Electric guitars come in many profiles, and with a variety of different kinds of wood and hardware. But how much does an electric guitar weigh? Perhaps you want to buy one, but you’re not sure how comfortable it will be hanging from your shoulder. A few hours of practice can really add up!
What are the heaviest and lightest models? On average, an electric guitar weighs 8 lbs (3.6 kg), But they range anywhere from 6 to 12 pounds!
In this article, we will take a look at how the weight of electric guitars is affected by their profiles, as well as the wood used in their construction. We will also take a look at some popular models and how much they weigh, as well as discuss how it can impact the sound.
Electric Guitar Weight Chart
To give you an idea, we have created a chart to look at the differences of some of the more popular models and a couple honorable mentions. We will then look at why these guitars vary in weight.
|Gibson Les Paul||9-12||Heavy|
|PRS Custom 24-08||9||Medium/Heavy|
|Miller Super String||5||Light|
Factors that Affect Guitar Weight
There are several things that contribute to the overall weight of an electric guitar.
- Wood type
- Body profile
- Body type
Because there are a wide range of electric guitar types, it’s important to know these things when selecting one based on the weight.
There are many kinds of woods used to make guitars based on construction, weight and sound. Cost does play a role when a manufacturer builds for a specific price point, but in most circumstances it’s low on the requirements.
Because the density of each kind of wood differs, guitars have different weights. Sometimes even 2 of the same model might have been made with a different kind of wood and could have many weights. This is common when certain types are not readily available.
Alder is one of the more popular wood types used in the manufacture of guitar bodies. It’s of medium weight when compared to other types and when cut right can be much lighter. It’s sought after because of its full sound when used to make an instrument.
Alder Average Weight : 450 kg/m3 (28 lbs/ft3)
Swamp Ash is another common type of guitar body. It has a medium to heavy weight and is a bit denser than Alder. It’s known to be a great choice for a tight mid-range and good sustain.
Swamp Ash Average Weight : 500 kg/m³ (31 lbs/ft³)
A lightweight wood that is commonly used because it produces an excellent balanced sound and can be readily made into different shapes. Basswood is a good choice for those who want to avoid fatigue and strain when playing guitar for long periods.
Basswood Average Weight: 400 kg/m³ (25 lbs/ft³)
One of the heavier wood types used in guitars, mahogany is prized for its resonance and deep, rich tones. Because it’s so heavy, neck-thru models are usually made with lighter wood, and then mahogany is added to the sides of the body.
Mahogany Average Weight: 600 kg/m³ (37 lbs/ft³)
Maple has a high density and is one of the heaviest wood types used for guitar bodies. It produces bright tones with lots of sustain and clarity. The weight is not as noticeable if it has been cut right, but maple can be on the heavy side compared to other types of guitar materials.
Maple Average Weight: 650 kg/m³ (40 lbs/ft³)
Walnut is a heavier-weight wood that has a good balance of warm, full tonal qualities. It’s heavier than mahogany and is a great hardwood used in the construction of guitar bodies.
Walnut Average Weight: 700 kg/m³ (43 lbs/ft³)
Another lightweight wood, poplar, is a common choice for guitar bodies because it’s affordable and easy to work with. It doesn’t have the tonal characteristics of some other woods, but is still a good choice for those who want an electric guitar that’s not too heavy. You will find this type in lower-priced models.
Poplar Average Weight: 400 kg/m³ (25 lbs/ft³)
Other types of materials that are being used with electric guitars are graphite and carbon fiber. These materials when used with regular electric body shapes are quite light. The Rubato guitars weigh in at 5 – 5.5 lbs. Miller makes a few models out of graphite that weighs 5 lbs. It’s hollow and a Strat-style instrument.
By no means are these guitars cheap, but for those who can afford them, a new level of sounds and weights are available to you.
When considering how much an electric guitar weighs, the profile is also a large contributing factor. Many shapes dictate how heavy an instrument will be once the wood is selected. The overall outline will also play a role here and is one of three main points:
Some guitars have a cutaway or area removed that makes an instrument lighter. Some headless models have some creative shapes that look great, but also weigh in lighter because of the smaller profile.
When you are considering a guitar for its weight, always make sure to compare it to other models that have the same features. But pay close attention to the profile, as one might be a lot thinner than the other, making it lighter and more comfortable.
The type of electric guitar body will fall into one of three main categories.
- Solid Body
- Semi Hollow Body
- Hollow Body
Each one has a different sound and is selected normally because of its music genre and style. But each one has a significant weight difference.
Solid-body guitars are the heaviest of all three types. This is because they are made from one piece of wood or a combination of two different kinds glued together. The weight is different depending on how much wood is used and the type selected.
Sometimes manufacturers will use a method called chambering to create pockets in the solid guitar body. This is a method used to alleviate some weight from the body when they are quite heavy. This makes them lighter, but also changes the tone to a degree.
The Gibson Les Paul is known to be one of the heavier guitars in history. But there is also a chambered version that was made to help with the weight. By looking at them, you would not know there is a difference until you put it on your guitar strap and wore it for a few hours!
Semi Hollow Body
Semi hollow-body guitars are made from two pieces of wood that make up the structure. This includes a solid center block with a chambered area around it, covered by another piece of wood. This makes the guitar lighter and helps with the overall sound because it’s not as solid as a full hollow body.
The Epiphone Casino is a popular semi hollow guitar on the market today. It has great tones for blues and jazz players, but also can rock out when needed. Because of its construction, it’s a lighter weight guitar and can be more comfortable for playing for long periods of time.
Hollow body guitars are the lightest of all three types, although some look very bulky. There will be a lot more air inside to make them resonate better with the strings. They play great on clean tones, but they also distort very well because of the natural overdrive that comes with them.
The PRS SE hollow body 2 Piezo is a popular guitar. Its simple design and construction make it a favorite for those who want to focus on their playing and not worry about how heavy the guitar might be.
Another thing to consider when assessing the weight of a guitar is the hardware. There are some parts that add weight, like a Floyd Rose bridge. Granted, the hardware over all isn’t nearly as heavy as some of the other parts we have looked at, but it does add up.
So when you are considering a guitar for its weight, make sure to take into consideration all the options onboard. If it’s loaded, it might add an extra half-pound or more to the overall weight. Negligible at best, but still worth looking into.
Guitar Weight and Tone
Many people wonder how the weight of a guitar affects the tone. Some people will say that it does. Truth is, the weight itself does not impact the tone! No, it’s the materials, construction, shape and hardware among other things that influence the tone.
While some people will contribute a certain sound to a heavy guitar, if you compare two of equal weight made from different materials, you will not have the same tones. This is because weight itself does not affect sound, the materials do. So if you have guitars made from the same materials and hardware, yes your tone will be similar.
This is why it’s important to make sure the materials it’s made with compliments the style of music you want to play. Some heavy guitars can sound thick and muddy, while others can be bright and tight.
Examples Of Popular Guitars and Their Weight
We touched on the weight of a few popular electric guitars earlier on in this article, but now we will look closer at the details. This will help you understand what makes them weight what they do.
Gibson Les Paul
The Gibson Les Paul is one of the heavier guitars on the market and weight between 9 and 12 pounds. They are known for their weight, and many guitarists can attest to this by the sore shoulder they get after an hour of practice. This is because the Les Paul is made with dense woods like mahogany throughout.
Gibson began chambering the Les Paul bodies to remove some wood material and make them lighter, but they are still in the heavy category.
The Gibson SG is another popular guitar that is much lighter than most at 6 pounds. This is because the body is very thin with a small profile, and so there is less wood material than most. The guitar is made from mahogany, but being on the smaller side makes it very comfortable.
If you want a light rock guitar, the SG may serve you well.
The Fender Stratocaster is a comfortable guitar that weighs about 8 pounds. This is pretty average for a guitar with this body shape and build. Thanks to the thinner body and alder or swamp ash wood, the Stratocaster can be worn on the shoulder for long periods comfortably.
The neck material is made from maple, which is a bit of a heavier wood type, but it doesn’t add enough to be an issue.
The Fender Telecaster is also made from alder or swamp ash and weighs 8 pounds. It features a maple neck and light hardware, which keeps it pretty standard. The Telecaster is well-balanced and is a comfortable guitar.
The squier guitars are normally made from basswood or alder and weigh about 7 pounds. They feature the Stratocaster double cutaway body and are light and comfortable. The hardware is pretty minimal and so there isn’t much that is adding additional weight.
The squier Telecaster is also made from basswood or alder and is only 6.5 pounds. It’s half a pound lighter than the Strat primarily because of the body size and light hardware. Not only is it affordable, but it’s light and sounds good too!
PRS Custom 24
PRS Custom 24 has a great body profile, but because they are made of mahogany, they weight 9 pounds. By no means is this a dealbreaker, the extra pound over what is standard is not very noticeable and can be worn for extended periods.
The neck is also made of mahogany, which contributes to the weight, as well as some robust hardware. It’s a great guitar and so dealing with the extra weight is well worth it.
Should You Choose Light or Heavy?
Many guitar players will choose a model based on how it feels and sounds to them. Some people like a heavier weight and others prefer something lighter. The main reason here is how comfortable you feel when playing your instrument for long periods.
You are going to need to decide how much the comfort level means to you as compared with the tone of the guitar. When you find one that feels and sounds great but hurts your shoulder after a short while, you are more likely to be distracted when playing.
There are many options out there, and they don’t all have to be expensive. The next time you are at your local music store playing different guitars, pay attention to how each one feels on your shoulder in comparison with how it sounds. You might find a great instrument that is also lightweight and comfortable to play!
How to Weigh a Guitar
If you have a guitar that is a bit rough on your shoulder, perhaps you might want to measure the weight. Or, if you are selling one and need to know for shipping purposes, this method can also help get the information you need quickly.
Most people have a bathroom scale collecting dust that will now have a great purpose! That’s right, this is all you need as long as it’s somewhat accurate.
The process is simple:
- Weigh yourself by standing on the scale
- Repeat the process by standing on the scale with the guitar in your hands
- The difference between these two measurements is what your guitar weighs
An example of this is if you weigh 180 pounds and verify it on the scale. Then, with the instrument in your hands, you get a reading of 188 lbs. This will tell you that the guitar weight is 8 pounds.
You can essentially do this with anything that weighs over 4-5 pounds, granted your scale has some accuracy.
When you’re looking for a guitar, the weight is important to consider if you need a comfortable model that doesn’t fatigue your body. But if you are basing your sound on weight, you might be disappointed. It’s far better to research the material that is used to make the instrument to get the one that is best for you.
How Much Does an Electric Guitar Weigh FAQ
Perhaps you still have a few questions that you would like answered. Below, we have collected and answered some of the most commonly asked questions.
Does the weight of a guitar matter?
Yes, the weight of a guitar matters. For some people, comfort is very important. Especially if you play for long periods of time and don’t want a sore shoulder. Discomfort can distract a guitarist, which will affect their playing. The more sore it gets, the more you want to rush through the set.
For others, weight means a certain tone. And while a more dense guitar will project a different sound, it’s also the way it feels on them when they play. So when selecting an instrument, make sure the weight is right for your comfort and play style.
What is a good weight for a guitar?
When considering the weight of a guitar, always aim for something that is comfortable and is able to match the sound you are going for. Weight is based on the kind of wood that was used to make it. Each wood type has a different tone and will work better for certain styles of music.
So if you can find a model that is comfortable on your body and has the sound you like, then you have found a good weight for a guitar!
Do Lighter Guitars Sound Better?
The answer to this question depends largely on the sound you are seeking from your guitar. If you are looking for a full sound that isn’t quite as warm, then a lighter body is your best choice. If you’re seeking a warmer, dark tone, then a lighter guitar might not be what you want.
This all depends on the kind of material that is used to make the body. Poplar, for example, being a cheaper material, doesn’t sound as good as others to some guitarists. So judging your sound on light or heavy is not a good idea. It’s better to research the material and make a decision based on that.