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pix.fairydust
09-26-2017, 03:55 AM
People who have a cutaway, does it make a big difference to playing (in particular higher up the neck). I have yet to play a song that goes higher than the 13th fret and I've played that on my "normal" concert and tenor. Does it really make a difference or it is a mainly aesthetic thing?

Thanks

Croaky Keith
09-26-2017, 04:00 AM
Yes! - That's the simple answer. :)

If it is a choice, it is worth having, especially if you play melody/notes, as is having a low G string.

The Ukulele is basically a 2 octave instrument, having a low G & access to those higher frets can make a significant difference.

kohanmike
09-26-2017, 06:26 AM
All of my 7 ukes are tenor cutaway. First I love that look, but I also like the fact that those frets are easily accessible, even though I rarely go there. Some people question if the sound output is affected, but not from my experience, my cutaways have good projection (except one). Additional thoughts; since there's no body there, there's also no strumming wear and tear or unwanted clacking sounds when inadvertently hitting the body.

Brad Bordessa
09-26-2017, 07:20 AM
Yes. But you should very realistically assess whether you'll use it. If you have to ask and have never played past the 13th, my semi-professional opinion if you were a student of mine would be: no, it won't make a difference FOR YOU.

The options were way less when I was buying, but at a certain point I really wanted a cutaway. There was like one uke on the whole island that was in my budget and with a cutaway. I ended up buying a Kamaka because I realized it wasn't worth the sacrifice. You won't find a whole lot of mid-range Hawaiian K brand ukes with a cutaway. It's either a custom feature or a "bling/value" feature for cheaper ukes. Pono makes some nice stuff with a cutaway, but from there to $2000 the pickings are slim from what I've seen.

Rakelele
09-26-2017, 08:02 AM
To be honest, I don't really need a cutaway on a tenor, even though I like the looks, but I can reach all the notes that still ring on a regular uke. Just my opinion, suiting my own playing style.

Jim Yates
09-26-2017, 08:24 AM
I don't like the look of a cutaway uke or acoustic guitar and, luckily, I seldom use the 14+ frets on either. What looks really silly to me is a guitarist who plays a whole show using open position chords on a cutaway guitar.
I'm sure that, although it's probably minimal, the cutaway must affect the tone/volume negatively.
If I played more slide than I do, I would probably appreciate a cutaway guitar.

pix.fairydust
09-26-2017, 09:36 AM
Hmm, I've seen and played some ukes that I loved but had it in my head that I wanted a cutaway, especially for playing up the neck "in case". Sounds like for me, it's not a deal breaker, and if I love the look and sound but it doesn't have a cutaway, for me that's what I should get! Thanks everyone, you helped!

Sven-Uke
09-26-2017, 10:32 AM
My aNuenue Papa is a cutaway model and I like it a lot for playing higher up the neck.
I notice how much I like it whenever I try to play the same tune on another uke and have to twist my wrist to get the same note.

Osprey
09-26-2017, 11:15 AM
My thoughts on cutaways have evolved over my 4 yr ukulele experience. I still think they look pretty cool, but I realize that as a practical matter they have no real value for me and the way I play. I can reach all the frets on the rare occasion I would want to go that high. I have bought two cutaway ukuleles and still own one. I do like the way it looks and I would not hesitate to buy another, however it would not be high on the list of features I would evaluate when purchasing my next ukulele.

70sSanO
09-26-2017, 11:54 AM
Having long skinny fingers will really help getting to the upper frets. I don't and have both styles and often play to the 15th fret. Well known Guitar Gently Weeps goes to the 15th but it is an open/semi-open shape so you can play it without a cut-away, especially since only the A string is played that high; but it is easier with a cut-away. The issue comes into play if you want to barre (closed chord) at the 12th, something that may be tempting with low G, and play any shape other than a C chord shape.

I personally feel that a cutaway does reduce the soundboard area in a negative way; even though it is at the far edge of the upper bout. It is probably more psychological for me than reality, but if you don't need it, I'd pass on it.

John

southcoastukes
09-26-2017, 03:09 PM
Everyone who replied gave you good advice, pix. I'll try to add something on the "does a cutaway take anything from the sound" issue.

If you see a design that is offered in both a traditional figure 8 and a cutaway, but the dimensions, construction and materials are the same except for the cutaway, then one of the two could often be better (unless both are somewhat compromised). Usually it's the cutaway that's "slighted".

On the other hand, if the instrument was designed as a cutaway only, then everything should be optimized for that soundboard and body volume.

Nickie
09-26-2017, 04:24 PM
One of my ukes is a cutaway, and I love it. The other one isn't, and it aggravates me when I need to reach 12-15.

Tootler
09-27-2017, 10:54 PM
I don't go up the neck except for occasional little bits of melody so a cutaway is unnecessary for me. I can see its value if you are playing a lot up there but I don't much like the sound of a uke played high up the neck. Too plinky for me.

spookelele
09-28-2017, 04:00 AM
yes, it's easier to reach high on a cut away.
If it wasn't, they wouldn't cut away.

Does it affect the sound? I don't really think so. It might sound different, but it doesn't sound bad.

Do you need it... is the question.

I've been leaning away from my cutaway, and now I cheat the higher stuff by playing the harmonic instead of fretting high.

stevepetergal
09-29-2017, 03:59 AM
Playing high up the neck requires so much practice that you can learn it just as well with or without the cutaway.
I only wonder if you learn to pay up there only with a cutaway, will you be able to play as well without?

spookelele
09-29-2017, 04:19 AM
Playing high up the neck requires so much practice that you can learn it just as well with or without the cutaway.
I only wonder if you learn to pay up there only with a cutaway, will you be able to play as well without?

I dont understand.
The only reason playing high on the neck is different from playing in the middle of the neck, is because the body starts to block the fingering.
If your playing like a sliding c shape, and only really one finger is over on a standard body that's not too bad.
But if you're doing something harder, a standard body takes alot of... compensation/contortion to get the reach over, where a cut away gives you the room to maneuver it normally.

it just makes it easier.

if your question is can you still do it on a standard body.. yes, but it's harder.
But.. if you're on cut aways... you don't have to.

spookelele
09-29-2017, 04:21 AM
heres a follow up line of thought then.

If you play 14th fret join tenors, does that mean you can't play 12th fret join soprano?

Effectively, a 14th fret join is a 12th fret join that is cutaway on both sides.

Croaky Keith
09-29-2017, 04:42 AM
Basically, the cutaway is a convenience, I agree - that is why I say if it is an option, it is worth considering. ;)

stevepetergal
10-06-2017, 02:47 AM
I dont understand.
The only reason playing high on the neck is different from playing in the middle of the neck, is because the body starts to block the fingering.

if your question is can you still do it on a standard body.. yes, but it's harder.
But.. if you're on cut aways... you don't have to.

Let's agree to agree and disagree. I find fretting near the body more difficult than near the neck whether I play with or without a cutaway. Yes, a cutaway makes playing beyond the neck joint a bit easier for the reason you state. But, the frets are very close together up there and the strings are farther from them. Hence my belief that you need to practice quite a bit to get proficient playing the upper reaches either way.

Jarmo_S
10-06-2017, 06:33 AM
I sort of agree with Steve above.
My concert ukulele's body start at 14th, so unlike say classical guitar 2 more frets already! Plus i can easy reach all 18 frets on say top 2 strings.
Someone plays chords up there, really?

I am almost thinking this cut away thing comes from electric guitars?
Cutaway ukes are not cool looking and maybe are also restricting in some top slamming effects, imo of course ;)