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#2087084 - 05/22/13 11:40 PM estimate cost to install new soundboard  
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flash45 Offline
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Hi everyone, can anyone give me some idea of the cost for a new soundboard instalation for a grand piano 5' 8" ? I would like it to be good quality, not laminate or plyboard. I'm in Toronto canada

Thanks

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#2087093 - 05/23/13 12:06 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Steve Jackson is in Toronto and he posts here often. He is a Tech and I seem to remember he does soundboard replacement. The Bolduc's in Quebec are very skilled and experienced so you could look them up also.


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#2087098 - 05/23/13 12:11 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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Originally Posted by flash45
Hi everyone, can anyone give me some idea of the cost for a new soundboard instalation for a grand piano 5' 8" ? I would like it to be good quality, not laminate or plyboard. I'm in Toronto canada


Some rebuilders/manufacturers use laminated soundboards and they are very high quality, but the overwhelming majority use some kind of solid slow-growth spruce. Cost to install by a really good shop will be probably in the $18,000 range. This does not include action work or refinishing.

#2087113 - 05/23/13 12:53 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: beethoven986]  
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Ouch!! (18,000) the problem with the soundboard is that it is inverted and the piano has no downbaring. Maybe this is repairable(I'm hoping) what do you think?

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#2087117 - 05/23/13 01:06 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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Originally Posted by flash45
Ouch!! (18,000) the problem with the soundboard is that it is inverted and the piano has no downbaring. Maybe this is repairable(I'm hoping) what do you think?


What brand of piano is it?

#2087201 - 05/23/13 07:42 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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Flash,

I design and install boards and full bellies. I'll PM you, so as not to quote #'s on the forum.

Jim Ialeggio


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#2087230 - 05/23/13 08:44 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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Hi:

Give me a call.

Take care,

Steve

#2087233 - 05/23/13 08:50 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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The piano I have is a Forster-Liepzig from the early 1900's. I haven't found much info on it but it has a nice warm tone and I think it has potential. You would have to chisle the sides of the case at the front and a peice 2/3 of the way down to get the plate out as it goes into the sides. I can see that this had been done probably many years ago. TMost of the pins are tight and there is plenty of room to knock them down. I haven't checked the size of them yet but they are not the biggest so they could be replaced. I have done thid before on a few uprights and grands.

Jim, I look forward to your quote. I haven't received a pm before though and not sure how to reseive it. Will the site notify me?

Thanks in advance for your help.
Flash

#2087239 - 05/23/13 09:06 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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I have dealt with Wayne Chen of Toronto. He has a good reputation. You can use him for another estimate.

http://www.pianokeyboard.com/


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#2087291 - 05/23/13 10:42 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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Originally Posted by flash45
Ouch!! (18,000) the problem with the soundboard is that it is inverted and the piano has no downbaring. Maybe this is repairable(I'm hoping) what do you think?



Keep in mind the $18K -- or whatever-- is not just a soundboard. It's a new pinblock, transfer (or replacement) of bridges and new strings and tuning pins.


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#2087307 - 05/23/13 10:57 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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PM's show a flashing envelope near "my stuff" on the top of the page. When I get them, they also post to my email. I don't know if I set them up that way in preferences or if its a default.

Jim Ialeggio


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advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA
#2087326 - 05/23/13 11:20 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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The cost of soundboard replacement and related work will by far exceed the value of many if not most pianos, except for a few name brands. A 100 year old instrument usually needs a complete action overhaul by now as well. Otherwise it is like putting a new engine into a 40 year old car, without addressing the old tires, brakes, suspension, upholstry, body rust etc.

Unless your Förster/Leipzig is a family heirloom and has strong sentimental value for you, you would be better off putting that kind of money (20k +) into a different instrument.

#2087328 - 05/23/13 11:22 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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Or not replace the soundboard. It is rare that a soundboard actually needs replacement.


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#2087388 - 05/23/13 12:25 PM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: jim ialeggio]  
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Originally Posted by jim ialeggio
PM's show a flashing envelope near "my stuff" on the top of the page. When I get them, they also post to my email. I don't know if I set them up that way in preferences or if its a default.

Jim Ialeggio


Default I believe. I get them to the inbox also. maybe check the settings or ask Frank.


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#2087393 - 05/23/13 12:40 PM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: BDB]  
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Originally Posted by BDB
Or not replace the soundboard. It is rare that a soundboard actually needs replacement.


Rare?? Seriously? The piano in question is 100 years old and living in the East Coast of Canada. Totally different from out splendid West Coast instruments.

Most of the soundboards we replace here are on pianos that came from other climates or have been previously repaired, poorly. smirk That's not rare shocked


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#2087409 - 05/23/13 01:09 PM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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Nobody made pianos around here. They all came from different climates. It is rare that any of them need soundboard replacement.


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#2087506 - 05/23/13 03:35 PM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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BDB,

Or we could just answer the OP's question and let him decide what's in his best interests and what is appropriate to his own needs.

Jim Ialeggio


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#2087528 - 05/23/13 04:35 PM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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I think that installing a new board mean creating a new instrument.

A very enthusiastic project. Then the workshop must be able to explain what are his design choice, and why in case the original Foerster design is not retained (possibly with good reasons) .

Some boards can be baught ready to install and some may make their own. which processes are used ? (there are basically 4 different possibilities, some being better and more complicated than others)

If I did talk with a soundboard maker that could explain me his choices I certainly would be interested in the project.

For instance, Foerster did not glue the curved bottom end of their board. That way the panel is very free and it is heard in the very warm and open tone of the piano.

If he does not wish to explain me what his approach to the job is, I would at last ask to hear pianos fitted with his soundboards.

Once I tuned a grand Pleyel that had a Ciresa soundboard mounted.

The piano was strange, as if the scale did not match to the soundboard.
The tone was warm as a Kawai but the treble was liveless. The string's length was longer than usual, on that piano, in the treble, possibly this should have be corrected, or the soundboard made lighter in that section (for instance).
The panel was probably adapted for a standard string scale, but the piano had not it)

As the scale of your 1900 instrument have an old design, the panel may be conceived so it accept those eventual design flaws. Or the scale redesigned to correct them whenever possible (a very difficult process that may ask the technician some good experience)

As I rarely have seen techs exchanging views on the subject, I have no idea of the way they handle the job, but there is a fair amount of computation involved, plus a strict control on hygrometry...

I suppose that after having build a certain amount of panels some rules may appear, but soundboard construction yet in the literature is not much treated.

A training in the belly dept of a major factory may do a difference, then the belly men are not always ready to explain their tips, and the designers work elsewhere.

When I see what is expected from a soundboard, the task look precise and involving many aspects.

Particularly the soundboard is shaped in 2 axis and not symmetrical. Plus , inner constrain is necessary to have a nice treble an a responsive panel...

So for the cost, if the man is a genius, you may have an excellent piano assuming the action is also done) , but sound samples seem to be rare of the web sites, most often, and I do not get why.

There are certainly excellent technicians and designers, but I have seen a lot of people that improvise, because it is in the end not that difficult to make a soundboard, fit it in a dead piano, and have a functional piano.

Sorry for the way it is said.


Last edited by Olek; 05/23/13 05:17 PM.

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#2087567 - 05/23/13 05:39 PM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: kpembrook]  
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Originally Posted by kpembrook
Originally Posted by flash45
Ouch!! (18,000) the problem with the soundboard is that it is inverted and the piano has no downbaring. Maybe this is repairable(I'm hoping) what do you think?



Keep in mind the $18K -- or whatever-- is not just a soundboard. It's a new pinblock, transfer (or replacement) of bridges and new strings and tuning pins.


Quite right.

#2087592 - 05/23/13 06:56 PM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: Olek]  
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Originally Posted by Olek
For instance, Foerster did not glue the curved bottom end of their board. That way the panel is very free and it is heard in the very warm and open tone of the piano.

A bass "float". I use this is all instruments under 6ft., as well as lighter cores and reduced wraps. It helps small instruments achieve a bullet proof beautiful warm bass end.
Originally Posted by Olek
...but sound samples seem to be rare of the web sites, most often, and I do not get why.

Alas, my website is guilty of this. However I have committed myself to correct that by summers end, and post some sound samples of my designs. Too many irons in the fire, too much to do... this has taken a back seat for too long.

Thank you for the prod Isaac.

Jim Ialeggio







Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA
#2087598 - 05/23/13 07:08 PM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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flash45: A week ago you posted you were going to look at a Förster that was being offered for what you termed as "a steal": $1000.

If this is that piano, and you now own it, you probably broke the No. 1 rule of buying used pianos, which is to get it checked out by a piano technician before you buy. It looks like you are stuck with a lifeless piano. Maybe you can find a new home for it, but it is definitely not worth spending a bunch more money on it.

#2087609 - 05/23/13 07:44 PM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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It is worth paying someone to look at it now, and see what it actually needs, before making any assumptions.


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#2089208 - 05/26/13 01:43 PM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: jim ialeggio]  
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Originally Posted by jim ialeggio
Originally Posted by Olek
For instance, Foerster did not glue the curved bottom end of their board. That way the panel is very free and it is heard in the very warm and open tone of the piano.

A bass "float". I use this is all instruments under 6ft., as well as lighter cores and reduced wraps. It helps small instruments achieve a bullet proof beautiful warm bass end.
Originally Posted by Olek
...but sound samples seem to be rare of the web sites, most often, and I do not get why.

Alas, my website is guilty of this. However I have committed myself to correct that by summers end, and post some sound samples of my designs. Too many irons in the fire, too much to do... this has taken a back seat for too long.

Thank you for the prod Isaac.

Jim Ialeggio







Hi Jim , excellent I will be happy to listen to that.

So you make magnificent basses (at the expense of dynamics unless the original scale was bad) on smaller pianos, it sound like a good idea, I suppose that leaving the panel free make it behave as if it was larger (?)

If you choose thin wound strings, (low tension,low iH, is the floating panel lowering iH, BTW ?) you may have to reduce the back length to compensate, that should may be allow to lengthen bass strings somehow but then your strike ratio would raise , which goes the good direction as soon as you can attain 1/8 (or 1/9, if the strings are low tensionned really.

In small pianos the energy work (transmission) is easily obtained due to lesser stretch of the strings, Do you change the strike point if you have more stretched strings ? I suppose that to do so the strings lenght must change too so a different bridge must be done.

Then what do you do to have a good energetic soprano section ? not to say in details, but what is the idea ?

Small pianos are a challenge, as I understand it they can give excellent results if the scale is optimal in lenghts and parameters (I mean small, not extra small of course, no less than 160cm for instance).

The problem see to be that the tension spread on the soundboard must stay balanced, as the stretch, that implies good behavior in time and tune ability. How much stretch do you allow for those bass strings ?

From what I seem to understand , due to the numerous interactions, if one want to avoid hops and jumps, keep the flow of parameters in a smooth curve, nothing radical can be done on a scale that is accepteable from the start.

Also the optimal scale seem to be like piano tuning, afetr refining all parameters one another, you finish with one and only one optimal solution.
Then panel construction allows to compensate for some lack of stiffness in scale or be made more high pitched and more active to compensate for too large zone in treble, but those things I never have seen discussed, even without explaining in details how difficulties are turned, I mostly see assumptions and proud talk, which I can understand but does not add much to make an opinion.

Thanks for your answer.

Best regards.

Isaac

PS when I think of it I wonder if lower tension plus floating the basses is adviseable. On the contrary I suspect that the free panel allow to keep the good energy transmission on bridge without the defects due high iH (assuming it lower somewhat)

Last edited by Olek; 05/26/13 01:48 PM.

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#2089412 - 05/26/13 06:55 PM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: Olek]  
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Originally Posted by Olek
So you make magnificent basses (at the expense of dynamics unless the original scale was bad) on smaller pianos, it sound like a good idea, I suppose that leaving the panel free make it behave as if it was larger (?)

They don’t exactly behave as though they were larger but they do have more mobility. That is, the soundboard assembly is able to physically move in response to the low frequency energy in the vibrating strings.



Quote
If you choose thin wound strings, (low tension,low iH, is the floating panel lowering iH, BTW ?) you may have to reduce the back length to compensate, that should may be allow to lengthen bass strings somehow but then your strike ratio would raise , which goes the good direction as soon as you can attain 1/8 (or 1/9, if the strings are low tensionned really.

You never have to reduce the length of the backscale! Strike point ratio is not all that critical through the lower third to half of the piano compass. And not all that many manufacturers got it right anyway. Assuming there was any agreement on just what “right” is. Shortening the backscale reduces system mobility. Most of us doing this work go to some effort to increase the backscale length through at least the lower bass area.

ddf


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#2089421 - 05/26/13 07:12 PM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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In the literature I am slowly reading, strike ratio relates with the stretch of the string, first for energy preservation and transfer, second to help pianos to stay in tune when the soundboard panel change shape or with temperature changes.

This is related to the stiffness of the string plane. more stretched string may ask for a higher strike ratio to limit the loss of energy (string absorbing too much the impact)

small pianos have little stretch in basses hence 1/7 can be allowed in low bass.

(as lenght of the backscale is not supposed to raise more than a decent progression that allow for +- similar stretch than in sounding lenght )

possibly just a point of view, mostly focused on energy preservation, with attention not to obtain a too "bad" tone.

anyway that is interesting

Best regards

Last edited by Olek; 05/27/13 06:33 PM.

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#2089427 - 05/26/13 07:20 PM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: Del]  
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Originally Posted by Del
Originally Posted by Olek
So you make magnificent basses (at the expense of dynamics unless the original scale was bad) on smaller pianos, it sound like a good idea, I suppose that leaving the panel free make it behave as if it was larger (?)

They don’t exactly behave as though they were larger but they do have more mobility. That is, the soundboard assembly is able to physically move in response to the low frequency energy in the vibrating strings.




ddf


You mean the resonant frequency of the panel is not lowered ? it should, lower I suppose as more suppleness is provided .












Last edited by Olek; 05/27/13 06:33 PM.

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#2089730 - 05/27/13 06:46 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: Del]  
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Originally Posted by Del

You never have to reduce the length of the backscale! Strike point ratio is not all that critical through the lower third to half of the piano compass. And not all that many manufacturers got it right anyway. Assuming there was any agreement on just what “right” is. Shortening the backscale reduces system mobility. Most of us doing this work go to some effort to increase the backscale length through at least the lower bass area.

ddf


Del of course "many manufacturers are having flaws in their design" that seem evident but the panel mobility is only necessary up to some point.

What level of "mobility" would you want to obtain in the soprano region ?


Whenever backscales are lenghtened in the soprano region, the strike point is to be made closer of the capo to preserve some energy. Then I can understand the idea when one deal with a tired panel, but what is the drawback ?


I'd be curious anyway to listen to the result of such modification (while I believe that tonally what the technician is wishing there is to be able to use a strike point farther of the capo, and that will always lower the power and dynamics so even with extra light hammers ...

I am all ears anyway...


Last edited by Olek; 05/27/13 07:04 PM.

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#2090375 - 05/28/13 12:03 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: flash45]  
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All,

Forgive my simpleton question in this erudite thread. Folk acoustic guitars generally have practically nothing in terms of backscale (from bridge to nut). Why do pianos apparently benefit from them whereas backscale length isn't even sought after in guitars that resonate and project just fine?

Is it just that the increased backscale length in pianos is providing offset distance between the bridge and the soundboard edge- is that what is desired?

best regards -


phacke

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#2090380 - 05/28/13 12:27 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: phacke]  
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Originally Posted by phacke
All,

Forgive my simpleton question in this erudite thread. Folk acoustic guitars generally have practically nothing in terms of backscale (from bridge to nut). Why do pianos apparently benefit from them whereas backscale length isn't even sought after in guitars that resonate and project just fine?

Is it just that the increased backscale length in pianos is providing offset distance between the bridge and the soundboard edge- is that what is desired?

best regards -


The strings are attached on the soundboard, on guitars.

But for the pressure on the bridge, I would not be surprised if it was higher in ratio than on pianos.



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#2090401 - 05/28/13 01:22 AM Re: estimate cost to install new soundboard [Re: Olek]  
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Originally Posted by Olek
In the literature I am slowly reading, strike ratio relates with the stretch of the string, first for energy preservation and transfer, second to help pianos to stay in tune when the soundboard panel change shape or with temperature changes.

This is related to the stiffness of the string plane. more stretched string may ask for a higher strike ratio to limit the loss of energy (string absorbing too much the impact)


I’m not sure just how much the hammer strike point ratio (SPR) has to do with the “stretch of the string.” Varying the SPR does change the energy levels of the various partials some but, in the lower third to half of the scale the change has to be fairly significant to make any audible (or measurable) difference. Even with strings of a length commonly found at the lowest A in 150 to 160 cm grands—and starting with the hammer striking at 1/8th of the speaking length— the hammer can move 10 to 15 mm either way without the sound changing all that much.



Quote
small pianos have little stretch in basses hence 1/7 can be allowed in low bass.

I don’t think I have ever measured a piano, long or short, with the SPR at 1/7th of the speaking length. A lot has been written about this but piano builders don’t really do it.

(Especially in very short vertical pianos where a goal was to get the hammer strike line up a high as possible.)



Quote
(as lenght of the backscale is not supposed to raise more than a decent progression that allow for +- similar stretch than in sounding lenght )

I’m not sure what you mean by this. In traditional short grand piano design the backscale—the string segments between the trailing bridge pins and the back string frame bearing bar (or hitchpins)—is typically so short as to physically restrict the motion of the bass bridge at the lowest frequencies of the piano scale. Moving the bridge forward—making the speaking length shorter—makes the backscale longer and allows the bridge to move more freely. It really has nothing to do with “stretch.”

ddf



Delwin D Fandrich
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Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
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