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Topic Options
#2256016 - 04/02/14 03:51 PM Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions?
PNO40 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/11
Posts: 245
Loc: A North Atlantic Island former...
I have an upright piano in a small closed room. I always play it with the top lid propped open (around 35 degrees) to avoid suffocating the sound. Though the sound is wonderful with the top front panel removed, that leaves the piano both very loud, and very impractical (no support for fallboard or built-in music 'desk').

A recent discussion here on PW mentioned early 20th century uprights with in-built 'grilles' on the top panel in order to release the sound, and a number of newer uprights have built-in 'port holes' to improve the quality of the sound. And this got me thinking: why not see if I could get such a panel made or customised for my own upright?

Does anybody have any suggestions as to how I might best go about this? I have no intention of altering the panel I have already, so should I be scouring around for old piano graveyards looking to salvage a panel, and perhaps have a cabinet maker customise it? Or should I explore commissioning one to my specifications? If the latter, is there any good advice as to what the best design for such a panel might be: 'grilles', 'grids', 'portholes', and if so where precisely (e.g. treble end, centre, some mix etc)?

As this is still at best a half-baked thought, any thoughts, comments or suggestions would be welcome.

With thanks in advance,

P.

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#2256026 - 04/02/14 04:05 PM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: PNO40]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN

Here's an idea.

_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2256036 - 04/02/14 04:18 PM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
PNO40 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/11
Posts: 245
Loc: A North Atlantic Island former...
Thanks Marty. I've filed that one away as a candidate design.

P.

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#2256039 - 04/02/14 04:30 PM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: PNO40]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2090
Loc: Suffolk, England
Have you tried taking the bottom front panel out?
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2256040 - 04/02/14 04:36 PM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: Withindale]
PNO40 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/11
Posts: 245
Loc: A North Atlantic Island former...
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Have you tried taking the bottom front panel out?


Nope. Not yet anyway. I never thought of it because one of the problems with the room is that it is too reflective and the overall sound gets muddy, hence the idea of getting some direct sound to the player via an open top panel.

Still, I'll give it a try this weekend when I get back home. All grist to the mill! Thanks.

P.

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#2256086 - 04/02/14 06:07 PM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: PNO40]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2772
Loc: Atlanta, GA
What does the front of your upright look like (or what model)? Some suggestions will be more appropriate than others depending on what you are starting with.
_________________________
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PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
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#2256205 - 04/03/14 04:12 AM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: PNO40]
Jean Claude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 393
Loc: France


Reading this, I couldn't help wondering if there might be an advantage to building in a 'tuned' bass
porte (?sp.) into an upright.

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#2256235 - 04/03/14 07:34 AM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: PianoWorksATL]
PNO40 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/11
Posts: 245
Loc: A North Atlantic Island former...
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
What does the front of your upright look like (or what model)? Some suggestions will be more appropriate than others depending on what you are starting with.


Here's a link to a photo of the precise model. For what it is worth, there is already a 'port' on the lower panel, i.e. the lower panel does not fully 'close' the piano, but leaves gap of around 4 inches (10 cm) between the top of the panel and the bottom of the keybed.

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#2256244 - 04/03/14 08:13 AM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: PNO40]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2090
Loc: Suffolk, England
A couple of points to consider about the lower panel. It's significantly larger than the top one. The pinblock reduces the area of soundboard behind the top panel and the action may absorb some of the sound. Some experimentation needed to establish what works best for the pianist, unless that's already been done and results disseminated.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2256253 - 04/03/14 08:50 AM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: Jean Claude]
R_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/03/09
Posts: 543
Originally Posted By: Jean Claude


Reading this, I couldn't help wondering if there might be an advantage to building in a 'tuned' bass
porte (?sp.) into an upright.


There "MIGHT" be, it depends what you want.
PIE_ANNA or "speaker box" ?

i.e. it WOULD change it - perhaps for the better, perhaps not.
{SO Subjective}

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#2256299 - 04/03/14 11:34 AM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: Jean Claude]
KurtZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 997
Loc: The Heart of Screenland
Originally Posted By: Jean Claude


Reading this, I couldn't help wondering if there might be an advantage to building in a 'tuned' bass
porte (?sp.) into an upright.



The short answer is no. Even if it was an advantage it wouldn't be practical. A ported box is a single hole (sometimes a slot or series of holes) in an otherwise airtight box. You would also have to figure out the Thiele-Small parameters of the soundboard and then jigger the size of the whole piano to suit the tuning frequency.

Kurt
_________________________
I just wanted to be just "a" guy. That's enough of a life.

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#2256465 - 04/03/14 06:31 PM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: R_B]
Jean Claude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 393
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: R_B
Originally Posted By: Jean Claude


Reading this, I couldn't help wondering if there might be an advantage to building in a 'tuned' bass
porte (?sp.) into an upright.


There "MIGHT" be, it depends what you want.
PIE_ANNA or "speaker box" ?




I am rather at a loss to understand this comment. If it were possible to improve the tone of an upright by a small modification of this sort (and I freely admit that I have no clue whether it might be possible) I can't really see what the objection would be. The case of an upright already works, at least up to a point, as a 'speaker box'; what is the problem with trying to make it work a little better?

Talking of speaker boxes, I couldn't help being reminded of my parents' old radiogram when I saw the picture of the Baldwin that Marty so kindly supplied.

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#2256472 - 04/03/14 06:48 PM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: PNO40]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2772
Loc: Atlanta, GA
With a vertical front panel, there aren't many variations to design around beyond designing the holes themselves. The style in the Baldwin is attractive and possible as a modification. Another would be to port the bottom of the front panel (to be hidden by the fallboard). Yamaha has a design I like in their YU-series where the make the panel 3 pieces and discretely hide the ports in the joints. I'll see if I have photos.
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta

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#2256474 - 04/03/14 06:54 PM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: PNO40]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2772
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Yamaha YU1

Looking at the front panel joint/holes...

I very much like this design, though I think it would be difficult to fabricate.
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta

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#2256533 - 04/03/14 09:45 PM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: Jean Claude]
KurtZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 997
Loc: The Heart of Screenland
Originally Posted By: Jean Claude
Originally Posted By: R_B
Originally Posted By: Jean Claude


Reading this, I couldn't help wondering if there might be an advantage to building in a 'tuned' bass
porte (?sp.) into an upright.


There "MIGHT" be, it depends what you want.
PIE_ANNA or "speaker box" ?





I am rather at a loss to understand this comment. If it were possible to improve the tone of an upright by a small modification of this sort (and I freely admit that I have no clue whether it might be possible) I can't really see what the objection would be. The case of an upright already works, at least up to a point, as a 'speaker box'; what is the problem with trying to make it work a little better?

Talking of speaker boxes, I couldn't help being reminded of my parents' old radiogram when I saw the picture of the Baldwin that Marty so kindly supplied.




I want to clarify here that I don't care what kind of holes people put in their pianos. My own Pramberger has a great big one behind the desk. If you like, as someone else here has done, you can even use port as a verb to mean cutting a whole in your piano. What *I* meant is that what ever hole or port you put in there, it's not going to turn it into a tuned reflex cabinet.

Kurt
_________________________
I just wanted to be just "a" guy. That's enough of a life.

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#2258333 - 04/07/14 06:48 PM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: PianoWorksATL]
PNO40 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/11
Posts: 245
Loc: A North Atlantic Island former...
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
Yamaha YU1

Looking at the front panel joint/holes...

I very much like this design, though I think it would be difficult to fabricate.


Many thanks for this. It's another interesting design. Do you know what kind of difference it makes? Is there some kind of science or art behind these different designs or is it mostly a case of "put some holes in it to let some noise out, but don't make them ugly"? And yes, I agree this could be something of a challenge for a cabinet maker, but grist to the mill and all that ...

P.

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#2258336 - 04/07/14 06:57 PM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: PNO40]
LarryShone Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Darlington, UK
Ive seen some big uprights where the centre of the top board swivels inwards like a trap door. Looks odd to me mind but some might like it.
_________________________
If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

My Soundcloud
Casio Celviano AP-450

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#2258338 - 04/07/14 07:12 PM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: PNO40]
Jean Claude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 393
Loc: France


These are old player pianos with the player mechanism removed.

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#2258450 - 04/08/14 12:35 AM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: PNO40]
David Germino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/14
Posts: 155
PNO40,

Here is a cool way you might achieve better tonal release from a vertical. This design also brings the music desk higher, away from playing fingers. Creating greater separation from the sheet music and ones hands as found on a grand piano makes for a more intelligent design.





_________________________
Dave's Piano Showroom
Tampa, Clearwater, St Pete and Brandon
813-282-0303
www.davespianoshowroom.com

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#2258454 - 04/08/14 12:53 AM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: PNO40]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21923
Loc: Oakland
But if you are raising the music desk that much, it would be better to put the grille under it, so you can write against the desk.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2258459 - 04/08/14 01:04 AM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: BDB]
David Germino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/14
Posts: 155
Good point.
_________________________
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Tampa, Clearwater, St Pete and Brandon
813-282-0303
www.davespianoshowroom.com

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#2258463 - 04/08/14 01:09 AM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5327
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Here's an idea.



Good to see those are still around. You have no idea how difficult it was to get those six slots in the front pane. But what a difference it made in how the pianos sounded!

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#2258502 - 04/08/14 04:40 AM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: Del]
wimpiano Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 1612
Loc: The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: Del
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Here's an idea.

Good to see those are still around. You have no idea how difficult it was to get those six slots in the front pane. But what a difference it made in how the pianos sounded!

ddf

Does that mean that the owner of that particular upright has a special one? He bought it for almost nothing..
_________________________
Schimmel 116 S ...

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#2258515 - 04/08/14 07:07 AM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: Jean Claude]
R_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/03/09
Posts: 543
Originally Posted By: Jean Claude
Originally Posted By: R_B
Originally Posted By: Jean Claude


Reading this, I couldn't help wondering if there might be an advantage to building in a 'tuned' bass
porte (?sp.) into an upright.


There "MIGHT" be, it depends what you want.
PIE_ANNA or "speaker box" ?




I am rather at a loss to understand this comment. If it were possible to improve the tone of an upright by a small modification of this sort (and I freely admit that I have no clue whether it might be possible) I can't really see what the objection would be. The case of an upright already works, at least up to a point, as a 'speaker box'; what is the problem with trying to make it work a little better?

Talking of speaker boxes, I couldn't help being reminded of my parents' old radiogram when I saw the picture of the Baldwin that Marty so kindly supplied.






The "point" was that you had used the term "tuned", which implied to me that you were considering reinforcing (or suppressing) some frequency or frequency band.
THAT could convert it from what most of us would regard as a piano to a speaker box.
Again, it MIGHT be "better" or it might be "worse" it would almost certainly be "different".

Tuned port speaker boxes are DESIGNED around the speaker with knowledge of things like its resonant frequency - I doubt that you have such data for your piano's sound board.
The dimensions of the piano cabinet are FIXED, whatever the characteristics of the soundboard are you are limited to the existing cabinet.
Maybe this reduces to "Can't get there from here" ?
The choice is yours, but personally I wouldn't try it.

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#2258637 - 04/08/14 11:38 AM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: David Germino]
PNO40 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/11
Posts: 245
Loc: A North Atlantic Island former...
Originally Posted By: David Germino
PNO40,

Here is a cool way you might achieve better tonal release from a vertical. This design also brings the music desk higher, away from playing fingers. Creating greater separation from the sheet music and ones hands as found on a grand piano makes for a more intelligent design.









David,

Yes, that's a pretty original and even stylish design. What's the grid/grille made of? It looks like aluminium or steel and I wonder if it has been vetted for unwanted sympathetic resonance. There are some great ideas coming here, so many thanks to all who have taken the time and effort to contribute and post these photos. I'm already much the wiser.

P.

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#2258642 - 04/08/14 11:44 AM Re: Customised Top Front Panel for Upright Piano: Suggestions? [Re: Del]
PNO40 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/11
Posts: 245
Loc: A North Atlantic Island former...
Originally Posted By: Del

Good to see those are still around. You have no idea how difficult it was to get those six slots in the front pane. But what a difference it made in how the pianos sounded!

ddf


Del,

What kind of difference did/do the slots make? Increased clarity all round? More direct sound to the player? 'De-boxing' the whole piano sound?

And may I ask what the science/art was in choosing that particular design over other potential designs? Is there a logic, for example, to placement or shape of the hole/port? Or is it just a matter of trying to put holes in the board that won't scare away a potential customer? I'm curious, especially given your remark about how difficult it was to get this design to fly. (I suspect you are referring here to the difficulty of persuading the marketing people.)

P.

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