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Let's talk weight relief...


Lungimsam
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This is an age old question, people have argued about it for as long as I've been using guitar forums!

Here's my take on it.

I have four Les Pauls two weight relieved (2008  Classic Antique & 2011 Studio 60's Tribute) and two solid (2014 Trad & 2014 58 Reissue).  All four guitars have different characteristics, but if they didn't I would never have bought them all, but don't forget two identical guitars cab be vastly different otherwise we'd just buy them online, there would be no point in playing as many as possible would there?

Do I think the weight relief makes any difference? No, not really, maybe a little, but that's all part of the character of the individual guitar, I buy the one that I like, I wouldn't pass up on any guitar because it was/wasn't weight relived.   

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This is one of those "Cork Sniffer" kind of topics... Some people have strong opinions  on it, others (like me) don't really think it factors in all that much.

who's to know who is right?

I've got a 95 LP that's probably about 11 lbs.  I'm not sure if that is weight relieved..   and a 2002 that's just around 9 and again, no idea what the "weight relief" sitch is there either .  The shoulder notices the difference, my ears do not  care. They of course don't sound quite the same, but I don't think that's got all that much to do with weight relief.

Neck dive with a les paul I would venture would be very rare if ever issue.  SG?  yea,, the struggle is real...  a suede or brushed leather strap solves that problem.  The "seat belt" material straps are really not a good fit for guitars that are prone to neck dive.

 

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I've got 4 LP's - 2 that have no weigh relief, 1 that has the Trad Relief and 1 that has the new wave Modern Relief (feels as light as my Strat).

Aside from some difference in tone I haven't noticed anything more than just the weight.  No Neck dives with any of them.
I'm with IanHenry - every guitar has it's own tone which is one reason I have four (or so I tell my wife 😁).

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The lighter wood goes to Custom Shop guitar LPs and heavier wood goes to USA guitars I believe.  That's why I have a sub-9lb R9 with no weight relief and a 9+lb Standard with weight relief.  But my advice is not to overthink it.  If you like a guitar, who GAF if it's weight relieved.  Not all same model guitars are created equal IMHO. 

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My acoustics have a ton of wood removed. 

But on to the topic at hand. I have owned full chiropractor special no relief LP's, the Swiss Cheese ones and the modern relief ones. Never could tell the difference in tone. Maybe a little in weight. LP's don't neck dive. There bodies are heavy even WR ones.

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I must admit, I cannot be objective when it comes to guitar weight.

I have owned heavy guitars of all brands and descriptions, and I have owned lightweight ones.
I have owned really heavy Les Pauls, and I have owned the ultra modern weight-relieved ones. 

a. I've never been able to discern any appreciable difference in tone between heavy and light

and,

b. It's painful to lug around a heavy axe, let alone strap it on for an entire set at a time.

Granted, I'm 60 years old, and my back isn't what it once was.
But lighter is preferable, in my universe.

Same thing with guitar amplifiers, by the way.
The lighter the better.

Bravo to all the major guitar companies, including Gibson, for offering us so many choices.
Vintage heavy, period correct medium-weight, and ultra modern weight-relieved.
They are all good to somebody, and we can all hit the music store and go home happy.

🙂

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I have a Gibson Les Paul Special P90's, Les Paul Std. Plus 490R/498T & a Memphis Blacktop ES Les Paul MHS & Bigsby.. The lightest is the ESLP at 7 lbs. The heaviest is the LP Std. Plus at 10 1/2 lbs.

IMO the biggest sound difference comes from the Pickups. Although, it seems like completely Solid Bodies have a muddier Sound.  

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The questions were how does different weight relief effect sound, playability, neck dive etc.  I have owned a non-relieved LP, a few with modern (9 hole) weight relief and one with ultra-modern weight relief.  As to sound the pickups account for most (if not all?) the difference, not the weight relief.  As to playability, I am old so lighter is better for a 3 or 4 set gig.  Neck dive is never an issue with a LP regardless of which type of weight relief it has.

It would be cool to play three different LPs with the different weight reliefs available through the same amp with the same settings, and all three have the same pickups (regardless of what PUs they were) to see if we could hear a difference.  But I have not seen that type of comparison done.  The different types of weight relief come on different model LPs, and different models almost always have different pickups.

As mentioned two identical model LPs may sound quite different anyway, so attributing any tone difference to weight relief is almost impossible to do.  Just get out and play and bunch of them and when you find the one that feels and sounds good to you, buy it.

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On 2/8/2020 at 2:13 PM, Twang Gang said:

The questions were how does different weight relief effect sound, playability, neck dive etc.  I have owned a non-relieved LP, a few with modern (9 hole) weight relief and one with ultra-modern weight relief.  As to sound the pickups account for most (if not all?) the difference, not the weight relief.  As to playability, I am old so lighter is better for a 3 or 4 set gig.  Neck dive is never an issue with a LP regardless of which type of weight relief it has.

It would be cool to play three different LPs with the different weight reliefs available through the same amp with the same settings, and all three have the same pickups (regardless of what PUs they were) to see if we could hear a difference.  But I have not seen that type of comparison done.  The different types of weight relief come on different model LPs, and different models almost always have different pickups.

As mentioned two identical model LPs may sound quite different anyway, so attributing any tone difference to weight relief is almost impossible to do.  Just get out and play and bunch of them and when you find the one that feels and sounds good to you, buy it.

 

 

agree with Twang Gang... i've played HEAVY LPs and weight relief ones and pick ups played a bigger deal than the weight

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On February 8, 2020 at 12:13 PM, Twang Gang said:

The questions were how does different weight relief effect sound, playability, neck dive etc.  I have owned a non-relieved LP, a few with modern (9 hole) weight relief and one with ultra-modern weight relief.  As to sound the pickups account for most (if not all?) the difference, not the weight relief.  As to playability, I am old so lighter is better for a 3 or 4 set gig.  Neck dive is never an issue with a LP regardless of which type of weight relief it has.

It would be cool to play three different LPs with the different weight reliefs available through the same amp with the same settings, and all three have the same pickups (regardless of what PUs they were) to see if we could hear a difference.  But I have not seen that type of comparison done.  The different types of weight relief come on different model LPs, and different models almost always have different pickups.

As mentioned two identical model LPs may sound quite different anyway, so attributing any tone difference to weight relief is almost impossible to do.  Just get out and play and bunch of them and when you find the one that feels and sounds good to you, buy it.

I bought different LP models, as listed in my previous post above,  as I don't feel the need for duplicates. At least at this point in time. But, I did want different LP's.. Though the weight relief & Pickups may be different on each of them my impression is the weight relief may have a slight, if any,  affect on the Sound. I still think the Pickups have much much more affect on the Sound...

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Given that all guitars sound a little different from each other, it makes it harder to tell what you are listening  for. Whether its weight relief, cap or neck wood; personally I find no reliable distinct difference in sound other than acoustic volume (for chambering). All other things being equal.

Edited by merciful-evans
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