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Thread: One piece back?

  1. #1

    Default One piece back?

    My Eastman MD 505 appears to have a one piece back. I cannot find a seam. Is that possible?

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Size:	2.40 MB 
ID:	192144

  2. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: One piece back?

    Looks like a one piece back to me. Lucky you!
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  3. #3
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: One piece back?

    Yes, trees grow much bigger than that
    Play it like you mean it

    Not all the clams are at the beach

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: One piece back?

    Nice! So that brings up a question in my mind. We know a one piece back normally is an upgrade and cost more then a two pc back. Other then esthetics, does a 1 pc back offer different / better tone then a two pc back? I am curious of different opinions regarding this.

  5. #5

    Default Re: One piece back?

    Quote Originally Posted by killntime View Post
    Nice! So that brings up a question in my mind. We know a one piece back normally is an upgrade and cost more then a two pc back. Other then esthetics, does a 1 pc back offer different / better tone then a two pc back? I am curious of different opinions regarding this.
    I found some old threads. Most believe it is only cosmetic. No tone difference.

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  7. #6
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    Default Re: One piece back?

    I wonder if two piece backs on mandolins were just the result of standard guitar and violin making practice being carried over onto a different instrument? Small production instrument makers who want flamed maple often buy their back wood 'book matched' (the halves are made by rip sawing one piece of wood), so the flame pattern is more or less symmetrical on both sides of the back. However some cut their own, and the bigger you are, the easier that is. Chinese workshops have access to some interesting wood - I've had violins from them with tops made from 200 year old reclaimed floorboards, and I have a viola with a one piece burr maple back. A number of the historic Italian fiddle makers made instruments with plain or flamed one piece backs, out of alternative woods, and even out of wood with knots in, maybe just depending on what they and their customers could afford?

  8. #7
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    Default Re: One piece back?

    i had this question when planning a build with Chris Stanley. His experience and info from other builders was that 1 piece vs 2 pieces back was not an issue in sound, and that maybe more of his best sounding mandolins had 2 piece backs, but it's not definitive. So it depends on the characteristics of the individual piece of wood instead.

  9. #8
    Resident Hack
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    Default Re: One piece back?

    The folks who built my wife's violin told her there was an advantage to having different wood on the bass side. I have not been able to confirm this anywhere, though
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  10. #9
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    Default Re: One piece back?

    Interesting - I haven't heard that before, BUT of course the violin is assymetric inside - it has the 'bass bar' running up and down the top on one side of the fingerboard, and the soundpost just behind and to one side of the bridge on the other.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: One piece back?

    FWIW according to Gilchrist... On his site he says, "Any subtle tonal difference between one piece/slab or two piece/quartered can be attributed to the little extra stiffness of quartered wood compared to a slab from the same tree."
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  12. #11
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    Default Re: One piece back?

    Not to disagree with Gilchrist, i got to wondering about quartered vs slab stiffness and relating this to baseball bats. Doesn't the grain run in a quartered pattern with the trademark facing up? If so, there is more flexibility and strength there. We know what happens when hitting a baseball on the trademark - shock imparted to the hands and the wood can crack - very stiff and rigid and brittle. Surely there is a noticeable difference with grain orientation, but slab cut seems stiffer to me in the batter's box.

  13. #12

    Default Re: One piece back?

    Regarding Steve Gilchrist’s statement, there are two variables in play: one-piece vs. two-piece, and slab sawn vs. quartered. My sense is many if not most of the one-piece backs are slab sawn, and thus in theory a little more limber, and perhaps bassier. But if so that derives mainly from the cut, not the one-piece. Two-piece backs can in theory be any kind of cut (e.g., slab, rift, quarter) but quartersawn wood as Steve alludes is said to be somewhat stiffer. On this point, there is an interesting interview with Charlie Derrington in which he discusses some of his favorite Loars, and leans away from ones with quartered backs because he felt they were a little too bright or brash. I’d always associated quartered wood with greater potential clarity, and had never heard that sentiment before.

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