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So, do guitars get better the more you play them?

2020jan08

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,784
To me it feels that way. Or is the brain playing tricks on me, and I'm just adapting to the guitar?

Or, is it both?
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
3,348
Fret ware is first thing that comes to mind which essentially gets worse the more the frets are played

the age of the resin in wood can equal better sound (I believe this to be true)... it takes 20 years for the resin to begin to sound great. That’s why companies like Yamaha invented wood ageing techniques...but that concept is age related, not because of the instrument being played

So, I would vote no to your question:)
 

Sociophile

"Ignore" Button Aficionado
Messages
2,047
This has come up a couple times before, and unfortunately, in true TGP fashion, often becomes an argument. There is a little bit of actual research out there on acoustic instruments that suggests “no, they don’t,” but I certainly feel like a couple of my electrics became more resonant and better playing/sounding over the years as they settled in. YMMV!
 

98G2PRU

Member
Messages
500
Yes they get better with playing. Play wear smooths out the frets and lubes the board. The guitar settles in over time. The tone mellows. New guitars need a little time and TLC. I usually tweak the setup a few times in the first year of a new guitar. Once they settle in they usually stay that way for years.

+
 

techjunky

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
363
I rarely own a guitar long enough for it to improve in the sense that wood dries out, things wear in, frets wear down, etc. But I do think they feel better because I get more familiar and comfortable, muscle memory sets in and things start to feel natural. The transition between honeymoon period/"I love this guitar because it's new" to old friend/"I love this guitar because it does what I want" is such a great feeling.
 

Sociophile

"Ignore" Button Aficionado
Messages
2,047
I think the effects of aging on wood are pretty well accepted, and will happen whether you play the instrument during that century of aging or not. Does the act of “playing” a guitar more make it sound better?
 

shupe13

Senior Member
Messages
1,244
I fully believe that there is a "break in" period. I feel that is the time the guitar settles. Setup, tunings, environment... then comes wear and familiarity of the instrument.

I have one guitar that I've owned for over 20 years and it's just that.
 

wraub

Member
Messages
190
I'm currently plaving my first new guitar in ages, and have noticed the frets and fingerboard inlays feeling smoother and easier to play on.
I can't say if it's improved the sound... I'll get back to you in a while.
 

jvin248

Member
Messages
5,837
.

Put new strings on your old guitar.

Now it sounds a lot better.

Try it. The improvement must be the aged resins in the wood. It's gotta be that. It's not very romantic if change is due to something as superficial as you know how to play better now than twenty years ago.

.
 

milli vanilli

Member
Messages
4,947
I think the more you play one the better the feel the player has for the guitar and as a result it seems to play better, and when you play better it’s easier to get the sounds you are after. There’s no secret formula...practice. That’s the magic. Results follow.
 

musicman1

Member
Messages
4,242
The more you play them the more you become used to them. Also the more you tweak them the more they continue to become better in the tactical sense. I don’t think they necessarily get better sounding with age but sweat, dirt, tweaking and wear and tear do affect them.
 




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