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Old 01-12-2015, 05:20 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Default "Opening up" - improving with age - and "Torriefied" etc.

Bourgeois, Collings and some others and now Martin are offering "torrified" top woods.

See:

I have seen pics of some Bourgeois and Collings guitars and they do seem to look a little "sunburned" - or , perhaps "overcooked". but I'm really not sure if this cooking process really does open u a whole new episode for acoustic guitars ?

As you will see in this Martin "friendly chat video" - they purport to be able to cook the top just enough to focus into a particular decade - thus the "1930s" OM shown.

One thing that has occurred to me - as we have had two rather contentious threads about the very concept of "opening up" and "maturing" is that the better makers are now offering instruments which are "pre- opened up". So, does this not indicate that even the best makers are now freely admitting that their instruments need time and resonance to reach their optimum (as I have already said Chris Martin stated many years ago).

Another thing that occurred to me - (Yes TWO thoughts all in one day - I'll go for a lie down in a dark room shortly) is that IF this process really does make finer sounding instruments - does that mean that all non cooked instruments - even top range jobs will lose value and demand?

Who buys into this latest offering?

A real advance in acoustic guitar making technology or ......a gimmick?

Last edited by Silly Moustache; 01-12-2015 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 01-12-2015, 05:33 AM
HHP HHP is offline
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I'd be very surprised if the people who believe guitars "open up" would not also think their torrrified guitars also "open up". So, nothing changes.

Probably won't effect value of non-cooked models as the process does add considerable cost to the instrument, Bourgeois seems to be about $900-$1000 upcharge. Once it becomes more common, might be cheaper, but then they will be more common and all the old arguments will apply once again.
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Old 01-12-2015, 05:44 AM
ukejon ukejon is offline
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Interesting question and consensus is unlikely. Those who aren't into the idea may see it as a gimmick, those who did may see it as a great process. We will hear calls for quantifiable proof from the science folks, and we will hear genuine claims of tone improvement from those who can't "prove" the sound difference. As with ToneRite, the believers and the disbelievers will opine sincerely here but at the end of the day few will have their minds changed.

I've not heard a cooked guitar but look forward to doing so.
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Old 01-12-2015, 06:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ukejon View Post
Interesting question and consensus is unlikely. Those who aren't into the idea may see it as a gimmick, those who did may see it as a great process. We will hear calls for quantifiable proof from the science folks, and we will hear genuine claims of tone improvement from those who can't "prove" the sound difference. As with ToneRite, the believers and the disbelievers will opine sincerely here but at the end of the day few will have their minds changed.....
well....that pretty much summed up everything about this topic.

Probably the most concise and articulate thread wrap-up in recent memory.
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Old 01-12-2015, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
Bourgeois, Collings and some others and now Martin are offering "torrified" top woods. ?

I think I just read that Taylor also is promoting this - on their revoiced maple 600-series.
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Old 01-12-2015, 06:52 AM
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TomB'sox TomB'sox is offline
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Those are some pretty big names for sure, I have a Bourgeois without a torrified top, but they promote the crap out of it and do charge a significant fee for the "upgrade". The best tops are the lightest and stiffest, so it does make sense to me that if by heating the top you dry out the resins (which is what happens in time, ie. opening up) making the top stiffer, it seems to make sense that it works. I would hate to think these well respected companies would be doing this from a purely profit driven motive....I doubt that, I am sure it plays a role, but I really do see how it could improve the sound of the guitar. Does it lead to any issues down the road like pre-mature cracking????? Who knows that.

OK, so lump me into the "I think it does, but can't prove it category"....
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Old 01-12-2015, 07:35 AM
mc1 mc1 is offline
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if they would have pinpointed the 1929 OM rather than the 1930s model then i'd be all over that, as the 29 has a certain je ne sais quoi that the 30s could never really capture.

seriously, i think torrefaction may have some merit. some blind tests (perhaps done by someone other that martin), would be the way to go.

i do like the fine line they have to walk to not make there un-vts models still seem worth buying (if only for your kids 50 years down the line).

besides the 29 om, i'm also holding out for the torrefied torres model. never has brittle been so sweet!

Last edited by mc1; 01-12-2015 at 09:03 AM. Reason: tpyo
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Old 01-12-2015, 08:59 AM
billgennaro billgennaro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
So, does this not indicate that even the best makers are now freely admitting that their instruments need time and resonance to reach their optimum (as I have already said Chris Martin stated many years ago).

IF this process really does make finer sounding instruments - does that mean that all non cooked instruments - even top range jobs will lose value and demand?
On these two points I'll venture a reply.

First, every luthier that I have spoken to agrees that guitars open up with "playing" time. They don't open up by sitting around un-played for 50 years. However, "the older the wood the better" holds true as well. You can buy a new guitar made of 100 year old wood and it will still need to be "played in".

Second, I don't think non-cooked instruments will lose their value unless companies discontinue selling anything but torrefied tops and the prices come down to non-cooked levels. Even then, there will always be a percentage of buyers who don't want torrefication done on their instruments.

I'll leave the OP's other questions alone.
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Last edited by billgennaro; 01-12-2015 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 01-12-2015, 09:03 AM
mc1 mc1 is offline
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just as a minor spelling point, it's "torrefied", is it not? i looked it up as i sometimes spell it one way and at other times another.
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Old 01-12-2015, 09:05 AM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
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Question is, do you ToneRite a torrefied guitar? :-) Seriously, if the process speeds the opening process, does it also speed the decline or over loosening of the top?
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Old 01-12-2015, 09:14 AM
JoeCharter JoeCharter is offline
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Guitars do change over time -- that is undeniable. Whether the change is positive or negative is a different matter. I guess it depends where you started and where you want to go.


Quote:
Originally Posted by billgennaro View Post
First, every luthier that I have spoken to agrees that guitars open up with "playing" time. They don't open up by sitting around un-played for 50 years.
I am totally agnostic on this -- but just to provide a counter example, I'd like to quote Bob Taylor...

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Old 01-12-2015, 09:18 AM
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If I was in the market for a new guitar I'm not sure if I'd look into torrefied tops or not. In the past I've been able to get what I wanted for tone by commissioning builders who have a locker of wood that works well with their build methods.

To me it makes sense that manufacturers would offer torrefied tops as an option, but what will the individual luthiers do in the future?
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:47 PM
Sam Guidry Sam Guidry is offline
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Torrefication reduces organic compounds present in the wood. This makes a piece of wood lighter, which is generally regarded as "good", but slightly less stiff. Depending on the degree of torrefication, there is a sweet spot where the wood gains in the stiffness to weight ratio. Aging wood naturally will lose the organic compounds over time, which is why aged wood is generally regarded as "better" than non aged wood.
I have often thought that the loss of the volatiles in wood, glue, finish etc. that naturally occurs over time is what is happening when a guitar is "opening up"
From that standpoint, guitars with a torrefied top can still open up, but probably more from the drying of the glues and finish rather than the wood aging. I would suspect that a torrefied topped guitar would sound more open from the get go
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:53 PM
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I think it's very hard for these companies to innovate when everyone looks back to their performance 80+ years ago as the good ol' days. I applaud them for trying something new. I don't know if the process works, but I have played two Bourgeois OMs with torrefied tops, and both sounded exceptional to me.
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Old 01-12-2015, 09:19 PM
SongwriterFan SongwriterFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LouieAtienza View Post
Question is, do you ToneRite a torrefied guitar? :-)
I'm doing just that to my new Taylor 614ce First Edition. It hasn't blown up yet.

I now have two guitars with torrefied tops: the Taylor (above), and a Martin CS-00S-14. Both sounded incredibly good. And the Taylor sounded nothing like one would normally expect from a Sitka/Maple guitar.

I may have to buy that new Martin CEO-8 as my next torrefied top guitar. And I love the darker color of that and the Martin CS (compared to the Taylor, and the new Martin Authentics with torrefied tops).
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