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What's a original contour body?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by coltpeacemaker, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. coltpeacemaker

    coltpeacemaker Strat-Talk Member

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    G/day guys and girls! I'm new to Fender Strats and was wondering what does Fenders original contour body mean? Are there variations in Strats body shapes over the years! I've done some research but haven't found a lot so maybe someone might be kinda enought to give me a run down id be most greatful.
    Cheers...
     
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  2. rolandson

    rolandson Still Breathing Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Variations...probably.

    In the day, when humans made things, things would fluctuate around ideal and reality. The Original Contour Body was Fender's answer to complaints surrounding the pain of the Tele's edges. They hurt. Still do, but real players, I am told, take the pain.

    I don't like pain. So I have a Strat.

    The variations would be found in the depth of the cutout along the top inside edge where one's ribs meet the guitar, and along the outside upper edge where the picking arm contacts the body. The places where it hurt to play the Tele.

    One day the contours might be deeper than the next, or shallower, depending on whatever makes humans not machines.

    Now they use machines so they're all the same. But somehow they get away with still calling it original. I don't understand that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
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  3. coltpeacemaker

    coltpeacemaker Strat-Talk Member

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    So Fender heard the crys from tele players and the contour body was born? Had the Strats body ever slightly changed during it's life? Funny thing is I'm thinking about getting a Telecaster lol
     
  4. Chief101

    Chief101 Senior Stratmaster

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    Some Tele’s now have contoured backs. Go figure.
     
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  5. helsinkirocks

    helsinkirocks Strat-Talker

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    I have an 80s MIJ Strat and the belly cut out is HUGE comparatively.
     
  6. AlexJCRandall

    AlexJCRandall Senior Stratmaster

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    It's changed many times, and majorly......within the constraints of it still being a belly cut and forearm contour.
     
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  7. possumkiller

    possumkiller Strat-Talker

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    It's called the original contour body because Fender was the first one to contour a body in such a way. Nowadays that little sticker is on there for the vintage look. In the 50s and 60s it was on there as a little advertisement like the "with synchronized tremolo" bit. Just little marketing buzzwords.
     
  8. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I'm sure a Strat with the original body contour still exists, but it's way older than me and probably in a vault somewhere.
     
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  9. perttime

    perttime Strat-O-Master

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    There have been lots of variations of strat contours. More or less tummy and forearm cut. Maybe even different degrees of rounding of the body. There was a thread earlier this year about the variations.

    Here's the side view of mine. It gets pretty skinny in the thin areas:

    curve.jpg
     
  10. echoes71

    echoes71 Senior Stratmaster

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    Its the belly cut and the arm cut, that's specifically what it is. The various contours over the years change, and even from guitar to guitar.
     
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  11. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    first you have to recognize that the original criteria for any feature on the pre CBS era guitars was, If it works, its perfect... anal adherence to the "blue prints" was not a high priority.

    next, the contours were hand shaped. the primary wood on the tummy cut was removed with a band saw, then the contour was finished on a spindle sander... the Arm contour was done in its entirety on a edge sander... with the craftsman slowly rotating the body to create the curve....

    so... personal interpretation was a big part of the original bodies...

    there have been posts of photos showing the differences from one year to the next.... they are incorrect... and should be better labeled the differences in the contours as cut by different craftsmen...

    Leo did not walk into the shop and announce that, on January 1st, the contours would change... they more "evolved" as workers came and went.. Remember, Leo threw nothing away, and he sure wasn't gonna dump last year's run because this year's would have a different contour.

    as CBS took over, Number Controlled shaper technology was burgeoning... and they embraced it... thus the contours became more consistent... but still were hand finished...

    there are a few videos (you tube) circulating where you can see the contours being shaped... y'all can digg 'em out if ya like... but here's a few photos I took in the shop which illustrates the manner in which they were shaped.. in the late 50's and early 60's..


    DSCN0354.JPG DSCN0355.JPG DSCN0356.JPG DSC_3599.jpg DSC_3602.jpg DSCN0208.JPG DSC_1242.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
  12. Stratomike

    Stratomike Strat-Talk Member

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    I don't complain (usually), but I don't really understand the concept of the belly cut. It's not that just the Telecaster is flat, many (if not most) electric and acoustic guitars are. Human bodies are so different from person to person, same goes for the way people "wear" their guitars. For me personally the Strat belly cut is totally out of place. So yeah, I understand the idea behind introducing it, but I'm not convinced it is any kind of bonus...
     
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  13. Alan Crossley

    Alan Crossley Senior Stratmaster

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    Very incisive posting. Given nature’s move to obesity, those belly cuts could well remove a few strings and shorten the pickups by a few mil. :D
     
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  14. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

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    My ribs would disagree, playing a Tele can be a bruising experience for those of us that lack padding...
     
  15. Steven1145

    Steven1145 Strat-Talker

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    Maybe it was a special order for a Strat-wielding Sumo wrestler!

    Sent from my Mate20Pro withTapatalk
     
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  16. JP68

    JP68 Strat-Talker

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    I never had a problem with my Tele (main guitar since 1988), until I got older and started to play primarily sitting down. The poke ya in the ribs thing is real, especially after you've been playing a Strat for awhile and switch back to a Tele. I love 'em, but ouch!
     
  17. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    The original Fender contour body is on a P-bass.

    A tele with tummy cut and arm contour can be a wonderful thing.
     
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  18. clydethecat

    clydethecat Strat-Talker

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    They had that "Original Contour Body" decal in 1954.
     
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  19. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I've had to sit down to play for a long time, since before I was a old as you. Luckily I haven't fallen and broken any more ribs since I got my latest Tele.
     
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  20. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Senior Stratmaster

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    I will give you a quick example of a non original contour body.
    An American deluxe or elite, have a carve at the neck joint (an improvement to me).
    The original body contour has a squared off block neck joint.

    Any variation (that's done purposely) on a strat does not have the decal saying "original contour body".

    Simple as that.
     
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