Re: 000905 MMDigest
Lets first be clear that with both these makes and with others, there
are some specimens that are outstanding and some that are abysmal,
especially where restoration has not been done or been done
If an old piano has only one crack in the soundboard then it is doing
extremely well. It makes no difference to the sound unless it buzzes.
The use of beech rather than maple in the treble bridge would make only
a very slight difference (if any) to the clarity (high-frequency
response) of the top octave. But it could have led to rather more
cracking at bridge pins, and this would cause some treble notes to have
false beats, impossible to tune out without repairing first. This may
be what Alison meant by sounding wrong even when tuned. Or maybe those
little hammers have got too worn or hardened. If restringing a
Bechstein the agraffes above note 55 must be degrooved or replaced.
The bridge bearing-lines can be lubricated with talc (or candle?) or
even (heaven forbid) graphite. No relation to sound.
Many pianos of 90+ years also have relatively light stringing, and if
full-weight modern hammers are fitted, or even if the shanks are
replaced with heavy modern ones, the treble tone will become abysmally
heavy-clunky. As stated, striking point is also critical.
The golden rule is to judge a piano by what it is or could be made to
become, not by the name of the firm that made some of the parts long ago!
Robin P Clarke
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