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Why the current obsession, by some, of the weight of a guitar?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Digiplay, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    I've read some Threads where the topic of weight is brought up occasionally, but I'd like to take that discussion a little further :)


    Okay....................................................................................................................


    Back in the 60's/70's, I don't remember any of my guitar playing friends EVER talking about the weight of a guitar, only how good or bad it sounded.


    So, to them, it was all about the SOUND.


    Many of my aforementioned friends still have those guitars, and it seems most of them are 9 to 12 lbs.


    I'm not sure at what period of time that more and more guitar players started caring about weight being the first thing (or at least near the top of the list) that is important to them, and perhaps some of you might know that answer :)


    Regardless, I'm confident stating that a LOT more guitar players nowadays consider weight a very important factor in buying a guitar than back "in the day", so I'm curious as to why the shift?

    Is it a by-product of growing older, and related to health (which obviously back in the 60's/70's, me and my friends were all young, and so we didn't think of such mundane things such as youth/getting in shape/etc :) )?


    I will interject here that I recently had a conversation about guitar weight with a gentleman (he is over 50) who is noted as one of the best guitar builders in the world (he has over 100+ vintage guitars in his personal collection, not to mention how many of his own brand he has sitting in his buildings), and his answer was that weight was not an issue for him, and that he has an 11 pound 1979 Strat that is great.



    So am I overreacting/misinterpreting the importance of a guitars weight to most of you members when you choose a guitar?



    What say you? :)
     
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  2. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeah, I went through a decade trying to find/make lightweight guitars and amps etc.
    I must have wasted $10k .
    Frankly I dont care any more. I realized that all the work , carpentry, tolexing etc I did, was a ton of more bending and lifting and working than carrying a Twin Reverb into every gig!
    I also discovered that the best solid body guitars I happened to have were the heaviest!
     
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  3. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    When your back/neck/shoulders hurt you pay attention. Solutions are wider strap, lighter guitar or play sitting down. I used to own a Super Reverb amp. Sounded great, too heavy for me.
     
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  4. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    Music and the making thereof is full of intangible and immeasurable variables.
    Guitar weight can easily be measured.
    Finally, something we can argue from a firm footing.
     
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  5. jamesepowell

    jamesepowell Tele-Holic

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    My first serious guitar was a 70s Les Paul Deluxe, the next was a Les Paul Custom. So that weight always seemed normal. I like my Telecasters on the heavy side.
     
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  6. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Some people would rather have 7 lb guitars than 10 lb guitars. So those people inquire about weight.
     
  7. Cosmic Cowboy

    Cosmic Cowboy Tele-Meister

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    I don't know. I tend to find that guitars on the heavier than average side tend to be some of my faves.

    But, as the years take their toll on us as humans, I think the idea of playing 3 sets in a night with a 14lb guitar sounds a bit like work.

    I've had some cement mixers man. But now that I play pretty much exclusively with single coil teles and strats...I feel like they are all fine, in fact I'd rather have an ash tele weighing in at 8.5lbs than a pine at 7.

    Edit: Thankfully I am 6'0 and 205 lbs. Some of the guys I've played with would blow away in a stiff breeze.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
  8. Wallaby

    Wallaby Friend of Leo's

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    Once I realized that I prefer a lighter weight guitar over a heavier weight guitar I started making weight a criteria. IMO they're easier to live with on a long-term basis.

    Weight is pretty low on my list of priorities, maybe last, and everything else has to be right too. If you're faced with two equally good guitars and have to choose one, why not think about weight?

    I think weight is becoming the next "is there neck-dive", which also is an attention-grabber question.
     
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  9. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    These days I sit on a stool 100% of the time. Weight is pretty much a non factor. The weight of the STOOL matters because I have to bring it with me ! :)
     
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  10. adjason

    adjason Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I think most of us of here are getting up in years so that is part of it....whenever I think it might be too heavy I remember Jerry Garcia
    “Rosebud” was 11.5 pounds -

    …two pounds lighter than Tiger Garcia’s main touring ax which -do the math-13.5 pounds
     
  11. Harbinger77

    Harbinger77 Tele-Meister

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    My back makes weight a consideration.

    eliminating weight on solid body guitars hits the point of diminishing returns pretty quick.

    this is interesting on moisture content manipulation
     
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  12. cbnutt

    cbnutt Tele-Afflicted

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    Prety simple , as i get older why wear 8 pounds when there is some 6 pounder out there , i dont like carrying my deluxe as much as i used to , so if the new tonemaster sounds ok, thats next . Weight does not make tone , some heavy guitars suck , some lighter are great .
     
  13. Sax-son

    Sax-son Tele-Holic

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    I recently built a telecaster that weighs in at 10.5lbs. It ended up heavier than I anticipated, but it has a great resonance to it. The body is ash, but not swamp ash. For somebody gigging for long hours that might be a consideration, but for me now it is just fine. I love the feel of it. I have other guitars that are lighter, but they don't sound as good.
     
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  14. Jay Isler

    Jay Isler Tele-Meister

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    I never cared about weight until I bought a light weight guitar that sounds and plays great. Now I care.
     
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  15. stepvan

    stepvan Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    My thoughts on this has always been that manufacturing is always looking to reduce cost on raw materials, so that being said this leads to a cost cut i.e. cheaper varieties of wood that may be not as dense or what have you, so what do manufacturers do? Market the guitars with the different grade of wood (not necessarily lower quality just different) as light weight to reduce fatigue etc etc. I think this is likely where it starts and then it morphs over time and now you have weight relieved and what not. This leads us to modern day guitars and players and this is what the marketing tought them as they moved thru their guitar playing journey, and now "Its A thing"
     
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  16. Turtleneck

    Turtleneck Tele-Holic

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    I've briefly looked at buying a scale of some sort to weigh my guitars, anybody have a recommendation?

    Amazon? Not too spendy?
     
  17. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    I hear you and mostly agree that sound should come first, and I also think you're right to suggest that a lot of this is a fad/related to marketing. But the aging population point is a big one. That and the fact that a lot of guitarists have or will develop health problems that will create real, physical difficulties for them that make it hard to play a heavy instrument. If having a lighter guitar makes it easier for them to keep playing and enjoying the instrument then I'm all for lighter guitars.

    Plus, look at the bright side: it just means more great sounding but heavy guitars for you and other people who don't need to worry about the weight! Win win!
     
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  18. tanplastic

    tanplastic Tele-Holic

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    It's not an "obsession", it's a symptom of all the options available on line.
    Pre-internet, shopping was largely done in person and you were limited to the stock on hand.
    Now we shop the world for the right shade of sunburst, the perfect flame, the darkest rosewood fretboard, the lightest example, etc.
     
  19. Tony Forman

    Tony Forman Tele-Meister

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    I started caring about the weight of a guitar they day I walked into a music store in the early nineties and asked to try a Fender CS Nocaster. I couldn't believe how light the thing was, and how heavy my guitars seemed by comparison.
     
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  20. Cadillac_Mike

    Cadillac_Mike Tele-Meister

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    I know what you mean, a lot of people seem really nit-picky about it. I couldn't even venture a guess of what any of my guitars weigh. I tend to prefer guitars a bit on the heavier side just because they feel more solid to me but it's probably mostly a perception thing.
     
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