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What Should a Tele Weigh?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by holndav, Feb 21, 2019.

  1. Granola Child

    Granola Child TDPRI Member

    Mar 27, 2011
    What I notice from this discussion is that the tele weight scale is similar to the baby weight scale. With 6 lbs being on the lighter side, 7-8lbs being "average", and 9-10lbs being heavy. It's an almost identical scale. Which makes sense because for everyone on this forum, our teles are our "babies".
    RYAN1987M and El Tele Lobo like this.
  2. RnB

    RnB Tele-Meister

    Oct 26, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    1C580B07-D7EA-483C-81D3-C732C3CBF7F7.jpeg Warmoth Build:
    Hog Body
    Hog/Ebony Neck
    Rockrabbit Alum Cmpnts
    Ralph Halsey Pickups (RHfactor)
    Lacquer Finish
    6 1/4 lbs
  3. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 7, 2011
    clinton, ia
    Never realized they weighed different until you internet tele folks started complaining about weight. Now I complain about heavy teles too.
    Naw, still don't care that much but around 7 lbs or a little under feels really nice. My 8-9lb teles tend to tire out my shoulder but not enough to dislike them. My AV '58 in my avitar is in the upper 6lb range. It feels perfect.
  4. Muku

    Muku Tele-Meister

    Jun 9, 2008
    Santa Barbara
    I like 6.8 - 7.6lb range. But a 6lb., or so, real 1959 Esquire is the sonic goal.
    I am about to build two teles and an Esquire (part builds) now that summer fun is over.
  5. thegreatwent

    thegreatwent TDPRI Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I’ve had all kinds of Teles. American standard, road worn, 50’s classic reissue, 72 custom reissue, a Baja tele, and played some vintage fenders - 55 esquire and 54 tele More recently, I built a guitar from a swamp ash guitar mill body with an Allparts fat maple nitro neck, and I just picked up a Brad Paisley tele.

    They sound better when they’re lighter, but I think that big necks contribute a lot too.

    The guitarmill build is about 7.5lbs and sounds really good.

    The Paisley is 6lbs 2oz. and it sounds exceptional. It’s the best playing and sounding tele I’ve ever had. The neck is one of the best production necks I’ve ever felt by any brand, and far and away, the best fender has ever done. I’ve played some custom shop stuff with nice necks, but a fender always seems to screw something up, especially when it comes to the neck profiles. They’re usually way off. The stock bridge pickup is really good.

    I wind my own pickups and have also tried pickups from Budz, Fralin, Lollar, Florence and Klein, and the stock pickups in the Paisley hold there own against any of them. The ones I wind are anywhere from 6.5k to 7.8k and the purchased ones are in the same ballpark. Mostly Alnico 5, and some Alnico 3’s. So tone-wise, from guitar to guitar, things have been relatively consistent.

    The heavier guitars didn’t have much sustain or low end. Kind of toppy and upper midrange. The light guitars have way more sustain and a nice low end and nice highs that are never harsh. The Paisley tele has that wonderful twang.

    From Lindy Fralin’s site -

    We’ve all heard the “magic” is in the wood and I have come to believe this. Get a light, resonant body and you will have the feel and sound of the earliest vintage guitars.

    “To my ears a bigger neck improves the tone of most guitars. The wound strings get brighter and the plain strings get more solid. After buying several “baseball bat” necks and then shaping them between gigs a little at a time I have come up with a neck shape that is big but comfortable.” ~ Lindy Fralin

    Brad Paisley has said the same thing - big neck plus light resonant body = great tele tone.

    The Paisley is still balanced at just over six pounds.

    When I asked about ultralight pine and paulownia bodies at Guitamill, they said they didn’t see issues with balance on body’s that weighed 3 or 4 pounds - no neck diving. The only thing that they mentioned is that at those weights, the wood tends to be softer and may need hardwood inserts at the bridge plate and neck.

    I’ve heard some people say ultralight paulownia bodies can have a nasally quality to them.

    I don’t hear that with the Paisley, and wonder how much of that is due to the spruce top and back. If you can get past the finish and relicing, I highly recommend it. Plus it’s a super thin nitro which is way nicer than the awful and thick poly on most of their other guitars.

    Sorry, I talk too much...
  6. Popov

    Popov TDPRI Member

    May 1, 2016
    I've got one that's as heavy as a log and it sings all day, I've had 'em as light as a feather and it was like playing a strung and tuned wet bath sponge.

    As long as it's comfortable to play and you like how it plays and sounds ....... who really cares what it weighs ?

    Basically it's a tool ........ and if it does the job in every way then it's a good 'un ........ everything else is voodoo.

  7. timsan55

    timsan55 TDPRI Member

    Jun 14, 2011
    Tonbridge Kent England
    According to Keith Richards, he has two teles which date back to the 1940's and one is very light, the other one very heavy, so it looks as if there was no standard weight back then, and a lot of it would ( of course ) have been down to materials................I did read an article on strats many years ago where they said that in the 50's and 60's they just used wood, without taking a lot of care over what it was. That must have led to some variations too if factual. Happy playing !
  8. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 18, 2019
    Hoover, Alabama
    I'm curious as to what weight Keith Richards considers as very light, and very heavy?

    As an aside, the guitar players from his generation didn't consider Les Pauls as too heavy to keep them from using them, and they were much more concerned about how it played/sounded/felt, not what it weighed :)
  9. 3CardMonty

    3CardMonty TDPRI Member

    Jul 13, 2015
    South Jersey
    5A63AEEE-ADDD-4617-8EEA-A80DE2FDB89A.jpeg I’ve got a ‘50’s Classic Vibe in Blonde with luscious Alnico 3’s in it (Butterscotch has Alnico 5’s in them), and it weighs about 9.5lbs. I’ve been thinking of chambering it under the pickguard for some weight relief. I’m just curious as to how much weight relief I might gain by converting it to a “Smugglers” Tele? One pound?
    RnB likes this.
  10. mimmo

    mimmo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Mar 18, 2010
    Paris France - Rome Italy
    7 to 8 lbs is good. Personally I would say between 7 and 7.5.
    DanDII likes this.
  11. Shovelhandle

    Shovelhandle TDPRI Member

    Jun 29, 2010
    New England
    Indonesia Lite Ash Telecaster = 7lb 12 oz or 7.4 lb
  12. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 14, 2013
    for a 7 lb tele, you need a 3.8 lb or under body (unfinished)

    don't forget that maple (necks) vary quite a bit in weight

    my lightest maple neck is an Allparts TMVF-C. it's on a 3.9 lb pine body. total weight is 7.2 lbs
    El Tele Lobo likes this.
  13. dreamsinger

    dreamsinger TDPRI Member

    Apr 21, 2013
    Marysville, WA
    When I built my partscaster the body alone was a whopping 8.5lbs. I thickness sanded the back 1/4" and routed chambers, tummy cut and forearm bevel then found an unusually figured piece of swamp ash and bookmatched it on the back. The body wound up at 4lbs.

    Chambered Tele.jpg Bookmatched Tele.jpg Tele 1.jpg
    DanDII and RnB like this.
  14. Troubleandahalf

    Troubleandahalf Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2011
    Austin, TX
    2011 CV Blonde right after I got her I went straight into the supermarket and weighed her in at 3.1kg / 6.8lb
    Nice and light [​IMG]

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk
    Skydog1010 likes this.
  15. dbwindhorst

    dbwindhorst TDPRI Member

    May 4, 2009
    South Carolina
    A couple years ago I wanted to experiment with building an Arthritis Special®, and the result was such a happy accident that it's now my favorite daily player. It weighs just 5lbs. 8oz.

    GFS paulo blem body, 23f G-scale Peavey neck shortened to 21f, cheap GFS ceramic pups, eBay import hardware...but it's the liveliest, warm-yet-blangyest thing I've ever played, for a cost of maybe $100.

    I did ultimately upgrade the switchgear a little and pop for Wilkinson compensated saddles...which are off a tad due to the different scale, but I'll adjust-file them one of these days.



    shorty 1.JPG
    radiocaster and nojazzhere like this.
  16. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Apr 20, 2019
    North Carolina
    WEIGHT - they aren't heavy - they are my electronics.

    That would make for some funky lyrics wouldn't it.

    I don't keep any guitars that weigh over 9 pounds, hence my sell off of most all Les Paul Types and a pretty heavy ASAT Tribute ASH. Heaviest I have ever had was an Agile AL3200-MCC at 11.2 pounds (Neck Through version without body contours), it was a monster but had a very nice slim neck (unusual attribute for Agile 3000 series guitars).

    Heaviest amp I've ever owned was a Twin Reverb back when I was a kid, at 85 lbs it was like a pound per watt. My dad mounted Heavy Duty casters to it.
    Prior to that I had owned and played a Silvertone piggy back 1484, Bandmaster piggy back (bet some of you haven't even heard that term) small cabinet 2x12, and then the amp I wish I still had, my BF Super Reverb with Jensen's 4x10, sweetest sounding amp I've ever heard.

    Nowadays 40-50 pound amp is the most I'm willing to deal with, and I don't mind carrying my little ole Champion 20 around either. or my miniature 25 pound EMP device Monoprice 15 - (see post in NAD section) LOL. :cool:

    To answer OP around 7 pounds is nice, fair amount of sustain, rich if rosewood fingerboard on neck, and chimney to boot; if alder or ash.
  17. GearGeek01

    GearGeek01 Tele-Meister

    Jan 26, 2007
    I have a guitar at each end of the spectrum...

    ...I have a 1995 G&L George Fullerton model that tips the scales at 6lbs 8oz...

    ...then I have a 1980 Gibson Les Paul Artisan that tugs your neck at 13lbs 6oz.... (yup, ouch)

    The Les Paul is like hanging 2 of the G&Ls around my neck, haha. I'll never sell it, I've had it since new. The Artisan is the one with the hearts and flowers inlay from the Gibson factory.

    I get the Les Paul out of the case once in a while, but being disabled it doesn't get much play time. Its my all-time favorite guitar, though, I got it when I was 17-18 years old and it was a gift from my mom. New, it was $925.60 in October 1980. With that much inlay it would be in the stupid price range at Gibson these days... Glad I got it before Paul Reed Smith came along and drove the prices of guitars through the roof, LOL...
  18. bossanova

    bossanova TDPRI Member

    Apr 25, 2016
    I use the rule of “7s”:

    The best teles:

    Weigh around 7lbs
    Bridge pickups around 7k
    Cost about 700 buck$
    ndcaster likes this.
  19. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

    Jan 15, 2008
    My AO 50's tele weights 6 pounds 8 ounces. It is just as you described a light guitar to be. Lots of sustain, resonance and big bottom end. I prefer lighter guitars on my ageing body
    As for the BP sig guitar, I played one last year on a trip to Ottawa at Lauzon music. I was playing through a 1965 vintage deluxe reverb (real one) and the tone blew me away. The guitar really sounded great with that blackface sound. I think it would sound excellent through my Tone King Sky King. I have not stopped thinking about buying that guitar and 2 silly things keep me from pulling the trigger. The arm wear doesn't look right. It doesn't look like arm wear, it looks like a belt sander took the finish off clean. The other thing is the cowboy hat on the headstock. I'm a country boy at heart but to me the cowboy hat is a bit hokey. Inspite of those things, I think at some point I'll own that guitar. Maybe scratch the cowboy hat off the headstock but nothing much I could do about the arm wear. All in all it did shock me how good it was to play.
  20. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    May 12, 2019
    United States
    I have a Squier Vintage Modified Thinline that is my heaviest Telecaster (the only Teles I have are Thinlines now). It's around 7.5 lbs, which means that's some dense ash. It is heavier than the MIM Standard Telecaster I had years ago. That said, it's still not particularly heavy.
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