As your piano tuner Wilmington DE, I am often asked, “Why should a piano owner bother to tune the piano?” There are several reasons, some concerning the preservation of the instrument, and some concerning the ear of the owner or owner’s family members. One of our previous articles discussed the importance of piano tuning for the ear of the child learning to play piano. Then, the last article discussed the stress to the strings that results from restoring the tension to strings that have not been tuned in more than one year. If you have not read these articles, this would be a good time to read them before continuing with this article.
This article will continue to explain the possible damage to your investment in your piano, should you choose not to tune it annually. A piano has a soundboard that amplifies the sound coming from the strings. If a piano did not have a soundboard, the volume of the piano would be about the same as an electric guitar with the amp turned off. A soundboard acts as an amplifier, because it is carefully made to be a resonant structure. If it were simply a piece of wood, it would not amplify the sound. A soundboard is made under a great deal of tension, so that it will be resonant.
First, the wood chosen is Sitka spruce, because sound travels along its grain faster than on any other type of wood. Planks of spruce are planed 3/8″ thick and butt-jointed together to cover the entire structure of the piano case. Then ribs are glued in a specific manner in order for the structure to be “crowned”. This is done by placing the piano soundboard in a ‘bellying board” so that ribs can be glued across the grain and pressed into the bellying board under thousands of pounds of pressure. When the glue is dried, the crowned structure is removed from the bellying board and placed in the piano.
We will continue this description in the next article. If you have any questions about pianos, please let us know. We are your Wilmington DE piano tuning experts. Kenneth Keith Piano Services also provides piano tuning and piano maintenance Philadelphia PA, Eastern Shore MD and Southern NJ.