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#627616 - 11/01/01 09:36 PM rebuilding a 1889 steinway B
dan long Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/25/01
Posts: 5
Loc: mi
This piano was purchased about # weeks ago and the tech said that it needed hammers and shanks al;so to be restrung. When I was underneath it I took a piece of string across the sound board and found that it was flat. I told the tech this and he said that I shouldn't worry about it that the downbearing is what will make the difference. I said ok but am worried that he might be trying to make shortcuts I don't know why because I told that if it needed it just do it cost I dont care I just want it done right the first time. Also the soundboard has little fine hair cracks can't put a dollar bill though them. They are not seperating from the bridges at all. He wants to use buttons on it. Any comment or suggestions on this would be greatly appreciated Thanks Dan Long

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#627617 - 11/02/01 12:29 AM Re: rebuilding a 1889 steinway B
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Based on the piano age along with the test you did underneath the soundboard, the best policy under the circumstances would be a soundboard replacement. My partner and I have gotten impressive results doing that with the belief that when in doubt it's best to do it. If your piano were restrung with the existing board and the crown remains flat, there will NOT be any noticeable difference in the tone even if the downbearing is adequate.

Mark Mandell www.pianosource.com

#627618 - 11/02/01 08:04 PM Re: rebuilding a 1889 steinway B
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3932
Mark is correct. No amount of bearing will fix a flat soundboard. A soundboard needs a crown to resonate properly. A flat soundboard will sound dead. Increasing the bearing in a flat board results in negative bearing and worse tone. Sometimes a flat soundboard can be crowned by drying it out, and filling the cracks with shims or epoxy when they are as large as they get. This sometimes will restore some crown. But the best way to go is a new board ie, big bucks.

#627619 - 11/03/01 09:30 AM Re: rebuilding a 1889 steinway B
Chris W1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/26/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Boston

To balance the arguement further away from what this tech is telling you I would say that, in the opposite extreme, their are credible rebuilders, Del Fandrich included, who feel that even old, still crowned, boards are often dead and irrepairable. The wood's elasticity is judged to be gone.

Also there is a camp that feels cracked boards are a good thing in that they allow for a modicom of expansion/contraction of the wood without the crushing effects of humidity.

I personally feel too few are replaced, but that once in a blue moon old boards sound fine, despite cracks, so long as there IS crown. I wonder when the last time this tech played a new board was. If he has never been associated with a board replacement, take what he says with a grain of salt.

Good luck,
Chris W
Amateur At Large

#627620 - 11/03/01 12:17 PM Re: rebuilding a 1889 steinway B
dan long Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/25/01
Posts: 5
Loc: mi
I just want to thank you people for all your input and I am going to look for another tech who I can count on maybe one from a steinway dealer would be a good start. I don't understand why this person[tech]would not want to fix this piano the right way maybe he just doesn't know how. Again thanks

#627621 - 11/03/01 11:22 PM Re: rebuilding a 1889 steinway B
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Well, I can certainly tell you from my own experience that replacing a soundboard is a rather labor intensive job and it MUST be done with practically zero tolerance where measurements are concerned. So whoever you'd consider hiring for the job would unquestionably have to be experienced.


#627622 - 11/03/01 11:25 PM Re: rebuilding a 1889 steinway B
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
It also occurred to me that you could have the piano "wapinized" which is a procedure involving alteration of the bridge pins that results in an expanded sustain along with some increase in tonal volume. This is actually less expensive than the soundboard replacement but it assumes that the existing bridge is in a good enough condition to allow for that.

You can read more about it at www.wapin.com.
My partner and I did this on one of our rebuilds last year and got good results actually.



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