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  1. #26

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    I always say, on these matters of tone, and "hearing a diff.": "Some will hear it, some can't, and some don't care to".

    IME, yes, guitars made of wood, will respond to playing them, or them being played. Even my old Stratocaster needed to be "woke" up! After a half hour of playing on it, (because I didn't play it that often) it would respond sweetly.
    Maybe it was the strings loosening up?

    I do allow for my physical and psycho-acoustical responding to guitars, but damn, if you can't hear it or feel it, maybe you should be playing a Steinway.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    BB: Just funnin' :^) I need to get one of those measurement gauges...
    Oh I know, I wasn't offended. i thought a bit of comic grovelling was in order.

    To those above, personally I don't into many of the guitar and amplifier myths/voodoo.

    However guitar tops vibrate in certain ways for certain notes, to produce the instruments sound.
    Couldn't there possibly be some truth to having the top vibrating better in certain ways simply from having done so so much?
    This is an organic material we're talking about here.
    If there was nothing special about wood we might as well make plywood guitars...ooops we do, and they usually sound like it.
    In fact we use quartersawn tight grained slow growth spruce that's grown high on mountain sides, why? Because those who have vast experience claim it sounds better.

  4. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by feet
    First off, I don't know what the hell that thing is, but it looks damn cool. Is it German? Feels that way to me.

    Second, I've heard that this is the case with certain woods, specifically Adirondack/red spruce. In what I've noticed from my red spruce acoustic, it does seem to open and close with time. But that's just my experience.
    Very German. Made by the Arnold Hoyer Company.

  5. #29

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    I set up for a gig and the gears sounds awful. I suffer through the start of the first set.

    By the middle of the second set, it sounds fine and nothing has changed but my perception.

    Clearly, I'm not qualified to judge whether a guitar has "opened up" over a period of years. Or hours.

  6. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by feet
    First off, I don't know what the hell that thing is, but it looks damn cool. Is it German? Feels that way to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by What now?
    Very German. Made by the Arnold Hoyer Company.
    I'd go with "roughly equivalent to an L-5 or a Super 400 in build quality" myself. Arnold did make some rather silly-looking presentation models with more inlaid plastic and nacre, along with other odd appointments, based on the same chassis. The Special is his bang-on pro-level instrument, one of the four or five distinct, high-end, all-carved German archtop designs developed by the best German builders beween the late '40s and the late '60s. Great guitars, IMO.

    As far as guitars "opening up" or not, psycho-acoustic effects and so forth, it's an easy enough experiment to conduct if one has the time and resources. I've never come across any properly conducted studies, but I haven't looked, either.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 09-14-2020 at 02:14 AM.

  7. #31

  8. #32

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    Bought a Taylor 814 first of May. My other flat top is a big ol’ Martin. Curbside pickup first play at home - where’s the bass? 4 months of daily play later the even smooth richness of this box is wonderful. I’ve learned what to listen for and how to get it. Don’t believe the guitar has changed at all.

  9. #33
    Fair enough.
    It looks like some people's opinion is that there is a break in /play in period with guitars and some people's opinion is that there isn't. Neither opinion has any hard science to back up it up. It is all subjective.
    It seems luthiers and builders often feel there is a break in/play in time and I suspect this is something which has existed since quality stringed instruments started being made and played. A Marketing ploy? Or a real insight from people which are very close to instruments conception?

    Interesting

  10. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by What now?
    Fair enough.
    Neither opinion has any hard science to back up it up. It is all subjective.
    That's not how it works. If i state that something is true, i have to prove it. It's not the other way around.

    If a doctor provides you with medication stating 'nobody proved it doesn't work, so good luck', i think you would look someplace else for medical advise.

  11. #35

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    Looks like the people at ToneRite: A Sound Decision believe enough in the 'play in process' to have developed a device to simulate and accelerate it.
    Don't see links on their web site to any scientific studies backing up the effectiveness of the device, but I have seen it in use in stores selling high-end acoustics.
    Does anyone have first hand experience with this device?

  12. #36
    I never stated anything was true

    And there is rarely ONE way all things work, except in some people's minds

    I think if you state something is not true you have an equal obligation to prove it is so

    By the way, that's 'advice' not advise

    Your opinion is so secure in your own mind that you feel you should share it as fact with others and even heap scorn on their views. Personally I haven't come down one way or another.
    I'm curious how you back your claims other than with negative comments.
    Show me YOUR evidence and not just the lack of it.

  13. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel_A
    That's not how it works. If i state that something is true, i have to prove it. It's not the other way around.

    If a doctor provides you with medication stating 'nobody proved it doesn't work, so good luck', i think you would look someplace else for medical advise.
    But comparing this to medicine is not really valid either. Claims about the nature of a musical instrument over time is not the same as suggesting someone ingest a random chemical with the hope that it will treat a specific condition. If you want to compare it to things that are ingested though, look at all the foods we know are safe to eat. People learned that tomatoes are safe to eat because people ate them and were fine. It was through experience, not scientific study. It would be silly to perform a valid study on the safety of ingesting tomatoes. We know it’s safe. This would be a study with no practical benefit to anyone, and very difficult to perform in any valid way. Either you hear it or you don’t. You may be able to develop an ear for the nuances or you may not, just as some can develop highly refined pitch discrimination and others cannot. Either is okay.

    I could make a video of me playing the same guitar over a period of months. I may, as a player, hear the evolution in the sound of the guitar, but that may or may not translate into a video. I could I the same with me playing the guitar twice in the same hour and change any number of things pre-production, during, or post-production and give the impression that its tonal qualities have changed. Something as simple as a slight change in mic placement could cause a significant change. It could even be argued that a change in humidity or atmospheric pressure could cause changes in the frequency response. To make a valid study, all of the tiniest details would have to be controlled. It’s not going to happen and I wouldn’t believe it was proof even if it supported what I believe.

    It’s summer and I’m eating tomatoes every day. They all have subtle differences in flavor, and I’m loving them, no need for a study to back it up. You don’t have to notice the subtleties to enjoy them though.

  14. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by What now?
    I'm curious how you back your claims other than with negative comments.
    Show me YOUR evidence and not just the lack of it.
    Stop being curious. I don't claim anything.
    Again, that's not how it works. Some co-forummers claim there is an audible difference between guitars that are broken in and guitars that are not. Thay claim they hear it. If it's audible it shouldn't be difficult to prove. But there is no prove.
    Untill i see any prove, the claim that a guitar should be broken in is false.
    That's how it works . . . . .

  15. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    It's a continuous benign feed back loop. The guitar "opens up" and the player refines/adapts his/her technique to the instrument to get closer to the tone in his/her head.
    In my opinion.
    When I pull a guitar out of the closet that I haven’t played for a while I often end up liking it more the more I play it, but I think it’s more likely that I’m “opening up” to the guitar than that the guitar’s characteristics are changing.

    On the other hand, I can think of reasons why putting a stored guitar back into use might change its characteristics. If it’s been stored in an environment with a different temperature or humidity, the wood’s moisture content will take some time to find a new equilibrium, possibly affecting how it sounds. If played frequently, the heat of the body might affect the process of finding equilibrium. My archtops go sharp as they warm up, so it’s plausible the wood is adapting in other ways.

    I’m very skeptical that a machine that plucks the strings would produce these effects, and I’m skeptical of anecdotal reports. I doubt the issue will ever be settled until someone can think of a way to do a definitive test. Conceptually, one could do a double-blind experiment with two identical guitars, one which has been in storage and the other that has been “broken in” by a plucking device. But there would be so many variables to control (including trying to construct two archtops that are truly identical!) it’s unlikely we’ll ever have that data. Until we do, I’ll continue to be skeptical and will just enjoy the process of enjoying a guitar the more I play it.

  16. #40

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    I wish I knew how a guitar opens up. I have always heard about this but never put it to the test.

    I hear that the wood fibers mechanically wear in and vibrate more readily. Maybe this can happen in an acoustic. I can see that. But I've heard people claim their Teles and LPs have opened up. Either they have dog ears or its due to improved skill, changes in the strings, or perhaps the speaker.

  17. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP
    When I pull a guitar out of the closet that I haven’t played for a while I often end up liking it more the more I play it, but I think it’s more likely that I’m “opening up” to the guitar than that the guitar’s characteristics are changing.

    On the other hand, I can think of reasons why putting a stored guitar back into use might change its characteristics. If it’s been stored in an environment with a different temperature or humidity, the wood’s moisture content will take some time to find a new equilibrium, possibly affecting how it sounds. If played frequently, the heat of the body might affect the process of finding equilibrium. My archtops go sharp as they warm up, so it’s plausible the wood is adapting in other ways.

    I’m very skeptical that a machine that plucks the strings would produce these effects, and I’m skeptical of anecdotal reports. I doubt the issue will ever be settled until someone can think of a way to do a definitive test. Conceptually, one could do a double-blind experiment with two identical guitars, one which has been in storage and the other that has been “broken in” by a plucking device. But there would be so many variables to control (including trying to construct two archtops that are truly identical!) it’s unlikely we’ll ever have that data. Until we do, I’ll continue to be skeptical and will just enjoy the process of enjoying a guitar the more I play it.
    Hi Kirk,

    Love your non-crazy posts.

    I would maybe take out the need for a double-blind test. An objective measurement of a consistently plucked string can include the awareness of the guitar and the person running the test (but not plucking the string of course) with no fear of an effect of the result.

    If you check the pressure on your car tires, you do not need a double-blind test. Both the tire and the tester can be aware of the test with no change in the result.

    ****

    I completely understand the deep need of some to believe that some things matter, especially those things that they can control.

    So go ahead and “play in” or “play back in” your guitars.

    They need your attention to sound their best. (Which of course is absolutely true, just not in the way “playing in” is described to work.)

  18. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel_A
    Stop being curious. I don't claim anything.
    Again, that's not how it works. Some co-forummers claim there is an audible difference between guitars that are broken in and guitars that are not. Thay claim they hear it. If it's audible it shouldn't be difficult to prove. But there is no prove.
    Untill i see any prove, the claim that a guitar should be broken in is false.
    That's how it works . . . . .
    You claim "That's how it works"

    Show me the rules.


    For future reference, it's 'proof', not 'prove'
    For example: "difficult to prove. But there is no 'proof' "

  19. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by What now?
    But there is no 'proof' "
    Exactly.

  20. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel_A
    Really, hundreds of guitars? How did that work? All new guitars that you personally broke in? What number are we talking about? 600? 700?
    You lost this one already. All you're proving is that you have no ears.

  21. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel_A
    developing guitars. guitars opening up? i don't know. mumbo jumbo.
    The relevant words: "I don't know.".

  22. #46

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    A search for 'Tonerite' in the forum, brings up this interesting thread from 2013 where a forum member attempted to measure improvements from using the device to 'play in' a new Eastman 604 acoustic archtop.

    Measuring Sustain on a New Eastman 604 Before and After Tonerite Treatment

  23. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz
    Certainly is the case on spruce-topped classical guitars: they develop over the first year or two of playing, but will close up a bit if left alone for a few months or more, only to open up with a few days of playing. Ne reason to think that arch tops would behave differently.
    This exactly matches my experience with nylon string classical and flamenco guitars, at least with sensitive lightly-built guitars.

    Its difficult to hear the development over a few years unless you have a recording.

    Re the opening-up after a few days of playing after being left alone for a long time: the initial half to one hour of playing will get the guitar halfway to being “open”. The change in tone is subtle, but noticable over the space of an hour. But as ronjazz says, it will take a few days of playing to fully open.

    I can’t comment on other types of guitars.

    PS. I am an engineer by training and have a reasonable grasp of acoustics and how guitars produce sound, but the science behind this phenomena is a mystery to me.

  24. #48

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    This is not a new discussion here but one that has real significance to Classical and Jazz guitarists. Let me say that anything made from organic materials is susceptible to moisture and has the scientific ability on a micro and macro level to monitor these changes. A guitar with a high moisture content has a different sound than one with a moderate or low moisture content. Anyone who has played an acoustic guitar through varying humidities has experienced this phenomena and its real effects on the wood and sound.
    Secondly, wood, unlike brass or silver instruments(saxes, trumpets, flutes, etc.), being an organic substance that is created by the addition of rings to a tree on a yearly basis, is not uniform on a molecular level since the absence or presence of heat, moisture, atmospheric conditions effects individual and multiple layers of growth. Therefore, all tonewoods that come from different areas and different trees sound DIFFERENT. Just ask any experienced luthier why tonewoods are graded just like olympic divers and their costs vary significantly. Ergo, why some handmade Classical guitars cost 20-30K and as little as 3-4K from the same luthier. Its the materials not just the build.
    Also, for the sailors among us who have ever sailed a wooden sailboat, its characteristics and motion at sea are completely different from fiberglass, metal and ferrocement boats. They leak, they change structurally daily, yet have a motion at sea that that reflects their organic composition and is immediately recognizable among experienced sailors. They are truly malleable.
    So, when we talk about guitars opening up acoustically or morphing when played over a period of time, we are not hallucinating but rather experiencing the vagaries and malleability of of an instrument made with living, breathing, organic materials. I count as my friends two world class luthiers and countless professional cellists, violinists and Classical guitarists who know this is true. Perhaps, we, as a group, are delusional . . . or perhaps, its really true. I belong to the second group and have experienced the good, bad, and the ugly among many individual guitars.
    Guitars ,as all wooden instruments, experience change. Period.

    Play live . . . Marinero

  25. #49

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    Nobody denies that a guitar is made of wood. It's very plausable that a guitar sounds different under different circumstances (that's what you say basically) and that a different piece of wood sounds slightly different.
    Last edited by Marcel_A; 09-23-2020 at 02:41 PM.

  26. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel_A
    Nobody denies that a guitar is made of wood. It's very plausable that a guitar sounds different under different circumstances (that's what you say basically) and that a different piece of wood sounds slightly different.
    Hi, M,
    And, that there are real quantifiable changes in its morphology that relate to an individual instrument's sound over time . . . Play live . . . Marinero