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What to expect from a light Les Paul?

Big Al

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,294
I have an R7 that comes in at 7.9 lbs (not chambered). I've never noticed any deficiency in tone and the weight was really the deciding factor in my buying it.
I compared so many. I have a store with huge inventory and as with all my guitars, they let me choose from many, many until I find what I like. I have not found a very light Les Paul that could compete with the moderately light 8.8-9.2 lb ones I ended up with. I know guys with sub 8lb versions they claim are very toneful, yet when compared to my heavier than their guitar, straight up, side by side, same amp, those claims fall apart and the featherweights fail to impress.

I'll bet you only chose that guitar on weight alone. Because that was what you wanted. Like everyone I've met with one..
In every case the guitar was chosen merely because it was so light. When they'd tell me about the guitar it was all about how light it was and that is the only thing that was compared. I'm not impressed by featherweight, punkwood solidbody Les Pauls. They literally don't measure up. There may be some that do but in 50years of searching I haven't found one. They are not awful, more average or generic, imo.


BTW after decades of 11lb+ Les Pauls sub 9lbs is light.
 

bcaldwell

New member
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
10
I compared so many. I have a store with huge inventory and as with all my guitars, they let me choose from many, many until I find what I like. I have not found a very light Les Paul that could compete with the moderately light 8.8-9.2 lb ones I ended up with. I know guys with sub 8lb versions they claim are very toneful, yet when compared to my heavier than their guitar, straight up, side by side, same amp, those claims fall apart and the featherweights fail to impress.

I'll bet you only chose that guitar on weight alone. Because that was what you wanted. Like everyone I've met with one..
In every case the guitar was chosen merely because it was so light. When they'd tell me about the guitar it was all about how light it was and that is the only thing that was compared. I'm not impressed by featherweight, punkwood solidbody Les Pauls. They literally don't measure up. There may be some that do but in 50years of searching I haven't found one. They are not awful, more average or generic, imo.


BTW after decades of 11lb+ Les Pauls sub 9lbs is light.
With all due respect, I've been playing for 50 years, I also worked in a store selling Les Pauls for 10 years. In that time I've owned 7 or 8 Les Pauls and quite a few other guitars- I've long ago lost count. I've been through the inventories of guitar shops all over the world (throughout Asia, Europe, the U.S., and even South Africa) playing Les Pauls and others. I've attended NAMM shows since 1973 (with only a few years off to go to law school). The R7 I have now stands up to all of them as far as I'm concerned. The one thing I've learned over and over again is that every guitar has differences - no two are exactly alike - and when you find one that you consider to be exceptional (not anyone else), you should grab it. I would no more generalize about all sub 8 lb. LPs than I would about all 8.8-9.2 lb. LPs. This was the first sub 8 lbs Les Paul I've ever really cared for, which is why I bought it. I did not choose it on weight alone, you're wrong in that assumption, but weight was a factor. I also like the way it sounded and played (knowing how I could set it up), and how it looked (although that's probably the least of my criteria). I can understand that you may not be impressed with any sub 8 lb. Les Paul, but there are those who can be. And I would never presume to judge the tonal quality of a guitar I hadn't personally played.
 

Sol

Active member
Joined
Oct 26, 2001
Messages
745
I know that very lightweight guitars can sound excellent, and I have put together a Strat style guitar using Paulowina for the body. It weighs in at approx 6lb 1 oz and is a very lively, responsive guitar with excellent sustain.

One of my favourite Luthiers is Roger Giffin. He has explored the potential of lightweight guitars with an analytical approach combined with an eye for beautiful design.( check him out).

He was, for some time working for Gibson as their West Coast Custom Shop luthier where he created a replica of Jimmy Page's no#1 amongst many others.

No one would doubt there is a powerful dynamic that occurs between guitar and amp at high volume. That high sound pressure level that you feel as much as hear seem to favour heavier guitars over very light and semi acoustic guitars.. Very few of us are playing at the kind of volumes that someone like Joe Bonamasser deals with on a nightly basis.

Could this account for the contradictory views we go back and forth on when it comes to the ideal weight of our Les Paul's ?
What if there is really no such thing ? 8lb, 9lb, 10 lb.. These are just numbers. What truly unites every one of us are the notes..
 

Big Al

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,294
With all due respect, I've been playing for 50 years, I also worked in a store selling Les Pauls for 10 years. In that time I've owned 7 or 8 Les Pauls and quite a few other guitars- I've long ago lost count. I've been through the inventories of guitar shops all over the world (throughout Asia, Europe, the U.S., and even South Africa) playing Les Pauls and others. I've attended NAMM shows since 1973 (with only a few years off to go to law school). The R7 I have now stands up to all of them as far as I'm concerned. The one thing I've learned over and over again is that every guitar has differences - no two are exactly alike - and when you find one that you consider to be exceptional (not anyone else), you should grab it. I would no more generalize about all sub 8 lb. LPs than I would about all 8.8-9.2 lb. LPs. This was the first sub 8 lbs Les Paul I've ever really cared for, which is why I bought it. I did not choose it on weight alone, you're wrong in that assumption, but weight was a factor. I also like the way it sounded and played (knowing how I could set it up), and how it looked (although that's probably the least of my criteria). I can understand that you may not be impressed with any sub 8 lb. Les Paul, but there are those who can be. And I would never presume to judge the tonal quality of a guitar I hadn't personally played.
I bet you think you're alone. I'll stack my 50yrs in retail and repair up against yours. You may have a fine guitar, but I have never found a sub 8lb Les Paul with great tone. Every single person I know of who bought a balsa paul did so on weight alone. I've seen it. Now if you claim you tried a bunch and the best sounding of them all just happened to be the lightest, excuse me while I disbelieve you. I think I can generalise about sub 8lb LP as I have compared so many. Jrs and Melody Makers too. Did you find an outlier? It is possible, I haven't played every one so maybe, but a clear trend is a trend and I'll follow it. Can someone desire the tone I've observed in featherweights? I suppose so, but anyone who claims 50 yrs of serious guitar experience when asked what to expect with such a guitar would be less than honest if great tone was the expectation. It is not the norm.
 

renderit

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
10,111
See ya Al. And call ya...

36333010151_97bb302e88_3k.jpg

36302730952_5d362a6df9_4k.jpg

35662972023_8cf6cfa7b6_3k.jpg


All are abso-friggin-lutely delicious.

And as a fact, several guitar shop owners have played that 62
"SUB SIX" and proclaimed it to be the "best sounding p90" they ever heard!

As is this with 'the log' for a neck.


36311007455_6b0515054c_3k.jpg


None of them was bought
BECAUSE of the weight.

The R4 was the only one I could find at the time and it sounds fantastic, so I disagree.

I would also say I have not seen a MM EVER over 8# and only a few Jr's. that were.

Now maybe a sub 8# does not fit your style.

Seems to fit mine fine.

Oh, my last one sub 8. The rest are over.
This one sounds sterling as well.

36303068302_40090ef62f_3k.jpg
 
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El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
4,547
I compared so many. I have a store with huge inventory and as with all my guitars, they let me choose from many, many until I find what I like. I have not found a very light Les Paul that could compete with the moderately light 8.8-9.2 lb ones I ended up with. I know guys with sub 8lb versions they claim are very toneful, yet when compared to my heavier than their guitar, straight up, side by side, same amp, those claims fall apart and the featherweights fail to impress.

I'll bet you only chose that guitar on weight alone. Because that was what you wanted. Like everyone I've met with one..
In every case the guitar was chosen merely because it was so light. When they'd tell me about the guitar it was all about how light it was and that is the only thing that was compared. I'm not impressed by featherweight, punkwood solidbody Les Pauls. They literally don't measure up. There may be some that do but in 50years of searching I haven't found one. They are not awful, more average or generic, imo.


BTW after decades of 11lb+ Les Pauls sub 9lbs is light.
I think 9 lbs is the ideal weight for a Gibson Les Paul . In all of my years going back to the mid 70's of playing the lighter ones have a unpleasant nasal like tone . I know it's easy to write a descriptive adjective down , but there is something to weight and mass in a Les Paul that makes a difference . The thing is as I have gotten older it seems my ear is able to pickup and hear better the differences in tone and the lighter Les Paul's may work for some , but not for me . Plus all of our music that we grew up listening to with our favorite bands and artists that used vintage Les Paul's -none of those were lightweight Les Paul's . Think about that for a second ? Mass = tone in a Les Paul .
 

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
4,547
With all due respect, I've been playing for 50 years, I also worked in a store selling Les Pauls for 10 years. In that time I've owned 7 or 8 Les Pauls and quite a few other guitars- I've long ago lost count. I've been through the inventories of guitar shops all over the world (throughout Asia, Europe, the U.S., and even South Africa) playing Les Pauls and others. I've attended NAMM shows since 1973 (with only a few years off to go to law school). The R7 I have now stands up to all of them as far as I'm concerned. The one thing I've learned over and over again is that every guitar has differences - no two are exactly alike - and when you find one that you consider to be exceptional (not anyone else), you should grab it. I would no more generalize about all sub 8 lb. LPs than I would about all 8.8-9.2 lb. LPs. This was the first sub 8 lbs Les Paul I've ever really cared for, which is why I bought it. I did not choose it on weight alone, you're wrong in that assumption, but weight was a factor. I also like the way it sounded and played (knowing how I could set it up), and how it looked (although that's probably the least of my criteria). I can understand that you may not be impressed with any sub 8 lb. Les Paul, but there are those who can be. And I would never presume to judge the tonal quality of a guitar I hadn't personally played.
I will throw my 2 cents into this and state that thru my own trials and tribulations in buying guitars is that when I try one out either it has the "tone" or it doesn't . Back in the 90's I foolishly thought that with set ups and pickups and hardware that I could trick up a guitar to bring the goods and I was wrong . Either it has the tone or it doesn't .
 

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
4,547
I know that very lightweight guitars can sound excellent, and I have put together a Strat style guitar using Paulowina for the body. It weighs in at approx 6lb 1 oz and is a very lively, responsive guitar with excellent sustain.

One of my favourite Luthiers is Roger Giffin. He has explored the potential of lightweight guitars with an analytical approach combined with an eye for beautiful design.( check him out).

He was, for some time working for Gibson as their West Coast Custom Shop luthier where he created a replica of Jimmy Page's no#1 amongst many others.

No one would doubt there is a powerful dynamic that occurs between guitar and amp at high volume. That high sound pressure level that you feel as much as hear seem to favour heavier guitars over very light and semi acoustic guitars.. Very few of us are playing at the kind of volumes that someone like Joe Bonamasser deals with on a nightly basis.

Could this account for the contradictory views we go back and forth on when it comes to the ideal weight of our Les Paul's ?
What if there is really no such thing ? 8lb, 9lb, 10 lb.. These are just numbers. What truly unites every one of us are the notes..
Roger Giffin is the BEST and I got to know him when he was head of Gibson West Coast Custom Shop in LA in the early 90's when he did some work on my childhood Black Beauty Les Paul Custom . I owe Roger Big time , Such a Classy Gentleman that knows his stuff and is just the BEST ! I also agree that high volumes also account for an ingredient in the tonal spectrum and make a difference . Good Point !
 
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AA00475Bassman

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 26, 2016
Messages
3,361
Blanket statements of weight = tone are very subjective .

I once again digging 8.5-9 pound maple cap carved top Les Paul tone .

My R4 is lighter than my R8 is the R4 = due to less hardware so in my calculations close in husk weight .

Light Les Pauls seem to be the flavor since the 90's .

Lets go back to 70's & 80 's I never recall , could be wrong seeing weight in a description of a Les Paul hanging on a wall for sale or in a Sunday newspaper .

I do recall 70's 80's guitar hacks I was hanging with liked some heft .

Im with El Toro 9 pounds all day either a guitar has tone or its a turd & yes you can embellish tone .

Im not dissing light weight Les Pauls ive never owned one & there is a reason Im just not smart enough to figure that out .
 

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
4,547
See ya Al. And call ya...

36333010151_97bb302e88_3k.jpg

36302730952_5d362a6df9_4k.jpg

35662972023_8cf6cfa7b6_3k.jpg


All are abso-friggin-lutely delicious.

And as a fact, several guitar shop owners have played that 62
"SUB SIX" and proclaimed it to be the "best sounding p90" they ever heard!

As is this with 'the log' for a neck.


36311007455_6b0515054c_3k.jpg


None of them was bought
BECAUSE of the weight.

The R4 was the only one I could find at the time and it sounds fantastic, so I disagree.

I would also say I have not seen a MM EVER over 8# and only a few Jr's. that were.

Now maybe a sub 8# does not fit your style.

Seems to fit mine fine.

Oh, my last one sub 8. The rest are over.
This one sounds sterling as well.

36303068302_40090ef62f_3k.jpg
I am in lust of your TV Yellow LP !!!!!!!!!!
 

mjross

Member
Joined
May 11, 2019
Messages
84
Roger Giffin is the BEST and I got to know him when he was head of Gibson West Coast Custom Shop in LA in the early 90's when he did some work on my childhood Black Beauty Les Paul Custom . I owe Roger Big time , Such a Classy Gentleman that knows his stuff and is just the BEST ! I also agree that high volumes also account for an ingredient in the tonal spectrum and make a difference . Good Point !
Roger Giffin guitars are amazing! Purchased one a few months ago and the craftsmanship is top notch. Best part is how it sounds and plays. Check one out, you will understand!

Sorry, just had to say that. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.
 

Sol

Active member
Joined
Oct 26, 2001
Messages
745
It would be worth suspending the schedule for just a moment in order to get a brief description of your new Roger Giffin guitar.
I used his work as an example of lightweight guitars that can sound superb when designed by a master Luthier.
 
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J T

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Messages
10,150
sandy weight smaller.jpeg
I like this one a lot. No pickup covers. Yeah that's keeping it under nine for sure. :)
 

J T

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Messages
10,150
interesting thing I found on the scale was when I put the 345 there. It's a bigger guitar but it weighs LESS than the LP.

345_Smaller_Size.jpeg
 

Red Rogue

Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2009
Messages
153
I own a chambered Les Paul CR8 with 7,42lbs. I think that Gibson already chose light mahogany before routing the whole cavity.
Compared with my R8 (9,1lbs) the CR8 has a bit less compression and is a bit brighter. A slight mixture of Les Paul and ES335.
 

El Gringo

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Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
4,547

mjross

Member
Joined
May 11, 2019
Messages
84
That is a most stunning beauty . I bet she plays and sounds amazing !!!!!!!!
Giffin guitars are as much a work of art as they are a fine playing instrument. Puts a smile on my face every time I take it out of the case. Not as tame as it looks, this guitar can scream!
 
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El Gringo

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Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
4,547
Giffin guitars are as much a work of art as they are a fine playing instrument. Puts a smile on my face every time I take it out of the case. Not as tame as it looks, this guitar can scream!
She sure looks like a beauty and I bet her tone is equally amazing .
 
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mjross

Member
Joined
May 11, 2019
Messages
84
She sure looks like a beauty and I bet her tone is equally amazing .
Yes sir! I’d never heard of Amalfitano Fullbucker pickups until I got this guitar. They have a very nice rounded clear tone. These guitars fly under the radar but are as good or better than many of the high end “usual suspects”!



As a side note, yesterday I contacted Giffin Guitars requesting white pickup surrounds for my Giffin Standard as I was wondering what it would look like with white pickup surrounds instead of the wooden surrounds that are currently on the guitar.

Got a response directly from Roger Giffin himself just a few minutes ago. He informed me that the pickup surrounds were on the way. I requested which payment method he’d prefer and cost. He told me that they were on the way at no charge. Who does that? Yeah, service after the sale. Can’t beat that!
 
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