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Thread: Split Back vs. Whole

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    Senior Member Quaverion's Avatar
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    I'm getting a new violin next week (I've been saving up for it for quite some time now). If I have the choice, should I get a split back or a whole back? What is the difference in sound like? I have the first post in this forum! Yes!
    It is our imperfections that make us who we are.

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    Junior Member max's Avatar
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    hmm... I don't think there is a difference in sound, at least I never hear a difference...

    I'd like to hear other people's feedback..

    I have 2 violins with full-back and 1 with half-back...
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    there shouln&#39;t be any difference in sound . I understand that one piece back tands to be more expensive, as it&#39;s hard to find such complete wood? Is that right?

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    Senior Member Quaverion's Avatar
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    So is it just for decoration?
    It is our imperfections that make us who we are.

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    Junior Member max's Avatar
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    I think so...

    If you want something a bit fancy, check out whether or not the fullbacks have a funky effect. My good violin has a cool feature. As you move the violin, the grain in the wood moves and changes colors due to the way the light hits it... If I can get my hands on a digital camera, I&#39;ll take photos and put them up here...
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    My violin does that too...but I always thought that it was due to the bright orange varnish. Now I know the real reason.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Quaverion's Avatar
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    Yeah. That&#39;s called "flaming." A violin with a flamed back does that. Sometimes, luthiers paint on the flaming, but you can tell it is not real by moving it. It won&#39;t change colour if it is fake. Flamed backs are usually much higher quality grain and produce a much better sound
    It is our imperfections that make us who we are.

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    We&#39;ve had this discussion over in the more luthier oriented forums...and it&#39;s agreed that there is no difference in sound between violins with one or two piece backs...
    <span style='color:green'><span style='font-family:Optima'>Music is what feelings sound like...Anon</span>.</span>

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    Senior Member Harvey's Avatar
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    Since the two pieces in the back are glued together, the whole back vibrates as a single unit. Therefore, there is no difference in sound between a single and two-piece back.

    Here&#39;s something from Steinway&#39;s site. Different instrument, but same idea:
    The erroneous idea that a crack in a soundboard reduces the tonal output is undoubtedly due to the equally erroneous theory that sound "vibrations" in some way travel transversely across the soundboard. But, as has been shown here, the movement of the board is that of the movement of the strings, up and down in the case of a grand, backward and forward in the case of a piano of vertical construction. The glued-up strips of thin spruce, reinforced by bridges and ribs, which constitute the soundboard, become in fact a single unit, so that the whole board vibrates with the playing of even one single note anywhere in the scale.
    IF I hit a wrong key its becaus i kind of like it that way.

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    Senior Member Quaverion's Avatar
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    Thanks&#33; My new violin has a solid back, not that it makes any difference.
    It is our imperfections that make us who we are.

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    The erroneous idea that a crack in a soundboard reduces the tonal output is undoubtedly due to ......
    So u mean the cracks in the sound board do not affect the tonal output?

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    Senior Member Quaverion's Avatar
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    I am positive that they effect it. They MUST. It would violate many laws of physics if it did not. The effect may be extremely minute, but it IS different.
    It is our imperfections that make us who we are.

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    Senior Member Harvey's Avatar
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    Yes, they do affect it, but not in any appreciable way.

    Lets say there&#39;s a 1/16 inch crack (which is a pretty huge crack) in a 9-footer. At the longest length, and considering the grain of the wood runs the length of the piano (which it doesn&#39;t), the area of the crack would be 6+3/4 square inches. (Correct me if I messed up.) One would have a hard time hearing a difference between a whole soundboard and a cracked soundboard. Of course, if there were 100 cracks, it&#39;s trashed anyway.

    Edit: Hmm...wonder how the subject suddenly went to pianos...oh ya, it was my fault.
    IF I hit a wrong key its becaus i kind of like it that way.

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    Hmm...wonder how the subject suddenly went to pianos...oh ya, it was my fault.
    It was an interesting discussion, at least I learned something.
    But u sure there&#39;s no audible diff. in tonal quality or how about projection or anything else?

  15. #15
    Senior Member Harvey's Avatar
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    Ya, a page turner standing up would make more difference.
    Whether the stand is up or down would make more difference.
    How far it is from the wall behind it would make more difference (applies to both vertical and horizontal soundboards).
    IF I hit a wrong key its becaus i kind of like it that way.

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