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growlypants
Member
Username: growlypants

Post Number: 87
Registered: 3-2011
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 11:38 am:   Edit Post

I've recently noticed something regarding the tone of my bass - an Alembic Mark King Sig. Deluxe 5-string, built in '09 which I bought new in '11. Briefly, the tone has gotten awesome! Why? Is there some aging going on with the glue joints in the neck? Is it simply my technique has gotten more consistent... or am I dreaming?? (By the way, original Alembic string sets are all this bass has had.)
hifiguy
Senior Member
Username: hifiguy

Post Number: 415
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 11:57 am:   Edit Post

Wood continues changing over time. When dealing with a neck warp caused by humidity change here in Minnesota - something not an issue in Northern CA - Mica told me "the wood isn't used to being a bass yet". It takes some time for the wood to get used to being a bass. There's some additional drying that goes on too, and the wood gets marginally lighter but that also changes tone. At least that is what some Les Paul aficionados have told me.
pauldo
Senior Member
Username: pauldo

Post Number: 1196
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 11:58 am:   Edit Post

I recall a theory that as an instrument is played more and more; that on a molecular level the resonance of the wood (glues, finish, etc.) begin to become more 'in tune' with each other in a harmonious fashion - thus increasing the tonality of the instrument.
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 4085
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 12:45 pm:   Edit Post

Well according to Scott Henderson this is Voodoo!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4MOVvDJxBSU&list=RD4MOVvDJxBSU#t=1009

Jazzyvee
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 11396
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 2:13 pm:   Edit Post

Jazzyvee; it's 34 minutes long. How far in is the relevant quote?
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 4087
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 4:17 pm:   Edit Post

Hey Dave, the link should be on the spot but it's at 16:50mins.
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 11397
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 4:40 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks! I have a plug-in that does a lot of good things, but unfortunately also resets the video to the beginning.
growlypants
Member
Username: growlypants

Post Number: 88
Registered: 3-2011
Posted on Friday, June 27, 2014 - 6:23 am:   Edit Post

I do appreciate everybody's thoughts on this, and I certainly understand that for most folks who have bought their basses used, this change after a few short years, would be all but inaudible. And with changing brands of strings, or type of winding, that makes what I'm talking about very difficult to pin down, also. In other words, I guess... never mind!!
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5782
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, June 27, 2014 - 7:47 am:   Edit Post

I still believe that age and playing (vibrations) do act to mature the tone of a fine acoustic guitar.

Bill, tgo
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 4089
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, June 27, 2014 - 7:52 am:   Edit Post

I recall a few year ago the subject of tonal ageing and whether instruments can be artificially tonally aged mechanically was a hot subject. I seem to remember posting something on here regarding this also. I have had a quick look around and found this.
http://www.newscientist.com/blog/invention/2007/09/ageing-instruments-with-sound.html


I personally think, although I'm no scientist, there are far to many variables surrounding the way that we play an instrument, the strings, amplifiers, acoustics of the room, electronics, our ears and our perception of what we are hearing, that it would be hard to isolate the age component of the tone of an instrument changing over time. Even if it were possible to measure, then i would presume it could be measured under laboratory conditions where everything can be controlled but on a gig or at home I don't think I could determine that process on my own instruments. Someone with better ears than me possibly.

I think the Jury will be out a long time on that one.
5a_quilt_top
Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 312
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Friday, June 27, 2014 - 9:29 am:   Edit Post

I'm sure age does affect tone - both positively and negatively.

And I agree that this difference is more subtle than tonal differences due to age of strings, type of strings, room acoustics, playing technique, amplifier choice and settings, speaker size and cab dimensions, hollow stage vs. concrete floor, etc.
growlypants
Member
Username: growlypants

Post Number: 89
Registered: 3-2011
Posted on Friday, June 27, 2014 - 11:50 am:   Edit Post

Well, there you go, 5a!!!!! How did you know I always play in the same place?!!!!!
5a_quilt_top
Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 313
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Friday, June 27, 2014 - 12:08 pm:   Edit Post

Hey growly -

In addition, I should also mention that age has affected MY tone...PAH-rump!

But that's a borderline thread hijack...
bob2
Junior
Username: bob2

Post Number: 41
Registered: 2-2009
Posted on Friday, June 27, 2014 - 11:52 pm:   Edit Post

there's an old story among banjo players that their instruments sound better after years of playing.

and if you have a banjo that's been in its case for a few months or more, you're supposed to set it on a stand in front of a stereo speaker and have your records playing at it for a day or two. then it sounds good again.
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2195
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, June 28, 2014 - 9:48 am:   Edit Post

Taken seriously by a large R+D arm of a global manufacturer, and applied to production instruments:

http://www.yamaha.com/about_yamaha/research/are/

J o e y
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2196
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, June 28, 2014 - 9:57 am:   Edit Post

In this instance, BB basses:

http://www.yamaha.co.jp/english/product/guitar/bb/features/page4.html?from=global_search

. . . . this sort of thing almost reminds me of a race team, looking for that new technology that will buy them a few more tenths of a second advantage over the field.

I suppose the real question, is how OLD will it sound years from now, and could I hear it now, or then?

J o e y
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 517
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Saturday, June 28, 2014 - 3:26 pm:   Edit Post

Or can I return my bass for a full refund if I don't like the tone 3, 5, 10, 25 years down the road.

Of course, by the latter time I assume my hearing will be so shot that I'll be playing only my E and A stings because I won't be able to hear higher frequencies than those produced by these strings.
growlypants
Member
Username: growlypants

Post Number: 90
Registered: 3-2011
Posted on Sunday, June 29, 2014 - 6:17 am:   Edit Post

I'm glad to hear that people like Yamaha, not only understand the phenomenon, but seek it out! It's more of a "settling in" kind of thing. And it makes me smile. Getting better with age, and all...(and I should know about that!)
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5786
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Sunday, June 29, 2014 - 10:45 am:   Edit Post

Has anyone checked out "Tonerite"? It's a little $150 box that you place over the strings above the bridge and turn it on. You adjust it to different settings over the course of a few days and it's supposed to improve the sound, tone, volume, etc. The reviews are actually quite impressive.

Bill, tgo.
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 4092
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, June 29, 2014 - 6:06 pm:   Edit Post

I've read about those too Bill.
wfmandmusic
Member
Username: wfmandmusic

Post Number: 68
Registered: 1-2012
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2014 - 6:46 pm:   Edit Post

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Mostly because I read the stuff on Yamaha. To be able to change the molecular structure of the wood artificially and make it age is something to question but I'm not a scientist. I know for a fact my acoustic guitars and my upright bass have changed drastically over the years. They have become deeper sounding, more resonate and rich sounding. The highs have become less biting but with more ring. So I know wood ages and changes. As most do, the neck on my old Fender has been changing color. When it hit 35 years of age, one day I opened the case and freaked out. The color had changed drastically and gotten much darker. I gave it a quick look over, thought about the humidity it was stored in, then I plugged it in and swear it sounded different. All of the Alembics I own were older when I bought them so I can't really compare unless they change from now until I die. You can play a lot of factory basses that were all suppose to be made the same and hear a difference even after they are very old. I have wondered do instruments really blossom or is it our relationship with them and how we play them that blossoms? Maybe it is both. I have a really old Yamaha BB. It weighs a ton and sounds fantastic for what it is. I always thought it was the weight that gave it a great tone. Yamaha made a bass for me once. It was modeled after the BB3000AF. It was a four string fretless. I played it on two albums. I loved that bass so much. I mean really loved it. I flew to LA from Detroit to do some recording and checked the bass at the airport. When I arrived in LA and opened the case, I found the neck totally warped and twisted. It could not be fixed and was destroyed. It broke my heart. That led me to Zon and Joe built a really nice bass with a graphite neck. That was not going to happen to me again. This was all on my path to Alembic. The wood combinations and the type and thickness of the finish will all effect the tonal changes I believe in years to come. Less than an acoustic instrument for sure. but my ears change as well. All living and dead things are always changing I guess.

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