While an instrument’s design is the greatest determining factor for the quality of sound, the type of wood used also has a subtle effect on the sound’s tone and quality. This is due to the varying properties of each wood type, or even between different pieces of the same type of wood. Wood with an open grain or pore structure will have a rougher surface, causing turbulence as the air passes by it. The result is a warmer, more covered, and diffused tone. Whereas wood with smaller pores and a smoother surface will produce a brighter, more focused sound. As a result, each wood type has its own unique character of sound.
Keep in mind that, while we can do our best to describe each tone, choosing the wood that is right for you is a very personal choice, and nothing can replace hearing the instruments for yourself. If you are interested in comparing a few different wood types, check out our Instruments on Approval page or contact us for a consult.
Note: Recorder blocks or plugs are almost universally made of cedar, although some manufacturers have begun to use ceramic or synthetic materials.
|Maple||Maple has a soft and focused tone, with few overtones. This wood is typically less expensive because it lends itself well to machine production. It is usually impregnated with wax to preserve and stabilize its soft texture.|
|Pearwood||Pearwood, like maple, has a simple, straightforward tone, but it is more vibrant and has broader presence than maple wood. It produces few overtones. This wood is typically less expensive because it lends itself well to machine production. It is usually impregnated with wax to preserve and stabilize its soft texture.|
|Boxwood||Boxwood has a distinct yellow color, when it is not stained, and a warm, full tone. It produces a strong, yet dark and mellow sound with some overtone characteristics.|
|Olive||Olive wood has a light, airy sound. The varying grain structure of olive wood lends it complexity and moderate overtone characteristics.|
|Plum||Plumwood has a warm, earthy tone. It is somewhat mellow and has moderate overtone characteristics.|
Palisander is a Dalbergia species of wood. It has a strong, rich sound and carries the broadest spectrum of overtones, due to its open grain and pore structure.
Tulipwood is another species of Dalbergia and has similar characteristics to rosewood, but with a brighter sound. It carries a broad spectrum of overtones.
These woods are black and heavy. Their tone is bright, silvery, cool and flute-like. They emphasize the upper end of the overtone series. These woods are a good choice for soloists who need to cut through an ensemble.
|Cherrywood||Cherrywood is open and earthy, with good overtones. It's a great choice for tenors and basses because it has overtone characteristics and is lightweight.|