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#652342 - 02/21/02 01:41 AM Laminated soundboards
pianoseed Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/13/01
Posts: 884
Loc: here
I am hearing about them more and more. Are they as good as solid spruce? Who is using them and on what model pianos? Sounds like a good idea if they sound as well.

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#652343 - 02/21/02 05:19 PM Re: Laminated soundboards
T2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/18/01
Posts: 341
(Non-Tech perspective.) I have seen laminated soundboards as advertized as guaranteed for 100 years (which I don't care about). I haven't played many, but I would be concerned about the added stiffness that lamination produces having a negative impact on the tone of the piano. Does any tech have an informed opinion to share about this?

I did make some comparisons between a New York Steinway and a Hamburg Steinway. One of the things I was told is about the difference in stiffness (mechanical impedance) of the soundboard. I guess a Hamburg Steinway is more stiff, and that translates into a somewhat different sound. To my ear, a Hamburg Steinway doesn't allow you to be rude (or "play the blues"*).


*Quotation from Keith Jarrett on one of the two Steinway Ds (a New York and a Hamburg) that sit in his music room.

[ February 22, 2002: Message edited by: T2 ]

#652344 - 02/21/02 05:57 PM Re: Laminated soundboards
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Non-tech perspective also... I've heard that laminated sound boards don't make that much difference in uprights. I can't confirm or deny that statement. But I can attest to playing a few grands with laminated soundboards and they were awful. They had very poor and uneven sustain. I don't know if this was due to the scale design of the piano or the soundboard.

Laminated soundboards may never crack, but based on my experience, you pay the price in tonal quality.

Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

#652345 - 02/21/02 09:06 PM Re: Laminated soundboards
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14715
Loc: Surrey, B.C.

With all respect...what does "BEING RUDE"...

...have to do with "PLAYING THE BLUES"???

Have you ever listened to the great Jay McShann...the [more than!] gentle great American giant of the blues!

And believe me, the man DOES play Hamburg Steinways when touring Europe!


Norbert Marten
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller

#652346 - 02/21/02 11:58 PM Re: Laminated soundboards
pianoseed Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/13/01
Posts: 884
Loc: here
I guess the jury is still out but leaning toward solid spruce. Thanks, guys.

#652347 - 02/22/02 02:23 AM Re: Laminated soundboards
T2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/18/01
Posts: 341
Originally posted by Norbert:
T2: With all respect...what does "BEING RUDE" have to do with "PLAYING THE BLUES"?

They are both metaphors to express something I like in New York Steinways that to my ears is absent from the sound of Hamburg Steinways.


P.S.: Norbert, Jay McShann is indeed a wonderful player. Please go right on suggesting pianists to listen to.

[ February 24, 2002: Message edited by: T2 ]

#652348 - 02/22/02 06:57 PM Re: Laminated soundboards
Alex Hernandez Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 1969
I can only speak from my experience, but in my career as a technician I have never encountered a laminated soundboard that provides the same type of resonance and sonority that a solid board does, they are simply to rigid. Having said that it is also important to note that there are many variables that contribute to the overall quality and performance of a soundboard. Among these are quality of grain, more specifically tightness of grain and uniformity of color. The curing of the board to establish proper humidity content and stability. And fitting of the board to the rim.

The New York versus Hamburg argument is another can of worms in itself. I grew up with New York but later grew to prefer the Hamburg.

[ February 23, 2002: Message edited by: Alex HernŠndez ]

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