The piano soundboard
Piano sound boards are thin boards commonly made of spruce approximately 3/8″ thick glued together and extend from the bottom of the piano on a vertical, and the tail of the piano on a grand, to the pin-block and then across the full width of the piano. The soundboard has a crown which is very important to the tone and resonance of the piano. The back of the soundboard has ribs made of wood that are glued to the soundboard to strengthen and support the crown. Wood for soundboards, usually spruce, needs to be light and elastic. ; The best results are obtained when the grain of the soundboard runs parallel to the bridges. ; The bridges are usually made from maple and their primary function is to transfer the string vibration to the soundboard. Older piano soundboards often form cracks, especially where the thin boards are glued together. ; This is not detrimental or life ending for the piano. ; However, it can cause buzzing from certain frequencies. It can be repaired with re-gluing or even shimming. ; Soundboards that have several cracks, mostly due to age and/or large fluctuations in humidity over the life of the board, can lose crowns which would result in dull lifeless tone quality. ; If the crown is lost, soundboard replacement may be necessary to obtain good power and tone. It is best to have a used piano checked by a qualified piano technician to fully evaluate the piano soundboard and its condition.
The sounds available to you when you play are not limited to what you do with your hands. Piano pedals (the levers at your feet) enrich the sound in various ways, opening out possibilities further than the keyboard, from subtle nuances in dynamic to bold changes in the tone.
Types of pedals on a piano
Sustain pedal (right)
Consider an acoustic piano. When a finger is taken away from a key, a “damper” pad stops the note from ringing out. The sustain pedal removes the dampers from the strings, allowing notes to ring out for longer, even when the keys are not held down anymore. That’s why it is also called the “damper” pedal. It is rare to find any piece of music or song that doesn’t use the sustain pedal. Legendary pianist Artur Rubinstein even called it the “soul of the piano”. So If you are learning on a keyboard that doesn’t have built-in pedals, then this is one that you really need. ;
Soft pedal aka “una corda pedal” (left)
Most strings in an acoustic piano are grouped in threes, with each group tuned to the same note. When played normally, the hammer strikes all three at the same time giving a full, bright sound. On a grand piano, the una corda pedal shifts the entire mechanism to the right, so the hammer only hits two of the three strings.
The resulting note is softer. Also, since the strings are hit by a different part of the hammer, the sound is muted and less bright. On older pianos, the hammer would only hit one of the three strings, hence “Una corda” meaning “one string”. On upright pianos, pushing the pedal moves the hammer mechanism closer to the string, making it softer but without altering the tone.
Sostenuto pedal (middle)
This is similar to a sustain pedal. The key difference is that it only holds notes that are already being played at the moment when the pedal is pressed down. Any notes that begin after the pedal is down are not affected, allowing for selective sustain without blurring the sound.
Since the sostenuto pedal is a relatively recent addition to the piano, it is rarely required for pieces before the late 20th century. Even so, many pianists use it when playing the work of earlier, more progressive composers like Debussy and Ravel.
Five Uses for Piano Hinges
Piano hinges, also known as ‘continuous hinges’, represent one of the many types of hinges where 6, 7, and 8-foot lengths are not uncommon. One big difference between piano hinges and other hinge types is the fact that piano hinges will run the full length of the surface they serve – hence, the name ‘continuous’. Piano hinges are available in various thicknesses, pin diameters, widths, finishes, and customized designs. Regardless of the use, piano hinges are easy to install, are very affordable, and are extremely durable. This makes them perfect candidates for applications that are subjected to extensive use (or abuse) and intense wear and tear. When strength is a prerequisite, piano hinges will be found. Here are a handful of ways piano or continuous hinges are used every, single day.
Piano hinges get their name from their original purpose: to secure the lid of a piano to the piano-body, itself. Depending on the style of the piano, piano hinges allow the lid to fold backward in a rest, or open, a position as well as permitting the front of the lid to fold when playing while the lid is down. It soon became apparent that a slew of other applications could benefit from the use of the piano hinge, but the name ‘piano’ hinge, remained. The piano hinge offers the best of both worlds for pianos of all types: extreme strength and seamless beauty; since the hinges are positioned on the inside of the lids.
If a shed or barn door is to be installed, heavy-duty piano hinges are a sure bet for unparalleled strength, endurance, and longevity. A heavy-duty piano hinge will prove to be much stronger than shorter, multiple hinges of a different variety since the piano hinge will run the full length of the door. As a result, the sagging of the door will never become an issue. The most important considerations when hanging a shed, gate, barn, or carriage-house door is:
Geared continuous hinges are a type of piano hinge featuring gear teeth that mesh together under a cap that runs the length of the hinge. These hinges are designed for use with fire doors to meet building fire-code requirements within hospitals, commercial buildings, hotels, etc. They can be fabricated with up to a 3-hour fire rating. A 3-hour fire rating refers to the length of time these hinges can withstand complete combustion during a standard fire test, which takes a number of variables into consideration. Hinges that would be able to hold up under intense heat long enough to continue being functional for occupants of buildings to escape means lives could, literally, be saved.
Extremely heavy-duty piano hinges are the go-to product for venues that involve correctional applications. In these environments, high use and expected abuse is the reality; and it is here where doors are often utilized that weigh up to 900 pounds and are 4 inches thick. Some piano hinges are embedded with concealed electrical components so the doors can be opened, closed, and locked from the safety of a manned station. The safety and reliability of doors in correctional institutions are entirely dependent on the performance of the hinge system being used.
The beauty of piano hinges is the fact that they offer optimized strength, even when they are lightweight. Light-weight piano hinges are used when weight must be minimized without compromising stability. One such use would be in marine environments. Here, specialized piano hinges are marine durable, meaning they are salt, rust and waterproof and are anodized, or coated with a protective oxide layer. Marine piano hinges for yachts, pontoons, jet skis, and other water-related craft are intended to do one thing: work every time.
What Are Piano Casters And Should I Use Them?
What Are Piano Casters?
Piano casters are the wheels attached to the base or legs of grand and upright pianos to make moving your instrument easier. Casters come in a variety of styles and functionality.
What Piano Owners Need To Know About Casters
There may come a time when you need to move your piano. Generally, it’s not an easy task due to the piano’s weight. One of the things that make the moving process easier is casters.
This is good to know because you may want to replace the original wheels. The type of casters you buy depends a lot on your personal preference.
Piano wire, or "music wire", is a specialized type of wire made for use in piano strings but also in other applications as springs. It is made from tempered high-carbon steel, also known as spring steel, which replaced iron as the material starting in 1834.
Piano wire has a very high tensile strength to cope with the heavy demands placed upon piano strings; accordingly, piano wire is also used for a number of other purposes, including springs, surgical uses, and special effects. Piano wire is also used in the fabrication of springs, fishing lures, special effects in the movie industry, scaffold cross-bracing, orthodontic and pharyngeal surgery, and the cutting of cheese and soap. It is also commonly used in hobby applications such as model railroading, both control line and radio-controlled aircraft, and knitting. At least in urban legend, it is employed by assassins as a garrote.