Lightweight vs heavy

For quite a while there’s been a trend of “lightweight guitars are better than heaver”. Sometimes you could see a guy in a music store who’d take a guitar off the wall just to try it’s weight and put right back if it seemed a tad too heavy. And it would definitely make sense for a touring musician with daily long gigs to ease up on his back and such. However, when it comes to tone qualities of an instrument I would say it is way more complicated than just saying: “Lightweight guitars sound better”. Because they don’t. It is true to say that it’s easier to play lightweight guitars. Having less “body mass” they response faster to a lighter picking technic and get to the state of resonance faster as well. In case with heavier woods you’d have to strum harder to get the same response and feel and that’s what sets off many “weak picking” players at once. But the main thing here is how weight affects the dynamic range and frequency response of an instrument. Most lightweight woods have pretty “scooped” midrange section, whoofy bass side and pretty flat treble side. They also fairly easy get to the point of max resonance which could be seen as or compared to “digital clipping” for reference. While this could actually be a good thing for modern overly compressed “purr” djenty tones, it would be a problem for a sensual dynamic soloing where clarity and “breathing” is so important. You would want a bigger dynamic range and higher response capacity so you could control your voicing/playing with your own hands. Some relatively heavier woods are capable of providing those qualities along with a fuller/richer frequency range. I like to use this phonetic example to compare bass tone of a lightweight wood vs heavier: “Boom” vs “Dam”. Try to pronounce that and you will see how latter just has more definition and “mass” to it. This is just an example taken from an idealistic perspective. With all that said we need to remember that an electric guitar is a very complex instrument that consists of many elements such as construction, shape, woods, hardware, electronics, finish. All those elements affect final sound. Real life situations depend on many factors and quite often the actual role of wood tone in final electrified sound of an instrument can be very small, almost to the level of irrelevant. Especially when you use digital processors like Axe FX, Kemper, etc. However, if you suddenly find yourself “lost” in the mix and changing pickups, pedals and amps doesn’t seem to help maybe you should try changing the instrument for a different woods selection, because in the end of the day a “building” is only as strong as its’ foundation..

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