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View Full Version : Cutaway Ukes - Your Thoughts - FOR or AGAINST



brUKEman
01-05-2010, 02:33 PM
I am going to purchase a new tenor uke. I am leaning towards the cutaway mainly because I like the looks of them. I was told the sound is similar with or without the cutaway. I know that it will be easier to reach the notes way up the neck, but I probably will never use those notes anyway. Are they as comfortable to play as a full tenor (Hand Position wise). I know they are not considered traditional. I would appreciate any thoughts from people who have owned them...

agent61
01-05-2010, 02:48 PM
I own a G-String Tenor uke myself (shown below). Personally, I love the look of it, reminds me of an acoustic guitar (i started out playing guitar first).
Truth is at the time I was all bugged out on James Hill and wanted something similar hehe.

Now, do I regret going for a cutaway even though I don't actually use it? No not at all. I think it looks pretty sharp!
Having said that, if I was to do it all over again would I get it? Probably not. Looks cool but I don't make use of it and I've learned to appreciate a classic uke-shaped body.

My next uke (when ever that is) won't have a cutaway.

mailman
01-05-2010, 03:13 PM
Jake Shimabukuro doesn't seem to need one, so who would I be kidding....

bt93
01-05-2010, 03:53 PM
i like them for baritones only

dianalele
01-05-2010, 04:07 PM
I have a tenor uke with a cut-away. At first I thought I was against cut-aways, but I went for it anyways because I got it at such a great price.

Now I'm glad I have a cut-away cuz I actually do use it. And it's kind of silly to set the value of a ukulele or a uke player based on if it has a cut-away or not.

ke leo
01-05-2010, 04:24 PM
I REALLY think it's a matter of what looks good to you. I bought one because they look cool and mine sounds great, but I don't play it so I'm selling it... Pono PKTC (all Koa) w/ Ko'olau Case for $495 + shipping! PM me if your're interested.

850985108511

ukulelearp
01-05-2010, 04:29 PM
I rarely use the frets up there but wish I had a cutaway when I do. I'm not a fan of the looks, but could work with it for the easier use of the higher frets.

MisoHappy
01-05-2010, 04:34 PM
My thoughts? definitely FOR

Sure, you might not use than often, but eventually, you may need those frets. With the cutaway, it's all the more easier. I haven't noticed any difference in sound between my cutaway, and non-cutaway tenors.

Plus, I think it looks sweet. This is basically a matter of what you think looks good. :)

Bluke
01-05-2010, 06:38 PM
The whole idea of a cutaway on a uke is recent, and just a bit of copying a guitar. It is just fashion, and only convenient if you are a monster lead player and always using those very high frets. For most of us it simply is not necessary on a uke, detracts from the looks and slightly diminishes the tone by removing a bit of what is already a tiny soundbox. For a Les Paul or a strat or telecaster, fine. Maybe it might help some really advanced, all over the neck players like James Hill, but for everyone here it is no advantage. Look at the history of ukuleles and see how modern this is. It's all about marketing. As a serious player, I own long neck concerts and tenors, to give me the access if I need it without losing tone.

Brad Bordessa
01-05-2010, 07:28 PM
When I was shopping for my current 'ukulele I wanted a cutaway. What I learned is that they are hard to come by. No matter what level instrument you are looking for you won't have many options. I can think of two models you can buy off the top of my head: a Kala in the $400 range and James' signature for however many thousands that goes for. As for others, David Kamakahi has the only Koaloha with a cutaway I know of. For how much most people play up there (you will have to asses if you think you will use it - or if you even like any of the few models available), I think it would probably be worth it for you to just go without and have many more options to fit your budget.

thejumpingflea
01-05-2010, 07:38 PM
Maybe it might help some really advanced, all over the neck players like James Hill, but for everyone here it is no advantage.

Actually James doesn't use a cut away for extra finger room for his left hand, but rather he uses it for his *right hand*. If you watch James Hill, he will often uses a strum he refers to as the "sugar packet roll" in which he flicks up his pointer, middle and ring fingers on the strings. The cut away acts as a ramp for this making his technique much easier to perform. When he solo performs he uses this complex pattern to both trill and strum at the same time and the cut away style makes it a bit easier to do.

RevWill
01-05-2010, 07:40 PM
Cutaway? Who needs a cutaway?

http://www.dukeofuke.co.uk/images/fluke_concert_mango.jpg

koalohapaul
01-05-2010, 08:09 PM
They are a bit more difficult to make, so I usually persuade people out of the idea, unless they really make good use of the higher frets. I don't like the tone on a concert sized body, but tenors don't seem to suffer as much.

itsme
01-05-2010, 08:14 PM
Personally, I just don't like the look of cutaways.

Providence
01-05-2010, 08:36 PM
I like the concept but I don't really like to see it on a ukulele.

Ahnko Honu
01-05-2010, 09:55 PM
I've never owned a cutaway because I never liked their looks,but I'm a raised in the islands old fut living in the past mired by tradition. I have a hard enough time liking the wahine shaped 'ukulele preferring the Hawaiian original pineapple shape. Everything else looks odd to me. 8-)

WS64
01-05-2010, 10:56 PM
Maybe it might help some really advanced, all over the neck players like James Hill, but for everyone here it is no advantage.

Speak for yourself.
I unfortunately have just one ukulele with a cutaway, but once you cross the 12d fret it is WAY easier to play there.
No opinion on my side if a cutaway looks good or not, but if you do just a bit more than simply accompany singing a cutaway is not a "must have" but a really "nice to have".

The other extreme is my cigar box, despite having 15 frets there are some songs I simply can't play on it because my left hand does not find the space to go there.
An alternative is for example the Kala Giraffe (tenor neck on a soprano body, a very very very good combination!).

My opinion, if you never go higher than let's say the 10th fret forget about cutaways (unless you like the look). If you do consider them as an option.

Lanark
01-06-2010, 12:12 AM
Not personally a fan of the aesthetics and don't have a problem reaching the upper frets for the points I currently use them (beyond hitting the right notes which is not the fault of the instrument.)

nohandles
01-06-2010, 12:39 AM
I think cut aways are pretty cool looking but I don't own one but only because I've never found one that struck my fancy to buy. For Ukulele I don't see a need to have it other than you just like the look. Even with Baritone I have no problem reaching the end of the fret board. Doug

scottie
01-06-2010, 01:24 AM
I like the traditional look better and I can play around 12 - 15 with little additional difficulty if need be. My Collings tenor has 13 frets clear, my Lanikai has 14.

spazus_maximus
01-06-2010, 01:46 AM
I cant see any reason to not have a cutaway tenor.....can only help imho. I only have one tune I play where my left hand has to angle in towards the body to reach & I always wonder if it would be easier with a cutaway. My next purchase will probably be a cutaway.

pulelehua
01-06-2010, 04:00 AM
Fuddydud.

No cutaways. Don't really like them on acoustic guitar either.

I also like symmetry.

Of course, I own a Les Paul.

Doh.

Still, a cutaway ukulele... no. Fuddydud. Luddite. Stick in the proverbial mud.

deach
01-06-2010, 05:07 AM
I love my cutaways.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4689

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4690

devilishlypure
01-06-2010, 05:12 AM
Oh, I love them! My lacewood tenor has a cutaway (and so does my acoustic guitar, for that matter). I think it looks cool, even if I rarely go that high up the neck. I'm all about the asymmetry.

bbycrts
01-06-2010, 05:18 AM
I really think it's mostly a matter of style. If you like it, none of our opinions should matter to you!

Lori
01-06-2010, 05:35 AM
Choosing a ukulele is fun. For me, half the fun is in how it looks, and half is in how it sounds and how it plays. If you can find something that you find exciting in both categories, then that is one of your "dream ukes". I don't think the cutaway will make a big difference in the sound, especially on the larger sized instruments. There are so many other elements that effect the quality of the sound. If you watch Ken Middleton's YouTube video on string comparison, you will see he used one set of strings on a cutaway, and one set on a non-cutaway. He must have felt that was a fair level playing ground to compare two different brands of strings (Aquila and Worth).
–Lori

Barry
01-06-2010, 05:56 AM
I'm buying a second hand tenor uke with a cutaway soon, but I really doubt I'll ever use it! I see it as a "safe than sorry" situation - One day it just might come in handy!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-06-2010, 06:02 AM
Actually James doesn't use a cut away for extra finger room for his left hand, but rather he uses it for his *right hand*. If you watch James Hill, he will often uses a strum he refers to as the "sugar packet roll" in which he flicks up his pointer, middle and ring fingers on the strings. The cut away acts as a ramp for this making his technique much easier to perform. When he solo performs he uses this complex pattern to both trill and strum at the same time and the cut away style makes it a bit easier to do.

Exactly. I've talked with James about this very thing. It's why the uke that DaSilva built for him last year has a bevel in it instead of a cutaway. Pretty cool design.

Hogger
01-06-2010, 06:07 AM
I have a Lanikai cutaway tenor, and I love it.
If you can, get to a shop and play different ukes and find what YOU like best.
I played probably 15 different ukes(and learned some great things from the shop owner) before I found the one I liked, and in the middle of playing them, I always came back to my cutaway Lanikai. It just had a sound that I liked over some of the others, plus I was trying to stay within budget. And I really like the looks of a cutaway.

ichadwick
01-06-2010, 10:57 AM
Personally, I like cutaway designs because I like the style, but they have relatively little affect on play. You won't play a lot so far up the neck that a cutaway would make a difference. They may somewhat reduce the volume and tonal richness of a uke because they reduce the body volume and top board area. That would be more of a deciding factor if the uke was a top-end uke for performance or recording, but for learning, for playing around the house or with friends, it won't really have an impact. And any electronics/amplification can cancel out and deficit.

Thumper
01-06-2010, 10:59 AM
I think they look cool, but I rarely venture past the 7th fret, so I have no need for one.

FromTheWayside
01-06-2010, 01:33 PM
For me, it is a matter of aesthetics. I prefer the look of a cut-away (though I can't put my finger on why precisely I like them more), so it makes sense that my next uke will have a cut-away. Is the cut-away traditional? No. Is it the most useful feature of a uke? It depends on your play style. Does it take away from the sound of the instrument? I honestly don't know. From a technical stand-point, there is less of a soundboard, and therefore, less reverberations and potentially less sound (or at least less "rich" sound). Whether or not this difference is perceivable to the human ear is a different (and in my opinion, more important) question. As for the answer...I dunno. Maybe someone with both kind of ukes could enlighten us?

thejumpingflea
01-06-2010, 03:47 PM
Exactly. I've talked with James about this very thing. It's why the uke that DaSilva built for him last year has a bevel in it instead of a cutaway. Pretty cool design.

Yep. It sure is. Have you seen James perform his sugar packet roll? It is pretty mind numbing when he does it and it is really easy to see why that cut away is a must for him.

lernon
01-06-2010, 08:04 PM
Exactly. I've talked with James about this very thing. It's why the uke that DaSilva built for him last year has a bevel in it instead of a cutaway. Pretty cool design.

Yeah, it's very creative, here's a link (http://www.ukemaker.com/images/UkeGallery/205-JHTenor-1024.jpg)

It still has a round shape so it keeps all of it's tone but it still has access to all frets o.0!
Good thinking James!

mailman
01-07-2010, 04:20 AM
Yeah, it's very creative, here's a link (http://www.ukemaker.com/images/UkeGallery/205-JHTenor-1024.jpg)

It still has a round shape so it keeps all of it's tone but it still has access to all frets o.0!
Good thinking James!

Now that's cool!