Do Guitars Sound Better With Age? Do acoustic guitars really sound better with age?
And if they so sound better with age, then why?
And what advice is there to finding a guitar that age's well over the years?
And if you bought a new guitar today, which guitar will sound the best 30 years form now?
These questions and more on how guitars age are always on the mind, of guitar buyers everyday.
The truth though is a little complicated.
Many times a guitar that is brand new, will sound a lot better than a guitar 20 years old or older, even if the older guitar cost more years ago.
And there are many reasons why !!
There's a lot to consider when purchasing a new guitar or an older guitar that has aged.
First thing to notice about an old guitar is the neck straight? are the old frets worn out?
Is there any cracks in the guitar?
Are there any buzzes coming from the guitar electronics or the bindings...yes I said Bindings, they can become unglued also.
Even if a guitar cost $2000.00 30 years ago, and even though the wood has aged to perfection, the guitar could sound bad, because the frets could be so worn out that it causes, not only buzzing problems where the frets bottom out, but also if the frets have become to low, the strings can slightly touch other frets while being played, this cause inharmonic balance.
Here's an Example, take any string, lets say you press down on a worn out fretted area on the 5 fret on the neck of the guitar, but if the string is now too low from a woen fret,and if it buzzes a little across the 6th or 7th frets ....... even if it does this slightly the guitar will sound out of tune as you go up the neck of the guitar.
Now take into consideration, that other frets are worn over the years also, then the problem can become huge.
This can happen to the best Martin Guitars,The Best Taylor Guitars,or the Best Guitars made from any top guitar manufacture or custom guitars.
The only way to fix this problem, is to have the whole neck re-fretted and have the frets sized down by a professional guitar craftsman or repairman who you trust .
If the frets on an old guitar are in great shape, then here's the order of Older Guitar Brands That sound best in my opinion. The list is below this article !!
First before we get to the list........ I'd like to say Ovation Guitars, where once the number 1 guitar in studios back in the 1980's
But over the years, other guitar builders started rumors, because of Ovations rounded back guitars out sold many of the major brands for years.
Back in those days if you didn't own an Ovation you just weren't with it?
If you went into the best studio's back in the 80's and didn't own an Ovation, chances were that you'd have to find one or buy an Ovation to record with.
Most studio's required all their studio studio musicians to own an Ovation Deep Bowl Legend.
Over the years.......from the late 60's till today....Ovation Kept making the expensive Pro guitars at the $1650.00 to $2,400.00 range.
But Ovation also realized there was a whole group of people who couldn't afford a professional Ovation, but wanted an Ovation Guitar still......because of this Ovation made and sold tons of Shallow back cheap guitars in the price range of $350.00...... but as the cheaper guitar market grew,so did the wise cracks about Ovation being made of Tupperware or the only good thing an Ovation is used for, is floating as a boat on a lake !
Yes, these rumors where started by other builders in the guitar industry.
They waited till the moment was right to ruin Ovations rep!
Lets Face it Ovation was so huge back then, they seemed un-stop-able !!...yesssss this is true.
Today, most young people won't even look at an Ovation Guitar, it's sad, if they only knew how much better they'd sound playing a true $2000.00 Ovation Legend, it could change there lives forever !!
So What Does An Ovation Guitar Have !!
Ovations Top Guitars - have the fastest necks in the world bar none, they were the first to create an acoustic guitar with electronics that sounded like a real acoustic guitar when you plugged it in to an amp or sound system.
Ovations are solid built guitars, the new Ovations come with 2 trust rods in the neck, they are so light, you'd think you're holding a dream guitar. And they play smooth as silk.
The Older Guitar made by Ovation are somewhat heavier, but don't let that scare you away, these older Ovation Legends are some of the best sounding guitars ever made. And wow, do they get better with age.
Today's Ovations Have the best electronic's on the pro guitars of any guitar on the market, infact there electronics are so much better today on the new guitars, than the old guitars they made.
Yet on the other hand, when you own an old Ovation, like the one I own, the unplugged sound is so sweet, and true, there are no dead spots on the guitar,the neck is lighting fast.
And get this.......it's the top of the guitar that vibrates and creates 98% of the sound, the sides and the back don't come in to play except for, a deeper back, holds in more sound and movement of air as the guitar breathes.
So how can we prove Ovations age over the years?...well my old Ovation has been recorded in studio's for many years, my frets have been reconditioned because they were worn, but, now the sound is so far ahead of the old Martin guitars from the same era that I have played.
Right now I could take my old Ovation Legned 1717 Deep Bowl and stack it up against any old Martin Guitar from as far back as the 1940's , and it would shock the life out of people.
So yes the top on the Ovation aged very well.
Also the older Ovations weigh a couple pounds more than the newer lighter models, yet the sound on these Old Ovations are light years ahead of other brands of guitars that are the same age.
I also Own Other Newer Ovation Guitars,but I own only the professional Ovation Legend Models.
I do not own the cheaper Ovations, Infact Martin Makes a few Cheap Guitars also. And they don't have the sound of a great Martin Guitar. Taylor does the same thing, it's just that rumors have been created to destroy Ovation Guitars, which is a cheap shot.
If you listen to an Old Ovation Legend , you'll find a real great sounding guitar.
And once you hear that sound you'll never forget.
You'll never find a guitar with better balance tone from all the strings.
Anyways I own and love the Newer Ovation 1777 Legend , and it may be the best sounding acoustic guitar plugged in the world today.
I purchased this guitar 4 years ago, and it's starting to age beautifully in tone.
I purchased the 1777 Ovation Legend Guitar ..... because I knew, that as the guitar aged, this guitar would be of great value to me,many years down the road and I need another guitar to last another 30 to 40 years. So I purchased this guitar to be my main guitar in a few years in concerts. Till then I will use the Older Ovation, but the new one is AWESOME !!
When I purchased the newer Ovation brand new, I went into the best guitar stores and played the best Martins costing over $3500.00 and the best Taylor guitars, I was truely looking for the best guitar on the market, I have to say, my over all veiw of the guitars, was the sound of the guitar, the speed of the guitar necks, how the guitars felt,and which guitar brought me the most joy, not to mention that I checked out electronics.
Any ways, when I stacked up over 25 to 30 of the best guitars on the market, all I could think about was that new Ovation Legend 1777 Guitar....wow she was on on my mind, so I made the purchase a few days later.
I have already used it in recording.....check out my gospel song called - On Easter Morning, people love that acoustic song so much that they purchase it 24/7 infact it's on ringtones and used by many others today also.
Still people can joke about Ovation and thats sad, it's the best looking guitar and sounds as good as the best on the market today, in my opinion no guitar can come close to it !!
So.......... here's my picks below.
1.) Ovation Legend 1717 Models - the Professional Deep Bowl Guitars from 1970's to 1985 are my pick as the best guitar that age's in it class.
2.) Martin Top End Guitars
3.) Taylor Guitars
4.) Gibson Guitars
They Best Way To Age a New Guitar
Hey buddy, don't keep that guitar locked up in a case for the next 20 years,waiting for it to age.
Guitars that are played the most, have the best aged wood.
The vibrations, loosing up the guitar bring forth a better sounding and deep tone in the guitar.
Guitars that are played a lot have better ringing and harmonics from the strings.
Some of the new guitars are now infact pre-aged by placing the guitar in front od huge monster speakers for 48 hours, it's said to loosing up the guitars by about 10 years from the vibrations.
Weather this is really true or not, is for you to decide when you purchase a new guitar.
But my opinion is that it is the truth !!
Now moving on... the first 6 to 10 years of a guitars life you can still smell the Lacquer on most guitars, this is because it takes about 20 years for the Lacquer to truly dry.
Most people think, hey the Lacquer on my guitar is dry and hard, but the smell you're smelling when you first take it out of the guitar case, is the smell of Lacquer and that means it's still is drying. The longer the guitar sits in the case, the slower it dries, but don't run out and stick the guitar in the sun either, that will ruin the finish !!