The absolute and relative effects of the first thinning on the diameter growth distribution along the stems were studied in 98 Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris L.) at heights of 1.3, 4, 6 and 8 m. The data cover one 3-year pre-thinning period and four 3-year post-thinning periods in plots with densities varying from 575 to 3400 stems ha–1. A shift in the point of maximum diameter growth down the bole was found during the first 3 years after thinning, with a shift back up the stem later. The thinning response over the whole 12-year post-thinning period was strongest the nearer the stem base and the heavier the thinning. The largest trees had the highest diameter growth after thinning in absolute terms, and the growth was greater the heavier the thinning. The absolute thinning response over the 12-year post-thinning period was highest in the medium tree size and in the largest trees, especially on the heavily thinned and lightly thinned plots. Whereas in the moderately thinned stand the smaller and larger trees responded more than did those of medium size on average. In relative sense, however, the small trees on heavily or moderately thinned plots responded more rapidly and more strongly than the medium-sized or large trees over the whole stem. The small trees on the lightly thinned plots responded only slightly to thinning. The results suggest that it is possible to affect the uniformity of wood properties (such as ring width) both within and between trees by thinning.