Do electric guitars sound get better as they get played more?

Si G X

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Posts
2,638
Location
England
I used hear and read about this - only on acoustic guitars, that they get sound better as they get played more.
If that is true, would it be the case for electric guitars too? Or it doesn't make sense?

The biggest problem with this whole question is that 'better' doesn't really mean anything.

Lets just say a pickup has become less magnetic and become mellower sounding over time, if you like a mellow sound you might think it's 'better' but if you like a more aggressive sound with a lot of bite, you might think it sounds 'worse' as it gets older.

I don't even know what you mean when you say 'better' and there's a good chance that my idea of 'better' isn't the same as yours.
 

Lowspeid

Tele-Meister
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Posts
283
Age
43
Location
Pac NW
Not a big deal, but sometimes if a guitar hasn't been played for months it doesn't seem quite as lively.
They come back to life pretty quickly with a couple of hours' play, though.
I've noticed that with my spruce-top acoustics in particular. It takes my Songbird Deluxe a couple hours of playing to really "open up" and produce all the glorious overtones and "richness" inside it if I haven't played it in a while. I also notice it gets considerably louder the more I play it.

My Electrics? Can't say. I've owned my '60's AO Tele since 2018 and it hasn't sat unplayed more than a day or two in that time. The rest of the electrics I've owned have come and gone pretty quickly (I'm pretty sure the '58 LP I picked up a couple months back will be with me 'till the grave).
 

bgmacaw

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Feb 11, 2006
Posts
9,450
Location
Near Athens GA USA
What about the pickups? Do they get aged and change sound?

Materials engineers will tell you that a magnet's gauss will stay stable for a very long time unless exposed to powerful energy sources that can disrupt their magnetic field. Ack! What do those engineering geeks know about the mojo of aged pickups!
 

Winky

Tele-Holic
Joined
Nov 6, 2011
Posts
518
Location
Canada
Our friend plays one of these professionally in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. I was asking about the idea of "vintage". She said these get worse with playing and with time, and that all professionals play new instruments. The opposite of the stringed instruments.
1652878790893.png
 

tomasz

Tele-Holic
Joined
Dec 18, 2007
Posts
943
Location
Europe
I think they actually sound worst! Many people post extatic threads about new guitars they are getting, and then they are becoming number 2s, 3s and get passed on with time ;)
 

Winky

Tele-Holic
Joined
Nov 6, 2011
Posts
518
Location
Canada
I've noticed that with my spruce-top acoustics in particular. It takes my Songbird Deluxe a couple hours of playing to really "open up" and produce all the glorious overtones and "richness" inside it if I haven't played it in a while. I also notice it gets considerably louder the more I play it.

My Electrics? Can't say. I've owned my '60's AO Tele since 2018 and it hasn't sat unplayed more than a day or two in that time. The rest of the electrics I've owned have come and gone pretty quickly (I'm pretty sure the '58 LP I picked up a couple months back will be with me 'till the grave).
"I also notice it gets considerably louder the more I play it."

That happens to me, but it isn't the guitar. As I get set with the position and feel of the instrument, I get more confident, and play it more assertively. When I play it for the first time after a break, I'm more "timid".
 

Nick Fanis

Poster Extraordinaire
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2003
Posts
7,168
Location
Athens-GREECE

Weazel

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Oct 21, 2009
Posts
1,386
Location
Location Location

"Do electric guitars sound get better as they get played more?"​


Why yes. Yes they do.
You should be able to notice the betterness every other year of playing or so.
 

theleman

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 11, 2017
Posts
320
Location
Mars
My electric guitars seem getting better sounding as I keep adjusting the pickup heights, and actions and truss rods, and restring etc. They get better all the time. And once it has been set to the ideal or my favourite sound, it is just matter of playing more and practice, I suppose.
 
Last edited:

FenderLover

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
Posts
6,266
Location
Minnesota
Reminds me of extraterrestrial life, always assumed to be more advanced than life here. Can't wait until they find a caveman situation somewhere.
 

SonicBlueByYou

TDPRI Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2019
Posts
70
Age
53
Location
Kootenays, BC
I used to believe that age made a difference with electric guitars, but recent experience has made me question that. Other than possibly a 1953 Esquire owned by a friend, by far the finest telecaster I have ever played is a heavy relic CS 70th anniversary broadcaster made in November 2021. It unceremoniously kicked a 2006 Nocaster I had owned for years out of the #1 position.

I bought it new, and the honeymoon period is long over. It remains a very very special guitar.

And the finest Strat I have ever played? It left the Fender Custom Shop three months ago.
 

tonfarbe

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jun 24, 2004
Posts
1,058
Location
Berlin, Yer-up
I used to believe that age made a difference with electric guitars, but recent experience has made me question that. Other than possibly a 1953 Esquire owned by a friend, by far the finest telecaster I have ever played is a heavy relic CS 70th anniversary broadcaster made in November 2021. It unceremoniously kicked a 2006 Nocaster I had owned for years out of the #1 position.

I bought it new, and the honeymoon period is long over. It remains a very very special guitar.

And the finest Strat I have ever played? It left the Fender Custom Shop three months ago.
This only proves that a new superb guitar sounds better than an old mediocre guita.
 




Top