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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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Replies to This Discussion

I venture up as far as the 15th fret quite often, so I say the cutaways on my guitars are functional. If I wasn't going to be heading up to that altitude I probably wouldn't have a cutaway though. I'm no acoustic engineer, but it just seems to me you're losing some of the available resonating space inside the guitar with a cutaway. Don't know if there's any truth to that or not, and I've never done a comparison test with the same model -- one cutaway one without.

Has anybody else tried that? I'm curious if there is an audible difference...

My Seagull is a cutaway dreadnaught and my other guitars don't have cutaways.  I do think it is functional when playing up around the 12th fret and allows me to angle my wrist more comfortably.  It also looks very nice.  If the guitar is designed to have a cutaway then there is probably some compensation made by the luthier for the effect of the lost volume and surface.  I do feel that my dreadnaught with the cutaway isn't quite as powerful as my one without. It compares more to my non cutaway OM.  But there are so many choices.  Many pros play one or the other or both.  You might also consider the effects of bevelled tops to provide arm-rest comfort and how that could effect the top and sound.  It's probably all in the design and engineering and mojo.

Hi Judd,

I have one cw guitar, the Seagull Artist Studio CW. Never go so high up. However CW was the only Artist Studio available (I'd rather had the model without CW). and I wanted an Artist Studio. 

I don't like the looks of them.  Functional, they may be...but they lack the symmetry of the conventional box.  I've been looking at them for decades and just can't warm up to the shape.  But then I have no use for all those strats and lespauls and their offspring either.

"But as for me, give me symmetry or give me..." well you get the idea

I want to have a non-cutaway steel-string guitar but, alas, I don't have one right now - my Aria LW-15 was traded away for my Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin II, and my Seagull Performer Flame Maple CW QIT was one of 2 Seagulls available at Wolfe Guitars (the other was a Performer Mini-Jumbo) when I traded for that.  Now, does my Giannini Craviola have a cutaway?  What do you think?


Or, is that a "curve-away"? ;-)

Now, let me throw this out there - we all know that a good amplifier can cover up a multitude of sins - but, in pure acoustic mode, I would think that a non-cutaway would have an advantage, given a larger "box" for the sound to resonate in.  Thoughts?

Oh, and I sometimes do play around on the upper frets - and my 12-fret classicals do leave a bit to be desired if I want to play up there...

I believe Giannini Craviola is a code name for Salvador Dali when he decided to design guitars ... :-)

You see, the story goes that Dali and Picasso were drunk on absinthe one day, and... ;-)

then they ran into miro....

I own the traditional and the cutaway version of the Alvrez AF410...I prefer the me, it just sounds better...

A cutaway does slightly diminish the acoustic qualities of a dreadnaught, but it's probably very slight.  When you get into smaller guitars, the effect is more noticeable, and many of those guitars come with electronics so you can make up for problem.

A similar issue is having guitars with bodies that extend up to the 12th fret.  That is another way to increase acoustic capacity.

As for me, I really wish my S6 was a cutaway.  I have had it for so long that I won't part with it, but I play all over the fretboard. 

I just checked your "inventory" - first, I'd love to see a picture of the Artcore - second, don't part with your S6 - but add a Seagull with a cutaway of some kind... ;-)

Maybe a Natural Element?  I hear GAS bubbling up...

I haven't neglected my seagull.  I had it setup not too long ago, and some frets replaced.  For an acoustic, it plays very well.  I have received many complements on it over the years.  My old seagull is a seriously nice guitar.  I'm sure I could find a slightly nicer acoustic guitar for about $2,500 or more, but I doubt I could for less than that.

But over the last few years I have made an effort to improve my playing and my understanding of the guitar, and going down that road caused some wear and tear to my hands, fingers and shoulders.  I found that playing an electric guitar really helped overcome those problems. 


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