"Best" guitars for back and/or shoulder pain - headless? light? both? neither?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by lefty73, May 23, 2020.

  1. lefty73

    lefty73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    1,169
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2011
    Location:
    03842
    After 30 years of playing, bad posture, improper technique, lingering aches from few snowboarding accidents from back in the day, and general wear and tear on the ol' joints, it's becoming more difficult to enjoy playing my Fender Standard Telecaster for long-ish periods of time.

    For those that have similar issues, did you make the leap to a different brand to make yourself more comfortable and playing less painful?

    If you did, which one(s)? A caveat - I'm left-handed, so... that's always been "interesting". I'm not a purist, so headless guitars and lesser-known brands are very much in the conversation. I'm not worried about resale value as I rarely flip guitars.

    My search so far as led me to some interesting headless options from Kiesel, which I'm very familiar with as my very first "real" electric guitar was a Carvin DC127; Carvin transformed into Kiesel a few years ago. Carvin/Kiesel is, as far as I know, one of the few companies to not charge a premium for making a left-handed version of nearly any of its models.

    It may also be as simple as getting a guitar that has a "tummy cut" so it fits better against me. That opens up a lot more options, even if I have to pay more to get a lefty version.

    It may also be as even more simple as getting a different strap, so even though this is a guitar forum, I'd also appreciate any strap recommendations.

    I don't want to stop playing, obviously. I'm getting my shoulder issues addressed once this COVID crisis settles down. Until then, and likely after that, it's getting to a point where it's getting difficult to play my No. 1 Tele due to its weight and, quite honestly, where it sits so I'm comfortable playing it.

    Thanks all!
     
  2. burtf51

    burtf51 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    384
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Location:
    woods
    Just sit
     
    Jim W, JL_LI and Chiogtr4x like this.
  3. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Tele-Meister

    Age:
    54
    Posts:
    221
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2018
    Location:
    Sharpsburg ,Ga.
    Thinline CV neck with Affinity Alder body..


    <-------------- This Tele weighs 6.5 lbs







    I also have an Epiphone Les Paul Jr. That weighs under 6lbs.
     
  4. Toadtele

    Toadtele Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    1,305
    Joined:
    May 23, 2018
    Location:
    Idaho just the tip
    I’d at least try to find a thinline before you go headless. Never weighed mine but it’s ridiculously light.
    I spent an hour or so with my Les Paul strapped on yesterday. Ugh
    Feeling it today.
    Good luck with your search.
     
    stnmtthw likes this.
  5. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,378
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2014
    Location:
    East Yorkshire, England
    And if all else fails

    preview_2.jpg

    An old friend had one, it played well sure the emgs aren't for everyone but nothing to stop you from putting whatever in there. I'd also recommend changing the nut end to something locking so you can stick your preferred brand of strings on rather than the double ended ones required stock.

    But thinline first, if you can find one made with light wood 6lbs or less is feasible.
     
    Zepfan and hemingway like this.
  6. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,228
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    Actually I find sitting the least comfy way of playing guitar. Everyone's bones is diffrunt.
     
    Dismalhead likes this.
  7. TX_Slinger

    TX_Slinger TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    81
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2019
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I'm all beat up, sitting screws with the bad right shoulder. I use a very wide strap, a vintage Silver Eagle 4" woven cotton with leather ends. It has to be 35 years old and still looks new. Also, i prop on a stool, not a chair, so the guitar is lower than regular sitting position and i can go from standing to stool as needed.

    Got rid of my 10 lb Schecter anvil (I'll miss it as it was really a well put together instrument) and now stick to around 7.5 lbs. I found that an Ibanez ARX with fairly lightweight mahogany body gives me what i was getting out of the Schecter mahogany/walnut neck thru as far as keeping a lid on high output pickups.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  8. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    77,442
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    Parker Fly.
    They sound great, play beautifully, stay in tune beautifully, and are extremely light.
    They just look like the spawn of a boomerang and a preying mantis.
    I love em’, and will own one, someday.
     
  9. kbold

    kbold Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    1,336
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2015
    Location:
    Australia
    May be time to review your ergonomics (or someone who can) and your playing technique (we all tend to develop bad habits that can cause pain/strain).
    Simple things like adjusting angle and height of the guitar can take strain off the wrist, arms and shoulders.
    Tensing up or using excessive fretting pressure may be another factor.

    In other words - it may be you rather than the guitar that needs changing.
     
    nojazzhere, VintageSG and scook like this.
  10. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,085
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Missoula, Montana
  11. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,229
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2014
    Location:
    Maine
    Air guitar? :confused:
     
    Zepfan likes this.
  12. tbp0701

    tbp0701 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,421
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    I've not weighed it, but my lightest and most comfortable guitar is a PRS Mira. Mine's a 2008, so I don't know how it compares to the S2 or SE versions. (Here's a photo if interested). I don't know about left-hand availability.

    Also, if it helps with research Sweetwater's site will let you sort guitars by weight.

    And ditto on trying a thinline.
     
  13. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,265
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    I went through this a few years ago. I think it probably started with a bike injury, a car clipped my front wheel and sent me flying, got away with a sprained shoulder and waist but I noticed I was struggling with guitar after that and it didn't go away. I've been through periods of not playing standing up at all to give it a change to heal but I never really got ahead of it. Asked my doctor and he basically said welcome to your 40s! Oh well, I had a good run.

    Up until then I mainly played ES335 type guitars which which actually tend to be pretty heavy - my lightest is 8lb and one of them is 9 1/2 - so I started using my ES330 instead and actually I can play pretty much anything I used to on a 335 on the 330. It's quite liberating as well, no messing about wondering what guitar to play, if it's a rehearsal or a gig the 330 comes out.
     
  14. olaftheholy

    olaftheholy Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,199
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    N/A
    similar problems here.
    been looking into the Harlem Headless
    by gear4music

    retails for €229,-

    1590256626778.jpg
     
    carpenter likes this.
  15. Jimclarke100

    Jimclarke100 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,692
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Location:
    Horsham, UK
    My latest acquisition is a thin bodied Gordon Smith GS1. That thing is incredibly light. Also, I bough my daughter a Gretsch Streamliner Jr which is also surprisingly light. After spending time with either my Tele feels like an anvil round my neck...
     
  16. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,214
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Location:
    Earth
    My Tele with an Allparts sugar pine body is my lightest Tele. Another light weight guitar is the Epiphone Casino. Perhaps some other fully hollow electric?
     
  17. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    359
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2014
    Location:
    Chicago
    Strength training and yoga can help.

    If that doesn't work, try an SG.
     
    stnmtthw and hdvades like this.
  18. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,397
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Isn't there a strap that bears the weight of a guitar on both shoulders? Should there be? Just typin' out loud...
     
    VintageSG likes this.
  19. johnnylaw

    johnnylaw Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    1,196
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    Location:
    New England
    Light really helps.
    Dig a comfy strap too.
    Gig standing; sit sometimes playing at home.
     
  20. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    3,815
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2016
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    There is. There's also a guitar support product ( I hesitate to call it a strap ) that resembles an 'X' brace. Danged if I can find it though.

    My lightest guitar is my Danelectro. It's also the most comfortable, in ways I can't put in to words. I use fat, soft leather ( or padded leather ) straps and have paid much attention to posts advising finding working ergonomics to ensure relatively pain free playing. This may mean affixing the guitar higher than looks cool. I don't care, I'm fat, grey, ageing and ugly anyway :)

    My Strat and Teles come a close second ( shared place ) to the Danelectro, with the SG and archtop just behind. The SG has the neck somewhere to the west of Ireland, and the archtop is a bit tubby ( Pot/kettle ).

    Strap, ergonomics and posture play a larger role to me than the actual make/model/design/weight of the guitar.
     
    Flaneur likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.