The Soundboard - Original or New
The piano is classified as a strain bearing instrument. It is not like a string instrument where there is relatively low string tension and sound is produced by a constant agitation of the string by the bow. Pluck a violin string and you get an effect called pizzicato. This is a marvelous sound but entirely inappropriate for a piano. When a piano string is struck by a hammer, we expect power, sustain, color and dynamics. Simply stated this is achieved by having the right balance of opposing forces. On the one end we have the string tension pressing on the bridges. At the other end, we have the soundboard and ribs set in a crowned position, like a disc spring, supporting and resisting the string tension. It is a battle of opposing forces that will ultimately be lost, which is why most soundboards need to be replaced regardless of how they look if good piano tone is a factor.
Original Soundboard
Dry soundboard to around 7% RH, inspect for cracks, rib separation & loose glue joints
Glue & clamp loose ribs to soundboard
Shim cracks using Spurlock method*** & repair any other loose joints (i.e. along rim)
Remove original finish & bleach board to blend old wood with shims
Varnish and apply soundboard decal
***Soundboard is set into a crowned position while cracks are machine routed with a custom V-notch bit that is an exact match to our Sitka spruce shims. Best chance of restoring crown and prevent further cracking to an otherwise flat soundboard.
New Soundboard
New T&G True Quartersawn Sitka Spruce Soundboard Panel (Specify CC, RC or RC&S)
Analyze scale design to match hammer selection and soundboard design
Customize grain density & angle to bellyrail
Remanufacture radius-crowned ribs to design spec (specify spruce, sugarpine or laminated)
Redimension ribs to appropriately accommodate scale/load
Traditionally taper ribs or scallop in 3rds
Dowel and/or button bridge to new soundboard
Replace all buttons, acoustical dowels, moldings and any other existing details
New soundboard decal
Refinish top and bottom of soundboard
Here is a sampling of our “Belly Services:”
Click on links below for more information and/or photos.
The Palte

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