OLD WOOD vs NEW WOOD ????

siroliver

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I believe the quality of a vintage guitar is very often distorted by the preconceptions of the person playing it. The patina, necks sculpted by thousands of hours of playing, the smell, etc. -- in short, the "mojo" factor-- coupled with the idea that older=better as well as the price tag ( costs more and therefore it must be great ) alter the way one perceives a guitar. Your confidence is elevated by the excitement you feel when playing a vintage guitfiddle that you are convinced MUST be special, and you hear that through the amp-- your playing feels exciting and improved, and automatically you assume its the guitar

I will finish up my thoughts in a while

busy as hell at the moment...
 

imsilly

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I think you have to judge the wood in each guitar on an individual basis.

One thing I can say is that some of that the old Brazilian rosewood and mahogany in those 50s Les Pauls looks and sounds spectacular. I doubt you couldn't source new wood just as good, but it seems to be much harder to find a good guitars these days.

This is especially true for Gibsons and I think increased volumes of production and availability of materials creates the illusion old wood was just better. Not because it's a true blanket statement, but because we are confronted with so much junk these days.

The example I cite is with a recent trip to denmark street where I tried to take notice of the weight, grain, colour and resonance of the woods on vintage and new guitars. I saw one Les Paul Junior that was a couple of years old with one of the nicest looking rosewood fingerboards ever and then a about half a dozen Juniors with dusty looking boards that resembled the board on the £50 epiphone Les Paul I once had. The vintage guitars seemed to have a more consistent level of quality (though it must be remember 50 years of playing and oiling helps create a beautiful patina) compared to the more recently made guitars. These superficial observations all add to the persception that old wood is better then new wood.
 

ExNihilo

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For a body and neck, I would rather have light new wood than heavy old wood. Two old growth trees can produce two different densities of wood. I have found that lighter mahogany bodies virtually always sound better. Now if you have an old growth light wood, well that would be the cat's meow.
 

hbucker

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I've got a 35 year old guitar that I got new, a 16 year old guitar that I got new, and an 11 year old guitar that I built. I am very reluctant to buy into much of the "Gibson Religion" as one poster referred to. There is more hype than reality when it comes to the practice of this religion IMO.

But... I seem to notice that my older guitars have changed a little over time. They didn't go from being a POC to the Holy Grail or anything but two are good/great guitars and one (the oldest) is probably better than it should be. But what has happened consistently with these 3 is that they seem to have longer sustain and a more focused tone as time goes on. More of a classic sustained tone I guess. I especially notice it when I play them unplugged but it affects their amplified sustain. Not so much their attack and staccato notes, but their sustained tone is affected.

Could I be imagining things? Maybe, on some level, but I don't think so. Is it the wood? Maybe not, but I can't imagine what else it is. Could be aging pickup magnets but I don't think so.

Just adding my 2¢ without trying to argue about anything.
 

treatb

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old wood sounds better and better do to the resins from the tree harden, more and more over time. which is a great result for the transfer of vibration and tone. an thats the reason hyde glue is so much better then aliphatic because the hardness.
 

River

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old wood sounds better and better do to the resins from the tree harden, more and more over time. which is a great result for the transfer of vibration and tone. an thats the reason hyde glue is so much better then aliphatic because the hardness.
From a physics standpoint, that strikes me as rather contradictory information. Where's it come from?
 

LHakim

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An interesting article on the subject:

Guitar Trader's Vintage Guitar Bulletin
January 1986, Vol. 5, No. 1
Copyright 1985

STANDARDS 58 - 60;
Part Two "Soundburst"
by Gaston Gagnon & Timm Kummer



Most guitar players, as well as other collectors, consider the Les Paul "Sunburst" to be the foremost rock and roll axe ever made. Although there is no doubt that those Les Paul Standards which were made in the 1950's are the finest in terms of playing quality, there is a difference in the tone between them. Some have "the sound" and others don't. Why? Read on!

There are quite a few factors that influence the sound and the responsiveness of a solidbody electric guitar. Among them are the setup of the action, the pickups, the density of the wood, and the overall condition of the instrument.

We selected ten original 1958 - 1960 Les Paul Sunburst Standards at random and tested and compared them. We checked the weight and D.C. resistance of each pickup and made a subjective appraisal of the sound and tone quality.

We concluded that the PAF pickups, in which a variation in D.C. resistance can be found (anywhere from 6.5K to 9.2K in our samples), are not the crucial factor which determines the sound of these instruments. Is this possible? Read on!

Of the 1959's we studied, two or more of them had identical pickup readings (such as 7.6K), and yet, their sounds were very different. We found that a higher reading did not necessarily mean a better or hotter sounding instrument.

Most of the great sounding Les Pauls in our study had previously been played. This fact supports the belief that a guitar which has been used sounds better than one which hasn't. However, we did find one exception to this rule - stock #011277 (see list).

We found that the most influential factor in determining sound is the weight of the instrument, i.e., the weight of the wood. The lighter the guitar, the better the sound. This is due to the fact that lighter wood has better resonance. Gibson's woodunter, Wilbur Marker, once said, "Look at a piece of wood when it dries. The saps and juices which were once the life giving material evaporate, dry up, crystallize, and they move out of the vein and artery channels that were part of that tree. What's left is air. As it ages, the wood gets more porous. Looking at it through the electron microscope, you see these air filled tubes. clustered like pipe organs, and you can just feel them vibrate."

And some Sunbursts truly vibrate!
 

richedie

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Apparently 70s and older LPs sound much better due to the way in which the wood was dried, plus much better wood. Listen to a 70s LP, to see.

My tech and I had a recent conversation. He said once he started buying LPs from the 70s, he is now selling off his 80s and 90s LPs. He said once I experience the older LPs with the pancake body and better wood, drying technique has a lot to do with the better tone of the 70s Gibsons. Keep in mind, my ears are not as good as my guitar tech's. He hears things I don't. I think that is a good thing, otherwise it may drive me crazy! :)
 

patrickBOOTH

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You mean like Annie Hall vs. Vicky Christina Bercelona? Or more like Bananas vs. Anything else?
 

kdm

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this issue is old as the wood.....:cool:
 

jimi55lp

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I can't believe there was anything remarkable about the wood used in 1970s Gibson LPs.
 

upl8tr

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An interesting article on the subject:

Guitar Trader's Vintage Guitar Bulletin
January 1986, Vol. 5, No. 1
Copyright 1985

STANDARDS 58 - 60;
Part Two "Soundburst"
by Gaston Gagnon & Timm Kummer



Most guitar players, as well as other collectors, consider the Les Paul "Sunburst" to be the foremost rock and roll axe ever made.


I would like to see that statement proven, because I've always considered the STRATOCASTER to be the foremost rock and roll axe ever made. (as well as jazz, blues,funk,etc)

I've also considered both the Strat and Tele to be the best elec guitars with the LP a lowly Third to those.

I can assure you no one has ever challenged my assumptions or taken any record of my thoughts for addition in any magazine poll. :hmm:

I consider myself to be somewhat of a player and collector so why am I being excluded, WHY GODDAMN IT, I WANT TO KNOW! :shock:

:D
 


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