Question of Weight

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by PhilippeZ, Feb 26, 2020.

  1. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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    Salut Philippe,
    Very sweet looking tele you've got here. My swamp ash CS with an all rosewood neck weighs in at 6.5 lbs: sure it's light, but definitely not surprisingly light.
     
  2. PhilippeZ

    PhilippeZ TDPRI Member

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    Directly plugged in the JCM800, the open G tuning is inspiring... it’s starting to come!
    What is the original fret size on these late 60s modèles? Mine has been regretted with something near #6150 dimensions.
     
  3. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Welcome, PhilippeZ! My wife and I recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in London/Paris. Very enchanting cities!

    Regarding Telecaster weight, it's all about personal preference. One is not notably better than the other.

    A lighter Tele may be more resonant and easier to shoulder, but it will also be more susceptible to "neck dive", so you have to be careful.

    Welcome aboard! ;)
     
  4. pcasarona

    pcasarona Tele-Holic

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    Interesting conversation and one that I'm sure has been seen before on this forum. As someone who was around in the 60's and began playing guitar in the 70's I can remember a time when things were quite different. Back then a light guitar signified nothing except maybe a cheap guitar using less than choice woods. Heavy was the thing back then. I remember people justifying carrying around ultra heavy Tele's and especially Les Paul's and flying V's by claiming that they had superior sustain due to the density of the wood. Now everyone wants light guitars and chambered guitars for resonance. I have no horse in this race as I have some of both heavy (mostly older vintage stuff) and lighter (mostly newer stuff), but will say that my very favorite guitars tend to be on the heavy side, but I don't believe they are my favorites because they are heavy. Setup, necks, playability, etc. totally outweigh (excuse the pun) the importance of ultimate weight. Then again, I'm not a working professional player, so I don't have to sling 10+ lbs of guitar over my shoulder for 3 hours a night. Maybe for some its more of a practical thing than an sound thing for those who do?
     
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  5. ezra1

    ezra1 TDPRI Member

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    I am 66 years old and been into guitars since late 1965.
    My life long observation has been that the great vintage Fenders are lightweight due to the aging. All of them that I have encountered.
    Play with the height on that neck pickup and find the sweet spot.
    Congratulations
     
  6. BlueTele

    BlueTele TDPRI Member

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    Hello Phillipe - you ask a couple of questions, so I will answer them randomly. 1. Most all Telecatsers and Stratocasters made in the 1950's were made of ash. "Good kiln-dried or cabinet-dried" ash should yield a Tele with a weight between 6lbs 8oz at the lightest, up to maybe 7lbs 4oz. (heavy for an ash Tele). Other people who replied are correct: generally speaking, the "lighter" the body and guitar, the better it will sound. The wood body vibrates and sustains and lets those "physical properties" influence how the pickups will create their tone. Heavier wood or wood with residual moisture will have the sound dissipate throughout the wood and sort of get lost/disappear within the wood. 2., Alder body Teles and Strats started appearing in late 1959 and early 1960, and thereafter. Alder body Teles are less bright/treble sounding which a lot of people prefer. The alder bodies are often paired with a rosewood fretboard which also contributes to an overall warmer tone...less brittle or trebly than ash body Teles from the 1950's. If you never heard the story, the ONLY reason that Leo Fender switched from maple necks/fretboards to maple necks with rosewood fretboards, is because he was disappointed with how the maple fretboards showed dirt and finger-wear from being played a lot. He didn't like the way it looked on Television which was a showcase of free advertising when guitar players used Fender guitars. Leo wanted his guitars to look "perfect" on Television, and the maple fretboards didn't always achieve that with well-worn guitars. Of course now, Fender Custom Shop and other builders purposely age their guitars to show those finger-wear depressions and rub spots. Leo hated them though, thus he started making Teles and Strats with rosewood fretboards to "hide" the finger wear. 3) Back to weight: an Alder body Tele begins where an ash body Tele leaves off. A "light" Alder body Tele is considered light at 7lbs 4oz, but they are usually more like 7lbs 6oz to as high as 8lbs for the heavier ones. The bottom line is that a guitar is an amalgamation, a synergy of all things coming together to make something magical: wood(s), scale length, bone material, saddle material, pickups, and...the flesh and bone density of your fingers, and of course an appropriate, well chosen amp for the sound you are looking for. If you're looking for "American" tone, you'll find that with amps that have 6L6 and 6v6 power tubes. If you favor a British tone, then you need and amp with either EL84 or El34 power tubes. Amps are a WHOLE other topic though. Hope this helps.
     
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  7. cschlish

    cschlish Tele-Meister

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    Great Tele you got there...Pickup heights will change your tone, adjust to your ears preference and enjoy!
     
  8. rocks2oldies

    rocks2oldies TDPRI Member

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    Take it from me, a female...Concerning WEIGHT, ahem...Guitars, cars, or women...each man has his own preference. Thinking about this, I think all 3 perform better with a little substance to them, don't ya think? People scramble for old cars, old guitars, and sometimes older women with a few pounds. Beats running around today in plastic light-weight cars, holding a guitar that feels like you're holding an empty gig bag, or having a relationship with a skeleton! JMO
     
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  9. PhilippeZ

    PhilippeZ TDPRI Member

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    Thank’s for all your comments, for sharing your knowledge and for your kindness. I appreciate the atmosphere of this forum.
    I adjusted the neck pickup ... that’s right that it’s a sensitive point.
    Right now, I threw out the modern ofseted saddles and made myself some vintage ones (with angles) for a better look. I already did it for my MIM Esquire and it gave satisfaction in term of tune precision and look. I hesitated to re-install the original saddles but I preferred to go with DIY ofseted ones (I’ll add a photo when putted in place). I’m interested to know your opinion regarding the original saddles.
    Back to weight subject, I always prefer the vibrating guitars for the feeling that it provides... a kind of exchange between player and instrument. I know that it’s not an absolute argument for the best sound because some waves are not perceptible for player but important for pickups . Just a story of feeling and I guess a complicated subject. For my opinion, I consider that the main things are neck for playability and PU for sound. The remain is very subjective.
     
  10. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    My two francs worth: if it feels good, hangs right, sustains well, has good harmonics and the p'ups sound a little thin, address the potentiometers, using a lower value to warm things up.
    That is a beautiful guitar, Philippe, and lovingly restored.
    Btw, kudos on the diy saddles.
     
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  11. acVox

    acVox TDPRI Member

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    Swamp Ash like Mahogany can vary enormously in weight, depending on environment, latitude and growing conditions, just a few of many complex variables that determine the weight/density of the wood.

    I've been surprised at the ability of Swamp Ash to produce equally musical results in guitars that differ in body weight by several pounds or more. This is something that can't always be said of Mahogany..

    Quite why Swamp Ash retains a pleasant musicality in the fundamental, and overtone harmonics of guitars we've made and collaborated on with others is not entirely clear to me, but it's there nonetheless.
     
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  12. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    My '69 was 9.2.
    A record, as far as I can tell.
     
  13. pcasarona

    pcasarona Tele-Holic

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    Nope, got a '71 that's 9lbs - 13oz.

    20171204_144341.jpg
     
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  14. KevinL818

    KevinL818 TDPRI Member

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    Great thread!
    As one with back issues, I've come to appreciate lighter guitars. My Roasted Ash Tele is right at 5.5lbs!
    I've read that ash is lighter when it grows in wetter places, providing more water to the tree and producing larger open spaces when dry. I don't know whether this is true, though it makes sense. Others' thoughts will be appreciated.
     
  15. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Swamp ash, due to the larger cell structure that Kevin mentions ^, dries to be lighter than does Northern Ash, which is what Fender used almost exclusively in the heavier ash-bodied guitars in the 1970s. Density plays a major part in how a solid body guitar responds. As the density of the string compared to whatever it is attached increases, so does sustain. With greater body weight, pick attack is quicker and articulation is more focused. This is due to the isolation of the strings’ vibrations....the body cowpea not draw vibration from the string auto the degree that one sees/hears in a lighter body. A light body yields a slower pick attack, decreased articulation, and decreased sustain. The resonance, which is different from sustain, increases with a lighter body. Fwiw, tis larger cell thing is one of the aspect of the Stradivarius violins that is thought to influence the tonality that causes these violins to be so coveted. The wood subjected to transport and storage in water thereby increasing the size of the cells which yielded larger open spaces in the dried wood....or so I have read.
    Neither of these situations is necessarily better or worse, but personal choice will dictate what a person likes.
    While we all like to carry lighter loads for physical comfort, there are some discriminating players who want the Sonic attributes that a heavy body gives.
    One th8ng about 1966 through to the late ??’70s?? Teles is that in 1966 Fender changed the control potentiometers from 250K to 1meg. This results in some very bright sounds.....which is something for which I do not care but is also a subjective th8ng. At the same time, they began installing a cap for a treble bleed circuit on the volume pot.
     
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  16. acVox

    acVox TDPRI Member

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    The conditions that determine the weight of the guitars we love are quite complex (slight understatement) . There is no doubt that Swamp Ash and Alder thrive in and near water. However Alder, in contrast to Swamp Ash is perhaps the most consistent in weight of all tone Woods.
    Could this be due to the relatively narrow relationship between soil and water conditions where Alder thrives ? It would be great to know.

    Could it be that Swamp Ash trees some growing permanently in water and others on land only occasionally swamped due to weather, account for the weight difference we see? Maybe.. Certainly there seems a direct correlation to growing conditions and the resulting characteristics of the wood.

    Every species has an optimal latitude, where all the elements converge in alignment for the perfect environment for that species to thrive.
    For Mahogany this is Cuba, Honduras and all land and islands in that narrow latitude.

    Mahogany will grow a 1000 miles south of Honduras , but far outside its ideal growth and health environment the soils silica content increases the weight of the wood to a point that is no longer viable as a wood suitable for solid body guitars.
    However we know that this heavy Mahogany has produced excellent results with chambered and semi hollow Gibsons where a lighter Mahogany has been lacking in mid, and low end definition. Proof if needed that in talented hands, everything is valid.
     
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  17. tonyj

    tonyj Tele-Afflicted

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    My 1985 Fender 'Made in Japan' Micawber style Tele weighs in at 10.33 Lbs.

    Lovely guitar, great tone and comfortable, especially when played in a sitting position.
     
  18. pcasarona

    pcasarona Tele-Holic

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    Wow, I think that's what I weighed at birth, and I am most comfortable in a sitting position too!
     
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  19. dhodgeh

    dhodgeh TDPRI Member

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    I bought a 71 earlier this year that weighs in at 6.5 lbs. Very resonant.

    It's got the original pickups, which are a bit microphonic, but I think that coupled the resonance, gives it a very nice chime or vibe when you play it.

    As far as the 1 meg pots are concerned, I don't see them as a negative on this particular guitar. The tone control tames the bridge pickup a bit without it getting muddy, and in the other positions, I can dial the tone in to whatever I need at the time.

    YMMV

    D
     
  20. acVox

    acVox TDPRI Member

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    When did Fender switch to 1meg pots? Where they on the volume or tone pot, and when did they return to 250k pots?

    I was thinking that given the interest shown in weight and its relation to tone, I thought that the work of luthier Roger Giffin would interest folks on the forum.
    His work was outstanding and he experimented on the relationship between weight and tone in guitar design. It's been yrs since I last checked out where he is up to, but there should be lots to discover if this is of interest. I just thought I'd mention it.
     
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