Heavy guitars? Whilst they may be great for monstrous tones, they aren’t great for your back and shoulders. We’ve written this article exploring some of the lighter electric guitars out there today. These instruments also make great guitars for people with small hands!
I tested 8 Products and found the best for Hobbyists to be the Squire Thinline Telecaster, and the best for Professionals to be the Fender Thinline Tele.
The Thinline telecaster model is significantly lighter than most electric guitars, mainly thanks to its semi-hollow construction, and wood choice. It is available at two price points, the Fender or Squire version. Even though the Squire guitar is much more affordable, the quality is not drastically different.
In any case, this great-sounding style of lightweight electric guitar will last for many years and withstand the trials of the guitarist’s life.
I’ve been playing guitar for nearly 20 years, I’ve been through all the trials and tribulations of being a guitarist. From that first nerve-wracking gig to lugging guitars around on holiday.
I’ve been through many guitars, like most guitarists. Through these guitars, I have seen some heavy ones, and some surprisingly light. Some more obscure vintage models are made out of deceptively light plywood.
Look on eBay for these random archaic brands like Jedson, Tonika, and Fazley
I prefer lighter guitars as they create less strain on the shoulders and back, and can be played for longer without fatigue. Also, they take less effort to carry around from practice sessions to gigs…
The Thinline range felt so much lighter than a normal Strat or LP electric guitar. These lightweight guitars take minimal effort to carry from gig to gig and create less strain and fatigue when playing for extended periods.
Whilst the fender version has slightly smoother playability, both Fender and Squire models play with a great vibe, and give that laid-back rockstar image.
In an ideal world, a lightweight electric guitar would also sound great, and be packed with all the best features and electronics. Unfortunately, many guitar manufacturers sacrifice sound quality, or features, to cut down on the final weight.
Weight can have some effect on playability, but mostly sound. Consider if it is worth the sacrifice. This isn’t always the case, many lightweight guitars sound fantastic too. But often they have a particular, thinner sound that may not be to everybody’s liking.
Using a lighter guitar has several benefits:
- Better for posture.
- Less fatiguing.
- Easier to transport.
- Different sonic capabilities.
There can also be downsides to lighter guitars:
- More prone to feedback (especially hollow bodies).
- Greater risk of atmospheric interference (heat, moisture, warping).
Generally, hollow-body guitars are much lighter than solid bodies, however not everyone likes the hollow body tone, and hollow bodies don’t work well with high-gain music and distorted amplifiers.
Other types of lightweight solid-bodied guitar are available, that will be more practical for louder styles of music.
Note: Smaller guitars are not always lighter. The materials used have a much larger effect on weight than shape and size.
Keep reading for our full roundup of the best lightweight electric guitars on the market today!
Best Lightweight Electric Guitars in Our Tests
List all the products as a table of content
- Squire Classic Vibe Thinline Telecaster
- Fender American Elite Thinline Telecaster
- Gibson SG Tribute 2019 USA
- Epiphone Les Paul Special-II Lightweight
- Danelectro ‘59M Lightweight Guitar
- Rickenbacker 330
- Traveler Guitar Ultra-Lite Electric
- Ibanez Steve Vai Signature Jem
8 Best Lightweight Electric Guitars Reviewed in Detail
Ah, the classic telecaster model. These iconic guitars have tried and tested through the years and proved themselves as popular models.
The thin line variety is an updated and lightened version. Where the traditional solid body has been replaced with a hollowed-out Poplar body, for a lighter feel, and improved resonance of the wood. This is very comfortable to play standing up and is the lightest guitar on this list
- Weight: 3kg
- Price: £349
- Very Light
- Solid quality
- Lower Price & Quality than Fender Version
For guitarists on the lighter side of rock, this is a perfect axe. A bright, clean professional tone that comes close to a Fender, but not with the price tag. Recommended for advanced hobbyists who can’t justify the Fender.
Fenders are the Jaguar cars of the guitar world, sleek, sexy, and envious. Fender guitars have some of the greatest build quality, only really beaten by independent and handmade luthiers.
This Thinline Telecaster model is a stunning semi-hollow rendition of the iconic design that burst onto the scene in the ’60s and ’70s. Compromising nothing on sound and build quality, this is a professional performance-ready instrument, fitted with the tastiest 4th generation noiseless pickups to create a spectacular, authentic Fender tone.
The Thinline variation has a hollow cavity in the body which reduces weight and increases resonance and sustain. The bridge quality is sturdy.
- Weight: 3.2kg
- Super Quality
- Lovely Pickups
- Semi-Hollow Body (not for everyone)
This is an absolutely stunning guitar, how can anything so light sound this good? Obviously, the price puts it out of reach for many, but if you are a professional looking for a lightweight, stage-worthy guitar – this could be the one. (Again maybe not for metal and heavy stuff)
Gibson makes infallible, high-quality, high-octane guitars for your rocking pleasure. The SG Tribute model is a rude, humbucker-bearing beast, with 22 rolled rosewood frets mounted upon a glorious, silky smooth maple neck.
- Weight: 2.7kg
- Price: £999
- Top-Quality build.
- Solid-Body and Warm Pickups
- Great with distortion and loud amplifiers.
- High Price!
This is a real luxury instrument, which is to be expected if you’re about to drop a grand on it. The quality of Gibson Guitars is really second to none. This is one of their lighter solid-body designs. This is the best choice for professional stage rockers, using gained amps and requiring a beefy tone. You will not be disappointed with this guitar!
Epiphone produces more affordable versions of Gibson guitar models, which is great as it allows hobbyists to get the classic tones without draining the bank.
This Epiphone Les Paul Special is one of the best lightweight guitars in the lower price range. It’s not the lightest on this list, weighing in at 4.5kg, but is lighter than most guitars, making it ideal for children and beginners. It won’t sound as good as a Gibson, but it still has a satisfying warm tone, great sustain, and a speedy rosewood fretboard.
- Weight: 4.5kg
- Pickups: 2x
- Price: £159
- Not super light
- Great tone for price
This is a strong choice for players looking for a lightweight solid-bodied electric guitar. As far as solid bodies go, the Les Paul design is on the lighter side. It’s not as light as a hollow body, but it rocks a heavier tone and can be played in louder situations without feeding back.
Danelectro makes some very groovy-looking, interestingly designed guitars. From a first look you might not realize, but many Danelectro guitars are mostly hollow inside.
The ‘59M has a very sweet tone that lends itself to lead situations, particularly in blues, country, and rock and roll music. It has vintage-style lipstick pickups, with crisp clarity and a cool double cutaway.
- Weight: 2.27kg
- Pickups: 2 X Lipstick single coil
- Price: £629, or cheaper “The Stock 59 The Stock 59” model at £369
- Super light
- Retro look and sound
- Prone to feedback
A funky-looking guitar that packs serious quality. The fantastic tone for older styles of music, although not for everything. Super lightweight, with a vintage sound, this electric guitar is extremely fun to play. It is relatively expensive, but there is a more affordable version called “The Stock 59”, also produced by Danelectro.
A retro favorite, Rickenbacker guitars are very high-quality instruments, with a unique sound and design. Favored by The Beatles, these history-rich instruments are also incredibly light thanks to their semi-hollow construction. There are many Rickenbacker models, but the 330 is an industry favorite, used by legends including John Lennon, Thom Yorke, Kevin Parker, Pete Townsend, Paul Weller, and many more.
- Weight: 3.6kg
- Pickups: 2 x Rickenbacker High Output
- Price: £2179
- Flexible electronic circuit with EQ.
If you can afford to splash out, this lightweight electric guitar is one of the best out there. It sounds fantastic, with a rich and versatile retro tone. The High Output Rickenbacker pickups are accompanied by a multi-purpose tone circuit with Bass & Treble EQ.
The 12-string Rickenbacker models are worth looking at for more extravagant sounds.
Wow, this unique headless guitar has been designed to keep size and weight down to a minimum. Almost every element of a normal electric guitar has been stripped away, leaving this minimalistic, skeletal design.
It has a single pickup and no tone controls, which some players may find limiting. But the purpose of this guitar is to be the bare minimum for a traveling musician. This model comes in both acoustic and electric versions.
- Weight: 1.36kg
- Pickups: 1 humbucker
- Price: £323
- Lightest Guitar Here, maybe ever
- Sounds interesting
- Limited Features
In some situations, a full-sized guitar is just too big. For these times, the Traveler Ultra-Lite is the perfect solution. This is one of the lightest and minimalistic guitars available today. It has fewer features and pickups than normal, but the best guitar is the one that you have with you. You can take this guitar anywhere!
A lighter guitar for the heavier player. This skinny Ibanez beast doesn’t sacrifice any tone for its slimmer waist.
The Jem is an outstanding, gorgeous-looking guitar, with floral inlay fretboard artwork, and a carved handle. The rose Floyd double-locking bridge keeps strings firmly in tune.
It has 3 pickups which are blended between with a 5-way pickup selector switch, which opens up loads of creative options for guitar tones.
Higher up the fretboard, there are scalloped frets, which provide extra accuracy and bendability for those fiery solos. The pickups work very well when driven, and be assured, this signature model was created in partnership with Steve Vai, a true guitar legend, so it will be incredibly high quality.
- Weight: 3.4kg
- Price: Junior £391 Original £1500
- Floyd Rose Bridge
- Double Locking Tuners
- Carrying Handle
- Scalloped Fretboard
- Stunning Pickups
- Bridge & Locks will confuse some players.
The original models of these are pretty expensive, fortunately, there are more affordable versions, the Steve Vai Junior edition. These rock the same design, and many features. This style of guitar tends to be favored by the rock and metal communities. The design of the neck suits shredding and double hand tapping technique, with an incredibly smooth action and feel. Its skinnier weight has not sacrificed any sound quality.
Buying Guide: What to look for when buying this type of product
Several sections talking about Features, Problems, Use Cases, etc.
Check on the style and design of pickups, as these also have a large effect on sound quality. Active pickups are better for louder, distorted types of music. Passive pickups (most common) are quieter, but do not require a battery, and have a less aggressive sound.
The difference between single coils and humbuckers is huge. Singles are much thinner than their warm humbucker counterparts.
If buying a second-hand hollow body, check for signs of heat or moisture damage. This can create tuning issues. This can usually be observed by looking closely at the body, checking for any marks or out-of-place wood.
Some models of guitar are available at both a professional or hobbyist price point. For example, Squire makes more affordable versions of Fender guitars. Generally, more expensive guitars sound better and have more solid construction. Cheap guitars may be mass-produced in a factory but expensive ones can be handmade by experienced and talented luthiers.
The usual choice is between a solid, semi-hollow, or hollow-bodied guitar. There are other more contemporary options.
Hollow and semi-hollow guitars are not suitable for distortion-based genres like metal, punk, hardcore, as they are prone to feedback. There are still many lightweight solid electric guitars that are a good choice for this type of playing.
Yes, sadly many guitars are copied, and fakes are made in cheap factories. If you see a guitar at a price that is too good to be true, it probably is. I remember I bought a fake Ibanez Jem7 for about £100. The original model costs way over £1000. Whilst fakes can be fun, they usually sound terrible. Identifying fakes is different for each manufacturer, so do your research before buying. Check manufacturer and serial codes.
What are the lightest electric guitars?
The lightest design of electric guitar will usually be a hollow body. Traditionally, the body of electric guitars like Stratocasters, Les Pauls, and other common models are made from a solid block of wood.
This was a natural design progression stemming from the addition of electronics to guitars. Before electric guitars were fully developed, acoustic guitars were the norm. For louder gigs, these acoustic instruments didn’t produce enough volume, so engineers looked at ways of amplifying the sound with transducers, pickups, and microphones.
The issue with acoustic guitars is that when amplified, they often pick up their sound, creating nasty and dangerous feedback. This is why electric guitars were traditionally solid bodies.
Construction material also changes the weight, wood usually being the first choice, but in recent years guitar manufacturers have been turning to synthetic materials like plastic and carbon fiber to make lighter guitars.
What is the lightest hollow body guitar?
The Telecaster Thinline range is the lightest commercially available hollow-body guitar design in the marketplace. These guitars have the familiar Tele shape and pickups but are created with a hollow body.
Both Fender and Squire make versions of this model.
The Squire models weigh in at a feathery 2.4kg! With the more expensive Fender version weighing in at 2.6kg.
There are lighter guitars around, but they are not easy to get hold of, and may not be currently in production.
The Tele Thinline is still being manufactured so they are readily available worldwide.
How Much Does An Average Electric Guitar Weigh?
A Stratocaster, which is probably the most common style of electric guitar, weighs in at 3–3.8 kg (7 – 8 pounds).
The weight varies based on the construction materials and wood used, which can include mahogany, maple, alder, ash, and other species.
This is a good weight to start with, most players find it adequate, but smaller people may find it too heavy.
If your main priority is getting the smallest, lightest guitar you can, then the Traveler Ultra-Lite is the best choice. The Ultra-Lite is a truly light, minimal guitar that doesn’t carry a gram of unnecessary weight.
Alternatively, if the Ultra-Lite is too minimalistic, the Thinline Telecaster range is a great option, choose a Squire or Fender as the budget allows. These are semi-hollow lightweight electric guitars that have a classic tone.
For a solid body guitar that doesn’t feedback but isn’t too heavy, the Les Paul and SG builds are a great choice. These are perfect for heavy rockers who need a lighter axe!
Have a look at some of these links and see if any could be your next dream instrument!