Cutaway guitars are a type of acoustic or acoustic-electric guitar that features a cutaway in the upper bout of the body, near the neck. This design modification allows easier access to the higher frets on the fingerboard, especially beyond the 12th fret. The cutaway typically takes the form of a scooped-out portion of the guitar’s body, creating a concave indentation.
The primary purpose of a cutaway is to provide guitarists with enhanced playability in the upper register, facilitating the execution of solos and intricate melodies. In guitars without a cutaway, reaching the higher frets can be more challenging, as the body of the guitar extends further towards the neck.
There are two main types of cutaways:
- Venetian Cutaway:
- This is the most common type of cutaway. It has a rounded and smooth appearance, resembling a violin cutaway. Venetian cutaways are known for their aesthetic appeal and are found on many acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars.
- Florentine Cutaway:
- The Florentine cutaway has a more angular and pointed design, creating a sharper corner where the cutaway meets the body. This type of cutaway is less common but can be found on certain acoustic and jazz guitars.
Cutaway guitars are especially popular in genres where lead playing and soloing are common, such as jazz, rock, and blues. While the cutaway design enhances playability, it’s important to note that it can slightly alter the guitar’s tone compared to a non-cutaway counterpart due to changes in the body shape and size. Additionally, cutaway guitars are often preferred by performers who require easy access to higher frets during live performances.
Here’s a list of some well-regarded cutaway acoustic guitars from various brands:
The Taylor 214ce is a popular acoustic-electric guitar model from Taylor Guitars, a well-respected American guitar manufacturer known for producing high-quality instruments. The “ce” in 214ce stands for “cutaway electric,” indicating that the guitar features both a cutaway body design and built-in electronics for amplification.
Body Shape: The Taylor 214ce has a Grand Auditorium body shape, which is a versatile design that works well for various playing styles. It provides a balanced tone with good projection.
The top of the guitar is typically made of solid Sitka spruce, a popular choice for acoustic guitar soundboards. Sitka spruce is known for its clear and well-defined sound.
Back and Sides: The back and sides are usually constructed from layered rosewood or layered koa, depending on the model year. Layered wood construction enhances durability and stability while still providing a pleasing tonal character.
The neck is made of tropical mahogany, offering a smooth feel and contributing to the guitar’s warm tone. The neck features Taylor’s slim-profile design for comfortable playability.
The fingerboard is typically made of ebony, known for its durability and smooth playing surface. It often features small dot inlays for fret markers. As a 214ce model, this guitar comes with a Venetian cutaway, allowing easy access to the higher frets for lead playing and soloing.
Electronics: The “ce” in 214ce denotes that the guitar is equipped with Taylor’s Expression System 2 (ES2) electronics. This system includes a pickup located behind the saddle, capturing the natural acoustic sound of the guitar and providing a clear and dynamic amplified tone.
The guitar typically features crisp white binding along the body and neck, adding a touch of visual elegance. The soundhole rosette is also designed to complement the overall aesthetic.
The bridge is made of ebony, matching the fingerboard, and it is designed to ensure optimal transfer of string vibrations to the guitar’s body.
The 25.5-inch scale length is a common feature, providing a comfortable playing experience and contributing to the guitar’s overall tonal characteristics.
In summary, the Taylor 214ce is a popular cutaway acoustic-electric guitar known for its solid wood construction, clear tone, and excellent playability.
Martin Performing Artist Series DCPA4
The Martin Performing Artist Series DCPA4 is part of Martin Guitar’s Performing Artist series, known for combining modern features with the traditional craftsmanship that Martin is renowned for. The “DCPA4” designation stands for “Dreadnought Cutaway Performing Artist 4,” indicating the body shape, cutaway design, and specific model within the Performing Artist series.
Here are some key features and specifications of the Martin Performing Artist Series DCPA4:
- Body Shape:
- The DCPA4 features a dreadnought body shape, which is a classic and versatile design known for its strong projection and balanced tonal characteristics.
- Top Wood:
- The top of the guitar is made of solid Sitka spruce, a popular choice for acoustic guitar soundboards. Sitka spruce provides a clear, crisp, and well-balanced tone.
- Back and Sides:
- The back and sides are typically constructed from solid sapele wood. Sapele is a tonewood that shares some tonal characteristics with mahogany, offering warmth and a strong midrange presence.
- The neck is crafted from select hardwood, providing stability and durability. The Performing Artist neck profile is designed for comfortable playability, making it suitable for various playing styles.
- The fingerboard is usually made of black Richlite, a composite material that resembles ebony. It offers a smooth playing surface and is environmentally sustainable.
- The DCPA4 features a cutaway design, allowing easy access to the higher frets for lead playing and soloing.
- Equipped with Fishman’s F1 Analog electronics system, the DCPA4 allows for accurate and dynamic amplification. The controls are discreetly located in the soundhole for convenient access.
- The bridge is made of black Richlite, contributing to the guitar’s overall durability and stability. It is designed to efficiently transfer string vibrations to the guitar’s body.
- Scale Length:
- The scale length is 25.4 inches, a common scale length for Martin guitars. This scale length contributes to the guitar’s playability and tonal characteristics.
- Nut and Saddle:
- The nut and saddle are typically made of white Corian, a synthetic material known for its consistency and tonal properties.
- Binding and Rosette:
- The guitar features black binding along the body and neck, adding a touch of visual contrast. The soundhole rosette is designed to complement the overall aesthetic.
- The DCPA4 often comes with a satin finish, providing a smooth and tactile feel while allowing the wood to resonate freely.
Gibson Hummingbird Studio Cutaway
- The Gibson Hummingbird Studio Cutaway offers a cutaway version of the iconic Hummingbird, known for its warm tone and distinctive appearance.
- Ibanez AEWC32FM:
- Ibanez is known for producing affordable and playable guitars. The AEWC32FM is a cutaway acoustic-electric guitar with a flamed maple top, providing a unique look.
- Fender CD-140SCE:
- The Fender CD-140SCE is an affordable cutaway acoustic-electric guitar with a solid spruce top, offering a classic Fender design and sound.
- Yamaha LL-TA TransAcoustic:
- Yamaha’s LL-TA TransAcoustic features a cutaway design and includes built-in reverb and chorus effects without the need for external amplification.
- Seagull S6 Original Slim QI:
- Seagull’s S6 Original Slim QI is a cutaway acoustic-electric guitar with a slim neck profile, making it comfortable to play, and it features a solid cedar top.
- Guild D-140CE:
- Guild’s D-140CE is a cutaway dreadnought with a solid spruce top and a Venetian cutaway, providing access to the higher frets.
- Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE:
- The Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE is a cutaway acoustic-electric guitar with a solid Sitka spruce top and a vintage-style appearance.
- Takamine EF341SC:
- The Takamine EF341SC is a cutaway acoustic-electric guitar with a classic dreadnought shape and a solid cedar top, known for its reliability and stage-ready features.
- Cordoba C5-CE:
- Cordoba is renowned for its classical guitars, and the C5-CE is a cutaway classical model with a solid Canadian cedar top and a comfortable neck profile.
- Washburn WD7SCE Harvest Series:
- Washburn’s WD7SCE from the Harvest Series is a cutaway acoustic-electric guitar with a solid spruce top, known for its affordability and balanced tone.
- Breedlove Pursuit Concert CE:
- The Breedlove Pursuit Concert CE is a cutaway acoustic-electric guitar with a Concert body shape, featuring a solid cedar top and built-in Fishman electronics.
- Alvarez Artist Series AD60CE:
- Alvarez’s Artist Series AD60CE is a cutaway acoustic-electric dreadnought with a solid A+ Sitka spruce top, delivering a well-balanced sound.
- Cort Gold Series A6:
- The Cort Gold Series A6 is a cutaway acoustic-electric guitar with a solid Sitka spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides, known for its premium features.