S shape vs T shape, tone?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by Siyuan Liu, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. Siyuan Liu

    Siyuan Liu Member

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    I’m placing a custom order. I’m wondering how the body shape affects the tone and feel.

    Whichever shape I’m choosing, it’ll be a superstrat/tele kinda thing. Body contours, maple top, HH pups, trem bridge.

    I’m a strat guy and never owned a Tele for long enough. I personally think the S looks better, especially for a guitar with maple top.

    I remember I heard somewhere that the T sounds different (if not better) because the body is bigger. And the T feels a bit better when standing up, the S is more into your body, which makes your left arm more crowded, even it’s a contoured S vs contoured T comparison. Any thoughts? Thanks!
     
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  2. bikeracr

    bikeracr Supporting Member

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    Bridge, nut, scale length, and wood are the biggest contributors to tone. I’m not a luthier, but I’m don’t think the differences between a T and S style body shape will be markedly different with all other variables held constant. I would be interested to get the perspective of some some of the builders on this page, however.
     
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  3. s2y

    s2y Member

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    I'd imagine guitars with identical wood, hardware, and pickups will sound about the same if they're T or S shaped. There are too many differences between the Tele and Strat to attribute the sound to body shape alone.
     
  4. derekd

    derekd Member

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    I agree.

    It is more the sum of the parts than it is the actual shape of the instrument. Plenty of Nashville teles get the strat sound with that 3 pickup/5 way switch configuration.
     
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  5. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    Teles hang more to your left.
    Right hand moves to the bridge a bit and neck moves away.
    Pretty easy to adapt, imo, but go with your preference.
    Contoured Teles move in toward your body, too.
    Tonally you have to compare 2 hardtails so beware of opinions.
     
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  6. Badtone

    Badtone Supporting Member

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    I'm a Strat guy myself, and while I think tonewise they'd be very similar, a maple top super-Tele rockin' humbuckers and a trem would look pretty badass, IMHO
     
  7. guitararmy

    guitararmy Member

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    Hard to beat a tele shape with an arm contour and a belly cut. Unless compared to a hardtail strat, I think there is more wood centrally giving it a bit more presence. Just an opinion, no science.
     
  8. Furilla

    Furilla Odd Bird

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    I'm pretty certain that if all other specs were the same, body shape would be negligible in terms of tone.

    And for what it's worth, I get along with Strats and Teles just fine, but I prefer the shape and contour of a Strat body.
     
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  9. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer New Mods On The Block Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    This.
     
  10. K-Line

    K-Line Vendor

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    Body shape? Never heard a difference. What makes a tele a tele is the bridge plate and bridge pickup. Slap them on a 2x4 with a neck and you will get that sound.
     
  11. Vaibhav Joshi

    Vaibhav Joshi Member

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    I agree. A video on youtube shows a guy cutting through the body & observing the changes in the sound till he reaches the bare essentials required to hold it together.
    Does the type of body wood matter more than that particular piece of wood & how it's constructed.. I genuinely don't know what matters but generally go for playibility & resonance more than anything.
     
  12. burningyen

    burningyen Member

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  13. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    Don't you have some experience with the chopped Strat thing?
     
  14. burningyen

    burningyen Member

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    Not so much chopped as warped. I do think body shape matters, but it’s not like I’ve done controlled experiments.
     
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  15. Siyuan Liu

    Siyuan Liu Member

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    So do you think theoretically an HH tele and an HH strat would sound the same?
     
  16. K-Line

    K-Line Vendor

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    No. Now if the strat was a hard tail and you would use the same bridge as you would on the tele, then it would sound as close as any two like instruments would. But if you are using a tele bridge and a strat trem, they will not sound as much a like. A trem really alters the sound.
     
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  17. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

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    Hmm, I remember quite well a time [well before TGP existed!] when Tom Anderson and Roy Fought brought their little dog & pony show to a shop in OH where I used to hang out and, occasionally, shop. They specifically brought three matched pairs of S- and T-shaped guitars with the same bridge arrangements and the same pickups (within each matching pair). Those guitars definitely exhibited a class difference, sound-wise. My guess is the main contributor to the diff was the fact that on a T-style guitar (i.e., single-cutaway) there's more contact between the body and the neck on the bass-string side. So the neck resonates differently. I also hear that sort of class difference between single-cutaway and double-cutaway PRS 594s, for instance.

    That said, yeah, the different bridges make a diff that's likely much more obvious to most people.
     
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  18. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Member

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    As stated, the largest question in your mind should be bridge and pickup type. The vibrato tailpiece changes the entire feel of the instrument with the result that the bridge is fighting you bends and requires about twice as much effort unless blocked.

    I've owned both. I was centered around the Les Paul for years so consider that in my next statement: Between the S and T, I found the position of the Tele more natural to me. My Tele is contoured, by the way.

    Bob
     
  19. s2y

    s2y Member

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    These wonderful mutants really shouldn't sound that different from a Tele or Strat.
     
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  20. derekd

    derekd Member

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    Dang, I really like that burst Tele/strat.

    Who made it?
     

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