The 4 Best Lightweight Guitars – Electric Guitar Reviews 2024

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So why get a lightweight electric guitar? Well, if you have back problems, lightening the load hanging from your shoulder strap can make practice sessions a lot less painful, letting you continue to play the instrument you love without having to sacrifice your health.

Some of the most iconic guitars are also some of the heaviest and most models that you find will weigh somewhere between 15 and 25 pounds. 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 6-10 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.

Fender '72 Telecaster Thinline Guitar Demo & Review

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.

Danelectro 59 Double Cutaway

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.

Ibanez JEM-JR 2015 (Steve Vai Signature) Guitar Review

Epiphone Les Paul Special-II Lightweight Guitar

This is actually the heaviest of the options on the list, although it’s still incredibly light in comparison to other guitars, and your instrument may actually end up weighing less than the listed 10 pounds. The reason it’s able to be so light is because of the mahogany used in the construction of the body. This is a softer and more porous wood than something like spruce or alder, which in turn makes the overall weight of the instrument a little bit more manageable.

The guitars in the Epiphone Les Paul series are basically more affordable versions of the iconic Gibson guitars by the same name. The Les Paul Special-II has the single-cutaway design you’d expect from a Les Paul, along with the classic sunburst finish. Of course, the feel and sound are more important than the look, and it delivers in that regard, as well. The action is relatively low and quite comfortable to play, and the 700T humbuckers that come installed give you a smooth, warm tone.

If you’re looking for the absolute lightest guitar you can find, the Epiphone Les Paul is not necessarily your best bet. Where it’s a strong choice, though, is that it’s much lighter than the majority of Les Paul models—both Epiphone and Gibson made—without sacrificing anything in terms of performance. If you want a guitar that’s focused on sound quality and value first and just happens to weigh less than others, the Epiphone Les Paul is arguably the best lightweight guitar you’ll find anywhere.

Lightening the Load on Your Guitar

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!

  • Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel.

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4 responses

  1. I have a Richwood Tele thinline and yes, it’s much lighter than a couple of strats I’ve owned before. In comparison, they were like picking up a wardrobe.
    However, my oldest guitar is a solid body Tokai which I had at the start. I didn’t realise how lucky I was to own this as it’s lighter than the Tele and a smaller neck. I’ve always had small fingers (I was going to say small hands, but then an image of Trump came into my head) but the weight is now more important as arthritis is chewing its way through me, including my hands.
    Even on bad days, I’ll tootle on the Tokai and thank the god of guitars (no, not Eric Clapton)
    that I still have a guitar I can play as badly as before.

  2. Thanks! This is a very helpful article. I got into a motorcycle accident a few years ago and injured my spinal cord. While I was lying in the ditch, 15 ft below the road, I was thinking that I would still be able to play the guitar. But it is different and weight and size is an issue. I have an ‘85 Thinline and a newer ES-335. They’re both fairly heavy and I can only play for about an hour. I just ordered the Epiphone Les Paul. I also got a “travel guitar” that is basically the shape of a Strat pick guard. It’s about 4lbs and very easy to hold. But it needed a fret job right off the bat and still needs work. But the neck is good and with a new set up and pick ups it could be a real keeper. The Ibanez and Danelectro look like interesting options.

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