We’ve always heard that the Stradivarius had the finest sound of any wood instrument. Perhaps it does, but why? Is it the age of the wood? The wood itself? The construction procedure? Well it turns out, at least to scientists who have studied this phenomenon for years, the superior tone is  actually due to a chemical preservative that had been used to deter the worms 300 years ago. There you have it.

Note: I’d love to do a blind test someday: Several makes from expensive, including a Stradivarius or two, to the cheapest, played all the same–the same phrasing, the same volume, etc. Would the Stradivarius win resoundingly? I have my doubts. I’ve been through this with classical guitars. Some much cheaper models sounded as good or even better, to my ear anyway, than the more expensive.


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