Heavy vs Light Guitars: Which are Better?

Some guitars are super heavy, and weight over 10 pounds, but some only weight half as much. So what does this mean for the tone?

In this article, I’ll compare heavy and light guitars, in terms of how they sound, and how they are to play, so you can decide which is the best option for you. So let’s get started! 

The Quick Answer

The weight of a guitar affects how it sounds and how easy it is to play. Heavier guitars tend to have better sustain, and have a thicker and fuller tone. However, they are harder to play on than lighter guitars, which are easier to sit and stand with. 

What Affects the Weight of a Guitar?

There are several factors that affect the weight of an electric guitar. These are:

  • The neck and body wood
  • Body size
  • Body type 
  • Hardware
factors affecting a guitar's weight

wood type

The type of wood the guitar is made from is one of the biggest factors in affecting the overall weight of the guitar. 

The body wood in particular is very important. Most electric guitar bodies are made from alder, ash, basswood, mahogany or maple. Alder, ash and basswood are all pretty lightweight, whilst mahogany is pretty heavy and maple is even heavier. 

Guitar Body Wood Average Weight (lbs/ft3)
Basswood 25
Alder 28
Ash (swamp) 30
Mahogany 40
Maple 45

The neck wood also comes into play here too. Mahogany and maple are the two most common neck wood types, with maple being the heaviest of the two. 

Body Size

Of course, the body size is important here too. This is related to how much body wood there actually is. 

Some guitars are made from thick slabs of wood, like the Les Paul for example. Whereas the Stratocaster on the other hand, is made from a much smaller, thinner chunk of wood, contributing to it’s lighter weight. 

body type

There are three main electric guitar body types: solid, hollow and semi-hollow.  Solid body guitars e.g Strats, Les Pauls, Teles, are the heaviest, whilst hollow body guitars are the lightest. This is because the middle of the body is empty, so despite them looking larger, they are actually lighter than solid body guitars in most cases.


This is a less important factor when it comes to determining a guitar’s weight, but it’s still worth mentioning. Hardware includes the pickups, electricals and things like the tuner heads. For example, locking tuner machines are heavier than traditional tuner machines.

How Weight Affects Tone

Okay, so now you know what factors affect a guitar’s weight, let’s move onto why this is actually important. One of the biggest reasons why a guitar’s weight matters, is because it ultimately affects the tone.

Heavier guitars generally have better sustain, and more resonance than lighter guitars. This is often due to the wood type, and the body size. Thicker guitar bodies, cause the tone to be fuller, warmer and louder.

It’s also good to remember how body type influences tone. 

Solid body guitars are made from a thick piece of wood, that doesn’t have any gaps inside. This increases the sustain and also reduces feedback issues. 

Hollow body guitars on the other hand, have a more acoustic sounding tone. They have less sustain, but sound warmer and emphasise the bass more than solid body designs. However, they are more susceptible to feedback issues, when you increase the volume or distortion on your amp. 

Take a look at this article I’ve written about the differences between semi-hollow and hollow body guitars to learn more about this topic. 

How Weight Affects Playability

So apart from affecting the tone, why else does a guitar’s weight actually matter? Well, weight influences playability. And this is a huge thing to consider when choosing an electric guitar. 

If you choose a 10 pound guitar, and you have a fairly small frame, or you’re not the strongest, then you’ll undoubtedly start to feel a bit uncomfortable after playing stood up for half an hour or so. This can be a pretty big issue if you play in gigs. 

The same can also be said for playing sat down. The weight of the guitar can start to become an issue when it rests on your thigh for a while. 

Lighter guitars are often easier to sit and stand with, so can make better choices when it comes to gigging. 

So remember that it’s not all about sound. So don’t automatically pick a heavy guitar just because you prefer the tone, make sure you consider how easy it is to play. This is a much harder thing to alter than tone, which can be adjusted using pedals and different amp settings.

How Much Do Guitars Weight?

So now you know how weight affects both the tone and playability of a guitar, you’re probably wondering how much a guitar’s weight actually varies. 

Well it turns out, quite a bit. The average weight of an electric guitar is around 8 pounds, however the range is between 6 and 12 pounds. You’ll rarely find a guitar heavier or lighter than this. 

Here’s a quick chart to show how much the most popular models of electric guitars actually weight. 

Electric Guitar Model Average Weight
Gibson SG 6 pounds (2.7 kg)
Squier Telecaster 6.5 pounds (2.9 kg)
Squier Stratocaster 7 pounds (3.2 kg)
Ibanez RG Series 7 pounds (3.2 kg)
Fender Stratocaster 8 pounds (3.6 kg)
Fender Telecaster 8 pounds (3.6 kg)
Ibanez JEM 8 pounds (3.6 kg)
Epiphone Dot 8 pounds (3.6 kg)
Gibson Flying V 8 pounds (3.6 kg)
Fender Jazzmaster 8.5 pounds (3.9 kg)
Gibson ES-335 9 pounds (4.1 kg)
PRS Custom 24 9 pounds (4.1 kg)
Epiphone Les Paul 9 pounds (4.1 kg)
Yamaha Pacifica 11 pounds (5 kg)
Gibson Les Paul 9-12 pounds (4-5.5 kg)

I’ve written a complete buyer’s guide for electric guitars which takes you through all the things you need to consider and a step-by-step method to narrowing down your selection and choosing the best option. Here is a link to the article.


So there you go! That’s the difference between heavy and light guitars! I hope you’ve found this article helpful, thanks for reading. Here are some other posts you might find useful:


Hey, I'm Heather. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24.

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