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As a mid-life learner of Acoustic Guitar, my collection is extremely humble and comprises of 2 beginner-level (i.e. laminated, entry-level range) steel-string acoustic guitars - both of which are cut-away, and a Yamaha C40 entry-level nylon-string full-size classical guitar (that by the way has the best sound) that is not cut-away.

As I'm beginning to play a bit more fingerstyle and would like to do so on steel-string guitar as well, I've thus started looking for wider-nut steel-string (as the 2 of the steel-strings have very narrow nut-width).

I think I've found a good mid-range solid-wood guitar that I like, that sounds quite nice, has good reviews and fits my budget. However, it is OM-sized model, with wide nut, and with the neck joining the body at the 12th fret, but is a non-cut away model. This means that a significant portion of the fretboard is harder to access, although for much of what I've been playing so far it might not be an immediate concern.

However I do wish to extend my range of playing and cover more of the fretboard for the higher notes. So, I'm wondering as to how much of a trouble, hinderance, inconvenience shall the lack of cut-away (right from 12th fret) be ? Is it significant enough to consider not buying this specific model (as I'm unlikely to be able to invest in yet another guitar anytime soon).

In what ways would the lack of 'cut-away' limit my playing ? Considering that I'm pretty much a learner. I would like to play more and more solo, but mixed with rhythm playing as well.

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However I do wish to extend my range of playing and cover more of the fretboard for the higher notes. So, I'm wondering as to how much of a trouble, hinderance, inconvenience shall the lack of cut-away (right from 12th fret) be ? Is it significant enough to consider not buying this specific model

If you want to play above the 12th - 14th fret and you're wondering if you need a cutaway to do that or can you just put your fretting hand around the upper bout, my answer is that you do need a cutaway.

I have a steel string that I love that does not have a cutaway. I have spent some time working on fretting higher notes by reaching around the upper bout but as you might imagine, I can not be as fast, I can't reach certain notes, and I can't play comfortably more than a few notes before getting fatigued. Most of the stuff I play on acoustic does not use anything above the 14th fret or so, so it's not a big deal to me. In terms of where it ranks in my problems, I'd rather have a great pickup system and a separate 12 string acoustic before going back and looking for a steel string with a cutaway. But my desire to play high notes is slaked when I play electric, which I do pretty much daily.

If I had to do it all again? I would probably make sure it had high quality electronics, and then second priority would be a cutaway, just for the few times I would use it.

As far as I know, there is only one sort-of downside to having a cutaway, but it's a rare situation. If you do not take care of your guitar and it gets too dry or too wet (from humidity or lack thereof), then it will cause the top to warp. Without a cutaway, the top warps symmetrically. With a cutaway, it can twist the top end of the fretboard. I have never noticed a sonic difference worth considering with a cutaway. A nice guitar with a cutaway still sounds great.

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As a learner, it won't make a lot of difference, and even as an advanced player, it will depend on your own style and that of the music you play as to whether you'll need to go that high, unimpeded.

Another option is to look at guitars which have 14th fret level with the guitar's shoulders. I have a Fender and an Epiphone, both nice players and sound, not tremendously expensive, that have that advantage - and I'd have thought that a cutaway guitar would be more expensive to produce anyway.

This doesn't directly answer the question, but hopefully provides another avenue to explore.

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Yes you probly will have to go the cut away route. most acoustic guitars are made the way they are out of convention,Tradition. you could find a Luither to build you an acoustic that the sholders are further back.Or with a longer neck.many Arch tops have more frets playable up near the Body up to the 16th fret.

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