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Aged timber tone

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by aussie_gear_maestro, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. aussie_gear_maestro

    aussie_gear_maestro Member

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    Hi I got an American Strat for my birthday 16 years ago and I have to say I'm noticing a huge difference in tone in comparison to when it was new. Has anyone noticed a positive change in tone due to the aging effect of the guitar timbe???.

    Mine has really mellowed out and really warmed up.
     
  2. JRzoidz

    JRzoidz Member

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    I had played a Nice Highway one Years back...Had a Nice Neck. But Pickups left to be Desired...



    Working on the Beater...Did the BEAUTY hardware Work...Inserts/Studs all of it. Sounds Gorgeous for what it is. Jackson and Kramer is PROUD of that SHITT Budy Lol.
     
  3. Jack Frost

    Jack Frost Member

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    You can remember how something sounded 16 years ago??? Your ears will have changed more in that time than the guitar!
     
  4. freedomspec

    freedomspec Member

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    I remember my rig sounding and feeling awesome when I was 21. Those guitars were a rusty, poorly set up Peavy Tracer and an equally badly set up stock Epiphone Les Paul through a Crate GX60.

    I have band recordings. They didn't sound great at all. Not until I discovered a 60's valve amp and happened to also discover the Tubescreamer pedal, and finding that if I pushed the amp as hard as possible and backed off on the TS gain I could get a nice sound did I start to get an actual nice tone. My discovery into tone has continued and my rig sounds infinitely better now.

    I remember lots of things from when I was a kid as being awesome. Some things are better off left as memories. :)
     
    LordByron likes this.
  5. aussie_gear_maestro

    aussie_gear_maestro Member

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    This post was about the aging effects on guitar timber... For instance some people claim a 1960s Strats wood has mellowed Alot in comparison to new strats among other variables.

    I can honestly say mine has mellowed or warmed up in tone a lot in the last 16 years.
     
  6. Jack Frost

    Jack Frost Member

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    No you can't honestly say that at all! You can say you think it has changed, but how well can you really remember a sound? And even if it does sound different, is it the strings? The amp? The electronics? Your ears? Your pick? Your technique? All of those are more likely to result in a different sound than some piece of dried lacquered wood somwhow magically changing its properties.
     
  7. cutaway

    cutaway Supporting Member

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    Plus there’s no such thing as better tone. There is only different.
     
    Urobouros likes this.
  8. rkharper

    rkharper Member

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    sorry no.

    most probably your hearing has "mellowed out" (also know as partial
    hearing loss).
     
    Rhythm Rocker likes this.
  9. Drewski

    Drewski Supporting Member

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    Youve lost high end hearing over the last 16 years.
     
    sahhas, Benz2112, cutaway and 2 others like this.
  10. MKB

    MKB Silver Supporting Member

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    IMHO most of the appeal of 50s guitars in the 70s and 80s was they were clearly better than what the big manufacturers were making at that time. But these days the big manufacturers have learned their lessons, and you can get guitars built as close to the 50s icons as possible with current materials.

    Some of the older instruments have clearly superior wood; a late 50s LP Special I had was extremely light and had amazing tone, and the fingerboard was gorgeous Brazilian rosewood. It sounded amazing in 1990; but did it sound just as good in 1960?

    I have a 1990 PRS Custom with 10 top and birds, one of the last with a BR fingerboard. I bought the guitar in 1991 and have owned it the entire time. I honestly have not heard any improvement in its tone over the years. It sounds the same as when I bought it from all indications.

    I suspect electric guitars' tone does not change that much over the years, they sound much as they did after leaving the factory. However there can be an improvement in acoustic guitars if they are played a lot over the years, especially ones that are built "tight" like many older Taylors.
     
  11. Benz2112

    Benz2112 Supporting Member

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    You probably started plugging in your guitar cable in the correct direction, probably contributed to the warmth you are hearing.
     
    dwoverdrive likes this.
  12. cutaway

    cutaway Supporting Member

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    but you're trying to convince us that you remember what your guitar sounded like almost two decades ago. you can warm up the tone on your guitar with a simple turn of a knob or playing with thicker picks.
     
    willyboy likes this.
  13. GGinMP

    GGinMP Supporting Member

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    Maybe pickup magnets soften and change tone more than the wood?
     
  14. cutaway

    cutaway Supporting Member

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    these old guitar threads are weird to me. when a guitar's tone changes, it's always, always, always better. i've never seen one thread where as a guitar aged the tone changed and it sounded worse. surely it's happened. you bought a guitar and were stoked with the tone and as it aged, where'd that tone i so loved go?
     
    stonem and willyboy like this.
  15. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    I think the effect of age is a lot more audible with acoustic guitars than electrics. Someone once put it really well to me - "It takes a while for the wood to forget that it was a tree". I think being played in matters a lot, too... vibration settling the wood, or something. I have a 1984-vintage acoustic guitar that I got less than two years ago, that was basically mint and unplayed. I play it a lot, and I feel certain its tone has changed significantly since then - it's getting broken in.

    Some of it is how the wood is dried, too. Manufacturers are getting into this with torrefied tops, which simulates many years of in-instrument drying. I've played a couple of Martin 1939 Authentic D-18s (or whatever it is they call them) with torrefied tops, and they're amazing. In a room with excellent vintage Martins, one held its own with guitars 60-70 years old. Most new acoustics, even expensive ones, sound harsh and one-dimensional to me, compared to vintage guitars. But the ones built to simulate the effects of aging don't have that problem. Even cheap Chinese-made Ibanez with torrefied tops sound great.
     
  16. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    I've had guitars go through "awkward phases" lasting several years, before they started sounding good again.
     
  17. cutaway

    cutaway Supporting Member

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    This is TGP man. You're not supposed to keep a guitar more than a few months before the next best thing comes along. Sell and buy. Name of the game.

    Just me? No?
     
    kludge likes this.
  18. teleluvver

    teleluvver Supporting Member

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    People may seem harsh in their responses, but think about these things:
    1. Are you the exact same player in experience and skill that you were 16 years ago? I once owned a ‘57 Tele and a cherry 1965 Deluxe Reverb, and I didn’t like the tone. Now I look back and could kick myself for selling them; it was due to my lack of experience and skill that kept me from producing the tones I wanted. My gear was bigger than my ability.
    2. Unless you can quantitatively compare what you’re hearing now to what you were hearing 16 years ago (like with high quality measurements of acoustic sustain or “warmth”), it’s hard to say if the guitar has changed
    3. Are pickups original? If so, they now have 16 years of age. If not, that’s another big level of variation.

    Your guitar may have aged nicely and improved in tone, but IMO it’s difficult to say.
     
    kludge and cutaway like this.
  19. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    I think comparing new guitars to vintage guitars is a much better comparison. The point that we don't truly remember what a given guitar sounded like years ago is true, but we do know and can directly compare older guitars to otherwise "identical" new guitars, and that definitely supports the contention that guitars tend to improve with age, at least to my ears.
     
  20. rollyfoster

    rollyfoster Supporting Member

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    unless it's with the exact same gear with the exact same settings it's not really possible to make that kind of assessment. Even if nothing changed in the signal path you'd need a recording to reference a sound that occurred 16 minutes ago, let alone 16 years.

    Pickups lose magnetism, different strings, same amp? then the speaker is definitely different than it was 16 years ago, etc...

    If it were an acoustic guitar it might be a different story.
     
    cutaway likes this.

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