Osteoporosis is a major health problem worldwide, with healthcare costs of billions of dollars annually. The risk of fracture depends on the bone mineral density (measured in clinical practice) as well as on the bone microstructure and functional status. Since pure ultrasonic methods can measure bone strength and spectroscopic optical methods can provide valuable functional information, a hybrid multispectral photoacoustic technique can be of great value. We have developed such a system based on a tunable Ti:Sapph laser at 750 - 950 nm, followed by an acousto-optic modulator to generate photoacoustic signals with frequencies of 0.5 - 2.5 MHz. Another system was based on two directly modulated 830nm laser diodes. The systems were used to photoacoustically excite the proximal end of a rat tibia. Spectrum analyzer with tracking generator was used for measuring both the amplitude and the phase at the distal end. Scanning along both the optical wavelength as well as the acoustic frequency enables full mapping of the bone transfer function. Analyzing this function along the wavelength axis allows deducing the gross biochemical composition related to the bone functional and pathological state. Analyzing the amplitude and phase along the acoustic frequency axis yields the speed of sound dispersion and the broadband ultrasonic attenuation - both have shown clinical relevance.