At the front and center of our approach to design is finding the balance between strength and vibration, and crafting a tone to both inspire guitar playing and give players the ‘tonal tools’ they need. Alongside this ongoing development lies our respect for the sourcing, preparation and nurturing of the wood we use to make our guitars. No matter how good designs may be, it can only be as good as the wood we use to realize them.
Our solid wood tops, backs and sides and the mahogany used for necks go through a process that has been developed over the years in order to create stability, strength and tonal benefits. Depending on the wood and its use, this process certainly takes many months and can even take years for some of our models.
After months of air and traditional kiln drying, the solid wood in our Artist, Blues and Masterworks Series is cured and processed further in an oxygen-controlled, vacuum environment at special temperatures to remove more moisture and volatiles such as saps and sugars from the wood.
This does two things:
1. It makes our wood more stable when exposed to adverse dry or humid climates. Although we cannot stop the effects of dryness or moisture saturation that can damage guitars, ATR™ goes a major step further in helping our guitars be more resilient. Guitars will move or change according to the environment they are in and are likely to move more within the first two years from their production. The wood usually becomes drier as the guitar ages this is one of the reasons why players often like the sound of an older guitar, and it’s referred to as ‘vintage’ tone. ATR™ advances the natural, post- build drying process so the wood behaves as if it were more mature, stable and resonant from the day it is used.
2. The effect of ATR™ is clearly audible in the tops after they have gone through the process, and of course, the difference can be clearly heard in the completed instrument. The biggest difference we believe is the clarity of the notes and the separation between them. There is often ‘muddiness’ to the sound of new guitars, probably due to the moisture and volatiles that are still in the wood after traditional drying. But that ‘muddiness’ has gone with ATR™ and our guitars ‘sing’ better, they are clearer, with a more sophisticated and complex sound we think improves player experience even further.