A Tale of Two Guitars

When I started playing in Steve & Chris with blues harpist Steve Konopka (Fuzzy) in 2017, I was playing a solid body electric guitar: a Fender Stratocaster or a DBZ Imperial.

I grew up playing classical and electric guitars. I have never met a steel stringed 14 fret acoustic that I enjoyed playing.

1 Sunday at Cora Lee's open mic at Cosmic Charlie's at its cursed National Ave location, there was an old guy - Charlie Wethington, I think - playing an electric classical (nylon stringed) guitar.

I gotta get me 1 of those!

So Steve went with me to Wilcutt Guitars. They had 2 Fenders and 2 of another brand. The Fender CN-240 SCE Thinline sounded 2x as good as the others, so I bought 1. I found a nice matching strap at Willis Music, which used to have the largest local collection of straps.

Dark blond, with a woven floral rosette in gold and black. I played this in Steve and Chris from then on.

Jaz Dumoz was born around the start of the pandemic, spring 2020. When I was getting ready for my 1st Jaz gig, summer 2021, I realized I needed another of these guitars. I always like n+1 redundancy when I'm playing. Additionally, the nylon strings take weeks to get broken in. If I was gigging regularly and needed to change strings, I needed a 2nd guitar with its strings already broken in - 2 guitars kept in rotation.

I was back in Lexington and just figured I'd go to Wilcutts' and buy another 1. No luck, Fender quit making them.

So I turned to my friend, incredible guitarist Lindsay Olive, to find me one on eBay. He is very eBay-savvy.

He found one still in the factory box, about the same price I had paid before. So he got it for me.

I was expecting it to be identical to the other one. It was not: natural vs dark blond finish, and a very elegant, simple rosette, a ring of mother-of-pearl looking stuff. I found a great strap for it at etsy.com.

I was thinking, I would make this the primary Jaz Dumoz guitar. The older 1 I had played with Steve. Plus the beautiful blue strap matched my eyes ;->

Here's where the plot thickens. I'm practicing on the new guitar, the James Smith solo to "honeysuckle rose", trying to play an F and an F6 at the 13th fret. My hand is getting jammed in the cutaway?!?!?

I try it on the old guitar - no problem?!?!? I start measuring the guitars. The bodies are of a size, but look at the cutaways:

On the old (top) guitar, the farthest spot on the cutaway is between the 17th & 18th frets. 

On the new (under) guitar, the farthest spot on the cutaway is between the 15th & 16th frets!

So 2 frets difference in accessibility up the neck, ~1.5" Here's me playing the F6 on the old guitar. There is not 1.5" separation between the side of my hand and the cutaway.

It turns out the new guitar is a CN-140 SCE Thinline, not a CN-240 like the older guitar.

My 1st thought was that this was no good, I wanted the guitars to be equally capable. So I'd thought that I'd get another CN-240 and then sell the CN-140. There are more CN-240s on eBay, and you can see from the pictures that they have the same rosette and cutaway as mine.

But, I like the variety of the 2 guitars I have now. And so far, only 1 song out of ~150 where the smaller cutaway caused a problem - and not a fatal problem, you can grab the F chords, it's just a little harder. Other than that, they play pretty much identically.

So for now, I'll stick with these 2. That can of course be changed down the road.

 

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