Hello. I have heard that Gibson are making their guitars lighter today than they used to be. I was wondering, does this affect the tone of the guitars?

Quote by johnhud
Hello. I have heard that Gibson are making their guitars lighter today than they used to be. I was wondering, does this affect the tone of the guitars?


I guess maybe the sustain, because isint it true that that more heavier than the more sustaine?
Gibson is saying it gives them more resonance..I say that the only real LP is one that weighs 10 lbs
pretty sure they've been weight relieving them since the mid 80's or so...personally i prefer a really heavy guitar, i dont like the feeling of nothing when im playing
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Sometimes Heavier is better but not if they over do it...they weight relief by putting weight relief holes in the guitars.
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There was a thread on this a day or 2 ago but since 2006 they have been chambering the bodies basically hollowing them out and there lighter and this does affect the tone. In the early 80s it started to be hard to get lighter mahogany and the guitars would weight way too much so they just drilled 7 holes in it before they put the maple cap on these still weighed about 10 pounds and it didn't affect the tone.
Yeah, but Gibson's definitely gone beyond the 9 holes
they've made the les paul into a freaking hollowbody! I dunno bout you, but GIbson's been doing some questionable things lately...Letting their QC slip and whatnot
Listen guitar roadies are limited in what they can use on the axes to make them shine and protect them! That is how delciate they are. Will hollowing them out effect the sound - yes!
Bands used to hollow out guitars to smuggle dope and that effected the sound of their albums!

However a lot of that lost sound can be put by effects - so it might not be the end of the world. Gibson go up and down in the QC department - some of the 80's stuff is little better than the LP copies. Blame computers - spreadsheets jockies working how to do things cheaper and raise bottom lines. Also don't think for a second any major names have ever played with factory models anyway - they had them fitted with best-of-breed Japanese coils. So Joe Public has always been shafted one way or the other.
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id rather play a 1970's very heavy les paul than a 2008 les paul...

i played about 20 different les paul gibson models in the last 3 weeks, and was disatisfied with about 15 of them....! the higher end ones are fine..its the £1,200 mark ones that are poor. Not to mention the faded standards they have released ?

i think they have turned into porsche, ...they just keep releasing different models sligh differences, evan if it means cutting down quality and using cheaper wood.
Out of curiousity, its just the standard and below models that are being weight relieved like this right? The Custom Shop's les pauls are being kept the same? and what about the VOS?
Reissues are not weight relieved. Some of the other custom shop models are. All the USA Les Pauls are weight relieved.

I've read that wood supplies now tend to be denser than they were in the 50's and that weight was steadily climbing, which prompted the original method of drilling 9 holes into the body.

The chambering, I would suspect from a physics point of view to increase the resonance of the body and at the same time reduce sustain as the strings are able to transfer more of their energy to a lighter, less rigid body (the chambering will inherently be less structurally sound and rigid than a solid slab of wood, although that's not to say it is weak).
I bet I could hand anyone of you a Gibson Les Paul that has been chambered and on that hasn't, same specs besides that, and none of you would be able to tell the difference. Besides in feeling its weight. Seriously, more wood does not always mean more resonance. I had an Gibby LP Standard for awhile that had decent sustain, then made a Warmoth LP that was at the most 2/3's the weight and amount of wood of the Gibson. The Warmoth sustained forever while the Gibby would die off after awhile.
Yah... they still weigh anywhere from 9 to 12 lbs. The mahogany itself is far denser than vintage woods. Of course, it does kill the sustain.
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To come back again. To judge sustain you need to strum the thing umamped and listen very carefully. Best late at night. As a rule of thumb anything that has a bolt on neck won't sustain long naturally. Sometimes bolt-on compressor guitars are used in the studio and they are a total beast -- makes a guitar that is almost alive in your hands. The note simply never dies out. I can hear them on some records - but the artists never use them live. That would give the game away.
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With a good rig, the weight relieving process won't effect sustain noticeably. However for the average person, the bass resonance will seem to drop off sharply as the low signal weakens. A basic bass boost or signal boost can correct this problem.

As far as tone goes, as I've said, the bass end will drop off a little earlier, but otherwise, almost nothing has changed. The guitar has more acoustic resonance and will have slightly more pronounced mid-range in the final sound, but it really is only a very small difference. It's basically like the tonal effects a semi-hollowbody has (thicker and smoother with more drop-off), but to a much, much smaller degree. I'm sure on most people's average rigs, you wouldn't notice the difference at all.

The main problem I have with the weight relieving is the balance of the guitar as it hangs on your shoulders. Older LPs which are made of solid and just naturally lighter wood will hang more comfortably and naturally, whereas ones which use chambered (weight-relieved) denser wood tend to swing either more to the head or to the body, which can be annoying, especially if you're switching between a couple of guitars and have to keep adjusting your straps for each one every time you switch.
Les Paul bodies used to be mostly solid with routing for pick-ups and wiring. This was because light-weight mahagony was readily available at a descent price. After a while this wood was becoming scarce so around 1980ish a heavier mahagony was used and 9 holes were drilled partially into the body to try and keep the weight similar. These holes WERE NOT all the way through the back of the guitar. It is possible to have a Les Paul that weighs more with these 9 weight-relieved holes than an earlier "solid" version. About a year ago Gibson decided to fix what wasn't broken and started chambering their Les Pauls. This chambering significanly reduces the weight of the guitar and no doubt effects the tone. IMO, the heavier the Les Paul, the better. Gibson has been keeping this hush-hush so now instead of having a nice Les Paul between 8-10 lbs you'll get one that's 6-8 lbs.