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What to expect from a light Les Paul?

Wilko

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Mar 11, 2002
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Everybody hears and feels different.

For me I know that a lighter guitar is more likely to give ME the feel and tone that I like. Some feel almost like 335s because lighter means less resistance to movement and more likely to be resonant. (in the way I understand the word). Heavier guitars tend to sound/feel different if for the mass alone. That leaves more energy in the moving string so heavier will tend to have longer sustain and clearer notes with fewer overtones.

That is my experience.

for the record I know of a 7.75 1959 Burst and it is very much like a 335 in it's sound.
 

sunking101

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Jan 13, 2020
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Under 8lbs are rare as hen's teeth. Over 9.5lbs are heavy. I would say that 8.5lbs to 9lbs is the sweetspot for a Les Paul. Tone-wise it's a crapshoot.
 

axeman565758

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Jan 23, 2007
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What to expect? ....with my '20 60th Anniv. R0, playing comfort and no chiropractor bills...!!!!!
Mine sounds woody and very clear. Nicely balanced lows mids and highs.
Ya can't beat 8 lbs even, including Grover Rotos and the 60th Anniversary medallion p'up selector cover still on...!!
 

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JPP-1

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If you play standing up lighter is better. If you play sitting down it doesn’t much matter. I prefer my LPs between 8.2 - 9.2lbs but I wouldn’t hesitate buying an 8 pounder if It has a top I loved,
 

mdubya

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Mar 31, 2010
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838
There is nothing like a 6 lb Les Paul!

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This chambered 50's Tribute was 7lbs, 7oz. and sounded fantastic.

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This boat anchor is 8 lbs, but it still sounds incredible!

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seafood

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Jun 11, 2003
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i started buying old gibsons back in the 60s.....before they were "vintage guitars"....back then i didn't give a shit about the weight!! now i'm an old guy..... i have a 61 les paul/sg with two P.A.Fs...and it comes in at 6lbs 5oz.....!!!!but i worry about it! you even look at these old SGs..the wrong way and they break!!! super great playing and sounding guitar!!!!!
 

El Gringo

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Apr 8, 2015
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What to expect? ....with my '20 60th Anniv. R0, playing comfort and no chiropractor bills...!!!!!
Mine sounds woody and very clear. Nicely balanced lows mids and highs.
Ya can't beat 8 lbs even, including Grover Rotos and the 60th Anniversary medallion p'up selector cover still on...!!
A most beautiful Les Paul as she has such fine figure and color which is most delicious !!!!!!!!!!
 

El Gringo

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i started buying old gibsons back in the 60s.....before they were "vintage guitars"....back then i didn't give a shit about the weight!! now i'm an old guy..... i have a 61 les paul/sg with two P.A.Fs...and it comes in at 6lbs 5oz.....!!!!but i worry about it! you even look at these old SGs..the wrong way and they break!!! super great playing and sounding guitar!!!!!
A friend from High School Jazz band had an early 60's small guard SG and maybe it had PAF's in it . This kid was from another planet as you could say to him play this or play that and he would know it by heart and he would close his eyes and play it so beautiful and he was like a professional and we were just wankers compared to this kid . This kid was so good that he could have been a session musician . We all could read music , but this kid was special . I wish I knew what ever happened to him ?
 

dickie

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Sep 27, 2020
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My Custom shop 60th anniversary V1 R0 (in antiquity burst) weighs in at just a smidgen under 8lbs. It's my first ever Les Paul so I am by no means any sort of an expert on this stuff! I only use it in my studio, but it just sounds and plays amazingly as soon as it is plugged in, and is now my go to guitar, best I have ever owned. I have a 1982 ES347 which is at least 1.5 pounds heavier and picking it up feels like lifting a sledge hammer by comparison :) Maybe I got lucky with the Les Paul that it sounds as good as it does, but I can't imagine that a heavy one could be any better. That's my uneducated 2 cents worth (y)
 
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Sol

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Oct 26, 2001
Messages
577
Am I the only one perplexed by the thought of a solid bodied Les Paul weighing in at 7lb 6oz ?
I know this forum, I know there are guys here that really understand the nature of tropical hardwoods, and what ultimately goes into the construction of a Les Paul guitar.

A Les Paul using Honduras Mahogany alone, a single cut Junior for e.g. coming in at 7lb 6oz
is light but its not unrealistic.
What I struggle with is a burst or gold top coming out the same.. Im not doubting anyone, I'm just in need of a possible explanation..
 

renderit

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Jan 19, 2009
Messages
9,990
Am I the only one perplexed by the thought of a solid bodied Les Paul weighing in at 7lb 6oz ?
I know this forum, I know there are guys here that really understand the nature of tropical hardwoods, and what ultimately goes into the construction of a Les Paul guitar.

A Les Paul using Honduras Mahogany alone, a single cut Junior for e.g. coming in at 7lb 6oz
is light but its not unrealistic.
What I struggle with is a burst or gold top coming out the same.. Im not doubting anyone, I'm just in need of a possible explanation..
Seen 'em and played 'em. Don't own any quite that light but:

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I think 2 things, the closer to the inner rings equates to heavier wood. (The further out probably lighter.)

And the larger the tree the more choices on the lighter wood.

Conversely, a tree which grows very fast will have more "pith" (the wood between the rings) which is traditionally lighter in weight when dried.

There are many combinations of the above.

Then there is the moisture content for sure.

When buying hardwood for projects closer rings and the cut also have a tendency to be more stable when dried but heavier.

More pith: lighter but not as strong.

The R4 above is a pithy looking back, and the neck is freakin' HUGE but the guitar is very light. Sounds completely awesome!

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El Gringo

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Ren it's something that your R4 is very light , but the neck is huge . I bet she has tone for days ? That just proves that neck size does matter to tone . Even though the construction of a Fender is different from a Gibson , do you think that the big neck = tone for days applies to Fender guitars as well ? Or because of the bolt on nature of the neck makes it a totally ( tonally ) different animal ?
 

axeman565758

Active member
Joined
Jan 23, 2007
Messages
988
Am I the only one perplexed by the thought of a solid bodied Les Paul weighing in at 7lb 6oz ?
I know this forum, I know there are guys here that really understand the nature of tropical hardwoods, and what ultimately goes into the construction of a Les Paul guitar.

A Les Paul using Honduras Mahogany alone, a single cut Junior for e.g. coming in at 7lb 6oz
is light but its not unrealistic.
What I struggle with is a burst or gold top coming out the same.. Im not doubting anyone, I'm just in need of a possible explanation..
does his help?
I don't know exactly where Gibson Custom sources their wood, but these were the body blanks I had to choose from for my 60th Ann R0 M2M. They have more than one source too. Obviously I went with the lightest, since the massive neck and Grovers needed to be figured into the equation of total weight and I wanted as light as possible. My guitar ended up at 8 lbs even.

It's interesting how the body blank is 6 lbs 8 oz, then after routing and adding the top, it's 4 lbs 10 oz. I'm not able to post a pic of another photo I have with the neck cut, sitting on top of the cut/routed body and the total weight is 5 lbs 14 oz. So, the bare neck ( with fingerboard and frets) is approx 1 lb 4 oz. The remaining 2 lbs 2 oz is used up by Grover tuners @ 8 oz. That leaves pick ups, pots, caps, strap buttons, knobs, bridge/tailpiece and paint to pick up the balance of the
26 oz or 1 lb 10 oz. Based on this ( and yes not perfect science) my '18 R7 Goldtop M2M has the exact same specs (neck size, Grovers etc) and weighs 8 lbs 6 oz. Fair to say that the body blank was originally 6 lbs 14 oz., +/-

Actually I have photos of the whole process...... found out there can be a noticeable weight difference between eastern and western maple tops......not as much as the bodies, but a 3-5 oz swing, isnt out of the norm.

So, back to your comment about a 7 lb 6 oz burst.....take my guitar at 8 lbs. lose the huge 1.015" baseball neck and replace with a .880" neck....maybe an 1 oz there. Grovers off, regular Klusons on, drop another 4 oz......a different maple top, maybe another 2 oz..... remove the anniversary medallion and drop yet another 2 oz. Now we are at 119 oz. or 7 lbs 7 oz. !!!!!!
Believe me, between the numerous phone conversations and my visit to Nashville, I got the education of a lifetime. And loved every second of it too.(y)
I hope this helped and didn't perplex you further
Dave
 

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axeman565758

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A Les Paul using Honduras Mahogany alone, a single cut Junior for e.g. coming in at 7lb 6oz
is light but its not unrealistic.
sorry, I wanted to address this point as well. From my photos/explanation above, you could assume that Gib Custom prob uses the heaviest 'hog bodies for the SC/DC Jr's and Special's. I saw body blanks in the 7 lb 6 oz to 8 lb. range.
After routing and cutting down the body (thickness) you may have a 5 lb or less body blank. Refer to the weights on neck and hardware above and there's your 7 1/2 lb Jr. Don't forget, no maple top on those!!
 

goldtop0

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This thread is just great...........tops in my books......... a wealth of information:cool:
 

renderit

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Messages
9,990
Ren it's something that your R4 is very light , but the neck is huge . I bet she has tone for days ? That just proves that neck size does matter to tone . Even though the construction of a Fender is different from a Gibson , do you think that the big neck = tone for days applies to Fender guitars as well ? Or because of the bolt on nature of the neck makes it a totally ( tonally ) different animal ?
This is my OPINION only.

There is a correlation, but more importantly a BALANCE.

I think a hard/dense/heavy version in neck and body of the R4 above would bite your head off.

It might be too much.

Yes, tone for days.

But it might not be a GOOD TONE.

Just the same. I would play the snot outta it and buy it in a heartbeat and try to tame it with pickup selections.

And I think the neck on Fenders is the same. The neck on this one (51 Wildwood 10 nocaster) is HUGE!

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Sol

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Oct 26, 2001
Messages
577
The irony of all this is that on another forum I'm defending the quality's of very lightweight solid body electrics made from Paulowina. My inspiration is partially based on the work of one of my all time favourite luthiers Roger Giffin.

His work is really standout, check him out..

His work was the motivation for my first guitar build using super lightweight Paulowina for the body.

It's a '57 Strat style, two colour burst, one piece neck and vintage vibrato etc and weighs 6lb 4oz
While we normally' make' every guitar starting with tone wood blanks, this guitar was a 'build', a construction job really.

It sounds great, rich in overtones and responsive to the touch. Sustain is comparable with a 'normal' weight Strat. I'm so impressed, it validates what I've learned from Roger Giffin (Amongst others) about the dynamics of solid and semi solid guitars.
 
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