Weight Relief Weighing more than Non Weight Relieved?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Matteo11, Aug 12, 2019 at 6:29 PM.

  1. Matteo11

    Matteo11 Supporting Member

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    I was at Sam Ash today and was playing different LP's. They had a new black LP Classic that felt like it weighed to me at least 10 pounds or more. This struck me as odd since they are given the ol' 9 hole weight relief treatment.

    Curiosity got the best of me so I looked on Sweetwaters site and they currently have 4 offered in Ebony that all weigh between 9.10oz - 10lbs. Thats heavier than some of the new non weight relieved Standards.

    So the 9 hole weight relieved Classics are heavier than the non weight relieved Standards.

    This is by no means to start a Gibson bash (I'm a fan) just curious to what gives here?

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Sirloin

    Sirloin Supporting Member

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    They use even heavier wood on the weight relieved guitars
     
  3. Matteo11

    Matteo11 Supporting Member

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    That would make sense to why they weigh more when weight relieved but I always thought (and assumed) the consensus was anything close to 10lbs was heavy for an LP. When I think of non weight relieved lp’s I think of the 9.5-11lb range when buying a weight relieved I would assume at least under 9 pounds.

    Just struck me as odd since I’ve looked at the Standards too and they are weighing less than the weight relieved classics.
     
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  4. fjrabon

    fjrabon Member

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    9 hole weight relief, at the most, only removes roughly about half a pound.

    Mahogany body slabs can vary weight by 3-4 pounds.

    Maple is fairly consistent weight wise. At least compared to mahogany. And there’s less maple on the guitar.

    But mostly a Les Paul’s weight is going to come down to the density of the mahogany. Unless it’s an ES Paul, in which case it’s maple/poplar/maple plywood.
     
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  5. Magnets And Melodies

    Magnets And Melodies Member

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    Happens all the time. They can make a 12pnd guitar 10 pounds with weight relief, but fact is that they'll still be heavier than non relieved CS Les Pauls. Makes you think about the wood they use and what you're really getting.
     
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  6. Magnets And Melodies

    Magnets And Melodies Member

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    I know they're out there, but out of every Gibson USA Les Paul I've ever owned, I've never had one that weighed 9 pounds or under. Closest I ever got was 9.5, and they all had relief. Most of them averaged at 10pounds give or take a few ounces.
     
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  7. Don A

    Don A Silver Supporting Member

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    Yep. It removes very little weight and mahogany can vary a lot. The point in 9 hole weight relief isn't to make lighter guitars, it's to make guitars of acceptable weight out of wood that's not normally acceptable.

    I have a Les Paul Traditional that has 9 hole weight relief and it weighs 8 pounds 1 ounce. They probably could've skipped the weight relief.
     
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  8. Matteo11

    Matteo11 Supporting Member

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    Wow 8.1 that’s nice! I assume it sounds great too since you said you “have”instead of “had”
     
  9. jwguitar

    jwguitar Supporting Member

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    I wouldn't mind an all solid non-weight relieved guitar if it was going to be that heavy. Couple that with one of those graphtech resomax bridges and that guitar will sustain for days.
     
  10. fjrabon

    fjrabon Member

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    I honestly don’t think mahogany weight has that much to do with sustain. R9s sustain pretty well and they average around 8lbs.
     
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  11. jwguitar

    jwguitar Supporting Member

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    You have a point. Maybe its in my head. The heavier guitars I have had have seemed to sustained better but that is just from my experience. I haven't had the opportunity to play an R9 yet.
     
  12. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    I imagine the density of the wood varies by growth conditions -- and that slabs are sorted in the shop according to this variance.
     
  13. fjrabon

    fjrabon Member

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    My understanding is that it’s true to some degree. Harder woods tend to sustain more and they tend to be heavier. And very thin guitars can have resonance issues at times (SGs are known for this). But from what I’ve been told by a luthier, mahogany density itself has little to do with sustain.
     
  14. fjrabon

    fjrabon Member

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    Yes, although it’s a bit inexact since from the time he wood is sorted to the time it’s painted, it will dry out some. Occasionally some slabs lose water weight more than others. So you can end up with some lighter slabs in the heavier piles when it’s all said and done. Plus weight isn’t the only thing they look at when sorting mahogany. Grain factors in as well.
     
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  15. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    No doubt. Luthiery, even on an assembly line, isn't a science.

    All the more reason to play before you pay.
     
  16. jwguitar

    jwguitar Supporting Member

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    Very good point. I did not factor in the moisture content or lack thereof.
     
  17. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Supporting Member

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    This will be a problem until we guitar players stop being so pigheaded about wood... we want the best 5% of the available mahogany on 85% of the guitars. I heard someone play a smokingly good-sounding LP-style guitar (a DGN) with a cedar body, and went looking for a DGN, hoping they'd be less expensive than CS Les Pauls (they weren't, deservedly).

    Other woods (khaya, sapele, lacewood) have properties almost identical to mahogany... in other words, possibly closer to a '59 body than most of the mahogany we get today. But they're rejected because "1959", and because they've been used on import guitars, so they can't be any good if they're cheaper and more readily available... despite the fact that Les Pauls in 1959 had Brazilian rosewood, maple and mahogany because those woods were then cheaper and more readily available. If you bought a $69 Dano-built Sears catalog guitar in 1959, the fingerboard was Brazilian rosewood.

    I get it... when I was a kid, I assumed that the guitars my heroes played were the ultimates, and the only way to build a worthwhile guitar was to make it just like theirs. Bob Taylor once famously built a great-sounding acoustic out of pallet wood just to make a point. And he made it, but here we are, some of us happily paying a four-figure upcharge to replicate a piece of fingerboard wood that cost about $0.40 in 1970 (and probably a lot less in 1959).

    I'm as guilty as the next guy, playing an R7, but when I widened my search for "my" LP-style guitar, I'd have happily paid less for wood that wasn't historically accurate. And before you point that I finally found what I wanted with a mahogany body, I'll point out that the 100 or so guitars I tried & didn't want also had mahogany bodies.
     
  18. Jabby92

    Jabby92 Member

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    Gibson from my experience uses a lot of **** wood when building the USA Gibson's these days. Even the SGs seem to be being pumped out with 3 piece slab bodies or other multi-matched blocks of wood. I have a USA Traditional with 9 hole relief and its surprisingly only 8.6 pounds but its a 1 piece mahogany back which is rare (on about 5% of them probably). The sad part with my Gibson though is it has an issue with the fingerboard and I'm probably going to sell it or trade it in. I'm usually a staunch defender of Gibson but the USA line hasn't been quite the same in many years and I think the only way to get a really good one now is the Memphis CS stuff.
     
  19. fjrabon

    fjrabon Member

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    The traditional you’re talking about is at least 6 years old (traditionals switched from 9 hole to non-weight relieved in 2013), so I’m not sure it represents what Gibson is doing “these days” very well.

    Also, sadly, the Memphis factory no longer exists.
     
  20. Jabby92

    Jabby92 Member

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    Nope, its a 2016 with 'Traditional weight relief' which is 9 hole. They seemed to keep changing every year.

    [​IMG]

    The newest, newest ones seem to have gone full solid body. I did not realize the Memphis factory was gone, but I'm guessing its simply merged under the whole 'Gibson USA' thing?
     
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