Do Guitars Get Better With Age? If you asked guitarists what they think a 40-year-old Martin guitar would sound better than any current model they have, you will be surprised by the huge uproar and overwhelming agreement they will give you. While taking into consideration the brand name and model, the age of any guitar is appealing to any guitarist.
A Must-Read: Best 12 String Guitar Under $2000
The simplest explanation on why guitar sounds better with age is because of the wood itself that used to construct the body, namely the soundboard or top wood. If you look into the science of it, as wood matured it typically loses moisture becoming lighter while still has the stiffness properties, as a result, the soundboard becomes more resonant. These are some factors that contribute to why guitars get better with age.
Scientifically, guitars tend to sound better in low humidity environments. This is one of the reasons why a lot of guitar collectors used humidifiers to maintain a great consistency of the materials used to the storage of high-end guitars. When the environment becomes wet, it loses a certain degree of responsiveness and clarity, and it gives you a muddy sound. While on the other side, if it was stored in low moisture, the material tends to crack. So overall, finding the perfect balance of temperature to store an old guitar will be quite risky because of the damage.
Older Timber Becomes More Resonant
The soundboard is important to project the sound coming from the strings of the guitar. The more rigid yet thin the wood is used for the soundboard, the more resonance, volume, and sustainability of the guitar can get.
Naturally, woods tend to lose a degree of moisture with age, resulting in loss of mass, however wood tends to maintain its strength despite the moisture loss. Sap contained within also becomes harder that contributes to the stiffness of the timber, this results in the guitar’s soundboard to vibrate more with a good amount of frequencies even though it lost most of its weight.
While the weight and stiffness of the soundboard are such huge factors that help older guitar sounds better, there are also some additional factors to consider that contribute to this aspect, it is the manufacturing process.
The fact is, as many of the guitars now being manufactured using Computer Numerical Control, which is commonly known as CNC, This becomes evident when CNC took over the world in creating electric guitars for shaping the body and neck. It may not be as extensive when it comes to building guitars, it is less craftsmanship applied.
While these factors may come off as anecdotal, you can’t deny the fact that most of them are hereby tested by science and more or less taken as fact that guitars do sound better with age for reasons. Unless you’re keen on investing in antique guitars or just willing to wait when the time comes, it’s good to know that some things do get better with age.