Ibanez have announced a new Artwood Vintage acoustic range that uses their Thermo-Aged process to artificially age the wood for, allegedly, a better tone. Slated for launch at Summer NAMM, this range will have many wondering exactly what difference this process will actually make to the instruments’ sound.
The process uses heat and a vacuum to remove as much moisture from the wood as possible, supposedly making it lighter and more responsive. The theory is that this will give a tone similar to that of an older piece of wood. Good acoustic guitars generally sound better with age, as the natural ageing process of wood makes it sound and feel more ‘alive’. This thermo-ageing process seeks to mimic the natural ageing and the moisture loss associated with old guitars that now have ‘vintage’ tone.
Lots of acoustic guitars builders have dabbled with this type of process, including the Martin Guitar Company and Taylor Guitars. So, it’s not a new thing, exactly. There is some basis of truth in there and the process does go some way to achieving a more resonant and vibrant acoustic guitar. I can’t comment on what these new Ibanez actually sound like. I have played a few old acoustics and would agree that the older ones do tend to feel more ‘alive’ when played often, giving better dynamic response to your attack.
The problem for manufacturers is that old wood is in short supply and many players want great-sounding acoustic guitars on a budget, but that old wood is not cheap to use. This process, if successful, would alleviate a lot of these issues. Plus, it might make for some great-sounding instruments.
Dreadnought, grand concert and parlour guitars are the styles of acoustic offered by Ibanez in the Artwood Vintage Range Thermo-Aged range and will come in either a mahogany or a sitka spruce solid top. I would suggest watching the video below and also checking out the Ibanez site to read their full details on the new range and their thermo-ageing process.
RRP USD from $599 Ibanez Artwood Vintage Thermo-Aged acoustic with aged top and from $899 with aged back
Artwood Vintage Thermo-Aged acoustic guitars: Ibanez site