Weight Relief Weighing more than Non Weight Relieved?

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

  1. fjrabon

    fjrabon Member

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    Ah yeah, I forgot about 2016 being the oddball year for weight relief. If I recall correctly 2016 was regarded as a great year for almost every model *except* the traditional (not because of the weight relief).

    It’s not totally clear. It moved to Nashville, yes. But the ES guitars are built by separate people and are still overseen by the custom shop (though not built by custom shop employees). It’s kind of a hybrid USA/Custom Shop thing I guess. They’re not technically listed as part of the USA line like SGs and Les Pauls are.
     
  2. Jabby92

    Jabby92 Member

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    Yeah, my Traditional is great other than the fingerboard is sadly damaged which I didn't realize until I went to a shop a couple years later and played a Les Paul that wasn't mine. I took it to my tech and under the right lighting and with the right measurements we determined that the fingerboard wasn't cut properly from the factory.

    Meaning that the slots are all off by very small increments (like probably hair width increments). Its something you don't notice until you get way up high on the neck where it becomes mroe apparent on the last frets. It sadly throws the intonation off enough that it bothers me to keep it at this point. Crazy thing is I played the guitar for the past 3 years a ton just cause its so light and the sound is still good but the issues I have with it have ruined it for me, all because of some stupid machine at Gibson messing things up.

    I've become really fussy ever since I acquired a custom shop guitar, it just made me realize/learn how bad all my other guitars are in comparison.. and its not just the Gibson, my other ones also have issues that I didn't notice for years until now.
     
  3. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    Doesn't Gibson kiln dry wood?

    hunter
     
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  4. fjrabon

    fjrabon Member

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    Yes. Though my understanding is that after the kiln process they will gain and lose humidity from the air, up until the finish is applied, which mostly ends that process (though not completely). And each piece of wood can vary as to how much moisture it will absorb or release after the kiln process.

    The kiln process is basically to get newer wood to where it can be worked with easily without having to let it sit as long as in the old days. Its not really the goal of the kiln process to get it to any particular weight or resonance. Just to make it stable enough to be easy to work with.

    That’s my understanding at least.
     
  5. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    They sure do, normally.

    I was picking through some pieces of wood (not necessarily guitar wood) and came across some really nice Honduran Mahogany. Only you would never use this as your basis for a guitar body. Incredibly dense, and super heavy. The kind of mahogany that if you forged ahead, even with the most radical weight relief it would still be a 13 pound guitar, in SG form. Nope, not a plan.
     
  6. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    Probably their purveyors have already done so - could've been dried a couple times before it even gets to Gibson.
     
  7. Danzego

    Danzego Member

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    I would be surprised if a piece of kiln dried wood picked up more than an ounce of additional weight from moisture while sitting in the factory waiting to be used.
     
  8. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    Yes suppliers could have done some air drying prior to sending to Gibson. I believe Gibson makes reference to their special vaccu-kiln drying process. Or at least they used to. Dries wood from inside out and all that good stuff. The goal of kiln drying is to reach a moisture level. Once that process is done, the wood is stored in climate control environment. I expect some minor changes in moisture levels are possible but I'd be real surprised if there was any meaningful weight gain. And given kiln temps are relatively much higher than ambient, I would not expect any weight loss.

    hunter
     
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  9. fjrabon

    fjrabon Member

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    My understanding is that Gibson doesn’t do their own general kiln drying, other than stuff that is specifically marketed as “thermally treated” in a few models (like some of the more recent ES models have the center block specifically “thermally treated” and it’s dramatically lighter than normal. Because it’s not finished it doesn’t cause problems doing that for a center block on an es335).

    For most of their wood stock, I believe they buy it pre-kiln treated. What I’ve been told (not in the context of Gibson, but just in general) is that after kiln drying you want to let the wood then readjust to it’s “natural” state, ie the “fresh” water is out, but you do want the amount it would naturally have if just left out in normal humidity. Because kiln drying can *really* dry the guitar out. If you kiln dry it and then keep it in a really dry atmosphere all the way until the paint is applied, it can cause the finish to bubble up or flake off later, as the wood gets back to its “natural” state. I believe this was an issue some of the early PRS had. I’m no expert though, this was just what I was told.

    I’ve taken the Nashville and Memphis tours and while I’m sure I didn’t see every single part, there didn’t seem to be any kiln area at Gibson Nashville (this was before they absorbed the Memphis factory). And at Memphis they made clear it was only done on center blocks.

    Perhaps the process was different at some point or perhaps they just omitted that part of the tour.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 10:48 AM
  10. Matteo11

    Matteo11 Supporting Member

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    How was the tour at the Gibson Factory in Nashville? Is it worth it? I've lived here since 1988 and ashamed to say I have yet to take the tour.
     
  11. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    This^. I have an R9 weighing 8.4 lbs., and a CS LP weighing 9 lbs. exactly.

    I recently bought an LE Studio, which weighs 7.7 lbs, and has the newest type of weight relief, making it more chambered.

    The 9 lb. LP I have is balanced and feels lighter then it weighs. The R9 feels very comfortable at 8.4 lbs.

    I believe both CS LP's are solid throughout. If the 9 lb. LP felt too heavy to me, I would have sent it back, but it is at the top of the weight limit I can handle and not have problems after a 4 hour job.
    I also use leather 3 1/2"-4" wide straps, and that helps out a lot.
    ymmv
     
  12. KenG

    KenG Member

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    I've ready it's not density that varies much as most are grown in the same climate (and weather controls density of growth rings) but instead it's mineral content in the wood. Certain areas have more ground water than others and it allows th trees to store more mineral in the wood than areas where the ground is drier.
    No idea of that's true but......
     
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  13. fjrabon

    fjrabon Member

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    It was kind of sad at the time. Nobody seemed to enjoy what they were doing. This was early 2018 when the rumors were swirling constantly.

    It was neat from a perspective of just seeing the process though, if you’re into that sort of thing. You kind of get a fee for where the labor costs come in more (binding and finishing)
     
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  14. fjrabon

    fjrabon Member

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    My trad is 9lbs non weight relieved flat. But they’re kind of all over the place. I saw one traditional non-weight relief listed at 8lbs 9oz. Which is definite custom shop territory weight wise. But I’ve seen others get close to 11 lbs.

    Fender is even worse with the variation. I’ve seen 50s classic series teles that weigh 6lbs flat and others that weigh 9.75 lbs.
     
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  15. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    I've noticed the weight variation independent of model type as well. At my age, weight means a lot to me but only in conjunction with the other elements of choosing a guitar, which I feel are needed by me, and others, to make a good choice.

    It's not easy trying to find a guitar with all the right elements, which cause us to reach for our wallets.
     
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  16. fjrabon

    fjrabon Member

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    Yep. If you just want a great Les Paul, there’s tons. If you start looking for specific things: certain finish, certain weight range, certain neck feel, certain darkness of rosewood, etc things can get dicey.

    I played probably 30-40 R9s, R8s, traditionals, 50s spec standards before I found the one that ticked all my boxes: 9lbs, dark burst, subtle flame, 50s but not super thick neck with soft shoulders, big sustain
     
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  17. MusicalMan

    MusicalMan Member

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    Another thing to take into account is that maple is heavier than mahogany; it is more dense which makes it heavier and harder than mahogany. As we know, the maple is on the top, so perhaps the maple tops have a bit to do with this extra weight we are discussing.

    But to add to the sentiment that Gibson uses select woods for their USA and Custom Shop guitars is probably true from what the internets has been telling me for a while. Obviously the "better" woods go to CS guitars - as they should IMHO.
     
  18. KenG

    KenG Member

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    Regardless it's still the proper Mahogany Species being sourced (Swietenia Macrophyllia) as opposed to many Asis manufacturers using material loosely called Mahogany.
     
  19. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    I understand having to look for the right one myself. I have to buy via the net, and I looked for 3 years to find the one with the dimensions, weight, neck shape and size, etc. until I found Kansas City Vintage Guitars. I must have been lucky, as they had 30 M2M R9's and regular R9's, all listed with the critical specs.

    The owner, Andrew, allowed me to pick 5 of them and he sound-tested them one against the other for me. Had it not been for him, I might still be looking. :)
    8.4 lbs, 1 of 10 M2M Bourbon bursts, great neck shape, and pickup ohmage. :)
     
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  20. Drew816

    Drew816 Supporting Member

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    Remove the pickguard, aluminum tailpiece and '08 LP Classic GoldTop. I believe this one is chambered though it's never clear to me, but considering the weight well... And this guitar sounds HUGE, really fantastic tone and depth. I was considering getting another LP but well, why? ;)

    [​IMG]

    And yes, I too laugh when the "weight relieved" axes are still weighing in at 10 lbs plus. I tried to find that picture from Gibson showing the body blank weights and which pile they go to depending (the lightest being CS up to regular production).
     

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