It Starts With Expert Wood Selection
The first essential step when looking for good sound is carefully choosing which tonewood to use. I don’t take the mainstream approach to selecting tonewood because beauty and character are two different animals – just like in real life!
The saying “you eat with your eyes first” is also true for our line of business. An instrument made from beautiful and fine wood will always have it easier in evaluations and reviews than a competitor that is made from simple wood – given that the quality of craftsmanship is comparable. This phenomenon is particularly true for new instruments while there are exceptions for antique ones, especially if the instrument is of reputable origin. It is interesting that origin and age are obviously more important here than the beauty of the material. There are countless examples where antique instruments made from supposedly simple wood reach fame and glory on the main stages of this world.
This brings us back to our central theme of sound.
Experts probably agree that the precondition for good sound is always high quality tonewood. My experience in the field of acoustics has definitely shown that good tonewood with a plain and simple visual appearance absolutely exists. Conversely, even annual growth rings or deep flames don’t guarantee a good acoustic performance.
The acoustic quality of tonewood can be determined quite accurately in a fairly early stage of the making process. I use different scientific measurement methods to make my predictions and to classify the wood according to its quality. In order to reach an objective comparison, the wood needs to be almost equal in volume, i.e. having the same measurements and moisture content. The specific weight and density of wood determine its hardness. The different vibration properties can clearly be measured and specified.
Wood that doesn’t meet my expectations is rejected. No matter how beautiful it may be.
This already confirms my theory that beautiful doesn’t automatically mean good.
There obviously are many factors during further processing steps that have an influence on the development of the wood’s acoustic properties. Naturally, there are both positive and negative surprises. This matter will be discussed in further detail under the menu item “workshop”.
It is possible that the visual appeal of my instruments’ wood varies significantly within a quality level. Sure, it is desirable to combine the features of acoustic quality and beauty but unfortunately, this combination is quite rare.