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IMO, it's the same as heavy string = better tone. As soon as you buy that, someone comes along with thin strings and sounds great. I think it's more in the individual guitar pieces and how they work together than anything else.
Reason for my post: My LP is 8lb - 12oz and I've got a Classic '57 Plus, uncovered, 8.91k, in the bridge. I'm trying out this Custom Classic with standard '57 Classics, covered, 7.76k and it weighs nearly 11 lbs and is a CANON. Plus it only has 300k pots whereas I'm running a 540k bridge vol. It just has a much bigger sound and overall push. But not necessarily "better" or sweeter tone. Just more output.
Specs for listed for the pickups have very little to do, in the general scheme of things, with output. 1/16" inch can affect the output more than 1k ohm will. I wouldn't draw any conclusions from your findings. If you're just talking about the output of the guitar/pickups, and not the tone....I find it dubious at best to think that the weight of the guitar has much effect at all.
From my own experience, all of the heavier LP's I've owned have been bolder sounding guitars than the lighter ones... it's very subjective as to whether either is better, but the heavyweights in my case definitely sound bigger.
I wouldn’t say rule, but from my experience I’m comfortable with saying generally. I’ve found that generally the heavy ones sound better, (you might have to walk out past the front of the stage) at high volumes, and the lighter ones sound better for recording and practice.
My R8 is 9.2 lbs. It has a hollow chirpy tone. But also has balls when pushed hard. Idk if it got the best of both worlds because of its weight or if I was just lucky. My studio sounds nothing like my R8 and they are only an ounce or two different in weight
My experience too, for the most part, based on maybe 20 LPs I've owned or played. I've heard a couple of heavier ones that sound open and airy, but those were the exception. I haven't heard a light Les Paul that sounds big and bold.
I will say that my old Elegant while weighing 8 1/2 pounds left alot to be desired for tone. My 1974 20th anniv. Les Paul Custom is much more satisfying and will never be sold.
Too light or excessive chambering results in weak single notes when played through a blazing amp. The time delay of the light guitar is best suited for rythm playing.
Lighter is best for old man's back and not much else.
My 50's Gibson's have a loud open woody tone and are all on the light side. I would have to say that lighter more aged wood should give a more desired tone if you are looking for that woody resonant chime/ringing sound. I have a 57 Custom that weighs 8.5 pounds and an 85 Custom that weighs 10.5 pounds and everyone I have ever played with have all thought the 57 had amazing tone. The guitars do have different pickups, but the tone of the lighter 57 is just so much more rich and woody sounding. I also think a fatter neck makes a guitar more resonant as well. If you can find some place with a 50's LP Jr, which usually weigh between 6 and 7 pounds, to try you will see right away what I am talking about.
Some say heavy guitars sound better. Some say light guitars sound better. Some say heavy strings are the real deal; some say light. Some say it's the amp.
My feeling is that good notes make good tone.
I may seem like a complete heretic, but I think a player is better off spending time practicing and experimenting, rather than going around trying out equipment, and hunting for the perfect guitar tone.
'Bigger' means stronger more compressed signal in a narrower frequency range?
Use one heavier (9.5-10) LP with common gauge strings e.g. 10s and one lighter LP (8.5-9) with lighter strings e.g 8's. 8s have lesser tension in order to reach the standard pitch thus vibrate more freely - as the result in a sort of a A/B test, on a less heavy guitar you'll hear a tone with greater frequency range and richer with harmonics. Now while many would not - I would call that tone bigger. Even if it is a bit less loud - you can add a notch on amp volume to make it as loud as a heavier guitar. But no EQ in this world will put additional range and harmonics in that heavier guitar.
Those who ever had an experience of recording a trio of guitar, bass and drums know exactly what I am trying to explain here about which one of these two, occupies greater space in the mix and thus can be called 'bigger' sounding.
So, my full answer would be - heavier guitar is almost always louder, more focused and more compressed sounding, but it is not a bigger tone. It is louder, but smaller.
Sure, there is an optimal weight for me. It is ~9 lbs for a 'LP Standard' with Kluson type tuners.