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How much does your guitar(s) weigh?
Author
Post
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 984
As this #3 guitar I've built turned out what seems quite heavy at 6.2 pounds, I have been wondering, how much all of you guys guitars have weighed when completed, and, if you think the weight has anything to do with the way the guitar sounds.

My #1 dred made of Palo Escrito weighs 4.8 pounds. It is not as loud as the Coco dred. My #2 dred made of Palo Escrito I don't know what it weighs, I never thought about weighing it. I'll have to ask the owner to weight it and let me know.

Anyway, chime in, it would be interesting to know with the different woods and all being used.

Kevin

Jul 11, 10 | 12:49 pm
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
This is an interesting topic.

I think weight does play into sustain and tone but as part of the equation, not the whole picture. The vibration modes are affected by not only by weight, but also stiffness. So if two plates have the same stiffness, the one that weighs the most will have a lower natural frequency. I agree with the old adage that there is a finite amount of energy put into the guitar by the strings and it's easier to move less mass so adding mass likely decreases sustain. However, I think the distribution of of the weight matters. You could have a "heavy" guitar with a lot of the weight in the lining and headstock with less in the top and it would probably help the sustain and you may have a good "attack" with the light top. I've heard some claim that a thicker back helps the guitar project......and that a thinner back moves more/easier and creates a more "enveloping" sound that finger style players like. A heavy, stiff neck may help sustain but may make the guitar feel unbalanced.

It will be interesting to read the weights everyone lists. Per your examples, rosewood will weigh more than mahogany guitars. Laquered finishes likely weigh more than shellac finishes. Some fingerboard woods weigh more than others. Maybe each responder should list the type wood they used, the body size of the guitar (Dreadnaught, OM, Parlor, etc.), and the finish used.

Jul 11, 10 | 1:46 pm
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Hey Kevin, I tend to be of the school that lighter is better (sonically not structurally). My reasoning is that the body has to move air to make sound. The heavy the materials in the body, the more work that is needed to move air and the less fuller the sound. Granted some woods are just denser and will add weight by themselves, but I try to use only as much wood as needed for structural integrity. The choice of tuning machines can also impact weight by a fair amount. That said, my Claro Walnut FB-185 came in at 4 pounds 2.5 ounces strung up. I don't have the Mad Rose OM or the Large Leaf Maple SJ available to weigh, but those were also on the lighter end, certainly below 5 pounds. I didn't weigh my SE Asian OM as that one was built before I had any way of thicknessing my woods, so it is certainly on the heavier end.

Ken


Jul 12, 10 | 10:30 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I'm kinda mixed about that Ken. I agree that lighter may present more response to string vibration, but at the same time, lighter can also lend its self to absorbing string movement by moving with it. My opinion, which may be way of, is that a light top is good, but a decent amount of mass in the rim, back, and neck may ensure that the string energy stays in the strings, and not get transferred to less sonically valuable areas of the body. Most of the heavier guitars I have played have exhibited a depth and richness not heard in other lighter guitars. My jumbo worked out the same way, and I couldn't be happier with it.

Jul 13, 10 | 10:05 am
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Yeah Ken, maybe by the time we have knocked out #100, we'll have a good feel for it!

Ken

Jul 13, 10 | 8:35 pm
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
I think weight isn't the goal but I agree heavy isn't good either. I do build a light guitar but weight isn't what I am looking for in a build. I am up to 110 as of this week .
As I learned things , you will figure what isn't supposed to be on a guitar. I do the sides to finish off about .085 with the finish do they are in the white at about .080. Backs to .095 and tops will depend on stiffness but often finish out on .100.
Braces will be Adirondack and I do them to .300 wide and .600 high. The profile is a 13 degree angle. Just taking wood to this size will pull off some unneeded weight.
Also watch how thick the finish is. I will start with about .020 build and take that down to .006 to .008. There are some gadgets out there that can measure finish thickness. I don't use one but my technique does rely on micrometers on the top.
The more you build the better you can tweak your processes and get it dialed in. In the early days I would bend wood at .095 and .120 for tops and backs. I also use full 5/8 high bracing and full 5/16 wide. Wood's stiffness is in the height . width is a small part of the equation.

John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc.
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center

Jul 14, 10 | 1:27 am
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
"97 heavy guitars on the wall, 97 heavy guitars, take one down, pass it around, 96 heavy guitars on the wall!......"

Yikes, only 97 more to go for me. :>)

I would THINK that light is better. I like the feel of the lighter guitar, but I think Ken H has a good point about the mass of the body, but there are so many factors involved, right? Type of wood, thickness, density, etc, etc, etc.
I wouldn't think the finish would add much weight, but it must all add up and factor in. In this case the heavier guitar has a richer sound, but that may have nothing to do with the weight at all.
4.8 pounds feels fine, 6.2 pounds feels heavy, only 1.4 pounds difference. I'm even surprised I can tell much difference between the too it seems like so little.

I did build the Coco a little heavier on purpose to hopefully hold up better under the high humidity conditions it will live in, but I is really just an experiment because I don't know what I am doing!!!! :>)

Kevin

Jul 14, 10 | 5:51 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Wow, I still have a lot to go for 100! Yeah, my comments are purely thoughtless-based opinions, and 100 guitars would definitely give me more perspective. Wow, John, your sides finish at .080"? Thinner than I would have thought, but must be very easy to bend there. I started targeting .90-.95 to bend, but have had far better success at .083-.085. I guess I can safely go thinner without much to worry about. I think thats about one more crank on the ole thickness sander for me.

Jul 14, 10 | 12:05 pm
Sean

Total Topics: 6
Total Posts: 18
What type of scale does everyone use to weigh their guitars?

Jul 19, 10 | 7:32 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
I'm using an inexpensive electronic bathroom scale.

Jul 19, 10 | 8:43 pm
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
I purchased an old digital scale that was once used at a supermarket. I think I got it off eBay about 10 years ago or so.

Hey John, I'm not sure I have enough years left in me to ever cross the century mark! I too thickness my sides to .080 to .085, the backs to .090 to .095. Tops are generally .100 to .110, depending on stiffness. My bridge is smaller than the typical Martin bridge, and my finishes are very thin. I don't necessarly start out to build the lightest guitar possible, but I do enjoy playing a light guitar, so I try to avoid adding unnecessary weight. My f/b extension adds some weight, but I was conscious about keeping the weight gain to a minimum. Some of the best sounding guitars I have heard have been on the lighter side, so there must be something to it.

Ken

Jul 20, 10 | 7:20 am
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
My scale measures to nanograms and my guitar weighs....OK. I am lying. I didnt weigh it. And I dont have a scale that measures to nanograms. I dont think asking what my guitars weighs is the important question.
1) We may have used different materials that weigh more or less at the same thickness
2) Different models that are smaller or larger are different weights even if all materials used are the same.
3) Maybe I live on the top of Mt. Everest where the force of gravity is less because I am further away from the earth's center and you live on the shore of the Dead Sea which is much closer to the center of the earth and thus experiences more gravitational pull than I do in my shack on Everest. Small difference, but measurable.

My point, aside from being a smart a$$ is that there are so many variables to consider that just weight is not enough. Brace it light. Lighter than you think you can. Then take a bit more off the braces. You will OK. How do I know? I dont. I just want you to try it and report to us. LOL Seriously, I saw a build of an L-00 and the braces are lighter than I thought possible. WAY lighter than I thought possible.

Jul 22, 10 | 2:32 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
WIKAPEDIA SAYS:
Acoustic guitars weigh between 5 and 7 pounds.
How about that. You guys need to know how much your finished guitars weigh, so come on and get r done.
Who has a Taylor dred, rosewood, that they can weigh for a comparison.
My coco dred sounds FANTASTIC, so the weight has not affected it in this way, it just feels heavy compared to......the Palo Escrito dred.
Both have electronics in them, the coco guitar has a sapele neck....which is heavier than Hog, the Palo has a hog neck. No question the Coco is a heavier, more dense wood than the Palo, but both are rosewoods. Thickness was approx. the same both guitars.

Kevin

Jul 22, 10 | 2:55 pm



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