The raw material is a major component of instrument sound quality. The wood used for making stringed instrument is selected on the basis of very strict standards, as the sound of the wood must be in tune.
Spruce wood for soundboard, soundpost and bar
The best wood comes from Jura and Tyrol and from trees grown slowly and regularly at an altitude of 1000 to 1500m. Its low density, significant resistance to deformation, and its well straight and aligned fibres make it one of the best sounding wood, with very high sound propagation.
Sycamore maple for bottom, ribs, neck and bridge
Maple tree shall enjoy fine and regular growth. Its structure is even, of an average density, and it has a very high compressive and flexural strength and impact resistance. These are essential ingredients of maple acoustic quality, but the wood offers also high aesthetic features. Its aspect is very beautiful, and its veined fibre structure produces highly aesthetic shimmering effects. The best species come from Hungary, Switzerland and Bosnia.
Special qualities of exotic wood
→ Ebony for fingerboard, tail-piece, violin pegs and bow nut
This tropical wood of black colour is a hard wood par excellence with high density resisting the pressure of strings on the neck. This is why both stringed instrument and bow makers use it. The ebony tree grows on Madagascar island, among other tropical areas.
→ Pernambuco wood for bow
It is a variety of acacia growing primarily in the Atlantic tropical forest of Brazil. Already known in Europe and used for staining, bow makers start using it for making bow in mid 18th Century and appreciate its high rigidity, flexibility, density, fitness for arching, and finally its beauty.
Cutting wood for stringed instrument making
Lengths of trunk of the same width as that of the instrument (violin, viola, violoncello) are cut in “sections” of segments. The small boards are then split and jointed with adhesive.