|Sounding Surfaces and Quality of Tone|
|The bridge and sound quality|
|Varying thickeness of the wood|
|Thickness and internal bracing|
Makers, materials, techniques, environment, musical styles: none of these factors remain constant. Each individual instrument is unique, and it would be virtually impossible to find a set of techniques that would produce an optimum instrument every time, no matter how we might try to define “optimum”. Wood varies from type to type and piece to piece. Temperature, humidity, and air pressure vary endlessly, affecting the raw wood as well as the instrument at construction and throughout the aging process. Fashions in music come and go, changing the demands on instruments and their makers. New materials and tools introduce new methods and possibilities into the crafting of instruments. New ideas arise, forgotten ones are rediscovered and reapplied.
Thus in the search for optimum tone, Jan Karon suggests looking beyond the sounding surface to the other components that touch it; Louie Catello discusses making banjo heads of varying thickness; Michael Kasha focuses on varied thickness and internal structure; Tillmann Steckner believes that wood density may be the key to optimum tone – four good perspectives contributing to the art of creating beautiful tone in musical instruments.