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Advice on Strat Purchase - weight?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by cyra, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. cyra

    cyra Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    64
    16
    Oct 27, 2017
    Havana Florida
    I'm just starting to learn the guitar, and I have a Guild True American. I decided I wanted to invest long term in an electric. After deciding a Stratocaster best suited my tastes I began to narrow down the search. I decided to go with an Elite because of the extended tonal palette (S1 Switch). For other reasons I won't bore you with I decided on an Ash body and Rosewood fingerboard. This is just to say I did try to make an informed decision. I was ready to pull the trigger on a new Elite and thought all I needed to decide was a particular grain structure I found appealing.

    The Sweetwater web site shows pictures of the models they have in stock to do just this. While viewing I became confused when I noticed a weight variance between identical models. For the Tobacco Sunburst with Rosewood fretboard there are three in stock, based on the serial numbers all were built in 2016. Two of the guitars weigh in at 8lbs 6oz and the third at 8lbs 10oz. I checked on other American Elite models and found the same weight discrepancy. For example the same Tobacco Sunburst model with an ebony finger board built between 2016 & 2017.

    American Elite Serial Number Weight
    Color Tobacco Sunburst US16129959 9lbs 3oz
    Body Ash US17016228 8lbs
    Neck Maple US17017799 8lbs 6oz
    Fingerboard Ebony US17019514 8lbs 6oz

    I thought the strats were pretty much machine produced, and even with manual labor the difference between 9lbs 3oz and 8lbs for an identical product is difficult to understand, at least for me.

    Can someone help me understand the reason for this?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. mechanic

    mechanic Strat-Talker

    The density of the wood can make a fair difference in the weight.
     
    abnormaltoy likes this.
  3. mechanic

    mechanic Strat-Talker

    For example just head over to warmoths sight and check the weight specs on their bodies, it varies a bit.
     
    abnormaltoy likes this.
  4. nederemer

    nederemer Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    32
    731
    Oct 25, 2017
    Somerset, Kentucky, USA.
    I would suppose it comes down to the particular density of the wood they used in each piece. Less than a lb of difference is not a big deal. I like the new elites though I wouldn't get one for a s1 switch when I could just do the blender wiring mod and effectively have the same results. But they are sweet to me because of the neck. If I recall isn't it a compound radius.
     
    abnormaltoy likes this.
  5. elliotj26

    elliotj26 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    26
    242
    Oct 21, 2017
    indiana
    It's not anything different about the exterior dimensions or structure or components or anything. It's just the wood in the guitar. Every single piece of wood is different. Some are slightly more dense than others and thus weigh slightly more.

    If you just happen to get a very dense piece of ash and a very dense piece of maple, for the neck, and a very dense piece of rosewood. You'll basically max out the weight. Any variability in density of those pieces will affect the weight.

    This is something that people buying les Pauls know very well. Those guitars are heavy as hell and trying to find one on the lighter side can be ideal.
     
    abnormaltoy likes this.
  6. papergoblin

    papergoblin Strat-Talker

    Age:
    37
    323
    Sep 21, 2017
    Alabama
    The Elite is compound, I want to say 9.5" to 14". I love that neck but it isn't for everyone. I also agree I wouldn't buy one just for the S1. Really have to read over the specs on the Americans, to see which flavor suits the best.
     
    nederemer likes this.
  7. cyra

    cyra Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    64
    16
    Oct 27, 2017
    Havana Florida
    Thanks, I had assumed that all cuts of ash, alder or whatever would weigh in the same. Did not think to consider there could be differences.
     
    papergoblin and mechanic like this.
  8. Eddie H

    Eddie H Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    49
    73
    Nov 11, 2017
    New York, NY
    Yep, wood has different densities. There's a big debate about tone-wood, but that's another topic of discussion.

    The Fender Elite Stratocaster is a beautiful animal. Are you sure you want a $2000 starter guitar? I can understand not wanting to go with a Squier Starter Pack, but Fender/Squier makes some fantastic mid level guitars which would melt in your hands. Pre-owned models are even better investments.

    Just a thought. Good luck. If you get the Elite, can I borrow it for a few days? :)
     
    elliotj26 likes this.
  9. papergoblin

    papergoblin Strat-Talker

    Age:
    37
    323
    Sep 21, 2017
    Alabama
    Best way to really see it, go to a big box home improvement store. Go to where they sell furniture grade wood (they usually have small sheets 2'x4' or less). Pick up a couple of different ones, you'll feel the difference, even though it's the same wood and same size.
     
  10. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    All wood is not the same. Imagine a Strat body made from solid ebony next to a Strat body made from balsa. Have a guess which one would weigh more.....
     
  11. elliotj26

    elliotj26 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    26
    242
    Oct 21, 2017
    indiana
    OP was saying he assumed cuts of the same TYPE of wood would weigh the same. Ash=ash and alder=alder. He's not an imbecile
     
    RPKennedy likes this.
  12. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    Why would he assume that? It makes no more sense.
     
  13. cyra

    cyra Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    64
    16
    Oct 27, 2017
    Havana Florida
    Thanks again to everyone. Eddie, your advice makes perfect sense. My choice of a new Elite is more of an emotional one. A sort of incentive if you will. Here is the math (fantastic machine) + (whole lot of cash) = (damn well better learn to swim). If that makes any sense.
     
  14. Eddie H

    Eddie H Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    49
    73
    Nov 11, 2017
    New York, NY
    It definitely makes sense. How about this? Snag a great pre-owned MIM Strat for about $300. Pick up a nice amp, some fun effects, and play the heck out of it for a year. At your one year anniversary, reward yourself with the Elite. :)

    When I started out playing at age 14 back in 1984, my dad brought me an alpine white Gibson Les Paul Custom to help encourage me to play. He didn't want me held back because of guitar inadequacies. But me, like an azzhole, sold it when I was 18 for an ESP. Biggest regret of my life. But dad's intentions were correct ... while I'm still a terrible guitar player, the higher quality guitar really made playing enjoyable in those early years.
     
  15. cyra

    cyra Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    64
    16
    Oct 27, 2017
    Havana Florida
    Again, good advice,but I'm going with the instant gratification loop hole.

    Cheers!
     
    fmunoz likes this.
  16. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

    Dec 4, 2013
    largo,fl

    I played a $299 Ibanez I found laying on the floor at a Guitar Center that was as easy and enjoyable to play as the best guitars I have ever played.

    Much like no 2 pieces of wood are the same, no 2 guitars are the same. There are more variables in a guitar than in 1 piece of wood, so if you do not play it first and find out if it really is for you, you may be wildly disappointed by your purchase.

    I hate to be that guy, but the last time I went to get a "this", cuz it is iconic, I hated everyone I tried. The time before that that I went to get a "this", because it was iconic, I hated those also and ended up getting something I had never even heard of and it still has me in the honeymoon phase 3 years later.

    Same with the Tele I bought, it is nothing like I was convinced I was gonna "get" - I am so glad I tried many first.
     
    knh555 likes this.
  17. Will Lefeurve

    Will Lefeurve Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 1, 2016
    England & France
    If you're 63, you haven't got long left.. :eek:

    You need to buy the most expensive guitar you can get your hands on. It might be your last.. :)

    I'm 66 by the way.. ;)
     
    TorontoMapleStrat likes this.
  18. nederemer

    nederemer Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    32
    731
    Oct 25, 2017
    Somerset, Kentucky, USA.
    Eh. I learned to play on a Yamaha classical guitar when I was 12. That was 20 years ago. I have played at least one of my guitars every day since that point (when I am able to. Unfortunately due to recent surgery and the 13 inch wound on my abdomen right now that is not the case.)

    I had wanted to play the guitar my entire life, every time we went to the fair the blow up guitars were the prizes I had to have. So in my experience it isn't the equipment that brings out the drive. It's you. Some nights I would play the guitar until my fingers were literally devoid of calluses and then i would sleep, go to school, and do it again.

    Where you have hit the mark is starting simple. Someone might say hey get a modelling amplifier it will do everything and have a bazillion effects. Resist the urge. It will overwhelm you as a new guitarist, and most of the people you probably enjoy listening to i.e. Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn for example, used rigs with literally 2 or 3 effects pedals in fact I think SRV only ever really used the tubescreamer aside from a wah on voodoo Chile.

    Practice, practice, practice. I practice most of the time unplugged while I watch television or something like that. I used to get an hour of solid practice this way every day while doing dialysis. Plus of you're unplugged and your guitar is fairly resonant like mine (they are ash bodies) it's almost like you can feel the guitar and hear it, and you're not distracted by amplifier settings while you practice techniques.

    Good luck. Hope whatever you decide to buy you play the snot out of it.
     
    elliotj26 likes this.
  19. Sarnodude

    Sarnodude Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 26, 2015
    Mukilteo
    especially cedar fencing... Some of it is really heavy, and some are like styrofoam.
     
    papergoblin likes this.
  20. cyra

    cyra Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    64
    16
    Oct 27, 2017
    Havana Florida
    Your absolutely correct. I am quite new to the guitar, and am still pretty much overwhelmed by the factors involved in finding "the right guitar". As I noted I have a Guild True America (dreadnought) I'm learning on right now. The action is a wee bit high and there is a slight misalignment when sighting down the fret board to the saddle and the bridge. A luthier who examined the guitar told me the saddle had already been filed down to compensate for the drift. That being said the imperfections are slight.

    Still, I began to search for a replacement. I started with acoustic guitars and became aware of factors such as body shape, tone woods, laminates, fretboard radius, neck profile, neck width, body finish, and such. In the process I started looking at electrics, primarily Fender and Gibson.

    I decided to wait on a replacement for the Guild till I had a more comfortable understanding of the choices and actually laid my hands on one to see how it fit, so to speak. This process is on going and will take as long as it takes. I plan to pursue training primarily on the Guild while I continue to search for a replacement.

    The Elite is not a replacement for the Guild it is an addition. If I enjoy electric as well as acoustic but for the sake of keeping this long winded thread short suffice to say I plan to focus my training on an acoustic.

    I had did hold an Elite at a local music store and it did feel comfortable. I've not enough experienced other than to confirm I did like the feel. The fit and feel plus the research I've done on the Elite makes it seem a good choice. Time will tell.

    Thanks for your thoughts, I do think I understand and appreciate them.

    Cheers!
     
    Vinny and henderman like this.