Tone by Density
Strongest Tone (80+ pcf)
The bones on this page produce the Strongest tones.
Density tells you how heavy and compact one substance is from another. As a rule, the denser the material, the stronger the tone. Density is calculated by dividing how much by how big. It is represented here as pcf (pounds per cubic foot). So if you want strong tones, then get dense bones. If you want mild tones, then get less dense bones.
Get the Tone You Want
What is the difference between a mild tone and a strong tone? It's just the difference in tone relative to density. Scroll down to view musical bones grouped by similar tone quality.
Higher moister content produces lower tone. Lower moister content produces higher tone.
Smooth textured bones produce sharper tone. Rough textured bones produce duller tone.
Wide bones produce a greater tonal range than narrow bones composed of the same material.
Thick bones produce lower tones than thin bones composed of the same material.
Choose less dense (i.e. lighter) bones when you want mild tones that won't overpower other instruments. Choose denser (i.e. heavier) bones when you want strong powerful tones that can hold their own against the roar of the band. Denser bones carry additional mass. This can provide the kinetic energy you need to make a pair of bones rattle easier.
Specific gravity is also called relative density. In French, density is "masse volumique." Specific gravity is "densite."
pcf (pounds per cubic foot)
Figures are approximate (but pretty darn close)
23 Western Cedar
30 Pine, Poplar
40 Teak, Walnut
47 Peroba Rosa
48 Padauk, Shedua, Vermillion
50 Canary Wood
53 Oak, Zebrawood
55 Osage Orange, Wenge
56 Bocote, Jatoba, Ziricote
57 Michigan Ironwood (est), English Boxwood
60 Rosewood, Tulipwood
62 Mexican Kingwood (est)
66 Michigan Ironwood, Plastic (polystyrene)
68 Cocobolo, Granadillo
78 Blackwood, Verawood
79 Lignum Vitae
91 Goncalo Alves
501 Stainless Steel