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What is your opinion on cutaways on acoustic guitars?

Do you like them?

If so is it for looks, function, or both??

I personally never play an acoustic above the 10th fret, so I find a cutaway sort of superfluous on an acoustic guitar.  For me, it serves neither looks nor function.

But, that's just me.  What is your opinion??


PS:  My Martin has a cutaway, but I bought it inspite of, rather than because of the cutaway.

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I have added a picture of my trusty Ibanez Artcore AS73, which I am now going sell.  I have replaced it with an Ibanez Custom AS103.  Gas pressure is now a little lower.

I think cutaways look cool. They give more appearance of upstairs access, than actual access, because you still have the heel, etc. stopping your hand. In order to test a cutaway's audible difference, one would need the same guitar without a cutaway, the same strings, playing style and environment. I would wager on little disparity. There would be none, if electronics are involved. Space is normally associated with "boom", but wood and design can be deceiving... my little Washburn plywood folk has as much punch as my Seagull mini jumbo... go figure.

Players that largely stick to the first several frets might not give this much thought, but you can move everything you are doing up to the 12th fret and simply play an octave higher.

Something else people might benefit from knowing is that any note you play on the 6th string is replicated an octave higher merely by moving to the 4th string and playing it 2 frets closer to the sound hole.  That also works from the 5th string to the 3rd string. 

There is an underlying logic to the way the fretboard is laid out.  It does take some understanding of scales and intervals, but it's not rocket science.  Anyone can learn it.

Cutaways seem to be paired with electronics when it comes to acoustic guitars. Acoustically it probably takes away from the guitar so amplification seems the norm. I would like better access to the frets beyond the 12th to 14th on my acoustics but so far I have stuck with the traditional non-cutaway dreadnaught shape. I'll pick up my electric when I want to play up the neck.

I prefer plain old straight dreadnaughts,

The cutaway does nothing for me, and I feel it detracts a little from the sound of the instrument.

But then I also don't like built in electronics, (the hole(s)) needed in the body for the controls bug me :)

I fully agree with especially the "barn door" control panel that many acoustic/electrics have.  The Taylor Expression system has minimized this as has the Fishman system in the new Martin Performing Artist models where only a couple of discrete low-profile knobs are visible.

I've been playing for two years, and I've found I still have plenty to learn on the left 90% of the fret board that isn't blocked by the body.  I haven't really found it limiting to not have a cutaway.  The few times I have tried to fret notes in the region that would be aided by a cutaway, I definitely can see the benefit.  The guitar body does get in the way and require some awkward wrist positions for those last couple of frets.

I think for most of us who are beginning to intermediate players, a cutaway is unnecessary.  By the time I get to the stage where that access limitation is holding me back, I'll probably own 5 or more guitars, and that will be a good time to add a cutaway to the mix (I already have 3 great guitars, and I'm still probably in the beginner category).

I originally bought the Maritime cutaway Guitar Center model, but I found it to be uncomfortable.  I'm most comfortable playing while sitting with the guitar's waist on my right leg.  The cutaway left very little to hold the guitar in place, and it constantly felt like it was about to slip off my leg.  I ended up exchanging it for the Maritime Mini-Jumbo, which I find to be much more comfortable.  For anyone getting started, I would recommend focusing on the guitar shape that's most comfortable to hold on your lap.

I have not ever found an acoustic guitar that successfully combines all the elements I desire: comfort, tone, and playability.  If I designed it myself, it would probably be a thin bodied parlor with a cutaway and onboard electronics.  I can't even imagine how awful that would sound, but I think it would be very comfortable.

Here's the Walden "Stage" body shape and size:

"The 'Stage' body shape is based on the WALDEN Grand Auditorium cutaway body with a reduced side depth of 3 1/2 inches to create a thin-body acoustic-electric that is particularly suited to live playing. It has a clear and precise acoustic voice even when played unplugged."


Here's the guitar - they come in black or tobacco burst:

Here's the tobacco burst:

and the specs:





  • binding: White plastic
  • rosette: Wood inlay
  • tuners: Gold
  • logo: Pearl
  • bridge: Walden Rosewood bridge
  • nut & saddle: Fossalite


  • Gloss Tobacco Burst



Black one is $529.95 at Hole in the Wood -


There is also the CS500CE, which is discontinued:







  • binding: Black plastic
  • rosette: Maple and Mahogany
  • tuners: Die-cast Chrome
  • logo: Pearl
  • bridge: Walden Rosewood bridge
  • nut & saddle: Fossalite


  • Gloss Natural



Which is apparently discontinued, but Hole in the Wood has one:


There ya go!  Sort of what you said, but not quite a parlour...

This is probably the closest I'm ever going to get.  Unfortunately, I'm now trying to sell a guitar or two, so I can't acquire another without causing domestic upheaval.

Although this is a forum for Godin acoustic guitars, I have to admit my semi acoustic / hollow-body is much more comfortable to play - and I don't have all the humidity issues.

I have a Godin 5th Avenue CW Kingpin II, and I find it very comfortable to play as well - given the hollow body and the decent acoustic-only tone, I usually take some license and call the 5th Avenue an acoustic/electric as well - even though it does have 2 P90's... ;-)

FWIW, the Giannini Craviola's have a thinner body as well, and are very comfortable to play...

Try writing your wife a love song...that tends to reduce domestic upset... ;-)

Cutaway player here. When I bought my cutaway guitar, my thinking regarding the cutaway was "better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it." Have I needed it? Very little. So far, there's only one song I play in which the lead solo ventures past the 12th fret. Other than that, I don't really use/need it. But, I do like the looks of it, though. I haven't noticed any sonic differences in it...I still find myself having to tone down my playing with other people. My guitar is LOUD in spite of the cutaway!


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