Guitar Making Tip Number 96 is about how older guitars tend to sound better than new guitars. This is mainly because they have been played longer. There is a huge market for older instruments, but new instruments can sound good too. Here is how.
The Book Store is Now Open! Happy Building!
Older Instruments and How Guitars Work
There is a huge market for older instruments, and in general older instruments sound better than new instruments. This is to prevalent that guitar makers look into older construction methods and practices in order to try and create that sound.
Guitar makers started using older finishes, they started using bone nuts and saddles again, and they looked at older faded away body shapes.
This is all in the pursuit of a guitar that sounds like the old beauty that your grandfather had. The one that didn’t look like much, but sounded really good.
With all the research and the changing of methods, guitar makers have forgotten one thing that is really important. Try as you may, you can’t build a new guitar that is already thirty years old…
Free Woodworking Tips Delivered Every Monday! Add Me to the List!
Time and Guitar Making
Time has a wonderful way of making a guitar sound better. As the unit is played, vibrations work their magic. They force the structure to work together better, and almost teach it to vibrate in harmony.
Time also compresses wood cells, and as they dry out and harden over time they also become more capable of transmitting vibration. This increased capacity for passing vibration along is very helpful in making the guitar sound better.
Age is the only traditional way of making the guitar sound better. This is often referred to as being played-in. Playing the guitar works it together better, and makes it so that the guitar sounds better over time.
Attention New Guitar Makers!
Do You Want to Avoid Lots of Beginner Mistakes?
- Worried that a guitar is too big of a project?
- Do you wish there was a way to avoid mistakes?
- Would you like a seasoned guitar maker to show you over a thousand actionable tips to help you get started?
In this book, you will get all of that and more. Learn from the mistakes of others, and avoid the hassle and waste that comes from making lots of mistakes.
In the Book You Will learn:
- How to avoid common mistakes that new guitar makers face in the beginning. This saves you time and money.
- Critical tips and ideas about each part of the guitar, broken down into sections for clarity and depth.
- Easy, Quick Knowledge that comes from knowing what to avoid as you build.
- How to overcome the beginner lack of knowledge, and pull off a great guitar build.
Learn from the Mistakes of Others Instead of Making Your Own!
Simulating Time on a Guitar
There are devices that can help you create that played-in sound right from the beginning, and they are not expensive. There are small units that attach to the guitar and they just play the strings constantly.
The point of the device is to install it, and then allow it to play for several days to several weeks. Since the unit is playing 24/7, the amount of natural playing time that it simulates is substantial.
There are arguments about the effectiveness of devices like this, and though I do not use them, I can see the merits of getting past the initial break-in phase. In the beginning, a guitar will not sound as good as even after a couple days of playing. Using a device like that might get you over the initial break in a little faster.
The Book Store is Now Open! Happy Building!
Guitar Making Tip No. 96 – Wrap Up
Older guitars tend to sound better than new guitars. It’s a fact of life, and it has to do with time and being played. You can do a couple things to a new guitar to give it a head start, but in general time is the only thing that will make your new guitar sound played-in.
I recommend that you enjoy playing the guitar, which should not be a problem since nothing will ever sound as sweet as the guitar you made yourself. If you can’t wait, or you don’t play, then maybe look into a small strumming machine to get you going.
Follow the direction on the strumming machine, and it can simulate the initial aging that guitars go through. The sound will change quite a bit initially, and then more slowly over time.
More From Westfarthing Woodworks
I give away the majority of my woodworking, wood finishing, and guitar making tips, but I also have several books if you want to take the next step.
You can see them in my Book Store, and they are all on Amazon.
Also, if you want to Join the Facebook Group, you can do that as well. We are just starting to grow a fantastic community and I would love for you to be part of it.