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Tone by Hardness
Medium Tone (1500 - 1999 Janka)

The bones on this page produce Medium tones.

Hardness tells you how hard one substance is from another. The Janka hardness test measures the hardness of wood. (The Janka rating for non-wooden bones is estimated). If you want sharper tones, then get harder bones. If you want duller tones, then get softer bones.

Get the Tone You Want
What is the difference between a dull tone and a sharp tone? It's just the difference in tone relative to hardness. Scroll down to view musical bones grouped by similar tone quality.

What is the difference between hardness and density?
"Hardness refers to the pressure required to compress the material. Hardness is that property by which a body resists any foreign substance that attempts to force a passage between its particles. The hardness of a body depends on the degree of firmness with which its particles cohere. It is therefore entirely distinct from density, which depends on the number of particles in a given bulk. Thus lead is dense, but not hard."

George P. Quackenbos (1826-1881)

Tone Variables
  • 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.
Tips
Choose softer bones when you want dull tones that won't overpower other instruments. Choose harder bones when you want sharper tones that can stand out from the rest of the band.

How can this tone guide be improved? Send comments and suggestions.

Can't Decide Which Bones to Choose?
Check out this handy guide: Bone FAQs
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Traditional Chinese Bamboo Kuai Ban Shu Clappers Chinese Traditional Bamboo Clappers

Called "kuai ban" in Mandarin which literally means "fast clacker."

Only $19.97 full set (7 clappers)
(Out of Stock)
Hans Weehuizen 'Old Dutch Style' Bentwood Bones Hans Weehuizen 'Old Dutch Style' Bentwood Bones

Slightly shorter, reminiscent of bones from nautical whaling days.

Only $29.97 pair
(Out of Stock)
Hans Weehuizen Bentwood Bones Hans Weehuizen Bentwood Bones

Regular size.

Only $29.97 pair
(Out of Stock)
Hans Weehuizen's Playing the Bones Kit Hans Weehuizen's 'Playing the Bones' Kit

Includes CD with eight play-along tunes, guidebook, and bentwood bones.

If Bought Separately: $64.94
Kit Price: $49.97
Discount Price: $49.97 complete kit
You save $14.97!
Hans Weehuizen Playing the Bones CD, Guidebook, and 'Old Dutch' Bentwood Bones Hans Weehuizen's 'Playing the Bones' Old Dutch Style Kit

Includes CD with eight play-along tunes, guidebook, and 'Old Dutch' bentwood bones.

If Bought Separately: $64.94
Kit Price: $49.97
Discount Price: $49.97 complete kit
You save $14.97!
Pea Patch Minstrel-style Padauk Bones, narrow Pea Patch Minstrel-style Padauk Bones, narrow

Traditional minstrel design, exotic wood...plain price.

Only $21.97 pair
4 in stock!
Pea Patch Minstrel-style Padauk Bones, regular Pea Patch Minstrel-style Padauk Bones, regular

Traditional minstrel design, exotic wood...plain price.

Only $29.99 pair
10 in stock!
Pea Patch Minstrel-style Padauk Bones, wide Pea Patch Minstrel-style Padauk Bones, wide

Traditional minstrel design, exotic wood...plain price.

Only $31.99 pair
3 in stock!
Pea Patch Flat Padauk Bones Pea Patch Flat Padauk Bones

Slim easy-grip "soft-tone" design fits comfortably between fingers. Nice quality bones...budget price.

Only $17.97 pair
1 in stock!
Percy Danforth African Blackwood Bones Percy Danforth African Blackwood Bones

Traditional minstrel style design.

Only $54.97 pair
(Out of Stock)
Percy Danforth Hickory Bones Percy Danforth Hickory Bones

Traditional minstrel style design.

Only $24.99 pair
5 in stock!
Whamdiddle Unfinished Minstrel-style African Blackwood Bones Whamdiddle Minstrel-style African Blackwood Bones, Unfinished

Do-it-yourself Whamdiddle bones.

Only $37.97 pair
7 in stock!
Minstrel-style Hickory Bones Whamdiddle Minstrel-style Hickory Bones

Historically Accurate Reproduction Minstrel-style Bones.

Only $19.97 pair
(Out of Stock)
Whamdiddle Padauk Bones Whamdiddle Padauk Bones

Handcrafted by master luthier with graduate degree in Physics.

Whamdiddle Padauk Bones w/floral inlay Whamdiddle Padauk Bones w/Swiss Style Floral Inlay

Handcrafted bones with traditional chip carved Chrysocolla floral inlay.

Only $35.97 pair
3 in stock!
Whamdiddle Wenge Bones Whamdiddle Wenge Bones

Handcrafted by master luthier with graduate degree in Physics.

Whamdiddle Zebrawood Bones Whamdiddle Zebrawood Bones

Handcrafted by master luthier with graduate degree in Physics.

   
 
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Hardness Guide
Janka

Figures are approximate (but pretty darn close)

Tone Quality/Janka
Sharpest Tone 3000+
Sharper Tone 2500 - 2999
Sharp Tone 2000 - 2499
Medium Tone 1500 - 1999
Dull Tone 1000 - 1499
Duller Tone 500 - 999
Dullest Tone 300 - 499
)

Janka/Substance

5000+ Aluminum, Brass, Plastic, Slate (estimated)
4500 Lignum Vitae
4000 Verawood
3680 Ipe, Ironwood
3220 Ebony
2730 English Boxwood
2720 Rosewood
2700 Mexican Kingwood (est)
2690 Bubinga
2600 Satinwood
2500 Tulipwood
2350 Jatoba
2300 Chechem
2250 Goncalo Alves
2200 Bocote, Ziricote
2040 Osage Orange
2090 Purpleheart
1930 Michigan Ironwood (est)
1890 Shedua
1820 Hickory
1730 Peroba Rosa
1725 Padauk
1720 Blackwood
1639 Bamboo
1630 Vermillion, Wenge
1575 Zebrawood
1450 Maple
1360 Oak
1350 Tanoak
1136 Cocobolo, Granadillo
1030 Canary Wood
1010 Walnut
1000 Teak
950 Cherry
840 Lacewood
800 Mahogany
660 Primavera
580 Western Cedar
568 Cedar
540 Poplar
460 Pine