Cutaway
Design Instruments Artists Articles

The design of my double-cutaway instruments came from my own needs as a musician. I've been a professional guitarist for 30 years, and maintaining and modifying various guitars I've owned led me into Lutherie. I'd always wished for an electric guitar with clear access to all frets, so all my electric designs featured extra-deep cutaways. When I set out to design an acoustic guitar, I decided to find out if it was possible to make one with full access to all frets.

As it turns out, traditional non-cutaway guitar designs use heavy bracing around the soundhole to support the fretboard and to resist the constant pull of string tension. This makes the area of the top above the waist (the "upper bout") acoustically dead. My double-cutaway design maintains the structural integrity of the upper bout while allowing full access to the last fret. The area below the waist (the "lower bout") is unaffected, and is constructed according to traditional design. (For more information on the structural design of my double-cutaway, click here). Simply put, my guitars are acoustically the equal of the finest non-cutaway instruments.

An added benefit of the double-cutaway is the consistency of tone in all registers. Since all of the frets are on the neck, rather than the highest being over the body, the high registers have a ringing, harp-like sustain which blends perfectly with the lower range of the instrument.

Aesthetics are very important to me as an instrument designer. I spend a lot of time on the lines of an instrument - the curve of the waist, the sweep of the cutaways, the lines of the bridge. My spiral rosette ties it all together, balancing the asymmetry of the cutaways. I inlay it with spalted maple to add a wild, almost random accent to my carefully crafted lines. These shapes add up to designs which just look right to me, and are extremely functional as well.


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