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#637072 - 12/05/01 08:11 PM crack in soundboard
lawrai007 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 33
Loc: Washington, Connecticut
First, I want to thank everyone who responded to my earlier posts regarding my recent problems with my Yamaha U3; especially Bob & Sam!

.........could someone tell me, other than a fluctation in humidity levels, are there any other reasons that would cause a soundboard to crack? (I have a dampp-chaser unit installed, but apparently that's not always enough). Your advice would be most welcomed!


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#637073 - 12/05/01 11:30 PM Re: crack in soundboard
Chris Aher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 299
Loc: Brookfield CT
Hi Larry,

First of all, a caveat: I've been out of the business for about 20 years, but I spent most of the seventies working as a tuner/tech in NYC. Most of my work was with S&S grands in institutional & professional settings.

Most soundboard cracks that I saw could be attributed to the instrument getting too dry, particularly in winter with steam heat. You have to make sure that your dampp-chaser is installed and functioning properly. If it turns the heat rod on during a dry spell with any regularity, it could easily cause cracks. During the heating season, you want the humidifier going.

A soundboard crack is not necessarily a disaster. If the ribs are not loose and the downbearing is ok then it probably won't matter for the time being. I saw plenty of instruments with cracked soundboards that sounded fine.

I live just a few miles from you in Brookfield and we don't use a dampp-chaser in our Schimmel 182 grand. We carfully monitor the RH with a hygrometer and use a room humidifier during the heating season. It is a bit of a pain in the neck but necessary in our case. We have a number of other instruments in the our music room that are even more sensitive than the piano.


#637074 - 12/06/01 01:41 PM Re: crack in soundboard
lawrai007 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 33
Loc: Washington, Connecticut
Hi Neighbor!

Thanks, Chris, for your very informative reply. The dampp-chaser that was installed by our tech has a humidifier and dehumidifier controlled by a humidistat--it was recently checked (I just had the piano tuned); and was told everything was working properly. Thanks for your post and Best Wishes for the holidays!


#637075 - 12/07/01 02:57 AM Re: crack in soundboard
Niles Duncan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 513
Loc: Pasadena, CA
If you had a complete Dampp-Chaser with humidifier, dehumidifier, and humidistat installed it should be fine. Soundboard cracks are primarily caused by seasonal humidity cycles, years of going back and forth between drying out in the winter from heating and swelling up during the wet months. The Dampp-Chaser should provide good protection. However soundboard cracks are not as serious as many people think. In most cases they have no effect on the sound of the piano, and are primarily a cosmetic and perceptual flaw.

Niles Duncan
Piano rebuider, Pasadena, CA

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#637076 - 12/08/01 01:55 PM Re: crack in soundboard
lawrai007 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 33
Loc: Washington, Connecticut
Thanks, Niles, for your informative post. The Yamaha was just tuned and it sounds great! Hope my luck continues. Best wishes for the holidays!...........Larry


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