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Edge treatments: arm bevels and belly cuts?

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Edge treatments: arm bevels and belly cuts?

Postby Jason Rodgers » Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:55 am

Quick poll: how much do you think contact-point edge treatments, like arm bevels and belly cuts, are "necessary" on electric guitars? And if you'd like to elaborate, why or why not? And maybe to dig a little deeper, do you think such carved areas reflect any particular level of quality or trim on a model or brand?

Thanks for your thoughts!
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Edge treatments: arm bevels and belly cuts?

Postby Peter Wilcox » Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:15 pm

I think it depends on the player - I've read opinions on both sides, and I'd guess a lot depends on the body habitus of the player. I'm not a gigging guitar player, so can't say for myself regarding guitars. I'm not fat, and as a bass player, it doesn't bother me if there are no bevels, as long as the edges are rounded; however, a bound edge might be pretty uncomfortable.

I'd think the presence or absence of arm or belly carves would not factor in to the quality of an instrument - there are many much more important factors.
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Re: Edge treatments: arm bevels and belly cuts?

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:02 pm

Speaking as a player, I can say I like a guitar with a tummy cut. I have a bit of a belly, so it's more comfortable for me. :oops: :lol:
I also like a forearm bevel. It seems to ease the pressure under the arm, making playing for a longer period more comfortable.

Having said that, I also play a Tele with neither of those features, and it doesn't bother me too badly.
Guys who play Strats will swear by the contours.
Others will swear by their old Les Pauls, which have none.

As for quality, I don't think either one affects it.
A well made, well finished guitar with quality woods and parts, are most important.
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Re: Edge treatments: arm bevels and belly cuts?

Postby Eric Baack » Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:08 pm

Though the arch on an LP does provide some relief similar to what the front bevel on a Strat gives you.
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Re: Edge treatments: arm bevels and belly cuts?

Postby Jason Rodgers » Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:47 pm

I understand that edge treatments are often part of the overall aesthetic of an instrument, whether a direct copy or a derivative, but I've also seen cuts or absence thereof used as a manufacturing consideration. While it's not necessarily difficult to grind/sand a bevel or belly cut, it does take time and presents another curved surface or plane which requires more attention in finish sanding and finishing.

It's possible I'm overthinking this.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Edge treatments: arm bevels and belly cuts?

Postby Dan Hehnke » Thu Jun 09, 2016 2:18 am

I prefer anything that has at least a decent radius where the picking arm crosses the guitar. I recently played with making a 1/4" chamfer for the faux binding and feel that it made a big difference in comfort compared to a sharp edge that would be had with a traditional binding. I'm sure everyone is different though...
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Re: Edge treatments: arm bevels and belly cuts?

Postby Matt Madden » Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:46 pm

I don't like them. Electrics are so small anyway, I don't see the need for those contours. I like the feel of a telecaster with just slightly rounded edges. I always feel like a strat is too slippery and trying to escape. In fact, I have an '80s Squier Bullet that is strat shaped but with no belly cut or forearm bevel, just a slab. I like the feel of that much better than a typical strat.
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Re: Edge treatments: arm bevels and belly cuts?

Postby Jason Rodgers » Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:34 pm

These are all interesting and legitimate opinions and observations. To be honest, I never thought too deeply about the option of contours: I always figured I would just cut em. But rethinking my build process and considering consistency, time, and finishing, I'm rethinking the location and size/shape of my edge treatments.

Thanks, folks! Keep em coming!
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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