I don't really like acoustic guitars with cutaways. Although cutaways have been seen throughout the history of the guitar, the fact that this type of design seems to predominate on acoustics is a trend that has been developing for the last 20 or so years.
When I see an acoustic guitar with a cutaway I worry, because that usually suggests that it is an "electro-acoustic" which can often mean that the instrument is a compromise and therefore lacking in tone and any significant acoustic volume. OK, so I'm not talking about the big boys of the acoustic guitar world: Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Breedlove, Takamine, Ovation, etc, who all produce quality instruments (and most of whom have the good taste to produce a fair quantity of non-cutaway acoustic models); rather I am referring to the deluge of low to medium-priced instruments that are imported from the Far East. Some are excellent. Many are not.
What is the cutaway for anyway? Oh, sure, people will say "So you can play up at the top of the neck", but - honestly - how many actually do this when playing acoustic guitar. I certainly never have the need to play that high up the neck.
No, the real reason for the cutaway is to make the guitar look more like an electric and therefore to appeal more to electric players and people who think it looks cool. Well, as far as I am concerned it does NOT look cool. In my opinion, it spoils that classic acoustic guitar outline and makes the instrument look cheap.
Which, in a roundabout way, brings us onto this Avalon Carl Verheyen Signature acoustic guitar which features not one, but a pair of cutaways. Avalon is NOT an el cheapo brand from the far east, I really must stress this. Rather, Avalon Guitars are high quality instruments handcrafted in Ireland using traditional methods, and have been produced by a team of skilled luthiers since the 1980s.
This double-cutaway acoustic has been built by Avalon for guitar virtuso Carl Verheyen (who probably DOES play right up at the top of the neck on acoustic), and the specs are as follows:
- Back & Sides: Indian Rosewood
- Soundboard: Sitka Spruce
- Neck: Mahogany
- Fingerboard: Ebony
- Bindings: Sycamore
- Purflings: Rosewood / Sycamore
- Rosette: Abalone / Rosewood / Sycamore
- Bridge: Rosewood
- Nut / Saddle: Bone (44mm)
- Bracing System: AXE™
The list price for the Avalon Carl Verheyen Signature acoustic guitar is £3,860. However, the guitar pictured here is currently listed on eBay UK with a Buy It Now price of £1,400. That could be one hell of a bargain for someone looking for a high quality handmade acoustic guitar.
G L Wilson
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