From backbreakers to featherweights, electric guitars come in many shapes and sizes.
This article explores topics relating to the weight of electric guitars and outlines some classic guitar models and their weights.
The electric guitar is a type of stringed instrument that is most often played by musicians in rock, metal, blues, jazz, and many other genres.
The guitar is one of the most popular musical instruments in the world. If you are a guitarist, you are well aware of the importance of owning the right guitar. A guitar doesn’t have to be expensive to sound and feel amazing. With enough care, any guitar can produce a good sound.
Check out our other post about the best electric guitars in 2021
Keep reading for more information on the weights of electric guitars.
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Table of Content
- Guitar Weights – Overview
- How does the weight of a guitar affect its sound?
- What do guitars weigh on average?
- Weights of Electric Guitars
- Should I buy a light or heavy guitar?
- Why are some guitars heavy and others light?
Guitar Weights – Overview
If you are wondering, how much does an electric guitar weigh – there isn’t one answer.
All electric guitars weigh a different amount. It depends on what materials it is made from, and the style of the build. Electric guitar weight can be completely different. From the heaviest electric guitar to the lightweight guitar models, the weight of an electric guitar depends on several things.
The weight of an electric guitar largely depends on the wood used, as this makes up the bulk of the guitar’s mass.
The style of the guitar body also has a large effect, solid body guitars and hollow-body guitars have used different quantities of material, resulting in different weights. Generally, an acoustic guitar will weigh less than most electric guitars, but this isn’t always the case. Some of the lightest electric guitars can be lighter than an acoustic, particularly ones with a very thin body like the Gibson SG.
Read on for a deeper explanation of why electric guitars weigh what they do, and how the guitar weight can affect its sound.
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How does the weight of a guitar affect its sound?
The weight of a guitar has several effects on its sound.
Heavier guitars generally sound warmer, with shorter decay. This is because the heavy wood absorbs more of the energy, making it harder to transmit and resonate.
The weight of a guitar affects its tone. However, heavy guitars can benefit from the added sustain and volume. Some players prefer the heavier sound because it is more powerful and can be versatile in how it’s used.
Heavy guitars need to be made with better materials and construction because they have to withstand more strain that is put on them than lighter guitars.
Lightweight guitars are usually suited for travel, live performance, and experimentation to see what works best for the player’s needs.
Lighter guitars typically sound brighter.
The weight of the guitar largely influences the tone of its sound. A heavy guitar will produce a fat, heavy tone. Whereas a lighter guitar will produce more sustained sounds with higher treble frequencies.
The weight of a guitar affects its tone and playability. Generally, the heavier the guitar, the better it is to produce deeper, richer tones. So in that sense, guitars with lighter weight are more suitable for a cleaner sound.
Heavier guitars are less prone to feedback, which means they can handle more gain and distortion than lighter models.
Effects of wood on weight
The type of wood used in an electric guitar has a huge effect on its weight.
All woods have different densities, so some are heavier than others.
The number is an average, you can probably +/- 20%.
- Alder: ~550 kg/m3
- Basswood: ~450 kg/m3
- Mahogany: ~500 kg/m3
- Maple: ~600 kg/m3
- Swamp Ash: ~500 kg/m3
- Walnut: ~700 kg/m3
What do guitars weigh on average?
Weights of Electric Guitars
Fender Stratocaster 3.6KG Alder
One of the most popular electric guitars on the market, the Fender Stratocaster typically weighs in at around 8 pounds – 3.6 kg. These solid-body guitars are often made from ash or alder, and commonly with a maple neck. The fender telecaster weight is similar to most fender guitars. This guitar sounds fantastic and has an instantly recognizable guitar tone.
The fender Stratocaster weight feels light-mid range thanks to the types of wood used.
These are neither the heaviest nor lightest guitars around, they are the average. Most guitar players will find the weight of these comfortable to play.
These use 3 guitar pickups which increase their versatility.
For their versatility and high level of features, it’s surprising how light they can feel. Fender Stratocasters are known to have a professional, high-quality tone.
Yamaha Pacifica 3.5KG Maple
The Yamaha Pacifica is a more affordable homage to the Fender Stratocaster. Favoring Maple instead of the typical alder, the Pacifica weighs a fraction less than the Fender variety. They still have nearly all of the same features, except for one less tone knob. The quality of these guitars is comparable to a Squire Stratocaster, which weighs a similar amount. These are not noticeably lighter than a Fender strat, but it’s interesting to see the effects of wood density in a guitar with the same design.
Fender Telecaster 3.65KG Alder
The Fender Telecaster design predated the Stratocaster, so it is more archaic and primal in its design. This is slightly reflected in the weight, which is often heavier than a strat.
These are still relatively light guitars, and they have a different tone to a Stratocaster thanks to the pickup use, body shape, and slightly curved fretboard.
There are hollow and semi-hollow versions on the Fender Telecaster range, which can be significantly lighter than the solid body ones. The hollow telecasters (also known as Fender American Elite Thinline Telecasters) can weigh around 2.7kg, which is noticeably lighter. These actually appeared on our best lightweight guitars list.
Fender Jazzmaster 3.62KG Poplar
Next up is the Fender Jazzmaster. These offset guitars have a unique, slick look to them, with more angled cutaways and slanted horns.
The Jazzmaster ranges fall into a similar weight category as the stratocasters, with only a minor increase in weight. Some of the other Fender offset guitars are a little lighter, such as the Fender Mustang and Fender Jaguar. The music master is even lighter.
Gibson Les Paul 3.6KG Mahogany
Moving onto a different guitar manufacturer, it’s the Gibson Les Paul. Despite this guitar’s noticeably smaller body, the guitar still weighs nearly the same as a Stratocaster. The Gibson Les Paul Custom is a popular guitar model, and uses a few types of wood throughout the build.
This is in part due to the heavy mahogany wood that’s used to build the body. The mahogany body is more sculpted and curved than a Strat, but still uses a similar thickness. Mahogany is denser than alder and maple, so it adds more weight to the guitar. It has a warmer tone with different resonant characteristics. This is why Gibson chose the wood, as it complimented the rich, thick tone they were trying to achieve with the Les Paul.
Gibson SG 3KG Mahogany
The Gibson SG somewhat a progression in design from the Les Paul, as Gibson were trying to improve on the original blueprints.
The SG uses a much thinner body than both the Gibson Les Paul and the Stratocaster, which creates a significant decrease in relative weight. This weight relief is noticeable, and despite being made of mahogany which is traditionally heavy, this is lighter than some older body guitars.
The lightness of these guitars has an interesting effect on their sound and performance.
Most notably, these guitars, when distorted, were more prone to feedback. Whilst this would be seen as an issue for many styles of music, the guitar was adopted by the heavy metal and rock community. The lightness and sensitivity of these guitars gives them a feeling of danger and risk when amplified, which makes for great rock and roll performances. These are lighter than GIbson Les Paul guitars, but with a heavier tone.
PRS SE Custom 24 4KG Mahogany
The PRS Custom is about 10% heavier than the average Stratocaster model. They have a similar looking shape, to a strat, but with a slightly wider neck, and more contoured body.
Weighing in at around 4 kilos, the PRS Custom is one of the heavier electric guitars on this list. This is mostly due to the use of mahogany, which is denser and heavier than maple and alder which is more commonly used. The result is a heavy guitar with a full, rich tone. PRS Guitars are known to have a recognisably different tone to Stratocasters, thanks to their weight and design.
Ibanez Artcore Hollowbody 2.72KG Maple & Mahogany
The lightest guitar on this list, the Ibanez Artcore is an example of a hollow body guitar.
These retro instruments sound as cool as they look! These are super light thanks to the hollow cavity in their body. The hollow design makes them lighter, and completely changes the way they resonate and respond to being played. This semi-hollow body guitar has a clean sound and look, and is an incredibly light guitar, much less than the average weight. This is closer in weight to acoustic guitars.
These guitars have a very warm, full resonance, with an elongated decay. They might not be the best guitar for distorting though…
As they are hollow, they are prone to feedback, so these guitars are usually used by Jazz and Blues players, although not explicitly.
The lightness of these guitars may be an issue in some circumstances, due to their sensitivity to feedback. This can be somewhat avoided with feedback suppression pedals, but if you want a heavy tone, you might need to use a heavier guitar.
¾ sized Stratocaster 2.8KG Alder
These small strat models are unsurprisingly lighter than their full-sized counterparts. The Squire Alder body strats come in around 2.8 kg, but there are models available in other woods.
Ibanez RG Series 3.4KG Basswood
The Ibanez RG range mostly uses Basswood for its body material. This super strat design is slightly lighter than the normal Stratocaster. These guitars are designed to have a fast response, to support quick techniques like shredding and finger tapping. The lightness helps by reducing strain on the player. This is slightly lighter than the average electric guitar weight.
Should I buy a light or heavy guitar?
Light guitars are easier on your hands because they have lower action and require less strength in your fingers. Light guitars also produce more sound than heavy ones do because their soundboard can resonate without interference from their body weight.
Heavy guitars have a difficult time staying in tune. If you play a heavy guitar for a long time, your hands may feel pain too. That is because the strings are under more tension and the neck has to support more weight.
Ultimately you should play whatever you feel most comfortable with.
Heavier guitars create more muscular strain and are more effort to carry around, transporting between gigs and home. Choose whichever style suits your needs the best.
Why are some guitars heavy and others light?
The weight can vary depending on the type of electric guitar.
For example, a solid-body electric guitar is usually much heavier than a hollow body guitar because it is denser and has less hollow space. The weight can also vary depending on the materials used in the construction of an electric guitar
Following are some factors that affect the weight of an electric guitar:
The design and style of the guitar have a large impact on its weight. From the Les Paul to the PRS Custom, each guitar uses a different set of materials, shapes, and sizes.
There is also a large amount of weight difference based on the body type of the guitar, whether it is a solid body, hollow body, or acoustic.
There are many types of electric guitar out there, you can find out more on our post here about our favorite electric guitar types.
The guitar’s shape will define how much wood is used, therefore how heavy it is. Some guitars are more contoured, others are chunkier. Some electric guitar models have a thicker body than others, which adds to their weight. Guitars with double cutaways tend to be lighter than guitars with single cutaways.
It may sound obvious, but the size of the guitar also affects its weight. Some of the best lightweight guitar models I’ve seen are actually ¾ sizes, or even use a headless guitar design.
Guitars come in different shapes and sizes which can affect their weight. The weight of the guitar depends on the type of wood used, the shape and size of the body, as well as how much finish is applied to it
The size and shape of a guitar will also play a role in how heavy it is. For instance, guitars that are more rectangular or “boxy” (such as a Fender Stratocaster) tend to be heavier than those that are rounder (such as Gibson SG).
When it comes to weight, the shape is what matters most. A guitar that is long and narrow will usually be lighter than one that has a deep body.
A big guitar is usually heavier than one with a smaller size, but not always. Electric guitars are usually lighter than acoustic guitars because they lack the wood construction of an acoustic guitar.
The shape of the guitar determines its weight more than any other factor. A big guitar with a deep body will be heavier than an electric model which lacks any wood construction at all.
There are several factors that can determine how heavy a guitar is. It all depends on the size of the body and the type of construction that has been implemented into its design. Electric guitars are usually heavier than acoustic guitars by about one or two pounds because they don’t have a hollow body.
The electric guitar can be split into two groups: solid body and hollow body. A solid-body electric guitar has no resonant cavity inside its body. The hollow-body electric guitar does have a resonant cavity inside its body; this can amplify the sound of the instrument which makes it more suitable for certain types of music.
Solid-Body Guitars usually weigh more than hollow bodies. The lightest electric guitar will either use hollow bodies or solid bodies made from lighter wood.
Semi hollow-body guitars are a cross between the two. Semi-hollow guitars are generally some of the lightest guitars.
The type of wood used in a guitar also affects its weight. Denser woods are favored for their warm resonance, but also come with additional weight. Lighter woods take less effort to carry but can sound thinner in comparison.
This concludes the guide on electric guitar weights. Whether you are looking for a heavy electric guitar, or a light one, make sure you choose the weight you feel most comfortable playing. Avoid playing the guitar that feels too heavy or uncomfortable.
Now you should understand how the sound of a guitar is affected by its weight, and have a deeper understanding of the different factors that make a guitar light or heavy.
Remember, even identical guitars from the same range can have different weights. Whilst most guitars are made to spec, a guitar can weigh slightly differently based on organic randomness in the wood used.
Want to make your own guitar? Check out our post about how to build an electric guitar.
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