Some of the most iconic guitars are also some of the heaviest and most models that you find will weigh at least 10 pounds, and sometimes as much as twice that. There are lighter options out there, though, if you know where to look, and they give you a quality that’s just as high as their heavier equivalents. The options on the list below sound great, are easy to play, and all weigh in the range of 6-8 pounds.
These are our recommendations for the 4 best lightweight guitars on the market:
Squier by Fender ’72 Thinline Telecaster Lightweight Guitar
The Thinline models from Fender use less wood in the body than most similar guitars, which in turn cuts back on its weight considerably. The light, semi-hollowbody construction reduces the weight even more. The end result is a slim, 6-pound axe has a beautiful natural wood body with a white pickguard that’s stylish and distinctive with a hip, vintage feel.
The feel of this guitar is exceptional. The C-shaped neck fits well to your hand and the frets are smooth. Overall, the action on this model is great thanks to the string-through bridge. The frets are a bit taller than on other models so it’s easier to bend notes, making this a great choice for country and blues players.
Sound-wise, the semi-hollow ash body brings an extra warmth and delicacy to the classic Telecaster tone. The end result is a beautiful instrument that would be at home in a wide range of genres.
Danelectro ’59M Lightweight Guitar
Speaking of attractive, vintage styling, the ’59M is a reissue of the company’s classic Shorthorn model. It uses a double cutaway design for both comfort and aesthetics, with a sleek black and white design that harkens back to the guitar’s roots.
The electronics on this guy are where you’ll really get the vintage vibe. The installed lipstick pickups use aged Alnico magnets to give it that distinctive tone. They’ve got a lot of bite on the attacks with a rich, full sustain that’s perfect with a bit of grit.
It’s not just the electronics that impress here; the hardware is equally well-crafted. The wraparound bridge is fully adjustable, giving you complete control over your action and intonation, while the metal nut keeps that intonation set for longer. If you want those classic rockabilly sounds, you’ll fall in love with the Danelectro ‘59M. Hands down, it’s one of the best lightweight guitars for the money.
Ibanez Steve Vai Signature Lightweight Guitar
You can count on Ibanez for guitars that are as fun to look at as they are to play. Their Steve Vai signature is certainly no exception. The unique design of the mahogany body features a “monkey grip” handle and a double-cutaway, giving you one of the more distinctive profiles on the market.
Despite the flashy body, it’s the neck that steals the show here. It uses a Wizard III design that’s slim with incredibly fast action (see full specs). The Tree of Life inlay on the fretboard really complements the overall look, and the classic combination of a maple neck with a rosewood fretboard means it will sound great and last a long time.
At 8 pounds, the Steve Vai signature is much lighter than it looks, and has a build quality that keeps it from feeling flimsy. The double-locking bridge keeps your intonation solid and the single-coil pickups have a bright, bold tone.
Gibson USA SG Standard Lightweight Guitar
The options above all fall in the under-$1,000 price category—what most people would consider reasonable for a mid-range guitar. If you’ve got the budget for a bit more, though, here’s a classic you might be surprised is as light as it is: the Gibson SG Standard.
The SG Standard is so iconic is practically needs no introduction. This particular model has a mahogany body with an ebony finish and white binding (see full specs). The slim-taper soloist neck gives you comfortable, smooth action on both lines and chords. The hardware, meanwhile, is more advanced than what you’ll find on cheaper models. The chrome Tune-O-Matic bridge, steel studs, and titanium saddle combine for ironclad intonation, no matter how long you play.
The great thing about guitars from Gibson USA is they combine modern stylings and technology with the best of vintage tone. The ’57 Classic pick-ups give you a PAF-like resonance but with a bright, punchy attack that makes it exceptionally versatile. By sound alone, this is arguably the best lightweight guitar you’ll find anywhere.
Lightening the Load
Weight isn’t one of the factors most luthiers consider to be of primary importance when they’re making electric guitars. That’s one of the reasons it can be tricky to track down light instruments. It’s not a trait that will necessarily be advertised. Instead, you have to look for other signs and keywords that often translate into a lighter instrument.
One big thing you can look for is a hollowbody or semi-hollowbody construction. These obviously use less wood than solid body instruments, and as a result aren’t as heavy. The sound won’t be as affected as you might think by the change from a solid to a hollow body. If anything, you’ll find it has a bit more resonance, sustain, and nuance compared to a solid instrument of the same general build.
The type of wood used for the body will also have a big impact on how much it weighs. The biggest factor in play here will be density. Rosewood, mahogany, and maple will be the heaviest of the common tonewoods, while spruce and cedar are lighter in comparison. The wood used for the construction of the body will add more weight than the one used for the neck, so there can still be denser tonewoods present, as long as they don’t make up the bulk of the instrument.
The construction of the body doesn’t have as much impact on the tone of an electric guitar as it does on an acoustic. This means you can buy a lighter-weight instrument without worrying about a thin sound. None of the options above sound nearly as light as they feel, and they’re all excellent choices if you’re looking for the best lightweight guitar. Good luck!