Break in period...achievement unlocked!

Rezamatix

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Not sure how much factual reality there may be to this, but I've had a breakthrough.

So, I bought a 2018 R9, had it refretted, the guy who does my refrets had some major problems with the finish, I ended up getting the places that got damaged touched up and the cosmetic issues virtually undetectable.

The guitar sounded good when I got it, much better when it got new SS frets, new tusq XL Nut, new Arcane pickups, strap locks.

But it's been almost a year, and I go in an pick it up after a few months of not playing it (as I have 14 guitars, some just become the new ride for a stretch and this one was out of rotation)

It's been sitting out on the guitar rack, in the open air of my guitar room. Temp changes, AC, just normal life passing it by.

I picked it up yesterday and it sounded better than it's ever sounded before EVER. It felt like it was incredibly resonant all the way from top to tail.

I was blown away, I had some deep understanding of this guitar since it was the first "new" R9 I ever purchased.

So, what's the scoop? Have you guys seen a gradual or long term change in your guitars?
Have they settled in and changed character into something better or different over some time?
 

Tim Plains

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For those who believe in this, what makes a guitar break in is the constant string vibration affecting the wood, so it would not apply to a guitar just sitting in its case untouched for a while. You simply have too many guitars and don't remember how much you liked this one.
 

Rezamatix

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For those who believe in this, what makes a guitar break in is the constant string vibration affecting the wood, so it would not apply to a guitar just sitting in its case untouched for a while. You simply have too many guitars and don't remember how much you liked this one.
It wasn't In the case, it's definitely been played a lot in the year I have had it...not 30 years of molecular realignment as your post would infer, but I think the guitar has just "settled" in.
 

DanD

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Mine all are stored outside the case. Regular vibrations from other instruments in the room affect all the guitars subject to the vibration.

Mine are stored outside the case to keep the finish from being gummy\sticky. I've read vibrations can be useful for acoustics and I don't know why that wouldn't apply to all wood.

I've not noticed any tonal difference tho. Mine are stored outside strictly for the finish.

What I do notice over time is that when I play a guitar constantly for over a year or so the regular adjustments seem to 'settle' in. That is to say those that are played on a regular basis seem to need fewer and fewer neck tweaks and set ups after the first year.
 

Rezamatix

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Mine all are stored outside the case. Regular vibrations from other instruments in the room affect all the guitars subject to the vibration.

Mine are stored outside the case to keep the finish from being gummy\sticky. I've read vibrations can be useful for acoustics and I don't know why that wouldn't apply to all wood.

I've not noticed any tonal difference tho. Mine are stored outside strictly for the finish.

What I do notice over time is that when I play a guitar constantly for over a year or so the regular adjustments seem to 'settle' in. That is to say those that are played on a regular basis seem to need fewer and fewer neck tweaks and set ups after the first year.
thats what I was feeling, like the whole thing was just resonating MUCH better.
 

Tomburst

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Regular vibrations from other instruments in the room affect all the guitars subject to the vibration.
I just can't see how that can be. I'm sorry if I'm thick and I don't wish to appear rude but I'm not sure I even understand it,it sounds really far out man. Are you saying that the playing of one guitar in a room affects all the other guitars in the room for the better just thru sound waves travelling thru the air? I must be missing something. But if that's your experience
 

Rezamatix

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I just can't see how that can be. I'm sorry if I'm thick and I don't wish to appear rude but I'm not sure I even understand it,it sounds really far out man. Are you saying that the playing of one guitar in a room affects all the other guitars in the room for the better just thru sound waves travelling thru the air? I must be missing something. But if that's your experience

I don't know about that , but I do think the guitar just settled if thats a thing. It just plays with more authority and solidity to the tone. Its only been about a month since I last picked it up. Maybe the summer heat? not sure. I did read that PRS said refretting a guitar really stresses the woods...maybe its relaxed now ? ahaha.
 

ARandall

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Guitars can sound stiff or be more unresponsive initially.
If there is such a thing as break in, then its more likely the guitar wood (specifically the neck shaft) settling into the shape that being under tension forces it into.

I have had a few guitars that have done this seemingly, but I can't isolate the guitar being better, or me playing better in the time that I've not played it
 

DanD

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Read my post. I didn't say I noticed a difference in tone.

The company/product in the link above says it affects tone positively in acoustic guitars.

The science behind this says that vibration loosens/moves the liquid/sap like molecules/material deep in the wood. This movement supposedly helps to dry and shrink/harden the sap and creates tiny air pockets that were not there. Old wood dries like this naturally over decades and centuries.

The idea is vibration hastens this process and creates wood that acts/responds/sounds older sooner.

Again, I repeat, I've never noticed any affect. But there is science behind the vibration theory.

As I stated in my post, my guitars are out strictly to harden the nitro and keep it from being gummy. Nitro finishes, especially from new, off-gas. This gas reacts with the foam in cases and creates a sticky/gummy surface on the guitar as there is little to no escape for gasses. This gas is corrosive as can be seen clearly from old archtops with nitro pickguards that were left in the case for extended periods.

In the case of these archtops, (no pun intended) the nitro guard often crumbles and all metal parts like pup covers, bridge, and tail pieces are corroded from the off-gassed chemicals.

Nitro finishes are not as reactive as the nitro guards but do still off-gas over time. Almost all factory guitar finishes degrade over time. Just like the finishes on your car react to UV over time.

What I've found from owning/playing/collecting nitro guitars for 40+ years is that nitro guitars that stay in their cases for extended periods (~ 6 months plus in my experience) will be sticky. This is very evident from new. My new nitro guitars remain outside the case for at least 3 months.

If you're using the same guitar everyday and taking it in and out of the case there shouldn't be a problem. The problem arises with seldom used nitro finished instruments that spend long periods of time in the case.
 
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freebyrd 69

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I don't know about that , but I do think the guitar just settled if thats a thing. It just plays with more authority and solidity to the tone. Its only been about a month since I last picked it up. Maybe the summer heat? not sure. I did read that PRS said refretting a guitar really stresses the woods...maybe its relaxed now ? ahaha.
Between your post on Mfolet's thread, and now this......WTF kind of drugs have you been experimenting with man? LOL

You just simply grabbed it with a fresh set of ears after not playing it. I could say the same thing about my Harley or motocross bike "opening up" after riding it for the first time of the season here in Michigan. It's exciting to hear the thunder of the motor or go hit that first 60' jump of the season, but the bikes are the same.....as is your guitar. But hey, if you want to chalk it up to elves and fairies.....whatever. LOL
 

freebyrd 69

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Read my post. I didn't say I noticed a difference in tone.

The company/product in the link above says it affects tone positively in acoustic guitars.

The science behind this says that vibration loosens/moves the liquid/sap like molecules/material deep in the wood. This movement supposedly helps to dry and shrink/harden the sap and creates tiny air pockets that were not there. Old wood dries like this naturally over decades and centuries.

The idea is vibration hastens this process and creates wood that acts/responds/sounds older sooner.

Again, I repeat, I've never noticed any affect. But there is science behind the vibration theory.

As I stated in my post, my guitars are out strictly to harden the nitro and keep it from being gummy. Nitro finishes, especially from new, off-gas. This gas reacts with the foam in cases and creates a sticky/gummy surface on the guitar as there is little to no escape for gasses. This gas is corrosive as can be seen clearly from old archtops with nitro pickguards that were left in the case for extended periods.

In the case of these archtops, (no pun intended) the nitro guard often crumbles and all metal parts like pup covers, bridge, and tail pieces are corroded from the off-gassed chemicals.

Nitro finishes are not as reactive as the nitro guards but do still off-gas over time. Almost all factory guitar finishes degrade over time. Just like the finishes on your car react to UV over time.

What I've found from owning/playing/collecting nitro guitars for 40+ years is that nitro guitars that stay in their cases for extended periods (~ 6 months plus in my experience) will be sticky. This is very evident from new. My new nitro guitars remain outside the case for at least 3 months.

If you're using the same guitar everyday and taking it in and out of the case there shouldn't be a problem. The problem arises with seldom used nitro finished instruments that spend long periods of time in the case.
:rolleyes:
 

mdubya

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Temps around here have been all over the place; hot and humid, cool and clear, rainy, in between, etc. Subsequently, my guitars have good and bad days. Sometimes the a/c runs hard and clears all the humidity out of the house. Sometimes the house is more moderate and humid because the a/c isn't working so hard. Not all of my 7 or 8 guitars in rotation behave the same way with the same temp/humidity changes.

And sometimes, I just get a better nights sleep, get an extra good/effective cup of coffee, or whatever.

It is always nice when I pickup a guitar and we are both in tune, though.

JMHO. :jam:
 

Rezamatix

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Between your post on Mfolet's thread, and now this......WTF kind of drugs have you been experimenting with man? LOL

You just simply grabbed it with a fresh set of ears after not playing it. I could say the same thing about my Harley or motocross bike "opening up" after riding it for the first time of the season here in Michigan. It's exciting to hear the thunder of the motor or go hit that first 60' jump of the season, but the bikes are the same.....as is your guitar. But hey, if you want to chalk it up to elves and fairies.....whatever. LOL

Its funny you put it that way. I just got off the phone with Ken Lawrence who is building me another Explorer and I asked him about this, as if it may have been my imagination. Yet, he confirmed that its a very real thing. So no drugs, (ive been straight edge for 15 years not) but thanks for the "comment".
 

Pappy58

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I also keep mine out of the cases in climate controlled studio. I think they stay more vibrant in the environment, and keeps me from ignoring any of them.
 

Thundermtn

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If you really think it's sounding better, check the setup numbers, especially the neck relief.

Personally I've hung my Classic in a spot where it saw four or five 20°+ temp & humidity shifts per hour for three years trying to make a change.

If it happened it was VERY minor.

However, micro adjusting the neck for more resonance makes a noticeable difference. Playing the thing a hell of a lot helped a very small amount too.

It may be that wherever your neck has settled, it has settled into a sweet spot. Every neck will have a different one.
 

mudface

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If you really think it's sounding better, check the setup numbers, especially the neck relief.

Personally I've hung my Classic in a spot where it saw four or five 20°+ temp & humidity shifts per hour for three years trying to make a change.

If it happened it was VERY minor.

However, micro adjusting the neck for more resonance makes a noticeable difference. Playing the thing a hell of a lot helped a very small amount too.

It may be that wherever your neck has settled, it has settled into a sweet spot. Every neck will have a different one.
^^ this makes good sense,... with the truss rod adjusted correctly and everything in tune the neck becomes stiffer,... equal tension..... truss rod resistance and string tension being on the mark everything seems to be clear and responsive,.... with weak rubber necks that can't seem to stay put i find dull and less defined,.... that has been my personal experience.
 

LesPast

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There are only a few guitars I bought new, or in an "unplayed" conditions. One of these is my number one, so a guitar that has been played a lot in the last 10 years. At home, weekly rehearsals, live gigs. I can definitely agree the tone has improved over time. I have to say we do crank those volume knobs, even in the studio. :dude:

Another factor I would consider is setup. A few years ago I got a CS Stratocaster in a trade, and it was very evident the previous owner didn't play it a lot and care for it (he was quite a collector): the setup was really off. He got rid of it because he felt he had much better specimens (masterbuilt, etc.). When I adjusted it properly, the guitar's tone completely changed: it is now my number 2 and a stellar player.

Cheers :cheers:
 

spoony

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I know more then a few acoustic players who speak of an acoustic guitar as "opening up" and there are countless discussions going on about the phenomena all over the internet. Some of these discussions include known commonalities with solid body guitars. I am always open minded and for whatever reason the OP has had an experience that has been replicated by many others!

I swear my cars run better when they are clean. It is a sensation I always have had and can't remember a time when cleaning my car didn't make me feel that way. But is it a feeling or a fact? Whatever it is it feels real:)

s
 


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