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Tight Grained Spruce


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Heres a link to the top of the Hensel Violin that I had posted about earlier, seeking information on that maker. The violin has a great sound. Anyway, The top of the violin has the tightest grain I've ever seen in a piece of spruce. At certin places on the top it is so close that the growth rings are almost indistinguishable. This slow growth european spruce must be difficult to come by. Is this quality spruce still available?


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Thanks for the reply Michael.I guess that begs the question then, What are the contemporary makers or any makers for that matter looking for? Perhaps a graduated grain from wider at the bass side to tight at the treble? Is it a matter of tonal physics or a makers preference? Does the amount of aging matter as much on the spruce top as it does on the other woods? What are the percentage moisture contents of the different woods makers are looking for?

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I look for wood which has a medium to wide grain width across it. Two pieces means the fine stuff is in the middle of the top. No particular reason for this on my part except that the German makers, who aren't relatively respected used the finest stuff there is, and the better-appreciated Italians used medium to wide, so I prefer to go with the winners--I need all the help I can get. Some of the good Italians, Guadagnini, for instance, even used very wide-grained wood. Generally, the older the better--I've seen some wonderful violins made from 80 year old wood, but there isnt' enough of that to go around, so we take what we can get. But I'd rather have new good wood than old bad wood, overall, and a lot of the old wood people come up with is the wrong species, etc.

Getting dry wood isn't that hard--most of what's sold has the proper moisture content, but hasn't aged enough to stabilize, which is another issue entirely.

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