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LL36_image6The warmth of tone found in mature woods is sought out by guitarists worldwide. Yamaha has developed a process that can produce the ‘sweet sound’ found in mature woods in its brand new guitars.

With the sonic properties of wood changing, often improving as it ages, Yamaha embarked on an in-depth research program to try and understand what changes were actually occurring in the wood. Although time is the only factor that can truly age anything, after years of development, the Acoustic Resonance Enhancement (ARE) process was born. The new process brings changes in the wood that are similar to those observed in aged wood, but the focus is resolutely on achieving a superior sound rather an “aged” sound.

ARE has proven to be extraordinarily successful in optimising the sonic qualities of wood destined for use in Yamaha L series guitars.

This unique patented process is not specifically an aging process. Instead it causes physical changes at the cellular level, most directly affecting the wood’s cellulose and hemicellulose.

Wood undergoes substantial changes as a result of heat and humidity – young wood has an edge and hardness to its sound, however, over the years woods exposure to these elements has an increasing effect on its tone, producing these warm sought after sounds. Wood is made up of fibrous cellulose, resinous lignin and a substance known as hemicellulose that binds these together. Old wood, in which the cellulose has crystallised hardens in the direction of the grain, the amount of hemicellulose decreases, thus making it easier to remove across the grain. As it becomes harder in the direction of the grain, wood becomes softer across the grain and this helps the wood to respond well when an instrument is played, extending the low range, and rapidly decaying the high range.

Yamaha’s ARE process significantly enhances sound transmission: the wood becomes more responsive to input from the strings and transmits the vibration with greater accuracy. In sonic terms, the harshness that is often heard in young wood is reduced, while the sustain characteristics at different frequencies are brought into a more balanced, well-coordinated relationship. The only way to really understand the effect is to hear it, and experience the crisp attack with a clean high end that is smoothly coupled to harmonically rich mids and lows with remarkable sustain.

The result is outstanding balance with ideal response and sustain throughout the guitar’s frequency range.
A side benefit of ARE processing is that it helps to stabilise the wood in addition to improving its sonic properties. Although Yamaha employs multiple technologies as well as severe testing to ensure the stability of its guitars, ARE further contributes to stability by minimising changes in the wood as it is moved between different atmospheric conditions.

Acoustic Resonance Enhancement is a ground-breaking technology that captures the warmth of tone found in mature woods, which has been a target of instrument makers worldwide.

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