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#2109600 - 06/28/13 10:16 AM Downbearing and Soundboard Crown  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 230
Jim Dunleavy Offline
Full Member
Jim Dunleavy  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 230
The Original Washington (UK)
I've been having a go at measuring the downbearing in my upright prior to removing the strings. It's a 1937 Kemble and (to the best of my knowledge) has never had soundboard work done on it since it was made.

Before I go into details of what I've measured, my first question is whether it's typical for an instrument of this age and my second question is should I attempt to adjust it by putting on thinner understring felt.

I don't have a proper gauge, so I used the method described in Reblitz, using dental tape stretched across between the top and bottom fixing points. However I found it extremely difficult to measure with any accuracy.

All I could conclude is that at the bass bridge, there is somewhere between zero and slightly negative downbearing, increasing to a slight positive downbearing in the treble.

The soundboard itself appears in good condition, with no cracks that I can see, and the ribs are solidly attached for their full length - the ribs are vertical on this piano.

I can measure a slight crown by putting a 2 foot steel rule between the ribs and measuring the gap at the centre with feeler gauges. A similar crown (obviously in the opposite direction) is measureable on the front surface of the soundboard (but this is only accessible at the far left hand side).

The gap measured between each pair of ribs at the rear varies between about .040" and .060".


Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

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#2109646 - 06/28/13 11:27 AM Re: Downbearing and Soundboard Crown [Re: Jim Dunleavy]  
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,129
Gene Nelson Online content
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Gene Nelson  Online Content
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Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,129
Old Hangtown California
If you can measure some bearing as well as some crown you are in really good shape.
I would not do anything to increase bearing, It will likely do nothing more than take away crown.


RPT
PTG Member
#2109652 - 06/28/13 11:39 AM Re: Downbearing and Soundboard Crown [Re: Jim Dunleavy]  
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 25,732
BDB Offline
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BDB  Offline
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Oakland
Keep in mind that after you remove the strings from a piano, it may take a while for the soundboard to resume its original shape. It is best to judge a soundboard by how it sounds.


Semipro Tech
#2109654 - 06/28/13 11:43 AM Re: Downbearing and Soundboard Crown [Re: Jim Dunleavy]  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 230
Jim Dunleavy Offline
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Jim Dunleavy  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 230
The Original Washington (UK)
Thanks guys. It sounded OK, so I'll take your advice and leave it alone.

It's best to leave the old understring felt on then?


Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

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#2109681 - 06/28/13 12:05 PM Re: Downbearing and Soundboard Crown [Re: Jim Dunleavy]  
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 25,732
BDB Offline
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BDB  Offline
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Oakland
I would replace it.


Semipro Tech
#2109703 - 06/28/13 12:45 PM Re: Downbearing and Soundboard Crown [Re: BDB]  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 230
Jim Dunleavy Offline
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Jim Dunleavy  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 230
The Original Washington (UK)
Originally Posted by BDB
I would replace it.


I'm certainly tempted to, as it's old and filthy. Plus I've already bought new stringing felt.

As long as I use the same thickness it should be OK presumably.


Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

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