Soundboard & Rims

Posted by: Theresa

Soundboard & Rims - 05/30/04 04:37 PM

I am in the process of looking for a new piano.
Have played Estonia, Petroff, Schimmel, Yamaha, Knabe, Pramberger and will try August Forster, and Bohemia.

While at the Estonia dealer was informed that these pianos don't have wood covering the seam between the soundboard and the rim due to its perfect fit. While examining a Petroff I noticed a corded fabric between the rim & the sound board.

Does this make any difference, or just plain technical sales talk.
Posted by: Larry

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 05/30/04 05:01 PM

Well, technically speaking, yes, a good tight fit against the rim is preferred. Whether or not it makes any *real* difference depends on the end result. Did the piano with the rope around the edge of the soundboard sound good to you? Did it sustain and decay in a manner that was pleasing to your ears? If so, it's doing its job, and the point becomes moot.

Salesmen love to pull one little thing out of context and make a big deal out of it, when it works to their advantage. It's called "sales". There are other issues involved in the production of tone that dwarf the importance of a tight fit against the inside edge of the outer rim. The odds are, the salesman who pulled your attention to this one little factoid doesn't even have a clue what any of those other issues are, or how any of it relates.

You are looking at a broad range of quality levels of pianos. Not all of them compete with each other the same way. The salesmen for each brand is going to try to make you think his is superior to the others. Spend time reading past threads on the forum about the brands you're considering to get a feel for where each one fits on the food chain. Then buy the one you like.
Posted by: iyi bir piano

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 05/30/04 05:40 PM

 Quote:
The salesmen for each brand is going to try to make you think his is superior to the others.[/b]
Wow! Larry very impressive statement. WHO can possibly think about that but you Larry.

Larry, your opinions make it seem as if the salesperson is trying to accomplish a malicious plan.
Theresa the observation is really valid. The rope on the edge of the soundboard is to cover sloppy workmanship; therefore you can expect the same in other parts of the piano.

IMO the quality control of Petrof pianos is not stable neither reliable.

Within the same price range you have Schulze Pollmann and Charles Walter.

Good luck!
Posted by: Dan M

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 05/30/04 06:45 PM

The Walter has the rope too, and they are known for fine workmanship (which you seem to indicate below).

I don't think you can draw any conclusions from it being there or not. Personally I like to see it, as visually it's a nice touch on the transition between the soundboard and rim. Add the fact that I've seen no rope versions with screw heads showing, is another reason to cover them up.

Dan

 Quote:
Originally posted by iyi bir piano:
 Quote:
The salesmen for each brand is going to try to make you think his is superior to the others.[/b]
Wow! Larry very impressive statement. WHO can possibly think about that but you Larry.

Larry, your opinions make it seem as if the salesperson is trying to accomplish a malicious plan.
Theresa the observation is really valid. The rope on the edge of the soundboard is to cover sloppy workmanship; therefore you can expect the same in other parts of the piano.

IMO the quality control of Petrof pianos is not stable neither reliable.

Within the same price range you have Schulze Pollmann and Charles Walter.

Good luck! [/b]
Posted by: Alex Hernandez

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 05/30/04 07:31 PM

Last year we had a very nice cardiologist purchase a Haessler from us. He had looked at over 30 instruments and decided that this "American Bluethner" was the piano for him.
His only hesitation was the suspicion that the inner rim cord was there to hide shoddy workmanship. This idea was planted by a competitor trying to sell him a very famous American brand.

We took the the cord out only to reveal, gasp!.....A perfectly joined soundboard to rim seam. Of course we had to dress up the excess adhesive on the soundboard but that only took a little while. Bluethner thinks of the rim cording as providing a classic asthetic not unlike a tuxedo's cumberbun.

Estonia does indeed have a precise rim/soundbaord seem. This is why they stopped using the quarter dowl that used to be in the piano.

Rim cords on lesser pianos may be hiding poor workmanship, but when you get into teir one or two instruments it is really just an asthetic preference.
Posted by: scutch

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 05/30/04 08:03 PM

I like the look of the board rim perfect fit. Great eye candy. Lots of work to get it that way. However - with the first humidity swing the cellular structures at the edge of the board that contacts the rim are crushed - which permanently eliminates any support that may have been there originally. I would prefer that the manufacturer spend the labor making action geometry correct. A space between board and inner rim is not necessarily a sign of poor quality workmanship.
Posted by: iyi bir piano

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 05/30/04 08:35 PM

I’m exclusively referring to Petrof, in my opinion fine workmanship is not their forte.
Posted by: London

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 05/30/04 09:15 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by iyi bir piano:
I’m exclusively referring to Petrof, in my opinion fine workmanship is not their forte. [/b]
So what piano brands do you like?
Posted by: Larry

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 05/30/04 11:17 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by London:
 Quote:
Originally posted by iyi bir piano:
I’m exclusively referring to Petrof, in my opinion fine workmanship is not their forte. [/b]
So what piano brands do you like? [/b]
The ones he sells, or aren't his immediate competition.

Iyiyiyi, please explain to me in technical terms why it is absolutely necessary for the soundboard to fit jamb tight up against the inside of the outer rim. Be as technical in your explanation as you want. Also, tell me how an uneven fit along the inner edge of the outer rim negatively affects the tone of the piano.

Given your apparent deep knowledge of this area of piano construction, I am waiting anxiously for your reply.
Posted by: ChickGrand

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 05/30/04 11:32 PM

I don't care for either the appearance of a great soundboard-to-rim fit, nor for superfical decorative braid. Instead, I'd rather have what I have--a "full-perimeter" plate that sandwhiches the edge of the soundboard between a very heavy plate and the heavy inner rim, such that that soundboard-to-rim fit isn't even visible. It isn't going anywhere that way. After more than a hundred years with its orginal soundboard, my old beast's projection and sustain are better than any I've seen. I attribute that durability as much to that full-perimeter plate bolted to the heavy inner rim as anything.
Posted by: Dan M

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 05/30/04 11:43 PM

What is the advantage of a full perimeter plate? I don't think it plays much role in keeping the crown, for the following reasons

1) I think the plate rarely if ever actually touches the rim directly. I understand that typically it is held off the inner rim by various methods, often by little dowels. The vageries of plate manufacture mean that they need fitting to the particular piano, I believe. In the Walter and Baldwin they thread the plate holes, and it's held in place by threaded hex plate bolts. This precisely positions the plate where they want it. Which is one reason why you should never tighten these bolts on these pianos, in a misguided attempt to change downbearing \:\)

2) As Del has pointed out, the compliance for crown is so small that any plate or rim movement has no effect.

One disadvantage for a full plate is that it hides more of the soundboard, all other things being equal. The plate contributes nothing to the sound, but just takes away, I believe.

Not picking on you, but you sparked my curiousity \:\)



 Quote:
Originally posted by chickgrand:
I don't care for either the appearance of a great soundboard-to-rim fit, nor for superfical decorative braid. Instead, I'd rather have what I have--a "full-perimeter" plate that sandwhiches the edge of the soundboard between a very heavy plate and the heavy inner rim, such that that soundboard-to-rim fit isn't even visible. It isn't going anywhere that way. After more than a hundred years with its orginal soundboard, my old beast's projection and sustain are better than any I've seen. I attribute that durability as much to that full-perimeter plate bolted to the heavy inner rim as anything. [/b]
Posted by: ChickGrand

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 05/31/04 12:06 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Dan M:
What is the advantage of a full perimeter plate? I don't think it plays much role in keeping the crown, for the following reasons

1) I think the plate rarely if ever actually touches the rim directly. I understand that typically it is held off the inner rim by various methods, often by little dowels ...[/b]
It may be held up to a particular height by little dowels, but it's most definitely bolted into the inner rim, with very large bolts about every 8 inches, all the way around the perimeter. And yes, the amount of movement that is required to completely eliminate board crown is miniscule (as little as 1/64th to 1/32nd of an inch). No, a full-perimeter plate can't guarantee loss of crown because that usually occurs because the wood of the soundboard itself crushs under the load of the downbearing strings. But the full perimeter plate (heavy enough to prevent significant flex), bolted directly into a heavy outer rim well-braced more nearly guarantees that the tiny amount of crowning force won't be lost simply to case flex and that perhaps the whole assembly might stand a better chance of keeping the downbearing force perpendicular to the string plane, not skewing along it as a lesser wood frame and plate assembly may permit.
Posted by: Del

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 06/01/04 04:45 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Theresa:

While at the Estonia dealer was informed that these pianos don't have wood covering the seam between the soundboard and the rim due to its perfect fit. While examining a Petroff I noticed a corded fabric between the rim & the sound board.

Does this make any difference, or just plain technical sales talk.
[/b]
This is an aesthetic issue only. It makes no difference at all in performance or piano longevity.

It looks nice to have no gap between the edge of the soundboard and the inner rim but any gap that is present is of no practical consequence.

This is primarily an issue with pianos that have so-called ‘one-piece’ rims — that is, inner and outer rim assemblies that are pressed as a unit in one single step. As opposed to inner and outer rims that are pressed separately and then assembled at some later stage of construction.

With the so-called ‘one-piece’ rim assembly it is somewhat more difficult to fit the soundboard so tightly that there is no discernable gap between the edge of the soundboard and the rim. Often this gap is filled with shims or, nowadays, with epoxy. It is also covered with either braid or wood molding. Pianos using this style of construction include Steinway and Baldwin.

With the two-piece rim construction the soundboard assembly can be fitted to the inner rim and routed off flush before the outer rim is attached. With this style of construction it is a relatively easy matter to end up with a nice flush fit.

It makes no practical difference, however. There is no inherent advantage to either.

Del
Posted by: MusicMagellan

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 06/01/04 08:52 PM

I got a similar sales pitch on the Estonia. I was told that this reflected a one-piece rim construction. In the process I was referred to Larry Fine's Figure 3-7 (Third or Fourth Edition) which touts the (apparent) superiority of a one piece inner-outer rim construction. Del's post would appear to indicate that the flush fit indicates a two piece construction.

Believe me I subscribe to the notion of caveat emptor but am I correctly interpreting what Del said? If so, wow did I get a hose job! (No I did not buy my Estonia based on that sales pitch. Personally, to me the performance is all I really care about, even if the piano is made out of twelve glued-together pieces of cardboard. Well, OK, that's a slight exageration. \:D )
Posted by: London

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 06/01/04 09:17 PM

I was told that my Estonia inner and outer rim was one piece construction. I then contacted Estonia directly and told that it is indeed two piece construction.
Posted by: Del

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 06/02/04 02:10 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by London:
I was told that my Estonia inner and outer rim was one piece construction. I then contacted Estonia directly and told that it is indeed two piece construction. [/b]
When all is said and done -- what is it that holds the outer lamina of the inner rim to the inner lamina of the outer rim? In either case it's a glue joint. Makes no difference to the final assembly how it is made. Except that it is much easier to make the joint properly with two-piece construction hence it is probably done correctly more often....

Del
Posted by: MusicMagellan

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 06/02/04 07:21 AM

Just to clarify something here. I did NOT get that deceptive sales pitch at the place I purchased my piano.
Posted by: Larry

Re: Soundboard & Rims - 06/02/04 10:01 AM

So we have established two facts in this thread - it doesn't matter whether or not the soundboard is perfectly fit against the outer rim, and iyi bir piano once again shows he knows nothing about pianos.

The difference between a used car salesman and a piano salesman.... the used car salesman *knows* he's lying to you......