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#62951 - 12/07/06 01:18 PM What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
TheLoneliestMonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 49
What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards? When I try to count the grains or rings on my Steinway soundboard it seem like there are about 30 per inch. They're so tight that I have a dificult time counting them.

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#62952 - 12/07/06 01:35 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
Interesting question.

What motivaes it?

I collect guitars and some people are quite obsessed with grain on guitar tops (soundboards in effect). I have some with numerous tight grain rings (regarded as superior) and some with wide spaced rings. Some have a mixture of a few years of tight spacing and a few years of wide spacing, My view is that it makes little difference to the acoustics and is really a matter of aesthetic preference. I would be interested if people think it really matters with pianos.

Adrian
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#62953 - 12/07/06 02:04 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Casalborgone Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 1046
Loc: San Francisco Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by AJB:
Interesting question.

What motivaes it?

I collect guitars and some people are quite obsessed with grain on guitar tops (soundboards in effect).

I would be interested if people think it really matters with pianos.

Adrian [/b]
Obsession is all about the character of the obsessed person and not at all about the character of the object of obsession. Obsessives are obsessed about very many things.

That said, the number of growth rings per inch of soundboard spruce is one very minor factor in assessing the quality of the wood before it is processed into a soundboard. And I mean processed. The quality of the processing is far more important.
_________________________
Mike
Registered Piano Technician
Member Piano Technicians Guild
Not currently working in the piano trade.

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#62954 - 12/07/06 06:12 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
LJC Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/04
Posts: 1549
Loc: New York
I believe the minimum is 20 per inch so 30 is probably right in there.

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#62955 - 12/07/06 07:02 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Derick II Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/05
Posts: 1426
Loc: New York
If you really want to learn about soundboards and GPI, you should visit this website:

Piano Facts

There is a ton of information. Do a search on soundboards. lb is the resident expert on soundboards. Pianodoctor, L-in-A, and others have lots of knowledge as well.

30 GPI sounds unbelievably high.

Derick
_________________________
"People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid."[/b] - Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)


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#62956 - 12/07/06 10:25 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Casalborgone Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 1046
Loc: San Francisco Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick II:
30 GPI sounds unbelievably high.

Derick [/b]
I agree it's a very high count. It's possible, and even likely, that the original poster does not count rings in the same way that an experienced woodworker or a plant scientist does. Which is that every other visible ring is counted (that is, only the dark rings are counted). Each such ring represents one year's growth in a temperate climate.
_________________________
Mike
Registered Piano Technician
Member Piano Technicians Guild
Not currently working in the piano trade.

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#62957 - 12/07/06 10:34 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1706
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
 Quote:
Originally posted by TheLoneliestMonk:
What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards? When I try to count the grains or rings on my Steinway soundboard it seem like there are about 30 per inch. They're so tight that I have a dificult time counting them. [/b]
TLM,
I'm not sure what exactly you're counting there, and as you stated you probably have difficulty counting them, but there is no way that your Steinway with it's sitka spruce board has a grain of 30 per inch.
Assuming it is a NY Steinway, a range of 15 per inch on average is probably more accurate for these pianos.

Anything over 18-20 grains per inch is considered pretty tight, and some of the very high-end European makers use woods that are very expensive and have 20 GPI or more on average and a very even grain.
The wood on lower end pianos usually tends to have a much wider grain to it, often under 10 GPI on average and less even.

Now, the reasons that some manufacturers of very high performance pianos are using the much more expensive and tighter grain wood are much more important then "cosmetic". They believe that it has a direct affect on the tonal quality of the piano.
The grain of the wood is one thing that can/should be taken to consideration in regards to the general scale design of the piano, the soundboard assembly structure, the rim structure, string tension and hammers among others.
These things are not the same in all pianos, and in certain designs, replacing an identical soundboard assembly with another one made of tighter grain spruce, will not necessarily produce a tonal improvement and can even detract from the performance of the piano.

Perhaps this is the reason that some resident experts, who may very well know their craft, hold different opinion to those shared by most of the very high-end Eauropean manufacturers and their designers.
It may be for lack of experience of working with high end European performance pianos.
It could be due to experimenting with replacing soundboard assemblies with those that are not as well matched to the design...and it could also be because the pianos the companies they represent, or the instruments they rebuild feature the much less expensive wood with 12 - 14 GPI.

I truly don’t know.

Different people though, can hold different opinions, and I can definitely accept that some may hold the opinion that a grain that is less tight is better over all, or at least better in the pianos they work with, manufacture, distribute or represent.

It could just be their luck that the less tight soundboard material they work with is less expensive.

But what is the reason then that most of the very high-end performance piano makers have used and are using a very tight grained white spruce?

Well, I have spoken to a few of the designers and the people directly responsible for the manufacturing of some of the highest caliber pianos, and remarkably, their answers in this regard were quite the same.
They all have tried to account for a design that matches a tighter grain spruce in spite of the material being more expensive.
One can be certain that they would have rather used a less expansive material, had they believed that there would be no performance loss, but they all seemed to agree that a tighter grain soundboard has the potential for superior tonal qualities.
These manufacturers also followed their philosophy of putting performance first and cost only as a second consideration, and decided to pay the extra money for a much more expensive wood.

So why are they doing it?
Well, they believe that the possible tonal improvement is due to a few factors.

The slowest growing soundboard material used, is spruce that is naturally white in color and grows in very cold climates and high altitudes.
Often the most sought after, slow growing and tightest grain white colored spruce comes from the North face of the mountains. And although some tend to relate this to some kind of piano mythology, those who design and build some of the world very finest performance pianos think it is important.

If one was to examine an annual ring, its beginning is light in color. This is the growth during the months of spring and early summer.
The dark part grows later in the summer and fall.
Spruce that grows in very high altitudes, and have less exposure to the sun will have a much more abrupt climate change at the end of the summer, and a very short growing season.
A slow growth wood will have then a naturally lighter color.

The cell structure in the slow growing wood is also going to be different, and the lighter color grain will be stiffer and absorb less energy since the cell skeleton is stronger, and the membrane is stronger, making it a more efficient in transferring the energy of the strings.
The different cell structure of the naturally light colored and stiffer board is also resulting in a wood that is lighter in weight.
Less weight means that the soundboard can vibrate more efficiently due to the energy produced by the hammer hitting the strings.

The lighter stronger board may have an advantage then if all things are equal, but its advantage goes further. It allows for reducing even more weight.
The naturally stiffer board can be made thinner, thus reducing even more weight, and the rib structure can be made less massive (or less ribs used), which even further reduces the weight of the board without compromising its strength.
If the board has less weight on it, it can vibrate more freely and develop to its full spectrum, offering a superior, more singing tone.

Less weight on the soundboard also means that the hammers selected can be lighter/softer and still provide a more powerful sound, and this can affect the tonal quality, and even indirectly the responsiveness of the action.

The tightness and evenness of the board is also important because the more even the grain is, the vibrations are better distributed over the entire soundboard, so more areas vibrate, and since each area represent a different frequency, then there are more tonal colors available.
The grain in the bass section though may be less tight since less stiffness may be desired in that area.

Now, some manufacturers and rebuilders are “bleaching the board” to make it appear lighter in color then it really is. This is questionable in my opinion for more reasons then just since it is somewhat deceiving the consumer (although they may just be doing that for cosmetic reasons believing it is more appealing).
I find it questionable because first they are drying the board and then they are pouring on it a mixture of 10% super oxide, which is diluted with 90% water…

In any case, this is a different story, but since the color of the board can be artificially manipulated, and since the board’s color can darken over time due to exposure to sun and strong light, the best measure of the soundboard quality is the tightness and evenness of the grain.
As it happens, this is also the highest priced material.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#62958 - 12/07/06 11:01 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1706
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
I figured my last post was all too long, so I thought I’d summarize it in 8 different points for those who don’t want to read too much.

1.The most expensive soundboard material is white color Spruce growing in high altitudes and cold climates, preferably where there is less sun exposure and even amounts of rain every year to provide even growth. Most very high-end European pianos use very tight grained, slow growing white color spruce.

2.The tighter grained spruce has a different cell structure resulting in a lighter color wood grain that is stiffer and absorbs less energy.

3.The tighter grained white color spruce cell structure creates a naturally lighter in weight wood, allowing the board to vibrate more freely and produce a fuller more singing tone.

4.The tighter grained soundboard can be made further lighter by reducing its thickness or reducing the size or number of ribs without compromising strength, leaving the board to have even a greater freeness.

5.Less weight on the soundboard also means that the hammers selected can be lighter/softer hammers without compromising power, and this can affect the tonal quality, and even indirectly the responsiveness of the action.

6.The tight and even board is also important because the more even the grain is, the vibrations are better distributed over the entire soundboard, so more areas vibrate, and since each area represent a different frequency, then there are more tonal colors available.
The grain in the bass section though may be less tight since less stiffness may be desired in this area.

7.Since the color of the board can be artificially manipulated, and since the board’s color can darken over time due to exposure to sun and strong light, the best measure of the soundboard quality is the tightness and evenness of the grain.

8.Unfortunately, the slower growing is the board, and the more even is the grain, the more expensive the material.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#62959 - 12/08/06 06:58 AM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9675
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
A few quick thoughts:

Ori stated:
 Quote:
Steinway with it's sitka spruce board
[/b]

He may have an older Steinway. They have, over time, used European spruces and white spruces. World wide distribution of sitka spruce is a 20th century phenomenon.


Red spruce has been thought of as a potentially superior tonal wood to white spruce. It grows in higher altitudes than white spruce and has a better strength to weight ratio. Obviously, color has a lot to do with the choice of white spruce. It simply looks better. Is this the only reason for its choice? I welcome input.


Ori,
Thanks for the briefer post. I sometimes skip your posts because of the verbose wordage - I like your new style.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#62960 - 12/08/06 07:32 AM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Roy123 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: Massachusetts
If tighter grain spruce is thought to be superior because it is stronger and lighter, it ought to be easy to check by measuring its density, and its stiffness with and across the grain. Let's not forget to measure its "Q", or its ability to vibrate freely without quickly changing its mechanical motion into heat. Perhaps it resistance to compression damage may be superior, which would lead to longer soundboard life.

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#62961 - 12/08/06 11:43 AM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1706
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
 Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Galassini:


Red spruce has been thought of as a potentially superior tonal wood to white spruce. It grows in higher altitudes than white spruce and has a better strength to weight ratio. Obviously, color has a lot to do with the choice of white spruce. It simply looks better. Is this the only reason for its choice? I welcome input.


Ori,
Thanks for the briefer post. I sometimes skip your posts because of the verbose wordage - I like your new style. [/b]
Rich,
When classifying the different woods used, the terms "White spruce" or "Red spruce" are not very accurate.
In fact, the wood marketed here as "Red spruce", and that grows in high altitudes is actually white in color.
In Europe, they use different names altogether for these woods. The best translation for one kind of very light in color and tight-grained spruce is...hazel spruce.
I guess that this can be called here either White or Red, depending on the marketing team selling the pianos.

The point I was trying to make is that the slow and even growing spruce that comes from forests in very high altitudes is white in color and have a very tight grain.
It is also more expensive.

The tighter grained, lighter color wood has the desired stiffness and is less energy absorbing (more reflective), allowing it to be more efficient transducer of the vibrating string energy.
In other words, it has the potential for a better tone.

Since the color of the wood can be manipulated, or change over time due to sun and light exposure, the best way to asses the quality of the wood is to look at the grain and evenness of the growth rings.

In my first long post, I was more clear about the color and the reasons the lighter color and tighter grained spruce have a better tonal potential, and therefore is used by most of the very high end European piano manufacturers.
In my next post I was maybe too brief, and obviously it could lead some who are more familiar with the marketing terms for these woods rather then their qualities and the reasons the high end manufacturers actually choose to use them to focus on the name...may it be White or Red.

I have edited my “brief” post to add the word "color" after "white", to make it clearer.
I thought that referring to the color by saying "white", rather than the marketing name for the wood was understood from my first post.
I guess that this is the drawback of trying to summarize things, so there goes my "new style" and we’re back to the old “verbose wordage”.

Rich, if you like to have a better understanding of what I say, you should read through my entire long, and boring posts, including the first one on this thread.
The answer to your question is already there, and it has little to do with the color of the wood (remember, the wood could be bleached).
I hope this helps.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#62962 - 12/08/06 12:45 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Toddler2 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/04
Posts: 760
Loc: Hillsborough, NC
I have to admit that before this thread I never bothered to look. So last night I crawled under the piano to look at the board. Obviously it isn't a single slab cut! The RPI seemed to range all the way from 16 or 17 to NFW I could count it lying on my back with a flashlight.

Anybody else partake in this silly post purchase activity besides me \:o
_________________________
M&H AA (2006)

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#62963 - 12/08/06 01:31 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1706
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
Toddler,
Mason & Hamlin is using a very fine slow growing and tight-grained spruce, naturally light in color that is called here Eastern white spruce. It could be that in certain sections you'd have a tighter grain then others. It happens with all pianos, including high-end pianos like Mason to a certain degree. Sometimes it is even desirable to use a less stiff spruce in the bass section.
The grain however, will have a lot of white to it and relatively very little dark.
It will also appear even in color (from having seen many, many Mason boards).

Also, going under your piano and counting the rings can yield very different results from person to person. It could very well be, that had you tried to count the rings under the original poster's piano you would have come up with the number 15 rings per inch, while he came up with 30.

To give you an idea of how high the quality of your board really is, visit your local dealer, and look at the grain of the wood in comparison to other pianos, especially the mass-produced pianos coming from the orient (if he carries any).
It can be an eye opening experience and the difference should should be very clear.

Indeed, comparing a high quality soundboard to those found on some of the mass produced instruments hailed on this forum as greatly improving by the minute can easily demonstrate the distance that such makers have to go in terms of their commitment to use better quality materials, which have the potential to produce better tone, and their willingness to pay for these parts.

Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg in this regard, and as I said in the beginning of my post, the soundboard has to be well matched to the rest of the scale design.

In the end, it is the result that counts.
But if one happens to think that the fact that the most highly acclaimed pianos are willing to pay the price and use better materials have little to do with the end result and their sounding better then they should think again.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#62964 - 12/08/06 03:33 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22455
Loc: Oakland
I think tight grain is what you get when you spill hard liquor on the soundboard.

What would be interesting would be to make the identical model of the same piano with soundboards of varying grain width, and do blindfold tests. I bet the results would be...
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#62965 - 12/08/06 03:43 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1555
I watched the program "How its Made" on Discovery Channel ..It was Mason & Hamlin factory building a grand piano.. I came away with a greater undersanding of what goes into making a piano
materials, time and effort..it didn't look easy by any stretch.. Bob Newbie

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#62966 - 12/08/06 05:00 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Casalborgone Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 1046
Loc: San Francisco Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Newbie:
I watched the program "How its Made" on Discovery Channel ..It was Mason & Hamlin factory building a grand piano.. I came away with a greater undersanding of what goes into making a piano
materials, time and effort..it didn't look easy by any stretch.. Bob Newbie [/b]
But it sure is easy to talk about here.
_________________________
Mike
Registered Piano Technician
Member Piano Technicians Guild
Not currently working in the piano trade.

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#62967 - 12/08/06 05:08 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
johnny boy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/06
Posts: 357
Loc: seattle
In general, tighter the grain the stronger it is within the same type of wood.

Engleman Spruce will have wider grain than Sitka. Adirondack spruce (red spruce)has even wider gain pattern.

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#62968 - 12/08/06 05:10 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
LJC Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/04
Posts: 1549
Loc: New York
Tighter grained wood is heavier, actually I believe 10 per inch is the minimum not 20 as I said earlier. Red Spruce is very hard to come by. If you saw the DIY series on Lynn Dudenbostel the custon guitar maker there was an episode that showed the difficulty in procuring red spruce which is necessary to duplidate the pre war Martin guiltar that is so highly prized.

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#62969 - 12/09/06 05:57 AM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9675
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Ori,

I did read through your first post and I understand the process of color and the possibility of its manipulation as well as you do.

White spruce (or picea glauca) is not the same as red spruce (or picea rubens). I have never heard of a manufacturer claim to use the latter and I have also spoken with piano manufacturers about their reasons for staying with a white spruce. Color is clearly one reason. This apparently isn't such a concern with other luthiers, because they do use red spruce occasionally.

Additionally, discussing woods by common names can result in confusion. For instance, Johnny Boy mentions Adirondack spruce as a red spruce. I always thought of it as a white spruce, so I did a little homework. It turns out that the leading authority in North America says it could be either.

US forestry service

(I did a query using common names of woods)

Anyway, I thought we might spur on a good thread with a discussion of this, but our understanding of the different types of spruce... well..... differ.

We all agree on one thing - the result. Soundboard quality and what genus of spruce is actually used is only one ingredient to a fine piano. The grade that is chosen is far more important, I suppose, than the wood's genus.

There are many other ingredients that we can discuss and all have a clear understanding of what each other is stating.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#62970 - 12/09/06 11:03 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1706
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
 Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Galassini:


White spruce (or picea glauca) is not the same as red spruce (or picea rubens). I have never heard of a manufacturer claim to use the latter and I have also spoken with piano manufacturers about their reasons for staying with a white spruce. Color is clearly one reason. This apparently isn't such a concern with other luthiers, because they do use red spruce occasionally.

[/b]
Rich,
First, I never said that White spruce is the same as red spruce, but that there are species of spruce grown in Europe that could be called here as either, depending on who is doing the marketing.

Second, if you never heard of a manufacturer claiming to use red spruce for their soundboards, then I can help you here.
Fazioli is saying just that. The natural color of their board, by the way, is rather white.

Check this if you like:
http://www.fazioli-piano.com/eng/tavola_armonica.php

Third, I understand that you have spoken to "manufacturers" about their pianos and the reasons they use their woods.
It doesn't make sense, however, for any manufacturer to pay a lot more money for the expensive stuff, which happens to be naturally light in color, just because they like the color...when they can pay a lot less for different wood and bleach it (as some apparently do). So the claim that someone will be choosing an expensive, high grade, tight grain board (which happens to be white) because of its color is not withstanding the test of reason.

Therefore, I believe there are a few possible explanations to what you have been told and it could be one of the following.

A. The people you spoke to didn't know better.
B. The people you spoke to didn't want to tell you why they chose these boards.
C. The manufacturers who gave you this information were actually bleaching the boards.
D. All of us in the industry have to hope for a drastic change if "manufacturers" have so little knowledge that they choose their soundboards only by their color.
E. You didn't understand what they were saying.


Now, I understand that the white color may be appealing to some, and I can only guess that the reason is because the very high end European pianos feature an expensive spruce, with very tight and even grain, which due to the fact that it has a very abrupt climate change at the end of the summer and a short growing season also has a naturally light color.

Had the very high end pianos have been featuring a black soundboard for the past 150 years, it may be that other manufacturers would paint their boards black to look like the high end makers.

In this case, it looks like the chicken came before the egg...meaning that the boards that were selected for their natural stiffness, lighter weight, and being less energy absorbing (better desired tonal characteristics) were also rather white in color.
So many other makers want also to have white color boards, and now this is considered to be more aesthetically pleasing...

Now, since you liked my new and short style "summarized posts", I'll summarize it for you.
You asked this:

Obviously, color has a lot to do with the choice of white spruce. It simply looks better. Is this the only reason for its choice?
[/b]
And the answer is:

No, it isn't.
High-end makers choose a very expensive, very tight and very even grained wood because it has the desired tonal qualities they are looking for.
Being light in color is usually a by-product of this wood.

Much cheaper and fast growing wood with a lot of dark grain can be made to look lighter in color too, so looking just at the color wouldn't tell us much about the quality of the wood used.

I hope this helps.


P.S

In the link I provided to the Fazioli site, it appears that at least the people working for this high-end maker know why they are choosing the woods they do.
They spell it rather clearly.


· For the high resistance to flexing (stiffness)
· For the low, specific weight
· For the regularity in the distance between rings

In my previous posts I gave an explanation of how these qualities can affect the tone positively.

No mentioning of the white color as a determining factor or a desirable quality of the wood at all.
I can assure you that other high end manufacturers know just as well why they are willing to pay more for higher quality wood…and it isn’t the color.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#62971 - 12/10/06 06:02 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14057
Loc: Louisiana
And yet....

For all the talk of rings, processing, whether the soundboard was cut from the North side of the tree...even the guys who make them cannot guaranty what they sound like until they go in.

Give a very good estimation? Yes. Absolutely guaranty? Don't think so.

But no living material can be absolutely quantified.

If so, we could all buy our pianos over the phone...
_________________________
www.coffee-room.com

Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#62972 - 12/10/06 09:29 PM Re: What is considered "tight" grain in spruce soundboards?
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1706
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jolly:
And yet....

For all the talk of rings, processing, whether the soundboard was cut from the North side of the tree...even the guys who make them cannot guaranty what they sound like until they go in.

Give a very good estimation? Yes. Absolutely guaranty? Don't think so.

But no living material can be absolutely quantified.

If so, we could all buy our pianos over the phone... [/b]
Jolly,
Sure...what counts after all is how the piano sounds and feels when its ready...
But this isn't telling the whole story.

You see, a piano is a combination of three elements.
The design, the parts and materials used in its construction, and the workmanship.

These are all very important and one should not treat any or all of them lightly or feel that they are not important.
Any of these elements can drastically affect the performance of the piano, so don't underestimate the choice of parts, or the materials used in the instruments construction.
These have a direct affect on the way that the finished piano sounds, feels and on its stability, longevity and looks.


Hopefully Without going too much off the subject, I'd also add that the most misunderstood element of these three by consumers is usually the design.
The "design" doesn't relate to: "who designed that piano", but rather it is a coherent decision, well before a piano is built, that would affect the choice of parts and materials used in the instrument's design.

It takes a decision to make a great piano above all, and a commitment to be willing to pay the higher costs of parts and materials, and to bear the costs of highly skilled labor and production methods that may be less cost effective but are required in order to work with certain materials and follow certain designs.

If the most qualified piano designer is limited when scaling the piano by trying to keep the finished piano target price under a certain level, he would make sacrifices already in the design stage, and would design the piano to perform with less costly (to buy or work with) materials, among other things.
So the use of the right parts and materials in a high-end piano is starting at the stage of the design.

Great pianos sound great because they are meant to sound this way, and they aim to get the sound that their manufacturers consider to be ideal with a lot less compromises in order to cut costs.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

Top

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