WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Yes, There Really Was a Golden Era!

A lost "Golden Era." Is there anything to it? Is it just nostalgia - a pining desire for another time & place? Is it all bound up with a lost innocence? An adult's vain & pointless wish to be young once again?

I am always a bit suspicious when someone says that things (whatever things), "were better so much better then." But I was doing a bit of research on guitars and came across this little essay on Martin guitars and "The Golden Era Instruments." It asks the sad and wistful question: "Will there be anymore?"

And the answer? Probably not! 

"Consequently, I would narrow Martin's Golden Era to only a five-year span, from 1934-39.

Obviously, what human hands did once, they should be able to do again, but today's makers are having increasing difficulty getting the materials that were available to the Golden Era makers. The Golden Era makers were able to get old growth lumber that was air-dried for at least a decade. Today almost all the wood available is second growth and not well-seasoned, so virtually all manufacturers use kiln-dried wood, which is not nearly as stable, nor does it sound the same as the old style air-dried well-seasoned wood. In addition, few makers today use hide glue, and the lacquer formulas available today are quite different from those of the 1920s through the 1960s."

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