Do the endrail materials make any difference in tone or volume?
Endrails (the short and long vertical sides of the instrument near you and farthest away) are primarily structural in purpose. They help the instrument withstand the extreme pressure of the approximate 70 strings stretched over the bridges pushing down on the soundboard attempting to implode the body. There are braces within, as well, supporting the body. Every splinter of material that goes into an instrument affects the voice of the instrument to some degree, but the endrails do so less than most other parts. We offer dozens of beautiful exotic woods to help you make your instrument a new one-of-a-kind family heirloom designed by YOU! Some are slightly heavier than others. Some are more brittle and stiffer than others. I have been asked a few times “What wood would you choose for the endrails based purely on tone?” I would guess Mahogany might be the logical choice based strictly on that criteria – that’s what most of our soundboards are constructed of and what we use in the back of our “Bantam Weight” models to give the instrument a bigger deeper voice. But, again, the endrails are very small, under a great deal of pressure and don’t have a great deal to do with the voice of a hammer dulcimer.
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