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Tone by Specific Gravity
Strongest Tone (1.0+ SG, sinks in water)

The bones on this page produce the Strongest 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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Bot Bones Aluminum, long Bot Bones Aluminum, long

Handcrafted from same alloy as Pioneer spacecraft greeting plaque.

Only $24.97 pair
(Out of Stock)
Bot Bones Aluminum, long & wide Bot Bones Aluminum, long & wide

Handcrafted from same alloy as Pioneer spacecraft greeting plaque.

Only $24.97 pair
(Out of Stock)
Bot Bones Aluminum, long, wide & thick Bot Bones Aluminum, long, wide & thick

Handcrafted from same alloy as Pioneer spacecraft greeting plaque.

Only $32.97 pair
(Out of Stock)
Bot Bones Aluminum, medium Bot Bones Aluminum, medium

Handcrafted from same alloy as Pioneer spacecraft greeting plaque.

Only $24.97 pair
(Out of Stock)
Bot Bones Aluminum, short Bot Bones Aluminum, short

Handcrafted from same alloy as Pioneer spacecraft greeting plaque.

Only $24.97 pair
(Out of Stock)
Bot Bones Aluminum, short & thick Bot Bones Aluminum, short & thick

Handcrafted from same alloy as Pioneer spacecraft greeting plaque.

Only $31.97 pair
(Out of Stock)
Pea Patch Minstrel-style Ebony Bones, narrow Pea Patch Minstrel-style Ebony Bones, narrow

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

Only $30.99 pair
7 in stock!
Pea Patch Minstrel-style Ebony Bones, wide Pea Patch Minstrel-style Ebony Bones, wide

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

Only $38.99 pair
5 in stock!
Black slate musical stone bones Stone Bones, Black Slate

Handcrafted from "North Country" Black roofing slate.

Green slate musical stone bones Stone Bones, Green Slate

Handcrafted from ringing-hard Vermont Green roofing slate.

Buckingham Grey slate musical stone bones Stone Bones, Grey Slate

Handcrafted from iridescent Buckingham Grey ringing roofing slate.

Only $19.97 pair
(Out of Stock)
Purple slate musical stone bones Stone Bones, Purple Slate

Handcrafted from Purple Vermont roofing slate.

Only $19.97 pair
(Out of Stock)
red slate musical stone bones Stone Bones, Red Slate

Handcrafted from rare extra-hard red roofing slate.

Vintage Ebony Minstrel Style Bones Vintage Ebony Minstrel Style Bones, backside die-stamped "GERMANY"

Vintage Ebony Minstrel Style Bones

Only $124.99 pair
1 in stock!
Vintage Ebony Minstrel Style Bones Vintage Ebony Minstrel Style Bones, ends die-stamped "Czecho-" and "slovakia"

Vintage Ebony Minstrel Style Bones

Only $124.99 pair
1 in stock!
Vintage Ebony Minstrel Style Bones Vintage Ebony Minstrel Style Bones, matched set of 4 bones (2 pr) w/repaired cracks

Matched Set of 4 Vintage Ebony Minstrel Style Bones. [Photo: Actual Product]

List Price: $250.00
Bargain Bin Price: $124.99 matched set (2 pairs)
You save $125.01!
1 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
3 in stock!
Whamdiddle Cocobolo Bones Whamdiddle Cocobolo Bones

Handcrafted by master luthier with graduate degree in Physics.

Whamdiddle African Blackwood Flat Bones Whamdiddle Flat African Blackwood Bones

Handcrafted by master luthier with graduate degree in Physics.

Whamdiddle Granadillo Bones Whamdiddle Granadillo 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