Wood treatment: Choosing resonant wood

Forestry pencil drawing

Rémy Gug examines a method of selecting wood for making instruments. From January 1991

There is very general agreement to the fact that wood, as a raw material, has considerable influence on the sound of an instrument made from it. The answer to the question whether, without exception, old instruments sound ‘much better’ than those built in our time, will be agreed on much less generally; it is subject to a rather personal point of view.

Thus the question arises whether the sound of the early instruments improved in the course of time: that knowledge is beyond the realm of anything that could be proven experimentally. We would also ask how exactly the aging of the wood influences the sound of an instrument being played for decades. Since we cannot prove any statements concerning this last question, instrument builders are free to choose their own opinion or alternate, according to mood, need or whatever, between two options.

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