Acoustic guitars often sound amazing in a guitar shop, especially in a soundproof room where musicians test the sound of instruments. Then once they take the guitar home it might not have the same magical sound, especially after several weeks. Why does the sound change and what factors affect the sound of an acoustic guitar? Knowing “why does my acoustic guitar sound different?” will help you maintain your guitars, better, over their lifespan.
Factors that may change the sound of your acoustic guitar:
The following is a list of reasons the sound of your acoustic guitar could be different. There’s a very good chance the problem you’re hearing is on this list, however the list is not exhaustive.
Condition of the Acoustic Guitar
What makes acoustic guitars sound different based on their condition? First consider the different factors of guitar engineering that affect sound. All the parts that touch the strings (bridge, saddle, nut) affect the tension of the string and how it vibrates. When a string buzzes, it could mean one of these components is worn and needs replacing. If the instrument has trouble staying in tune, other than old strings it could mean the neck is warped or some of the hardware needs tightening.
It’s worth noting that the older wood gets, the more it can produce a richer and louder sound. But if the wood is damaged with cracks in it, the guitar may rattle. The material of the guitar body such as wood or fiberglass plays a big role in the guitar’s overall sound, which is more a matter of taste. The engineering of the guitar, such as fret placement, dramatically affects overall sound quality.
How Room Acoustics Affect Sound
Why does my acoustic guitar sound different in different settings? In one room it might sound bright and in another dull or muddy. Professional recordings are made in studios with plenty of insulation and foam that absorbs sound waves. This type of “dead room” has little to no echo. Too much reverberation can create unwanted distortion and drown out clarity. By contrast, a room with multiple sides and angles without padding tends to generate excess reverb.
How Temperature and Humidity Make a Difference
Why does my acoustic guitar sound different on hot or cold days? Guitar parts including strings contract in cold temperatures and expand with heat. While freezing temperatures and low humidity can cause wood to crack, high temperatures can cause the wood to warp. Strings can lose their tonality under hot or cold conditions as the guitar produces a more sluggish sound. Both heat and high humidity can cause components to expand and dampen the instrument’s brightness.
Old Strings vs. New Strings
Why does my acoustic guitar sound different when I change the strings? The reason for changing guitar strings every 3-6 months is because the constant stretching of strings leads to loss in tonality. Even without playing the guitar at all, the strings will still lose their tonality over time. Using durable coated strings will give you the most economic and musical value.
Staying in Tune
What makes acoustic guitars sound different based on tuning method? There are different ways to tune a guitar, but the most common way now is with battery-operated electronic tuners. This approach provides the closest approximation to standard tuning and is considered more accurate than tuning by ear. Individual musicians may hear notes differently than other musicians who tune by ear, which is why electronic devices provide better precision.
Taking Proper Care of Your Guitar
What makes acoustic guitars sound different based on how you care for them? There’s actually a noticeable difference between a well maintained acoustic guitar and one that’s constantly exposed to environmental elements. Here are some essential tips in proper guitar care that can give it the best possible sound:
– Always keep the guitar in a dry safe place
– It’s best to keep the guitar locked in a case when it’s not used
– Never leave the guitar for extended time in hot or cold indoor/outdoor conditions
– Clean the instrument entirely with a damp cloth on a regular basis
– Use lubricants on the strings
– Change the strings when they start to sound sharp or flat regardless of tuning
– Get a humidifier and dehumidifier
– Occasionally inspect the nut, saddle and bridge for wear and tear
Some musicians let their acoustic guitars get beaten up with dings and scratches and they take pride in how it still makes sound. They might even carve messages into the wood. These gestures might look acceptable for those trying to maintain a street-level garage band image, but the best sounding acoustic guitars are the ones that have been given proper care.
Why your acoustic guitar sounds different
many things can impact the sound of your guitar, over time. If you’re wondering why does my acoustic guitar sound different now, you might never know for sure.
There’s many reasons so you might be able to have a good guess at it, but it may be impossible to tell, in some cases.
The sound of acoustic guitars may change after buying them for numerous reasons. Room acoustics, temperature, age of the strings and how a guitarist takes care of their instrument are each major factors that affect how it sounds. The more guitarists become aware of these details, the more they can take steps to maximize the sound of their acoustic guitars.