Recommendation for beginner looking for first classical guitar: Cutaway, no cutaway, does it matter?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Dirck Nagy
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Re: Recommendation for beginner looking for first classical guitar: Cutaway, no cutaway, does it matter?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:02 pm

Grasshopper wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 12:47 pm
I've never understood why the cutaway hasn't been adopted for the standard acoustic classical guitar. I don't see that it has any effect on the sound or volume and it makes access to the higher frets much easier. However it seems that this tradition is now so engrained that it won't be accepted.
I think there are a few more-or-less valid reasons:
  • Cutaway does make it a little more difficult to find / shift to the 12th fret...which is used a lot as a reference point since it is the octave of the open string
  • The tessitura of the guitar is in the middle of its range, not the higher "register".
  • The Classical Guitar just isnt used enough in the upper positions to make a cutaway worthwhile for a lot of players.
  • Experienced luthiers please feel free to correct me, but doesn't a cutaway require more labor to build?
I can't speak for the effect on the sound; there seems to be a lot of debate on that, and I'm not a physicist.

cheers
dirck

mvp019a
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Re: Recommendation for beginner looking for first classical guitar: Cutaway, no cutaway, does it matter?

Post by mvp019a » Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:08 am

"I'm not really a luthier, but I play one on TV..."

Actually, I do know one well, and yes, a cutaway is more difficult to build than no cutaway, and a Venetian cutaway is more difficult than a Florentine cutaway, because of the amount of bending involved.
Mark

2007 Ignacio Rozas 1A, 2016 Mark Usherovich Traditional Classical, Prudencio Saez Model 34

Terpfan
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Re: Recommendation for beginner looking for first classical guitar: Cutaway, no cutaway, does it matter?

Post by Terpfan » Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:25 am

I have a cutaway. It has advantages and disadvantages. I really don't think it effects the sound at all.

Tonit
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Re: Recommendation for beginner looking for first classical guitar: Cutaway, no cutaway, does it matter?

Post by Tonit » Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:41 am

Hi,
The advantage (higher position accessibility) may work for the better while you are upon transition to classical guitar from something else.
Take note that there are different cutaway nylon strung acoustic guitars in terms of cutaway depths, shapes, body depths neck joints and so on, and quite often the cutaway classicals feature narrower fingerboards, like 48mm, 49mm etc. at nut.

Also take note that there is yet another popular kind: raised fingerboard for more accessibility to higher positions.

The cutaway affects a little on sound IMPO, but it's difficult to single out the impact of cutaway in the first place.

I personally prefer the traditional classical gutar shape I grew up with (no cutaway, no raised fingerboard, no side soundhole) but I also play electrics like strats or jazz full hollwbodies. I often find myself tricked out when I play classical pieces on a cutaway, because the non-cutaway body part works like a placeholder for my left hand.

As far as I have tried, Esteve cutaways were quite good, with a little shallower cutaway depth barely enough to go up to Bb maj/min chord at 13th position, as that was what exactly I was looking for.

And I am intrigued with this lately:



It's not cutaway but very curious shape for higher position accessibility.

Wuuthrad
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Re: Recommendation for beginner looking for first classical guitar: Cutaway, no cutaway, does it matter?

Post by Wuuthrad » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:20 am

Plain and simple: It's easier to play on higher frets, above 12th, with a cutaway.

A cutaway will be more versatile if that's what you want.

But many come with electronics and have smaller neck width which can make a difference in playing Classical, one way or the other depending on the size of your hands.

As usual try before you buy.

And who cares what anyone else thinks really! If you want or shred on your Classical go for it!

Really the sonority of the Classical Guitar is kind of dead past the 14th fret because the instrument has no sustain. As soon as you pluck a note it's dying! And there's not a lot of early repertoire written for the high notes.

So a cutaway with electronics can be a good thing to have if you want sustain and versatility across genres, or an easy time playing out. Or if you want to be traditional to some degree forget the cutaway and go with the bog standard, which is there for a reason, however dubious it may be.
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

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Dave
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Re: Recommendation for beginner looking for first classical guitar: Cutaway, no cutaway, does it matter?

Post by Dave » Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:03 pm

Cordoba C5 or C5ce (the cutaway model with electronics) are great guitars. I often see them in the used market for ~ $200-250, sometimes with the hard case. ;)
Dave

Dave Stott
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Re: Recommendation for beginner looking for first classical guitar: Cutaway, no cutaway, does it matter?

Post by Dave Stott » Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:35 pm

It was pointed out to me recently that all my guitars (steel & nylon string) are cutaway's and slot heads. Up until then, I hadn't been aware of my preferences.. LOL

The benefits of having a cutaway will also depend on the manufacturer's designs & the area in the back of the guitar where the neck joins the guitar body. All my guitars are 12 fret to the body, yet some of the cutaways don't really make access to the upper registry any easier.
2015 Cordoba GK Pro Negra
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epiphone
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Re: Recommendation for beginner looking for first classical guitar: Cutaway, no cutaway, does it matter?

Post by epiphone » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:56 pm

In my opinion, standard no cut away is more beautiful.
But find just what you like, and you be satisfied.

Alan Carruth
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Re: Recommendation for beginner looking for first classical guitar: Cutaway, no cutaway, does it matter?

Post by Alan Carruth » Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:10 pm

Recently some makers have been using a 'bevel cutaway'. Usually it amounts to cutting a arc into both the top and side of the guitar, and filling it in. It doesn't cut into the air volume of the box as much, which should mitigate the effects on the tone, and allows for better access to the higher fret positions. IMO the simplest type of bevel cut, which is pointed on the outer end, looks somewhat incomplete, and I've devised a way to fair it into the binding with a recurved section. It's a lot more work than a normal cutaway, but looks good and works well.

bodhisattva
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Re: Recommendation for beginner looking for first classical guitar: Cutaway, no cutaway, does it matter?

Post by bodhisattva » Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:52 am

The famous guitarist Laurindo Almeida used this type of cutaway classical guitar.
Image

metrognome
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Re: Recommendation for beginner looking for first classical guitar: Cutaway, no cutaway, does it matter?

Post by metrognome » Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:00 pm

I am also late to the classical guitar, after many years of steel string electric and acoustic varieties. I got an inexpensive standard classical body with neck meeting body at the 12th fret. The slightly smaller overall size of the instrument makes it a fine instrument when on the road in my RV, and the the wider string spacing makes it the best instrument I can imagine for developing right hand finger picking technique. The strings just feel great under my right hand fingers. The difference in the neck width starts out being a challenge, but the left hand develops relatively quickly for the most part. However the classical neck will never be ideal for any chords where you might use the thumb to fret the 6th string.
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Peter Frary
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Re: Recommendation for beginner looking for first classical guitar: Cutaway, no cutaway, does it matter?

Post by Peter Frary » Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:55 pm

You get used to what you play and adapt. Most of us are not performing acoustically in a concert hall so the tiny bit of possible volume loss a cutaway might have is a minor consideration. I mainly do close mic recording and prefer tracking with a softer voiced instruments strung with light strings. I seem to be able to draw out a sweeter timbre, easier vibrato and more sustain than my louder more punchy concert guitars. I own so many types of classical guitars—standard, cutaway, 14th fret at the body, etc.—the thing about the 12th fret being a reference point long ago became a moot point for me. I do play a lot above the 12th fret and that cutaway sure makes it easier. It even makes bars on the 10th fret much easier since the side of your palm isn't jammed against the body.
I play a Tiny Tenor 6 so I look taller on stage!

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