Tips For Tele Comfort?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Sunny Todd, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. Sunny Todd

    Sunny Todd TDPRI Member

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    Hi Everyone, first post here as I just got my first Tele, a 2011 American Special. I've been after one for awhile and very happy with it so far, plays great, sounds great.

    However, I'm having finding myself feeling physically uncomfortable after standing up with it for more than an hour or so, sore neck & left shoulder. I've tried a Levy's padded leather strap as well as a very soft Fender tweed strap. I've also been experimenting with hanging it at different heights. Higher up is feeling better but still not great. I did order a Levy's No. 1 Stretch Strap on a recommendation so we'll see how that feels.

    The other frequent players are an Ibanez Semi-Hollow and a Martin Jumbo Cutaway. I can stand up with either for 2-3 hours before feeling any strain. I'm 6 feet tall with long arms so wondering if I've been benefiting from those large body guitars, having something to "hug"...

    Anyway, just curious if anyone has had a similar experience? I've only had my Tele for a couple days so I might just need to get used to it still.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    My #1 Telecaster gets heavy on a gig. It weighs eight pounds. I also belt-sanded a forearm bevel, which is WAY more comfortable on my right forearm. I'm currently putting together a new one, with a lightweight (just over two pounds) paulownia body....I'm hoping total weight will be under six pounds. I too use Levy's padded leather straps, and IMHO they're the best.
    What does your guitar weigh?
     
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  3. Sunny Todd

    Sunny Todd TDPRI Member

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    What does your guitar weigh?[/QUOTE]

    Honestly not sure, hard to find the spec on older models, alder body & maple neck
     
  4. Sunny Todd

    Sunny Todd TDPRI Member

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    Clever to sand some weight out! how's it look?
     
  5. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's

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    For a little while I played a Les Paul that weighed 9.5 pounds which gave me a sore shoulder after playing a show. All the guitars I play now are 9 pounds or under and they don't give me any trouble. My Tele is about 6 pounds and is my lightest.

    You could try adjusting the strap length? I think that would be more likely to give you sore arms than sore neck though.
     
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  6. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic

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    I suspect it may have something to do with you not being used to the Tele. You may be standing in more of a crouch, used to angling your head while playing other guitars or something else that is putting a strain on your neck and shoulder.
    I don't stand at all when I play so I probably can't be much real help. I have the backbone of a jellyfish and can't stand too much longer than to tell you my name and where I live.
    I will tell you this though, get ready. Before long that one Tele will turn into 10!

    There are many good folks here and a lot have a boatload of knowledge they are quite willing to share. Welcome to the forum!
     
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  7. 8trackmind

    8trackmind Tele-Meister

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    It'll grow on you. I used to gig strats primarily and they are the most comfortable guitar in my opinion. It took me a while to get used to the telecasters and now I don't really notice em. 7 1/2 pounds is my target weight for any of my primary gigging guitars though.
    Stick with it.
     
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  8. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Honestly not sure, hard to find the spec on older models, alder body & maple neck[/QUOTE]

    They vary. Best to put in on your kitchen scale.
     
  9. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a 12.5 lb G&L bass for many years. Strapped it on for a 2 hour jam about five years ago - and wrecked my back for a week. Since then I've gone on a mission to lighten the weight of all my gear.

    Traded my two +/- 80lb amps for amps that weigh half that much. Traded my bass amp for a Fender Rumble with the Neodymium speaker. Traded my three heaviest guitars for lighter ones. I've built four super-lightweight parts guitars too - one is a bass that's made of Paulownia and weighs less than my US Strat.
     
  10. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    They call 'em axes for good reason! ;)

    I think most folks have similar experiences, so you're not alone. Standing in place for any length of time is wearisome enough, but doing so, balancing 7-9 pounds of wood from your shoulder, can really wear on you!

    I use nylon, woven Sure-Lock guitar straps, which are comfortable, locking, and inexpensive. I keep one in every guitar case!
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
  11. Ducerro

    Ducerro Tele-Meister

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    The specs will not help in regards to weight as each piece or multiple pieces of wood a guitar is made from will all weigh differently. You'll need to weigh yours to see what it comes in at. Any other guitar - even from the same run at Fender - will weigh differently. Unfortunately, there are some very heavy examples out there - and light ones too!
     
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  12. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Holic

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    I have that same guitar made in 2012. It was a little on the heavy side when I bought it, then I upgraded a bunch of stuff and it got even heavier. I seem to recall it weighing like 9 1/2 pounds at some point. If I play much longer than 2 hours on it at a gig, I feel it the next day.

    I was definitely keeping that fact in mind when I ordered my most recent guitar. To make a Telecaster-style guitar more comfortable I chose to do these things;

    -Tummy Cut
    -Heel Cut
    -Chambered Body
    -Lightweight(ish) Tuners
    -A relatively flat bridge without those vestigial "ashtray" lips. I almost always bruise my pointer fingernail on em at some point in the night.
    -Decent leather strap with padding, well fitted

    As others have mentioned, I'd also guess that perhaps you are slinging it a bit too low. A lot of people let their guitars drop down in their strap way too much when they stand up. Then you gotta hunch over your instrument, which can add a surprising amount of fatigue after a while.

    I love my American Special Tele. If yours is as well put-together as mine is, it should serve you well. I've played mine almost exclusively (for stuff requiring electric solid body) for the last 5-6 years. I've nearly upgraded mine to the max, but that probably wasn't necessary. I love the satin texture of the playing face of the fretboard, plus the big ol' frets.
     
  13. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yup, you can get teles to be really light. I have two paulownia teles that are just feathers. I like the sound and responsiveness of the paulownia a whole lot. As far a the shape, it’s taken me about 4 years to adapt but I am at home with a tele finally.
     
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  14. scottser

    scottser Tele-Afflicted

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    Do you warm up before a gig? Stretch out your back, neck, arms and shoulders? Were you taught proper posture? Chances are not, like most of us, but it's crucial to longevity in everything we do.
     
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  15. Shuster

    Shuster Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Tele's you have to get used to, just like LP's, the squared off bodies aren't forever one, Enjoy;)
     
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  16. urbandefault

    urbandefault Tele-Meister

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    Practice.

    Play your whole show while standing, in manageable increments, and work up to the length of a gig. I used to do this when I was playing out, and never had any problems.

    It's all about building endurance gradually.
     
  17. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    Honestly not sure, hard to find the spec on older models, alder body & maple neck[/QUOTE]
    Take it to your local Post Office. We have "self service" kiosks here, go in during a slow period, and use their scales as if you're shipping it somewhere. That's how I know the body weighs 2lbs 9.5oz. I will weigh my completed guitar when it's completed. :)
    Like Ducerro said....every guitar (even if same model) may vary.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
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  18. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    A good leather strap and correct posture along with a Tele that weighs under 7.5 lbs will go a long way.

    I prefer Franklin straps 2.5 or 3" soft leather straps but I have made my own as well. A good leather strap does not slide around either.

    .
     
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  19. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm thinking it has to do with going to a smaller body guitar. For me, usually playing semi-hollow, tele, strat and acoustics, but my back hurts from playing my wife's LP. It sort of cramps my style and wears on me that becomes tiring over time.

    Along the same vein, a thinner neck will tire me out too.
     
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  20. mijstrat72

    mijstrat72 Tele-Afflicted

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    We used to rehearse 3-4 hours a night, 3-4 nights a week.
    After awhile, I began having a lot of discomfort playing my 8.5 lb. Tele.
    I tried many different options and found a few that made a difference.
    I used a 3" strap to begin with. Then did a Paulowania body transplant. That helped a ton...no pun intended.
    Then I found having really good shoes helped a lot.
    Also taking the guitar off between certain songs or as often as possible helped a lot as well.

    I tried stretchy bass straps and didn't like them. The guitar moved around too much.

    Eventually I purpose built an "ultra-lite" guitar for backup. It was a pawlowania bodied Esquire. Alloy knobs, straphangers, output jack holder and control/ neckplate. No switch. A Squier cvc neck with vintage style tuners. .5 mm Single ply pickguard with alloy screws. It was just under 5 lbs. stage ready, and a nice spare for those long evenings. It did have a negative feature though, as it felt like it wanted to "fly away" sometimes.
     
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