I'd agree that solid tops are better and yes solid woods do change with age. With age the sap in tone woods crystalizes and allows for more vibration usually increasing sustain and adding more to the tone of the instrument. However in some cases the change doesn't have to be for the best. Take a guitar with a lightly braced top...It sounds good now and can handle middle to heavy strumming. Once it loosens/opens up it may become overdriven/muddy by heavy strumming but sound better finger picked than before.
As far as laminates go... Yes there are good ones! Cheaper, lower quality laminates are a laminate of good wood good over luane/plywood and really isn't good for anything. But the good laminates are made from 2-3 sheets of high quality solid tone woods and can age but it is hindered depending on the type of glue used in forming them. Hide glue will age with the wood and become freeier with time. I don't believe in using laminates for tops but think they are fine for back and sides. I went through a stage when I thought solid was always better but have come to learn with experience that that's not always so. I've had solid wood martins, taylors, larrivees and many more. I was convinced that solid woods were better and then I bought a quality laminate back and sided Yairi and was blown away. None of my other guitars could match it as far as tone. Laminates have a few advatages over solid woods. First is the whole humidity issue... Laminates are much more stable!! Also laminates can be made using a mixture of woods. Say you want a woody sounding guitar that has a strong bass line. Usually you'd go with mahogany for that open woody tone and rosewood for the bass attack. With laminates you can have a hog/rosewood/hog combination that will give you the characteristics of both tone woods. I think more has to do with construction than back and side woods. A good luthier can make a guitar sound just as good with lam back as a solid back. It all comes down to tuning the top braces to the guitar. In other words it's often depends on the builder.
To answer your question... Yes a good laminate could be better than a very poor quality solid top! But most of the time tops are better solid. The top defines the tone! 80-85% of tone is from the top, with 5% to the sides and 10-15% coming from the back. What we have to consider in the aging of the laminate top is not only the top itself but more importantly the bracing which almost surely is solid wood and will age and effect the top movement and therefore the tone. A solid top will just age more drastically!
There was a luthier that wanted to prove that the builder made the diffrence and not the woods. He constructed a wonderfull sounding guitar out of paper machet to prove the point!! I'll see if I can find the link and post it here...
[b][color=#FF0000]If your brain is part of the process, you're missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something.
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