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Sambient
11-05-2010, 02:47 AM
Anyone not like them?
I'm realizing I'm not sure.
Maybe I don't use my hands properly, but I think I like there being some body on the other end of my down stroke instead of a void.
I don't anticipate ever being a proficient enough player that I'm going to be making much use of those notes way up on the neck that the cutaway gives me access to.

(Apologies to any language purists, didn't know how to not end that last sentence with a preposition)

strumsilly
11-05-2010, 02:56 AM
I've got a Kala cedar top tenor cutaway, and while I really don't play up on the neck, the volume is amazing, my loudest uke, great for playing in mixed groups with guitars; and it looks really cool.

Hippie Dribble
11-05-2010, 03:08 AM
Realise that many like them but I don't at all. I think they're ugly and that the design is harsh and angular...don't like 'em on guitars either...to me it's just not how a traditional ukulele should be designed. That said , I have a pretty conservative world view of life generally, I value tradition and history...I'm not a fan of using pick ups and pedals with ukes either...much prefer the raw sound of playing through a stage mic...just my :2cents:

Lexxy
11-05-2010, 03:15 AM
Well..There ARE different types of cutaways..Some sharp, some round-ish, some that don't curve upwards..
http://www.musicroom.com/Images/Catalogue/fullsize/STE2026EBK.jpg The round-ish curves.
http://www.ukulelejames.com/images/signature_uke/James_Hill_SS0.jpg The no curves..
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_mU7Qg03v9wA/SzHDdbFd0YI/AAAAAAAACE4/GsqF11PniWI/s400/IMG_1059.JPG The sharp curves...

kissing
11-05-2010, 03:17 AM
I can't live without cutaways. I really like using that high range :)

Mandarb
11-05-2010, 03:26 AM
I am not a fan of cutaways. I like the symmetry of a standard uke shape. My thoughts might change if I ever learn to play that high up the neck though ;).

happyslappysoong
11-05-2010, 03:35 AM
For me its not so much a matter of aesethetics but rather more possibility for expression with the higher register.

Hippie Dribble
11-05-2010, 03:46 AM
Well..There ARE different types of cutaways..Some sharp, some round-ish, some that don't curve upwards..
http://www.musicroom.com/Images/Catalogue/fullsize/STE2026EBK.jpg The round-ish curves.
http://www.ukulelejames.com/images/signature_uke/James_Hill_SS0.jpg The no curves..
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_mU7Qg03v9wA/SzHDdbFd0YI/AAAAAAAACE4/GsqF11PniWI/s400/IMG_1059.JPG The sharp curves...

sorry I'm being a wet blanket and probably in the minority...but I don't like any of those Lexxy...never seen one on a ukulele that I like...ever...as for playing higher up the neck, fair points you guys make, but 12-14 frets is enough for me...anything past there doesn't sound nice to my ears anyway...it all goes a bit tuneless and just sounds like squealing

mm stan
11-05-2010, 03:56 AM
I believe it's a trade off.....more body cavity for better sound or higher frets with a sharper tone...probally I take the first...by a long shot...
saying that, I do have a cutaway....too... he he

GX9901
11-05-2010, 05:20 AM
I like cutaways. Some stuff I play are past the 12th fret and I usually put a bunch of strum marks on the upper bout, so having a cutaway means easier access to higher frets and less scratches for my ukulele. I also like the looks of most cutaways. Having said that, I only have a couple of ukes with it because it really doesn't matter to me either way. Having a cutaway almost always means more money, so since it's not a must have feature for me, I usually pass on it.

molokinirum
11-05-2010, 06:17 AM
I am not a fan of cutaways. I like the symmetry of a standard uke shape. My thoughts might change if I ever learn to play that high up the neck though ;).

I agree! Right now, I'm not a cutaway fan as I don't play that far up the neck (yet). Besides, I prefer the traditional look. Just my opinion!

olgoat52
11-05-2010, 06:22 AM
Well..There ARE different types of cutaways..Some sharp, some round-ish, some that don't curve upwards..
http://www.musicroom.com/Images/Catalogue/fullsize/STE2026EBK.jpg The round-ish curves.
http://www.ukulelejames.com/images/signature_uke/James_Hill_SS0.jpg The no curves..
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_mU7Qg03v9wA/SzHDdbFd0YI/AAAAAAAACE4/GsqF11PniWI/s400/IMG_1059.JPG The sharp curves...

The sharp one in guitar circles if often referred to as a "florentine" cutaway

Dane
11-05-2010, 06:48 AM
Doesn't really matter to me, but if I had to pick a cutaway one purely based on aesthetics, then I would choose one with a more subtle cutaway.

dkcrown
11-05-2010, 06:53 AM
I'm not a fan of cutaways either. Sometimes I rest my ring and pinky fingers in that area on my ukes when I am finger or thumb picking.

southcoastukes
11-05-2010, 07:01 AM
We like to play up the neck. We just don't have to forego the traditional look to get there. Most of what we build have longer scales. That gives us (depending on the model) 15-17 frets to the body.

Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too!

Jerlial Prophet
11-05-2010, 07:14 AM
We like to play up the neck. We just don't have to forego the traditional look to get there. Most of what we build have longer scales. That gives us (depending on the model) 15-17 frets to the neck.

Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too!

Great point!

cletus
11-05-2010, 07:18 AM
Ixnay on the cutaway for me.

Skitzic
11-05-2010, 08:06 AM
My Cordoba has a cut away. I think it looks fine on that uke. When chunking I find I miss the extra wood though. I don't hate them but I won't go out of my way to get one either.

knadles
11-05-2010, 08:35 AM
The beauty of it is that there are so many different ukuleles. We can buy one with a cutaway or without...often the same model!

That said, I have two--one of each. I think if I'm playing acoustic, I'd like to have the full body. Ukes are already small enough without shrinking their acoustic space. For plugged-in, it doesn't matter. I'm not yet good enough to "miss" the frets that are hard to reach without a cutaway, and being a bass player, they seem frighteningly tiny anyway. :)

Pete

PS- You could try the sentence this way: "I don't anticipate ever being a proficient-enough player to make much use of those notes way up on the neck to which the cutaway gives me access," but I wouldn't sweat it. We knew what you meant. ;)

kenikas
11-05-2010, 12:15 PM
I agree! Right now, I'm not a cutaway fan as I don't play that far up the neck (yet). Besides, I prefer the traditional look. Just my opinion!

Got to agree with molokinirum and mandarb, I just don't care for the look. Seem like guitar wannabes and I don't care for them on guitars either. I guess I'm just old but I prefer the traditional look.

ichadwick
11-05-2010, 12:33 PM
I believe it's a trade off.....more body cavity for better sound or higher frets with a sharper tone
For a uke, the cutaway probably has a negative effect on the sound because it reduces the body cavity volume thus reduces overtones and volume. On a guitar, there's enough volume that a cutaway doesn't make a difference. But a uke is small enough that a cutaway might represent 10-20% of the potential body volume. The smaller the uke, the more the effect.

It's more a cosmetic thing than an issue of either accessiblity or playability. You can reach the higher frets relatively easily on any uke. And the space between frets is smaller than most people's fingertips after the 15th fret, so it's unlikely they get played much.

It's mostly about style.

Nuprin
11-05-2010, 12:55 PM
For a uke, the cutaway probably has a negative effect on the sound because it reduces the body cavity volume thus reduces overtones and volume. On a guitar, there's enough volume that a cutaway doesn't make a difference. But a uke is small enough that a cutaway might represent 10-20% of the potential body volume. The smaller the uke, the more the effect.

Maybe some of the builders on this site can chime in...Bob Taylor (of Taylor Guitars) has stated that a cutaway makes very little difference in the sound...not because the guitar has a lot of volume but because the upper bout (where a cutaway is located) vibrates very little. Maybe it's different with ukes. As far as a uke cutaway representing a larger percent of the soundboard, I don't think this is the case...to me, it seems the size of the cutaway on a ukulele is proportionate to the cutaway on a guitar.

I like the look of cutaways...the exception is the florentine-style cutaways (the sharp ones). I really dislike the look of these. Even though I like cutaways, I didn't have any ukuleles with them so I just added it as an option to the Mya Moe NWAS Classic Tenor I'm having built.

kissing
11-05-2010, 01:38 PM
For a uke, the cutaway probably has a negative effect on the sound because it reduces the body cavity volume thus reduces overtones and volume. On a guitar, there's enough volume that a cutaway doesn't make a difference. But a uke is small enough that a cutaway might represent 10-20% of the potential body volume. The smaller the uke, the more the effect.
.

That said, the "effect" that a uke has, which makes it different from a guitar, is its small body size.
A soprano uke is smaller than a concert. A concert uke is smaller than a tenor.
Each size has a different sound characteristic.

Does that mean the Soprano has a "negative effect" due to its smaller body?
A Tenor with a cutaway still has more body volume than a full body concert or a soprano.
So I don't think it makes it an absolute negative effect.

Furthermore, there are sopranino and pocket ukes that have even more smaller body sizes and a particular tone.
If we view the sound of a ukulele as being on a spectrum, relative to body size (small body sound---------------------------large body sound), a cutaway would only move the type of sound across that spectrum, rather than making it "negative". That's if a cutaway has a significant effect on sound at all :)

SweetWaterBlue
11-05-2010, 02:15 PM
I like the way the cutaways look. I have been wanting a spruce top electric/acoustic tenor, such as a Lanikai S-TEQ or Kala SETC for some time. I have done several A-B tests on the Lanikai ST (non-cutaway) vs the STEQ (cutaway) at my local Sam Ash by holding them up facing me and strumming or plucking them. I think the non-cutaway ST was a bit louder, but I am not sure I could quantify how much (maybe 10-15%). Of course you can always plug the STEQ in and make it very loud, but that is a different topic.

Bradford
11-05-2010, 04:43 PM
As a builder, I think most people would be hard pressed to hear any difference in sound between identical ukes with and without a cutaway. That particular part of the upper bout is not going to contribute much in the way of sound, especially with an extended fretboard. That said, I usually try and discourage my customers from getting them. As has been pointed out, you can reach the high frets anyway. In reality, it is all about looks, and it is an expensive option.

Brad

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-05-2010, 04:59 PM
The theory can be argued as it pertains to ukes but in my practical experience a cutaway has no impact on the sound one way or the other. Mind you, I only do cutaways on tenors, nothing smaller. And like Brad, they're not my favorite to build only because they can be such a PITA.

Kekani
11-05-2010, 09:39 PM
Not unlike Chuck, my cutaway's have been on Tenors. From a volume perspective, of course it reduces the "size" of the box, but its up to the builder to make it up, if needed, where it counts. Personally, the taper I put on the back is less on a cutaway, than non-cutaway. Bottom line, I don't like to build them because they're a PITA (oh, wait, Chuck already said that).

Of course, players like Led makes use of the tenor from a functional perspective - he wanted it for a reason, just like he wanted 22 frets (which I've seen him use, for fun).

As for aesthetics - that's all in the player and what he wants his tool to be able to do; moreso what he expects from his tools and what his tool can allow him to do as well. Aesthetics is a matter for the builder - usable functionality belongs to the player.

Aaron

StevieC
11-05-2010, 10:26 PM
Different strokes.....

farmerboy
11-05-2010, 10:43 PM
I have cutaways on my electric instruments but don't like them on acoustics. I think the main reason is that (particularly on my ukes) - I get very little volume from the notes up there other than a more percussive sound if I play them harder.

I too am undecided. As for aesthetics - don't much care as long as it sounds good.

joeybug
11-06-2010, 03:46 AM
I don't like the look of cutaways, think they look too much like mini guitars, but it's a different things appeal to different people, I prefer the traditional look..but then I also prefer the soprano to the other sizes...

lindydanny
11-06-2010, 04:40 AM
With the uke, it is simply a style thing. About the only time that vibration is going to be an issue is with an arched top. Because of the way the vibrations spread from the bridge on those types off instruments. It is not nearly as much of a concern on a flat top. This has to do with the way that the tension is spread out on a flat top. Simply engineering that is also used in the design of bridges (the ones for cars not for strings).

Aesthetics aside, the only use is if you are really play above the 12th fret a lot. For solos, the distance across the top of the uke's sound board isn't enough to make a huge technique difference. Some people may like the easy access, but it isn't a necessity. (Another thought: A cut-away banjolele???)

All that said, I'm not a fan nor am I a non-fan. With each uke I look at, I'll judge it individually. However, I love the overall look of James Hill's uke(s). They just look cool. If it didn't have the cut-away, I don't think I would like it as much. However, my Kala mahogany wouldn't look near as good if it was a cut-away. It is all style to the individual uke.

~DB

kissing
11-06-2010, 05:46 AM
I like to play high chords and riff up the neck, so cutaway allows me to play in this style. For example, the Bb chord shape, you can only go up so high with a non-cutaway before the body gets in the way.
I also like soloing at the high end too, which would otherwise be difficult/impossible. So it's a necessity for me :)

Lori
11-06-2010, 07:22 AM
One advantage to the cut away design is– that is where you are strumming, and you might end up hitting the sound board in that area. James Hill had Mike DaSilva make a custom uke that addresses that problem. http://ukemaker.com/images/UkeGallery/205-JHTenor-2048.jpg
The design keeps a larger soundbox, while getting the soundboard out of the way of his amazing playing.
–Lori