In the last Digest D. L. Bullock wrote
> I do not replace the soundboard unless someone has driven a truck
> through the old one. 90% of them can be repaired with MUCH better
> tone than you have from any new board. The old ones MUST be
> recrowned, however.
That is very hard to believe, D. L., especially if you pick and grade
high quality boards.
Parroting an old procedure is a safe way of doing things, if the piano
was constructed right to began with. But consider this: what made a
certain brand more powerful than the other? The soundboard, for the
most part! If you are doing all that work anyway, why not raise the
quality and the power if you can?
Quoting from an excellent book:
"The soundboard also gives away a poor quality piano if one
understands wood quality and how spruce is graded. Basically, a
lighter rich clear color with a translucent appearance and up to
twenty grains per inch make for a good soundboard.
"It is not uncommon to find uprights with fewer than 8 lines per inch
and lots of sap wood. This makes for a weak tone since the power of
a piano is directly related to the shear strength and inversely to
the weight of the board.
"Color gradient should be light or absent between its glued up
planks. Sound boards which are purposely colored dark by the
manufacturer are usually an attempt to conceal mullet-graded and
poorer quality sound boards. A darkly stained board by itself will
warn a smart builder to test the strength of tone of that particular
Source: The Orchestration and pneumatics handbook by Craig Brougher,
Automata publications -- a _must read_ for every rebuilder; no matter
how expert you are, you will learn something.
Here is what I glean from this: To parrot a original design, you will
end up with original performance. If it was acceptable, then Great!
If you feel it lacks something, find out why. It was a fact that some
players sounded much better than others.
Andy & Chris Taylor
Tempola Music Rolls