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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by aadvark, Sep 2, 2020.
When buying a guitar, how much it weighs is not an issue for me.
when buying or building a guitar, every little detail, significant or not, is and issue for me... I wish it weren't though...
I know that most of the things I'm concerned with can either be easily fixed, or are actually insignificant. Nonetheless ... obsession ....
I have read this entire thread (yeah I'm that bored), and these two statements are tied for first place.
1 is generally considered to be equal to 1.
and how loud! There is a 'perfect' sound pressure level for the 'prefect' or desired tone
I would rather have too much sustain (could that even be a thing?) than not enough. A dead guitar with poor sustain is a big deal killer for me.
As for volume, it's a matter of you controlling it, and not letting it control you.
Can I ask a basic question:
Do any of you play music on a solid body electric guitar where notes or chords do not sustain long enough?
I don't think it is the weight. It is the stiffness of the structure. Remember that the density of the neck and the solidity of the neck joint and bridge matter at least as much as the density of the body. I would think that a cast carbon fiber neck and body would have terrific sustain and weight next to nothing.
Heavy, medium, or light... they can all sound good. The most important thing is that they inspire you to play.
"It's like thunder, lightning
The way you love me is frightening
You better ....."
Heaviest damn guitar I've ever played is a Travis Bean TB1000S, solid Koa body with an aluminum neck. Brass nut. Chrome-plated brass saddles. Everything is solid wood or solid metal. Built like a tank and heavy as all get out. It's a loud guitar with sustain for days. I'm convinced the brass nut/saddle combo gives it a better tone as I once switched out the saddles and it wasn't the same tone. In any event, the guitar is so damn heavy you can't play it for too long.
I also had my pick of a NOS Fender Prodigy out of a few that had never sold hanging in a shop going out of business. Got it brand new in 2002. I picked it over the other ones they had because it was the heaviest. It's also a great sounding (and highly underrated) guitar. I don't like the location of the output jack and I don't like the fact that the body design makes it sit awkwardly if you stand it up, but it's a really good guitar.
The older I get, the less I want a heavy guitar. Just picked up a nice used dead mint G&L ASAT Deluxe for less money than some effects pedals. It's a refreshing change of pace. Light, easy to play, sounds great. A variety of pickup combinations, and part of the Leo Fender legacy. Another highly underrated guitar and one that has me playing a lot more lately.
Hello aadvark, good topic, good questions and I wish I had all of the answers. And that's after a lifetime of trying to improve on the sounds of a solid body style of guitar or bass. I knew Les Paul in the '50s and '60s and knew about his logic of 'lay it on a railroad track, and it has great volume'. He was somewhat right, but I could never find a railroad track to tie it to while I was playing it. Somehow it just didn't work!!
Here are my thoughts and findings after building many thousands of guitars over a lifetime, and always looking to solve the problem of weight, beauty, size, and the sound.
1st, you can take 100 guitars made on the same assembly line as I did with the Ibanez Prestige line of guitars, and even if I was to make all from the exact parts, trees, kiln, and luthiers, they would all be as different as daylight to darkness. From the grain of the wood to the way a pickup is mounted, or even maybe pocketing around the sound (mounting) area can make a difference.
A dear friend of mine, Larry Broido, with a much better ear than I have and a great friend of Les Paul for most of his life, could almost hear a pin drop 40 feet away. Larry also could set up a guitar like no-one I have ever known. The point here is that it takes a great setup to have a great guitar!
Now I'm going to say here, for the last 60 plus years, I have had complete control of my own logged, kilned wood and most of my hardware built for me, and had a hand in what I built. What I also must say here is that heavy is not always the answer to better, louder sound. I solved the problem in the 335 type guitars by installing what I patented as the Wishbone Bridge System, which we could talk about later in this forum. This technology alone removes over 1.7 pounds and delivers a much rosier full volume sound in my BAT guitar.
Lots to discuss here, too much for one day. Have a great one!
"Heavy guitars sound better..."
Nonsense. ..... It's ALL the design, craftsmanship, materials and setup.
My second year at Fender (1973) I made myself a Hardtail Stratocaster (I wasn't into Tremolo's) out of a rejected 2-piece American Alder slab that was rejected because "it was too light". Once I finished shaping and final sanded it before shooting it with nitro sealer, it weighed 3lbs and 8ounces! The grain was straight as an arrow on both sides of the slab and faint. I mixed a little green stain in with the sealer to bring out more grain color. No it's doesn't make it green, the stain actually make grain (rings) more brown in contrast to the light tan color of Alder. Long story short, I shot it clear Nitrocellulose at home in my garage paint booth, did the final buffing at the factory after hours and assembled it with the hardware and hotter PuP's I wound myself. Final weight with strings is an amazing 6lbs - 5.5oz and it "sings like an Angel."
I showed and played it for management and they stopped rejecting "too light" body slabs for Stratocasters, Telecasters and Jaguars.
Two years later I made myself a Swamp Ash "hardtail", everything identical except a "veneer" rosewood board instead of a "cap" to keep the Strat sounding "brighter". The Ash was kinda ugly, not suitable for either a natural or sunburst finish, so I shot it black Nitro at home again. Total weight for this one, a hair under 8lbs. And while it does sound nice, darker tones, good for Jazz or "hard rock" it is does not have the clarity of the natural Alder Strat.
So, weight ain't got nothing to do with it.
Of course they do. My Les Paul sounds, like, a million times better than a Tiesco.
I think guitars sound how they sound whether they are heavy or light, they are a sum of all their parts, but I will say that some electric guitars with high price tags are a total rip off and so is chasing tone. Go practice and make some noise!!
In my experience, every electric guitar I have ever loved was heavy. 8lbs or more.
That is MY experience and no one else's.
If I played a thousand guitars and noticed a correlation between weight and tone/sound, I would still not be under the illusion that that "proved" anything.
Heavy guitar = ballsier sound. It’s the old physics lesson: if you’re traveling in your car and about to be hit head on - FLOOR IT!
I'm with you. It's all about sting, not sustain, for me. "Smooth sustain" is the last thing I'm looking for in guitars or in guitar playing.
Heavy guitars don't sound like *anything* in my house cos I refuse to have them/pick them up.
Even 8lbs is too much imo, I've got used to things around the 6/7lb range. The lighter the better.
No, I don't agree that a heavy guitar sounds better. As I've aged heavy has gone away. The heaviest guitar I have is an ash Tele . It sounds and plays great it ain't going anywhere. Several other guitars of different brands are not as heavy but, still sound great. I have been replacing heavy gear for lighter gear for quite a while, don't miss the heavy stuff at all. The new lighter gear sounds great and, is much easier to deal with, which means I concentrate more on playing and performing, that's what really matters.