What Happens to your acoustic guitars as they age?
Certain things in life don’t happen over a finite time period, and an aging guitar “opening up” is one of them.
It has been told over the years by musicians that acoustic guitars sound better with age.
They say, the wood experiences change at a cellular level which stabilizes the guitar and makes it less
susceptible to atmospheric and humidity fluctuation.
This “waking up” results in an improvement of the “frequency response” and maturity of the guitar
which results in “opening up” of a more musical sound.
What happens to an aging guitar?
At Haywire Custom Guitars, we feel the key is to play it! You can own a guitar for many years and not play it
therefore, it may not “open up” for you. Some woods as in, Cedar open up faster than Spruce. You’ll get a warm aged sound sooner with a Cedar top guitar.
You can put your guitar on a stand in front of a stereo speaker and play music close
to it and it’ll vibrate the wood as if you were playing it. That will help it “wake up” faster.
Many factors are at work: First, wood gets drier as it ages, causing wood cells become more prone to
tonal clarity. Second, playing a guitar vibrates the top, and the more this occurs, the more tones
“unlock” it across its entire body. A guitar that’s played a lot will have a more “responsive” sound
than one that sits in the case.
How long does it take for my aging guitar to “wake up” ?
How long does it take for a guitar to open up? How long does it take to age wine?
It’s possible a guitar will ever stop opening up, so long as it’s played and taken care of properly.
Your guitar will sound better in ten years than it did the day you bought it, and will
sound better in fifty years than it did at ten years. The more a guitar is played, the faster it “wakes up”
and subsequently “opens up” to it’s best possible sound.
Why Do Older Aging Guitars Sound Better?
Aging guitars often sound better than newer ones as they dry out over time which causes them to become
more resonant tone with better sustain. The increase in age affects the tone more in
acoustic guitars than electric ones. There is little “scientific proof” that guitars change tonally with age.
But then, just ask an older experienced musician and that is all the proof you need.