Any string that vibrates at 261.62 Hz, will produce a middle C. While the string’s vibrations determine the pitch of the sound we hear, the voice box of string instruments that determines what that tone sounds like, lies primarily in the wood.
The density, and flexibility of the wood affects its resonance. the sound is echoed inside guitar body and the characteristics of the wood affect the sound that is distributed outwards.
If you knew all of that, and you’ve spent your entire career working with wood in the forestry industry, you’d likely end up discovering that some of the trees that grow in abundance in the West Kootenay match the characteristics for the soundboard.
These specific mountain side sentinels, standing amongst our forest just happen to be perfect for making great sounding guitars. Graham Hein of Fruitvale, BC figured this out while working in the logging industry for much of his career. He tested it out and his company Kootenay Tonewood has since supplied soundboards to major guitar companies around the world as well as specialty craft builders.
The next time you ear picks up the changes in air pressure we call music coming from an acoustic guitar. If you follow its sweet sounds back to their vibrating wood source, there’s a strong chance that wood previously stood on a Kootenay hillside.
Listen to the episode HERE!