Telecaster on a diet

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by viking, Mar 17, 2019 at 8:55 AM.

  1. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    I don't have any 8 pound Teles left !

    Some will think this is a bit nerdy, and that's OK, LOL


    I bought two Squire CVs in 2008 , great guitars , but one of them weighed 9.2 pounds, the other a more reasonable 8.06.

    The heavier one lived most of its life until now at my bassplayers house.
    Took it home at the beginning of the year , and tried to drill out as much weight as possible from the pine body.

    I removed more than 500grams from it , but still didn't like the weight. Body alone weighed 6.6 pounds from the start, so I had doubts from the beginning.

    Ended up using a nice CAR body, it's now a nice 7.3 pounder.

    At the same time, I started looking into getting lighter hardware, and make my own parts from aluminium.

    The other CV was now my heaviest Tele, at 3660 grams, or 8.06 pounds.
    I have gigged with it, and played it a lot since new, but it was noticeably heavier now.
    Not a big problem as such, but quite a fun little project.

    I have removed about a pound from a Les Paul also, very rewarding, and a bit different than the normal mods we ( I) can't help doing from time to time, LOL

    A Squier neck plate weighs 49 grams. Most others are over 50g , and much more if you use a thicker plate

    I have never had problems with plates digging in to the wood, so I started out making a few plates in 2 mm alu. These came out weighing 18g , hmm...

    Did a few others with a base of 1.5 mm , and a top plate of 0.7 mm. The base is only a perimeter thing, and the top plate cover it all. These were then epoxied together.
    Result 14 gr.

    Control plate on a Squire is a bit thinner than most Fender plates, weighs 43 gr.
    Different Fender plates can weigh up around 60 gr. Aftermarket, thicker plates are around at a whopping 80 gr. Made several in Alu , ended up deciding on a 1 mm plate, weight is 12 gr.

    Knobs : Squire metal knobs weigh 51 gr/ pair , many current Fender dome knobs are at 68 gr/pair
    Aluminium knobs cost an arm or a leg, and aren't easy to buy at places where I can get other parts from
    Ended up using plastic dome knobs, 5gr a pair, expected something cheap looking to show up..... They look absolutely fabulous, you just can't tell.... .

    I was shocked that the pickguard weighed a whopping 80 gr!
    Original style Bakelite 50's guards weigh around 50gr , and I had a h*** of a time finding something like that.
    Turned out that Allparts have a 1.5mm 5 hole guard, and I took the chance. It weighs 51 gr. so a bit of luck there.

    Results : knobs saved 46 grs
    Control plate saved 31 grs
    Neck plate saved 35 grs
    Guitar started at 8.06 pounds
    Now 7.76 pounds
    If you have even heavier knobs, neck plate or control plate a lot more can be removed just changing these few parts.
    If you have heavy tuners, a lot of weight can be removed by going to vintage style tuners. This guitar already use these, so the only thing that would help here is a set of Gotoh Stealth tuners.

    These weigh 72gr for six, normal weight for sealed modern tuners are around 200 grs. Heavier locking tuners are up to almost 300grs!
    A set of vintage tuners are around 155/160grs.

    The Gotoh Stealth tuners are rather expensive, and not many places stock them, but maybe I will try a set.

    This didn't cost a lot, but I have done a lot of shop time with files and cutters, it's been fun so far , I really didn't think I could remove this much without doing some routing under the pickguard!
     
    Matthias, SuprHtr and Chunkocaster like this.
  2. FenderLover

    FenderLover Friend of Leo's

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    My Sapele Tele weighs 9lb 8.9oz. It's heavier than my Les Paul! I never minded the LP and I don't mind the heavy Tele. Those are my only two above 9lbs. I have to go 8 guitars down my list of heaviest to lightest to get under 8lbs. Only 4 electrics under 8lbs.
     
  3. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    I find that there is a huge difference between 8 and 9 pounds.
    Just picking the heavier one up from the stand, it's very noticeable. The more time it hangs over the shoulder it's really different.
    I have 8 teles, and 4 Les Paul's, these get all my time these days. Haven't played any of my Strats in years.
    I wouldn't have a problem as such playing a guitar over 9 pounds, it's just that when there is a choice , the heavier ones gets neglected.
    Otoh, I don't see a need for a telecaster that weighs as little as possible. I have one that tips the scale at 6.86 pounds. I don't notice any difference playing that one and a 7.3 Tele.
    People with nerve damage/bad back -whatever- might feel different !
    If a Les Paul, or a Telecaster feels heavy, why not save 80 grams on a tailpiece and studs, or 70 grams by using a vintage bridgeplate compared to a modern bridge with 6 saddles?
     
  4. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    BTW, if anyone , preferably in the EU ,could guide me to a place that stocks Gotoh Stealth tuners at a decent price, let me know!
    I need 3 sets, so the price really matters a bit.
     
  5. Flaneur

    Flaneur Friend of Leo's

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  6. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

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    These weights you listed are a great guide. I also prefer a lighter guitar but I haven't really needed to go to these lengths of weight reduction on the tele's I have yet. When ordering parts I do take weight into consideration though, mostly guessing. Your weights will make a good reference point for future purchases.
     
  7. Poorman512

    Poorman512 TDPRI Member

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    Am I the only one here who has never weighed a guitar? I feel like a i am missing out. I have had heavier (LP) and lighter (chambered Peavey generation) but never really paid that much attention. I have only ever noticed a weight issue with basses. I guess I should be thankful for no back problems.
     
    swany and nojazzhere like this.
  8. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    Maybe I should list the weights I already have written down ?

    Control plate :
    Squier 1.4 mm 43 gr 1.6 mm 46 gr
    Fender 1.6 mm ( ? ) up to 60 gr
    Aftermarket 2 mm( chromed brass?) 80 gr
    Aftermarket ( some mij? ) are up to 34 mm wide . Vintage Fender is 160*32 mm
    Mine in aluminum : 12 gr

    Pickguard : Squier thick 2.2 mm 1 ply 80 gr
    2 mm 1 ply 46 gr
    1.5 mm 1 ply 51 gr

    Neck plate :
    Squier 49 gr
    Fender and others stock 2 mm 50-60 gr
    Aftermarket thick plates : much more!
    Mine in aluminum : 14 gr 2.2 mm

    Bridge :
    Squier vintage bridge 1.5 mm 74 gr
    Fender vintage bridge 1.4 mm 64 gr
    Modern bridge 6 saddles including, up to 130 gr
    Killer aluminum vintage bridge : 28 gr
    3 1/4 inch brass saddles with screws and Springs 22 gr

    Tuners
    Typical sealed modern tuners : about 200/220 gr.
    Modern sealed lockers up to nearly 300 gr
    Vintage tuners : 148 to 160 gr approx.
    Gotoh Stealth tuners : 72 gr
     
  9. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    Flaneur, thanks
    I know the site, but off course the 2 sets I need for Les Paul's aren't available in chrome
    Typical!

    Poorman , no, you don't have to weigh your guitar.
    I also didn't for many years, I only had one, LOL
    My bandmate for more than 20 years played the heaviest guitar I have ever tried, a 1976 Deluxe Les Paul. He is a small guy, it was his only electric for all these years. One day he had to stop playing, because he couldn't.... He lost all the feeling in his middle 2 fingers on his left hand, they are completely numb from nerve damage to his neck area.
    Today he only tries playing his acoustic in his living room, - sitting down.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019 at 1:00 PM
  10. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    Don't remember exactly what age I was that guitar weight started being important to me, but it might have been around your age. I'm almost twenty years older now, and, while my eight pound Tele hasn't prevented me from playing it, I find myself WISHING it was a bit lighter. And yes, until that time, I never weighed a guitar, or thought that much about it.
     
  11. Matthias

    Matthias Tele-Afflicted

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    This is interesting. I’ve just been weighing the parts for my Jag build... The neck (with tuners) and body are about 5.8lb... The rest of the insides and hardware weigh another 2.7lb! Looking at the weights on Sweetwater, that’s coming out on the lighter side for a fully blinged-out Jag at somewhere around 8.5-8.6lb (8lb 8oz-ish)... It does make you look at frivolous additions like a mute a little differently.
     
  12. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Here are a few ideas

    -Convert to an Esquire -- so only a single bridge pickup plus get rid of the switch for Vol and Tone only
    -Get rid of the tone pot for an EVH style pickup>volume>jack setup
    -Add up wiring removed, maybe shorten overly long wires
    -Replace wiring with smaller gauge wiring.
    -Remove the pickguard and all those steel screws
    -Screw the bridge pickup direct to the body and use a 'half-bridge'
    -Remove the bridge pickup steel baseplate, if built with one
    -Use those cupped screw washers and get rid of the neck plate altogether
    -Electrosocket (aluminum) instead of the traditional chromed steel Tele cup jack
    -Remove any of those monster 'orange drop' caps and replace them with ceramic disk caps, match the measured uF
    -Plane off the back of the guitar (don't go through the control cavity!) then paint black
    -Refinish the whole body with oil, how much paint removed? Someone measured half a pound or more when they did that
    -Go to a set of 8s strings instead of the 10s currently on the guitar
    -Use a Squier 'butterfly' string T on only the e and b strings if there are two on the guitar
    -Use a plastic spacer for the string T
    -Make aluminum strap pins
    -Beer bottle washers instead of any strap locks
    -lighter strap, cheap $5 one like the starter kits ship with

    .
     
  13. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

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    WP_20150904_17_19_22_Pro.jpg

    It was a bit neck heavy but it worked
     
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