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#329728 - 12/04/04 09:20 PM Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
jchmag Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 73
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Won't name the dealer as not to raise a mess but while hanging out at a Steinway store today, I heard a salesman "selling" a rebuild job to the owner of an older Steinway.

He made a huge production about replacing the pianos soundboard as it is the heart and soul of the piano.

What I find amazing about his "pitch" is the fact that Steinway's website still has an article about why cracked soundboards didn't matter. A new piano with a cracked board is okay but a customer has to spend thousands to replace a cracked board on an older piano?

As far as I know, there is not another piano builder which claims that cracked soundboards are okay.

The more I listen and read the more my personal opinion of Steinway as a company erodes. How can they have it both ways?

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#329729 - 12/04/04 09:45 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20766
Loc: Oakland
What you heard was a salesperson, not Steinway. Don't confuse the two. The salesperson makes a lot of money selling replacement soundboards.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#329730 - 12/04/04 09:57 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
My brother, an RPT of nearly 30 years, does say that a crack in the soundboard is not necessarily a big problem, but if so are usually easily repaired with shims.
_________________________
Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

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#329731 - 12/04/04 10:03 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6150
How about this:

For a piano with cracked soundboard --

1. If it still sounds good (no buzz year round, regardless of whether it's shimmed/repaired), then it is OK.

2. Else, it is not.

Simple enough. Does that make sense?
_________________________
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

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#329732 - 12/04/04 10:12 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
Sounds like the bottom line to me.
_________________________
Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

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#329733 - 12/05/04 03:19 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
Jeanne W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 1240
Loc: New England
 Quote:
Originally posted by jchmag:
Won't name the dealer as not to raise a mess but while hanging out at a Steinway store today, I heard a salesman "selling" a rebuild job to the owner of an older Steinway.

He made a huge production about replacing the pianos soundboard as it is the heart and soul of the piano.

What I find amazing about his "pitch" is the fact that Steinway's website still has an article about why cracked soundboards didn't matter. A new piano with a cracked board is okay but a customer has to spend thousands to replace a cracked board on an older piano?

As far as I know, there is not another piano builder which claims that cracked soundboards are okay.

The more I listen and read the more my personal opinion of Steinway as a company erodes. How can they have it both ways? [/b]
Jchmag:

I'll throw this out for discussion if anyone would like to bite...

Maybe it *is* possible to have it "both ways", considering...

If a newer piano has a cracked soundboard, is it more likely it will still sound good (as long as there's no separation of the ribs/buzzing, etc.)??

Maybe so, considering...

If a *much older* piano has a cracked soundboard, even if there's no buzzing, isn't it more likely the soundboard should be replaced because:

1) The crown is probably gone. (If that really makes a difference and I understand there are differing opinions on this) and,

2) Perhaps more importantly, might the wood fibers in the soundboard be "crushed" having withstood years and years of high/low humidity, with the result the soundboard is "dead".

Experts?

Jeanne W
_________________________
Music is about the heart and so should a piano be about the heart. - Pique

1920 Steinway A3
My Piano Delivery Thread:
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/8776.html#000000

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#329734 - 12/05/04 03:30 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
RealPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 2281
Loc: NYC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeanne W:
2) Perhaps more importantly, might the wood fibers in the soundboard be "crushed" having withstood years and years of high/low humidity, with the result the soundboard is "dead".

Experts?
[/b]
Jeanne, I'm no expert, but I tend to think you're right about this. Something about impedance and the ability of the board to carry sound waves as it was meant to.
_________________________
Joe

www.josephkubera.com

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#329735 - 12/05/04 03:34 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
Keith D Kerman Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3256
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Axtremus:
How about this:

For a piano with cracked soundboard --

1. If it still sounds good (no buzz year round, regardless of whether it's shimmed/repaired), then it is OK.

2. Else, it is not.

Simple enough. Does that make sense? [/b]
This goes for an uncracked soundboard as well, regardless of age. Even simpler.

A new soundboard might sound better anyway ( it might sound worse depending on who installed it!)
and will give the piano a longer life.

Beware of technicians that don't have the ability to install new soundboards who are trying to sell you on the merits of keeping an old worn out board because they make a lot of money this way.
\:\(
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#329736 - 12/05/04 05:20 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1700
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
Jeanne,
You are right.
I wonder how did you get to be such a piano expert yourself. ;\)


Keith wrote:
 Quote:
Beware of technicians that don't have the ability to install new soundboards who are trying to sell you on the merits of keeping an old worn out board because they make a lot of money this way.[/b]

Right on Keith.

Over here they are touting a dead soundboard as “authentic”. \:D
_________________________
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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#329737 - 12/05/04 05:59 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
POTENTIAL DUMB QUESTION ALERT:

What exactly is a "dead" soundboard? How can you tell if your soundboard has met its demise?

Seriously.

Maybe it's obvious from my question that all the soundboards I've encountered are amongst the living. But I've always wondered...

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#329738 - 12/05/04 06:34 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
HammerHead Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 354
Loc: Metro Atlanta
Nina,

It is not a dumb question, at all. A rebuilt piano with an original old soundboard vs. the same one with a brand spanking new one might sound no worse, or just different, or maybe it would be better. Not a clear-cut question, and one that, probably more than anything, requires experienced evaluation by a "true" rebuilder (or should I say, one of those few "true" rebuilders).

The problem is, absent obvious serious damage or deterioration, how do you tell for sure? A few cracks means nothing. Strings in an old piano are very likely to be "dead", and you know those are going to be replaced on a rebuild. So do you restring, stick in the completely rebuilt action, voice it up nicely--then, if the piano still sounds rather "dead", tear the whole thing apart and put in a new soundboard!? Well, of course not--much more economical from all points of view (actual costs, and marketing a rebuild) to just use a new soundboard. But it is not ALWAYS necessary, and not always an improvement--sometime, maybe the opposite, which could require some serious (way) before-and-after knowledge to truly evaluate.

Bottom line, you'd never just replace a soundboard alone, so if an older piano really does need a new one, you can be sure it really needs a true rebuild. (And I just don't believe "crown" by itself has as much meaning as people usually impart to it. Well-shimmed older boards can sound great--good shimming affects nothing AUDIBLE except the elimination of buzzes, et. al.)
_________________________
HH
Completely and forever out of the music business (but still full of opinions)

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#329739 - 12/05/04 09:46 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
ny1911 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/04/03
Posts: 2238
Loc: New York
Why are cracked soundboards such an emotional thing?
_________________________
So live your life and live it well.
There's not much left of me to tell.
I just got back up each time I fell.

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#329740 - 12/05/04 11:04 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13974
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Because perhaps "cracked" = *broken* - hearts....

..... are![/b]

norbert
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#329741 - 12/05/04 11:08 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20766
Loc: Oakland
As far as I can figure out, there isn't any reason to replace a soundboard, ever. First of all, I've only seen one piano that had a soundboard that sounded dead. That was a spinet that someone put in a bathroom, and the ribs had separated. It wasn't worth restoring. There isn't any reason why a soundboard under ordinary circumstances should be under any more stress as it gets older than it is when it is new. If the soundboard is going to fail, it's going to fail whan it is new.

Second, if you do all the work that some people claim you need to do with an old piano, replacing the soundboard, pinblock, action, keys, etc., saving only the frame and case, you have do practically all the work you need to do to make a new piano except making the frame and case, and you have the additional work of disassembly and removing the old finish. It has to be pretty much custom, as opposed to assembly-line work. You just aren't going to save that much money to get the same quality of work. You might as well just get a new piano.

On the other hand, if you just replace the things that are known to wear out, strings, springs, hammers, felts, and finish, you probably won't pay much more than the cheapest new piano. If you start with a decent old piano, it can come out a lot better than the cheapest new piano.

So I don't see any economic sense in doing a full rebuilding, including a soundboard.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#329742 - 12/06/04 03:59 AM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
ny1911 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/04/03
Posts: 2238
Loc: New York
THere often seems to be more emphasis on the condition of the soundboard from a physical perspective than there is on the actual sound of the instrument though.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:
Because perhaps "cracked" = *broken* - hearts....

..... are![/b]

norbert [/b]
_________________________
So live your life and live it well.
There's not much left of me to tell.
I just got back up each time I fell.

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#329743 - 12/06/04 04:09 AM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
Jeanne W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 1240
Loc: New England
I wonder where Irving is? I woulda thought he'd comment on this. ???

Jeanne W
_________________________
Music is about the heart and so should a piano be about the heart. - Pique

1920 Steinway A3
My Piano Delivery Thread:
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/8776.html#000000

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#329744 - 12/06/04 05:46 AM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
ny1911 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/04/03
Posts: 2238
Loc: New York
Hopefully busy selling pianos for the holidays!
_________________________
So live your life and live it well.
There's not much left of me to tell.
I just got back up each time I fell.

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#329745 - 12/06/04 06:14 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1700
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
It is amazing how different BDB’s and my experiences are.
I almost NEVER find a soundboard older then 70 years that doesn’t need to be replaced.


The soundboard is made of spruce.
As the humidity changes, the soundboard expands and contracts. These movements damage the cells of the wood.

Take 2 fibers of the same kind of spruce, one that is 70 years old and one that is newer, and stretch the fibers, one would break before the other.
The older one would break first. The newer fiber will have more resilience.

An old soundboard will vibrate differently than a new one. It will produce less sound, all other things being equal. The loss of sustain will be noticeable first in the mid to upper treble, around the 5th octave.

Many times, old pianos that were ”rebuilt” with the original soundboard will lack so much sustain that the “rebuilder” will over harden the hammers in order to get some volume. This only makes the obvious “lack of sustain” become even more apparent.
Some people may think it's normal, but to many it sounds like someone pulled some strings over a tin can.

A piano is good only as what you compare it to. Take a good fully restored piano (with a new board) and place it near a similar one that was “rebuilt” with the original board and the difference is clear.

In some parts of the country, soundboards will last longer then in others. A constant humidity level may add many years to the life of the soundboard. But if a piano spent most of its life in one climate zone will be moved to another it will deteriorate very fast.
_________________________
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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#329746 - 12/06/04 06:46 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13974
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
In my experience there's also the psychological element of "feel" involved.

If you already are willing to spend the $$ to rebuild the whole piano, it - at least for some - doesn't *feel* right to leave the soundboard *old* and potentially decrepit in the original corpus.

Which leaves to debate, if the *frame* - holding the soundboard in its place, at least in some cases - could/should not be perhaps rebuild as well.......

norbert :rolleyes:
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#329747 - 12/06/04 08:32 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
classicalgirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 171
Loc: Illinois
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
I've only seen one piano that had a soundboard that sounded dead. That was a spinet that someone put in a bathroom, and the ribs had separated. It wasn't worth restoring. [/b]
Must have been one serious pianist - committed to utilizing all potential practice time. \:D

The picture your words bring to mind is too funny. My children will have a good laugh when I tell them.
_________________________
Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. Plato

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#329748 - 12/06/04 10:21 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20766
Loc: Oakland
 Quote:
n old soundboard will vibrate differently than a new one. It will produce less sound, all other things being equal. The loss of sustain will be noticeable first in the mid to upper treble, around the 5th octave.
So when exactly does this happen? I suppose it must be before the piano leaves the factory, since most manufacturers stop putting dampers in the piano around the 5th octave. If they felt the sustain were so great up there, they would feel they need to put dampers there.

But this is beside the point. Let's say you buy an old, unrestored Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, or other well-known piano for X dollars, put a new soundboard, pinblock, action, etc. in it. You refinish it and sell it for Y dollars, because all your work made it into a wonderful piano. Why can't you make your own case and frame, and buy your own plate for X dollars, then do all the other work that you would do for a restoration, and sell a wonderful new piano for Y dollars?
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#329749 - 12/06/04 11:03 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
Ori,

I have had variants of this soundboard discussion with BDB in the past.

I think a good explanation for the disparity in what is recommended re soundboard replacement may largely be related to geography/climate.

I used to live in Florida and a whole lot of the old grands I saw had been brought down from NY, NJ, and environs. I too felt that there was a tonal problem with these old boards that couldn't be solved except by replacement. It was part of a general syndrome of wood and joinery problems throughout the piano obviously caused by the indoor climates they lived in in NY, etc.

Now that I live in CA I see a lot of old pianos with wood that is in *much* better condition. And where BDB lives it appears to be even better than where I am.

I just had a 1921 California grand restrung and am very happy with the tone, sustain, singing quality, etc of the original board. It really does sound like a new piano.

So I think you are just in a really bad part of the country in terms of pianos getting beat up by climate whereas BDB is in a very preservative area. A friend of mine who was a tech in Fla but now lives in BDBs region feels the same way.

Regards,

Rick Clark
_________________________
Rick Clark

Piano tuner-technician

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#329750 - 12/06/04 11:51 PM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20766
Loc: Oakland
Maybe, but I was thinking about this as I was sitting in the back room listening to others in the house playing the Steinway, which spent the first 75 years of its life near Philadelphia. There's nothing wrong with the sound of it, despite the crack in the soundboard. The same is true of the M & H (R)T, which spent most of its life near NYC.

Now I can understand that moving a piano to Florida might be like putting it in a bathroom, but again, that's traumatic damage.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#329751 - 12/07/04 04:31 AM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
ny1911 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/04/03
Posts: 2238
Loc: New York
What about violins and other stringed instruments, which some believe improve with age in spite of arguably less effort to control humidity? There is also the truth that the wood available today is different than the wood that was available 50, 75 ot 100 years ago.
_________________________
So live your life and live it well.
There's not much left of me to tell.
I just got back up each time I fell.

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#329752 - 12/07/04 04:57 AM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
Vintagefingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 331
Loc: SE
The rebuilder doing mine "insisted" on replacing the soundboard which he routinely recommends on older pianos. His reasons are much as Ori stated, resiliency of the wood, greater sustain with a new board. Yet this does beg the question brought up by ny1911, why are the old Cremona violins of the masters so sought after and considered better instruments by virtually all violinists? Is it the finish as some say, the wood? It seems this is one area that there is no concensus but who is right here? ;\)

Will

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#329753 - 12/07/04 05:23 AM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
irving Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 705
Loc: Irvington, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeanne W:
I wonder where Irving is? I woulda thought he'd comment on this. ???

Jeanne W [/b]
Hi Jeanne,

Thanks for asking about me. I'm up for just a bit of air this morning before plunging back into the business. This as always a very busy time of the year for us. Also, since Ori has begun writing here, much of what I might have said is being covered pretty well so I've been able to back off and do other things (like spend time with my grandchildren and sell pianos).

As to my thoughts about old soundboards, BDB and I have been around the block with this a few times. It's all in the archives.

In a nutshell, BDB and I live in very different climatic parts of the country; his is piano friendly, mine is not. BDB and I may have different standards; we have no practical way of knowing. I have saved many hundreds of soundboards and replaced thousands; I would guess that BDB has replaced very few soundboards. My experience is that the soundboards that I elect to save (the best candidates for being saved) often sound as good as new soundboards, but just a bit too often they don't. I also sometimes hear the consequences of saving a board that shouldn't be saved since some of my rebuild customers insist on saving a board that is marginal. \:\(

The bottom line is that all of my new soundboards sound good \:\) , many of my original boards sound good (because of careful pre-screening and my knowledge regarding the proper way to save an original board), and some of my original boards are disappointing in spite of all heroic efforts to save them.
_________________________
Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com

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#329754 - 12/07/04 07:12 AM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1700
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
BDB wrote:
 Quote:
there isn't any reason to replace a soundboard, ever.

And wrote:
if you do all the work that some people claim you need to do with an old piano,

and wrote:
there isn't any reason to replace a soundboard, ever.

And wrote:
So I don't see any economic sense in doing a full rebuilding, including a soundboard

And wrote:
On the other hand, if you just replace the things that are known to wear out, strings, springs, hammers, felts, and finish, you probably won't pay much more than the cheapest new piano. If you start with a decent old piano, it can come out a lot better than the cheapest new piano.

And wrote:
playing the Steinway, which spent the first 75 years of its life near Philadelphia. There's nothing wrong with the sound of it, despite the crack in the soundboard
As I stated before, the condition of the soundboard has a lot to do with humidity changes in the area the piano is.
I can only feel sorry for myself since I don’t live in wonderland (like BDB maybe?), this area where pianos that spent 75 years in Philadelphia are moved to, and then they perform as good as when they were new.

I guess it can also be a matter of expectations.

As BDB said, he probably strives to recondition a piano to a level that it would be, and I quote ” a lot better than the cheapest new piano”.

Other rebuilders try to rebuild a piano that would perform at least as good or better then it ever was.

It may appear to some that BDB hinted by saying “if you do all the work that some people claim you need to do with an old piano” that by saying "claim", not all the work is really needed and maybe it is money hungry rebuilders that "push" customers to throw their hard earned $$$ on something they don't really need.

I will relate to this issue because I feel very differently about it than BDB.
This is a sensitive subject, since many technicians and rebuilders are in one side of the fence or another.

Since I believe that a soundboard in a 60-70 years old piano should almost always be replaced(at least in my area), I had to give up on a lucrative market of “rebuilds”.

As BDB hinted, the retail cost of fully rebuilding an instrument, including a new soundboard, pinblock, pins and strings, dampers, key tops, key bushing etc…can be very expensive. It can easily top 20K-25K
Very few pianos justify this kind of expense in terms of return on the investment for the rebuilder.

Now BDB said (and again I quote) ” So I don't see any economic sense in doing a full rebuilding, including a soundboard”.
I am in a full agreement with you on this one.
Unless it is a Steinway or a Mason & Hamlin I feel it is not viable for ME to restore any other piano in order to resell it.

The difference between us is that I decided to avoid what BDB would call “rebuilt” and I would describe as “patching up” pianos altogether.
When I’m offered a Knabe, Baldwin or a Chickering for free (and it happens all the time) I refuse it.
Not because I can’t ”patch it” and sell it, but because I feel it is wrong for the customers, their kids (that more often then not will stop playing the piano) and for my reputation.
Other rebuilders feel they can restore these makes and recuperate their investment, but expect to pay over 20K-25K for a good rebuilding Job. There is nothing wrong with these pianos.

It is the 12K rebuilding jobs that I don’t like. These are the pianos that a year after they were bought I would refuse to take again for free.
These are the pianos with original soundboards, and usually too many “cut corners” in the rebuilding process.

Since Steinway and Mason & Hamlin have some $$ value even when in need of a full restoration (before the restoration), the cost of these instruments should be added to the rebuilding job.
Whenever I saw a dealer selling a vintage “rebuilt” Steinway for 20K he wasn’t giving any gifts.
He was usually robbing the customer.
Some customers find out soon enough what they have. Others are happy with their purchase even though their pianos perform to a level that is “better then cheapest pianos” but far less than their potential.
For what they paid they got a “name” on a fallboard and a piano that is outperformed by many new instruments that cost less.


BDB also wrote:
 Quote:
since most manufacturers stop putting dampers in the piano around the 5th octave. If they felt the sustain were so great up there, they would feel they need to put dampers there.
What???
I thought you rebuild pianos. Please take a look at one.
The dampers in Steinway, Mason, Estonia, Yamaha, Baldwin and any other modern piano I know of are going well into the 6th octave. The dampers will stop usually around E-6.
Maybe where you live not only the soundboards last forever, but the piano manufacturers (or “rebuilders?” )try to cut down cost by making the dampers an octave shorter.


Regarding violins:
I don’t know enough about violins. So I can’t comment on this issue.
_________________________
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.

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#329755 - 12/07/04 07:18 AM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6150
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:

But this is beside the point. Let's say you buy an old, unrestored Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, or other well-known piano for X dollars, put a new soundboard, pinblock, action, etc. in it. You refinish it and sell it for Y dollars, because all your work made it into a wonderful piano. Why can't you make your own case and frame, and buy your own plate for X dollars, then do all the other work that you would do for a restoration, and sell a wonderful new piano for Y dollars? [/b]
I'll take a stab at this:

You cannot do that because the name "Steinway" is not on the piano[/b]. Without Steinway the corporation doing the marketing work, rebuilt Steinway pianos will not command the price they do and the piano rebuilding business in this country may shrink by an order of magnitude.

Take a look at the Fandrich and Sons operation. They do some sort of "rebuild," but do their Fandrich and Sons pianos command the prices of rebuilt Steinways size for size?

A wonderful piano is not wonderful enough without a wonderfully marketed name.
_________________________
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

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#329756 - 12/07/04 08:57 AM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
Can't compare pianos to violins, folks.

Violins are simple boxes, the tops are carved, the tension little, and 'singing tone" is not an issue.

If a violin soundboard loses mechanical impedance with age it's probably a good thing as it becomes more efficient a transducer, and you don't have to worry about sustain because sustain is provided by the bow.

If a piano soundboard loses mechanical impedance with age, the dynamics envelope changes for the worse. And if you lose sustain, it's gone.

Regards,

Rick Clark
_________________________
Rick Clark

Piano tuner-technician

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#329757 - 12/07/04 09:14 AM Re: Fascinating Steinway Phenomena
ny1911 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/04/03
Posts: 2238
Loc: New York
Rick,

Does that mean a piano should sustain after the wire is damped, or the amount of time an undamped wire vibrates is affected by the soundboard and not only the wire itself and the tension that it is under? I guess I can see too much compliance in the board effectively damping the wires.

There is still the issue that the wood is quite different today than long ago.

I keep learning...not trying to refute anyone here.
_________________________
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There's not much left of me to tell.
I just got back up each time I fell.

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