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Does pine make good tonewood?


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Banzai,  That's actually a pretty good question. I'll hazard a

few thoughts-

Well, they're both conifers and in the "soft wood" family.

 They're both evergreens.  That's about it, as far as

what the US calls "Pine."  -I dunno about what Andrew mentions

regarding European designations.  In the same way, Oak and

Walnut are related.  They are both deciduous, and have broad

leaves.  Pretty durned different, otherwise.

There are many, MANY different species of Spruce, (as there are of

Maple & Oak) and their properties vary a lot.  Colorado

Blue Spruce is a typical Christmas Tree, and I would guess much

closer to the lowly Pine than Canadian or Sitka Spruce. I would

imagine that the musical big four- Alpine (German) , Sitka,

 Appalacian (Red) & Engleman, are the stiffest,

densest, and most free of sap, though that is purely a guess.

 -Oh, There is an excellent species of Spruce

grown in China. I have a guitar with such a top and it sounds very

much like Engleman.

FWIW, I've seen 1/4 sawn White Pine. (made some myself on the

bandsaw) It does not resemble Sitka Spruce all that much.

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FWIW, I once had a luthier (who did in fact build violins) make me an Appalachian dulcimer. He used a really old pine board from a shelf to make the top. (I was somewhat shocked). Sounded fine; of course such an acoustically compromised design as is found in these instruments will never be anyone's Gold Standard.

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Dont know whether pine is any good as a tone wood, but botanically spruces (genus Picea) and pines (genus Pinus) are distantly related by being members of the Pinaceae family. Worldwide, there are over a hundred different species of pine and over 30 species of spruce. The leaves of each genus are arranged differently on the stems and its relatively easy to distinguish the two.

I would expect the woods to have different qualities but I don't know whether that makes one or other a better tonewood. Its likely that spruce is better since over the centuries makers will have tried all sorts of commonly available wood for violins and spruce continues to be used almost exclusively (as far as I know).

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