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Birdseye maple back
Does a Birdseye maple back effect sound?
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Shane
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January 16, 2015 - 12:57 am
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I'm not looking to buy a new violin, but was looking around on ebay and saw one with a beautiful birdseye maple back.  I was curious if anyone knows how this would effect the sound?

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Fiddlestix
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January 16, 2015 - 5:47 am
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@Shane : Not sure if you're talking about "birds eye" maple or "burled" maple.

There is a difference. Sound isn't affected as much as price. Burled wood is so much harder to work with.

I recently brought home (for testing) a burlback violin and didn't notice any real sound difference than my "Concert Master" violin from "Fiddlershop".

Birdseye Maple, Curly Maple (Tiger Maple) Log Bid 1Birdseye Maple, Curly Maple (Tiger Maple) Log Bid 2 Birdseye

saw.jpgImage Enlarger

burl wood is more often than not, grown underground.

 

Ken.

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Shane
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January 16, 2015 - 7:46 am
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@Fiddlestix, thanks for the reply.  The description said Birdseye, but I don't know what it really was,  now that you mentioned it, it could be burled.  It reminds me of the dash board in an older Jaguar.  Here's a picture.

 

Beautiful One piece back Bird Eyes Maple! A T19+ Violin MoP Inlaid 

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fiddle chick
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January 16, 2015 - 7:56 am
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Not sure about the Birdseye maple, but I have a beautiful quilted maple back and the sound is great. No different than the tiger maple as far as sound goes. I can't upload pics from my phone but it looks like the one you posted.

Let the bow flow.

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rottrunner
Chicago, IL, USA
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January 16, 2015 - 12:49 pm
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The most plausible argument I've heard for sound difference between tiger maple and other patterns is projection.  I've heard that birdseye/quilted/etc. can be quieter due to the sound waves tending to follow the patterns of the wood, so maybe "swirling" a bit more before making it through the f-holes.  I have no idea if that's true or not, but it seems potentially plausible.

As far as tone, I think they're subject to the same variability as any other violin -- you can have lovely sound qualities and less desirable qualities, and that depends more on the quality of the wood and the craftsmanship, not necessarily the patterns of the tonewood.

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Uzi
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January 16, 2015 - 3:53 pm
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According to the Ebay ad, you have 14 days to ship it back to them if you don't like it. I'd be very skeptical of some of the claims in that ad though, such as hand made by a single individual -- I've never seen one of those for less than $5k and usually a lot more.  Also the seller being willing to remove the label, hmmm.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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Shane
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January 16, 2015 - 7:53 pm
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Rottrunner, that kind of makes sense.  I'm not in the market for a new violin anyway, I have to improve my playing a lot more before investing in a better violin.  I agree with Uzi about the add sounding a little strange, it does look nice though, at least in the pictures. 

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rottrunner
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January 16, 2015 - 7:59 pm
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@Shane I've wanted a birdseye violin for a long time now -- I think they're just gorgeous.  But I'm in the same boat as far as experience goes -- I don't want to drop $5-10k on an instrument until I reach the point that I can really rock out on it.  

I took the plunge and bought a really nice violin from Fiddlerman instead of keeping my little cheap student violin, and I'm convinced that violin alone has helped me improve at a faster rate.  I have the August Kohr 565, and love it to tiny pieces.  But one day...I'll have a birdseye...lol

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 17, 2015 - 11:43 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Uzi is completely right. It takes in the neighborhood of 3-400 hours to make a violin from scratch to finish. Depends on your experience, tools, and nature. :)

rottrunner said
.........I have the August Kohr 565, and love it to tiny pieces.......

Super happy to hear that.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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January 18, 2015 - 12:40 am
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Shane said
@Fiddlestix, thanks for the reply.  The description said Birdseye, but I don't know what it really was,  now that you mentioned it, it could be burled.  It reminds me of the dash board in an older Jaguar.  Here's a picture.

 

Beautiful One piece back Bird Eyes Maple! A T19+ Violin MoP Inlaid 

Definitely is burled wood. Birdseye is more speckled like freckles on ones face. You also have to realize it's E-Bay and the seller is probably a Doctor, Electrician or Lawyer possibly a cement finisher,, LOL,,, only kidding.

I don't know why there's so much confusion between the two woods.

 

Ken.

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Uzi
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January 18, 2015 - 12:31 pm
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Re: The original question. 

There will most likely be no significant difference in the tonal qualities between plain hard/rock maple, tiger/curly/flamed maple or birds eye maple.  At least, other than the differences one would normally find between any two samples of maple boards of whatever figuring.  The reason is that the distinctive marking in the maple is called "figuring" and runs across the grain.  It does not have any effect either on the grain of the wood nor its density. In other words, the difference is primarily cosmetic.  

Of course, this does not apply to burled wood where the grain itself is distorted.  

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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bfurman
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January 18, 2015 - 2:06 pm
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I concur with Uzi that figuring makes little difference in sound.  However, it does affect dimensional stability.

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