Singlecut vs Double Cut Guitars: Which Are Better?

Singlecut vs Double Cut Guitars
Singlecut vs Double Cut Guitars

There are many reasons why guitars are popular among musicians. They have been one of the most widely played musical instruments throughout music history. Their exceptional versatility, affordability, and portability are some of the many factors that make them desirable.

With that out of the way, guitars come in various shapes and types. Single cut and double cut guitars are the most widely used ones among all the types. Both have their own features, which might make you think that one is better than the other.

So, if you are just getting started with guitars, you might be wondering what’s the difference between these two guitars and which one is worth investing in.

In this article, we will compare the single cut and double cut guitars so you can make an informed decision by the end of this read.

Comparing Singlecut vs Double Cut Guitars

Below is a detailed comparison between single cut and double cut guitars.

At a Glance

Features Single Cut Guitar Double Cut Guitar
Tone Warm Tight
Neck Rosewood/ebony Maple
Tailpiece Tune-o-Matic bridge/ Trapeze Tune-o-Matic bridge
Cutaways One Two

Comparing Singlecut vs Double Cut Guitars

Single Cut Guitars

singlecut guitar

A significant portion of single cut guitars’ popularity comes from the fact that they were used by Les Paul, a well-known American guitarist.

Without an iota of doubt, single cut guitars are one of the longest-running models of music history and have been used to record thousands of songs across every genre that you can think of.

Single cut guitars are those guitars that have a cutaway on the lower part of their body. It impacts your playability by allowing you to access your guitar’s frets easily.

It is said that Les Paul made the single cut guitar when he was looking for a guitar that could be amplified to keep up with the big-band jazz sound.

He, along with Gibson, went on to make a perfect guitar that possessed all the attributes he was looking for. The single cut guitar has undergone many changes over the years, but the classic specs still remain unchanged.

The single cut guitars are cut above the rest in terms of performance. If you have ever played a single cut guitar, you would know that it sounds different from most other guitars on the market. So, what makes it sound unique?

It is a common misconception that this iconic sound results from the woods in the guitar. However, it turns out that it is because of the pickups used in the single cut guitar.

These guitars featured P-90 pickups until 1952, which were replaced with humbucking pickups in 1957. So, modern single cut guitars come with humbucking pickups that give them a unique sound.

humbucking pickup

The 300k volume pots on single cut guitars are another reason for their iconic sound. Most guitar manufacturers prefer using 500k volume pots, which sound different.

Different potentiometer values have different tonal characteristics, and the 300k volume pot on these guitars tends to roll off a little high-end sound.

Single cut guitars come with slightly shorter scale lengths for a better playing experience. The complete playable length of a guitar’s string from the saddle to its nuts is called scale length. The short scale length results in lower string tension, which gives you a warmer tone.

This is particularly helpful for the guitarists with small hands as the frets are slightly closer to each other. So, if you have short hands and struggle to access frets easily, single cut guitars are right for you.

Play singlecut guitar

As for construction, the single cut guitars come with a mahogany body and neck. Their fingerboard is usually made of ebony or rosewood. Apart from that, two humbuckers could also be seen on its body.

Their necks are usually bulkier, making these guitars quite cumbersome. However, that is not the deal-breaker as some single cut guitar models also come with thin necks.

Apart from heavyweight, the single cut guitars do not have a shaved portion for strumming hands either. So, these guitars are not as good when it comes to ergonomics. If you have a bad back, you may need to look elsewhere.

The tailpiece is another critical element in the single cut guitars. Most of these guitars feature a Tune-o-Matic bridge, but some models with trapeze tailpieces are also available.

Tune-o-Matic bridges are usually preferred since they allow better energy transfer between the wood and the strings of a single cut guitar.

Double-Cut Guitars

Now coming to the double cut guitars, as their name suggests, they feature two cutaways on either side of the guitar’s neck. This allows you to hold the guitar better since you get a place to rest your thumb.

Apart from that, these guitars are good since they give you easy access to the entire fretboard. Most Stratocaster guitars are double cut guitars.

As far as the construction is concerned, double cut guitars have a distinct construction that sets them apart from their single cut counterparts. You get two horns in these guitars, which make them easily recognizable. Most of these guitars come with maple necks for increased durability.

Double-cut Guitars

Guitar necks are made of different materials. While the rosewood in single cut guitars is also good, it cannot beat the maple necks in the double cut guitars. Maple is an anti-rust and highly durable wood, which can serve you for years without showing any signs of being chipped out.

While the single cut guitars have a three-way switch, the double cut guitars come with a 5-way switch. They also have a pickguard that is responsible for holding everything together.

Going back to history, the double cut guitars were revolutionized by Van Halen, a famous guitarist, who was not happy with the three-way switch.

Originally, the double cut guitars had bolts on their necks. The necks of these guitars were bolted on their bodies. They had screws on their back, which gave an outlandish look to these guitars.

Bolt on neck

While most double cut guitars feature a Floyd rose tremolo system, some models have a Tune-o-Matic bridge, like single cut guitars.

The double cut guitars tend to be more lightweight than their single cut cousins. Their necks are relatively thin, making them a good choice for people with back problems. These guitars are more portable, and you can easily carry them around without any trouble.

Now coming to the performance, double cut guitars are a great choice if you want to play a bright and clear sound. These guitars had three single coil pickups, which all offered different sounds. They were placed in a certain way to enhance this tonal variation.

The key glaring issue with their sounds was the hum coming from the pickups of these guitars. Although it was a headache for musicians back in the day, this issue was fixed as the double cut guitars evolved.

Final Verdict

Single cut and double cut guitars are popular among guitarists of all ages. They have different bodies, and their sounds also differ. While single cut guitars have a warm sound, the sound produced by double cut guitars is tight and clear

In the end, it all comes down to your personal taste. Single cut guitars tend to be heavier than their double cut counterparts. The former have necks made of rosewood or ebony, while the latter have superior maple necks.

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