Why Are Les Paul Guitars So Heavy? 

If you’ve ever held a Les Paul, you’ll know their reputation for being heavier than many other electric guitars is well-deserved. This characteristic is due to several factors, including the choice of materials, construction techniques, and the design philosophy behind these iconic guitars. 

Les Paul guitars are so heavy because they are made of dense tonewoods like mahogany, maple, and rosewood. Heavier hardware — such as tuners and a larger bridge system — can also contribute to the higher weight. 

In this post, I’ll be covering how the choice of wood and hardware can affect the weight, summarize the weights of each Les Paul model, discuss the relationship between weight and tone, and share tips on how you can minimize the impact of the weight.  Let’s get started!

Choice of Wood

One of the key factors contributing to the weight of Les Paul guitars is the choice of wood used in their construction. 

Les Pauls are typically made with dense tonewoods such as mahogany, maple, and rosewood, which add to their heaviness. While the combination of these woods provides rich and distinct tones, it does result in a heavier instrument.

Check out this table showing how the density of these tonewoods compares to other popular options:

Rosewood750-900 kg/m3
Maple600-750 kg/m3
Mahogany590-600 kg/m3
Ash 480-850 kg/m3
Alder450-510 kg/m3
Spruce400-500 kg/m3
Cedar370-580 kg/m3
Basswood370-410 kg/m3

As you can see, the three tonewoods that make up the Les Paul – mahogany, maple, and rosewood – are some of the densest woods available. 

Mahogany – which makes up the bulk of the guitar – is a popular choice for electric guitar construction due to its resonance and sustain qualities, but it is also known for being relatively heavy compared to alternatives like alder or basswood. 

In addition to the wood choice, Les Paul guitars feature a thick, solid body construction, as opposed to the lighter, contoured body shapes found in some other electric guitars. 

Body Thickness

As I mentioned, another element to consider is the body thickness of Les Paul guitars. 

These guitars often feature a slightly deeper body, which means more wood is used in their construction and increases the weight. This offers a nice change to the tone, but it does add to the weight. 

Solidbody vs Semi-Hollowbody

The difference between solidbody and semi-hollowbody designs is a factor that affects the weight of Les Paul guitars. 

Solidbody guitars have a solid piece of wood for their body. Not surprisingly, this usually makes them heavier than semi-hollowbody guitars, which have cavities or chambers within the body to reduce weight and produce a distinct tone. 

While a few Les Pauls have semi-hollowbody structures, most are heavier solidbody guitars. 

Weights of Each Les Paul Model

Here’s a table showing the weight and tonewood makeup of each Les Paul model:

Standard9-12 lbs (4-5.5 kg)Mahogany body, maple top, rosewood fingerboard
Custom9-11 lbs (4-5 kg)Mahogany body, maple top, ebony fingerboard
Junior7-8 lbs (3.1-3.6 kg)Mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard
Special7-8 lbs (3.1-3.6 kg)Mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard
Studio8 lbs (3.6 kg)Mahogany body, maple top, rosewood fingerboard
Traditional9-10 lbs (4-4.5 kg)Mahogany body, maple top, rosewood fingerboard
Tribute8 lbs (3.6 kg)Mahogany body, maple top, rosewood fingerboard
Deluxe9-10 lbs (4-4.5 kg)Mahogany body, maple top, rosewood fingerboard

How To Make Playing A Heavy Les Paul Easier

Playing a heavy Les Paul guitar can sometimes cause discomfort and limit your playability. Fortunately, there are a few ways to make playing a Les Paul guitar easier and more enjoyable.

Adjust the Strap

The first method is to adjust the strap to find the most comfortable position for you. A well-fitted strap allows for even weight distribution and can prevent strain on your shoulders or back. 

Pro-tip: Tie a shoestring around the headstock and run the long end through the neck-side hole in your regular guitar strap. This can improve your balance and playing position. 

Use Proper Posture and Form When Playing

Another way to make playing a heavy Les Paul easier is by practicing proper posture and form while playing. 

Standing upright with your shoulders relaxed will help prevent muscle strain due to poor posture. When sitting, use a chair with enough back support to avoid hunching over your guitar.

You should also take breaks during practice or performance, as these can provide relief from the weight. It’s much easier to play well during a long session if you give your muscles a rest every now and then. 

When you take your breaks, stretch your muscles and relax your body. Not only can this make playing easier, but it can actually help prevent injury. 

Here’s a great video that covers essential hand stretches:

Install Lighter Hardware

If you’re still struggling with the weight after implementing the aforementioned fixes, I recommend installing lightweight hardware on your Les Paul. 

A great place to start is by installing an aluminum tailpiece. Although it’s a smaller modification, an aluminum tailpiece can provide a nicer tone for some players and contribute to a lighter overall weight.


Les Paul guitars are known for their weight, which can be attributed to their solid body construction and the choice of materials used. The typical Les Paul is built with heavy tonewoods such as mahogany, maple, and rosewood, which contribute to their distinct sound and playing experience. 

The weight of Les Paul guitars can vary depending on the specific model, era, and even the particular guitar itself. For example, some Les Paul Customs from the Norlin Era can weigh even more than a standard model, while others may be lighter due to variations in wood density or the inclusion of weight relief features.

Despite their significant weight, Les Paul guitars remain popular for their unique tonal qualities, sustain, and iconic design. The heft of these instruments is a trade-off many are willing to accept to get the awesome sound of a Les Paul. 

If you found this article useful, you may want to save this pin below to your Guitar board.


I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

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