The mountain spruce, Picea excelsa
Spruce for violin making comes preferably from the high alpine regions of Italy, Austria, Switzerland or Germany, because the harsh climate there, just below the tree line, is a real blessing for the sound of the bowed instruments: The lean soil and the resulting slow growth give the wood great strength. In the dark mountain forests, the spruces shed their lower branches early on because they are no longer reached by the light. As a result, the spruces grow with elongated, branchless trunks, which is exactly what we need as luthiers.
We use the mountain spruce for the belly, the bass bar, the soundpost, the blocks and the linings.
The sycamore maple, Acer pseudoplatanus
The best comes from the mountains of Southeastern Europe, especially from Bosnia and other Balkan countries.
In violin making we use the sycamore maple, which is often beautifully flamed due to its undulating growth.
It is used for the back, ribs and neck including scroll or head. Other hardwoods such as poplar, sycamore or beech are also used.
How is the wood for the top and bottom sawn out of the log?
The floor and ceiling are sawed out of the log in a radial cut. This goes through the marrow of the trunk.
The ebony, Diospyros
Under the name of ebony, many different woods of the genus Diospyros are sold. The trees grow in tropical and subtropical forests. The heartwood (without visible annual rings) is very hard, heavy and belongs to the most valuable wood species. Sri Lanka ebony is the best quality, unfortunately hardly available today. Cameroon ebony is the most common species on the world market today. It is often of a deep black color, but usually also streaked with gray veins. Only about 10% of the logs have a uniform blackness. Ebony is used for the fingerboard, upper and lower saddles. Often also for the pegs, the tailpiece and chinrest.