Plucking spokes is done for the following reasons:
- It's a fast method to check if the spokes have the same or very similar tension. It is not done to quantify the tension.
- When performing truing operations it tells you which spoke(s) to adjust (see book for details).
Using a wooden truing stand naturally amplifies the sound when you pluck a spoke (think acoustic guitars and piano soundboards) and that's just one of the benefits of a wooden truing stand. I personally use a wooden stand and there are detailed plans in the book if you want to make one yourself.
Here's a video of a wooden truing stand in use by a reader of the wheelbuilding book.
This is the wheelbuilding facility at Easton Wheels. The building and spoke plucking starts at 5:15
Points to note in the video:
- Balanced tension results in a wheel that stays straight and true.
- They use an electronic pick-up to amplify the sounds.
- Wheelbuilding is a compromise between balanced tone, radial trueness and lateral trueness.