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  #1  
Old 01-15-2021, 05:35 AM
imc2111 imc2111 is offline
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Default Do classical guitars age and improve their sound like steel string guitars?

Quality steel string guitars are known for opening up and improving their sound with time and playing.

Does the same phenomenon happen with classical guitars?
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  #2  
Old 01-15-2021, 07:26 AM
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iim7V7IM7 iim7V7IM7 is offline
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Bass response tends to "open" up with play, but if trebles aren't there from the get go they will never show up in my experience.
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Old 01-15-2021, 08:39 AM
AndreF AndreF is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
....if trebles aren't there from the get go they will never show up in my experience.
True that!
And the same applies to steel string guitars too imo, especially for fingerstyle playing.
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Old 01-15-2021, 09:31 AM
merlin666 merlin666 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imc2111 View Post
Quality steel string guitars are known for opening up and improving their sound with time and playing.

Does the same phenomenon happen with classical guitars?
Mythbuster... my first quality steel string guitar now sounds a lot worse to me than when I bought it new in the late 70s. "Improvement" of tone can only happen if it's not that great to start with.
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Old 01-15-2021, 10:11 AM
Dragontooth Dragontooth is offline
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Default Segovia

For what itís worth, Segovia got a new guitar every year.
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Old 01-15-2021, 11:01 AM
imc2111 imc2111 is offline
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Originally Posted by Dragontooth View Post
For what itís worth, Segovia got a new guitar every year.
This is what I heard, which made me question whether classical guitars sound better or worse with age.
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  #7  
Old 01-15-2021, 11:52 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Generally, solid-wood guitars - steel string or classical - improve as they age. If they improve, by how much, and what way, depends on the instrument. Rarely does a poor sounding guitar become a great sounding guitar due to aging or "opening up". "Great sounding", of course, is highly subjective and depends on the opinions of the listener.

Some have argued that a classical guitar that is played extensively over a long period of time will "play out" and begin to deteriorate. "Played extensively" means typical of a concert classical performer - four or five hours per day, every day, for some years. Opinions vary. I've played some older instruments that were simply stellar, no where near "played out".
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Old 01-15-2021, 05:14 PM
MarkinLA MarkinLA is offline
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Why wouldn't they ?
They're both wooden !
Wood dries out, expands/contracts, warps, burns, bends and cracks whether a violin, guitar, toothpick, railroad tie, or baseball bat !!
They both support extreme pound-test/tug between their tuning rollers and bridge by their so very similar 6 strings.
Physics-wise Guit type makes no diff/only Lb test which is diff, but both types still earth-mover-taught [if you will]. So....
Why wouldn't they ?

Last edited by MarkinLA; 01-16-2021 at 04:58 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-21-2021, 02:41 AM
Always Learning Always Learning is offline
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This is an interesting discussion...

My experience is that my 25 year old sounds just as good as the day I purchased it. It's a mid range solid wood made in spain from a luthier who only used seasoned (naturally dried / not kiln) woods. I would tend to think that a studio / concert model, made of premium woods (solid rosewood sides and back) and kept right (proper humidity) will actually get better with age. Yes wood dries out, especially if not properly maintained. But solid woods that are properly dried prior to being used have lost all the moisture they ever will, so they are fully acclimated. Now, that said, only the outside surfaces generally get coated with lacquers and polishes. The inside is generally raw, has never had a protective coating applied, so it can in essence absorb ambient moisture in the air. And if it adsorbs too much moisture, that can cause all kinds of problems with not only how it sounds (dull and lifeless) but it can cause the woods to swell and so much so to the point where it's no longer playable.

I doubt that a laminated model would stand up as well when you consider that several layers of mostly different woods are glued and pressed. I would think that as it ages and if not kept properly, the glue that binds the laminates would crystallize and start to deteriorate.

I keep all my guitars in my music room / office that has a constantly maintained humidity or 45%, and they all sound marvelous.

Oh... and as for Segovia. He was a concert guitarist and paid very well for his performances and also paid well for the Master Classes he chaired... he could afford to buy a new one each year.

And another thought.. why do so many players look for those old Martins and Gibsons? Are they thinking... "I'm tired of my good sounding guitar, you know I want an old axe that sounds like crap and costs a small fortune".

Last edited by Always Learning; 01-21-2021 at 02:49 AM.
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  #10  
Old 01-21-2021, 06:39 AM
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There was a video linked to in this subforum where a person visited an exclusive classical guitar salon that largely sold used and vintage classical guitars, many of which had be used by famous classical artists. They commanded very high prices and they all sounded lovely, by the way.

Bob
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Old 01-21-2021, 11:41 AM
NormanKliman NormanKliman is offline
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Iíve heard that itís better for guitars to be made in a drier climate than where they end up after purchase. If itís true (I dunno), maybe it has a bearing on how well guitars age.
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Old 01-21-2021, 03:06 PM
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I think I remember reading in Jose Ramirez's book that he said Segovia thought that a classical guitar was good for about 20 years. I've got some much older then that and I think they sound just fine but there could be some truth to that as the guitars built for him were pushing the boundaries of design.
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Old 01-31-2021, 01:03 PM
ObiWanSymbian ObiWanSymbian is offline
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I tried to ask the same question a couple of weeks earlier.

My experience is that there are certain characteristics that do change.

They change for better.

These are all the things that come from the back of the instrument - subtleties and overtones are more pronounced in my instrument after 18 months with me.

I attribute it to the fact that rosewood is a harder wood and needs more time to open.
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Old 01-31-2021, 03:22 PM
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There is, of course, the myth surrounding cedar as a top wood. Apparently there was a competitive pair of luthiers in Spain, one who used spruce as a top wood and the other who used cedar. The cedar proponent may have been Ramirez, by the way. In order to gain advantage, the spruce luthier put out the myth that cedar only degraded after installation and didn't last long as a top wood. That myth survives to this day in the classical world.

Bob
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  #15  
Old 02-01-2021, 01:12 PM
steveh steveh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragontooth View Post
For what itís worth, Segovia got a new guitar every year.
Sorry but that's just not true.

In reality, Segovia was well known for spending most of his time with one guitar, the "greatest guitar of our epoch", the famous 1937 Hauser, which he played from 1938 to 1962. It's on display at The Met if you want to see it.

Before the Hauser he was well known for playing a 1912 Ramirez.

People pushed guitars into his hands all of the time, hoping for his "blessing", but he played relatively few on a regular basis.

Cheers,
Steve
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