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Age and Volume

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All of my acoustics are relatively new (10 to 20 years old), and I had never owned a vintage instrument, but I recently bought a guitar made in 1935. It's tiny -- probably around 0-sized -- and extremely light, but it's also unbelievably loud.

 

Does that have something to do with the age? I've heard of a guitar "opening up", but I always thought that applied to the warmth of the sound. Can an acoustic guitar also get louder with time?

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All of my acoustics are relatively new (10 to 20 years old), and I had never owned a vintage instrument, but I recently bought a guitar made in 1935. It's tiny -- probably around 0-sized -- and extremely lite, but it's also unbelievably loud.

 

Does that have something to do with the age? I've heard of a guitar "opening up", but I always thought that applied to the warmth of the sound. Can an acoustic guitars also get louder with time?

 

Interesting point

Could be a number of things

Small size=trebly tones which can be perceived as 'loud'

I have a yamaha 12 string which seems to be getting louder

It is 20yrs old now

Heavy strings make for more volume

The ageing of the wood could increase response and volume

Perhaps by drying out and becoming more 'springy'.

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This is a very good topic. And for me one of the biggest riddles about the acoustics. Everything around us (inside us) is in 'process'. Even your forgotten plastic bowl from 1962 deep in the kitchen closet, has something goin'. When I some time ago wrote 'the guitars are alive' in these columns, one responded : What. . . ?. This is what I meant - the woods don't shoot new branches with green leaves, but they kind of breathe and move. They dry out over the years and get lighter, that's for sure, but whether this influences the volume, I don't know. My own experience would tell, , , , , NO - science could prove me wrong. Read somewhere that the resin in those tops is slowly crystalizing. It may play in too. What a beautiful thought. A nice sitka-top with hearable secret amber inlays.

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Some of those old small bodied guitars are incredibly loud. Many acoustics do seem to get louder with age, but I think that some are born loud too. Generally if a guitar sounds quiet and the tone is not good when it is made it's never going to be fantastic. A lot of shops say things like 'it's going to sound great when it's been played in' While that may be true, if it doesn't sound great to start with, there is a good chance it's never going to sound great.

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It varies but I gotta say, last week I was able to spend some time with a pre-1900 Zoebisch imported Martin parlor guitar. Even strung with silk and steel strings, that little sucker was amazingly loud. On the other hand, I have played more than my fair share of early 1900s Regals and others that had no volume or presence. So I am guessing it has far less to do with age than with bracing, wood thickness and so on.

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