#1
A lot of the guitars I like have no arm cuts/contouring on the body, and that is a really important thing to me as far as overall comfort of playing the guitar. So, rather than eliminate potential guitar purchases because certain guitars have no contouring, could I carve the contour myself?

1. Have any of you done this?
2. Will it affect sound?
3. Will overall integrity of the guitar be kept in tact?
4. Do you just think it sounds stupid and/or would look dumb?


For example, here's a guitar I am interested in that has no contouring:




I would want to carve an arm contour into it so that the upper part of the body looks something like this:




Thoughts? Comments? General input?

Thanks.
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Jul 13, 2011,
#2
I assume removing material would have some effect on tone - probably remove a little of the bass end. Dont know for sure though.
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#3
It shouldn't hurt it too awfully bad.

Make a bevel for the arm, just don't remove 1/4 of the wood like EVH did and kill the tone/sustain
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#4
If it's going to look anything like the second picture, then it's going to look pretty stupid, IMO.
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#5
The second picture has more win on it than the first.
I say go for it, it'll free up that rather bland looking overall shape/grain.
You wont destroy the tone that much honestly.
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#6
on explorer-esque guitars I wouldn't put an arm cut in. a tummy cut sure, but the arm cut looks rediculous.

but really dude, getting used to a slab body takes maybe 15 minutes. after that you won't have any problem with it ever again.
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#7
I have to respectfully disagree with most of the posts here. Changing the body shape will not change the sound. I most cases you could pretty much hack the body off and it would sound the same. 90% of the sound of an electric guitar comes from the pick ups.

If the guitar is topped (a layer of wood over the backing wood) you will want to make sure you don't go deep enough blow though the top layer. That would leave a line and different grain showing. But if it's one piece of wood, hack away.

As far as how it looks, if you like it, that's all that counts. Playability is a huge factor in your decision to do it or not.
#8
hacking off large chunks of wood will effect sustain. and tone to a small degree.
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#9
It will affect your tone and sustain, though cutting an arm contour will be removing so little wood I doubt it would be audible.
I would imagine it keep the body in fine shape. The guitar won't fall apart on you.
Unless you get it professionally done, it's gonna look pretty shitty. Hell, even if you do get it done professionally, on an explorer shape it's going to look shit.

Also, please, for the love of god, don't do that to that guitar. That is a beautiful guitar, I'd hate to see it ruined like that. It takes no time to adjust to not having the contour. Hell, try playing in the classical position (which is easier than normal position with an explorer IMO) and you probably won't even notice.
#10
I disagree that adjusting to playing with no contour is so easy. My Edwards RV has virtually no contour and it bothers me every time I play with it compared to my LTD Alexi. It literally changes the angle my hand comes in at the strings, thereby changing my technique. I play very technical stuff and just "getting used to it" isn't really an option. I like my standing technique to remain consistent with my sitting technique, and with no arm contour on the body, my standing technique changes for the worse. With contour though, like the FX shown below, it feels pretty good.

I mean, I suppose the contour in the second pic is a bit more extreme than it needs to be, and yeah I agree to copy that contour exactly would look a bit dumb on an Explorer. However, something more realistic and just as beneficial for my comfort would be something like this for example:



This is the LTD version of the FX, and for some reason it has contouring (while the ESP doesn't, I have no clue why)... not a LOT, but at least some, which helps. Because I actually have this exact guitar, and while I do wish it had more contour, having some is better than none.
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Jul 15, 2011,
#11
just how do you think it could possibly be dangerous?
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#12
TBH TS, I wouldn't do a thing to your guitars like that. Not only will it kill them aesthetically (that LTD you have there looks great) but it will also sink their resale value. If it ain't broke don't fix it. You're best bet is to just get used to it.

My $0.02
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#13
Quote by mtshark
TBH TS, I wouldn't do a thing to your guitars like that. Not only will it kill them aesthetically (that LTD you have there looks great) but it will also sink their resale value. If it ain't broke don't fix it. You're best bet is to just get used to it.

My $0.02


Well, I wouldn't do that to my LTD since it already has contouring. But I don't really want to play on an LTD Explorer my whole life. I'd like to eventually have an ESP Explorer, except for the fact that the ESP has no contouring... so that kind of turns me off. And if I did that to my ESP, I wouldn't really plan on trying to sell it. As far as I can see these will be lifelong guitars.

So you see, I'm kinda stuck using an LTD right now when I'd like to have an ESP. And "getting used to it" is not my favorite option. Comfort is a very very very important factor for me. This is something that has bothered me about guitars for a very long time. I don't really understand why guitars are made this way
#14
Oh yeah DO IT! I did my Epi. (pix in profile) I agree that a contour makes a big difference in playability and comfort. I wanted to do a hip cut also, but its quite a bit trickier than the straight cut I did. Your concave cut will also be a bit tricky, so be sure to take it off in little steps and expect to do lots of sanding. Please post pictures of the process.
#15
Whoa, let me get this straight, you're gonna buy a brand new ESP explorer and then carve it?what are you gonna do about the paint? Not the best idea man....

If you really want, buy one with a countour, like the black one you posted
#16
But the black one I posted is a completely different guitar. There are no mid to high end explorers that have a contour, from what I've seen.

I mean here's a guitar I would reeeally like, except there's no contouring:




I know resell value would sink, but my logic is the opposite that a lot of you seem to have, in that... I'd only want to do this to a really nice guitar, one that I'd plan to keep forever! I wouldn't want to waste my time or diminish resell value of a cheap LTD, something I'd plan on eventually selling anyway.
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Jul 16, 2011,
#17
Quote by fixationdarknes
I know resell value would sink, but my logic is the opposite that a lot of you seem to have, in that... I'd only want to do this to a really nice guitar, one that I'd plan to keep forever! I wouldn't want to waste my time or diminish resell value of a cheap LTD, something I'd plan on eventually selling anyway.

Makes sense to me!
Yeah, resell value would almost disappear. Funny how we think about value on stuff we expect to keep till its trashed (like a used car).