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I have a question about violin backsides.
There are two piece backs and one piece backs. Which is better in the long run for holding up over time?
If you buy an older violin with two piece back, isn’t there a risk the back pieces will separate? I know they can be fixed if that happens. I am just trying to figure out if it would not be wiser to select a violin with a single piece back over a two piece back when selecting an older violin, say, 1940 or earlier. I don’t know if one built in 1940 would actually be considered old, just chose a year.
Given the option of two violins, both offer something you like, would it be wiser to choose the single piece back over the double because the single piece back would have longer stability over time?
Is there a difference in sound when making a violin with a two piece back? It has to be harder to make a two piece backed violin. Lining up the flames the way you want, connecting the two pieces securely, etc.
This has puzzled me for a while.
(Former Username - cid)
As far as I've heard from luthiers, there is little or no difference in durability between one piece and two piece backs. I haven't heard of them separating except in the process of making the instrument. Many violins by the old Italian masters (Amati, Stradivari, Guarneri) have two piece backs.
There's a good discussion here -- two of the people commenting in it, David Burgess and Luis Claudio Manfio, are world-famous luthiers with years-long waiting lists, so I assume they know what they're talking about.
Interestingly, you see more one-piece backs at both high and low ends of the price spectrum than in the middle. At the high end, one-piece backs are more expensive because they require a larger piece of high-quality wood without defects. At the low end, they aren't as selective about wood quality, so one-piece backs are standard because they require much less effort.
Funny how, when you think about it, people say, oh what a beautiful back, when you never really see it...at least when playing...when I bought my first real one they guy said it has a gorgeous back - just looked like shiny wood to me...took me about 6 months to discover they made 1 or 2 piece...
I did wonder, and presume that if violins were valued dependent on whether it was a 1 or 2 piece they may have been labeled as such way back, with one or the other being perceived as "better" or "higher quality" and those values would remain through today?
...and now I'm saying how gorgeous a violin is by looking at the back too...