One piece or two-piece back violin

January 1, 2023, 8:46 AM · I am choosing advanced student violins remotely ( I know it’s a bad idea), but as of now, there is no other choice. The luthier is very good one. Currently it’s just preliminary steps starting from showing some pics of candidates. He offered 3 of them at the same level money wise. one with one piece back and the other two with two-piece back. He recommends the one-piece back, but it all depends on how it would sound like after setup. It seems like there is obvious differences between two types. I learned that for one piece the wood may not be in quarter cut, rather it may be a slab cut. Is there a way to tell? The pics of those 3 violins are attached. The one-piece back violin looks really beautiful.

Replies (6)

Edited: January 1, 2023, 9:31 AM · Short answer: there is no difference. But two instruments with the same type of back construction can sound wildly different. I like the look of one over the other but totally they are different.

But don’t take my word for it, here are some experts:

January 1, 2023, 10:24 AM · Thanks Dimitri for your input and the link. I red that post too. It does seem no preference to one over the other based solely on the number of pieces. There are so many other factors need to be taking into account when choosing.
January 1, 2023, 1:16 PM · In your photos, both one-piece backs appear to be quarter-cut, but I wouldn't know for sure without lots of much more detailed photos, or examining them in person.

I don't use slab-cut backs at all, because the much-higher expansion and contraction from side-to-side on that axis, with atmospheric moisture changes, tends to produce cracks.

January 2, 2023, 8:54 AM · Hi David, thank you so much for providing your professional judgement on these photos. ( I understand it can only be preliminary given these limited photos). I will communicate with the luthier to seek more information.
January 4, 2023, 8:41 AM · FWIW, my Breton has a dark, warm, violistic sound, and I put it down to the one-piece back, but I could be wrong.
January 4, 2023, 8:43 AM · I agree!

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