True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

spruceman33
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Re: True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

Post by spruceman33 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:27 pm

Interesting thread, but in my experience, they don't fade or whatever in 10-15 years. The best guitar I've ever played was a 1934 Santos Hernandez, and my own Howell is 27 years old and if anything it sounds better than ever. It's stored in a case and I control the temperature and humidity in my house.
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Mark Featherstone
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Re: True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

Post by Mark Featherstone » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:47 pm

quixilver wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:02 am
The answer of this question can be very subjective and relative, there are a lot of factor to consider - i.e. quality of material, how the guitar has been loved/abused during its lifetime, climate, etc...etc...

Not so much different from us being human, there are definitely wear and tear, foods we eat, drugs we consume, weeds we smoke, there are a lot of disease, cancer, superbugs, influenza virus mutations, accidents and terrorists are everywhere, nuclear radiation, tsunami, and we definitely live under a lot of stress of thinking if our guitars have a short lifespan etc...etc... Do you really think humans have a short lifespan?
I see you live in Singapore and Indonesia. I lived in Singapore for 11 years, and became familiar with its two seasons: (1) hot and humid; (2) hotter and more humid. Just wondering how you protect your guitars.
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spruceman33
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Re: True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

Post by spruceman33 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:15 pm

Mark Featherstone wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:47 pm
quixilver wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:02 am
The answer of this question can be very subjective and relative, there are a lot of factor to consider - i.e. quality of material, how the guitar has been loved/abused during its lifetime, climate, etc...etc...

Not so much different from us being human, there are definitely wear and tear, foods we eat, drugs we consume, weeds we smoke, there are a lot of disease, cancer, superbugs, influenza virus mutations, accidents and terrorists are everywhere, nuclear radiation, tsunami, and we definitely live under a lot of stress of thinking if our guitars have a short lifespan etc...etc... Do you really think humans have a short lifespan?
I see you live in Singapore and Indonesia. I lived in Singapore for 11 years, and became familiar with its two seasons: (1) hot and humid; (2) hotter and more humid. Just wondering how you protect your guitars.
You definitely need airconditioning with good dehumification in Singapore....
2008 Kenny Hill Hauser '37 SP/IN
1992 Richard Howell CD/IN

richtm
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Re: True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

Post by richtm » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:33 am



So it is more about - if the guitar is restorable - repairable - if I understand it right - and at the end about money.
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Conall
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Re: True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

Post by Conall » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:47 am

richtm wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:33 am


So it is more about - if the guitar is restorable - repairable - if I understand it right - and at the end about money.
Crazy money - collectable antiques at those prices. Pity we couldn't hear them being played.

But if like the Torres the guitar has been so extensively restored / repaired to what extent is it the original guitar? Is it not a bit like my pal who has a Rover with 240,000 miles on the clock still running well but which has had engine, gearbox loads of other mechanical bits, panels all replaced or repaired over the years?

Since it is the most important part of the guitar, if the soundboard has not been repaired (just re-polished) or replaced but everything else has - would that be counted as the original guitar?

And most relevant, if a restored guitar costs such stupid money what's the point for most guitarists when we can buy new from the very best modern makers at a fraction of the cost of these antique guitars?

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Re: True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

Post by quixilver » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:01 am

Mark Featherstone wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:47 pm
I see you live in Singapore and Indonesia. I lived in Singapore for 11 years, and became familiar with its two seasons: (1) hot and humid; (2) hotter and more humid. Just wondering how you protect your guitars.
As much as you have already known, it is crazily humid in Singapore especially during the monsoon season and RH gets beyond 80% every single day. That said, a room with decent air-conditioning should help to bring down the RH to an ideal ~50% and this is what I need to do if I want to get the best (sound) out of the guitar. Without the AC switched on, any guitar would sound muddy and dull.

Luckily for our beloved guitars, too humid does less harm than the opposite... but the most irritating part is, we need to change the bass strings more often as they get corroded very easily :chaud:
"After food, air and water, classical guitar is the next necessity of life."

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segobreawill
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Re: True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

Post by segobreawill » Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:27 pm

Conall wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:47 am

Crazy money - collectable antiques at those prices. Pity we couldn't hear them being played.
Crazy money indeed! Agreed - a pity we couldn't hear those guitars being played.
Conall wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:47 am
Since it is the most important part of the guitar, if the soundboard has not been repaired (just re-polished) or replaced but everything else has - would that be counted as the original guitar?
My opinion is that when something is not part of the original makeup, then it is not the original instrument as it once was, obviously. But, if a restoration needs to be done then it NEEDS to be done. The sound won't be the original sound of course, but the instrument has been given a new life.
Conall wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:47 am
And most relevant, if a restored guitar costs such stupid money what's the point for most guitarists when we can buy new from the very best modern makers at a fraction of the cost of these antique guitars?
That's me all the way. At a certain point it's just too much money. But that's my opinion - those with the heavy bucks can feel otherwise.

David Conti
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Re: True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

Post by David Conti » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:54 pm

I think that we are all focusing on the guitar itself but how about the players hearing? That undeniably changes over time from the minute we are born.
Do you think you hear the guitar the same as when you were 20? Not a chance it's the same as when you are 60.
And how about those pre war Martin steel string with way more string tension. They are still coveted for their sound.
My opinion is that you hold the guitar, you play it and then see if you like it, old or new.

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souldier
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Re: True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

Post by souldier » Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:16 pm

David Conti wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:54 pm
I think that we are all focusing on the guitar itself but how about the players hearing? That undeniably changes over time from the minute we are born.
Do you think you hear the guitar the same as when you were 20? Not a chance it's the same as when you are 60.
And how about those pre war Martin steel string with way more string tension. They are still coveted for their sound.
My opinion is that you hold the guitar, you play it and then see if you like it, old or new.
I think this is an extremely important point. It probably also explains why one can be so thrilled with an instrument one day and want to sell it on another. While I don't deny that guitars can indeed change, psychoacoustics is always a factor as well. For those who say their guitar's sound degraded after x amount of years, I wonder if a part of it is just getting bored with their instrument and wanting something different, or being more acquainted with the guitars weaknesses that may have been present on day one.
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isleepinabed
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Re: True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

Post by isleepinabed » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:30 pm

The psychoacoustic argument also reminds me of the electroacoustic steelstrings from the 80s, bowl-back ovations, etc with their very specific sound that sounded once incredible, now unbearable. I guess much the same could be said of the classical guitar in its various incarnations.

If we've been listening to the gold standard of Friedrich and Smallman, I guess listening to a 100 year old Santos Hernandez is a revelation because they do sound very good indeed and unlike any modern instrument. Can we say one is better or worse than the other? No, because if everybody had been playing Santos Hernandez guitars in the past 20 years, listening to a Friedrich would be as big a jump as it was in the 70s

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Re: True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

Post by Mr.Rain » Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:45 am

I believe guitars were not voiced the same before as now, strings were different (gut),the target was not the modern sound etc.

I collect pre 1910s spanish guitars,all of them sound different than modern guitar,in general sweeter trebles, a "wetter" bass (some of them are panormo sized,in general all of them are smaller than modern guitars)

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segobreawill
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Re: True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

Post by segobreawill » Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:07 pm

souldier wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:16 pm
David Conti wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:54 pm
I think that we are all focusing on the guitar itself but how about the players hearing? That undeniably changes over time from the minute we are born.
Do you think you hear the guitar the same as when you were 20? Not a chance it's the same as when you are 60.
I think this is an extremely important point. It probably also explains why one can be so thrilled with an instrument one day and want to sell it on another. While I don't deny that guitars can indeed change, psychoacoustics is always a factor as well. For those who say their guitar's sound degraded after x amount of years, I wonder if a part of it is just getting bored with their instrument and wanting something different, or being more acquainted with the guitars weaknesses that may have been present on day one.
I second what you guys both said! The guitar changes - yes, but we also change along with it throughout the years! Good point.

Tonit
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Re: True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

Post by Tonit » Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:49 pm

Guitars don't have any shorter lifespan at least as much as guitarists do.
They just need some TLC to keep going just like any other musical instrument.

SteveL123
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Re: True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

Post by SteveL123 » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:19 pm

segobreawill wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:07 pm
souldier wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:16 pm
David Conti wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:54 pm
I think that we are all focusing on the guitar itself but how about the players hearing? That undeniably changes over time from the minute we are born.
Do you think you hear the guitar the same as when you were 20? Not a chance it's the same as when you are 60.
I think this is an extremely important point. It probably also explains why one can be so thrilled with an instrument one day and want to sell it on another. While I don't deny that guitars can indeed change, psychoacoustics is always a factor as well. For those who say their guitar's sound degraded after x amount of years, I wonder if a part of it is just getting bored with their instrument and wanting something different, or being more acquainted with the guitars weaknesses that may have been present on day one.
I second what you guys both said! The guitar changes - yes, but we also change along with it throughout the years! Good point.
Has anyone noticed that their guitar's responsiveness/ resonance changes from day to day, sometimes even over a period of a few hours? It is most noticeable to me when I take the guitar out of it's case after being in it overnight. I have not been able to come up with an explanation of why the guitar sound great some days and not so great on other days.

dmcmurray
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Re: True that classical guitars have a short lifespan?

Post by dmcmurray » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:37 pm

I am skeptical that guitars degrade significantly with age. Change? Sure, but lose complexity? That is about as subjective as it gets...The absence of any shared facts or scientific evidence to rely on makes the debate mostly semantics.
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