The original design of the Little Sister is the full-bodied, Non-Cutaway version. The gentle, rounded shape of the shoulders is influenced directly by the small acoustic parlor-style guitars of the pre-war era. With the Non-Cutaway version, the guitars have a fuller, louder and more resonant acoustic tone, which is also evident once plugged in because of the carefully calibrated microphonic features of the pickups. The lower midrange and bass range are gently enhanced by the thick body, measuring 5cm / 1.96”
Of course, the Non-Cutaway body design limits access to the upper frets, and this is why we developed the Cutaway version.
To give a more “electric” feel to the Cutaway Little Sister, and improve playability in the highest frets, the overall depth of the body has also been reduced to 4.45cm (1.75”). The reduced air volume in the tonal chamber of the Cutaway allows for a firmer, more direct tone. The balance is gently shifted towards the upper mids and trebles, for a brighter and more focused response, especially when played with moderate to pushed overdrive and distortion. Additionally, the reduced depth at the neck heel further assists the player’s access to the highest frets.
The Non-Cutaway Little Sister is a tad richer, warmer and more ‘acoustic’ in its response and playing approach, making it a suitable choice also for those players who alternate between acoustic and electric guitars in their live acts.
It is excellent for cleaner playing styles, because of the added complexity of its tone. Additionally, it really works as an excellent lap steel style guitar, for the more traditional slide players.
The Cutaway Little Sister is somehow more versatile, leaner and meaner. Definitely easier to manage for the pure electric players, who like to explore the higher notes, and who require a leaner, brighter tone to better cut through the mix.
Here's a nice video by Lonnie Good that demonstrates the different tone between the non-cutaway and the cutaway: