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  #1  
Old 09-22-2019, 10:57 PM
Cool555 Cool555 is offline
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Default When were acoustic guitars with cut-away made?

I own a Yamaha Red Label (MIJ) guitar that has a 1966 design on its truss rod cover. In that thread someone posted that he wished they made these guitars with a cut-away. I though that since the first batch of Red Labels were made in 1966, the cut-away probably wasnít invented (made) yet. Hence, this question came about.

Do you prefer guitars without a cut-away or with one?

I donít need a cut-away so I tend to prefer a guitar without one. But I donít mind guitars with a cut-away too.
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Old 09-22-2019, 11:33 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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The Selmer Maccaferri guitars played by the gypsy jazz great Django Reinhart had cutaways, and those were put into production sometime in the early 1930ís. Both Gibson and Epiphone had archtop guitars with cutaways by at least the mid-1930ís, and many of those were purely acoustic models without any pickups on them.

So far as acoustic flattop guitars, the first production model with a cutaway that Iím aware of was the Gibson CF-100, which was a smallbody guitar that was available either with or without a magnetic pickup imbedded in the fingerboard just above the soundhole. Those came out in the early 1950ís, around 1950 or 51.

They were ahead of their time, and didnít do well in the marketplace. I think Gibson only offered them for two or three years before taking them out of production.

I can understand why you think acoustic guitar cutaways didnít get invented until much later, since they really didnít make a dent in the popular culture until decades had past. I can remember quite clearly the first time I ever saw someone playing an acoustic guitar that had one, in 1971 or 72.

It was owned and played by a guy named Ken Bloom, who was an incredible multi-instrumentalist and played gigs throughout the Chicago area, where I went to high school. Not only did the guitar have a cutaway, but it was a CUSTOM guitar, too!! Unheard of at the time!

But putting a cutaway on an acoustic guitar had been done decades before, it just hadnít caught on with the general guitar-playing public yet.

Short version: the mid-1960ís is too early to find a cutaway on most factory-made acoustic guitars, but acoustic guitar cutaways themselves had been invented long before that.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller

PS: I just went back and reread your post, and you were mainly asking whether folks prefer having a cutaway on their acoustic guitars. In my case, itís a one word answer: nope.

The truth is that I, personally, donít care much for the tone that acoustic guitars are capable of generating higher than the octave fret: to my ears it sounds kind of diminished and suffocated compared to the rich tone you can get in the first twelve frets. But thatís when itís me who happens to be playing - Iíve heard other, better players make it work far better than I can.
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Old 09-22-2019, 11:50 PM
Cool555 Cool555 is offline
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Wow! Thanks Wade for the very comprehensive history of cut-aways on guitars. I enjoyed reading it!
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:09 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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I wouldnít call it ďcomprehensiveĒ - the description I would use is more like ďonce over lightly.Ē But Iím happy to provide some background.


whm
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Old 09-23-2019, 01:37 AM
AZLiberty AZLiberty is offline
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I'm surprised Wade didn't mention Bruce Cockburn's custom 1975 Larrivee with Florentine cutaway.

David Wren has a nice pic of Jean in 75 or 76 with an early one. (inlays match Cockburn's)
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Old 09-23-2019, 02:47 AM
ChrisE ChrisE is offline
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I like the cutaway on my Taylor 314ce. I never play those frets, but I like the looks of it.

OTOH I do not like the looks of a cutaway on a Martin; it just looks weird to me.

In summaryócutaway on a Taylor: yes. Cutaway on a Martin: no.

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Old 09-23-2019, 03:25 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Being a total guitar history geek, I am also indebted to Wade for his overview.

Certainly the notion of a cutaway would probably been considered for archtops and the Maccaferi so that rhythm guitarists could form frets higher up.

I doubt that anyone thought there was a necessity for a cutaway on a flat-top until electric guitarists wanted to play flat tops like a telecaster.

Personally I think that a cutaway on a flat top is a very efficient way of ensuring that it will never be desired by me.
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Old 09-23-2019, 03:53 AM
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Michael Watts Michael Watts is offline
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I just wanted to add a cut-away lover's point of view, I haven't owned a guitar without one since the 1990's and for me they have been as practical as they are beautiful.

On a modern guitar...

I do struggle with the idea of a cutaway on a vintage style instrument other than schoenberg's soloist model.
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Old 09-23-2019, 05:53 AM
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I did get cutaway guitars last year while beginning fingerstyle lessons : You need to get beyond twelfth fret to work some scales. But ultimately, I do not think I will keep them when my journey ends.
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Old 09-23-2019, 05:54 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Guitars first had cutaways in the very early 1900's.

Here's a Gibson Style O from 1919:

https://www.creamcitymusic.com/vinta...nburst-finish/

HE
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Old 09-23-2019, 06:06 AM
Dickey Clapton Dickey Clapton is offline
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I prefer/love the look, feel and accessibility of a cut away acoustic. I don t want to be limited to only playing 12-14 frets depending on scale.
To each his/her own! Non cut away just looks dull
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Old 09-23-2019, 07:40 AM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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I have two with a cutaway and two without. I usually do not play high enough up the neck for it to matter on a daily basis but I really appreciate having a cutaway on my 12 fretter.

Best,
Jayne
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:00 AM
zombywoof zombywoof is online now
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Yeah, Gibson came out with the CF-100 in 1950 and with a model with a P90 pickup the following year. The model crashed and burned commercially causing them to cut production at mid-decade and finally pull the plug on the whole project in 1959. I owned a CF-100E for number of years. Just a drop dead gorgeous instrument.



Only cutaway flattop I currently own is a late-1950s Kay K24.

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Last edited by zombywoof; 09-23-2019 at 08:12 AM.
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:00 AM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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I have 2 with and 2 without cutaways. I love them all. If I was only allowed to have just 1 guitar it would have to have a cutaway for upper fret access. There was a time (like 10-20 years ago) where I thought cutaways looked weird. Now I've done a complete 180. I actually prefer the look of a cutaway on MOST guitars, but not all. Typically on auditorium body shapes they tend to look sleek (for me) but not so much on all dreads.
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:06 AM
zombywoof zombywoof is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
The Selmer Maccaferri guitars played by the gypsy jazz great Django Reinhart had cutaways, and those were put into production sometime in the early 1930ís.

So far as acoustic flattop guitars, the first production model with a cutaway that Iím aware of was the Gibson CF-100, which was a smallbody guitar that was available either with or without a magnetic pickup imbedded in the fingerboard just above the soundhole. Those came out in the early 1950ís, around 1950 or 51.
Catalogs offering cutaway Maccaferri instruments appear in the mid-1920s. I think the first ones were harp guitars but standard six strings appear at the end of the decade.
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