View Full Version : Some fuel for the "opening up" debate

02-16-2012, 03:26 PM
Here's a link to an article from Acoustic Guitar called "Why Do Guitars Sound Better As They Age?" It was written by Richard Johnston, co-owner of Gryphon Stringed Instruments (http://www.gryphonstrings.com/).


While the article is specifically about guitars, it would seem that some aspects of how guitars age -- specifically, the effect of moisture on wood over time -- would be applicable to ukuleles.

02-16-2012, 03:58 PM
Not to stir the pot or anything, but I can only speak from personal experience. And, in the four months that I've owned my solid koa Kanile'a, I have noticed a difference in how it sounds. More full, resonant, and inclusive in terms of the various strings when strumming a chord.

Now, some of that is definitely due to my getting acclimated to the uke itself, since I believe that all instruments have distinct personalities, and do respond differently to different techniques. As much as I am getting used to my Kanile'a, it is getting used to me.

But I also am convinced that some of this is due to the instruments starting to open up just a skosh. And if this is a preview of things to come (both in the opening up and my bonding with it), then I am in for a very wonderful ride with this.

That's all I got.

02-16-2012, 04:06 PM
Excellent article! Thank you for sharing.

02-18-2012, 02:10 AM
Hmm, I've never bought into this. I have several guitars - one is 25 years old. Does it sound different to when it was new - probably, perhaps... Does it sound "better" I can't possibly say - I am now a better player, and I can't really remember how it used to sound!

02-18-2012, 05:10 AM
Thanks for sharing the article. I enjoyed reading it. Seems to me that many elements go into the sound changing and "opening up", age of the instrument, humidity of the room, and becoming comfortable with your guitar, etc..... all all part of it the sound...not to mention the acoustics of the room, but especially the mood, "mindset" of the player.

05-09-2012, 01:55 PM
Food for thought:



05-09-2012, 02:33 PM
I asked about the "opening up" phenomenon in the Luthier's forum with some interesting responses:


05-10-2012, 10:47 AM
It always seems that with all the speculative talks about opening up that if that were compiled somehow into large blocks of time, a few dozen PhDs could have been done, and all this "lack of serious research" problem could be solved.

Then everyone could say, "Read this!"

Of course, lots of people would probably still call it rubbish... whichever side it came down on.

05-10-2012, 10:55 AM
I was just thinking about this in relation to our ears.

I teach recording as part of my job, and there's this phenomenon with something called multi-band compression. It's one of the last things you do to a recording. Many of my students put it onto their recording, tweak with the settings and shrug. "Dunno." Then you turn it off and their recording suddenly sounds flat and dull. Turn it back on and it's sparkly and nice. But they didn't know their original recording was any different. Until they turned it OFF.

And of course, there's no way to turn off "opening up". But I expect it's like turning on the multi-band compression, a tiny tiny tiny tiny bit at a time. It would be impossible to hear it happening.

Our ears are not trustworthy. They listen in context, not in absolutes.