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guitar sound of a new build?

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 58
Is it true it may take a year for a newly build guitar to produce good to excellent sound . I would think it should be good from the start?
Thanks Dave

Apr 02, 07 | 1:52 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
A lightly built, properly intoned, guitar with a thin finish should sound pretty good right from the start. Because it does take time for the finish, wood and glue to completely catalyze so the unified instrument will be less flabby and perhaps sound better to some listeners. It is my belief that this drying out process is why the vintage instruments tend to have a little more volume and balance ---but this takes years and years. And this brings us the the real issue, what the heck is good sound or execellent sound or average sound or what ever?? Its subjective --- there are many , many things that can be done to change the apparent sound of any guitar, starting with strings and string tension and string age, picks, finger nails, saddle material and perhaps the most over looked --- the skill of the player!


Apr 02, 07 | 2:39 pm

Total Topics: 37
Total Posts: 676
Ken's advice is good. My experience with one just built and two NOS Yammies is that I noticed a generally positive change in tone. A more full tone. This came after just playing the guitars 'in' for 4 to 6 weeks. They do seem to be getting better, little by little as more time goes by.

Apr 02, 07 | 3:03 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Dave -- Good question -- It's possible that there is no objective answer. I like the sound of my guitars the day after I string 'em up, and they don't seem to get any worse. But, like seeing hair growing, it's difficult to tell a difference when playing them daily.

This is one of those questions, like, What's the best pickup truck? How high is up? I tend to agree with Ken C -- a well-built guitar should sound pretty good right at the getgo, and i also agree with Jim Howell -- it will continue improve.

But, one man's holy grail guitar is another man's paper cup ... I just read an article about Tony Rice's 1954 Martin D28, which he and several others apparently are calling the Holy Grail guitar ... so I thought, "this I gotta hear." ... I went and listened to Rice's latest album (2005), which was mentioned in connection with this HG guitar ... and, guess what ... Many guitars I've heard in person or on recording sounded a whole lot better ... TO ME. I emphasize TO ME because ... it sounded dry, dead, and had little sustain ...

...and that's the crux of the whole sound question: It's my ears that matter, and nobody else's, in the final analysis. Sure, a guitar can sound bad, but it has to sound "real" bad before everyone will agree on it. However, "good," is a lot more subjective. So, if your guitars sound good to you when first built, and continue to improve, you have succeeded and should be proud. If you cat doesn't like the sound, well, just get a dog or something!

My 3 cents worth.

Still, the guitar, when you finish building it, should have pretty good intonation, good sustain and resonance, a balanced tone if that's what you built for (or more bass, or nice tight treble, if those are what you built for), shouldn't have any completely dead notes on any frets, shouldn't have any wolf notes, etc.... But, those are all pretty objective, and variations in any of them could still make the guitar sound "good" to me and "bad" to you.

It's the nature of the beast.
That was one more cent. I'll quit while I'm under a nickle.

Apr 02, 07 | 3:42 pm

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 58
Thanks, From what I have gained to this point is if its built somewhere close to right, it should sound pretty good.
one of my biggest fears is when its finished that beatin on a tin can would sound better.

Apr 02, 07 | 4:00 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Know exctly what you mean. I have had dreams of stringing up a newly finished guitar, strumming it, and having it sound like a banjo.

Don't worry ... it will sound better than you expect.

that makes a nickle.

Apr 02, 07 | 4:02 pm

Total Topics: 22
Total Posts: 158
The night I strung up my Stew Mac OOO, I couldn't beleive the sound, it was great. The next day, it sounded dull... almost wet or muddy....

Then it quickly came good again, I think it gets better week by week.

When I go back to the ol' Yamaha now - I'm bored

Apr 04, 07 | 5:39 am

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 9
Hi Guys:
I am brand new to this site but we all have one thing in common, the love of good guitars. I have never built one yet but I plan to in the immediate future. I am thinking of building a StewMac OOO. By the way my main axe is a 1981 Takamine EF360S (lovingly called the "lawsuit model") which I bought new. I have always dreamed of owning a Martin D-45 but after playing my Tak next to a D-45 I think my guitar sounds superior. Sound is subjective and what is great to one person is junk to another. I am the only one I have to please though. Great forum and I am learning a tremendous amount.

Aug 30, 07 | 8:35 am

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