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  1. #1

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    Another post about the Ibanez AF vs AK series got me thinking. What is the difference, apart from the look, between a rounded (Venetian) cutaway versus a sharp one (Florentine, a la ES175?). (I learned the fancy terms from wikipedia, but not much else)

    I mean in the example of the AF vs AK we have two identical bodies/pickups/necks, etc., assuming we string the guitars with the same strings, and everything else is the same (including the bridge, which is wood on the AK, but metal on the AF), what would the theoretical difference in sound be?

    Would a rounded-cutaway guitar be louder acoustically, all other things equal, as it has more space inside the box? Or would it be too difficult to discern any difference?

    I'm wondering if the different style cutaway is only for the look or has any other qualities.
    Last edited by abracadabra; 06-12-2009 at 08:54 AM.

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  3. #2

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    I recently traded in my Ibanez RC20SC for an AC60SC--went from a Florentine to a Venetian cutaway--the sound difference is dramatic. Don't know if it's just the cutaway. I always thought the main difference was cosmetic, but I'd be interested to hear what others have to say.

  4. #3

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    I think guitars with a round cutaway sound a bit darker and warmer.
    But thats only my personal oppinion.

  5. #4

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    I sincerely doubt it has any discernible difference at all. I mean, have you played a non cut model and the cut version? Not much difference. Some, but not much. To hear a difference between a pointy cut and a round cut seems to me to be not real. I would say the sound difference between individual guitars is much more than what kind of cut it has.

    I can play 5 different strats, LPs, Martins, Eastmans, etc., of the same model and they all sound slightly different. So I would chalk up the sound difference to it being 2 different guitars, not the cut type.

  6. #5

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    I have one of each. Both from Ibanez. The sound is pretty similar and I wouldn't blame it on the shape of the cutaway. The largest difference I found with the florentine (sharper cut) you can reach higher on the fretboard. You can't reach higher up frets with the rounded cutaway.

    I really do prefer the florentine cutaway but love both guitars. Best plan is have one of each!

  7. #6

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    As Derek, I can't imagine that it makes any difference other than "colouring" what the listener thinks.

    I have no idea why, but I prefer the round cutaway, but it must be something aestetically, personal preference kind of thing. And because of that I think they sound better (ie to my taste) as well.

    Per

  8. #7

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    the Florentine cutaway gives you better access to the higher registers, so your notes up there will tend to sound crisper. Other than that, I find it hard to believe that there would be a distinct difference in tone.

  9. #8
    Jazzarian Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    the Florentine cutaway gives you better access to the higher registers, so your notes up there will tend to sound crisper. Other than that, I find it hard to believe that there would be a distinct difference in tone.
    Over the years Gibson has made L5s both ways, along with Super400s.

    It's all a matter of styling IMHO. Unless of course the pinched channel of the sharp cutaway acts as some kind of resonate channel. Hardly doubtful.

  10. #9
    Thanks for your replies. As I said I guess the best way to tell would be to play some guitars that are identical except in the cutaway (i.e. AF105 vs AK105.) But as Derek says, maybe it's still just down to the individual guitars. I suppose by this you mean that an AF105 could sound a little different from another AF105?

    Anyway, unfortunately I've been unable to find an AK model to play, only AFs.

    I suppose there must be SOME difference purely down to the cutaway, but whether my ears could tell is another story.

  11. #10

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    I have never heard of a difference in tone between types of cutaway.
    Cutaway vs noncuts on L5s varied at first because they were braced differently. Gibson standardized that in the late 60s.
    There IS a difference in the volume of the guitar but there are SOOOO many other things that would colour the sound more that you cant really compare them (unless you are one of those guys.. )

  12. #11
    Well I've done a few online searches on the subject and have discovered nothing definite.

    Opinion seems to be divided between those who think it makes no practical difference, and those who suppose that there must be a minor actual difference.

    Maybe this one is 'better left unsolved'.