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Tone by Specific Gravity
Strong Tone (.80-.89 SG)

The bones on this page produce Strong tones.

Specific gravity tells you how buoyant one substance is from another. It compares the weight of a material with an equal volume of water. As a rule, the greater the specific gravity, the heavier and denser the material. Since water has a specific gravity of 1.0, materials measuring less than 1.0 will float. Materials measuring more than 1.0 will sink. So if you want mild tones, then get bones that float. If you want the strongest most solid tones, then get bones that sink.


How to Find Bones with the Tone Quality You Want
What is the difference between a mild tone and a strong tone? It's just the difference in tone relative to specific gravity. Scroll down to view musical bones grouped by similar tone quality.

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 less buoyant bones when you want mild tones that won't overpower other instruments. Choose bones that sink in water when you want the strongest most solid tones possible to help you stand out from the rest of the band. Heavy dense bones carry additional mass which provides the kinetic energy you need to make a pair of bones rattle easier. But if you want milder tones, then choose bones that like to float.


Geeky Facts
Specific gravity is also called relative density. In French, density is "masse volumique." Specific gravity is "densite."


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

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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)
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Hans Weehuizen 'Old Dutch Style' Bentwood Bones Hans Weehuizen 'Old Dutch Style' Bentwood Bones

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Only $29.97 pair
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Hans Weehuizen Bentwood Bones Hans Weehuizen Bentwood Bones

Regular size.

Only $29.97 pair
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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!
Shooting Star Ziricote Bones Shooting Star Ziricote Bones

Hand-made, easily played...since 1983.

Only $25.99 pair
Whamdiddle Bubinga Bones Whamdiddle Bubinga Bones

Handcrafted by master luthier with graduate degree in Physics.

Whamdiddle Bubinga Bones Whamdiddle Bubinga Bones, Unfinished

Do-it-yourself Whamdiddle bones.

Whamdiddle Wenge Bones Whamdiddle Wenge Bones

Handcrafted by master luthier with graduate degree in Physics.

Whamdiddle Ziricote Bones Whamdiddle Ziricote Bones

Handcrafted by master luthier with graduate degree in Physics.

   
 
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Specific Gravity Guide
SG (specific gravity)
Figures are approximate (but pretty darn close)

Tone Quality/SG
Mildest Tone 0-.49 SG
Milder Tone .50-.59 SG
Mild Tone .60-.69 SG
Medium Tone .70-.79 SG
Strong Tone .80-.89 SG
Stronger Tone .90-.99 SG
Strongest Tone 1.0+ SG (sinks in water)


SG/Substance