If you were ever wondering what is the average weight of an electric guitar and why is it like that, wonder no more. We will go through all the variations that may have an impact on the weight of the guitar.
So, how much does an electric guitar weigh? The average weight of an electric guitar is between 6 and 12 pounds (3 to 5kgs). Light guitars weight around 8 pounds (3.6 kg) and less. Heavy guitars weigh 9 pounds (4.1 kg) and more. The factors that determine the weight are the type of wood, type of body, hardware, neck type, etc.
Because of all these options, the weight of the guitar can vary. So let’s start from the beginning. What is the difference between light and heavy? Is one type superior compared to others? Let’s break down this question and answer every other you might have.
Light Guitar Vs Heavy Guitar
Since electric guitars are made from wood mostly, the type of wood would be the main determent of the weight of an electric guitar. Now, there are tons of different types of wood used for both necks and bodies of the guitar but we will go through the most common ones.
Most of the weight of the guitar comes from the body. There are three main types of guitar bodies: solid body, semi-hollow, and hollow-body guitars. Solid-body guitars like Gibson Les Paul, SG, Fender’s Stratocaster and Telecaster, would be the most common solid body guitars. Of course, the others that were originally inspired by these like Ibanez and ESP would most likely be with solid bodies. The second category, the semi-hollow ones, like Gibson ES-335 would have holes in the shape similar to the violin and the body of the guitar is hollow, except for the center block that goes through the body. The last type, or the hollow body guitars, is made with a hollow body. So there will be no center block in the middle. These guitars are also called semi-acoustic.
Now that we went through different types of bodies, there are several types of wood that are the most common materials used for creating electric guitars.
Alder, Swamp Ash, Basswood, Mahogany, Maple. The wood types here are sorted from the lightest to the heaviest meaning that the Alder body guitars would be lighter than Mahogany ones.
While lightweight guitars are known to produce a brighter tone, the most important part for the resulting tone would be pickups. Light guitars are usually associated with modern music such as metal and are usually equipped with thinner, “fast” neck. One of the options you can choose if you desire a lightweight guitar is picking a lighter wood. Guitars with alder body are known to be lighter, but of course, there are other options. Alder, which is a lightweight wood, will have a brighter tone than any other type of wood. Since the mid-’50s most of Fender guitars have been made with alder bodies. It is resonant, light, with more emphasis on the upper midrange. Before introducing alder, Fender used swamp ash and continues to use it for a small number of instruments. It is worth mentioning that there are guitars that aren’t made from wood at all that fall to this lightweight category. These guitars are carbon made guitars and are extremely light. The other interesting option for reducing the guitar’s weight is using chambered bodies.
Creating a chambered body guitar is rather simple. While creating guitar, the holes are drilled in the body of the guitar creating a “honeycomb” pattern that reduces weight drastically. Because of the holes, the wood that’s missing is reducing the weight of the guitar. This way guitars can weigh less than 6 pounds! Of course, Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top went even further and had few of his guitars fully chambered. What that means is that he had a body of the guitar, neck, and even headstock chambered. Because of the lightweight guitar and the tension of the strings, he plays .007 gauge custom made strings.
Several years ago Fender Custom Shop created a cardboard Fender Stratocaster. Using their amazing knowledge they created every part of the guitar using only cardboard. The body of the guitar, the entire neck, and even headstock were all made from cardboard. They used real pickguard, pickups, tuning machines, and all the hardware. The result was incredible and the guitar sounded amazing. As you can imagine, this guitar will be one of the lightest guitars ever.
If you are interested not only in electric guitars weight but also in acoustic. You can check out my post How Much Does An Acoustic Guitar Weigh? (14 Examples)
Heavyweight guitars are a direct contrast to the previous type, meaning that they create a lot of darker tones. Because of the density of the wood, the sound that comes out of one of these guitars will be darker and fuller. One of the main reasons Les Paul has been one of the go-to guitars for many players is because of its rich tone. There are theories that heavier guitars will provide more sustain, but this is not something that everyone would agree upon.
If Fender Stratocaster was the ambassador of the lightweight guitars, Gibson Les Paul would be his opposite. These guitars are a lot heavier, both in weight and sound. While some might like these characteristics, others might find Les Paul too difficult to play. If you are playing often, you might feel the consequences of the heavyweight guitar. Using woods like mahogany, usually with a thin layer of maple on the top for a more natural look.
how heavy is a heavy guitar? These guitars can have a weight of 12 pounds, and even more. There are, of course, some guitars that are created with materials like metal or even concrete! Naturally, these guitars will weight even more. Are mahogany guitars heavy? you might ask. When talking about standard materials, mahogany and maple would be in the heavyweight guitar category.
While it is natural to assume that solid-body guitars are heavier than semi-hollow or hollow body guitars, this isn’t always the case. There are a lot of factors deciding the weight and the body is not the only one. The neck of the guitar, hardware, pickups, and every other detail no matter how small will contribute to the weight of the guitar.
hollow body guitar, but due to its size and types of wood, these guitars weigh around 9 pounds.
Does Guitar Weight Affect Tone?
So, does guitar weight affect tone? The short answer is yes. The main factor that is affecting the tone of the guitar is its pickups and what is even more important: an amplifier.
While the shape of wood, density, type of neck, strings, and any other part of the guitar may affect tone, the amplifier is the most important for the shape and color of the tone. The reason the weight of the guitar is important is simple playability. Depending on what you’re used to, you might have trouble playing a heavier guitar while standing. At least for a longer period of time. While there are many people that might not agree on the importance of weight on the tone, the truth is that if you’re playing on a stage with the band, there is almost no chance that anyone would notice the difference between light and heavy wood.
If you are interested in improving your guitar tone, you can check my post 18 Easy & Quick Ways To Improve Your Guitar Tone
Do Lighter Guitars Sound Better?
So, do lighter guitars sound better? The short answer is: no. But heavy guitars don’t sound better either.
The most important thing and the deciding factor would be your preference. Some people love heavier guitars, love the feel of it, the weight while playing, while others would prefer being comfortable and not having to wonder about playability. Even if the tone is different, which some people would disagree, it is up to you to decide which one you like better.
Examples Of Famous Guitars And Their Weight
- Gibson Les Paul:
Les Paul is usually made from mahogany with some rare cases of swamp ash. The neck is made from either maple or mahogany, while fretboard can be rosewood, ebony and even maple. Gibson Les Paul’s weight is between 9 and 12 pounds (4 to 5.5 Kg). Some of the newer models are chambered, allowing them to cut down few pounds, but nevertheless, these guitars will remain in the “more than 9 pounds” category. Many guitar players, like Slash from Guns ‘n’ Roses, remain true to playing Les Paul despite its weight, because of the thick and rich sound they get.
- Fender Stratocaster:
Beside Gibson Les Paul, Stratocaster is the most recognizable guitar ever. Because of the thinner body, shape, and different woods. Fender Stratocaster guitars weight is around 8 pounds (3.6 kg) on average. With bodies made of alder or swamp ash, maple necks and maple/rosewood fretboards, these guitars are a lot lighter and more comfortable for longer playing. Guitarists like Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Hendrix, Jeff Beck, and many others have been playing Strat for years. If you are looking for a lighter guitar, you’ll never go wrong with Strat.
- Ernie Ball Music Man:
One of the lightest guitars with a solid body. Ernie Ball Music Man’s weight is around 6 pounds (2.7 kg)! With round edges, sleek, comfortable, these guitars are made for long sessions and practice. Guitar players like Petrucci and Steve Morse have been both playing Music Man for years. The main reason for their weight is the basswood body, which is one of the lightest woods in the market.
- PRS Custom 24:
Next, to Les Paul, the PRS guitars weight is around 9 pounds (4.1 kg). Made from mahogany with a carved maple top, along with mahogany necks, these guitars are one of the heaviest on the list. Made famous by Carlos Santana, for years PRS has been his number one guitar. If you are looking for a heavy guitar that is more comfortable than Les Paul, search no more.
- Gibson ES-335:
While this is a semi-hollow body guitar. Gibson ES-335 weight is around 9 pounds (4.1 kg). This is a lot of larger guitar compared to Fender. Because of the maple body, with maple center block, plus mahogany neck with rosewood or ebony fretboard, these guitars are still very heavy even though they are semi-hollow. But if you are looking for a perfect blues guitar, you shouldn’t be bothered with weight. ES-335 is one of the best semi-hollow guitars and one of the best blues and jazz instruments
- Gibson SG:
Because of the super-thin body, compared to Les Paul, the Gibson SG solid body guitars weight is around 6 pounds (2.7 kg). SG is one of the most comfortable guitars for playing and if you wanted Gibson sound, but didn’t really like the weight of the Les Paul, this guitar might be perfect for you.
- Ibanez JEM:
Ibanez guitars are solid body guitars. With bolt-on maple neck with either rosewood, maple or ebony fretboard, and basswood or alder body. These guitars will fall into a lightweight category. The Ibanez JEM weight is around 8 pounds (3.6 kg). Because the whole guitar is designed as a “superstrat” the weight will be similar to the original Fender’s Stratocaster.
- Michael Kelly Ultralight Collection:
We should mention that there are guitars like Michael Kelly’s ultralight collection guitars. Michael Kelly Ultralight Guitars’ weight is less than 6 pounds (2.7 kg). Using red cedar for bodies with maple tops, and drilling holes through the body of the guitar will reduce its weight for around 30%. If you are a fan of super light guitars, this might be the right choice for you.
- Gretsch White Falcon:
Gretsch is one of the best guitars if you are looking for an all-around guitar. They can be used for rock, blues, jazz, and almost anything. Falcon model is made of maple and it is a hollow body guitar. Gretsch White Falcon Weight is around 9 pounds (4.1 kg), even though the body is hollow. Because of the weight of maple, this guitar falls into the heavy category
- Yamaha Pacifica:
While this guitar might be considered to be an entry-level guitar, it is still one of the most popular instruments in the world. Using alder for the body of the guitar and maple for the neck (with rosewood fretboard). Yamaha Pacifica’s weight is around 7 pounds (3.2 kg). It is a perfect guitar for all those lightweight lovers out there who aren’t willing to spend a ton of money on their next guitar.
It is always interesting to find something innovative and new. These guitars are made of single piece mono chassis carbon fiber and are one of the lightest guitars on the market. Skelletron guitar’s weight is just above 4 pounds (1.8 kg)! The entire guitar is made of carbon fibers and is extremely thin. Using a combination of DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan pickups which will surely sound amazing. Using materials that were previously used in the aerospace industry, this guitar is perfect for all tech lovers and people who want to leave the usual and common guitar circle. If you haven’t seen these guitars, you should check them as soon as possible.
- Rickenbacker 330:
Rickenbacker guitar became famous thanks to many guitar players from Johnny Marr from the Smiths to U2’s Edge. With their trademark “crest moon” shaped hole, these guitars quickly became iconic. One of the most popular semi-hollow guitars is made with a maple body and three-ply maple/walnut neck. Rickenbacker 330 guitar weight is around 8 pounds (3.6 kg), putting it on the edge of the lightweight category. While it is not a mass-produced instrument, you can still order one if you’d like. Like all Rickenbacker instruments, these guitars are made in the United States too.
Taking all the options into consideration: type of wood or any other material used for body and the neck of the guitar, shape, thickness, density, and everything else, electric guitars weigh between 4 and 15 pounds (1.8 to 6.8 kg). There is no way to say with certainty which type is better, lightweight or heavyweight. Nor to assume that there is an optimal, perfect weight for electric guitar. The only thing that is important for choosing the guitar is the player’s wishes, preferences, and taste. There will always be someone who will like the other type more, no matter what we choose. The only right option is to choose the guitar that suits your playstyle and your preferences the best. Whether you like Les Paul, Stratocaster, or even Skelletron, you surely won’t miss if you pick the one that you love the most.