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Soundboard Size
#2883504 08/25/19 11:23 PM
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Looking at M&H brochures (and I think Steinway), under the specifications, they list the many details, including the soundboard size. I was wondering, how does one calculate soundboard size? And would anyone have a list of soundboard sizes of different makes?

I'm interested in finding the sizes for my pianos (1921 Knabe 5'8) and several Steinerts as well.

Thank you.

Kas

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Re: Soundboard Size
apianostudent #2883563 08/26/19 08:15 AM
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Length x width = area of a rectangle.

You would need to segment the SB into various rectangle shapes and then add or subtract as needed for curved areas. Some approximations would be in order. Must also account for if there is a cutoff bar which would change the effective size of the SB.

Not an exact science. Plus SB size is not the whole story. It's what they do with it that counts.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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Re: Soundboard Size
apianostudent #2883609 08/26/19 10:42 AM
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Pwg,

Thank you. It's just interesting to see how different manufacturers "size" their piano differently. For eg, Hailun's 5'4" has 1550" sq while M&H has 1883".

Re: Soundboard Size
apianostudent #2883793 08/26/19 07:31 PM
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You're really not going to learn anything from comparing the sq inches of the panel between the different mfg's. Most modern piano brands (and rebuilders too) will make soundboards with too much mass and stiffness resulting in boards that behave like they are smaller than their physical size. This is done by making the panels very thick, the rib stock too tall, shortening the rib stock with cut-off bars, and adding more ribs than needed. Then engineering the whole thing like its a floor supported by joists. The result is a board that is physically heavy, thus requiring a heavy hammer to move it. In reality the soundboard is, and should be designed like its a wooden spring that is strong and lightweight. This justifies the traditional use of Sitka Spruce which has the highest strength to weight ratio of all the softwoods.
-chris


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Re: Soundboard Size
apianostudent #2883859 08/26/19 11:54 PM
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Why do some makers’ 48” uprights sound as good or even better than somebody else’s 52” full upright? Why can a 5’7 or so grand be as good or even better than a 6’? (Steingraeber good example..) Because “size” of soundboard is only ONE of the factors manufacturers consider. In some cases it can become a conundrum for a maker where a smaller size actually sounds as good or even ‘better’ than their respective larger model (Estonia?) We all know this and its something that defies normal logic. Or seems to....In reality there are many facets to creating sound, actual “size” of soundboard being only one. But keep on measuring. This way you will never learn or understand the finesse of making a truly outstanding piano. And you certainly won’t figure out a makers subtle secrets. Believe me, many makers are quite content you don’t.
Listening in still beats measuring.
And “shopping smart” - beats all.
Norbert.

Last edited by Norbert; 08/26/19 11:59 PM.

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Re: Soundboard Size
apianostudent #2883868 08/27/19 12:39 AM
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Thank you all. Fortunately, looking over this forum and talking with my tech over many years, I've come to know that soundboard size is only a part of the equation. I was just curious. Thank you again! smile

Re: Soundboard Size
apianostudent #2884054 08/27/19 12:24 PM
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Years ago if you wanted BIG sound out of stereo speakers you needed to get BIG speakers. However speaker designers have figured out how to get BIG sound out of much smaller spaces. It's all in the physics.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Soundboard Size
apianostudent #2884089 08/27/19 01:35 PM
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Measurements of soundboard area is like trying to look at sqare ft. of property when different standards are used...did they actually include the porch? the garage? the outside wall dimensions? Or simply the functioning portion? As others have stated, because of the ways that soundboards are actually designed, area isn't useful in comparing.


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