This is a huge topic...
I'm a production manager in a specialty wood fabrication company. Mostly fancy tables & wall cladding but it does allow me to spend and apply a fair amount of my time doing cross-over wood research for my personal guitars, and for building.
There are no absolutes in wood, be it for furniture or instruments. Individual trees can change density dramatically based on climate, availability of water, and mineral resourses. Janka hardness ratings are only statistical and can vary by 35% or more. Here is an example. My son builds acoustics, and hopes to be a pro in the next couple of years. We built a fancy jig to measure & aggregate the modulus of elasticity for Sitka Spruce tops. So in the Pacific Coast NW between N. California & Alaska, Sitka can be harvested at sea-level to elevations to nearly 10K feet. So the density of growth rings can change dramatically. So we measure the grain lines per inch, and then measure the elasticity at varius top thicknesses with the jig and a mounted dial indicator. The idea is that through statistics we will be able to maximize the movement of an acoustic top without compromising strength. And also we can reject unsuitable tops before the entire structure is married.
I have read 100's of articles on Strats. Where are you BTW? Vancouver, WA? Vancouver, BC? Vancouver Other? I love talking with Strat guys. You can learn a whole lot shootin' the breeze with guys who know specific guitars. I'm humble. I've only been at this 10 years. And ...I feel there is a million things I don't know. Back on topic...
Every master builder will tell you their preference for how they build necks. Quartersawn. Riftsawn. Flatsawn. Figured/Birdseye/Flame/Quilted. What I know from my work is that figured wood gives up moisture much slower than straigt grain wood. So ...what needs to be tested scientifically is this...Does sound vibration/wave function travel better through straight grain better when the waveform is perpendicular to the modulus, or parallel. Does the water retention in figured wood add to this resonance, or does it detract. Does any of it matter?
I have devised (in SketchUp) a simple machine to move a plectrum with a reproducable force using pneumatics. (I wish I didn't have a job. It always interferes with my guitar facinations!) One of these days I'm going to spend an afternoon with Pat Hickman, and learn how to use the oscilloscope I obtained at a WA State surplus auction. (Who knows...maybe the scope is the wrong gizmo, but I"m betting it'll come down to the sending unit.) Then it's a simple matter of stringing a neck through a standard body reference, and measuring the tranferance at the heel.
Then...perhaps...we can start testing some of these experiencial assumptions. I don't want to take anything away from anyone who has done this stuff for years. I just want to measure it.
Sorry for the misspellings. My Mac fixes them. My useless work PC does nothing well.
Great topic. Can't wait to see the answers!!!!!!!!!