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Thread: Acoustics, woods and aging

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    Forum Member Sérgio's Avatar
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    Acoustics, woods and aging

    I was reading a bit about acoustic guitars that have solid tops over laminated sides and backs and I am wondering if they will "open up" their sound through time as all-solids will, though less, or if they simply won't improve at all as they age.

    I read many opinions, people claiming that their laminated Yamahas and Epiphones did improve, though just a tad... Others say these guitars simply won't improve at all no matter how long they age.

    Any experiences?

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Acoustics, woods and aging

    It's all BS. Humidity will affect it more than anything else. I have several well aged acoustics and they sound just like they did when they were new. They feel a little better, but sound - no change.
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Forum Member Sérgio's Avatar
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    Re: Acoustics, woods and aging

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    It's all BS. Humidity will affect it more than anything else. I have several well aged acoustics and they sound just like they did when they were new. They feel a little better, but sound - no change.
    How exactly do they feel better?

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Acoustics, woods and aging

    Quote Originally Posted by Sérgio View Post
    How exactly do they feel better?

    Sergio, a guitar's neck will "wear in" as you play it. Take my Strat. It came from the factory with the "Satan" finish, it's now smooth as glass and feels just right. Thirty years of gigging the same guitar will change its feel for sure.
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Acoustics, woods and aging

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    Sergio, a guitar's neck will "wear in" as you play it. Take my Strat. It came from the factory with the "Satan" finish, it's now smooth as glass and feels just right. Thirty years of gigging the same guitar will change its feel for sure.

    I saw what you did there!

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    Forum Member gibsonjunkie's Avatar
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    Re: Acoustics, woods and aging

    I find myself questioning my own judgement because I never disagree with OA - but I do believe a good hardwood guitar does open up with age and the nitro finish chemically bonds with the wood and the dang things do sound better. I wood (!) agree that humidity is super-important. On the other hand, I'm not sure how much a laminate guitar will change with age. The top might alter the sound slightly, but a laminate contains a lot of glue and I can't speak to how it will be affected by age.
    "We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness." Mark Twain

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    Re: Acoustics, woods and aging

    Quote Originally Posted by gibsonjunkie View Post
    I find myself questioning my own judgement because I never disagree with OA - but I do believe a good hardwood guitar does open up with age and the nitro finish chemically bonds with the wood and the dang things do sound better. I wood (!) agree that humidity is super-important. On the other hand, I'm not sure how much a laminate guitar will change with age. The top might alter the sound slightly, but a laminate contains a lot of glue and I can't speak to how it will be affected by age.
    I agree with you. As do many. And just as many call us nuts...

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    Forum Member Sérgio's Avatar
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    Re: Acoustics, woods and aging

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    Sergio, a guitar's neck will "wear in" as you play it. Take my Strat. It came from the factory with the "Satan" finish, it's now smooth as glass and feels just right. Thirty years of gigging the same guitar will change its feel for sure.
    Sure, I knew that, I was just willing to hear how you feel, personally, about how the guitar ages. Each one of us feels this differently.

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    Forum Member Sérgio's Avatar
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    Re: Acoustics, woods and aging

    Quote Originally Posted by gibsonjunkie View Post
    I find myself questioning my own judgement because I never disagree with OA - but I do believe a good hardwood guitar does open up with age and the nitro finish chemically bonds with the wood and the dang things do sound better. I wood (!) agree that humidity is super-important. On the other hand, I'm not sure how much a laminate guitar will change with age. The top might alter the sound slightly, but a laminate contains a lot of glue and I can't speak to how it will be affected by age.

    Yes, I've often heard this and even noticed it myself back when I was a classical player and player many acoustics.

  10. #10
    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Acoustics, woods and aging

    Nitro doesn't chemically bond to the surface. Notice the chips on any old guitar. It tends, in fact, to shrink and pull away from the surface, cracking as it goes

    Second, this is a decades long process. Anything that happens over the course of a few years is something else.

    What happens to some acoustics is that they tend to equilibrate with their surroundings. A guitar built in Bozeman will sound different after sitting a couple years in Miami. Humidity is king with an acoustic. For years and years we put humidifier tubes in them when not in use.

    There is a world of difference between a "nitro" finish and a "nitrocellulose lacquer" finish, the later being the vintage method and the former being the modern. Many, if not most modern producers (Fender for example) use a water-based "nitro" finish (made by Sherwin Williams) for their guitars.

    Chuck
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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