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Thread: Advantage and disadvantage of the Cutaway on Tenor guitar ?

  1. #1
    Registered User Irénée's Avatar
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    Default Advantage and disadvantage of the Cutaway on Tenor guitar ?

    Hello All !

    Today interested by a good Tenor guitar, I have question...

    => The cutaway could decrease and limit the projection and loud sound ? Yes or No ?...
    Is-it an advantage and a disadvantage ? :

    1- Because the cutaway gives the possibility to better access on the higher frets... But may be the reduced sizes and volume of the body could reduce the sound qualities ???

    2- Because - without cutaway - the bigger body could provide a better sound ???

    Thank you by advance

  2. #2
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advantage and disadvantage of the Cutaway on Tenor guitar ?

    Cutaways are, in theory, for people who use the really high frets, but I will bet only a small percentage of people with cutaway acoustic guitars actually do that. So it's more a cosmetic thing for most people. I would not worry about it affecting the sound. There are so many more factors that affect sound. Even if there is some minor effect, a great guitar with a cutaway is going to sound better than a middling guitar without one. Finally, I would not worry too much about a "bigger sound" on a tenor. Big bodies tend to highlight the low end on six and 12 string guitars. Tenors tend to have smaller bodies because that's fine for the higher end, tenor sound. Bottom line, if you think you might like the guitar, try it. If you like it, keep it. That is all there to it. Just MHO.

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  4. #3
    Registered User Irénée's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advantage and disadvantage of the Cutaway on Tenor guitar ?

    Thank you for answer John !
    ... So, is-it better to tune Tenor guitar in GDAe than CGDa in order to have a louder sound with more projection ?
    ... Or only increase the gauges regardless of the tuning (GDAe or CGDa) ?
    Regards,

  5. #4

    Default Re: Advantage and disadvantage of the Cutaway on Tenor guitar ?

    First off, regarding the cutaway, I've never noticed any difference in volume.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flynn View Post
    Big bodies tend to highlight the low end on six and 12 string guitars. Tenors tend to have smaller bodies because that's fine for the higher end, tenor sound. Bottom line, if you think you might like the guitar, try it. If you like it, keep it. That is all there to it. Just MHO.
    Quote Originally Posted by Irénée View Post
    So, is-it better to tune Tenor guitar in GDAe than CGDa in order to have a louder sound with more projection? Or only increase the gauges regardless of the tuning (GDAe or CGDa)?
    John is right that you should try the instrument.

    Regarding the body size, a CGDA-tuned tenor only gets down in pitch to the C3 at the third fret of the A2 string of a six-string guitar. GDAE tuning is a fourth below that, down to the G2 at the third fret of the E2 string of a six-string guitar.

    The loudness and projection aren't centered on the tuning, but you do need a larger body which can move the air for lower frequencies. A larger bodied tenor will support that lower GDAE tuning, while a smaller one will likely be enough for the CGDA tuning. As an related example, my Flatiron mandola is plenty loud in CGDA tuning without a large body.

    Increasing the gauges, assuming the body is built for more tension, can add some volume, but the increased tension can load the top and prevent it from moving freely, thereby and ironically cutting the volume. I wouldn't go with just increasing tension in pursuit of volume, because that can also damage an instrument not built for much higher tensions.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Advantage and disadvantage of the Cutaway on Tenor guitar ?

    The only downside to a cutaway that I've found is they usually have an internal mic that adds to the weight. It really is just preference/style. I just picked up a Kala tenor that I enjoy but I do miss the upper fret access.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Advantage and disadvantage of the Cutaway on Tenor guitar ?

    I have a cutaway on my tenor, I used to have one of a similar model w/ out a cutaway and having one made some techniques a lot easier to play. It all depends on whether or not you plan to use that part of the fretboard, but i've found even 3 frets or so before the cutaway are made slightly easier to play on top of the extra frets it opens up.

    There are nice techniques while playing that you can utilize when approaching those notes, particularly ascending patterns that you would normally have to stop short of if you didn't have the extra fretting, that is of course unless you have practiced enough or have the finger length to get there without a cutaway. It can also allow you to reach a higher tonic note, higher pitched chords, and resolve solos at higher notes among other things.

    It may just come down to a matter of preference in the end, I don't think having a cutaway really changes the sound. In the end I think it just offers slightly more versatility.

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