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Bones Fest XXI
Aug 24 to 27, 2017
San Antonio, Texas

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You are here: Home > Bone Picker > Wood (more than 40 kinds)
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More bones than you can shake a stick at
Explore the most comprehensive - and colorful - selection of wooden musical rhythm bones on the planet. Choose the bones you want from this rainbow palette of 40+ woods.

Can't Decide Which Bones to Choose?

Check out this handy guide: Bone FAQs

African Blackwood Bamboo Bocote Bubinga
Dark heavy rare exotic rosewood favored by many wind instrument makers over ebony.
Exotic lightweight "wood" from the Orient.
Stiff medium weight exotic wood from the American tropics that delivers a powerful yet surprisingly warm tone.
Heavy and dense exotic wood from equatorial Africa that delivers a powerful rich tone.
Butcher Block Canary Wood Cedar Chechem
Actually, this is maple piano pin block laminate material.
Strong exotic wood from Panama to Southern Brazil that because of its stiffness delivers a medium high tone.
Light-weight domestic wood delivers exceptionally soft tone.
Hard, dense wood from Mexico, Central America and the British West Indies produces a surprisingly lower tone than you might expect.
Cherry Cocobolo Ebony English Boxwood
Moderately heavy, strong, stiff wood from Appalachian Mountains delivers a mild to medium tone.
Luxurious exotic wood delivers a remarkably powerful low tone.
The wood of choice for Mister Bones during the minstrel era. One of the world's hardest woods.
Hard, close-grained and heavy exotic evergreen native to England and Turkey delivers a strong sharp tone. AKA white ebony.
Goncalo Alves Granadillo Hickory Ironwood
  • Specific Gravity: .79 (est) Medium Tone)

  • Density: 60 pcf (Strong Tone)

  • Hardness: 1910 Janka (Medium Tone)
  • Rare exotic wood from Mexico, Central and South America delivers a strong dull tone.
    Rattles up spirits of the lamentable slave trade!
    Any wood with a reputation for hardness can be called ironwood.
    Jatoba Lacewood Laminated Lignum Vitae
    Dense exotic wood from Central America, Mexico, South America and the West Indies delivers a strong sharp tone.
    Hard porous exotic wood native to eastern Australia delivers a milder tone.
    Hand-crafted from various hardwoods.
    World's Hardest and Densest Wood.
    Mahogany Maple Mexican Kingwood Michigan Ironwood
    Rare exotic lighter-weight wood delivers a rich warm medium tone.
    Popular domestic wood delivers a magnificent medium soft low tone.
    Hard and heavy extremely rare exotic wood from Mexico delivers a strong sharp tone.
    Special domestic wood delivers a strong medium tone.
    Oak Osage Orange Padauk Peroba Rosa
    Heavy dense domestic wood delivers a medium low tone.
  • Specific Gravity: .76 (Mid Tone)

  • Density: 55 pcf (Mid Tone)

  • Hardness: 2040 Janka (Sharp Tone)
  • Very durable exotic wood from central and tropical west Africa delivers a highly resonant medium tone.
  • Specific Gravity: .75 (Mid Tone)

  • Density: 47 pcf (Mild Tone)

  • Hardness: 1730 Janka (Mid Tone)
  • Pine Poplar Primavera Purpleheart
    Percy Danforth's favorite. Delivers a soft, quiet tone.
    Soft, lighter-weight domestic wood delivers a medium bright tone.
  • Specific Gravity: .45 (Mildest Tone)

  • Density: 29 pcf (Mildest Tone)

  • Hardness: 660 Janka (Duller Tone)
  • Rare exotic wood delivers a medium high tone.
    Rosewood Satinwood Shedua Tanoak
    Rare exotic heavy dense wood delivers a high sharp tone. Popular for minstrel-style bones.
  • Specific Gravity: .80 (Strong Tone)

  • Density: 61 pcf (Strong Tone)

  • Hardness: 1820 Janka (Mid Tone)
  • Exotic wood from Africa delivers a rich mild tone.
    Rare domestic wood delivers a medium tone.
    Teak Tetul (aka Tamarind) Tulipwood Vera Wood
    Exotic species of wood delivers a medium tone.
    Very durable exotic wood delivers a powerful resonant tone.
    Rare exotic wood delivers a high somewhat sharp tone.
    Rare exotic wood from South America delivers a strong sharp tone. AKA poor man's ironwood.
    Vermillion Virgin Timber Walnut Wenge
    see Padauk
    Domestic wood from "old-growth" timber.
    Fine domestic wood delivers a warm spunky low tone.
    Exotic African wood delivers a somewhat high tone.
    Zebrawood Ziricote
    Hard and heavy exotic wood from West Africa delivers a medium low tone.
    Rare exotic wood from Central and tropical South America delivers a powerful medium-sharp tone.

    How to Get the Tone You Want

    Sometimes you want a mild tone. Sometimes you want a strong tone. Sometimes you want tones that fall in-between. So how do you find bones that produce the tone you want?

    It helps to understand that tonality is just the relative difference between thickness, width, texture, moisture, specific gravity, density and the hardness of your instruments. Of course, your personal playing technique is another important factor.

    Tone Variables
    Thin bones enable you to produce a greater dynamic tonal range than thick bones composed of the same material. Also, thin bones generate higher, sharper tones. Thick bones generate relatively lower, duller tones.

    Wide bones produce a greater tonal range than narrow bones composed of the same material. Kind of the same principle with a keyboard. A wide keyboard with more keys lets you play more notes than a narrow keyboard with less keys.

    Smooth textured bones produce a sharper tone. Rough textured bones produce a duller tone.

    Bones with a greater moister content produce a lower tone. Instruments with less moister content (them dry bones) produce a higher tone.

    Playing Technique
    Your playing technique is another factor that affects tonality. Various ways to alter the tone are demonstrated in most of the Bones Demo Videos below on YouTube.

    Bones Demo Videos
    View complete playlist

    Want Dull Mild Tones?
    If you want mild tones that won't overpower other instruments, then choose thick bones made of soft lightweight material that floats in water.

    Want Strong Powerful Tones?
    If you want the strongest most solid tones that help you stand out from the rest of the band, then choose thin bones made of hard, heavy, dense material that sink in water.

    Want to Vary the Tone?
    Choose wide bones. Wide bones enable you to generate a greater dynamic tonal range than narrow bones. (The optimal width for most wooden bones is around 1-1/4". However, the optimal width for especially heavy bones such as aluminum and slate is 1".)

    Want Bones that are Easier to Play?
    Heavy dense bones carry additional mass which provides the kinetic energy you need to make the instruments rattle easier. On the other hand, lightweight bones might lack the mass you need to make them bounce off each other easily. That's why, at least with my experience, lightweight bones require more effort to make them rattle, thus making them harder to play.

    So if you want bones that are easier to rattle, then choose medium to heavy bones instead of lightweight bones such as cedar or pine. Then again, the legendary Percy Danforth preferred pine. So try out different weights and decide for yourself. And as Percy once said, "The most important thing of all...have fun with your bones!"

    Bone Dry Musical Instrument Co.
    3916 Iowa Ave.
    Saint Louis, MO 63118-4514
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