Carved Top Hollowbody Telecaster-Neck choice

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Big Twang Theory, Oct 26, 2021.

Headstock Style?

  1. Tilt Back

    6 vote(s)
    37.5%
  2. Straight

    10 vote(s)
    62.5%
  1. Big Twang Theory

    Big Twang Theory Tele-Meister

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    So I'm going on my next partscaster adventure. As the title suggests I'm looking for opinions on which type of neck to choose. The guitar I'm building will be a carved top hollowbody telecaster mahogany with flamed maple top and back. I'm going with Lollar Imperial low wind PAFs pickups. Will have coil split with 7k resistor for a "partial" coil split. Neck dimensions will be 25.5 scale maple with ebony fretboard and 12" radius. My question comes down to the headstock. Should I get the tilt back option or go with the regular straight one? I've talked to two quality luthiers and they both said tilt back is not needed, and I don't want to rehash the tone arguments regarding tilt back, so I'm just curious what you all think would look better.

    This build is inspired by Trey Anastasio's Languedoc guitars. I'm not spending 10s of thousands for a real Languedoc and I'm not a fan of the copys. Plus, while I'm a Phish fan and love Trey's tone, I want something different. The bands I'm in are not at all like Phish. My main band is an Americana band (though we will do some extended jams) and my two side bands are an old school honky tonk band and a jazz trio. So I definitely want my own spin on this guitar.

    So I'm just torn on which headstock option to go for. I've convinced myself with each option at various times. So what do you all think? Much appreciated!

    Cheers,
    Cody

    (Here's what the body will look like for reference.) Screenshot_20211024-165102_Gallery.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2021
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  2. Deeve

    Deeve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Great looking body.
    If the tone won't change appreciably, keeping things as tele-ish would be my vote.
    Looking forward to progress pics.
    Peace - Deeve
     
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  3. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    If it’s hollow body, would you consider a floating bridge/tailpiece? In that case you’d need a tilt on the neck, but if you’re going hollow it could be good to the whole way (having a supporting block for a bridge will be different than a full hollow with floating bridge).
     
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  4. Big Twang Theory

    Big Twang Theory Tele-Meister

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    I've thought about that. I've had guitars with them, and they sound great. But they're just not as comfortable to play for me. I anchor my right hand on the bridge and I've found the most comfortable are tele bridges and wrap around. I've tried to break the habit of anchoring my hand there, but after close 40 years of playing that way, it is what it is at this point. Lol
     
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  5. TwoBear

    TwoBear Tele-Afflicted

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    My 52 Les Paul came back from the pawn shop with a hairline neck crack way back when I was a teenager and didn't know to go through the guitar when I took it in, and when I was paying it off, and reclaiming it. It wasn't cracked when it went in. I spend an inordinate amount of time watching and worrying about my 78 tokai reborn neck, which was professionally repaired when I bought it. I also have a flame top newer tokai love rock and worry about that one, and not quite as much about my 335 styles. The one I use for jazz took a fall two nights ago and fared well but as it hit the hardwood floor sideways I was definitely listening for that crack of wood and unmistakable sound the strings make when they're loosened simultaneously and helping to snap the neck. Conversely I have slid telecasters and stratocasters down a flight of wooden stairs, went down and retrieved it and just tuned the g-string back up! I'm definitely in favor of no tilt if it's not completely needed. I do remember that they used to tilt the neck on the older original Jackson's-the ones with the mahogany back and neck and maple top like a Les Paul. I don't know if it was from tradition or neck pitch or what though. I figure if it's a bolt neck, and it's nice why not invest in staggered tuners so you don't need a tree, and why ask for any more headache?
     
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  6. 2groggy

    2groggy Tele-Meister

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    OP, Are you asking whether to tilt the neck in relation to the body or just the headstock in relation to the neck?
     
  7. Big Twang Theory

    Big Twang Theory Tele-Meister

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    I definitely hear you there. I play telecasters almost exclusively on gigs for that very reason. I have a Heritage 535 that I bought last year that is my favorite guitar, but I know if a drunk knocks it over it's in trouble. But I've had teles take a spill and they're all fine.
     
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  8. Big Twang Theory

    Big Twang Theory Tele-Meister

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    The headstock in relation to the neck.
     
  9. Dennyf

    Dennyf Tele-Afflicted

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    Basically a "Gibson" with a tele shape. Ergo, angled.
     
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  10. 2groggy

    2groggy Tele-Meister

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    Just an opinion, but nobody looks at a guitar from the side, so aesthetically, it doesn't make much difference. I'd go for a straight neck.
     
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  11. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Cody, I]m not totally sure what you are building here. "Carved top" implies that the top is not flat, that changes geometry from what the one in your picture would have. Using a wraped ToM style bridge further changes the geometry. "Hollowbody" to me implies a guitar like maybe an ES-175 with minimum bracing for the top to support the pickups and bridge (for me a hollowbody is usually a jazz style guitar) "Telecaster" is a slab bodied guitar - it can of course be chambered. "Mahogany' is a popular body wood (that is mostly what I build with) and its very common to have a maple drop top on a mahogany tele, a maple back is fairly rare.

    You will probably end up with some neck angle to get the geometry correct along with some overstand, but that depends totally on the amount of arching and the height of the bridge. Remember that Gibson style guitars have very different geometries than slab bodied telecasters.

    You are also asking whether you should get the flat fender style head or the tilted gibson one. Both work very well - Leo's flat head is kind of a stroke of fabricating genius - its simple to make and works very well as long as you add a couple of string trees. Gibson necks also work well, doesn't have the need for the trees. Gibson style heads are slightly more prone to breaking if you knock your guitar on its head - if you keep it in a case where it belongs that shouldn't be a problem. Gibson necks are almost always 12 inch radius which will work with your wrap bridge. Double check the string spacing on the bridge you choose to ensure it works with your neck.

    There is one other thing that might come into play - changing the neck too much might mean the your guitar doesn't fit in a standard case. Custom cases are expensive and long delivery (ask how I know) - I now make it a habit of building to fit and available case whenever possible.

    As far as what I think, it doesn't matter. I happen to put Fender inspired heads on guitars that look like Fenders, I put angled heads on Gibson inspired guitars, any archtop or acoustic. I change each enough that you wouldn't confuse mine with a real one. I build scarf joined two piece heads which I feel are much stronger than sawn like Gibson does, I make my adjuster route as small as possible. Whenever I can I put the adjuster inside the soundhole, many guitars its just not possible. You can get nearly the same break angle with most head designs - I don't feel there is any tone advantage.
     
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  12. Big Twang Theory

    Big Twang Theory Tele-Meister

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    You bring up great points Freeman! As far as the body goes, it's not as hollow as like a 175. It's somewhere between a FULLY hollow and a semi-hollow. It has sort of a partial center block for the pickups and the bridge to mount to, but then hollow below the bridge. And the top is carved.

    So yes, it's "Telecaster" only in the sense of the shape, bolt on neck, and scale length. Everything else is more akin to a thin jazz box. Which is what I'm going for. And yes, the neck pocket will be angled to compensate for the wrap around bridge.

    So the headstock decision just comes down to looks. Not so much worried about the case. I'll figure that out, don't mind getting a custom one.
     
  13. tfarny

    tfarny Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have had one of those “carved top tiles” for ten years now. In terms of geometry it works just like a regular tele. Any kind of wraparound or Tom bridge will need an angle. Mine has a tele bridge, no shim, just regular tele. It’s not really an arch top iOw, just a thin line with a perimeter cut / trim. Your body looks cool
    ,
     
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  14. Mr. St. Paul

    Mr. St. Paul Tele-Holic

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    Here's a shot of my Teles / T-types. The Fender on the top has a flat headstock. The Parker and the Epiphone have tilted back headstocks. Both of them fit in a standard rectangular Strat/Tele case, no need for a custom one. As far as tone, I can't discern a difference. The only noticeable thing is the bottom two don't require string trees. It really comes down to what you want it to look like.

    Teles.jpg
     
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  15. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I build guitars and have built most of these styles, so I am fairly careful about how I use the terminology. I'm very aware that when you start mixing designs and constructions that getting playable geometry can become problematic. I wrote a little article about it some time back, you might find it helpful

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/building-for-playability.991659/

    I also have photos of most kinds of constructions if they would be helpful.

    As far as angled vs flat heads, as I said, both work (obviously) and each has advantages. Interestingly you get very similar string break angle, Gibsonesqe

    IMG_4929.JPG

    Fender flat

    IMG_4931.JPG

    and even a slot head acoustic

    IMG_5875.JPG

    (the first two are the complement of the angle, the last one would be 23 degrees measured the same way). We normally use the complement of the angle when calculating down force at the bridge or the nut.

    As I said in my earlier post, I choose the type of head that I would expect to see on that style guitar. To my eyes the Fender style head on a Trini Lopez looks wrong but lots of people like them.
     
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  16. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    You don't need the tilt.
    I have a similar Tele that I really like. Carved arched top.
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Big Twang Theory

    Big Twang Theory Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, really great info here in the reply as well as in that link. Very informative. So below is the guitar that is inspiration for this build, if you aren't familiar with the reference I made in the OP. Totally hollow thin body, 25.5 scale length tilted headstock. Obviously there are some differences. One because I'm going for a tele shape and two, because I'm going through Warmoth, I'm limited by what they offer. Screenshot_20211028-094907_Google.jpg
     
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  18. Big Twang Theory

    Big Twang Theory Tele-Meister

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    That's a great looking guitar! And correct, I don't NEED the tilt, just trying to decide if I WANT the tilt or not.
     
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  19. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had looked at Languedoc guitars some time ago, they are very nice. You aren't going to get that in a Warmoth neck and body but as long as you get both from Warmoth the geometry should work for you. Be sure to spec the bridge (and tailpiece?) you plan to use, the - the one in your picture has an archtop style floating bridge and a Benedetto style tailpiece. You can figure the other stuff out
     
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  20. Big Twang Theory

    Big Twang Theory Tele-Meister

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    For sure, it's not going to sound just like a Languedoc. I'm shooting for "in the ballpark" which I think is doable. My Heritage 535 ( a 335 style guitar) gets me pretty close. But as great as that sounds, I've never been fully comfortable with that big body type fit. Hence this build.

    As far as the bridge, what's pictured is the gotoh wrap around bridge. Which is similar to what you would find on a PRS.
     
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