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  #1  
Old 03-16-2008, 06:21 PM
steve617 steve617 is offline
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Default Does a guitar really sound better with age?

Just curious if a guitar really sound better with age? Of course it would have to be real wood and not laminated. My Ami is a solid top Cedar and according to Art&Lutherie Cedar ages faster. I am just wondering how long this process takes and what difference I can expect if any. Richer? More Sustain?

Thanks for the info.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:27 PM
Acoustic Rick Acoustic Rick is offline
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I think the general consensus is that as guitars age they do mellow and sound better. That's just a general idea and perhaps NOT a rule. I've played old vintage Martins that didn't sound as good as a brand new D35. I think it depends on the guitar. If it's a great sounding guitar now chances are it will only get better. My humble opinion for what it's worth. I'm sure some of the guys with more experience in this area will chime in. Interesting thread.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:36 PM
Jeff M Jeff M is offline
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Sometimes yes.
Sometimes no.

Don't plan on it when buying.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:40 PM
michaelhager michaelhager is offline
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It's pretty much accepted that all wood, stringed instruments sound better the more they are played. Therefore, the older they get. The better they sound.

What that means is any individual instrument, often played will improve over time. What it DOESN’T mean is that a crappy guitar will sound better than a great guitar over time. Both will sound better than they originally did, but only that much better than it’s own craftsmanship and quality will allow.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve617 View Post
Just curious if a guitar really sound better with age? Of course it would have to be real wood and not laminated. My Ami is a solid top Cedar and according to Art&Lutherie Cedar ages faster. I am just wondering how long this process takes and what difference I can expect if any. Richer? More Sustain?
Hi Steve...
With all solid guitars I hear it if they are kept long enough and played often enough. I don't recall ever thinking any of my laminates (even with solid tops) aged with time.

With manufactured and overbuilt instruments it takes longer - as in years.

Better tone with age, a loosening of the top, more resonance and I feel a change in the tension of the strings when I pluck three and four note clusters - but I've never heard an increase in sustain.

Especially with Dreadnaughts and with Rosewood ones in particular an increase in bass response which is not connected to boominess. With OMs I hear an increase in the amount of bass in relationship to the other ranges of tone as they age. Also, I find the trebles tame down and become more full.

With lightly built handbuilts I hear a difference right off the bench for the first 3-6 months, and then after a couple years, and I'm not sure if they ever really stop changing slightly. My Olson Dread after 15 years is continuing to open up.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:52 PM
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Like Jeff said, "don't plan on it" when buying a new guitar. When guitars do open up it is mostly on the bass side. Weak treble power will always be weak. Looking for a new guitar I used to be swayed too much by the bass. Now I am most critical about how the treble and midrange sound.
Rick
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:12 PM
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There are just too many factors that contribute to sound......from saddles to setup to strings. Pretty tough to categorically proclaim one "group" as better than the other. Nevertheless, all things being equal (and they never are) I would wager a properly set up aged axe will sound better. Then again if my playing is on an "off" day no guitar sounds good to me.
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:53 PM
edensharvest edensharvest is offline
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Some woods more so than others. Koa for example is a very hard wood that typically has to "open up" over time, which usually means that it sounds warmer and less rigid the longer it's played (not just the older it gets). In general though, get something that sounds good in the first place, and play it until both you and the guitar sound better.
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:03 PM
KruCfyd.w/X KruCfyd.w/X is offline
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How about Cedar? I've heard that cedar has a very short shelf life, or even no shelf life at all.

My solid cedar-top, lam. B/S definitely seems to be aging well. I'd even say she's opened up. It took 20 years but she sounds better today than when I first got her.
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by KruCfyd.w/X View Post
How about Cedar? I've heard that cedar has a very short shelf life, or even no shelf life at all.

My solid cedar-top, lam. B/S definitely seems to be aging well. I'd even say she's opened up. It took 20 years but she sounds better today than when I first got her.
Hi KC...
My Dreadnaught - Rosewood/Cedar - began opening noticeably and significantly around 5 years of playing, and it has not stopped improving in tone for the past 10 years. I have played new models of Dreadnaughts and SJs by the same builder in Rosewood/Cedar, and a 20 year old example of the SJ Rosewood/Cedar, and there is no doubt they are opening up significantly with time.
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Old 03-16-2008, 11:05 PM
TAYLORFAN50 TAYLORFAN50 is offline
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Default Does a guitar really sound better with age?

Yep.. the older I get, the better it sounds!
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Old 03-16-2008, 11:07 PM
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People like to believe that, which is O.K., I guess...
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Old 03-16-2008, 11:10 PM
Jeff M Jeff M is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KruCfyd.w/X View Post
How about Cedar? I've heard that cedar has a very short shelf life, or even no shelf life at all.
A myth that gets brought up regularly on all of the guitar forums.
Haven't met a builder or player yet who has experienced this.
The story (as I heard it) was started by jealous classical guitar builders back when Ramirez started to use cedar for tops in his designs.
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:36 AM
Alan Porton Alan Porton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Like Jeff said, "don't plan on it" when buying a new guitar. When guitars do open up it is mostly on the bass side. Weak treble power will always be weak. Looking for a new guitar I used to be swayed too much by the bass. Now I am most critical about how the treble and midrange sound.
Rick

+1.......
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:57 AM
Alan Porton Alan Porton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff M View Post
A myth that gets brought up regularly on all of the guitar forums.
Haven't met a builder or player yet who has experienced this.
The story (as I heard it) was started by jealous classical guitar builders back when Ramirez started to use cedar for tops in his designs.

Unfortunately, there's someone that frequents Harmony Central that claims he's a luthier and insists this myth is fact........sad thing is.....it appears that folks over there seem to respect him as he's been known to contribute positive advice in other areas. Half truths can gain trust enough to obtain respect in certain cases, a potential hazard when not truly knowing an internet source.
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