Why Wood Is So Important In Musical Instruments by Pat Watters

"I am thankful for the very interesting and educational two days in the Wurlitzer $80,000 sound laboratory near Chicago. This is truly an amazing place, where every type of sound measuring device can be seen, as well as all manner of acoustic measurers. The wave-lengths of tones are accurately measured, and you see on dials and graphs, as well as hear, what happens to these tones after they leave their sources, whether it be a reed, string or percussion source. How they bounce back to the source from certain materials and acoustical conditions to produce overtones and harsh tonalities. The importance of wood for tone. In this laboratory the technicians have established the importance of well selected woods in building beautiful and pleasant tones into fine musical instruments. They have proven that as little as possible of any kind of metals should be used in making accordions, concertinas, violins, guitars, pianos, and every instrument except brass instruments, which are made to produce metalic tones. Sound waves bounce and echo on metal. I took with me every type of accordion available for experiments and tests in this tone laboratory. Visible on graphs and meters, and clearly audible on amplified tape playbacks were the overtones and harshness resulting from metal in accordions. Wood is more expensive. Among the many other reasons for using wood, their technician said "the wood accordion makes the deep tones "deep" and the high tones truly high; and that faster, quieter and better balance and action can be attained with wood."

Report by Pat Watters at the Wurlitzer Sound Laboratory

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