Different electric guitars have different weights. Some are heavier, while others are lighter.
Heavy guitar can become an issue for some guitar players. If you find that your electric guitar is just too heavy for you to handle it properly, you definitely want to know if there’s something that can be done about it.
Here, in this article, I’m going to address this issue. Stay with me!
Heavy guitars can be an issue when you’re playing while standing. The heavier an electric guitar is, the more pressure will be exerted on your back through the strap.
Now, imagine playing a heavy guitar for an hour or two. That’s a lot of pressure to handle. Over time, you can hurt your back.
So, is there anything you can do about it?
Get Yourself A Good Quality Strap
The only reasonable thing you can do to make your heavy guitar a bit easier to handle is to get yourself a good quality elastic strap.
Low quality straps can make playing guitar standing up uncomfortable. If your guitar is too heavy for you, it is best to use an elastic strap.
Elastic straps will distribute the guitar weight most effectively. Bad, regular, straps won’t do that job good enough.
You know that feeling of pressure at one point in your arm when you play guitar? That’s because all of the pressure caused by guitar’s weight is exerted on your arm through very small area of the strap.
It’s physics. Pressure is a measure of what amount of force is acting on a surface. This means that smaller the surface on which the force is acting, higher the pressure will be.
Where does that pressure come from? From guitar’s weight. Guitar weight is causing a pressure from a strap on your arm. Since you can’t physically change your guitar’s weight, all you can do is to make the surface on which the force (caused by guitar’s weight) is acting bigger.
Elastic straps actually do that. With elastic straps, whole pressure is distributed on much bigger surface. So, yes, you’ll feel much more comfortable when using that kind of strap.
Which One To Choose?
Is there any particular elastic strap brand you should get for yourself? I can tell you what works for me.
I got myself KLIQ AirCell Guitar Strap from Amazon.
This strap is wider at shoulder point which makes the pressure even smaller. It has a length adjustable from 46″ to 56″.
Another potential problem that may arise with low quality straps is decreased blood circulation. When you use regular straps, the pressure may cause a decrease in a blood flow to your arm and back.
This strap allows the air flowing under the strap which ensures proper blood flow and also reduces sweat build up.
Lot of guitar players are satisfied with this one, and if you want to read some details about this strap, and customer reviews as well, check it on Amazon, here.
What Is Considered A Heavy Guitar?
Guitars vary in their weight. Electric guitar’s weight usually ranges from 6 to 12 pounds. If your guitar weight is in upper part of this range (9 to 12 pounds), you can consider it a heavy guitar.
Les Paul is a famous example of a heavy guitar. That’s because of its thickness and size.
The bigger guitar is, the heavier its weight is, obviously. It’s the same with thickness. But there’s another factor that affects an overall weight of an electric guitar.
It is the density of the wood. There are a ton of different woods that differ in their density. Density is a measure of what amount of mass is present in some particular volume of space. Bigger the density is, there’s a more mass present in the same volume of space.
Guitars can be made out of many different types of wood. Mahogany, ash, maple, walnut, spruce etc. Those woods differ in their density. Some are more dense than others.
Take a look at the table of densities by wood type, here. (Source: Engineering Toolbox). You can see there are differences in density with each wood type you look at.
Maple and mahogany are types of woods that have heavy densities. Lot of guitars are made out of these woods.
Do Heavier Guitars Sound Better?
Heaviness can affect the tone coming out of your electric guitar. Yes, heavier guitars do sound better, usually.
Why? It’s the vibration. When you play your guitar, you’re strumming, picking, or plucking guitar strings. Guitar strings vibrate. Vibration from guitar strings has its frequency.
But it’s not only that guitar strings you play are vibrating. Guitar body and neck are also vibrating. Why? It’s called resonance.
When there’s a source of sound, that means that source is vibrating outwards in all directions. Vibration is causing a whole guitar body vibration, also.
Guitar body responds to external vibrations by vibrating itself. Now, how does the vibration of guitar body affect the overall tone?
Well, the more vibration there is, the sound is going to be denser and fuller. Heavier guitars vibrate more strongly than lighter guitars. Vibration power is affected by mass. More mass there is to vibrate, the stronger vibration will be.
That’s why heavier guitars usually have richer and fuller tone.
But, it’s not that simple after all. This doesn’t mean that the guitar will automatically sound better only because it is heavier. No.
Heaviness is just one of the many factors that affect your guitar tone. If you have a low quality guitar, it will sound bad, no matter how heavy it is.
Also, the tone depends on guitar strings you use. It also depends on the nut position, action height, truss rod adjustment, and much more.
I hope this article gave you some valuable information about this issue. Guitar’s weight cannot be changed, so there’s not much room for solutions.
You can only invest in a good quality, comfortable elastic strap that will distribute the pressure caused by the weight of your guitar all over your back and arm.
That will help you in situations where you play standing up for hours. When you’re sitting, it’s more or less the same. I am personally not a big fan of heavy guitars.
If you’re planning to buy yourself a guitar, take this issue into account. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I play a lot standing up? Playing live can affect your back and posture in general.
- Do I have a good quality elastic strap? Elastic straps distribute pressure evenly throughout the whole back and arm.
- Am I strong enough to handle a heavy guitar? If you’re strong, muscular and tall type of guy, then the heaviness probably won’t be much of an issue for you.
- Am I buying the guitar for myself or my kids? If you want to buy a guitar for your kid, it’s better to get him a lightweight guitar.
Anyway, if you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it, I’m more than happy about it.
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Cheers, and rock on!