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Thread: What good is to be expected out of vintage guitar woods?

  1. #1
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    Default What good is to be expected out of vintage guitar woods?

    I am posting an open thread to interchanging info regarding vintage guitar woods and what the bloody hell does aging does to guitars.

    Is it true or myth that guitar woods sound better overtime? Has anyone experience an aging guitar wood sounding better over time??

    I will google about it and post it here. I shall return. Of course babes rarely get prettier overtime but the experience... oh yeah that gets better (in theory).

  2. #2
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    Yes, they do!
    I think just important is electronics aging over time as well.
    2012...Let's do this

  3. #3
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    The main part coming from the wood aging would be less humidity in the wood itself... but than again if you handle your gear with a minimum seriousness it soudn't dry out... as you would keep it it comfortable situations humidity wise most of the time or use proper care if not.

    Aging electronics... yes for pre 90's electronics. As tolerance on electronic values were a bit more loose than they are now. Which means they used to fluctuate more from one instrument to the others... even more so with amps.

    Curious to read more on the facts on the aging wood. I know first hand for a fact there is some benefit with acoustic, which is mostly attributed to the wood being stabilized over the years after a certain point the tonal improvement is not as drastic. which point it varies from instrument to instrument... so would the same be true for an electric guitar... in theory it should. But honestly how much of teh acoustic tone is really tranfered across thru the pickups transducing the signal... I'd dig the reading on that also.

  4. #4
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    All wood stabilizes with time and shrinks as it does so. There is a crystallization of the resins in the cells. Glue also ages, moreso with "natural" hide glues which were prevalent in the old days. As for electronics, there is dielectric in the capacitors which dries up slowly but not much else in guitars. Now the vibrations passing through an instrument help towards accelerating the aging and you hear about acoustics 'opening up' and artificial ways of helping this process along. Add to this that some folks believe wood was simply better 60++ years ago (better trees available, and pollution 'spoils' younger wood) and craftsmanship may have been better too. It may be that older instruments are actually better than newer ones. Then you have to consider that the surviving instruments are rarities which had to survive the decades without being modified, etc. and their value is high in collectibility alone. It probably gives the impression that vintage instruments are mythical in tone and playability when really they could just be middle of the road. Anyway, those are my thoughts but what do I know? I haven't played any real old guitars...
    Last edited by Nathan; 08-07-2011 at 05:59 AM.
    -meedley meedley woooOOOo-

  5. #5
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    I rarely put myself forward as an authority on anything, but I did attend Luthiery school in the early '80s. basically, any wooden instrument, that was built well in the first place, will sound better as it ages. The interesting thing is that at a certain age, they start to not sound any better. They reach their plateau, so to speak, and even start to deteriorate in tonal quality. Some violins and cellos are simply past their prime, and no longer worthy of concert play. Electric guitars have not even existed for a century yet. Qui sait at what age they will peak? (what did SPD just say? who knows?)

    My Heritage Les Paul was an NOS 2007, so it was four years old, but in mint condition. I'm not sure if four years was enough time to make any sort of difference. I owned a '69 goldtop from '78 to '98, and as I improved as a player, I was constantly amazed at how good it sounded. In my heart, I believe it improved in the time I had it. I hope the current owner is enjoying it, and hasn't refinished it, or changed it to full size humbuckers or something like that.
    Sick fuzz & cowboy hats.
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  6. #6
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    As far as babes go, I've known my best friend for only a little over a year. Gentlemen, she looks better every time I see her. She is without a doubt, the most beautiful lady in the world. That being said, there is a picture of her, when she was in her early twenties. Fuggeddaboudit. I don't think it's legal to look that good in all 50 states. Of course there's also a picture of her at roughly 12 or 13, which I'm, ahem, not at liberty to discuss.
    Sick fuzz & cowboy hats.
    http://www.geocities.com/magicfoot04/

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthPhoenixDave View Post
    Qui sait at what age they will peak? (what did SPD just say? who knows?)
    French being my native tongue I know what you meant there

    Kidding aside nice to know my stabilization understanding of wood made sense to a guy with luthery schooling. You shoudl look into to putting those skills to work in a shop close to you... seriously SPD Repairs' Santa Phoenix Dave style of course

  8. #8
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    i just read an iteresting article about rehabing/saving instuments damaged in the floods in Nashville last year...the people involved resoundingly agreed that once the guitars etc were allowed to dry out on their own and repaired they actually sounded BETTER!
    "My son, guitar obssesion is not an ill...it is a blessing. As are the nudy photos...hahaha...Halleluiah" - Reverend Murphy

  9. #9
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    I attended the luthiery school back in about 1981 or so. I am so out of practice with any woodworking type stuff, it's not even funny. I think my problem was that the school was here in Phoenix. Most graduates would leave, and work in other towns. I had to compete against all the guys who graduated and stayed here, throughout the years.
    Sick fuzz & cowboy hats.
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  10. #10

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    Stradivarious violins (stored in museums for example) need to be played regularly to maintain the instrument ... FACT

    I honestly believe that a instrument used regularly will sound 'better' (I have NO scientific proof for this). I have a mid 60's Gibson LG0 (cheapest Gibson at the time) and it has 'opened up' tonally in the four or so years that I have owned it ... my belief is that it had been sourced, cleaned up and restrung by the shop that sold it to me, but the guitar itself had not been played.

    I get upset at large collections of 'Classic Guitars' that are owned, coverted and not played and loved as they deserve.

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