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How important is weight when buying a Tele?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by fakeplastic, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. fakeplastic

    fakeplastic Tele-Meister

    Feb 24, 2007
    How big of a factor is getting a guitar with a certain weight? If it is important, I'm curious as to hear what your ideal weight is?
    chemobrain likes this.
  2. TeleTucson

    TeleTucson Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Aug 6, 2016
    Tucson, AZ
    I'd rather be back at about 180. But the cutaway on my Am Std helps :D
  3. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    It's important. Heavier the better. :>)
    Harry K, TeleTown and Hiker like this.
  4. tlsmack

    tlsmack Tele-Holic

    Jan 20, 2007
    Lonk I-lant, New York
    I have one tele that is 6.6 lbs. and another that is 8.6 lbs.
    Two pounds makes a huge difference. I consider 7 to 8 pounds about average for a Tele. Weight is not a huge factor for me choosing a guitar, but I do 95% of my playing sitting down. FWIIW, I started with a 4.25 lb body to end up with a 6.6 lb guitar.
    nojazzhere and JL_LI like this.
  5. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 24, 2009
    The older I get the more important it gets.
  6. Dobronaut

    Dobronaut Tele-Meister

    Dec 11, 2016
    Leicestershire UK
    I've never been convinced that it makes any difference to the sound. But it makes a big difference to your back. As I get older the lighter the better.
  7. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 19, 2006
    Gilbert, AZ (PHX)
    It is more important if you stand up playing it for four hours every Friday and Saturday night... If you sit on the couch it does not matter.
  8. LGOberean

    LGOberean Poster Extraordinaire

    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    As others have already said, the difference is about playing standing up or sitting down.

    My first tele was custom made for me in 2008 by Bob Logan of Logan Custom Guitars. I wanted a mahogany body, so the resulting guitar weighs 9 lbs. I wasn't really concerned about the weight at the time, and I played standing up always. Now, a decade later, health issues have made a difference. I'm a diabetic with some neuropathy in my feet, and I've had quadruple bypass surgery. I can no longer stand for a whole gig, so I just have accepted the fact that I have to sit down when I gig. And I gig less than I used to.

    And I also have three other Logan Custom teles that weigh considerably less: one has a swamp ash body and is light, another is a thinline, and the other is chambered. That mahogany is resonant and warm, and that's why I asked for a mahogany body in the first place. But my other teles are no less resonant. I wouldn't trade or sell my mahogany, but lesson learned.
    nojazzhere likes this.
  9. Chatnoir

    Chatnoir Tele-Holic

    Sep 5, 2016
    Peabody, MA
    Weight is the make or break for me. When I did my Jazzmaster build - I decided to build it because I couldn't tolerate an 8 or 9 lb guitar, which is what ALL the Jazzmasters weighed.

    My American Special tele body, I chose it because it was the lightest weighing loaded body I could find. I don't know it's age for me, but from a classical background, I just prefer to sit...and I hate heavy guitars. If I do another build - it'll be a chambered body like my Jazzmaster. I find lighter guitars a joy to play - and I lose nothing in tone.

  10. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 19, 2014
    I've heard both "heaver sustains more" and "lighter sounds better". Personally, I like a lighter guitar (and Ash!) for ergonomic reasons but can't really put my finger on any sonic difference that could be chalked up to weight with 100% certainty. Maybe I feel more resonance through the body..? Something like 6.5 to 7lbs has been a sweet spot for me.
    Crashbelt, BopT and Chatnoir like this.
  11. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    If I went to the store and played two guitars, and one sounded better but weighed a pound more, I would buy that one. But, I would wrangle a nice discount, since these days, the heavier the guitar, the harder it is to sell.

    What confuses me is why an X pound guitar is looked at the same way, whether the player is about 100 pounds or is three times that size at 300 pounds. I can appreciate why a 9 pound 4 ounce guitar would interfere with the playing of a young lady, dress size 2, but I don't see why it wouldn't be easier for the 300 pound guy to just lose 10 pounds of his body weight as opposed to paying twice the price for a guitar that's 14 ounces lighter than the next one.

    IMO there's no such thing as an ideal weight guitar. There's 10,000 other factors that come first, and for me they will come before I worry and so I have guitars around 5 pounds and also a few around 9 pounds. The thing is, not every heavy guitar is a gorgeous sounding guitar and not every lightweight one sounds fizzy. Get the other things right, and if you have another chance at more "perfection", work harder on those other things. Folks with a bit of gut on them need to lose the gut (keep the weight as muscle mass, I don't care). Once the gut is gone, the guitar comes way in, way closer to your Center of Gravity, and then there's precious little moment pulling your spine out of alignment and causing spasms, and then a 16 pound guitar won't do much to bother you.
    AndrewG, Owenmoney and LAGinz like this.
  12. Finck

    Finck Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 11, 2017
    São Paulo - Brazil
    I don't believe anymore in the "heavier is better" or "heavier has more sustain". At least not as a general rule. Now I prefer to say "with THIS wood, heavier is good" and "with THAT wood, lighter is better".

    I have built two Teles with different pieces of a local wood called Freijo. It's a really nice timber, reasonably near to Ash, at least visually.

    Heavy as hell, the first one has 11 pounds and, despite of all the good stuff I've used, it has not a superb sustain, nor a fantastic tone, and play it is a real pain (literally).

    Other side, the other, built with a lighter piece of that timber, sounds much better, with only 7 pounds.
  13. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Holic

    Jun 7, 2011
    clinton, ia
    It never mattered to me until I got a light weight tele. Light sure is nice. Comfort when standing is the benefit. 2 pounds adds up over 4 hours.
  14. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 11, 2006
    Greater Boston
    To me the difference in a couple of pounds is hardly an issue at all.
  15. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Friend of Leo's

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    I've long contemplated a mahogany Tele, I ordered a mahogany neck from Warmoth for my Tele, which I love. Don't quite understand why mahogany necessarily has to be 1960 Les Paul Jr (solid mahogany) is feather light. And, it sings like a much for "lightweight" guitars not being resonant. I suppose it just depends on the particular piece of wood.
  16. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 20, 2008
    My Fender Telecaster is 8 lbs. 14 oz. without the strap. ;) Perfect!!!

    It must be difficult locating very lightweight guitars online for sale if you can't spell Sweetwater.
  17. eclecticsynergy

    eclecticsynergy Tele-Holic

    Nov 16, 2014
    Albany NY
    I find that light guitars tend to be livelier in general. But I also feel that liveliness in the neck is far more important than many realize, perhaps more so than the body. Dense heavy bodies often are more rigid though, and that can hurt sustain sometimes, but not always. Every piece of wood is an individual, and when a few of them are carved and combined into an instrument they become something unique.

    For me weight is mostly a matter of comfort now- I'm not getting any younger, and the heavier guitars see less action than they used to. Anything much over 9lbs isn't going to be played for more than a couple songs in a row. I have one old Jazz Bass that weighs in at 12 lbs and I haven't played it in years. Can't quite see letting it go though. Too much history. We played a lot of gigs and made a number of records together back in the days of vinyl.
    since71 and telemnemonics like this.
  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    My experience is that a Tele weighs about 3lbs more than the body, so for me a 4.25lb body would make a 7.25lb Tele.
    Are you sure you ended up with only 6.6lbs when assembled?
    Did you use some parts made from unobtanium?
    I know necks can vary a bit, but we're talking about more than half a pound you lost that I can't seem to get rid of!

    Might seem insignificant, but I have a swamp ash body that's a little over 4lbs and I play it less because my lighter guitars of alder and swamp ash are just easier on my busted up frame. Arthritis and degenerative disc disease really let you know you've used up most of your labor quota.

    It's not only the direct centered weight, but also the leaning over to grab a guitar off a stand and so forth. There you multiply the weight by the length of the lever.
    Add in some hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder and knee problems...
  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    Sounds like a good theory and the math adds up, but at 6' 1" 159lbs I'm all lean and all pain!
    Not that I'm the model Tele player or the model 58yo...

    Probably relates to the effect of repetitive stress injury where the unnatural or imbalanced action over time aggravates and injures, despite a seemingly benign stressor.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
    boris bubbanov likes this.
  20. regularslinky

    regularslinky Tele-Holic

    Jul 22, 2004
    I'm 53 and I spend 4 hours every Tuesday night standing on my drummer's concrete basement floor making glorious noise. Come Wednesday morning, the weight of my guitar makes A LOT of difference. The lighter the better. My #1 is a shade over 6 lbs.
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