Weight & Sustain of woods on EGRs?

Jackillin

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Hi, looking for body-wood advice!
I've been looking at order a semi-custom 8-string guitar for a while to replace my HB R458.

I have a really good idea of what specs I want including neck wood/construction/body top but I have no idea about body woods & what I should be considering. I think weight & sustain is most important but what woods are those?

Just spent sometime today researching specs & weighing my current guitars All I've figured out is to avoid Alder! lol

My results :

Ibanez AZ (6) - 3.3kg
Body - American Basswood / Flamed Maple Top
Neck/Fretboard - Roasted Maple
Oval C (25.5)

Charvel Pro Mod San Dimas (II) (7) - 3.55kg
Body - Ash
Neck - 2 piece Maple neck / Fretboard-Rosewood
D Profile (25.5)

Harley Benton R458 (8) - 3.7kg
Body - Basswood
Neck - Maple / Fretboard - Maple
Speed D (25.5-27)

Fender American Special Strat (6) - 3.90kg
Body - Alder
Neck - Maple / Fretboard - Rosewood
Modern C (25.5)
 

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Wood species effect on tone is usually stochastic at best. It's really not a good predictor of anything at all on a single example. Sustain is way more about construction, hardware, electronics, etc., and unless your build involves someone hand selecting wood based on their own extensive experience, it's just a crap shoot. Pick something pretty.

Density is only somewhat more reliable,
again with large variance between instruments of the same wood species. Basswood is pretty reliably lighter than mahogany but those are the ends of the spectrum, ash/alder is probably a coin toss.
 

Lorcan Ward

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Ash is one of the lightest body woods you can consistently find. It depends how well it was dried and then how thin the body is. You can chamber a body to reduce weight more but you need to be mindful of neck dive. Headless is a good option to reduce weight. Tell the builder you want the guitar to be light and they can pick pieces to guarantee that.

Sustain is a bit of a gamble, some builders can tap test and be confident it’s a resonant piece of wood but the neck joint type will be more important.
 

Jackillin

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Thanks. yeah...will prob do a set-in neck or neck through. Definitely won't be doing headless - I really dislike the look, so will consider neck dive more in my choice of bodywoods. I guess I'll need a balance, my HB has a lot of neck dive.
 

Jackillin

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Zhysick

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600 grams more than your Ibanez AZ is weighting a ton? I mean... a guitar under 4Kg is by no means heavy in my book BUT it just 600g more than the Ibby so if your Ibby doesn't bother I really doubt the weight is the issue, more likely the contours of the body, or the size (a strat should be a bit bigger than an AZ I think) or even the strap.

In any case... I have had small guitars made with mahogany and without maple cap (Jackson COW6) heavier than a Les Paul and guitars made of mahogany (RG3120 or whatever the model was) lighter than a swamp ash tele style guitar.

As others told you: the weight depends on the specific piece of wood, the wood species is not a great indicator of weight... even thou normally swamp ash is pretty light and maple pretty heavy there could be light alder or basswood and heavy alder or basswood.

Is better to ask for a light guitar and let the luthier choose the woods
 

KnightBrolaire

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Wood weight varies a looooooooooot. Every tree grows differently and depending on the residual moisture in the wood when processed, they can be even heavier. Proper kiln drying will mitigate some of that weight before building, but it's not a guarantee. General rule of thumb is that the more dense and stiff a wood is, the more likely it's going to weigh more. There are exceptions like sitka/engelmann spruce but those aren't really used for electric guitars.

I've had swamp ash guitars that were under 2.5 kg and others that were closer to 4 kg. I've had korina guitars under 3kg and some that were almost 4kg. I've had mahogany guitars that were anywhere from 2.75 kg to 5 kg. I've had sapele bodies from 3 to 5 kg as well.
Any good luthier will help you choose lighter weight wood if that's one of your main requirements.

If you're leaning towards an 8 string I'd say go with a headless since there's less material at the headstock end, so you should get some space/weight savings.
 

Jackillin

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I just mean when i pick it up, it's like picking up a brick compared to my other guitars, I really notice it. Maybe it's just super dense. I'm actually not sure the precise weight cause it gave me a few different readings depending on how I positioned it & I averaged them out. I'm curious to use my other scales now & re-weigh it. Being an older person with joint & back issues I def notice it.


600 grams more than your Ibanez AZ is weighting a ton? I mean... a guitar under 4Kg is by no means heavy in my book BUT it just 600g more than the Ibby so if your Ibby doesn't bother I really doubt the weight is the issue, more likely the contours of the body, or the size (a strat should be a bit bigger than an AZ I think) or even the strap.

In any case... I have had small guitars made with mahogany and without maple cap (Jackson COW6) heavier than a Les Paul and guitars made of mahogany (RG3120 or whatever the model was) lighter than a swamp ash tele style guitar.

As others told you: the weight depends on the specific piece of wood, the wood species is not a great indicator of weight... even thou normally swamp ash is pretty light and maple pretty heavy there could be light alder or basswood and heavy alder or basswood.

Is better to ask for a light guitar and let the luthier choose the woods
 

Jackillin

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Wood weight varies a looooooooooot. Every tree grows differently and depending on the residual moisture in the wood when processed, they can be even heavier. Proper kiln drying will mitigate some of that weight before building, but it's not a guarantee. General rule of thumb is that the more dense and stiff a wood is, the more likely it's going to weigh more. There are exceptions like sitka/engelmann spruce but those aren't really used for electric guitars.

I've had swamp ash guitars that were under 2.5 kg and others that were closer to 4 kg. I've had korina guitars under 3kg and some that were almost 4kg. I've had mahogany guitars that were anywhere from 2.75 kg to 5 kg. I've had sapele bodies from 3 to 5 kg as well.
Any good luthier will help you choose lighter weight wood if that's one of your main requirements.

If you're leaning towards an 8 string I'd say go with a headless since there's less material at the headstock end, so you should get some space/weight savings.
Yes, i will definately discuss it with the luthier. I'm just intested to understand a little about whats going into it too, helps me to then know which questions to ask them. Plus its fun.
 

Zhysick

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I just mean when i pick it up, it's like picking up a brick compared to my other guitars, I really notice it. Maybe it's just super dense. I'm actually not sure the precise weight cause it gave me a few different readings depending on how I positioned it & I averaged them out. I'm curious to use my other scales now & re-weigh it. Being an older person with joint & back issues I def notice it.

Well, if the weight is right then consider a headless guitar because there are more chances the issue is not the weight but the weight distribution. Definitely an Ibby AZ hangs better than an Strat (even thou a strat is really comfortable and very ergonomic considering how old it is and other guitars like telecasters or les pauls) but if you feel such a great difference then a headless guitar could solve a lot of your issues even for the same weight. Consider a double strap (one of those that hangs on the two shoulders like Mike Keechy or whatever from Trivium).

All that considering the weight was right in your first post... if the difference in weight is greater then maybe yes maybe not, definitely there are very light guitars with headstock so just talk to your luthier then, but if the weight is so close... consider a headless, really.
 

Lorcan Ward

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Thanks. yeah...will prob do a set-in neck or neck through. Definitely won't be doing headless - I really dislike the look, so will consider neck dive more in my choice of bodywoods. I guess I'll need a balance, my HB has a lot of neck dive.

If I wanted a lightweight guitar I'd go for a light ash, limba or mahogany body specially picked out, a thin highly figured top, light maple neck, ebony or maple board. All with an emphasis on being light. In my experience lighter guitars tend to resonate/ring out more than really heavy guitars.

Neck dive is as much to do with body shape as it is to do with the balance of neck and body woods. A good luthier should know how their guitar balances. Choosing the headstock shape with the least amount of wood will help here.

With extra hardware for 2 more strings that will need to be taken into account to make sure the headstock isn't too heavy.
 


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