acoustic soundboard

For his personal line, our columnist prefers these Ohio-built Waverly tuning machines, thanks to their light weight and unassuming footprint.

Unique, high-end guitar tuners and replacement parts offer new levels of customization for modern players.

In my previous installment of Acoustic Soundboard, I explored the significance of tuners, their replacement options, and the importance of preserving the authenticity of vintage guitars. I also delved into acceptable choices for both new and vintage guitars, as well as the considerations for custom boutique instruments. This time, let’s dig a bit deeper on boutique tuners and how to properly outfit a custom guitar.

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The CAT scanning process helps luthiers better understand the material properties of the tonewoods used almost a century ago.

When reconstructing the sound of a vintage instrument, a data deep dive may be in order.

My interest in the science of sound stemmed from my inability to understand most modern luthiers’ theories or philosophies. One issue I’ve struggled with is why so many of the best examples of vintage guitars that are awesome on so many levels are now approaching 100 years old. Why doesn’t the same abundance of excellent sounding instruments exist in the modern era? Something was definitely spot-on with these older guitars. But when the tonewood stars are aligned, modern makers do occasionally come close to hitting that mark, so I don’t think it’s totally a question of those older instruments maturing through aging. I feel these guitars were good from the start.

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This clean 1938 Martin 00-18 is the sort of checks-all-boxes, bucket-list vintage guitar that only comes around once in a blue moon.

Sure, the economy isn’t what it was a few months ago. But what do you do if you find the one?

Guitar shopping is certainly different than it was 18 months ago. And we’re all grateful that manufacturers like Martin and Taylor are shipping more new guitars. That means your favorite music store probably doesn’t have as many empty hooks as it did during the crazy days of Covid. Stores that sell new instruments are also moving inventory more slowly as recent Wall Street jitters over inflation and the economy filter down to dinner-table talks about family finances. Even worse, personal budgets for music gear have to compete with vacations, events, and dining out. As a result, some guitar shoppers are wondering if that new guitar purchase should be postponed, especially considering that most new models will be available in the future when the world will hopefully feel at least a little more secure and predictable.

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