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#2109600 - 06/28/13 11:16 AM Downbearing and Soundboard Crown
Jim Dunleavy Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 229
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
I've been having a go at measuring the downbearing in my upright prior to removing the strings. It's a 1937 Kemble and (to the best of my knowledge) has never had soundboard work done on it since it was made.

Before I go into details of what I've measured, my first question is whether it's typical for an instrument of this age and my second question is should I attempt to adjust it by putting on thinner understring felt.

I don't have a proper gauge, so I used the method described in Reblitz, using dental tape stretched across between the top and bottom fixing points. However I found it extremely difficult to measure with any accuracy.

All I could conclude is that at the bass bridge, there is somewhere between zero and slightly negative downbearing, increasing to a slight positive downbearing in the treble.

The soundboard itself appears in good condition, with no cracks that I can see, and the ribs are solidly attached for their full length - the ribs are vertical on this piano.

I can measure a slight crown by putting a 2 foot steel rule between the ribs and measuring the gap at the centre with feeler gauges. A similar crown (obviously in the opposite direction) is measureable on the front surface of the soundboard (but this is only accessible at the far left hand side).

The gap measured between each pair of ribs at the rear varies between about .040" and .060".
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

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#2109646 - 06/28/13 12:27 PM Re: Downbearing and Soundboard Crown [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Gene Nelson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 1541
Loc: Old Hangtown California
If you can measure some bearing as well as some crown you are in really good shape.
I would not do anything to increase bearing, It will likely do nothing more than take away crown.
_________________________
RPT
PTG Member

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#2109652 - 06/28/13 12:39 PM Re: Downbearing and Soundboard Crown [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22077
Loc: Oakland
Keep in mind that after you remove the strings from a piano, it may take a while for the soundboard to resume its original shape. It is best to judge a soundboard by how it sounds.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2109654 - 06/28/13 12:43 PM Re: Downbearing and Soundboard Crown [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Jim Dunleavy Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 229
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
Thanks guys. It sounded OK, so I'll take your advice and leave it alone.

It's best to leave the old understring felt on then?
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

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#2109681 - 06/28/13 01:05 PM Re: Downbearing and Soundboard Crown [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22077
Loc: Oakland
I would replace it.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2109703 - 06/28/13 01:45 PM Re: Downbearing and Soundboard Crown [Re: BDB]
Jim Dunleavy Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 229
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
Originally Posted By: BDB
I would replace it.


I'm certainly tempted to, as it's old and filthy. Plus I've already bought new stringing felt.

As long as I use the same thickness it should be OK presumably.
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

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