Does anyone have any experience with torrified wood? I was dubious when I first saw it in the StewMac catalog. Then I noticed that Martin uses it on some guitars (the Vintage Tone System) and decided to try it. So far all I can report is that it's quite light and kind of brownish. But I just inlayed the rosette this morning so I've got a ways to go. Any hints, tips, or admonitions?
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The only admonition I would give is for anyone discussing the process to refer to it as "torrefaction" rather than "torrification" , an appalling misnomer which appears all too often on guitar forums.
When I see "torrification", a vision of Foghorn Leghorn is irresistibly brought to mind ... "What, ah say what in tarnation them Martin fellers up to now with their newfanglerized geetar torrifications ??? "
Looks like you're the guinea pig, Jonathan.
I remember reading a forum that was based on a discussion about "baking" archtop instruments plates. Some of the participants said they baked their before carving and some of the "bakers" did it after carving. All of them were using their home ovens so it certainly wasn't an oxygen free environment. I also don't remember any of them being able to present empirical data about the effects.
I'm looking forward to a report from you when you finish... (no pressure).
Thanks Ned. The silence from the forum members is deafening. I just haven't done enough guitars to have developed "finger-tip-feeling" for qualities like stiffness. The braces feel lighter and the top feels lighter, compared to regular spruce braces and tops of the same dimensions. I think the top is stiffer. I had to thin it to somerwhere between .09 and .10 before I could see a fair curve, viewed from the end. (This guitar will be a 12-fret triple O.) Beyond those few observations I can go no further in this post. I'll post something when it's done and playable, sometime in early September.
Hey Jonathan. Unlike some fora... many of us here are reluctant to talk about things that we may not have considerable, direct experience with.
Torrified wood for Lutherie is pretty new although Yamaha has been doing it for a very long time. My impression in the case of Yamaha was that the methodology was attractive to this manufacturer to reduce warranty claims from cracked tops. If the process makes a top more stable it might, just might, not crack as commonly as other materials.
When I first heard about the process I was a skeptic and I am also one who built commonly with "baked" tops. Not to be confused with wake-n-bake either.....
I forgot what I wanted to say.... of yeah... with baking (guitar tops...) I noticed a different feel to the wood as well and what I expected was more stability. Baking for me was never intended to recreate a specific tone, etc. nor was baking tops billed for that reason either. I also understand that torrified wood is very different from baked wood.
These days with torrified wood Martin says that they are recreating the cellular structure of a vintage, pre-war Martin. When I first heard this I said to my self hooey (hooey was not my exactly choice of words...).
Using my own noggin and attempting to reason this through if Yamaha's claims for the process are related to belaying or avoiding warranty claims it occurs to me that if the process was also billed as a tone enhancer companies could benefit from either perception, true or not....
Then along came a guitar built by Dana B. (never can spell his name correctly). This guitar was recently built and purchased by a client of ours who brought it to us for us to determine if it is a "keeper" or not.
The guitar has a torrified top and sounded absolutely superb in all respects. Although one sample does not an evangelist make in my world it was impressive and this skeptic has more interest in the process as a result.
I still have questions too such as how well does it do with glue? How well will it do 50 years from now, etc?
But this one sample was a superb guitar and one of the best sounding guitars that I have ever heard.
Impressive even for an old skeptic!
Wish that I could be more helpful but you are asking about bleeding edge stuff.
Thanks, Hesh. My mistake was in assuming that, once it appears in the StewMac catalog, many folks would be attracted, if for no other reason than that it is unusual. And then you learn Dana B. approves. And, I knew you baked your tops .... not the same thing, exactly, but pretty close.
It may well be too early for people to have developed a considered opinion. It's certainly too early for me.
This is one of those cases where it almost sounds too good to be true... except that I've never heard anyone who actually built with baked tops say it didn't work well for them. I've always wondered about moisture content and how baking effects it. It seems that they should be almost too dry when removed from the oven.
I'm certainly not a expert on Bourgeois guitars but I've had the privilege of spending a prolonged amount of time playing several of them and I own one now. In my limited experience, finding a Bourgeois that doesn't sound wonderful is probably not going to happen. Dana Bourgeois has a reputation for his ability to select and tune acoustic top so that they perform very well. In my book, the idea that he would be willing to build a guitar with tops processed in this manner brings a lot of respectability to the technique. I still have questions about moisture content and just how effective the process is in the long run as moisture cycles in the wood fiber. Maybe it doesn't make any difference but I don't, at this time, see how it couldn't have an effect.
Here's some info:
Thanks for the link, Robbie. Very informative. Two of the warnings they give are (1) it might crumble, and (2) given the reduced water content, gluing may present a challenge (I assume the reference is to super glue).
So far I have glued everything associated with the soundboard, using Titebond, and it behaves normally. I have planed, chiseled, and sanded, and everything is as with any spruce. Time will tell, of course.
Quote: "Torrified wood for Lutherie is pretty new although Yamaha has been doing it for a very long time. My impression in the case of Yamaha was that the methodology was attractive to this manufacturer to reduce warranty claims from cracked tops."
In regard to torrefaction.
I have no "interest in", or "stake in" it, as regards to being for or against the process. So have no argument with anyone about it at all.
If a Customer believes torrefaction substantially improves the tone of Guitars and wants to purchase an instrument with a treated top; I note their enthusiasm, am pleased they have clear ideas about what they prefer and am genuinely happy for them if they find an Instrument they take delight in.
Similarly, there will be folk that are naturally conservative in opinion and skeptical about this new process. Some will have a hard take on it, and an entirely opposite viewpoint to the previous one above. But for me, it is the same thing, regardless. I note their clear preference, am glad they have a true vision for how and what they feel a guitar should be. I take pleasure in their happiness in finding an Instrument that reflects Manufacturing Qualities they Value.
I repeat, I have "no stake" in this.
However, I do have some thoughts about it, aspects that I "struggle" with.
I 'm not claiming to know what's right or wrong, but vulnerably exposing my inner concerns.
So with an Eagle Eye, that sees the Broadest, Panoramic View, but also Telescopes its Focus, Miles Ahead.
Powerfully Zooming into some Far Smaller Detail, I would like to present my "struggles", strip away some of the common misunderstandings, and take a clear look at some genuine facts.
After all, in England as well as on the Continent of Northern Europe, we have experience with this process for many hundreds of years, when we wanted to Retard the Rotting of Wet Wood, as it can Sometimes Rain and Used to Snow a Lot, so it's entirely possible, we might have learnt a little bit about it.
It was Hesh's comment above, that first caught my eye and got me interested in this thread.
You see, it took me back in my mind to the point when Yamaha first began Retailing Pianos into the United States.
Yamaha Corp. had no real experience and understanding of the wide temperature and humidity swings across the Continent of North America.
As a consequence, there was a lamentable lack of attention to the need of proper seasoning of the large areas of wood used to Manufacture their Piano Soundboards.
The inevitable result of this that followed, was Huge Warrantee Costs, as difficult and expensive to replace Soundboards, Cracked Wide Open, as the insufficiently prepared wood, adjusted to the changing environments.
This hard lesson, expensively earned, would never be forgotten by the heads at Yamaha Corporation. So it's no surprise to me that they would be at the forefront of attempting innovative methods to reduce such occurrences in regard to their Instruments in exactly the manner Hesh described. It showed tremendously perspicacious insight on his part, as I wouldn't have expected Hesh to know about the Pianos, at all.
Anyway, here are my "struggles".
Torrefaction does not make a Guitar "Vintage".
Vintage Guitars are different in a Great Many Respects.
To Brand New Guitars whose Tops have Undergone this Process.
For sure, the New Guitars Sound Different, have Properties that find Applause.
But do not Turn a New Guitar, into a Vintage Guitar in Sound, though Closer in Certain Aspects.
That is itself, may be enough.
For them to Greatly Appeal to Certain Customers.
I'm just Pointing Out the Obvious, so we can Differentiate Marketing.
A Great Guitar is a Great Guitar, Regardless.
If a Manufacturer has Publicly Presented and Marketed itself as following a Clear Corporate Ethos.
An Agenda of Genuine Sustainability, for the Future Good of the Environment and the Benefit of the Planet Earth, and all who Live Upon It.
To that end, Dispensing with Well Established, Traditional Materials and Processes. Eliminating Chemicals that involve the Discharge of Volatile Emissions. Investing in New Technologies of Low Energy Consumption and Plant into Factories.
How can the "Marketing Department" persuade the Guitar Purchasing Public to make the Olympian Gymnastic Leap, required in their Mental Agility, to accept their Endorsement of a Cost Inducing, High Energy Consumption Process, of the Type the Wider, Civilised World, everywhere else, is Actively Trying to get Rid Of?
It will Inevitably Increase Power Use and Consumption.
Use of an Ever More Strictly Limited Resource, "Energy", that is Inexorably Spiraling Upwardly in Cost.
Personally, I "struggle" to Square that Marketing Circle. It seems a Direct Contradiction of many Manufacturers, Previously Stated, Ethological Commitments to the Planet Earth and by extension and implication, to us as Consumers, Ourselves.
For the past Eight Years, Companies I have "an interest" in, have been No 1 at the Top of The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI). These are a family of indices evaluating the Sustainability Performance of the largest 2,500 companies listed on the Dow Jones Global Total Stock Market Index.
They are the longest-running Global Sustainability Benchmarks Worldwide and have become the Key Reference Point in Sustainability Investing for Investors and Companies alike. I think there is a Direct and Profoundly Deep Contradiction at the Heart of this New "Torrefaction" Process, the High Potential for a Conflict of Interest, and the Mixed Message Creating Confusion in the Clarity of Ethos of a Company and subsequently, inevitably, in the Mind of the Consumer.
Selling the Process hard, can only Injure, Damage and Negatively Impact.
The " Brand Image" of Manufacturing symbiotically with Natural Sustainability, that many Manufacturers have Spent a lot of Time and Money, Heavily Marketing themselves as being Fully in Harmony With.
A Single Luthier or Manufacturer can add small quantities of carefully selected wood to a Third Party, Independent Processor who is Treating a Large Load, at an almost Negligible Cost.
However, Manufacturers always want to Create " Improvement", "Reasons to Buy", and New Ways to Justify Significantly Higher Premiums for Greater Profitability at the Top End, especially when Competition is becoming ever more Untenable at the Low End of the Market.
So for a Mass Manufacturer to Invest Significant Capital Expenditure in their own Large Environmental Chamber, and Process Increasingly Larger Quantities of Wood in this way, is going to Induce Unavoidable Additional Costs, which inevitably must be passed onward, to the Final Consumer.
It will make Guitars, more Expensive.
Whether a Third Party Contractor is involved or a Company Invests in its Own, New Plant Machinery, In House.
When Mass Manufacturing, involving the Processing of Large Quantities of Material. New Capital Investment and Expenditure in Plant and People, will be Involved.
The way to Manufacture Products, Efficiently and Cost Effectively, by Lean and Mean Dictates is to Avoid and Eliminate every Unnecessary or Nonessential Process, Manufacturing Step and Waste, Material, Space, Movement, Time, People.
Thereby, Vastly Reducing and Shortening the Time and Distance between Receiving the Order, Completing the Fabrication of the Product, Inspecting, Packaging and Shipping it Out to the Customer. This Reduces Overhead, Overall Costs and Increases Productivity Significantly.
However, in virtually every respect, torrefaction, yields a Net Increase in every aspect you might consider, certainly All Those Mentioned Above. It can Easily Add One to Two Days to Production if Procedures are Followed Correctly. If they can get the Idea to Catch the Imagination of Players, although Initially, Consumer Costs might be Restrained. Ultimately, if it Rolls Out in Higher Volume, there will be Inevitable Higher Premiums to the Consumer.
Guitars Mature and Improve alongside their Owners.
Usually, the Day you Purchase a Solid Wood Guitar, is the Worst it will ever Sound.
If you buy a Great Guitar, whose Sound and Tone you are Truly Happy With, you know that it will only Get Better and Improve Overtime with Use.
The More your Play the Guitar, the Finer it Sounds, and as you as a Guitarist Improve your Performance, your Guitar Improves alongside you, to Effortlessly Compliment your Mastery.
You and Your Guitar, Grow and Improve Together.
Guitars Tops have Clear Headroom for Lasting Improvement of Performance.
Spruce has Greater Headroom than Cedar, but both will Improve Overtime over the Life of the Instrument.
In other words there is a Symbiotic Maturing and Growth in Relationship between The Player and their Instrument, that is a Typically Expected Experience of Guitar Ownership.
Proscribe to a Theory, regarding the Life of a Guitar.
They Feel there is a Definite and Limited Life of Headroom Improvement, available to a Guitar Top.
That it will Steadily Improve for Many, Many Years, but eventually, it will Peak, and then on, only Gradually Degrade in Performance, being Passed its Best.
Master Guitarist, Julian Bream who lives a short distance away, and often had a Luthier living on his Home Site, and has Openly Quantified in Time, the Headroom to Peak of Differing Woods.
If we Accept this Theory.
The Experience of people like Julian Bream.
Then Logic dictates that a Guitar Top, subjected to Torrefaction.
Will be as Good Sounding as the Top can Ever Get, from Day One of Initial Purchase.
It won't ever Actually Improve Over Time, in the way Solid Top Guitars, Traditionally Do, so that is it!
Furthermore, if the Woods, Natural Maturing Process, has been Completely Short Circuited by the Application of Torrefaction.
Then if the Theory of Limited and Definitive Headroom Life is Correct, (and I'm not categorically stating it is), then Logic derived from this would Clearly Dictate.
That the Future, Guitarists with Tops subjected to Complete Torrefaction will Experience, is a Slow, Gradual Degradation in Performance and Tone. The Direct Opposite of their Traditional Experience.
Seen in its True Light.
Is then, somewhat of a Zero Sum Game.
You Win Out Today, but Lose Out Completely Tomorrow.
You can have Instant Gratification.
Or Slow, Gradual, Ever Increasing Improvement and Gratification.
At the end of the day, it seems very much a matter of Personal Choice, Qualities and Values.
And let me state that I have a High Regard for many of the people involved in Torrefaction, both Independent Luthiers and Mass Manufactures alike.
The first time I came across Torrefaction in more recent years, was when Sterling Ball brought out Music Man Bass Instruments with Necks, "beautified" with this Process.
The Necks were Highly Figured Maple with a large Degree of Birds Eye. Occurring in less than 1/10th of 1% of such wood, this is most commonly seen in Acer Saccharum, although the real reason for Birds Eye Figuring occurring, is unknown.
The best explanation I have heard myself is that it is caused by Less than Ideal Growing Conditions for the Tree. As it Grows, the Tree starts to attempt to shoot a great many more than normal, new buds to receive more sunlight and Bird Eyes are the Result.
As the Environmental Conditions will not support this Attempted Growth, there is a Natural Abortion of the New Shoots, and so the remaining knots appears as Bird Eyes. But the Salient Point I want to Strongly Emphasise, is that the most common wood this is found in is Sugar Maple.
Going back to Hesh's Original Point regarding Stabilisation of Wood and Accompanying Warrantees. Where concern exists as a Tree is involved with its Cellular Grain Disturbed by such a High Degree of Figuring, and where such as in Basses, Neck Stability and Straightness is Crucial. To me, it could make Solid Sense to Ensure that the Hard Rock Maple, is Made Extra Stable, by this Hardening Process.
And Being able to Charge a High Premium for Beautiful Looking Wood, that's More Stable, is the Profitable Bonus for Creating what some might consider to be a More Distinctive and Desirable Product.
So for me it's not a question of right or wrong.
But more a Question of Proper and Best Choice, (which may vary with the Individual), and where it makes Especial Sense, (as with the Figured Bass Necks).
A Guitarist might find the Allure of the Potential for an Extra Dimension in Sound and Tonality Now, (always presuming that to be the case), a Totally Irresistible Prospect, even if that is as good as it will ever get, (also presuming that to be the case).
Conversely, a Guitarist may not be all that Hot Today, but wants a Great Guitar and by the Time their Traditionally Made Guitar has Opened Up, they may be just at the point in the Growth of their Playing Maturity, where they can Fully Appreciate its Fulsomely Rounding Qualities.
So to me a Zero Sum Game.
With an Up and a Downside either way one goes.
As you will know.
Torrefaction, Heats the Wood to an Unnatural Degree.
The Environmental Chamber should Eliminate all Oxygen from the Process.
This is because if Oxygen was present, with the Heat being So Intense, it would Suddenly become Combustible.
Eliminating Oxygen then is Essential, because by Eliminating Oxygen we Eliminate the very Real Danger of the Risk of Fire, in a Plant, Manufacturing Products from Wood.
That one for a Moment.
Dwell on it, A While Longer, than others have.
The Record of History, may deem it to be an Important Oversight.
History does however reminds us, that Europe's Largest Ever Guitar Factory.
Was Destroyed Forever in an Incendiary Inferno, with its Supply of Fully Seasoned Wood.
American Manufacturers that have adopted this Process use Small Industrial Ovens that are not much bigger than a Laboratory Oven.
But they are typically Floor Level Cabinets that can be Powered either by Gas or Electric so there is Going To be Capital and Running Costs, that will be Passed to the Consumer.
Usually, the Load In and Out Trucks with their Shelves, used in such Ovens for this Type of Factory Plant are typically supplied as Additional Optional Extras along with the Oven and its Controlling as Required.
I'm not entirely convinced that Certain Manufactures Claims, regarding this Process, are Borne Out, Fully in Practice. What I mean by that, is that if they follow the Principals of the Process Fully and Properly, they can hit real problems for Volume Production, so Modify the Processes and Methodologies, but in doing so May Fail to Keep Fully, to the Proper, Effective and Necessary, Underlying Principals. Torrefaction that in enacted in Process, but to the Very Bottom of the Needed Temperature Range, and Severely Time Limited and Constrained, may be Torrefaction, but may not be in the Same Class of Endeavour, that Other Makers are Aspiring To. Not Everything may be Equal in Every Respect between makers is the Salient Point.
So then, if that Perception is True, at least in such a case, it could be that you are dealing with "Hype" around a "Process", as much as anything else, (but not in all cases, you must appreciate). If you Carefully Examine the Products of all the Great Makers utilising these Processes. Certain Profound Differences between them become Crystal Clear. So I would suggest that some Makers are More Faithfully Adhering to the Fundamental Principals of the Process, Rather more Precisely, than Others. That's not meant to be a Criticism of the Process at all, but its Implementation in Practise, by Individual Companies, which it's easy to appreciate may Genuinely Differ. I really don't mind what you or anyone else, buys, you understand.
So, rather, it's a Criticism of the Administrative Policy that is Guiding, Interpreting and Dictating, what the Policy Regarding it, that is Shaping the Process, should be. There is a Real Dilemma here, in that, while it has typically been the Policy to regard Policy as a Responsibility of Owners of Manufacturers and their Administration as a Responsibility of Designers, Plant and Operational Managers. The Question of Administrative Policy can cause confusion between the Policy of Administration and the Administration of Policy, especially when Responsibility for the Administration of the Policy of Administration, Conflicts, or Overlaps with, Responsibility for the Policy of the Administration of Policy.
It's no wonder some Manufacturers have lost their way a little, as it seems to me, at least.
Or to put this all far more succinctly, for our friend Dave Collins and Others. It's clear that a Committee consisting of Owners, Researchers, Designers, Facility Specialists and Operational Plant Managers has agreed that a New Policy, regarding how to Build a Guitar, using this "New" Process is really an Excellent Marketing Plan for Commercial Success.
But in view of some of the doubts being expressed, as I described above, may I propose that after careful consideration, the considered view of such a Committee really should be that, while what they Considered as a Proposal, will have met with Broad Approval in Principle, that some of the Principles were Sufficiently Fundamental in Principle, and some of the Considerations so Complex and Finely Balanced in Practice that in Principle, it should have been Proposed that the Sensible and Prudent Practice would be to Submit the Proposal for more Detailed Consideration, laying Stress on the Essential Continuity of the New Proposal with Existing Principles, the Principle of the Principal Arguments which the New Build of Guitar Proposal Proposes and Propounds for their Approval. In Principle.
The Owners and Managers of Guitar Companies don't often think this Clearly.
As if you are Going to Implement an Innovative Trailblazing Process.
You may as well Roll It Out for Absolutely Optimal Effect.
Half Measures, will serve no-one, well, here.
If you Don't Properly.
Fully Adhere to the Proper Principals.
Then you are in an Invidious Area of Compromise, Half Truths, and Hype.
The Great Makers that are Doing this Process Properly, Deserve not to be Undermined in any way, by Half Measures and Great P.R.
That is a Highly Relevant Concern.
The Echo of Which, may come to Reverberate, for Some While.
Brings the Moisture Content down to Zero.
In the Latter Stage of the Process, the Moisture Content is Artificially Raised to Approximately 6%.
People seem to have the idea that this is to ensure the Finished Instrument behaves like a Typically Manufactured Instrument.
This is actually, not the case at all. In point of fact, Prototyping during the Development Stage uncovered the fact that, unsurprisingly, Torrefaction makes the Top, Brittle, even Crumbly with Denser Woods.
Its rather Too Brittle to Properly Work in Volume Production circumstances, using Traditional Methodologies, which have had to be Somewhat Revised and Adapted, and New Processes Utilised during Manufacture to Prevent Tear Out and Chipping.
The Point of the Re-Injection of Moisture (that you have earlier spent Money, Energy and Time, getting rid of) into the Wood again, is to Mitigate and Minimise the Negative Effects of Torrefaction, in Volume Production that have made these New Processes, Revisions and Adjustments Necessary.
Clearly, a Great Learning Curve, with the Potential Degree of Error, Mishap, Mistake and Consequent Wastage is Likely to be Involved in any Scenario where the Moisture Content of the Wood has been brought Down to Zero, and even if it has been Subsequently Raised to Typically Ideal Ranges, Great Care should be Taken Working with the Material.
Proceed with Great Caution.
Would Appear to be the Most Sensible Advice.
Perhaps I should state that Companies I have "an interest" in.
Own many Environmental Chambers, but rather than using them like Ovens.
We can Re-Create The Conditions Experienced in the Sahara Desert or indeed The North Pole.
We can Introduce Additional Unwanted and Undesirable Elements, to Test the Integrity and Veracity of Products in the Worst Conditions Imaginable.
And in a Matter of Mere Hours and Days, Subject a Product to the Effect of Many, Many Years even Decades of Typical Use, in what would be Normally Experienced, Consumer Conditions, when used in well over 100 Different Countries, Worldwide.
Of course, Torrefaction, Colour's, the Shade of the Top.
Artificially Ageing Tops with Dyes and Stains, is a Marketing Ploy catering to those who wish to add Vintage Kudos to their Guitars Image and by implication, the Owner.
Torrefaction does this Staining Naturally, as the Sugar Content in the Cells of the Wood Crystallise. It's worth noting though that not everyone needs this prop of Kudos Enhancing Look.
Some people find White.
The Natural Colour of the Wood.
To be the Most Desirable Colour of All.
Enthusiasts Rave about the Sound.
What I would state myself, is that it's "Different".
To be honest, the Modern Taste in Guitar Tonality is Evolving.
As Recording and Playback Systems are very Highly Processed in Tonality.
People become used to more "Hyped" Tonalities, with Particular Frequencies Heightened.
They look for that "Hyped, Processed Sound" in their Instruments as Part of their Natural Tonality.
And today those Types of Tonalities are being Designed into Musical Instruments to meet such Desire and Expectation.
What I'm saying, is that the Guitar Sound.
Customers Hear in Highly Processed Recordings, carefully nuanced to provide Additional Presence and Airy Detail.
They then Expect to Hear in the Live Instrument in the Guitar Showroom as an Inbuilt, Default Sensibility of Anticipation of What a Guitar should Sound Like.
I consider this to be an Undesirable, Unrealistic and Incorrect Presumption.
The Thing is.
If Al Schmitt were to take an Ideal Choice of Mic.
And Place it in the Sweetest Spot of the Instruments, Near Field, Tonal Projection.
It is an Unassailable Fact, that a Typically Designed, Traditional Guitar, is likely to Sound Far, Far Better, "Un-hyped".
Al uses No Equalisation when Tracking.
And Usually, No Compression, either at all.
But mysteriously has 21 Grammys to his Credit.
He shuns Additional Sound Processing and Relies instead on Simply Capturing Superb Performance.
And does this by Judicious Mic Selection for Tone and Application and Precise Placement before the Sound Source.
Yet Today, everyone Adds Equalisation, Adds Compression and Adds Limiting to "Hype" and "Big Up" on their Sound Projection.
And Today's Guitars, Acoustic especially, are not immune to the Effects of this Over Production, indeed they are being Designed to Accentuate the Qualities.
Are we Adding Something Extra to the Build and Tonal Mix in Sound with some Modern Guitars, and thereby Losing Something far more Fundamental in the Process?
What is undisputable, is that many people have Recorded Guitars, only to spend hours and even days, Further Processing the Sound, only to Discover that what they ended up with chasing, was by Direct Comparison, Less than What they Actually Started With.
It would be Entirely Naive to think that Guitar Builders
And Manufacturers alike, in their Immaturity, have not made Precisely the Same Mistake.
I think it's Great that Consumers have a Choice.
And can Decide for Themselves, whether they want the Full in the Face, Hyped, Tonalities.
Or Want the Top Traditional Guitar Tonalities that Accompany the Greatest Hits in Recording History.
Guitarists of course, always want that Magic Bullet of Killer Sound that will Raise their Performance to WOW levels.
And Guitar Builders will always Attempt to find that Extra Ingredient that will Raise the Bar in Guitar Building. Sometimes, they Manage to be Distinctive.
Sometimes its Sheer Quality of Workmanship that Tells. But a Dana Bourgeois, Martin, Taylor, or any Reasonable Quality Guitar from such a Guitar Manufacturer or Maker, really ought to Sound, Very Good Indeed, Quite Regardless of Top Treatment.
Don't you think?
It just a Question of Whether you want to Buy.
A Brand New, Brilliantly Sounding and Rather Older Looking, Aged Model.
Or Buy a Brand New, Successfully Established, Great Sounding, Traditionally Looking, Young Model.
I Select Guitars.
As I would a Wife.
Whether you make a Traditional Topped Guitar or Torrefy the Top, Moisture Content and Stiffness, Remain Crucial a Successful Outcome.
"Implementation is Everything" as Rupert Neve would say, so for me it's not a matter of being in Favour or Against the Process, but how Expertly the Process is Enacted.
Although personally I have no doubt that torrefaction both weakens the wood very significantly, de-lamination being the failure mechanism and makes many aspects of fabrication rather more difficult than normal.
"One swallow does not a summer make" and Innate Quality of Raw Materials, Informed and Experienced Choices, During Tonewood Selection and Highly Skilled Craftsmanship Throughout the Build in One Hundred Different Details will Tell, Quite Regardless.
For me, this is really, "The Thing"!
Peter --- Thank you for the thoughtful and thought-provoking response. It left me the epistolary analog to speechless. Jonathan