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Thread: Soundboard tonal spectrum chart?

  1. #1
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    Default Soundboard tonal spectrum chart?

    Is there a chart or graph that shows the type of wood (for soundboard with back/sides) and a range of the tonal properties that it would produce when made into a ukulele or guitar. All other things equal (age, bracing, thickness, etc.)? I'm curious to know if there is a quick reference guide that luthier's use? Or is it just trial and error?

  2. #2

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    It gives me a forbidden spam message when I try to include the link, but try googling "Breedlove tonewoods" and see if that helps you.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerome collector View Post
    It gives me a forbidden spam message when I try to include the link, but try googling "Breedlove tonewoods" and see if that helps you.
    https://breedlovemusic.com/soundstudio/tone-woods/ Here is the link this looks like a very good resource

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Cleaves View Post
    https://breedlovemusic.com/soundstudio/tone-woods/ Here is the link this looks like a very good resource
    Alan,
    Thanks for supplying the link. That's the exact same link that generated the spam message when I tried to reply to the OP.
    Mike

  5. #5
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    Builders other than Breedlove might place the species in a different order. At Huss & Dalton, all top wood was thinned to the same stiffness, red spruce was used for all bracing, and most of the guitars sounded remarkably alike regardless of the type of body wood. I found on my own that thinning top wood beyond that point gave guitars a sound of more wire and less wood, a "pianistic" quality that I was after but that many guitarists didn't care for, especially for strumming and flatpicking. I'm not sure ukes ever reach that point due to low tension and nylon strings.

    Wood is wood. Tonal differences come from the hands of the builder, not to mention the player. Old tradition maintained that plain wood always sounded better than figured wood, yet today most builders/players want the fanciest wood they can afford. That should tell us something.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by subtlestrum View Post
    Is there a chart or graph that shows the type of wood (for soundboard with back/sides) and a range of the tonal properties that it would produce when made into a ukulele or guitar.
    I think you are referring to some sort of quantitative measurement of tonal qualities and no such chart or graph exists to my knowledge. Tone woods are much more referenced for their qualitative properties as perceived by the maker. You have to understand that building musical instruments is more than just putting woods together, but also involves selling the instruments once they are assembled and finished. Thus we get attempts to describe what are subtle and subjective differences in tones in different types of wood. This is subjective and inherently biased to the listeners preconceptions. I once heard that bear claw figured sitka spruce was from trees actually clawed by bears and thus had a "strong, almost growling sound". Make your own conclusions.

    There are different tonal qualities to wood for sure, but there is also something called marketing.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the response everyone. I was able to find a site that did try to describe some of their tone woods with a short description and where they put it on a scale of warm to bright tone. https://www.soundunlimited.co.uk/blo...tar_tone_woods

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by subtlestrum View Post
    Thanks for the response everyone. I was able to find a site that did try to describe some of their tone woods with a short description and where they put it on a scale of warm to bright tone. https://www.soundunlimited.co.uk/blo...tar_tone_woods
    Interesting presentation and nice looking site, but nowhere could I find how they came to their conclusions. The little slider things imply that some sort of scientific, quantitative method was used. "Warm" and "bright" are not really acoustically meaningful as a visual representation of a very complex situation. Caveat emptor. Unfortunately it ain't that simple.

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