Measuring the acoustic properties of wood is not feasible for most luthiers, so identifying simple, valid criteria for diagnosis remains an exciting challenge when selecting materials for manufacturing musical instruments. This article aims to verify whether the bark qualities as a marker of resonance wood are indeed useful. The morphometric and colour traits (in CIELab space) of the bark scales were compared with the structural (width and regularity of the growth rings and of the latewood) and acoustic features (transverse sound velocity, radiation ratio, impedance, and wood basic density) of the wood from 145 standing and 10 felled spruce trees, which are considered a resource of the resonance wood in the Romanian Carpathians. It has been emphasized that the spruce trees with acoustic and structural features that match the requirements for the manufacture of violins have a bark phenotype distinguishable by colour (higher redness, lower yellowness and brightness)—as well as by scale shape (higher slenderness and width). The south-facing side of the trunk and the external side of the scale are best for identifying resonance trees by their bark. Additionally, the mature bark phenotypes denote topoclinal variations and do not depend on tree age. Moreover, the differences among bark phenotypes are noticeable to the naked eye.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited