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Getting a lightweight electric guitar the easy way

Squier Vintage Modified '72 Telecaster Thinline

Many guitars bust over 8lbs (3.6kg) in weight. Can we go lighter and still get something good? Yes, we can.

A lot of guitarists pass on certain guitars simply because they're too heavy. A heavy guitar feels bad both seated and standing. When seated, the leg the guitar rests on hurts. When standing, the guitar strap pull hurts one or both shoulders and possibly the back too. That's no good.

Smaller does not automatically mean lighter

The Fender American Original '60s Jaguar is a smaller guitar. But it's not lighter. Some (possibly many) of them come dangerously close to 9lbs (4kg.)

This isn't to say all smaller electric guitars are heavy. The Fender Duo-Sonic for example is usually under 7lbs (3.2kg.)


Even though the Duo-Sonic I just mentioned is usually under 7lbs, it's not always under 7. Sometimes you will come across one that for whatever reason has some undesirable chunk to it.

In the world of mass produced solid-body electric guitars, that's just the way things are. This even happens with the Fender American Professional Stratocaster. Some have a very desirable weight of 6.8lbs (3kg) while others chunk out to 8.4lbs (3.8kg.) And I'm certain there are some that even bust over 9lbs.

When you want light, go semi-hollow with vintage style tuners and fixed bridge

An example of this is a guitar I already own, the Squier Vintage Modified '72 Telecaster Thinline. Most of these guitars are just 6.5lbs (2.9kg,) and mine is definitely one of the lighter ones, which I very much appreciate.

A semi-hollow guitar body is good for weight savings, but not the only thing to pay attention to. You would be surprised at how much weight tuners add to a guitar. The Thinline uses the lighter vintage style instead of modern sealed, and that shaves off a few ounces. The fixed bridge with no vibrato (which in this case means no Bigsby system) also keeps the weight down significantly.

Some examples of semi-hollow electrics with these specs

Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster Thinline

Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster Thinline

This is the lightest Squier electric one can buy. I'm also pretty sure it's the lightest Telecaster you can buy. I owned one of these briefly before and can confirm that yes, this is a super-lightweight.

Some places list this guitar as being just 5.4lbs (2.4kg) and yes, I believe it.

Fender's highfalutin model, the Fender American Elite Telecaster Thinline, doesn't even get this light. Oh, believe me, that guitar is also a super-lightweight at about 5.8lbs (2.6kg,) but when every ounce counts, the Squier is actually the lightest of the lot.

Epiphone ES-339

Epiphone ES-339

This guitar typically has a weight of under 7lbs (3.2kg.)

You can basically consider this a Les Paul sized ES-335. I've handled this guitar personally and yes, she's a lightweight for sure.

And as I've mentioned before, photos do not do this guitar justice. This looks so, so nice in real life.

Epiphone Blueshawk

Epiphone Blueshawk

I've not handled this one personally, but that's only for one reason. I can't find one to try out.

This guitar is reported to be 6.2lbs (2.8kg,) and I'd love to get my hands on this thing because it has the Gibson VariTone knob with 6 positions on it. That knob "colors" the sound in a way that's subtle, unique and cool.

The Blueshawk is one of the best guitars Epiphone has ever made, and is another one of those "if I had the cash I'd buy it right now" axes for sure.

Published 2018 Jul 20

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