Guitar weight is a factor that people often overlook when they’re purchasing a new guitar. However, it can actually make or break your entire experience playing the instrument if you don’t take it into consideration.
Since everyone’s preferences and needs are different, it’s important to choose a guitar weight that is comfortable for you. If you’re going to be standing while you play and are a smaller individual, you might what to go for a lightweight guitar. If you’re going to be sitting down while you play or are a naturally larger individual, you might be comfortable with a heavyweight guitar.
So what is the average guitar weight? In short, the average electric guitar weight is anywhere from 6 pounds to 12 pounds (3 to 5kgs). Lightweight guitars typically have a weight of around 6-8 pounds (2.7kg -3.6 kg). Heavy guitars weight 9-12 pounds (4.1 kg – 5.4kg).
Now, this may sound like a huge range, but there are plenty of variables associated with the construction of a guitar. Since electric guitars come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, the guitar weight tends to vary drastically.
In this article, you’re going to learn everything you need to know about guitar weight all the different factors that contribute to electric guitar weight. You’ll also learn how it affects the guitar in terms of sound and playability.
I’ve also included a list of 7 examples of well-known guitars and their average weight so you can see what properties are associated with light and heavy electric guitars.
After reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding of what contributes to the weight of an electric guitar. You’ll also be able to make an educated decision on whether a light or heavy guitar is better suited for your play style.
What Factors Determine Electric Guitar Weight?
As previously mentioned, there are hundreds of different factors that are involved in the construction of electric guitars. As a result, the weight of a guitar drastically varies.
Some examples of factors that determine the guitar’s weight include the type of wood, body type (solid or semi-hollow body), hardware, neck wood, and much more!
Type of Body Wood
The most significant factor that determines the electric guitar weight is the type of wood that the guitar is made of.
Certain woods are inherently heavier and denser than others. As a result, the type of wood that the guitar is primarily made of has the largest effect on the weight. Also, something to keep in mind is that electric guitars are typically made up of various different types of wood, rather than a single type of wood across the whole guitar. That being said, the largest part of the guitar is the body, so this is the largest factor that contributes to the weight of the guitar.
Here are the common types of woods that electric guitars are constructed out of:
- Alder (Light -Medium Weight)
- Swamp Ash (Relatively Lightweight)
- Basswood (Lightweight)
- Mahogany (Relatively Heavy)
- Maple (Heavyweight)
Solid Body Guitar Vs. Semi-Hollow & Hollow Body Guitar
Another major factor that influences the overall guitar weight is the body type. The most common type of guitar body is a solid body guitar meaning the entire body is made from a thick slab of wood. Guitars such as the Gibson Les Paul Custom, Fender Stratocaster, and Tele are all examples of solid body guitars. Some solid body guitars are chambered guitars, meaning that have certain sections of the body carved out on the inside specifically meant to reduce its weight for playability purposes.
For example, most Les Paul guitars nowadays, including the Les Paul Studio and Epiphone Les Paul are chambered, which significantly lowered their weight from an uncomfortable 12+ pounds down to a much more manageable 8-9 pounds.
Semi-Hollow and Hollow Body guitars, as the name would suggest, have either a fully carved out body and large sections of the body carved out to make them hollow. This significantly reduces the overall weight of the guitar. The most common example of a Semi-Hollow body guitar is the Gibson ES-335, but there are many others.
Does Guitar Weight Affect Tone?
There are hundreds of different factors that contribute to the tone of an electric guitar. These factors include the type of wood used for the body and guitar neck, hardware, guitar pickups, finish, and even shape.
Some major factors that affect tone aren’t even directly related to the guitar itself. These include external sources, such as amplifiers, cabinets, effects pedals, cables.
An electric guitar’s signature tone is a culmination of all these of these factors.
The electric guitar weight is just one of those factors. There is a lot of debate among guitar players as to whether the guitar weight even makes a difference, or if the actual weight is just a result of the other, more important factors, such as tonewood.
Though the weight of the electric guitar is arguably the least impactful tone factor compared to others mentioned above, every little detail can make a difference.
Lightweight Electric Guitar Vs. Heavy Electric Guitar: Major Differences
When deciding on a guitar, it’s important to find one that sounds good and feels comfortable to play for you. The guitar weight is definitely something you should consider, as it affects the entire guitar playing experience.
Lightweight Electric Guitars
The general consensus among many guitar players is that lightweight guitars produce brighter highs and “open” sounding tones.
Lighter guitars are more responsive because there is less inertia caused by the body when the guitar string is struck. This also tends to make lighter guitars more resonate in response to the vibration of the strings.
One important thing to consider when choosing an electric guitar is playability. Lightweight guitars are simply easier to play. Whether you’re standing up performing at a concert or just sitting in your home studio, you’ll easily be able to jam on a lighter guitar for long sessions.
Lighter guitars are usually associated with modern, metal music. They typically have thinner necks that are meant for playing fast.
Heavyweight Electric Guitars
Guitars that are heavier are often described as having a thick, fuller sound. For example, the signature tone of a Les Paul guitar is a very rich, fat tone. This is due the size and thickness of wood used to anchor the pickups and strings.
It is also believed by many guitar players that heavier guitars sustain for much longer. In theory, heavy guitars have more mass and more mass equals more sustain. Though this is up for debate as to whether the difference is significant enough to influence your purchase decision.
The one obvious factor to consider with heavy guitars is the playability. They are definitely more difficult to play. Plain and simple. If you take a Les Paul for example; they are chunky and not very ergonomic. This tends to be the case with many heavy guitars.
If you play a lot of live gigs or long sessions in general, heavier guitars might not be the best option. They are less comfortable and tiring to hold in your hands for long periods of time. You’ll really just have to decide if the tone is enough to justify the playability tradeoff.
Electric Guitar Vs Acoustic Guitar Weight
When comparing the weight of electric guitars and acoustic guitars, the electric guitar will almost always be significantly heavier. The main reason for this is that most electric guitars are solid body guitars whereas all acoustic guitars are hollow. Acoustic guitars need to be hollow to allow vibrations to resonate throughout the body and produce an audible sound without amplification.
Even Semi-Hollow body and hollow body electric guitars are typically heavier than acoustic guitars because they are physically larger (in terms of dimensions) and require additional components built-in, such as electronics.
Guitar Weight for Shipping
If you’re reading this post about electric guitar weight, then there’s a good chance that you’re either interested in shipping a guitar or have ordered a guitar online and are wondering how much the package will weigh as this will affect the overall guitar shipping cost. When determining how much a guitar will weigh for shipping, there are a couple of factors that you’ll need to consider in addition to the weight of the guitar itself.
However, on average, when you’re shipping a guitar, you can expect the total package to weight around 15-25 pounds depending on the weight of the actual guitar, the guitar case, and the shipping box combined.
Electric Guitar Case Weight
When it comes to electric guitar weight for shipping, the guitar case can make a huge difference in the total weight of the package. Depending on which case you get, the guitar case’s weight is heavier than the actual guitar itself.
Hardshell Cases – On average, hardshell guitar cases weigh between 8-12 pounds. This means that the case actually weighs more than the guitar in most cases unless we’re talking about an old 1950’s Les Paul or something similar. I definitely recommend going with a hardshell case when shipping your guitar. It’ll provide the best protection during transit. The added bulkiness and weight may be inconvenient, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run. If you’re looking for a quality hardshell case, then I would definitely go with an SKB Case from Amazon . I’ve been using this brand of hardshell cases for years, and they have never let me down.
Gig Bags – On average, gig bags weigh between 1-2 pounds. They don’t really add too much to the overall weight of the package, but they don’t nearly provide as much protection. You can definitely use one to ship your guitar, however, I would definitely double up on the bubble wrap.
Weight of Guitar Box
One thing that’s overlooked when shipping a guitar is the actual weight of the cardboard box used to ship the guitar. When you consider the dimensions of the box (18″ x 6″ x 45″) it can add a couple of pounds. You can find guitar boxes for shipping on Amazon . Not to mention that you’ll likely be using a lot of packaging materials to fill in the extra space. All in all, the total guitar weight for shipping can be up to 20 pounds or more.
7 Examples of Electric Guitar Weight
Here is a list of 7 different popular examples of electric guitar weights, and notable properties that make each guitar unique. Keep in mind that the electric guitar weights listed are just an average. No 2 guitars are exactly identical, even if they are the same model due to slight differences in wood and how it was constructed.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to find a guitar from this list that suits your play style.
Gibson Les Paul Weight
The Gibson Les Paul Standard is without a doubt the most iconic electric guitar in history. No other guitar can match the thick and powerful sounds that a Les Paul can produce. A true tone machine.
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The Gibson Les Paul is probably the most iconic guitar in the world, known for being a heavier guitar. Les Pauls have a thick mahogany body and mahogany neck, which is one of the heaviest woods. A Gibson Les Paul will typically weigh from 9-12 pounds (4.1 kg – 5.4kg) depending on the model. Back in the 1950s-1960s Gibson Les Paul ‘s weighed roughly 12 pounds. Around the 1980’s – 2000’s Gibson started releasing chambered models which allowed them to shave off 2-3 pounds, while still preserving its signature tone. Modern Les Paul guitars weigh approximately 9 or 10 pounds, which still classifies it as a serious heavyweight. Though the weight of this guitar makes it difficult to play long sessions and shows with, many professional guitar players, such as Slash from Guns ‘n’ Roses, deal with it due to the fat signature tones that they’re known for.
Fender Stratocaster Weight
Modeled after the famous Fender Stratocaster, the Squier Affinity Stratocaster offers the same iconic design, single coil pickups, and playability for those on a budget.
The Fender Stratocaster is also one of the most iconic guitars of all time along with the Gibson Les Paul. The average weight of a Fender Stratocaster is about 8 pounds (3.6 kg) . The weight can vary based on the type of wood that is used for the body. Fender Stats are typically made with either an alder body or a swamp ash body. Alder body guitars are usually a little bit lighter and are usually found in the older contemporary models from the 1980s. The newer Deluxe Fender Stratocaster s are usually made with swamp ash bodies, which are slightly heavier. If you want an all-around comfortable guitar, then you can’t go wrong with a classic Strat. It feels substantial in your hands, while not being too heavy to the point where it’s uncomfortable to play during long sessions.
Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty Weight
The Music Man Majesty is John Petrucci’s signature guitar featuring a modern shape designed for maximum playability and tone versatility with the piezo pickup.
The Ernie Ball Music Man weighs in at about 6 pounds (2.7kg) , making it one of the lightest on this list. It is clearly a modern style guitar meant for shredders. The shape is very sleek and comfortable in your hands. The purpose of this guitar’s design is to completely get out of your way as you play. Its lightweight form factor allows you to play it for extremely long sessions without tiring you out. Its body is made out of basswood, which is one of the lightest woods. I personally own Majesty and must say that it’s a complete joy to play.
Ibanez RG 550 Weight
The Ibanez RG 550 Genesis Collection is a reissue of the iconic Ibanez RG 550 from 1987. It’s a high-quality Japanese made guitar that features a stunning neon finish, thin maple Wizard neck, and Ibanez V7/V8/S1 vintage pickups.
The Ibanez RG 550 weighs about 7 pounds (3.1kg) . The guitar’s body is made out of ash, which is a fairly light weight wood as well. Ibanez as a brand is known for making guitars that appeal to metalheads and fast playing shredders. As a result, their popular RG line of guitars will typically be light and comfortable. Ibanez is also famous for their extremely thin wizard guitar necks, which also contributes to the lightweight of their guitars.
PRS Custom 24 Weight
The PRS Custom 24 is Paul Reed Smith’s claim to fame. It’s one of the most iconic guitars ever made right up there with the Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul. A stunning guitar that is the best of the best in terms of build quality and performance.
The PRS Custom 24 weighs about 8.5 pounds (3.8kg) , making it one of the heavier guitars on the list, next to the Gibson Les Paul. Its body and neck are both made out of the mahogany and it has a carved maple top. The PRS design has a classic look, but with some modern elements to help improve playability, such as its shape and cutaways. It’s definitely a heavy guitar, but not quite as chunky as a Gibson Les Paul. It’s a good compromise if you want a guitar that produces a rich tone but not a fan of the blocky shape of a traditional Les Paul. If you’re interested in purchasing a PRS Guitar, check out our Best PRS Guitars Review & Buyer’s Guide
Read Also: Where Are PRS Guitars Made? (2020)
Fender Telecaster Weight
The Fender American Performer Telecaster is known for it’s iconic twang sound. It offers a unique tone and playing experience that no other guitar can fully replicate. This is a top of the line made in USA guitar at an affordable price.
The Fender Telecaster typically weighs about 7.5-8 pounds (3.6kg). Its body is made out of alder and uses a maple neck with a maple or rosewood fingerboard. Its weight is fairly similar to a Fender Stratocaster. The weight of this electric guitar is right around the sweet spot where it’s not too heavy, and not too light. The playability on Telecasters is excellent, which is to be expected from a Fender guitar. If you’re interested in the signature twang sound for country or blues, then you can’t go wrong with a Fender Telecaster .
Strandberg Boden Weight
The Strandberg Boden is one of the premier headless guitars that started to gain mainstream attention among metal guitar players. They offer excellent playability, build quality and specifications. The Strandberg Boden is an interesting example as it is a very modern take on an electric guitar. This Strandberg guitar weighs about 5 pounds (2.2kg) , making it the lightest guitar on the list. It has a chambered swamp ash body with a maple neck. The cool part about the Strandberg is that it is a headless guitar, meaning it does not have a headstock. This makes the guitar noticeably lighter. This guitar was designed with playability in mind, allowing you to rest it comfortably in any playing position. The fact that it’s such a lightweight guitar means it’s a great option for those who play long sessions and gigs.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does an Electric Guitar Weigh?
The average weight of an electric guitar is between 6 pounds and 12 pounds (3kg – 5kg)
What is the Lightest Electric Guitar?
The lightest electric guitar is the Traveler Guitar. As the name suggests, it is a travel guitar that essentially strips out most of the components of a traditional guitar, such as the headstock and most of the body. As a result, it weighs a mere 2lbs.
Do Heavier Guitars Sound Better?
Yes, mainly due to the type of wood being used. Lighter guitars typically produce a brighter sound and heavy guitars usually produce a thicker, fuller tone.
How Much Does a Les Paul Weigh?
On average, a Les Paul weights 8-10 pounds (4.1kg)
How Much Does a Fender Stratocaster Weigh?
On average, a Fender Stratocaster weighs about 8 pounds (3.6kg)
How Much Does a Fender Telecaster Weigh?
On average, a Fender Telecaster weighs about 8 pounds (3.6kg)