Recently a very well connected luthier told me that a 40 year old instrument had gone `dead` because it had been built too thin and was not repairable.
Sometimes shops use a scare tactic to discourage people from buying new instruments stating they are built very thin and could loose their sound over time. Particularly luthiers that make instruments with a big sound and great projection get this thrown at them at times. Some luthiers will give you a rather lively response when you ask about the thickness of the plates. One well known luthier - his tops are at or over 3.0 at the centre , definitely not thin - feels that on rare occassions a new instrument needs a very slight regraduation after a few years as the plates tend to harden and become more stiff.
Few luthiers dare to build as thin as a number of well known Strads are.
My questions are : is it possible to predict more or less whether an instrument might go `dead` based on the thickness of the top (or also the back ? ); how common is this and are there other factors as well ? And maybe an instrument doesn`t totally die but deteriorates somewhat over time - probably for the same reasons but not as pronounced. Remember that an instrument may need a new soundpost and other set up changes as well particularly early in it`s life, but also for older instruments after 10 - 20 years.
Personally I haven`t had a new instrument deteriorate , rather very much the opposite, and haven`t heard from others directly either. But do I have to worry?
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