Is Weight a Joke?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by DavidM1, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Tele-Holic

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    Having started this thread, my take is this:

    Weighing guitars is a fairly recent and, dare I say, mainly US thing. I think it reflects two things: 1. Many more guitars are bought online in the US than ever before where the only real guide to what it might be like is the picture and the weight.

    2. We have a lot more older guitar pickers than ever before and some of them are completely over heavy gear.

    I think the first reason is a shame. Buyers read too much into a number because they don’t have the guitar in their hands. Numbers come with a certain amount of bull. Take for example car dealers that still use $X,999 pricing. We all know it’s nonsense and, likewise, the difference between a 7lb 13oz and an 8lb 2oz strat is less than the change in your pocket. Without any other information, this difference almost seems important. It’s a shame if guitar makers start resorting to flimsier pickups or hardware just to reach the right number on the scale.

    The second reason for weighing guitars makes some sense and if your back is so bad that it comes down to counting ounces then you have my sympathy.

    However, I think that for most players sitting in a real store and playing 4 or 5 guitars of the same model would be a far more useful and enlightening experience than fixating on yet another online detail. The guitar you like might not be the ‘spec’ you expect.
     
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  2. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Afflicted

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    A good strap makes a huge difference. My fav wide padded straps are from well-hung guitar straps.
    [​IMG]
    Tons of semi custom styles and they do custom orders.
    https://reverb.com/shop/well-hung-guitar-accessories

    [​IMG]
    From mild to wild. The company started because the agile lp copy group were all loving their guitars but many weighed 11 lbs so the owner started making these straps and it took off. I'm betting even the heaviest tele isn't 11 lbs.
     
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  3. RichCuellarPDX

    RichCuellarPDX TDPRI Member

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    Actually, most of my back problems have come from sitting (Ive been tattooing 20+ years). White collar work is way more damaging to you physically than being active and moving around. Id definitely take woodworking to sitting in an office all day.
     
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  4. roknfnrol

    roknfnrol Tele-Meister

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    I've not really thought about weight until a friend brought over his two Senn Pomona guitars and a Danocaster; they were very light. My teles are somewhere around 8lbs for the ash on and 9lbs for the alder double bound tele. They sound great though and I've never noticed fatigue at a gig (I gig with a R8 Les Paul a lot as well). To each his own but they def are pushing the light guitar thing pretty far.
     
  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    True that inactivity is harmful to the body.
    I'm not sure under use more harmful than over use though, if the outcome is disability.
    My point was more that keeping physically fit doesn't mean we don't damage or wear out our bones!
    I agree though that I wouldn't choose to spend my life as an office worker in exchange for not having done so much damage to my body.
    OTOH it would be nice to not be in constant pain now and looking at tylenol and aleve not managing the pain well enough any more, not being able to work regular hours, not being able to properly take care of my house and garden, when I haven't even reached my "golden years" yet...

    I really love hard craftsman work though, got lots of enjoyment working hard and as has been said, if you love your work you'll never work a day in your life.
     
  6. Askwhy

    Askwhy Tele-Meister

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    It is really this. In the old days, you checked out a guitar and bought it if it felt right and worked for you. Great, but now, as you mentioned, online sales give us all tons more choices but at the expense of having it in hand before purchasing. I will take the tradeoff and weight is just another factor that is important to many so should be included so a buyer can make a more informed choice among the bajillion options. What i think is silly is sellers whining about it when including it leads to a better chance of the buyer making a good choice and being happy with it. Smart buyers also see where the trend is going in people preferring lighter guitars and amps and consider weight (and all other factors) as regards to future resale in what are tough times to move music gear.
    My favorite are sellers who won't include it because the are terrified it will give the buyer an excuse to return because it is off by some tiny amount from their posted weight. Then you ask them if that has ever actually happened to them or anyone they know. It hasn't.
     
  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah I agree that it's pretty ridiculous for young players to chase the ultralight guitars as if they were better instruments, which ends up making it harder for older players with back problems to find guitars that don't cause them physical pain.

    At the same time, Northern ash is common while light weight swamp ash is not.
    Wood that is harder to find will cost more to buy in a market where buyers are educated on specs and materials.
    The educated part is a little off though when some buyers presume any harder to find stuff must be better.

    I think also the obsession with the unplugged sound and feel is over played and misleading to buyers trying to figure out what they need. I find I don't like the amplified response of ultra light guitars made with softer woods.
    But on the internet there's a growing myth the best guitars vibrate loudly unplugged.
    To me the response gets mushy, and the bass gets soft and indistinct compared to harder woods with less resonance.
    I want the strings to be anchored hard to a solid core, not to a soft mushy resonator.
     
  8. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    In my experience lighter guitars are much more resonant than heavy guitars. Especially if you are buying something covered in a thick plastic finish. If that's something that matters in a guitar to you then seek the light ones. When building you own partscasters you usually don't have the luxury of trying before you buy. I have been extremely pleased with every featherweight body I have ordered. So much so that I don't even consider buying a brand name fender style guitar anymore. They just cant compete for the price.
    I also like my electrics to sound good when unplugged seeing as I noodle on the couch most nights unplugged. A lighter guitar is much better for that.

    Strength and fitness has nothing to do with it for me, I lift a 90kg compaction plate on and off my truck every day by myself. If I could make a compaction plate that worked as good or better at a fraction of that weight I would do it because it would be the smart thing to do. Even more so if you have ailments etc.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
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  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah I think lighter bodies of softer woods with more resonance effect the response of an electric similarly to a semi hollow like a 335 compared to a solid LP.
    Some of the attack is damped/ absorbed/ lost in vibrating the body.
    If a player likes that then they will like lighter softer body woods, but if a player prefers the sharpest possible attack, particularly in the bass, they might like heavier harder body woods.
    Since the sound of the attack varies with our RH technique I don't think youtube will tell us the attack or response.
    Yet some seem able to hear the difference between a 335 and a LP on youtube, even if fitted with the same pickups.
    Could be a player thinks of a different sound when playing those two guitars so they apply whatever technique differences they naturally gravitate toward when playing for the sound they want to hear.
    (I say lighter bodies of softer woods because there are heavier bodies of softer woods and lighter bodies of harder woods that confuse the issue a bit. I hear a less sharp attack on the bottom strings of fairly heavy basswood bodied Teles)

    Funny all the use of the word warm/ warmth/ warmer as if it was the ideal, like tubes sound warmer etc etc.

    A lot of iconic Tele tone is hard and clanging, not warm at all.
    I love the hard crisp bass you can get from an Esquire, almost metallic and full of high harmonics.
    Not everybody's cup o' tea though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
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  10. Goldenshellback

    Goldenshellback Tele-Meister

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    Weight is very important to me as I approach my 70’s. I have guitars that I no longer play, acoustic and electric due to weight. I gravitate towards my SG and LG-2 these days as both are my lightest weight guitars and they are tonally outstanding. But this is just my preference.
     
  11. VintageRocker

    VintageRocker TDPRI Member

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    I have a tele that comes in at 8.2 and I have a Squier ‘51 that weighs 6.6. Guess which one I play the
    most?
     
  12. tvvoodoo

    tvvoodoo Tele-Afflicted

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    And the maker is a TDPRI brother, too. ;-)
     
  13. Fuggle

    Fuggle TDPRI Member

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    I just reweighed my Baja and it's 8.8 lbs. For some reason this makes me feel a lot better than 9 lbs. :cool:
     
  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    I find it funny ... players will complain all day about their boat anchor 9-12 lb Gibson Les Paul but when you show them an Epiphone LP Special that weighs 6 lbs they holler "No Way!"

    Logo demand and vanity do not put up with weight limits.


    Weight is becoming more important because the Baby Boomers are aging, a huge demographic of guitarists all hitting the same series of ailments at the same time.

    A lesser observed issue is of the Millenials, creating as large a demographic as the Boomers, that the majority of players learning guitar are girls. A heavy guitar does not fit them well either.

    .
     
  15. scooteraz

    scooteraz Tele-Afflicted

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    I have to say that I enjoy the light weight of my Thinline over the 1-2 lbs more mass of my 52 HotRod. OTOH, that doesn’t keep me from playing the HotRod. I have a couple of PRS that aren’t all that light, but I love them. I notice the weight when I’m carrying the guitars to and from the performance, and mostly after I’m done. But in the “heat of the moment” during practice or performance, not so much.

    BTW, weight is not a thing, but mass is, and gravity sucks....
     
  16. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Afflicted

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    I sold off my thinline copy that was a very good guitar. Not because it was too heavy but it was too heavy for being partly hollowed out. It just wasn't right to weight the same or a bit more than a regular tele.
     
  17. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    FMIC does that, where the heavier pieces of wood end up assigned to Thinline production. Otherwise they probably wouldn't make it into a guitar at all. But you end up with this weird situation where MIM Thinlines in particular, are only light relative to a number of '72 Deluxes and '72 Customs. Other, fairly pedestrian model, solid body guitars end up being lighter. Just another reason to buy in person.
     
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  18. Fingerbleed

    Fingerbleed TDPRI Member

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    The difference between a heavy guitar and a light guitar is only 3% of my body weight. No problem!
     
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  19. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Weight is a thing?

    Sure it makes things lighter or heavier, easier to pick up, play, hold, transport, ship, etc. That's a "big thing" for lots of folks depending on a person's, age, strength, body type, sitting vs. standing preference etc. Personally I'm generally comfortable with the weight of most guitars between 6 and 8 lbs. My favorite Tele is 6.6lbs.

    I've never heard or seen anything that indicates it effects tone, how the instrument plays, etc. Just search here on TDPRI for the many debates on that topic. (Good luck:confused:)

    Tweeking/modding guitars is fine but if a guitar doesn't feel or sound right after playing it for awhile I usually just move on to trying a different instrument.

    Good luck.
     
  20. jamester

    jamester Tele-Holic

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    Any weight guitar can have great tone, but I prefer the great sounding lighter ones personally.

    Not sure where the "joke" is..?
     
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