#1
Hey, all,
This is for all the people who, like myself, are curious as to /why/ mahogany has a different tone than maple, or why ebony has a different tone from spruce, or even why aluminum is in a world all its own. I started my high-school AP Music Theory class around a month ago, and in the first chapter, the book addressed overtones, timbre, etc. Now, before I start the explanation, there are a couple things to address:

It's quite possible that this really belongs as something in the original post of the ultimate tone wood thread, but I'm going to post it anyway.

Next, one needs to understand what is called the "Overtone System."
When you pluck a string on your guitar, it doesn't just vibrate as a whole, it also vibrates in halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, and so on. If you watch a roughly played bass string, you can see that. Each of these fractions of the string create a pitch of their own. Because of that, you have a series of pitches all being played simultaneously which create what we hear as a single tone.
If you listen very closely to a professional choir that's perfectly in tune, you can hear these overtones.
An example of different tones produced is found in "Music In Theory and Practice, Volume I." When you play an A, the A one octave above it is played, along with the E above that, C# just above middle C, the E above, then G, A, B, C#, D#, going on in to infinity.

Now what does this all have to do with the tone of different materials used to build musical instruments? I'm about to tell you.

Different properties of different woods will reinforce or mute certain overtones. These properties may include, but are not limited to, grain pattern, density, pliability, mass of wood, etc. Even the room the instrument is being played in will have some effect, however minute, on the sound of the instrument.
Mass, density, and pliability, in particular, will have a huge effect on the overtones muted or reinforced. If a material is more malleable and less dense, it is more likely to vibrate in a large pattern; much like having a speaker with a large, kevlar cone: it will have a lot of bass response, but not a lot of treble response.
On the other hand, if you have a stiff, heavy material, it will have a tighter pattern and will be more likely to reinforce higher frequencies; much like a tweeter in a speaker cabinet.

Anything else I can answer for anyone? Any comments on the information I've managed to gather from my textbook and the world wide web?


Have a sizzlin' day,
AJ
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#2
very nice article, A+

also, i studied from the same book last year
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#3
I absolutely love that book. I took a copy home over the summer, but skipped the first chapter when I read through it. I assumed it was stupid review stuff. Some of it was cool- like the overtone series. There's an insane amount of amazing information in there.

Don't forget to be hardcore,
AJ
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#4
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Now what does this all have to do with the tone of different materials used to build musical instruments? I'm about to tell you.
You write like a fourth grader.
Meadows
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#5
Woohoo, comments from the peanut gallery. Thanks for that. >.>
Quote by conor1148
who cares if they're drawn,


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Gear:
Peavey Supreme 100W head
Crate 4x12 cab
Epiphone Les Paul Standard+
Modded Johnson Stratocaster