Spaun Wood Types

Sound Characteristics of Different Woods

Birch- Medium weight, strong, tough and elastic. It produces boosted high frequencies, slightly reduced midrange, and good low end punch.  A more controlled sound and is perceived by the ear as louder.

Beech- Medium density wood. Powerful, defined sound with controlled harmonics.  Pronounced highs and mids, good low end punch. Sensitive and focused.

Poplar- Soft and light wood with good amount of medium low frequencies. Soft highs and mids. It’s often combined with mahogany or maple, with reinforcement rings added, to achieve a vintage sound.

Ash- Straight grain with medium to coarse texture.  Pronounced warm highs and mids with average low end.  Heavier than birch, it has similar sound characteristics, but more powerful. 

Mahogany- A hard, medium-heavy wood with fine texture and wavy grain. Good attack, a well defined note, and very rich in low frequencies.  Vibrant and resonant with lots of harmonics and slightly reduced highs.  Mahogany produces a lower fundamental note than maple.

Spruce- Soft wood with good bass and broad dynamic range. Responsive with good projection and resonation. Many acoustic guitars are built with Spruce and Mahogany. Combines well with other woods.

Maple- Straight and compact grain.  It produces even amounts of highs and mids with a slight boost of warm low end.  Used in many different musical styles from jazz, to rock, to metal thanks to the great range of frequencies it produces.  Good attack and volume with an overall warmth and well-defined sound.

Chestnut- Medium-heavy wood with a texture similar to oak.  By weight, it falls between Maple and Bubinga.  Like oak, it’s often used for wine staves.  It produces a sound slightly warmer than maple, with the same power and well-defined sound but with stronger low end.  Unique attack and dynamics.

Bubinga- A hard and heavy wood.  Fine-grained, less porous, and uniform texture.  Sensitive and punchy with even amounts of highs and mids, but also rich in low frequencies and warmth.  Well-defined attack.

Oak- A strong wood, with good amount of midrange, and slightly warm lows.  Produces the same relative pitch as walnut in our comparisons with a slightly brighter voice and longer decay. Good projection and resonance.

Walnut- Softer than maple, walnut produces a rounder, darker tone.  It’s main feature is an equal presence of highs, mids, and lows resulting in a big, warm sound.  Same relative pitch as oak, but with a darker voice and slightly shorter decay.

Cherry- A fairly hard wood. Produces boosted highs and a punchy midrange. Bright and sensitive with good attack.  It has a naturally low voice compared to other woods but much of the perceived sound comes from the boosted highs and midrange.

Padouk- Medium-soft wood with a warm sound and defined harmonics.  Works well acoustically due to its full-bodied sound and even distribution of highs, mids, and low end.  Bare wood has an orange look to it, but oxidizes to a red color when finished.

Wenge- Hard wood with a linear fiber.  It produces an aggressive, hard sound with great attack and controlled harmonics.  Boosted high frequencies.

Hickory- Another hard wood with long, linear fibers.  It measures 1820 on the Wood Hardness scale.  For comparison, North American Hard Rock Maple measures at 1450 and Bubinga at 1980.  You've held it in your hands for years as drum sticks!  It makes a great sounding snare.  Tonally well-balanced, a bit subtle in the mids, with a bright tone, and a drier voice (not a lot of overtones).

Relative Pitch Comparison of 7x14 Shells

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Oak & Walnut



25 oz

27 oz

30 oz & 26oz

28 oz

26 oz