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Posted By: Hotstrings Soundboard inspection essential? - 09/29/20 05:57 PM
Everywhere I read when buying a piano, one should check out the soundboard. But the mesh is on the back of the piano I’m buying.
Have a beautiful Yamaha U 1 - sounds pristine, trust my seller, but wonder if I should remove the mesh to check out soundboard?
Mesh is attractive and matches walnut finish but also seems like a damper..
Thanks
Posted By: BDB Re: Soundboard inspection essential? - 09/29/20 06:17 PM
There is not much more you can see from the back of the piano that you cannot see from the front, if you take off the top board and the bottom board.
Posted By: Emery Wang Re: Soundboard inspection essential? - 09/29/20 06:29 PM
Good question. I always felt if the piano sounds good, decent sustain in the treble, and there is no buzzing in the soundboard, it should be fine. Even cracks in a soundboard don't necessarily adversely affect the sound. But, perhaps there is something you can see or feel on a soundboard that portends imminent failure of the board. If there is such a thing, I don't know what it is. Maybe the techs would enlighten us.
Posted By: tend to rush Re: Soundboard inspection essential? - 09/29/20 07:02 PM
I'd always thought that a good strong tone indicated adequate crown, 'tho I'd appreciate hearing from techs on that, as well. You could check for paper-thin gaps between ribs and soundboard - which might not be buzzing now, but after the RH drops a few points...
A car with bald tires can drive nice, but its not very comforting. Same with piano soundboards, they deteriorate over time and cause tonal issues (buzzing, loose bridge pins, false beats, etc) and just don't sing like they did when they were new. So you have to judge the quality of sound of the instrument vs its longevity and decide what you can live with.
-chris
Posted By: K8KT Re: Soundboard inspection essential? - 09/30/20 01:40 AM
Do you know what year this u1 is? If there are no obvious cracks visible from the front or buzzing, it’s probably ok, but age and other factors would affect the current condition and its longevity.
Posted By: Hotstrings Re: Soundboard inspection essential? - 09/30/20 02:29 AM
Wow thanks for all the great answers. After 63 years as a guitarist, I’m convinced piano players are much nicer.
It is a 1988 Yamaha U 1 E —-one year parts and labor warranty except for routine maintenance. As a guitarist, I had very little concern about moving parts but I can’t imagine warranting anything so old with 10,000 parts.. we shall see.
Posted By: BDB Re: Soundboard inspection essential? - 09/30/20 03:02 AM
With older Yamaha uprights, check to see if it has broken butt spring loops. If you look down past the front of the hammers, and behind the damper levers, you can see the butt springs. If some of the loops are broken, the springs on them will be more straight out rather than bent down and closer to the front.

Frankly, the soundboard is likely to outlast the action of an upright piano. Worn hammers can only be filed a little bit before the geometry of the action will no longer be proper, and replacing hammers will likely cost more than replacing the piano.
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