Thanks for passing that along. This is the first time I ever read
about any type of enforcement of protected woods. Does anyone have
other articles about raids at other type of woodworking facilities
(furniture makers for instance) where lumber was confiscated?
I am not a musician but I experimented with making a cheap vibraphone
a few years ago and the types of wood made a difference in sound. I
don't know if that characteristic can be applied to string instruments
but it exist in percussion types.
The sound is produced by the vibration of the strings enhanced and
amplified by resonances in the body. The strings are coupled to
the body at two locations - the bridge and the top of the fretboard.
The density of the fretboard wood has a direct relationship to the
sound of the instrument.
my understanding is that a fretboard should be dimensionally stable and
resist wear. The wood should be of fairly uniform density, so that the
strings will have the same response on each fret. a non-uniform
fretboard (and neck) would have "live" and "dead" acoustic spots
affecting sound quality. Ebony, rosewood and maple have usually been
the woods of choice for those reasons. Ebony is much more expensive.
Mesquite might do very well functionally due to its exceptional hardness
and dimensional stability. I imagine that the hardest part would be
getting a large enough straight-grained piece.
I found these, that I think are pretty cool:
http://www.guitarsbyjake.com/guitarsbyjake/shop.htm (bass has mesquite
top and fretboard)
Are you joking? Luthiers want to know whether the wood came off of the
east or the west side of the tree. There are some banjo bridges being
made out of wood salvaged from shipwrecks in Lake Superior that go for
quite alot (don't have the figure off hand). No kidding.
Much of this is, IME, nothing more than figment of the imagination,
followed up by clever marketing, much like with the "audiophile" business.
I've recorded albums with some of the best acoustic musicians, violin,
guitar, mandolin and banjo players in the world and I guarantee you
without qualification that 90% of any perceived "tone" in an instrument
comes from the "hands" of the player and makes up the 10% difference.
IOW, Tony Rice can make a Sears Silvertone sound like Clarence White's
D-28. BTDT. :)
I would say that it doesn't make much difference to the listener except
for the listener who is playing! I can definitely know the difference
when I am playing a fine guitar with rosewood back and sides. I don't
own one--but I can tell the difference when I play one...lol.
I will up your estimate, and say that at least 98% of the musicality of
a performance comes from the player and not from the instrument. A good
player will appreciate a fine instrument even if his or her listeners
can't tell the differene. In fact, he or she is likely to leave a good
instrument at home and bring a cheap copy on stage. How many Lucille's
(sp) do you suppose BB King has?
No doubt there is a lot of hype, and a lot of self-delusion when it comes to
vintage instruments and vintage components of instruments and/or components
made of rare materials. As you say, most famous players sound the same
whether they're playing an instrument delivered in an armored car or one
that came from the flea market. Which is not to say it is *all* smoke and
mirrors, but whenever people convince themselves that something made of
unobtainium is waaaay better sure as hell somebody will make a pile of money
providing the unobtainium version.
I once heard a young guitar student ask his teacher what should be the first
electronic gadget he should buy to sound better. The teacher told him to
use the money for a case of strings and wear them out practicing.
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