Heavy or light versus tone?

cybermgk

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I purposely look for lighter guitars, because of personal comfort preference.

A lot of times, a heavier guitar is due to incompletely dried wood.
 

rogue3

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@ the op, heavy or light for tone? for me, something in between.

I have owned heavy Les Pauls that sounded great. One of them,not so much.The one that didn't had a very bright piercing tone.annoying even. It also had a large 3 piece maple neck.And as a heavy( 11-12 lbs,pancake body)it did sustain literally for days, so sustain(and tone) by weight is not everything.

I have owned mid-weight Les Paul's(still do) they all sound great plugged in.But then i chose them,because they did. And they all have decent acoustic sound.fwiw

I picked up and played a 2005 chambered R8 once.uh,no.:eek2:.It felt like it weighed between 6 and 7 lbs. But as a hybrid,it will work for some players.

I absolutely adore my light weight Swamp Ash Telecasters.Acoustically, they are super loud and resonant.The wood.Louder than some of my heavier Gibby's. They (swamp ash)sound just as good plugged in as they do unplugged.There is the rub,for me. My ears.Go for both,is my yardstick.Why not?

I have an 87 Standard that is a champion for unplugged tone.Its weight feels about 9lbs.Maybe just short of 9Lbs(inaccurate bathroom scale read)Plugged in, just awesome.It stands alone.

I love just grabbing an electric without plugging into an amp(though i am always plugged in when i'm finished,lol).So i guess for me, depends on the guitar.I prefer my Gibsons in the mid-weight range and up.Plug into a Marshall half-stack and it becomes clear.

Based on my years experience, weight,on its own,is not yardstick for great tone, because a guitars tone is the sum of the package. But my swamp ash tele's sound amazing, and the type of wood is helping in that regard, i feel.When i strap one on,the (light) weight,loud acoustic ringing,belly cut and finish all add up to one great playing experience.Then plugged in,even better. The fret work is amazing too.
One difference, sustain is not set neck Gibson sustain. More a combo of acoustic and inherent sustain. In the end excellent sustain and tone plugged in, or not...ramble on, rant off... :jam:
 
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mjross

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Maybe not apples to apples, but I have a Corsa Manalishi that is probably my lightest single cut (LP Replica) that sounds as good or better than some of my expensive “boat anchors”! Go figure...
 

dro

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The Les Paul I use on every recording, is the heaviest, and best sounding that I own. Play lighter ones live. They are no slouch. My lightest is a 2012 Les Paul Classic. Sounds real nice. Got me thinking. I don't think I've A/B'd those two yet.
 

Big Do

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+1 on what Big Do and others have said about it has to sing acoustically.
Weight seems to not be a reliable predictor/indicator of how a guitar is going to sound.
I bought a LP Special about 6 months ago that was hand-picked from among 3 of same year/model (at Wildwood Guitars.) It was the most resonant acoustically and most balanced across the tone spectrum. To my surprise and the surprise of the the guy doing the comparison it was the featherweight from the 3 Specials - weighing only 7 pounds. I has a nice chunky neck on it, yet is not neck-heavy. A perfect guitar!

One thing that I think contributes more to a guitar's tone than people realize is the neck.
I've learned that chunkier necks produce warmer tone, while thin necks produce brighter tone. A luthier explained this to me as follows: "... other than the strings the only part of a guitar that moves when you're playing it is the neck. which actually flexes as the strings vibrate... if you took a high speed video of the side view of the guitar's neck and strummed the strings (then slowed down the video) you would see the neck flexing up & down."
To build on this...the two points of tonal transfer into a guitar's body are the bridge/tailpiece and the neck joint.
The bridge/tailpiece are the source of the high end tones going into the guitar body.
The neck and neck joint are the source of the low end.

From here things get complicated when you consider all the variables in bridge/tailpiece formula and same for the construction of the neck. Everything matters to some extent, and it is the combination of how all the parts interplay that make for a truly musical sounding instrument.... but... all of it can get flushed down the toilet if the guitar body is dead tone-sucking crap wood.

...um... what were we talking about?
Oh yeah! Guitar weight and tone!
Not as big of a factor as I used to think it was.
I used to think wood wasn’t that important, but I’m beginning to realise that it might be the biggest thing. Otherwise why would the same type of guitars sound so different?
 

PAPADON

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After almost endless hours of research on various forums concerning this matter I believe that I have completely resolved the issue. If you believe weight makes a difference then it does. If you don't then it doesn't. I can't believe that it's taken me this long to figure it out.
:slap:
 

ehb

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In my experience, weight has nothing to do with tone.
As much as it pains me deep down....way deep....no, deeper than that, I must agree with Vic.

I believe it is the consistency of both major wood blanks, similarity of rez characteristics between the two, and quality of join that determines a good build.

I did not say ‘what wood’ because I do not buy off that hog/syrup/granny/etc. wood WILL be any damn thing other than wood.

Although I prefer heavier guitars, it is not weight I’m looking for, more the consistent density which can actually be light or heavy in weight. In my mind the colors are a bit different in heavy dense wood guitars, which I prefer when I’m playing em. Played Teles that weighed nothing but rang like a bell beautifully...acoustically and plugged in. Didn’t much care for the colors as they seemed shifted upward. My Teles are a lot heavier and while they ring, they seem to have a bit warmer colors... Same with about any guitar/bass.

Just my redneck opinion formed over years...and don’t much care who agrees or disagrees. I attribute many cases of bad guitars to ‘bad wood’... I.e. inconsistent...
 

ehb

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Worst sounding guitar I’ve played was a high dollar almost brand spanking new Lester Custom that already had about replacement everything rolled through it, after which, it still sucked ass.... No, worse than that... Woodchipper level bad...
 

guidothepimmp

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Wow, gorgeous guitar.
My 2016 Trad is what I would call mid to heavy as far as weight goes. Not sure about the correlation to tone.. bit of the 5 or 6 LPs I played that fateful day, this was the one

Curiously, if I am randomly playing around..and I pick up my SG after the LP, my mrs normally asks what guitar the other one was. When I ask why, she remarks that it sounded more aggressive. My takeaway is she means, the SG has a snappier and trebly tone which she hears as aggressive, the LP has more syrupy and rounded tone. It has happened a handful of times, so she can consistently hear the difference. Also says, one isnt better than the other.. just different.
Of course, that is my cue to say, EXACTLY
 
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dro

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In an amp I call that "special" tone, Sweetness.
In a guitar, I call it Fire
Have had Les Paul's with and without Fire. Some had that Syrupy sound pimmp describes. Some not.
Some have the Fire, that can be tamed with a twist of a volume or tone knob. If Fire not there. No amount of twisting will kindle it.
 

diogoguitar

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hotly debated topic,... not 100% correlation, but the "feel" of playing a LP has something to do with weight.

My friend has an original 1958 LP. It's an amazing instrument, and the dexterity is different than what I play (he is righty, I'm lefty)... that guitar must have under 8 lbs... I wanna say like 7.5 lb. IMHO I didn't like that guitar that much - even though it's more expensive than the cars I've ever owned combined.

I have a 10lb LP and a 9lb one... they both sound and play great... and I wanna say I like the heavier one better. Now, it's nice to have both because while the heavier sounds better, I can't really play it all night, while the lighter one is less of an issue.
 

tnlpaul59

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Much older, but I have a 2008 Traditional (9lbs. 4oz.) that I’m very pleased with, bought it used a few years ago & it had some after market mods including stainless frets & new bridge/electronics, loved the frets but changed out the bridge & tailpiece to Faber & a harness made by Jonesyblues with Mojotone ‘59 Clone low output pickups, this one probably gets played more than any of the others including my CS models, partially because I’m less worried about leaving it out & it’s close at hand, really a good solid guitar that is well worth the money I have into it.
Sounds like yours is a good one too, and they come stock as good guitars, no need to change anything & I think Gibson USA got it right with the Traditional, have really liked the few that I’ve played & a gold top would be nice someday.
Hope yours works out well for you, sounds like you’re off to a good start with it. :cheers:
I got around to weighing the TRAD, topped out at 9.8 lbs. Wasn't going to be an issue either way as I am sitting anyway but was curious. I like it the longer I have it. I think it is just an all around guitar for blues, jazz, rock. Put an OD or DS pedal in front and you can have a lot of fun with it.
 


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