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Are all the great body shapes used?


The Geoff

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Talking of guitar bodies, why are the Strat, tele, LP and SG shapes so persistent?

 

Sure, there are plenty of good guitars out there which have a different shape, but how many stick in your mind?

 

Is there a killer body shape yet to be discovered?

 

I thought the Hummingbird shape was it, but I was mistaken.

 

G.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

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The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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I'm quite sure the future holds variations on current themes. Even "daring" shapes such as the Parker Fly are only variations.

 

There aren't many shapes that are readily playable beyond the current types.

 

But weird, wild creations will continue to arise. I just don't see any truly unique designs making serious inroads into the classic shapes.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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You have to remember that any new shape has to still be functional and balanced. Some nice looking designs just don't work very well, the guitar should be playable sitting down or standing up if its really going to be popular. You don't see new shapes to much for horns, violins, or many other instruments. Once a particular shape is accepted, anything new runs the risk of just being a novelty and not taken seriously.
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Those mainstays you mention are just good conservative body styles that work for many types of music. You won't feel like a jackass playing jazz on a tele as you would maybe an Explorer. Fewer raised eyebrows.

 

Guitar bodies also follow artistic trends. A BC Rich Bich just isn't going to stand the test of time no matter how good of a guitar it is.

Everybody knows rock attained perfection in 1974. It's a scientific fact. - Homer Simpson
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The Mockingbird should have done better, and of course, once again, V's didn't make the list, which is disconcerting, given their longevity. They're not the most ergonomic guitars out there, but visually striking and great sounding.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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Originally posted by Geoff Byrne:

Talking of guitar bodies, why are the Strat, tele, LP and SG shapes so persistent?

I can take my Strat and Les Paul to a death metal, shredding audition and the band wouldn't kick me out based soley on the guitars.

 

However, if I showed up to a blues or jazz rehersal with a pointy B.C. Rich, I'd get my ass kicked.

 

With the shapes you cited, they got them right the first time and they'll always be with us. The Strat body is the most copied electric guitar body ever. That's got to say something.

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Actually...your typical "classical guitar" body is the most copied ever...unless we are just talking about electrics. :)

 

I don't like pointy guitars or pointy cars. ;)

 

There's something very sexy about the typical dual curve guitar body...and it's quite functional as it's easily cradled on you leg when you sit.

I like Strats...though I think a Tele is much more ballsy looking.

But overall...I'm more for the LP style...though lately I have fallen in love with the more jazz/rockabilly style semi-hollow bodies.the thinner widths, and/or some of the medium width, but slightly smaller bodies.

 

Im not much for the real big jazz boxescuz they look like you are trying to play a small upright base,hung around you neck! :D

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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A lot of radical shapes are interesting, but they seem to be locked within their timeframe/culture style. I've owned a lot of guitars of all different shapes.... Vs, RDs, Explorers, Tescos, etc. I really liked the Burns of London/Gretsch solid shapes of the 60s. I always hated the Mockingbird... that is one ugly guitar.... but some of the other Riches were very elegant, and I was totally hooked on the Rich Bitch. But I keep coming back to the Gibson Les Paul/Gretsch Jet, Gibson 330-35-40-45-55/Epi Casino, and basic Fender body shapes. These seem to be timeless, while the others are cool for a day or two.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I wasn't quoting you... :)

 

But since you mentioned the Strat body...I have to say that I'm not quite sure that it's been compiled any Mmore than the LP style body.

I mean...has anyone ever taken a count? :D

 

I would say they are probably about equal...but overall...the symmetrical LP style cut, is most certainly more prevalent than the asymmetrical Start style...when you look at all the different brands out there...

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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I started on a Tele then got a Strat. It took some getting used to the slippery, ergo feel of the Strat, but now both feel natural. A friend brought a Bo Diddly rectangular guitar over last month, and I was surprised that it was not uncomfortable to play. I never could find a good position to play a Flying V. The LP shape is nice, but the pickup switch position can throw me off. It also takes more knob fiddling to find the sound I'm looking for.

He not busy being born

Is busy dyin'.

 

...Bob Dylan

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Truth be told, I have developed two chambered body designs with ergonomics strongly in mind and all who have played them have commented on their comfort, balance, tone, versatility... except nobody has bought one. People only want guitars that their heros played. The name on the headstock is what sells. Believe me. Guitarists are generally so conservative, there is no such thing as good and different. There is only different. That is what I am finding.

 

Bass and jazz players are a bit more open to different styles as long as they play and sound and feel good, but rockers only want what their heros used. You can see mine at www.rockbeachguitars.com if you haven't already... Don't forget to read the descriptive text explaining why I designed and engineered them the way I did... Boggs

Check out my Rock Beach Guitars page showing guitars I have built and repaired... http://www.rockbeachguitars.com
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Maybe not :D

 

Sometimes I just get fed up looking at all the same stuff over and over again.

 

But then, the PRS and Godin shapes, for example, don't do anything for my eye.

 

Maybe the old tried & trusted shapes are just RIGHT, and that's it. A bit like a Spitfire.

 

They say that if it looks right then it is right.

 

I really like the old Yamaha SG2000 series - but that's basically a Gibson SG shape, again.

 

Ho hum!!

 

Boggs, I've just looked at your site again, and I don't think your shape is far out. I wish I could have the opportunity to try one.

 

Geoff

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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Hey Boggs,

 

Regarding the Rockbeach guitars, I have to say I'm very impressed with the fit and finish of your instruments and you surely have a great talent for woodwork, but there's something about that shape that just doesn't appeal to me.

 

That's not to say it's a bad guitar. On the contrary, they look and sound (at least from the clips) like fine instruments.

 

But before you suggest I'd buy another guitar because of its' looks and not its' sound (over your instruments), I'd just like to suggest there are many instruments worthy, IMO, of being bought in that price range, based on sound quality alone. Given that belief, I'd probably buy a different one to get a sound, playability and quality build and a shape that appeals to my sense of aesthetics.

 

If I thought your instrument was the only one I could get those qualities from (and I had a spare few thousand dollars hanging around ;) ) I'd have to buy your guitar, aesthetics be damned.

 

There are just too many choices of quality guitars, boutique and otherwise, in that price range. I imagine that may be the case for others, but I can neither speak for them nor can I guess at how many players are aware of your guitars. Getting them in a few hands may make all the difference in sales.

 

Selling guitars can't be easy for individual luthiers such as yourself. Most I'm aware of either began as builders in custom shops of the big manufacturers or made a name for themselves by knowing the right players (and mostly building Strat or LP clones, at least as a beginning).

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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I dont think there is very far to go on body design, we have had most of them I think, but a good shape of guitar is one that you like the look of and feel comfortable playing, if it fits that bill then that will make it a good shape (for you at least)

I personally prefer .335 or gretsch hollowbody guitars but would have to say my new Godin has better balance than a lot of guitars I have played, cant say I go overboard on the true looks of the guitar but it feels great....

Love life, some twists and turns are more painful than others, but love life.....

 

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Originally posted by fantasticsound:

Hey Boggs,

 

Regarding the Rockbeach guitars, I have to say I'm very impressed with the fit and finish of your instruments and you surely have a great talent for woodwork, but there's something about that shape that just doesn't appeal to me.

 

That's not to say it's a bad guitar. On the contrary, they look and sound (at least from the clips) like fine instruments.

 

But before you suggest I'd buy another guitar because of its' looks and not its' sound (over your instruments), I'd just like to suggest there are many instruments worthy, IMO, of being bought in that price range, based on sound quality alone. Given that belief, I'd probably buy a different one to get a sound, playability and quality build and a shape that appeals to my sense of aesthetics.

 

If I thought your instrument was the only one I could get those qualities from (and I had a spare few thousand dollars hanging around ;) ) I'd have to buy your guitar, aesthetics be damned.

 

There are just too many choices of quality guitars, boutique and otherwise, in that price range. I imagine that may be the case for others, but I can neither speak for them nor can I guess at how many players are aware of your guitars. Getting them in a few hands may make all the difference in sales.

 

Selling guitars can't be easy for individual luthiers such as yourself. Most I'm aware of either began as builders in custom shops of the big manufacturers or made a name for themselves by knowing the right players (and mostly building Strat or LP clones, at least as a beginning).

Excellent commentary. I appreciate the kind words too, but really well thought out, insightful and very well articulated comments on the business, too. Thanks for taking the time, man! ;)
Check out my Rock Beach Guitars page showing guitars I have built and repaired... http://www.rockbeachguitars.com
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I'm really glad you took those comments as they were intended. And besides, I didn't like Telecasters, by their looks, until 7 or 8 years ago. (Out of 30 years playing guitar. ;) ) There may yet be a sizable audience who really like your body style once they've had a chance to see it. I can't wait to hear from you 6 or 8 months from now to hear whether that boutique/vintage shop can move some product for you. That sounds like the best place you could be right now. :thu:

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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In all seriousness, though, you gotta look at the pragmatics and then consider exactly how many shapes have already been put into production.

 

I'm a huge fan of just about everything BC Rich has thrown out there in the way of shapes, with the possible exception of the Bich, which is just too unruly and back-heavy to be practical.

 

Even they are pretty well running out of ideas for practical, unique looking guitars. Sure, any idiot can design a guitar shape that looks cool as hell, but when it comes right down to it, is the thing playable? And if you have to alter it to make it playable, will it still look as cool?

 

Not only that, but how easy is it to manufacture? What good is a really playable, really well-balanced, cool-ass looking guitar shape if it takes 3 days for an experienced woodworker to precision cut?

 

Finally, the comfort level for all of us that comes from decades of conditioning lead us back to those good old SG's, LP's, Strats, and Teles, because they're familiar. We're sooooo used to seeing those shapes that there's just no rejecting them. A new body shape is going to look great to some, terrible to others. This in and of itself is a reason to not experiment with new shapes, because the potential buying audience is far smaller than that of a "traditional" design...

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