The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #61382 Message #986582
Posted By: Willie-O
19-Jul-03 - 12:03 PM
Thread Name: why is a guitar called a thinline?
Subject: why is a guitar called a thinline?
This is a bit of nomenclature trivia that has been bugging me for years. I used to own a Fender Telecaster Thinline. (And I sure miss it sometimes, but that's another story...) Electric guitar nerds know this is a Telecaster with the upper portion of the body hollowed out, and one f-hole in the top. This gives the guitar lighter weight, a semi-acoustic quality, and a special sparkle to the tone. They were made in late 60's/early 70's and are now reissued by various companies.
So why do they call it a Thinline? I have heard that it is because these Tele's had a single thin strip of different coloured wood down the back of the neck, which was their less conspicuous difference from solid-body Telecasters. Mine had this strip, so that made some kind of sense to me. But now I see the word "Thinline" being applied generically to lots of different guitars, some of which don't have the strip, or much else in common with a Telecaster:
- The 1965 Gibson EB-2 Bass currently for sale at the Twlefth Fret, described in the listing as a "thinline double cutaway" body.
- an aluminum body (weird) Tele thinline style, custom electric, no strip on the neck.
- Colin Cripps' Vintage Guitar Info site has a section on Gibson Thinline models, which seem to be an actual model name for hollow-body electrics with one or two f-holes. Maybe "Thinline" in Gibsonese is a reference to body profile?
- a Takamine TS90CDW described as a Thinline Cutaway--this just looks like another contemporary acoustic flattop roundhole with a single cutaway and built-in electronics. What the????
- of course, Martin has made "Thinline" pickups for many years--a completely different item, namely an under-saddle pickup.
Alright my fellow nerds, anyone have a handle on this? It would seem that the term gets thrown around so much, sometimes capitalized, that perhaps there have been discussions between, say, Martin and Fender company lawyers as to who owns the capitalized "Thinline" description.
Just another burning issue....
thinking way too much about stuff like this.