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Thread: Mandolin sound changing over time

  1. #76
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin sound changing over time

    How much of this is change is actually just cells vibrating and opening up enough to let the remaining moisture escape? I have always figured torrefication was just a bit more extreme way to eek some trapped moisture out of the woods cells.
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  2. #77
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin sound changing over time

    I'm an engineer by education (well, I started as a music major and then changed over to Electrical Engineering after 3 semesters), so I am all for the scientific method. That being said, history is full of scientific research that came to faulty conclusions - that's part of the scientific process. Does your work stand up to peer review? Can I replicate your experiments and get similar results? I am also well aware of just how faulty human perception is. The norm is for people to take their limited data points and draw faulty conclusions. That's just the way the brain works. It HAS to simplify, to jump to conclusions based on experience and observation, or else the chaos around the person would be overwhelming. Thus the need for the scientific method!
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  4. #78

    Default Re: Mandolin sound changing over time

    "The norm is for people to take their limited data points and draw faulty conclusions."

    While I totally agree with you re: the preponderance of fault conclusions, how many data points would
    it take to draw a "non-faulty" conclusion? At some point (if you really care to, debatable) you'll have to
    draw your own conclusion. I don't much care as long as the sound does change (whatever the cause).

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  5. #79

    Default Re: Mandolin sound changing over time

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    How much of this is change is actually just cells vibrating and opening up enough to let the remaining moisture escape? I have always figured torrefication was just a bit more extreme way to eek some trapped moisture out of the woods cells.
    Torrefaction isn't the same as aging, and it's not about moisture content. Moisture content equalizes pretty quickly, in a few months after the tree was standing. Then the wood is going to be equalized to the ambient relative humidity. It doesn't need to get dryer to sound good. Luthiers generally avoid kiln-dried wood (which would be the way to get your wood drier than just sitting there for a few months). But torrefied wood commands higher prices from well-known makers. It's a bit of a double standard. Torrefaction forces some structural changes, basically caramelizing sugars and that sort of thing, supposed to make wood more stable, which is always a good thing if taken at face value. If it's taken too far, waterbased finishes won't adhere well, and waterbased glues (hide glue, Titebond, etc) won't work well either. Sure does make the wood look pretty, though. The suppliers I know who make torrefied ash and poplar are very clear that their decking products are NOT to be used for musical instruments under any circumstances. More torrifaction does not equal a better or more aged sounding instrument.

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  7. #80
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin sound changing over time

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    Torrefaction isn't the same as aging, and it's not about moisture content. Moisture content equalizes pretty quickly, in a few months after the tree was standing. Then the wood is going to be equalized to the ambient relative humidity. It doesn't need to get dryer to sound good. Luthiers generally avoid kiln-dried wood (which would be the way to get your wood drier than just sitting there for a few months). But torrefied wood commands higher prices from well-known makers. It's a bit of a double standard. Torrefaction forces some structural changes, basically caramelizing sugars and that sort of thing, supposed to make wood more stable, which is always a good thing if taken at face value. If it's taken too far, waterbased finishes won't adhere well, and waterbased glues (hide glue, Titebond, etc) won't work well either. Sure does make the wood look pretty, though. The suppliers I know who make torrefied ash and poplar are very clear that their decking products are NOT to be used for musical instruments under any circumstances. More torrifaction does not equal a better or more aged sounding instrument.
    Thsat is good to know. Thanks. Do you know what temps they use to do this process?
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  8. #81

    Default Re: Mandolin sound changing over time

    I was a torrefaction skeptic until I went looking for a J 45 with a vintage dry tone that wasn't eight grand. Played every new J 45 I could get my hands on. They all sounded too pretty. One day I found a J 45 vintage. It had the banner tone. Quite close. So close I upped my budget. Figured at the price, I would go play some 60s guitars. If I had not found my 65 Epiphone, I'd have bought the J45 vintage.
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