Acoustic guitars have proven to the ears of many players – to sound better as they age. The theory that best explains this is – that as the wood in the body ages, it becomes lighter and more responsive and more resonant.
By definition, much like automobiles, guitars and other instruments are usually considered ” vintage ” starting at 25 years old and fully documented and in completely original condition. However, there is much more to the term.
One reason as to why vintage gear, specifically guitars , are more expensive and sought-after, is because of the materials they are made out of. Certain wood builds can allow a guitar to have better sustain, and also make the guitars more consistent in sound, since all the wood was almost identical.
While old guitars improve with age, old strings typically do not. As guitar strings age, tone and intonation are negatively affected by a build up of dirt, sweat, dead skin, and oils found naturally in the fingers. Strings start to sound dull, become difficult to play, and are prone to breakage.
One thing that might explain why older instruments are perceived to sound better is natural selection. In the case of instruments this means that only the instruments which sounded good in the first place ever made it to old age. The good sounding instrument were worthy of expensive repair and restoration efforts.
Refinishing a damaged guitar is sometimes the only way to salvage an otherwise valuable instrument. However, for collector (resale) value the instrument will lose 50% of its value once refinished .
Look for a serial number. Depending on the maker of the guitar , your guitar’s individual serial number may give you a better idea how old the guitar is. On an electric guitar , you’ll typically find the serial number on the back of the guitar body or headstock.
For US instruments, the serial number will start with a letter. That letter indicates the decade. The second character will usually be a number. That number indicates the specific year.
As a general rule, American – made guitars , particularly electrics, are better made and of higher quality. The reason isn’t because Americans are better at making guitars . The main reason is because America uses foreign factories to make the lower priced economy models.
Acoustic guitars sound better as they age because the wood used to construct the soundboard and body of the guitar loses moisture content, becoming lighter, while retaining overall stiffness and strength. As a result the sound board becomes more resonant.
Cheap guitars are made of cheaper materials than more expensive ones. Cheaper guitars use plywood bodies. More expensive guitars are made of more expensive solid woods like rosewood and mahogany. Cheaper guitars also have cheaper paints, lacquers, and finishes.
Online music instrument sales are trending in early 2020 due to current events with COVID-19. The Best Sites to Buy Gear Reverb. Sweetwater. Music Go Round. Ebay. Musician’s Friend. Amazon.
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