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... new violins/guitars ... the nature of wood actually changing ...
I know my cricket bat needed to be bashed with a cricket ball repeatedly when it was new before I was supposed to use it on the pitch. I'm sure this process would change the acoustics of a guitar or violin! 
... there is a prevalent belief among many musicians that playing and resonating sound through the instrument genuinely improves its tone. I wonder if anyone knows of any attempts to test this on its own and discount changes in temperature/humidity etc