#1
I'm just getting back into playing guitar after being away from it for many years and I'm starting to have problems with the left side of my neck, shoulder and back. I've tried using 24" stools, 36" stools, sitting on a bed, sitting on a chair, standing, taking breaks every 20-30 minutes but nothing seems to work. After playing for about 25-30 minutes I get pains in my upper left back where the strap crosses and it eventually starts hitting my neck and shoulder, too. It starts out as just an annoyance but eventually it gets so bad that I have to stop playing.

I play with the guitar fairly high since I've heard playing low can cause back pain. I've also got pretty good posture as well so my only guess is that I'm having this problem because I haven't played in so many years (more than 10 actually) and I'm just adjusting to the weight of the guitar? I never had this problem when I played 10 years ago so I'm kinda worried.

It also doesn't help that my guitar is pretty heavy...a Michael Kelly with an all mahogany body and neck. It's about as heavy as a Les Paul.

All that being said, what is the lightest type of wood that electric guitars are made of? Since I've tried everything else, I think the only thing I have left is to reduce the weight of the guitar and see if that works. Or, maybe just build up my playing time a little bit at a time? I'm trying to play about an hour a day so maybe I should just play 20 minutes a day for a week, and then 30 for a week, then 45, etc.

Thanks a lot for any advice or info you guys might have.
Last edited by stevem326 at Jun 24, 2008,
#3
Perhaps look into a better strap? A nice strap with a cushy shoulder pad can cut down on the amount of pressure a heavy guitar can put on your shoulder.

Or, if you want mahogany tone without the weight, check out the S series from Ibanez. The bodies are very thin and light but also have enough wood to obtain some nice beefy tone.

As far as lightest wood, that'd probably be basswood.
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#4
Quote by mogar
Perhaps look into a better strap? A nice strap with a cushy shoulder pad can cut down on the amount of pressure a heavy guitar can put on your shoulder.

Or, if you want mahogany tone without the weight, check out the S series from Ibanez. The bodies are very thin and light but also have enough wood to obtain some nice beefy tone.

As far as lightest wood, that'd probably be basswood.


Thanks a lot. I'm actually using a wide 4-inch nylon strap but it doesn't really have any padding at all (it's just really wide and I thought that would be good enough). But I know there are some really good padded straps out there so I'll look at some of them as well as the Ibanez S series line.
#5
Quote by GuitarHero0715
Ash sounds like a light word.



Ash is pretty heavy. Words can be decieving I guess.

I don't really know of a light guitar to suggest, but I also have back probs and I've found that playing in a chair with a straight back on it helps with the pain a bit. Hope that helps.

Peace...
Tim
When I tried to play something and screwed up, I'd hear some other note that would come into play. Then I started trying different things to find the beauty in it. --- Dimebag Darrell
#7
Quote by GoodGod
www.parkerguitars.com their guitars are crazy light, my guitar teacher has one.



Good call on that one.

Yeah the lead singer of my last band played a Parker Fly...it was very light.

Peace...
Tim
When I tried to play something and screwed up, I'd hear some other note that would come into play. Then I started trying different things to find the beauty in it. --- Dimebag Darrell
#9
that yamaha rgx A2. it comes in black now so you don't look like you're playing an ipod
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#10
Quote by GoodGod
www.parkerguitars.com their guitars are crazy light, my guitar teacher has one.


Awesome, I will check them out...I have to say it would take some time to get used to the shape. It definitely is different but if it would help with the problems I'm having who cares!!
#11
I actually like the white one more than the black.
AMP:
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GSP1101 + Tech 21 PE60

GUITARS:
ESP LTD M-255 w/ SD Full Shred
Kramer Vanguard w/ JE-1000 active preamp
Douglas WF-150sn w/ GFS "Hot Lead" set

EFFECTS:
Bos SD-1 (boost)
AMT DT-2

My Youtube Vids http://youtube.com/user/mogar
#12
Quote by danyellenik
that yamaha rgx A2. it comes in black now so you don't look like you're playing an ipod

I've actually played this, so I can verify it's crazy lightness.

PRS SE soapbars are pretty light as well...
#13
Quote by stevem326
Awesome, I will check them out...I have to say it would take some time to get used to the shape. It definitely is different but if it would help with the problems I'm having who cares!!



They may look funny, but along with being super light, they also play and sound incredible. Especially the ones with the graphite fretboard.

Peace...
Tim
When I tried to play something and screwed up, I'd hear some other note that would come into play. Then I started trying different things to find the beauty in it. --- Dimebag Darrell
#14
Quote by danyellenik
that yamaha rgx A2. it comes in black now so you don't look like you're playing an ipod


I would definitely get the black one but the concept is pretty cool...and it definitely looks light. Thanks for the info!
#15
Also look at the Jackson SLSMG if you're into metal and EMGs.

Also, lots of Schecters I played (lots of C-1s) were incredibly light.
#16
SGs. Also get a fat, mushy like strap.
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#17
Quote by DinkyDude
SGs. Also get a fat, mushy like strap.



An owner of a SG, great guitar, but they arent lightweight. The body is, but they are neck heavy and they dive to the floor if you dont hold on. If you want something lightweight I would say something more light than that.
#18
i had a artificial disc implanted at L5. my wife went to a local medical supply co and bought me a gel pad for wheelchairs and it helps my back a great deal.
#19
My Schecter has a basswood body (which is one of the lightest woods, period) and yet it's still pretty heavy for some reason.

I think it really depends on the actual guitar instead of just the wood it's made out of...going to a store and trying a bunch out would be my recommendation, especially since what you're mainly looking for in a guitar at this point is FEEL.
#20
...

Its hard to believe no one has thought of the Ibanez S series. S series slay any Gibsons in comfortable playability. Or any guitar, in that matter.

First post.
#22
Thanks a lot for all of the suggestions. I'll check out all of the guitars you guys recommended as well as the other advice you had. I appreciate everyone's time and advice!
#24
Quote by guitarnoize
This is the lightest guitar you will find:

http://www.xoxaudiotools.com/index.php?page=product


Wow, cool, a carbon fiber guitar...pretty neat. But it's $2,449 Euro which is about $5,000 USD right (plus S&H to the U.S.)? I will check it out though...thanks a lot for the link!
Last edited by stevem326 at Jun 25, 2008,
#25
hey steve, i've had back problems for a long time.

look into a guitar harness. i've seen them for acoustics. i'm sure someone has a similar item for electrics.

in addition, dunlop and other companies made guitar strap pads.

would be better than what you're using now.

good luck,

examples...
http://buildingtheergonomicguitar.com/2006/09/making-your-guitar-more-ergonomic-part.html

http://www.darestrap.com/testimonials.html

http://www.music123.com/Search/Default.aspx?src=guitar%20strap%20pad&source=ZWWRWXGG
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Last edited by jj1565 at Jun 25, 2008,
#26
Quote by jj1565
hey steve, i've had back problems for a long time.

look into a guitar harness. i've seen them for acoustics. i'm sure someone has a similar item for electrics.

in addition, dunlop and other companies made guitar strap pads.

would be better than what you're using now.

good luck,

examples...
http://buildingtheergonomicguitar.com/2006/09/making-your-guitar-more-ergonomic-part.html

http://www.darestrap.com/testimonials.html

http://www.music123.com/Search/Default.aspx?src=guitar%20strap%20pad&source=ZWWRWXGG


Wow, this looks awesome...thanks so much for the links. I will definitely try one of these plus get a lighter guitar! Thanks a lot!
#27
Quote by stevem326
Wow, cool, a carbon fiber guitar...pretty neat. But it's $2,449 Euro which is about $5,000 USD right (plus S&H to the U.S.)? I will check it out though...thanks a lot for the link!


If you look at the specs on this guitar it actually weighs 4.4 pounds while some of the Parkers weigh 5 pounds. It's still an interesting guitar but I was thinking it would weigh only 2-3 pounds. Regardless, thanks for the link.
#28
Though it has been mentioned twice already: The Yamaha RGX A2:
http://www.samash.com/catalog/showitem.asp?ItemPos=0&TempID=1&DepartmentID=1&STRID=13131&CategorySubID=681&CategoryID=681&BrandID=1499&CategorySubPriceRangeID=0&pagesize=10&SortMethod=3&Method=3&PriceRangeID=0&SearchPhrase=&Contains=&Search_Type=Department&GroupCode=&categorysubsearch=true

It's a lot cheaper than the Parker Fly but not as good (but still good considering it's price). It fells a little strange playing it. It is so light that you get the impression that it's some toy that might brake the second you start playing, but it's actually a well crafted instrument and I had nothing to complain about the sound.
#29
Quote by TheQuailman
Though it has been mentioned twice already: The Yamaha RGX A2:
http://www.samash.com/catalog/showitem.asp?ItemPos=0&TempID=1&DepartmentID=1&STRID=13131&CategorySubID=681&CategoryID=681&BrandID=1499&CategorySubPriceRangeID=0&pagesize=10&SortMethod=3&Method=3&PriceRangeID=0&SearchPhrase=&Contains=&Search_Type=Department&GroupCode=&categorysubsearch=true

It's a lot cheaper than the Parker Fly but not as good (but still good considering it's price). It fells a little strange playing it. It is so light that you get the impression that it's some toy that might brake the second you start playing, but it's actually a well crafted instrument and I had nothing to complain about the sound.


Thanks, I'm going to try to find one to play in person. I have to say that the white one looks like it's made out of plastic so I'd definitely go with the black one instead. I guess the main thing is it's very light so that's definitely a plus.

And thanks again to everyone who replied. You guys are very helpful with all of your advice. I'm going to check out all of the guitars you've recommended as well as the straps and other accessories.

This place rocks. I'm glad I posted here because I wasn't aware of most of this stuff!
#31
Quote by IWank7Sevens
...

Its hard to believe no one has thought of the Ibanez S series. S series slay any Gibsons in comfortable playability. Or any guitar, in that matter.

First post.

^Someone forgot the dress-code. No fanboys
Ahm... Strat style's usually fairly light, SG's as well - V-style guitars are usually fairly heft-free as well, despite the un-practical-ness of the shape. Epi LP ultra's another one...
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#32
Quote by Korzack
^Someone forgot the dress-code. No fanboys
Ahm... Strat style's usually fairly light, SG's as well - V-style guitars are usually fairly heft-free as well, despite the un-practical-ness of the shape. Epi LP ultra's another one...


Not necessarily a fanboy. Ibanez's are great, but Ibanez isn't the only brand worth giving a shot.

But in all honesty, the S series is probably the most comfortable guitar I've found.
#33
Quote by Iceman 420
Pine.

It'll sound like crap.

My basswood Tele weighs almost nothing, most alder guitars are pretty light though also.
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#34
Quote by IWank7Sevens
Not necessarily a fanboy. Ibanez's are great, but Ibanez isn't the only brand worth giving a shot.

But in all honesty, the S series is probably the most comfortable guitar I've found.

It all depends on the size of your hands, and everyone is different. You often hear that for comfort/playability, Ibanez is unbeatable, but I've yet to find anything more comfortable for me than a Strat with a C-shaped neck.
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Quote by DaMarsbarPerson
By high-gain I don't mean stupid stuff. I just mean styles like Motley Crue or Iron Maiden
#35
Quote by MortifiedLizard
It'll sound like crap.


No, it won't actually. Pine is not uncommonly used in custom Strat/Tele projects, and with the correct build, they resonate and sustain very well, and have an excellent tone.

Eric Johnson's favourite vintage Strat (he named it Virginia) was a single slab of solid spruce. It sure sounded good to me.

To answer the threadstarter's question I'd look into a Steinberger or a Parker.
My name is Tom, feel free to use it.
#36
Thanks again for all the suggestions...I'm actually writing all of these different guitars down on paper for a future shopping spree
Last edited by stevem326 at Jun 25, 2008,
#37
All i have to say is that sgs are not that light. My g400 is heavier than my strat.
i guess its the mahogany.
#38
Quote by djgbsbj
All i have to say is that sgs are not that light. My g400 is heavier than my strat.
i guess its the mahogany.


Yeh, I believe mahogany is one of the heaviest woods out there. I was playing a Michael Kelly guitar with a mahogany body and neck which was great but it was as heavy, if not heavier, than a Les Paul. I ended up returning it. It had incredible sustain and a real beefy sound (like a Les Paul) but it was just way too heavy
#39
Hey Everyone:

I just wanted to say thanks a lot for everybody's advice. I looked at all of the guitars you guys recommended and ended up getting a Parker Fly Deluxe today. This thing is so light I can't believe it...only 4.4 pounds. I'm not joking when I say my former guitar weighed close to THREE TIMES that much! The Parker has a Poplar body and a Basswood neck so it is super light.

I just got done playing for two straight hours with three short breaks and I have no back, neck or shoulder pain at all!!! I have to highly recommend this guitar to anyone who is suffering from neck, back, or shoulder pain. It's incredible. The Ibanez S series came in a very close second but what sold me on the Parker was the wide variety of sounds I can get out of it (and it was also lighter than the Ibanez). Plus it's just so ergonomic the way it is shaped. It pretty much just becomes a part of your body when you play and you hardly even know it's there.

It even has a set of pickups in the rear that are designed to model an accoustic sound. There are so many different possibilities in terms of sound that I haven't even discovered most of them yet (gotta definitely read the 32-page manual)!!

Anyway, thanks again. Had I not asked this question a week ago here at the forum I would have never even heard of Parker guitars. I didn't even know about them until you all suggested them here...so, thanks again Ultimate Guitar Forum!!!
Last edited by stevem326 at Jun 28, 2008,