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Estonia Pianos
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Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
So did Fazioli invent the 1980's era Samick soundboard? Sure looks like it.

Steve, is this what you had in mind?

From Pianostreet A note from the States, where the Yamaha B series has just arrived (2013). The "laminate" word seems to invoke a negative image, but the Yamaha sound board on these pianos is more of a veneer. We have been told that the center section is spruce or agathis, and of normal piano thickness. A thin veneer of spruce is high frequency glued to either side. These veneers vibrate freely and add no significant tonal change. The huge benefit is the ability to withstand climate changes.

The process is not new. Samick introduced this technology in the 90s and lost a lawsuit because they insisted on using the term "veneer" instead of "laminate". Technically, the woods are, indeed, laminated.


This describes laminated boards that are like a single slice of bread with butter on both sides. Fazioli claim two thinner slices of bread with the butter in the middle is better.

This, if patented is an invalid patent due to prior art and I doubt there's a US patent for this. The exact same concept has been around for decades and includes Samick, Hailun and others using the exact same strategy of 3 laminations with the bottom and top replicating the look of a solid board.

Two are bargain pianos and one claims to be the best piano in the world.

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Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
This, if patented is an invalid patent due to prior art and I doubt there's a US patent for this.

Steve, would you please say what you mean by "this". Do you mean the Samick soundboard design, the Fazioli design, or some other design?


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Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
This, if patented is an invalid patent due to prior art and I doubt there's a US patent for this.

Steve, would you please say what you mean by "this". Do you mean the Samick soundboard design, the Fazioli design, or some other design?

I've applied for patents before, and the Fazioli patent is the same as the non patented Samick and Hailun system, ie: it is nothing new and has been done before and is thus not eligible for patent protection. It may be patented in some jurisdictions but I would like to look at the patent to see. Laminated wood as a soundboard is not a patenable idea.

Last edited by Steve Jackson; 12/20/20 04:00 PM.
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Please follow the link to the patent in the second paragraph of the first post in this thread.


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To me the intriguing part of Fazioli's description is that they alter the grain angles in different areas internally in order to affect the board's responsiveness. I wonder why that's not the patented process. Has anyone else tried it?


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Originally Posted by MarkL
I'd love to see the technology they use to fabricate and edge glue 0.6mm planks that long and that wide. Not to mention gluing the assembly together. I watched their factory tour video and it shows the traditional soundboard construction.

They obviously don't do it that way. It's a regular thickness panel resawn

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I will let you know what Fazioli say about the soundboard when they reply, probably in the New Year now.

Meanwhile you might enjoy a clip or two on the Fazioli Twitter channel


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I have had a chance to try several pianos with 3-ply and the older 2-ply soundboards, in different sizes (F183, F212, F228)

To be honest, I don't know if it sounds that different from the traditional board. And that's a good thing, in my opinion. The 2-ply soundboards had the grain at a 15 degree angle, if I recall correctly, and the 3-ply, as described here, has a thin layer in the middle at a 90-degree angle.

The whole point of the plywood is to have dimensional stability and increased durability, and it by itself is hardly new. However, to go to the extent of basically building two soundboards, sandwiching another at an angle, seems ridiculously expensive and complicated, but doesn't seem surprising from the minds of Ing. Fazioli.

I have been told that these pianos are the most stable pianos in the world, from tuning's perspective. They can be moved around, shipped around, through temperature and humidity swings, and arrive at the destination still in tune. My Faziolis stay in tune for tens of hours if not hundreds of hours, only requiring minor adjustments several times a year, while the 2 Steinways are all over the place if the weather changes, and the Boesendorfer to a lesser extent.

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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
To me the intriguing part of Fazioli's description is that they alter the grain angles in different areas internally in order to affect the board's responsiveness. I wonder why that's not the patented process. Has anyone else tried it?

Chris Maene straight strung soundboard is patented on a somewaht similar basis - it is not laminated, but its treble zone has grain directed differently from other parts.


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Originally Posted by VladK
[quote=Retsacnal]To me the intriguing part of Fazioli's description is that they alter the grain angles in different areas internally in order to affect the board's responsiveness. I wonder why that's not the patented process. Has anyone else tried it?

Where does the patent refer to altering the grain angles in different areas?


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Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
To me the intriguing part of Fazioli's description is that they alter the grain angles in different areas internally in order to affect the board's responsiveness. I wonder why that's not the patented process. Has anyone else tried it?

Where does the patent refer to altering the grain angles in different areas?


Sorry, it's not in the patent. It's on their website, at the link above. I meant that I'm surprised that it's not in the patent, or part of it. VladK mentioned that someone else has patented something similar though.

Last edited by Retsacnal; 12/24/20 02:48 PM.

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Yes, probably prior art. The patent appears to cover any form of soundboard in layers as described.


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Originally Posted by Ken Iisaka
I have had a chance to try several pianos with 3-ply and the older 2-ply soundboards, in different sizes (F183, F212, F228) To be honest, I don't know if it sounds that different from the traditional board. And that's a good thing, in my opinion.

I have been told that these pianos are the most stable pianos in the world, from tuning's perspective. They can be moved around, shipped around, through temperature and humidity swings, and arrive at the destination still in tune.

My Faziolis stay in tune for tens of hours if not hundreds of hours, only requiring minor adjustments several times a year, while the 2 Steinways are all over the place if the weather changes, and the Boesendorfer to a lesser extent.

Thank you, Ken, that's about all anyone needs to know.

Well, almost. Fazioli hear things we don't, minor irregularities in the sound they want to eliminate.


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I know nothing about this topic, but I find it fascinating... and while browsing for something else, I stumbled into this https://www.speech.kth.se/music/5_lectures/conklin/newmaterials.html which I think you will find interesting as I did.

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Originally Posted by Del Vento
I know nothing about this topic, but I find it fascinating... and while browsing for something else, I stumbled into this https://www.speech.kth.se/music/5_lectures/conklin/newmaterials.html which I think you will find interesting as I did.

That's' great. Steel soundboards won't crack, only rust! wink


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The article posted by trooplewis today includes this:

In his factory near Venice, Fazioli and his team built five new grand pianos in the hope that Hewitt would choose one. “The preparation of those five pianos put the whole factory in turmoil,” he said. When they had finished and travel restrictions were lifted, Hewitt flew to Venice at the end of July.

The five pianos were lined up in a concert hall next to the factory. Hewitt’s German tuner and technician, Gerd Finkenstein, sounded them out.

Hewitt rejected three of the pianos within minutes. She said that the two remaining were “twins”, made more or less at the same time with consecutive serial numbers. Within 25 minutes of playing Bach, Beethoven and Schumann pieces, she picked the older twin.

“Playing it made me feel I had the world of sound at my fingertips. It had no harshness no matter how loud you played. It has a huge sound but also great delicacy and range.”

It was the piano Finkenstein knew she would choose, though he had not said so beforehand.


Fazioli say, A soundboard with too much mobility may create explosive notes in terms of attack, but they will have a short duration....Fazioli has dedicated a significant portion of its research to optimising the soundboard, also patenting innovative solutions for its creation. The soundboard made with a special structure featuring three crossed layers of wood and a thickness of micrometres represents an important step towards achieving a solution with more uniform acoustic response.

You may wonder if Angela Hewitt picked a piano with the patented soundboard. I could not possibly comment.

Judge for yourself here (Goldberg Variations) until 15/02/21.


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"a thickness of micrometres" sounds ridiculous BS for me.


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Originally Posted by VladK
"a thickness of micrometres" sounds ridiculous BS for me.

Yes, the writer's language got out of hand. If you read between the lines, by looking through the patent, you will see the sandwich has two outer layers 5mm thick with a 600 micrometer layer in between.


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Well the point that they did not announce she chose one with the new layered soundboard leads me to believe she did not.


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Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by VladK
"a thickness of micrometres" sounds ridiculous BS for me.

Yes, the writer's language got out of hand. If you read between the lines, by looking through the patent, you will see the sandwich has two outer layers 5mm thick with a 600 micrometer layer in between.


Indeed, 600 micrometers is 0.6mm which is pretty close to standard ply board layer thickness so perhaps hard to patent. A quick google showed you can get wood veneers commercially down to 0.18 mm so it isn't even especially thin.

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