ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is a Cutaway Guitar?

Updated on June 15, 2010

Cutaway Guitar

Close up of the "cutaway" feature on a guitar
Close up of the "cutaway" feature on a guitar

Overview

Guitars come in many shapes and sizes. To most people, there is very little to set one design apart from another, unless there is a dramatic color or shape difference. However, subtle features can make a huge impact on the function of a guitar.

Take the cutaway guitar for example. You'll notice in the picture that the body of the guitar has literally been "cut" away from the neck. This exposes the fretboard and makes it much easier to reach the higher notes and solo like a mofo.

Different Cutaway Styles

Venetian Style Cutaway Guitar
Venetian Style Cutaway Guitar
Florentine Style Cutaway Guitar
Florentine Style Cutaway Guitar

Venetian vs. Florentine

Cutaway guitars are useful for reaching the higher frets, but the style has no real bearing on the instrument's function. Venetian and Florentine cutaways are equally helpful and the best one is simply a matter of personal taste.

You will generally see two types of cutaways on guitars: Venetian and Florentine .

The picture on the top features a Venetian cutaway. As you can see, it has a rounded bout, or edge. On the bottom, you will see the image of a Florentine cutaway, which comes to a sharp point. There is a third type of cutaway style which features a block or squared bout, but this is rarely used.

The origin of these two popular forms of cutaway guitars, or at least their names, can be traced back to the Gibson guitar company.  Because Orville Gibson appears to have been strongly influenced by 19th century Italian design, it is speculated that "Venetian" and "Florentine" are actually tribute terms and were intended to bring additional style and history to the features themselves.

Of course, Gibson wasn't the first guitar company to produce cutaway style guitars.  Pointed cutaways, or Florentines, can be traced to French guitarist Georges Warnecke - a 19th century guitar maker.  However, because Gibson has been such a dominant force in the guitar world, they are credited with popularizing the styles and creating the terminology which is now used as an industry standard.

Double Cutaway Guitar

Cutaway on both sides of the guitar
Cutaway on both sides of the guitar

Double the Fun

So far, we have explored the different styles of single cutaway guitars .  However, there is also such a thing as a double cutaway guitar .

As you can see in the picture, a double cutaway features two cuts on either side of the fretboard.  This is actually useful, because it allows the thumb easy access to higher frets.  Chances are good that you will only find double cutaways on electric guitars, since acoustic guitars rely on body size to produce sound and an additional cut could create more damage than good.

Pros and Cons of the Cutaway Guitar

There has been a lot of debate over the years as to the effects of the cutaway on the acoustic quality of a guitar.  This is an important discussion because acoustic guitars depend on the chamber size and shape to generate the volume, tone and sustain of the sound - and cutaways alter both of those features significantly.

The disagreement seems to stem largely from personal experience.  General consensus seems to agree that the cutaway has very little noticeable impact on the sound quality, but many individual musicians disagree.  In such cases, it matters very little who is right - more important is who is happy with the instrument they are playing.

In order to avoid running into a potential problem in sound or tonal quality, you should always find a way to hear the guitar being played.  This goes for all types and styles of guitars, not just cutaways.  If you are shopping online, make sure to watch a video review so you can preview the tone, volume and sustain of the guitar you are considering.

Ultimately, it is probably better to focus on more important features.  Whether or not the cutaway style plays an impact on sound, there is no doubt that other things, such as body size and type or the acoustic-electric capabilities, have a much greater role in how your guitar sounds and plays.

Video of a Cutaway Guitar

What About You?

What Type of Cutaway Do you Use?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)