6 Best Cutaway Acoustic Guitars (2020) for Great Playability

Updated on by Ross McLeod | Please note that there may be affiliate links on this page.

At some point, every guitarist has the frustrating experience of playing an acoustic guitar and being unable to get past the 14th fret due to its body shape. Unlike an electric guitar, the higher octaves can be difficult to reach on a regular acoustic guitar.

Thankfully, cutaway acoustic guitars were designed to combat this problem. Not only do they allow you to play the higher registers with ease, but they are also lighter in weight and an overall, a more mobile option.

Best Cutaway Acoustic Guitars - My Favorites

With an interesting combination of tonewoods and an elegant Taylor design, the 224ce-K DLX is a beautiful cutaway acoustic with character in abundance.

Sonically, it produces decorative highs, power in the mid-range, and a rich overall response that only gets better as the guitar ages. The body of the 224ce-K DLX is constructed exclusively from koa, giving it a Hawaiian touch.

It's also worth mentioning that the neck is made from Sapele, which is smooth underhand and makes gliding up and down the fretboard a joy to behold. The cutaway design allows you to play past the 14th fret with relative ease, too.

To add the finishing touches to this gorgeous cutaway acoustic, Taylor has installed high-quality ES2 electronics for a pristine amplified tone. There's also the addition of black binding, a fishbone faux pearl rosette, and small diamond inlays on the fingerboard.

  • All koa body produces strong mid-range and sparkling highs
  • High-quality onboard electronics
  • Comfortable Sapele neck
  • Cutaway grand auditorium body shape for comfort and projection
  • None

After almost a century in the guitar manufacturing business, Gibson’s classy cousin is truly at the top of their game. With the Masterbilt DR500MCE, Epiphone has created an affordable cutaway acoustic that produces a well-rounded sound.  

The first thing that you notice about this guitar is that it combines two worlds – a modern appearance with a hint of vintage charm. The tonal output is filled with warm resonance thanks to the solid wood construction.

For such a fairly priced guitar, Epiphone has been generous with the quality of electronics used. A Fishman Sonicore pickup ensures that the full-bodied sound of the Masterbilt DR-500MCE isn’t lost in translation when you plug it in.

With a solid mahogany body, a Sitka spruce top and a durable dove-tailed neck joint, this guitar produces a detailed projection. The first Masterbilt guitar was produced back in 1931, and you can feel and see the direct lineage in this modern version.

  • All solid wood construction
  • Comfortable cutaway design
  • Onboard electronics provided by Fishman Sonicore pickup
  • Lacks some power in the lower registers

As far as budget cutaway acoustic guitars go, you’d have to search far and wide to find better value for money than the Yamaha FSX800C. Stemming from the long line of FG folk guitars, this model uses a combination of tonewoods to produce a rich sound.

With a small folk-style cutaway body, this is a guitar built with playability in mind. The solid Sitka spruce top combined with nato back and sides give the FSX800C a distinguished audio signature.

Yamaha’s very own System-66 electronics are installed on the guitar, with a useful 3-band EQ and volume control. The mids can be subjected to sweeping to avoid feedback issues that commonly plague affordable acoustic-electrics. 

This is a guitar for the singer-songwriter, first and foremost. Its lightweight design makes it ideal for a traveling musician, and at such a great price it's worth considering.

  • The folk cutaway body style for maximum playability
  • System 66 electronics for pristine amplified projection
  • Nato body has a richness that resembles mahogany
  • Highly affordable model
  • When amplified, the guitar loses some of its natural warmth

Inspired by the legendary flat top J200 by Gibson, this Epiphone cutaway gives you all of the main attributes of the original at a very reasonable price.

The deep cutaway design provides easy access to the upper portions of the fretboard, so you can play licks and melodies that would usually only be possible on an electric guitar.

The EJ-200SCE delivers a well-rounded, full tone thanks to solid Spruce top and maple body. Maple is also employed on the neck for its classic look and smooth feel under your fingers. The Pau Ferro fretboard further enhances the playability of this Epiphone guitar.

Fishman electronics are installed, giving you the option to plug the EJ-200SCE into an amplifier or record via direct input. There's a 3-band EQ control that can be used to remove any harshness from the amplified signal.

You also get a built-in tuner with this Epiphone cutaway, and the Grover Rotomatic gold machine heads ensure that the guitar reliably holds its tuning. Overall, this affordable cutaway is well worth the asking price.

  • Classic cutaway design allows for easy access to the higher frets
  • Fishman electronics provide reliable amplification
  • Onboard tuner & EQ
  • Grover Rotomatic gold machine heads for tuning stability
  • Overall resonance of the guitar could be better

Takamine is has lately become one of my favorite acoustic guitar manufacturers. Every time I've had the pleasure of playing one of their guitars I've been blown away by the mixture of comfort and detailed projection. 

In some ways, the adage of "you get what you pay for" rings true when it comes to acoustic guitars. Although the EF341SC is more expensive than most of the other entries on this list, its price tag is justified by its sheer class.

The Legacy EF341SC's dreadnought body is made from solid Cedar on the top and rich sounding maple for the back and sides. This combination gives you clear highs and a tight low-end that doesn't sound boomy at all.

With a glossy rosewood fretboard, transitioning through the scales isn't a strenuous endeavor. The solid mahogany neck is durable and strong, making sure that the intonation of the guitar stays intact for many years to come.

As you’d expect with a premium Takamine cutaway, the electronics are of the highest standard. With an under-saddle Palathetic pickup and a 3-band EQ, the EF341SC sounds crisp and natural when plugged into a speaker.

  • Handcrafted dreadnought acoustic guitar
  • Crystal clear amplified projection
  • Comfortable cutaway for full fretboard access
  • Gloss black finish adds a touch of class
  • None

To round off this list of the best cutaway acoustic guitars, we have a vintage-styled Woodline model by Washburn. The 010SCE has a solid Spruce top with Mahogany back, sides and neck.

At first glance, the 010SCE looks understated, but when you look closely it has a slightly worn, charming appearance. The aforementioned combination of tonewoods produces a retro warmth that is perfect for folk or blues,

To create more vibrational freedom within the guitar, Washburn reduced the Sitka spruce bracing slightly. The result is more resonance, warmth, and detail, especially in the mid-range frequencies.

The classy decoration makes this guitar seem more expensive than it is. With rosewood binding and a NuBone string nut and saddle, the 010SCE looks elegant and distinguished.

The onboard electronics are provided by a Fishman Isys+ pickup system, which converts the natural tone into an amplified setting without hampering the finer details of the guitar's acoustic projection.

Intonation stability is reinforced by the addition of a dual-action truss rod which makes neck adjustments more robust and improves the overall longevity of this cutaway guitar. The Washburn 010SCE is a reliable choice that feels great to play.

  • Solid spruce top for clear projection
  • Rosewood binding looks classy
  • Warm sound in the mid-range
  • Vintage feel
  • Low-end sounds slightly thin

How Cutaway Designs Affect the Sound of an Acoustic Guitar

The main reasons that guitarists want a cutaway acoustic are for playing comfort and access to the higher frets. I find it frustrating when I've learned a song on electric guitar, pick up a dreadnought acoustic, only to find that it's impossible to get past the 14th fret.

But what about the effect of a cutaway on a guitar's sound? This is rarely discussed, although it's worth being aware of. 

The main difference in the frequency production of a standard shaped acoustic guitar vs. a cutaway is that the standard variation produces much more lower end. There's more boom to the overall tone than that of a cutaway acoustic, due to the larger surface area that the sound has to resonate inside.

Most of the bass frequencies produced by a standard shaped guitar are too low to be noticeable to the ordinary human ear, so it doesn’t have a massive impact on the overall tone.

In terms of the mid-range and treble frequencies, there’s no noticeable difference between a symmetrical design and a cutaway. It could be argued that the cutaway produces more clarity in these frequencies.

Thanks for Reading

Hopefully, you've enjoyed discovering the beautiful cutaway guitars featured on this list. All of the options are top quality, so I'm sure you'll have no problems identifying the right option for your needs.

Ross McLeod

About Ross McLeod

Ross McLeod is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. His most recent project is named Gold Jacket, and he is the frontman and bassist of the garage rock band The Blue Dawns with whom he has released 4 EPs and toured extensively.

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