Broken-in resonance?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by PaulS2, May 19, 2008.

  1. PaulS2

    PaulS2 Member

    Messages:
    246
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    I'm a fan of guitars which are broken-in and where everything vibrates together - a smooth rich resonance which comes across acoustically and through the pick-ups. The guitar vibrates as one.

    I've only found this on well-played guitars ....and which have been played for 10-15 years. I've been playing for about 4 years so there is much for me to see and learn.

    So the question is.....this smooth played-in resonance - can it be built into guitars? Are there builder who can capture this sort of 'everything vibrating together' feel or is it just something which comes from playing a guitar over and over again...and eventually it sounds and plays as one?

    I've picked up many custom shop LPs and PRSi and can feel that potential there which will materialize in a a number of years of playing but none having that feel right from the start.

    So, am I just not picking up and playing the 'right' guitars or is this the way it is......in about 10 or 15 years of steady playing the wood will finally soften up a little and be broken-in?

    By the way, I'm not refering to the reliced finish which can be bought from Fender.

    Thanks...your opinion and experience is valued and appreciated.
     
  2. Trebor Renkluaf

    Trebor Renkluaf I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse? Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,960
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    InSaneDiego
    I know of accoustic guys who set their gutiars in front of their stereo speakers (when they're not playing) so that the music vibrates the gutiars. I even heard of one guy taping hiw guitar to the speaker and letting it rip!

    I think the better builder are picky about their wood selection, and can use techniques that make the gutiar feel like it's been played on. That said I think all will agree that there is no substitue for actuall playing time to get a gutiar to open up.
     
  3. PaulS2

    PaulS2 Member

    Messages:
    246
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    I've seen a few threads about bombarding a guitar with selective soundwaves to smoothen everything out.

    I have picked up many guitars off the rack and found them to be hard, harsh and completely uninspiring to play.....they sound like many pieces stuck together and fighting each other.

    I can't be the only one who has quickly put down guitars because they lack that sort of resonance and richness in tone - you would think that some attention from manufacturers has been put into this area. There has to be a way to get new guitars working like a broken-in one ....even a little more than 'off the rack' stiffness.
     
  4. c_mac

    c_mac Member

    Messages:
    3,667
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    Iowa
    Ummmm...........yeah.
     
  5. sinner

    sinner Member

    Messages:
    3,686
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Location:
    The Expanse
    Some builders who choose to and are able to, may use "old growth" wood that may have different tonal properties than newly harvested wood.

    Others think special treatments to the wood, like cryogenic chambers that subject the wood to negative 200 degrees cold then slowly back up to +90 a few times to trap moisture molecules inside could add some mojo tonalities to the newer wood.

    I understand your original post to also mean "all the parts of a guitar vibrating together" including the metal parts, but IMO if the wood is good just playing the thing constantly for a couple of months really helps.

    Regarding the "Fender relic finish" you also mentioned: I personally wouldn't underplay the contribution that psychology adds to the tonal equation--that and feel, albeit artificial.

    That being said, I do own a hand built replica guitar that was subjected to the above mentioned cryogenic treatments. I am a believer. This guitar has a tone in the wood I've not felt before, except from my real vintage pieces. But, who knows for sure--maybe this one is just a good one.
     
  6. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

    Messages:
    25,245
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Location:
    Canada-GTA
    I think there is a difference in even 1 year's worth of fairly regular playing.
    Why? I dunno...maybe it's the player getting used to the guitar a bit, too.
     
  7. oscar100

    oscar100 Member

    Messages:
    1,290
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2004
    Location:
    london UK
    not necesaarily - if the woods are right - rings right out of teh box

    but obviously teh more woods get to gel together the better they ought to sound:agree
     
  8. DavidH

    DavidH Member

    Messages:
    2,365
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    It's as much of a feel than actual tone that vintage solid bodies can have,i think of it as 'sag' in the wood,it justs resonates deeply and completely,in unison,in a satisfying way and i liken it to the sag of a tube rectified amp compared to a stiffer,SS rectified one(that would be the new gtr with the thick finish).

    I have no idea how you get it,i suspect it's just the density of the wood and having a finish that doesn't choke the guitar.

    I have a new guitar that does this in spades,so it's entirely possible.it feels and resonates like a vintage guitar,feels awesome.it's a collings 290,fwiw,just 2 stellar bit's of mahogany (body/neck),of the right density vibrating together in some kind of harmony,thin finish,i dunno,as an object it's just kind of 'tuned' to resonate together.i wish all my guitars did it.i stupidly sold a vintage fender that had the same quality.
     
  9. PaulS2

    PaulS2 Member

    Messages:
    246
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    I'm following you.....completely agree on your description and the qualities you mention.

    I WANT YOUR GUITAR!!:)

    Good to know it can be found in a new guitar....I wonder if builders can predict this sort of thing to happen or is it just a nice accident.

    I want to believe there is some science/methodology to this which can be used to predictably achieve this result.
     
  10. Trebor Renkluaf

    Trebor Renkluaf I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse? Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,960
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    InSaneDiego
    Well I agree that a good guitar will sound good right out of the box, but it will only improve with age and use (and propper care).

    I know more than one luthier who would say if you could take two identical gutiars (yeah I know impossible, but for the sake of the argument let's say it is).. put one in a time capsule... play the **** out of the other... compare them 20 years later... the one that was played on would absolutely, positively without a doubt sound better. I agree 100%.
     
  11. sumlin

    sumlin Member

    Messages:
    401
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    There's something in the lack of finish on older guitars. I have a 73 Tele and so does my friend. Mine has a thin Mocha finish and has worn to the wood in lots of places. His has a black finish, has a couple of dings but basically is in good shape. His weighs what seems like twice as much as mine and has a much more dense and clipped sound to it.
    There's a theory about the air getting in and drying the wood out when the finish gets chipped away.
    I'd smell BS on that one were it not for seeing (hearing) the difference myself...
    So, strip the paint off...
     
  12. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

    Messages:
    25,245
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Location:
    Canada-GTA
     
  13. jeffwith1f

    jeffwith1f Member

    Messages:
    3,814
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I have had my SG generally tuned to DADGAD for at least a decade now.
    It may be a load of hooey, but the instrument sounds like god in DADGAD now, when I put it in Standard..meh.
     

Share This Page