the light side of the LP weight spectrum. It was simultaneously muddy, boomy and shrill. The biggest improvement (one change at a time made) was changing the tailpiece and studs both to lightweight aluminium (not vintage correct studs, but this guitar benefitted from it).
    It had the effect of shifting the resonance to enhance/ strengthen the high notes (around E and B at 12 th fret), while reducing the very high shrill component. This then has the knock-on effect of tightening up the bass response some, as well as enabling the use of more trebly eq settings without slicing off ears.

    It's a less trebly guitar, but it sounds like a more trebly guitar! Getting people to get their heads round that sometimes...



    !
     
  12. Rick

    Rick Senior Member

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    How the hell can a guitar sound "thick?" What does that even mean? Pretty sure it doesn't sound like much of anything at all until you plug it into an AMP.
     
  13. efstop

    efstop Gold Supporter

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    Heavier guitars make a much more resounding thud when they fall after being leaned against an amp.
     
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  14. S.A.T.O.

    S.A.T.O. Member

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    It’s a figure of speech. That said I when I go to store and check an axe out I always play it unplugged. If it’s resonant without being plugged in an amp chances are it will sound amazing through an amp.
     
  15. Frogfur

    Frogfur Senior Member

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    Just a bunch of bullshit.
     
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  16. mgenet

    mgenet Earth = Cheese Burger Silver Supporter

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    Sardonia down to a Fine Art.

    Thank <your Diety here> you are here, ehb. :applause:
     
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  17. ehb

    ehb Chief Discombobulator Gold Supporter Premium Member

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    You are most welcome,my friend. I do what I can....

    :cool2:
     
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  18. Mookakian

    Mookakian Senior Member

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    Ive seen tone wood argumenters say mass is more dictative on sound, and now ive seen mass argumenters say wood type has more impact on tone...

    To say either has no effect is a bit weird, truth is... We will never know for sure without a test eleminating the variables first hand, ive done this, i found every element of material change manipulates the tone, might not be alot and the crowd might not hear it, unless of course the player feels it and c9mes alive with what they deem a priceless combination of all components making up a guitar.

    Ive tried hundreds of axes, some personally built, Its nice to have kept and own 4 kickass guitars, A basswood/maple tele with buckers, a mahogany bc jr, an ibanez lawsuit strat and a baritone alder/maple tele... I tend towards non chambered solid bodies as it suits me, and if you try take one off me ill prob kick a bloke in the balls for the 1st time without thinking :laugh2:
     
  19. mgenet

    mgenet Earth = Cheese Burger Silver Supporter

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    ...and you does it well...
     
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  20. ehb

    ehb Chief Discombobulator Gold Supporter Premium Member

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    Just don't tell nobody...


    :cool:
     
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