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 light woods as in, Cedar open up faster then
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 to 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 its 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.
Haywire Custom Guitars-Acoustic Guitar Maintenance and Repair
Acoustic Guitar Repairs & Maintenance: the following operations will be performed and more upon request for your guitar:
Fret leveling and re-fret work
Fret edge dress
Full guitar Setup
Partial or full fret level
Partial or full re-fret
Glue and affix any loose frets
Full Acoustic Guitar Setup, repair or replace damaged tuning gears, intonation set and tuners lubricated
Repair and build Saddles, grind and lower
Surface-mount bridges and guitar neck truss rod adjustment
Lower string action for ease of playing and reduce hand stress
Add new strings per specs or by request
Broken headstocks and damaged guitars repaired here as well as:
4, 5 & 6-String bass guitars
Banjo or ukulele, mandolin, violin, dulcimers and many other stringed instruments setup and adjusted here.
Acoustic Custom made saddle with compensation
Arch-top guitars repaired and setup
Guitar neck adjustments
Output jacks added, replaced or repaired
Install new under saddle or contact pickup with end-pin jack
Add or check floating bridge pickup for mandolin or arch-top guitar
Replace, if necessary, sound hole pickup with end-pin jack
Install new self-stick acoustic pickguard or tap plates
Geared tuner replacement
Banjo 5th string tuner
Install new strap button or strap-lock
Dowel and re-drill loose strap button
Broken head-stock minor
Neck reset (Bolt on with glued extension)
Minor crack repair in top back or side
Bridge removal and re-glue
Glue cracked bridge
Re-glue detached brace
In addition, we perform: Acoustic and Electric guitars and… Truss rod adjustments, Guitar Tune-ups, Repairs on electric and acoustic guitars, New guitar pickups, Guitar pickup coil tap switches installed, Treble Bleed circuits for your guitar, Electronics repair, Guitar Neck Shaving and straightening, Guitar neck Re-fretting and fret leveling, Guitar fret re-crowning, Fret polishing, Replacement tuners, add locking tuners, Light weight guitars, lightweight replacement parts, Intonation settings, Adding guitar strings, Re-building your guitar, Modify your Guitar, lower action on guitars, Guitar finishes, Refurbished guitars, Heavy body replacements with light ones, Replace old heavy electric guitar bodies with new and/or lighter weight ones, Adjustments while you wait, Custom guitar knob placement, custom pots and capacitors, treble bleed circuits and SRV pickups. We have great playing used and new guitars, Custom built guitars, Guitar trade-ins, Guitar neck straightening, Guitar neck replacement, Guitar neck reshaping, thinning, shaving a guitar neck and/or re-profiling your guitar neck.
When dealing with an acoustic guitar electronics problem, we’ll need to know if it has an onboard EQ. This will bring three key components into play: the battery, pickup and the volume knob.
Have you ever heard a guitar and thought “that doesn’t sound right but I’m not sure why?” Have you ever watched all guitarist tune to the same tuner, but one guitar just doesn’t sound right? It’s an “Intonation” issue. Could be old strings but doubtful. No worries, we’ll check and adjust it for you as well as any other problems with the bridge, truss rod, tuners, nut and frets.
We’ll get everything working together just right for you. Remember: your guitar needs to be in perfect tune when you’re going to perform with others.