Sometimes, an acoustic guitar does not come out of the box with the ideal sound like an electric guitar might. It takes a little time to break in and “open up”
How long for acoustic guitar to open up?
It takes at least a couple years to break in an acoustic guitar before it sounds its best, but the exact time varies depending on how often you play and how dry your climate is. The more humid and often you play your acoustic guitar, the less time it will take for it to sound its best.
What Does It Mean For A Guitar To Open Up?
With acoustic guitars, opening up or breaking in means that the guitar will start to sound better over time as the wood settles and the finish cures over time. Some guitars do not change much after they are purchased, so if you bought a new acoustic guitar and it sounds great right out of the box, you have probably found a great guitar.
Guitars made of spruce and cedar take longer to “open up” than guitars made of other solid woods such as mahogany or rosewood. This is due in part to the physical properties of these different woods, but just as much it is the result of guitar builders’ understanding that a guitar takes a long time to open up in dry climate.
Why Does A Guitar Sound Better The More You Play It?
An overwhelming majority of acoustic guitars don’t sound great out of the box. When you play the guitar, the piece of wood vibrates. The strings transmit this vibration through the wooden bridge to the body of the guitar, where it is amplified by the hollow chamber of air inside the guitar. If this was all there was to it, a guitar would sound better the louder you played it.
But that’s not what happens. A certain amount of energy is lost in transmission from wood to air, and this energy loss creates a dampening effect that makes a guitar sound worse when you play it loudly. That’s why a new sounding guitar might have an appealing volume but also have a dull, boxy tone.
The wood fibers of the guitar needs to settle, and over time this dampening effect will reduce or even disappear. This is why acoustic guitars sound better as they age, and it is especially apparent in guitars made of spruce or cedar.
So if you have an acoustic guitar that sounds a bit dull and boxy tonal quality right out of the box, play it often and loud enough to really get going for a little while.
Do Guitars Need To Be Broken In?
For the best sound, yes! An acoustic guitar is a wooden instrument and its wood needs to settle. It takes a little while for the sound to change from a boxy, dull sound to a full, rich tone. The wood also needs time to relax and settle after it has been clamped inside the guitar for storage or shipping.
Technically, you do not have to break the guitar in in order to play it but over time you should see an improvement in tone as your guitar opens up.
Do Guitars Really Open Up?
Usually after a little time and a lot of playing. Your guitar will start to sound better and better as the wood begins to settle and the finish cures over time. However, these quality guitars can take years before they sound truly great.
Humidity and Temperature: The factors that affect how long it takes an acoustic guitar to open up.
What Makes A Guitar Open Up?
The physical properties of a guitar – the wood used to make the guitar and how it is finished – make a difference. There is a rule about how much time it takes for an acoustic guitar to sound its best, and this rule includes humidity levels in the air where someone plays an instrument.
For instance, take a guitar made from mahogany, which is a dense wood. The grains of the wood are so tightly packed together that they will not let moisture inside the wood. In a humid climate, this creates a barrier that will not allow sound to pass through. In other words, you need to play an acoustic guitar in dry conditions to get the full benefit of it.
On the flip side, take a very light wood such as spruce or cedar. These woods have long been known to let moisture in. In a humid climate, this creates a barrier that will not allow sound to pass through. In other words, you need to play an acoustic guitar in dry conditions to get the full benefit of it.
In addition, temperature also affects how an acoustic guitar will open up. Factors include humidity levels and whether the temperature is too hot or too cold for your climate.
How To Make An Acoustic Guitar Open Up
The first thing to look for is the effect of temperature on your instrument. If you live in a cool climate, your guitar will probably sound better if it is stored in a temperature-controlled area. You might also want to consider buying a humidifier or getting a good-quality case that has an air-conditioning system built into it.
The next thing to look for is the humidity levels in the air where you will play your guitar. In a dry climate, an acoustic guitar will sound great after about six months. In a humid climate, this time will be shorter. For example, if you live in a humid environment and want an acoustic guitar that sounds great right out of the box, you’ll need at least a year or more of playing before it will sound its best if it has been stored in a moist area.
Most guitars will sound better after a long time of playing and settling on their own, especially those guitars made of spruce and cedar. Although you can speed up this process by putting your guitar in a case and humidifying your climate, you will still want to allow the guitar to patiently settle into its own. Often this takes years, but that characteristic sound you were looking for is just waiting for you to discover it.