Contoured Teles...

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by NW_TELE, Jul 27, 2021.

  1. NW_TELE

    NW_TELE TDPRI Member

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    Whats up everyone, newish member here who picked up an American Performer a few months ago. Its been a great guitar. Really nice neck, fretwork and tone, but ill admit i dont find it the most comfortable guitar to play body wise. Anytime i switch between this and my Strat, im reminded how much more comfortable my Strat is resting against my body. Both the belly cut and arm cut i really appreciate. I love the Tele tone and simplicity however so im after finding a compromise if possible. Im sure the purists will disown me for this haha.

    Anyways, Im curious if anyone else was in a similar situation to me and found these to help a bit? Unfortunately none of my local guitar stores carry these so i haven't been able to try one.

    Also, if anyone knows, which model years had these? I see some of the American Standards had them for some time, and the Ultras do now. Anything from the MIM collection?

    Any info here is appreciated. Thanks everyone.
     
  2. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Me too. Nothing is more comfortable than a Strat. There should be more Tele's with the tummy cut. The forearm cut I can take or leave...
     
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  3. pi

    pi Tele-Meister

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    I love the contoured body on my Tele. I got it many years ago from USACG. It has forearm, belly, and neck contours. Feels great, with those sexy Strat curves. I think it looks cool too, and don't care what the purists think; not having the body poke into my body or arm is worth it.
     
  4. MrDavey2Shoes

    MrDavey2Shoes TDPRI Member

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    I like the blockish nature of a telly, contoured guitars sit too close to me.
     
  5. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Afflicted

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    I injured my strumming arm a few months ago -- ulnar nerve problems -- and all of a sudden a contoured Tele is all I can think about. Squier just released a Paranormal Jazz-Tele hybrid. I'm pretty interested except for the "Slim C" neck, which Id have to try in person. Too thin of a neck and my fretting hand cramps, and then I got problems at both ends!
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
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  6. alex1fly

    alex1fly Tele-Meister

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    Were you trying to link something? I don't see a link.

    No shame in seeking out or modifying a body to have contours. Don't bother with purists' opinions. Contours make it more outwardly comfortable, that's no doubt.

    However, I'd encourage you to keep giving it a try. I thought the same thing with my Tele after spending 20 years pretty much only on Strats. But I've gotten used to it now, and I'm glad I didn't spend the time/money trying to change the body. I kinda like how chunky it is, and if the chunk bothers me then I just switch guitars. One day I might refinish the body, and at that point I'd consider putting a slight forearm cut in. The thing is, play literally any acoustic guitar for a while and then the Tele feels small and sleek. Acoustics are bulky by nature.

    I totally get wanting things to be great, and wanting the best features from X guitar and Y guitar to combine into an awesome Z guitar. I just find that it's often a losing battle and the results don't end up as nicely as I wanted or expected.

    The good news is that you can get another body if you like and bolt it on, or do your own cuts. In my case, I swore up and down that I needed those contours because I was so used to them, but now I've cooled off on it. My contoured-body guitars ARE more comfortable. But, it's not an amazing difference in comfort, just a slight one. Buying a new body means shopping, comparing, ordering, putting in your old hardware, possibly doing another setup, dealing with any tonal changes, deciding whether to sell the extra body, etc etc. It's a big hassle for a small payoff in my current opinion.
     
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  7. blue metalflake

    blue metalflake Doctor of Teleocity

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    Over the years I’ve quite happily swopped between the chunky Tele body and the Strat’s contoured one. Each has its own feel - happy with either
     
  8. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I have 5 Strats, all are indeed extremely comfortable to pay, standing or seated.
    I have 3 Teles.
    Only one, my Richie Kotzen Signature is contoured.
    Though it’s my most comfortable to play, it’s my least favorite of the three.
    I’m fairly big, but my uncontoured Teles are not uncomfortable to play.
    For gigging, I remain a Tele guy.
     
  9. RobRiggs

    RobRiggs Tele-Afflicted

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    When I make a Tele body for myself I leave the bottom flat so it stays upright on my leg, but give it a belly cut and arm contour. Best of both worlds to me.
     
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  10. G3Hanz

    G3Hanz TDPRI Member

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    Regarding the MiM's: the current Player Series with a HH config do have the belly contour, but the version with single coils don't, for some reason. I have a Player HH and i like the belly contour, it changes the "angle of attack" slightly. That might depend on your own body shape, for me it works well but i'm shaped like a broomstick.
     
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  11. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's

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    Hmm - has Fender ever really done a Tele with a forearm contour other than some one-offs/limited production from the Custom Shop? The first factory one with a back contour I can think of is the 1972-191 Tele Deluxe.

    Off the top of my head you'll find the back contour on these more recent USA models:
    • circa late 1995/early 1996 - early 1998 Tele Plus v2 - this is the Tele Plus with the Nashville pickup configuration
    • circa March 1998-2003 American Deluxe Tele v1
    • 2004-2009 American Deluxe Tele v2 - now only the alder body version has the contour (and the binding); the ash body is back to no contours
    • 2010-2015 American Deluxe Tele v3 - same as version 2 until circa March/April 2012 when the ash body also gets a back contour
    • 2016-2019 American Elite Tele
    • 2019-present American Ultra Tele
    • 2020-present American Professional II Tele Deluxe
    • 2021-present American Ultra Luxe Teles
    For MIMs all I can think of are the Vintera 70s Tele Deluxe and the Player HH Tele.

    If you're willing to look outside of Fender - G&L currently has a back contour on the Fullerton Deluxe ASAT Special and ASAT Classic, ASAT Classic Alnico, and ASAT Classic Bluesboy models (not sure if that starts in 2018 or 2019 though), and you can add front, back or both contours to almost any ASAT model (for example no front contours on the semi-hollow versions) for a small upcharge if you do their "Option Order" tier (you won't spend much more than you would on a Fullerton Deluxe tier model, and you'll get a hard case instead of a gig bag and the neck will be plek'ed).

    And of course most of the custom builders will do contours - but a Suhr, Anderson, etc. is going to set you back more than a Fender or G&L.
     
  12. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Over twenty years ago, when I got my first Telecaster, I found I missed the forearm carve of a Strat.....not so much the belly carve. In doing many mods on that guitar, I belt-sanded a bevel for my forearm. It made a big difference, especially when playing standing for a gig. When I built my (now) #1 Tele-style mongrelcaster, I had to do a forearm carve. I still don't care much about the belly-cut, and my forearm carve isn't as pronounced as a Strat, but it's definitely there. Here's a pic.
    upload_2021-7-27_15-6-49.jpeg
     
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  13. Lost_N_Austin

    Lost_N_Austin Friend of Leo's

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    This Telecaster body is cut in All the Right Places.

    BackSide.JPG BellyCut.JPG Forearm.JPG

    Lost_N_Austin
     
  14. NW_TELE

    NW_TELE TDPRI Member

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    I do like the flat bottom of the Tele, i notice it slips less when playing sitting down.
     
  15. tomasz

    tomasz Tele-Meister

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    I think, that is what you call progress, or ergonomics. The Strat and the Tele designs are a few years apart and Leo had some time and feedback to work with. I personally don't mind the block aesthetics of a tele, but what bugs me specifically, as a builder is the heel contour. But then they say "there is no money up there", you know ;)

    Anyway, I feel comfortable on a Strat, even more on a Suhr or an Ibanez, but that does not stop me to rock the tele :)
     
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  16. JustWoj

    JustWoj TDPRI Member

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    Schecter make a Tele copy, with arm/belly/neckheel contours. It's as close to the original Tele recipe as possible, except for the P-90 neck pickup & 12" fretboard radius.

    Choice of rosewood or maple fretboards, and modern or vintage colors.

    PT = Pete Townshend

    PT Special
    https://www.schecterguitars.com/guitars/pt-special-black-pearl-detail

    [​IMG]
     
  17. fasthand

    fasthand Tele-Meister

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    I just acquired a Strat after many years without
    Now my 13 year old grandson has become a player and I’ve set him up with a couple nice guitars
    We were at lays guitars recently and he seen a tele he liked rather high end one and he noticed the front and back cuts and proclaimed poppa those are for Stratocasters
    Grandpa was so proud :D
     
  18. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Afflicted

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    A history lesson from an old timer. In 1973 the Telecaster Deluxe was introduced with a contour cut. Here's my '73 blond.

    73_deluxe-2.jpg
     
  19. alex1fly

    alex1fly Tele-Meister

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    Where's the Tele police to inform you that it's not a real Tele?

    In all seriousness, cool guitar!!
     
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  20. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I used to have a Blacktop Tele back in 2010, lovely guitar with nice contours. I think the new Player HH has contours too, but I don't like any of the colours available turdpool, and saliva. The sunburst is not bad though.
     
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