Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by chrisjnyc, Jul 9, 2018.
Just out of curiosity, what do you consider the weight break point where the build becomes a PITA?
I think he means, the whole charade about catering to customers' overwrought concerns about guitar weight is a distraction and I bet Ron just wishes the customers would trust him, Ron Kirn, that the guitar he's made for them will do the job and its weight will not be an obstacle to great playing.
But since you presented the question just that way, why isn't the customer's size/weight a factor in what guitar is right? While a 10 pound guitar for a young woman player of 90 pounds does seem excessive, how is anyone gonna convince me that a 310 pound man would be hobbled by a 10 pound guitar?
SG's can often be in the 6 lb. range....
OP, there is a major online dealer that typically posts pics with weight of the guitars they sell........
I totally get the extra charge since it is more work and am not debating that, however ...although I only weigh about 215....there are plenty of people that have physical issues and need something lightweight. My number 1 for over a decade has been sitting in a case and comes out about 1x/month since it weighs almost 9 lbs...and I have several shoulder and neck issues that make that impossible to play on a strap. I just can’t bring myself to sell it.
It's not a specific number.. it's that requests for light weight are typically accompanied by a specific number...
I've been doing this long enough so that I can pickup a piece of raw lumber and know reasonably well what the finished weight will hit around... and I'm not gonna send out a 9 pounder unless someone has requested something like that... grabbing a hunk of raw lumber and converting it into a piece ready for the sealer takes maybe a half hour on a lazy day.... screw around looking for something that will come in at a target weight can take all day... and for what... ??
But if someone demands a guitar that's about 6.3 as an example .. now a lotta rooting through a room full of lumber, then roughing it down to size and weighing it comes into play... and by time ya get that far into it.. that piece of lumber is committed into being whatever it was shaped as.... if it's a "miss", the process starts over again. Then ya gotta photograph it so they can see if it's "pretty" .... I cannot tell ya how many times THAT is replied to with, "Do ya have anything else i can look at?"
It actually takes more time to rough a blank down to a state of completion to determine about what the weight will be, then get it prepped well enough to photograph than it does to just grab a quality piece and shape the body to completion..
so... whudda you guys think spending that much time and effort to accommodate a product of an internet myth is worth? If 'you" actually have a bad back, i'll be happy to accommodate ya.. but remember, I actually Do have a bad back...
the reality is most "guys" don't give a rat'z azz about "tone" . . what they care about is if the list of specs has all the "hot topics" checked off... it's all about "fashion". When ya try to share reality, it just pisses 'em off... and they wander off looking for someone else that will tell 'em what they wanna hear... Take a Car Salesmen's course .. see if ya don't hear the same tactics preached...
I recall filming an auto dealer commercial years ago.. we were in the "bull pen".. there on the wall was a giant sign, it read, "Shoot for the stars, you can always aim for the moon later..." That just set the temperament of the mentality...
The reality is that motion dynamics are most certainly a part of the calculus... the lighter you want a guitar, the higher the probability is that the sonic calculus collapses... more density dramatically reduces that reality... but, some guys just like fashion... at any cost..
here's a little secret... guys think the weight dictates the density which is directly proportional to resonance... that's just as incorrect as those answers ya guess at on your 10 grade physics exam in 1972 ... ya flunked that one too didn't ya? If ya make the body a little thinner, isn't the density the same?
The interesting thing is, they have all surfaced in the past decade or so.. and where were all the bad backs in 1975? 1985? 1995?? 2005??? And why don't bassists have bad backs? Are they exempt? . . . Sorry.. it's fashion.... it's all about "fashion".
True, but those tend to be terribly neck heavy.
To me as a 195 pounder who has no aches and pains even though I’m over fifty, I consider around 9 lbs the break point for “too heavy”.
My best tone machine (DGT) weighs 8.7 lbs. I would say most of the guitars I have kept are over 7.5 lbs. My lightest, the pine telemaster, probably weighs just under 7 lbs.
surprisingly, my last parts caster I thought would be light based on holding the bare body. Nope, after adding all the hardware and neck it likely weighs 8lbs.
So while i “like” light weight guitars, they have to sound good first and foremost. Wood does matter IMHO but at the end of the day, you need a happy medium. Unless of course it’s one of the light particle board danelectros.....
I have a friend who works in the shop who has an SG that's just over 6 lbs with no, zero, none, neck dive, highly stable and sounds amazing....of-course he won't sell it to me.
It's the most amazing and playable SG I've ever played, and I don't blame him for hanging onto it...it took him a long time to find it and it's a gem and a rarity for sure...
I don't think it's about fashion. I just think the weight of a guitar is something that just wasn't considered "back in the day." I remember going into local music stores back then and there wouldn't be 25 Strats that you could pick from....you were lucky if there were 2! When I bought my first Les Paul it was brand new and the only one the store had. You didn't think about weight....you wanted a Les Paul and you got the first one you saw. We know more things now, that's all. Wew know about different pickups, finishes, fret sizes, neck profiles, tuning machines....lots of stuff that we didn't worry about back then, weight being for sure one of them. For example, I know from experience that if I buy a Fender that is 8 pounds or more then I won't play it, so why buy it? I can pick a guitar up and pretty much tell if its too heavy for me, or not, even without scales. If it's too heavy I pass because I know I won't gig it.
Interesting. I suppose it has Kluson type tuners. Grovers often cause or aggravate neck dive on SGs.
Brilliantly expressed Ron!
Threads like the OP's are popping up more and more frequently as people obsess over some of the least significant details of an instrument - lightweight, quartersawn, etc, etc,. In cases relating to health I totally understand the need for light weight - completely legitimate. Otherwise, If most of these players obsessed even a 10th as much on their fitness and health, and practicing their instrument none of this would matter.
In the 70's heavier guitars were considered the better ones by most people... high output pickups too. Just to say...
I have a Nocaster that's a little over 6#. It's freaky light.
Until recently, I had a Thinline Tele partscaster. It weighed 5# 15 oz. Light as could be. I swapped all the parts over to a solid swamp ash body. The new guitar weighs 7# 3 oz. It sounded pretty much the same. Then I swapped the bridge pickup. Now it sounds different, and better. Both guitars sound(ed) like a Telecaster. Does weight have anything to do with it? It doesn't seem like it. But I find the swamp ash version more comfortable physically.
I played one of those brad paisley teles and you could probably throw that thing half way down a football field it was so light.
Perhaps this will help..
First.. I understand.. we all want the finest sounding instrument we can lay our hands on.... the problem is, few have a clue how to go about achieving that... thus, they just chase every internet myth that comes down the pike...Few if any mean squat..
I've been working/building guitars since 1962.... in that time I have been present for every "fad" that has been foisted on the guitar picking public. Virtually none of them remain as viable today...Know why?? Because they were bull..
that's the acid test.... if anything suggested for a guitar is meaningful, it sticks . . . if it sux.. it goes on the "shelf" of guitar history with the two pound bridges, Roland Midi gizmos and Gibson Robot tuners... (there's space reserved for the locking nuts and other "trick" nuts) Further.... if it performs as advertised... every guitar manufacturer adopts it and incorporates it into their guitars...
"Light weight" is destined for that shelf... It'll be stashed in the pile 'o shi* with all the other bunk once the marketers have played it out.... You guys that are chasing that crap are being sucked in like a 19 year old buying a used car... Hook, line and sinker, gone... slurrrrrppppp!
What few cannot seem to wrap their head around is that a guitar is nothing more than a machine... as such it is subject to the Laws of Motion a few may recall from that basic science class they slept through in the 8th grade...
You can piss, whine, diss, laugh, make fun of, all you want.. Science doesn't give a hoot... it is what it is, it is only interested in fact... it's not gonna change anything because you don't feel it applies to you, or that "You" have a guitar that "you" think is exempt.. Science doesn't give a rat'z ass what you think .. ever... side note, few realize this internet we use is the very product of scientists overwhelming compulsion, indefatigable need to verify... to prove unquestionably whatever "science" they were working on..
Science is the pure unequivocal truth that remains after everyone has "tried" everything they can to disprove it... You Have to live with it, there is no other choice.
When a Scientist makes a "new" discovery.. they "compare" notes.. They put out there extremely detailed information about every imaginable aspect of whatever processes where in effect that lead to a discovery, so others can try it to see of the results are predictable, repeatable, in every case...
Laugh if ya want, but "science" has ya by the "short hairs".. and it's not letting go... Science says a light weight body in the matrix of motion dynamics in which a guitar functions cannot deliver what you guys say it will...
Science says that a vibrating string will dissipate more of it's energy into a lightweight piece of wood than it will into a heavier piece... thus less energy remains to excite the pup into generating the signal... There's nothing any of ya can do to change that reality... it's provable, it's repeatable... every time... this is also why a bigger neck sounds "better" than a skinny one... all other things being equal...
However due to the fluctuating variables, a light weight guitar MAY produce a sound one prefers... but a variable is NOT a certainty.... and the bottom line is, "YOU" have to like what ya hear... And further polluting your opinion... If you are convinced that improved sound can only be a product of a light weight body, then cognitive bias becomes the predominant factor in any determination at which you arrive ... It's based on if you like what ya think you hear.. and that may not have anything to do with the actual, technical quality of the sound..
now.. here is an excerpt Bill Lawrence gave us, a few years before his death.. it addresses briefly why Science dictates a light weight guitar will generally sound inferior to a similar guitar of more mass...
This is a short version, because Me, Boris, and a few other's would get the 3 hour dissertation in phone calls from Bill.... I sure miss that guy... I don't miss my arm going to sleep though...
a lot of you will dismiss this... that's a mistake, but I'm sure you've made others, and will continue to do so, but some will realize what Bill is discussing.. please cut 'n past this in any other forum see where the topic is relevant.... perhaps we can offer a bit of resistance to the tidal wave of bad info surging through the internet these days.. Lightweight as a precursor to superior sound is a mistake...
and if you don't know who Bill Lawrence was, that's a shame. Perhaps you might want to fill that knowledge void. He was among the last of the "founding Fathers" of the modern electric guitar that has left us.. It was my honor to have known him.
This thread just caught my attention, and I can’t believe what I see. It reminds me of the violent arguments some people of a small kingdom had about the color of the new king’s beard. Finally, the king arrives, and guess what – the king had no beard!
Actually, what I see here is an argument about the validity of Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Let me assure you, both the acoustic and the electric guitar are subject to the same basic laws of physics, though their final functions are different.
The vibrating strings transmit the signal via the bridge to the top of the guitar. Now, we have to apply the laws of elastic collision to determine the propagation of longitudinal waves in various media.
The elastic properties and the mass of the body Vs. the mass and the tension of the vibrating strings determine the quantity of energy that is used to vibrate the air.
Make a simple test -- take two identical low E strings, put one of them on an acoustic guitar and the other one on a Tele and tune both strings to a low E. When you play both strings with the same force, you will see that the string on the Tele has a much greater amplitude than the string on the acoustic guitar. As a result, an identical pickup would not only generate a much higher voltage but also a different harmonic spectrum on the Tele, resulting in a totally different tone.
Each part of the guitar will cause an opposite reaction on the vibrating strings, and this is precisely what a pickup will sense. There are always the same questions like “what gauge of strings do you prefer.”
I select my gauges to compliment the guitar. I have one Tele that sounds the best with .009s and another Tele that requires .011s to sound right.
Now let me address the subject of this thread – solid body guitars are not designed to move air, and therefore, I cannot tell you how a guitar will sound amplified just by listening to the acoustic properties. Also, the differences in vibrations are too minute to detect by touch.
Most, but not all, guitars that are acoustically loud are poor performers when amplified and some guitars that sound fat and sweet acoustically can sound amplified thin and edgy. Judging a guitar by its weight is not an issue either. All that counts is the resonance of all its component parts assembled as a total.
There is a way to check out the tone of a guitar by its acoustic sound. I’ve been using this method for 60 years and not yet failed to select the right guitar, but you have to know what to listen for: I lay the guitar on my shoulder so it barely touches my ear. Then I scratch softly with one of my fingernails across the strings near the nut and listen to the harmonic spectrum up to the sizzling highs.
If anybody knows a better method, please let me know.
Here is the whole thread if you're interested in something said by someone that actually played a significant part in what er here from out guitars today...
Good post @Ron Kirn . I miss Bill as well. You could call to ask the time, and three hours later he’d have explained how a clock worked ! A brilliant and kind man.
Reflects my experience. Sorry to cut out all the good stuff in the middle but key points repeated for emphasis.
Would I rather have 6.5 or 7.5? My standard reply is with nothing else to go on? 7.5 *every* time. Make it 8 and it is 8 before 6.5.
This is a perfect illustration of where a titanium bridge, which might do little to change the overall quality of one guitar project, could completely transform another. People ask "what good do these boutique bridges do?" and the answer is, they may do little, may even be "wrong" on one project, and yet they can completely transform another collection of components. This is like modalities of medical treatment, which might cure one patient of cancer but fail to save another. Use your instincts, but be willing to keep trying various combinations. Meanwhile, I've awakened a one piece Honduran mahogany body with a Callaham, heavier than normal bridge assembly. Keep probing, and see what you can find, and resist the impulse to throw in the towel.
I hear you. My guitar doesn't fall the same way, doesn't tuck in so tight to the body, as it did when I weighed 122. Guys often add weight in the abdomen and this shifts the guitar away from our body core and changes the whole way we address the guitar. Guys bring their head, arms and neck forward, and sometimes cant their upper body forward and our spines are no longer aligned as they once were. I don't sweat my weight so much anymore, body mass index, but I'm very concerned when the inches appear in the front there where the guitar should be. Frankly, it can mess up my performance in kayaking, backpacking, you name it.