Guitar Waking Up?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
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filmic
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Guitar Waking Up?

Post by filmic » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:22 am

I'm posting again about my experience with my '79 Kamouraska Concert Etude I bought second hand.

Today I've noticed that the resonance is so much stronger. :shock: It's odd, it hasn't sounded this bright since I got it (a week ago?) and started playing on it regularly, about an hour a day. I don't know for how long it sat in it's hardshell case without being played though...

Does this happen?

Thanks

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souldier
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Re: Guitar Waking Up?

Post by souldier » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:31 am

This debate has come up several times here at Delcamp. You'll have people on both sides saying it does happen, or it doesn't at all.

Personally I am a believer that guitars can wake up. After visiting various dealers and observing this phenomenon myself, I believe it is real. On the other hand, guitars sometimes can sometimes sound different for a variety of factors such as humidity, temperature, players nail condition, string quality, etc. so sometimes its hard to know the real cause of the sound difference.
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chiral3
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Re: Guitar Waking Up?

Post by chiral3 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:37 am

I checked your local weather. It looks like you had some warm days towards the end of last month and it recently got cold again. Is this correct? If so, and to the extend your home's relative humidity decreased due to increased heating, the guitar will sound different. Brighter.
"Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect" - Margaret Mitchell

Rognvald
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Re: Guitar Waking Up?

Post by Rognvald » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:34 pm

Yes, filmic. I have had that experience with one of my guitars where the difference was immediate and profound. Perhaps it was ear wax, as one person suggested, but I can assure you I keep a strict regimen of personal hygiene. Then, of course, there is the extraterrestrial theory, but I haven't seen any little green men for quite some time. . . and, maybe there really is magic in a handmade wooden instrument . . . I'm certainly one of this theories adherents. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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filmic
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Re: Guitar Waking Up?

Post by filmic » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:53 am

Thanks for the feedback. Yes we have been having crazy temperature swings. Like from zero degrees celsius to -22 degrees C and back again several times in a seven day period!! I keep a humidifier going though and the humidity stays pretty constant.

:merci:

Pat Foster
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Re: Guitar Waking Up?

Post by Pat Foster » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:50 am

I've seen it more with new guitars, but also old ones that come into my shop for repairs. If the old ones have been laying around for years with the strings slack or missing, they seem to take longer to wake up.

Sometimes I notice a waking up during a practice session.

If you talk to trained viol family players, you'll find a lot of them will agree with you.

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filmic
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Re: Guitar Waking Up?

Post by filmic » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:04 am

Pat Foster wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:50 am
I've seen it more with new guitars, but also old ones that come into my shop for repairs. If the old ones have been laying around for years with the strings slack or missing, they seem to take longer to wake up.

Sometimes I notice a waking up during a practice session.

If you talk to trained viol family players, you'll find a lot of them will agree with you.
Thank you Pat!

(the guitar is hand made, from '79 - it's a pre La Patrie/Godin.) The neck is true, the strings from the surface of the 12th fret are 3.5mm.

I have no idea how long it sat in it's case unstrung/unplayed. The fellow told me he put new strings on it just prior to selling it to me and he'd had it for years. It was a gift from his folks... He plays guitar quite well, actually.

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Guitar Waking Up?

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:09 am

I've been saying this many times in similar posts: I think there is no possible separation line between you and the instrument. If you play it, both change. So it might not be possible to tell what changed more, actually: Is it the guitar that wakes up or is it you who wakes up to the actual guitar at hand and instead of playing with a kind of generic technique you start to play that specific instrument with an adequately adjusted and fine tuned technique bringing the potential of that actual instrument to the fore...
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...
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rpavich
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Re: Guitar Waking Up?

Post by rpavich » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:06 am

I'll just throw this in as food for thought. I watched a couple of videos about that Tonerite vibrating thing that you attach to the guitar. It vibrates the top/strings and is supposed to break in a guitar and thus simulate lots of playing to "wake up" a guitar. I watched a video in which a guy made sharpie marks on the strings so that he'd play in the same exact location before and after the test, he left the equipment set up from the first test without moving it at all so that the mic placement and settings would be consistent. He left the chair in the same spot, he did everything (to me) that could be done to make the test meaningful. He recorded the "before" and then left the tonerite on for a week and then recorded the "after."

I could clearly hear a significant difference in the sound of the instrument. I saw this same thing in multiple videos and it was enough of a difference that I didn't chalk it up to a small change in technique, or video settings or whatever.

SOMETHING happens for sure.
Asturias AST-100-heavily modified by Robert England.

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Guitar Waking Up?

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:20 am

rpavich wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:06 am


SOMETHING happens for sure.
From my side I'm not denying this, just considering how inseparable things are. And there is one thing that is very difficult to see from outside: the way how somebody plays...
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...
My Youtube Channel is: TheMusicalEvents

rpavich
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Re: Guitar Waking Up?

Post by rpavich » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:23 am

rojarosguitar wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:20 am
rpavich wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:06 am


SOMETHING happens for sure.
From my side I'm not denying this, just considering how inseparable things are. And there is one thing that is very difficult to see from outside: the way how somebody plays...
Well..strumming a C chord over and over on the same area of the strings using the same mic, same placement and same settings seems pretty fair to me.

I do agree, I think that there is a LOT of subjective arguments that get tossed out but I'm saying, this is not subjective, and it's not the result of these folks playing differently. It's real. I don't know WHAT in the guitar construction changed...but clearly something within the instrument itself did change enough for even me to notice easily.
Asturias AST-100-heavily modified by Robert England.

Alan Carruth
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Re: Guitar Waking Up?

Post by Alan Carruth » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:49 pm

I have some objective measurements that suggest that guitars do 'warm up' with playing. What I have is sort of preliminary: it came out when I was engaged in another project and was not looking for that, so the setup was not optimized to get that data. As always, I hope to get around to doing a better measurement at some point, when time allows. This is consistent with some other things I have observed, such as stiffness changes in wood strips that have been vibrated for a time. I think it is probably related to the also controversial phenomenon of 'playing in': warming up is a short term change that reverts when the instrument is not played, while playing in takes place over a longer period, and does not fully revert. There are plausible mechanisms that would account for both, but they might be hard to validate, and anyway, we first need to show that 'warming up' and 'playing in' actually happen!

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robin loops
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Re: Guitar Waking Up?

Post by robin loops » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:03 pm

Debate on guitars 'opening up' aside, it takes a while for a guitar and strings to settle in after a guitar has sat for a time, it has been shipped, experienced a drastic change in climate, etc. So that is an inseparable factor as well. I tend to think it's a combination of many factors. Even a change in humidity can effect things (mine sounds a little brighter when humidity is low).
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chiral3
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Re: Guitar Waking Up?

Post by chiral3 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:49 pm

I seem to recall one of the Emerson quartet remarking how he can tell when someone else has played his violin. Like it had been restrung, it sounded different. Since all these mechanical quantities have electrical analogues (damping = resistance, mass = inductance, compliance = capacitance) I was reminded of a time I took delivery of some really large, power hungry panel speakers for a friend. To make sure they were in good working order I quickly attached some tubed monoblock amplifiers. Knowingly, these were not a good match. At fairly low volume the amps started to break up ("clipping" for tube amps sounds like fuzz and distortion). I could hear the tubes crackling as the large planars pulled more than they could give. After reattaching the other high sensitivity, higher impedance speakers the amp just didn't sound the same. It was so obvious to me I replaced the coupling capacitors a few months later and everything was right again.
"Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect" - Margaret Mitchell

Rognvald
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Re: Guitar Waking Up?

Post by Rognvald » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:40 pm

I believe all people are the same.
I believe all guitars are the same.
I believe all musicians have the same ability.
I believe there is no difference between a Tonerite and a musician playing a guitar.
I believe skies are blue and grass is green.
I believe.

Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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