Q. Which models are more suitable for lead playing vs. rhythm playing?
A. Traditionally, oval holes are more often used for lead and D holes for rhythm. These roles are logical extensions of their respective inherent sounds: a cleaner brighter sound for lead supported by a darker throatier sound for rhythm.
However… logical arguments can be made either way:
The cleaner articulation and brighter sound of an oval hole is also a desirable quality for rhythm playing. For a good example, listen to Angelo Debarre’s striking rhythm playing on any recent recordings.
The richness of a D hole also provides a wonderful palette for lead. Examples include Django’s early recordings, and some of Bireli’s recent work.
On a 12 fret model, the bridge is mounted a little further back (2 frets distance) on the top. This places the bridge at the widest part of the body, which maximizes the transference of vibration between the bridge and top, offering a bit more volume and depth.
The 14 fret neck join offers a logical advantage for lead. Greater fret access is generally considered worth any small sacrifice in volume.
These are just some factors to consider, every combination of these elements has worked well in either context. Your choice of sound hole should really be based more on the sound (see above)you prefer, than on necessarily conforming to established roles for the various models.
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