For energetic performers, choosing a lightweight electric guitar is the best way to ensure that mobility is not an issue on stage. These axes are composed of specifically chosen materials to promote mobility and reduce fatigue.
Playing guitar is a lifelong journey, and for those who play regularly, it's important to reduce the strain on your body. In this detailed guide, you'll find the best lightweight electric guitars on the market today.
The Best Lightweight Electric Guitars
The Classic Vibe '60s Tele by Squier brings the authentic feel of the world-renowned vintage Fender model into a more affordable and lightweight format. It contains all of the playability-enhancing features of the original, with plenty of modern improvements.
The lightweight feel of the Classic Vibe '60s Tele is a result of the combination of tonewoods used to compose the guitar. With a chambered nato body with the classic Tele natural finish, there's no unnecessary weight to this Telecaster.
It also has the instantly recognizable single F-hole design; a staple feature of Tele's made in the golden era of rock n roll. Additionally, there's the curvy 4-ply Pearloid pickguard that also doesn't add much weight.
Indeed, the most iconic quality of the 60's Telecaster was its exceptional "twangy" tone, and this lightweight Squier tribute doesn't disappoint in this area. The inclusion of Fender-designed alnico single-coil pickups nails the original tone to a tee.
The 3-saddle bridge enhances the authentic vintage feel of this Squier electric guitar, and the choice of maple of the C profile neck makes for smooth playability.
To top it off, Squier has also used maple for the fingerboard, making fast funs up and down the frets an easy undertaking.
Electric guitars don't get much better than the classic SG Standard '61 by Gibson. Based on the model that was used by some of rock's most inventive guitarists in the early 60s, like Pete Townsend or Santana, this axe is a force to be reckoned with.
Although in recent years Gibson SGs have become bulkier, when they were in their early stages of production, they were surprisingly lightweight. For this reason, guitarists who expended a lot of energy on stage made the SG their weapon of choice.
To ensure that this '61 tribute retains that mobility, Gibson has chosen lightweight mahogany for the body, which also provides exceptional sustain. Consequently, hours on end of playing this guitar won't take its toll on your body.
There's also a small pickguard, an aluminum Nashville Tune-o-matic bridge, and a stop bar tailpiece. The vintage deluxe tuners are greeted by keystone buttons, and the nickel-plated hardware makes this SG feel and look even more authentic.
The classic rough n ready tone is produced by the pair of Burstbucker humbucking pickups, with the 61R and 61T installed in the neck and bridge positions respectively.
The SlimTaper neck is made from mahogany, and the smooth rosewood fingerboard feels luxurious to play.
Squier's Bullet Strat HT is one of the lightest electric guitars in production. This affordable axe is a condensed version of the highly popular Fender Stratocaster, featuring the standard features that so many musicians love about the original.
The Bullet Strat includes a trio of single-coil pickups.
This gives you access to the array of timeless tones, including the ultra-bright bridge tones, thick and chunky mid-tones, and of course the searing blues neck pickup tones. All of these can be easily switched between using the 3-way toggle selector.
To keep weight to a minimum, Squier has used lightweight Basswood for the body. This material is known for producing a well-balanced tone across the frequency range – a quality commonly associated with Stratocasters.
The neck profile is designed as a C-shape. This conventional design makes the Bullet Strat ideal for fast, technical playing and blistering solos. The Hardtail bridge further promotes sustain and keeps the tuning stability in check.
The neck is made from genuine maple, a rarity for such an affordable model. Also, the choice of Indian laurel for the 21-fret fingerboard adds responsiveness without adding any excess weight to the feel of the Bullet Strat HT.
Ibanez's Artcore line features some of the finest hollow-body electric guitars to ever be produced. Known for being lightweight, and for their articulate, immersive voice, these guitars boast elegance and playability in abundance.
The AG75G has a classy design and is composed of high-end materials. The linden body keeps weight to a minimum, whilst promoting resonance and a thick, full-bodied tone across the frequency range.
This luscious tone is enhanced by the inclusion of a pair of Classic Elite Humbuckers, which lend themselves to smooth chord playing or jangly melodies. The ART-1 with VT06 Tailpiece extracts every ounce of sustain from this mobile axe.
Ibanez has chosen nyatoh for the neck. This material is quite rare and gives the guitar a unique feel. The fingerboard is made from laurel, a responsive material that keeps hand fatigue to a minimum.
When designing the Affinity Series Telecaster, Fender's sister company, Squier, set out to include all of the popular attributes that guitarists love about the original model with less expensive materials.
By using alder for the body, they have managed to retain the classic feel of the Fender Telecaster and its unrivaled resonant tone. This material is also very light in weight, so the mobility associated with the Tele also remains.
The solid C-shaped maple neck is ideal for guitarists who play with energy and flair, and the fingerboard is composed of the same material. It's the type of guitar you can play for countless hours without becoming tired or draining your stamina.
The pickups chosen by Squier to emulate the classic Tele tone are two vintage-style single coils. Designed by Fender, these pickups stay true to the authentic sound of this revered electric guitar.
Strandberg has an admirable taste for the weird and wonderful. Their guitars are amongst the most innovative in production, with unique body shape designs and instantly recognizable tones.
The Boden Standard 6 is kitted out with state-of-the-art technology. A wealth of ergonomic research went into the design of this guitar, making it the ideal choice for dynamic performances.
The unique body is made from a classic tonewood combination – American basswood and maple. The basswood keeps the tone tight and clear, while the maple top and figured veneer and some punch to the sound.
Strandberg's very own humbucker pickups are installed and routed through a 5-way pickup selector. This provides you with a plethora of tones that span across many styles and genres. The upper midrange is especially warm-sounding.
The reason that the Strandberg Boden Standard 6 can house all of these impressive features without succumbing to heaviness is its unique design. The mass of its headstock has been reduced, and the hardware is made from lightweight aluminum.
What Makes a Great Lightweight Electric Guitar?
The main challenge faced by manufacturers when designing a lightweight electric guitar is balancing the quality of tone with a lack of heaviness.
It's commonly thought that the heavier, more solid tonewoods are likely to produce fuller-sounding tones, but this has been proven to not be the case thanks to guitars like the ones featured in this article.
When using lightweight materials like basswood, alder, and maple, guitar manufacturers often compensate for the slight loss of resonance and power by choosing pickups that give the tone a boost.
Thick sounding humbuckers are a popular choice to be combined with these lightweight materials, due to their ability to add substance to the output.
If you're an electric guitar addict like I am, you've probably experienced the aches and pains that come with long practice routines, recording sessions, or live shows that last much longer than expected.
Choosing the best lightweight electric guitar for your style will allow you to play for much longer, without your stamina being drained. I hope you enjoy the excess energy gained from playing one of these lightweight models!