Aged (relic'd, distressed ... insert your preferred nomenclature here) finishes are nothing new in the electric guitar world. But the vintage-inspired looks and tone popularized by traditional flattop builders operating at the boutique level have opened the eyes (and ears) of many purists who'd heretofore drawn a line in the sand against the mere thought of a pre-checked finish on an acoustic guitar. The looks of an Aged finish may not be for everyone (generally speaking, we're fans), but it's hard to argue with its impact on sound. Regardless of whose name is on the instrument, Aged finishes on acoustic guitars do tend to be significantly thinner than normal, typically resulting in a more responsive soundboard and a more open voice. We put Martin's Stage 1 Aged finish to the test with the help of our friend, Alex Rubin ~ here he is playing two Custom Authentic D-18 1937 models which are identical except for the finishes (standard Vintage Low Gloss, then Stage 1 Aged). Let us know what you think in the comments!