Heavier Guitars Sound Thicker?

mgenet

Earth = Cheese Burger
Silver Supporter
Joined
Sep 18, 2010
Messages
11,358
Reaction score
15,396
I'm waiting around for...

cake.

Don't tell Lt Dave.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ehb

vivanchenko

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
326
Reaction score
123
The bassiest guitar I ever had was an SA series Ibanez which was only an inch thick and which was made of African mahogany. It resonated at low frequencies very well, so that I could feel it with my stomach and it was easily bassier than any of the full thickness Les Pauls which I ever played. So, my experience tells me no, a thinner guitar might be bassier and fuller sounding. Wood density and composition is very inconsistent and each plank cut from the same tree can resonate at different frequencies.
 

Mookakian

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
6,300
Reaction score
2,411
Damn i realised i didnt answer the op... does more mass equal more low end... i think is the question?

depends on where the mass is taken from, hollow out near the bridge and you get less highs, take a chop from the tail of the slab you get more highs... its not as simple as the op suggests...tone war starts now :peace:
 
Last edited:

Matt_Krush

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2014
Messages
993
Reaction score
663
I get the biggest/thickest tones out of an Epiphone dot (semi-hollow body).

Best sounding guitar in my lot (It has non factory Pick-ups) but is better sounding than my high-end Jacksons & Gibsons.
 

guidothepimmp

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2012
Messages
705
Reaction score
745
I vote false. SG and ibanez S Classics or S Series can sound nice and beefy.. and theyre pretty skinny
 

Antigua

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
575
Reaction score
185
Sustain owes to rigidity. If a heavier guitar sustains longer, it's because the extra mass happens to make it more rigid.

And if by "thicker" we mean midrange, hollow and semi hollow body electrics seem to give a lot more midrange, while sold bodies sound more scooped in the mids.
 

diogoguitar

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2014
Messages
107
Reaction score
59
law of diminishing returns... I had an ESP eclipse that was pretty light and good sustain, but I could feel the difference between that and my full thickness LP traditional
 

ballou48

Member
Joined
May 10, 2012
Messages
41
Reaction score
28
I don't know if i'm crazy or not, but to me heavier guitars sound fuller & thicker. I've owned a small collection of guitars from Schecters, Epiphone, Ibanez, Jackson, Squier, Westone, Hondo and on and on... The guitars that always sounded best to me, because it's what I preferred were the heaviest guitars. They just sound fuller & "richer"...

The lighter & thinner the guitar was physically, the thinner it sounded to me. I know lots of things matter.. your amp, your pickups, scale length, wood, construction etc etc... and there's lots of things you can do to compensate for a thinner sounding guitar, like pickups, EQ settings, but sometimes they aren't enough to match a heavier guitar and you end up with an artificially thicker sound...

All guitars have their use, and none are bad or worse. But just based of what i've heard I feel the heavier the guitar is the fuller/bassier/warmer/ thicker (how ever you want to call it)it sounds.

I think this idea becomes more obvious when people change the weight of their guitar like either through weight relieve or adding more mass like adding a bigger,heavier block to their tremolo...

So anyone agree...or am I crazy?

Here we go again "into the black hole of subjectivism". All I know is that Billie Gibons uses a weight relieved LP with 8's and nobody can deny he gets the fattest nastiest tone in R&R.
 

jimijam33

Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2015
Messages
33
Reaction score
54
The best sounding (and loudest) guitar I've ever played was an original '58 Les Paul (weighing well over 10lbs). It was factory refinished in 1961 (sunburst) revealing an off center maple top seam. Amazing experience for sure..
 

korus

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
1,092
Reaction score
402
Sustain owes to rigidity. If a heavier guitar sustains longer, it's because the extra mass happens to make it more rigid.

And if by "thicker" we mean midrange, hollow and semi hollow body electrics seem to give a lot more midrange, while sold bodies sound more scooped in the mids.
Sustain owes to resonance. It happens when, mostly by chance, resonant frequencies (actually, frequency ranges) of metal hardware and wood parts happen to overlap with certain overones the guitar string's vibration consist of.

You can have exactly the same wood used to make 2 or more guitars of the same model, with exact same dimensions, exact same hardware parts and exact same electric parts. And setup exactly the same to 1/128 of an inch. These guitars can be selected so they have same weight eg no more than 1/2 ounce of difference for lightest and heaviest of several 9 lbs LPs. We all know they will have a difference in tone and sustain.

If we were to measure all the mechanical properties of every mahogany back of the body and every neck and every maple top, prior to using them for building these guitars, they would measure the same, within 1-2% variance. Therefore, the resultant rigidity of all samples would be also the same - within 2-4% variance.

But tone and sustain differs among them. The cause is simple. The wood is a natural material, result of living things growing. It's internal structure is irregular, unlike man made homogenous materials. That variance in structure results in variance of resonant frequencies. Different resonant frequencies result in different level of absorbtion/resonance of various overtones that create guitar tone/timbre, and that also causes different duration of certain overtones, which we call - different sustain. And parts used have same rigidity.

The simplest proof is the way longest sustaining notes change the tone the most, from attack to final decay. The relative level of overtones change. Some overtones do not create resonance and they die faster. Those supported by resonance last longer. Hence, tone changes. It is usually called 'bloom' on stock original LPs. It has nothing to do with pickups. Original PAFs have no bloom on Rx and $10k replicas. Stock originals have bloom with Seth Lovers.

The reason why stock original electric solidbody electric guitars have longer sustain than modern made replicas is different hardness of alloys used for making hardware, back then and now. Original gardware is made of softer alloys. Softer material has lower resonant frequency. Lower resonant frequencies favor lower overtones. Lower overtones carry more energy. Lower overtones are closer to resonant frequency of wood used. More energy and closer frequencies create greater resonance. We detect it as louder acoustic, primary tone of solidbody electric. Greater resonance make string (certain overtones, not all) vibrate longer, so we detect greater sustain.

It is not complicated as it might seem. There are indeed some terms not common in everyday colloquial English, but they all describe some real life phenomena, and are not abstract and hard to comprehend like theories on structure of universe or structure of matter. Ask any physicist(s), using these terms - symphatic vibrations, overlap of resonant frequency ranges, short standing vibrations of particular overtones in resonance range, absorbtion reduced because of resonance resulting with prolonged overall duration of vibration, altering relative level of overtones in resultant tone being different timbre - he/she/them will get interested and listen. And then confirm it is a valid explanation of physical phenomena at hand, consistent with reality perceived.

Beware of oversimplification. Illusion of inclusion is good cause, but an obsolete obstacle in solving problems or finding valid explanations.
 

freebyrd 69

Premium Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2011
Messages
11,792
Reaction score
21,338
Sustain owes to resonance. It happens when, mostly by chance, resonant frequencies (actually, frequency ranges) of metal hardware and wood parts happen to overlap with certain overones the guitar string's vibration consist of.

You can have exactly the same wood used to make 2 or more guitars of the same model, with exact same dimensions, exact same hardware parts and exact same electric parts. And setup exactly the same to 1/128 of an inch. These guitars can be selected so they have same weight eg no more than 1/2 ounce of difference for lightest and heaviest of several 9 lbs LPs. We all know they will have a difference in tone and sustain.

If we were to measure all the mechanical properties of every mahogany back of the body and every neck and every maple top, prior to using them for building these guitars, they would measure the same, within 1-2% variance. Therefore, the resultant rigidity of all samples would be also the same - within 2-4% variance.

But tone and sustain differs among them. The cause is simple. The wood is a natural material, result of living things growing. It's internal structure is irregular, unlike man made homogenous materials. That variance in structure results in variance of resonant frequencies. Different resonant frequencies result in different level of absorbtion/resonance of various overtones that create guitar tone/timbre, and that also causes different duration of certain overtones, which we call - different sustain. And parts used have same rigidity.

The simplest proof is the way longest sustaining notes change the tone the most, from attack to final decay. The relative level of overtones change. Some overtones do not create resonance and they die faster. Those supported by resonance last longer. Hence, tone changes. It is usually called 'bloom' on stock original LPs. It has nothing to do with pickups. Original PAFs have no bloom on Rx and $10k replicas. Stock originals have bloom with Seth Lovers.

The reason why stock original electric solidbody electric guitars have longer sustain than modern made replicas is different hardness of alloys used for making hardware, back then and now. Original gardware is made of softer alloys. Softer material has lower resonant frequency. Lower resonant frequencies favor lower overtones. Lower overtones carry more energy. Lower overtones are closer to resonant frequency of wood used. More energy and closer frequencies create greater resonance. We detect it as louder acoustic, primary tone of solidbody electric. Greater resonance make string (certain overtones, not all) vibrate longer, so we detect greater sustain.

It is not complicated as it might seem. There are indeed some terms not common in everyday colloquial English, but they all describe some real life phenomena, and are not abstract and hard to comprehend like theories on structure of universe or structure of matter. Ask any physicist(s), using these terms - symphatic vibrations, overlap of resonant frequency ranges, short standing vibrations of particular overtones in resonance range, absorbtion reduced because of resonance resulting with prolonged overall duration of vibration, altering relative level of overtones in resultant tone being different timbre - he/she/them will get interested and listen. And then confirm it is a valid explanation of physical phenomena at hand, consistent with reality perceived.

Beware of oversimplification. Illusion of inclusion is good cause, but an obsolete obstacle in solving problems or finding valid explanations.
So according to what you are saying, no modern Reissue that I own will sustain or bloom notes like a vintage guitar of the same model? Because if that's what that long, drawn out statement is claiming, that's bullshit. If I misinterpreted your statement, I apologize, but otherwise, see the above "bullshit" meter provided by Pier M.
 

garybaldy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
1,861
Reaction score
1,089
Deliberately designed with a big, heavy, body for the sound or not, I do think they sound much bassier/ fuller than thinner guitars and that could be really helpful for certain styles of music...

They are acoustically more "dead", i've also realized that. I think that's somehow tied into why it sounds so much thicker when plugged in. I like all types of music but I mostly play hard rock & certain styles of metal,for those styles I have found that I like the heavier guitars, although lighter guitars like Ibanez RG's sound good too in their own way. There are so many different styles of metal

It's a hard thing to prove because there are so many things that come into play, that and some people simply aren't very good at noticing differences in tone ...ask someone with a very untrained ear like your wife and they think all guitars sound exactly alike.

I think the best way to prove that more mass does change the sound is to experiment on a single guitar. These videos do show that adding more mass does in some way or another affect the sound. This one here is with a Tele


there's also this guy who loves to experiment, he chops off pieces of the guitar body little by little


and this one here is just me jamming with my Epiphone LP, regardless of the pickup, cheap or expensive it still sounded fat and awesome.

Love the Tele clip and your Epi tone.
 

charlie chitlins

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2011
Messages
3,100
Reaction score
2,723
The most surprising sounding guitars I've played have had hefty necks.
Body mass doesn't seem to make much difference.
YMMV
It's a given, to many bass players, that added headstock mass helps cure dead spots.
 




Top