As I’ve mentioned before, all pianos are not created equal. Each piano – especially high end instruments – are traditionally hand crafted using a variety of top quality materials. In order to understand how to select the best grand piano, you will need to understand the function and importance of each and every part. One of the most important elements of any piano is the sounding board.
The sounding board, a board made of thin wood slats, is largely responsible for the overall resonance of the piano’s sound. As any piano player knows, notes are created when small hammers inside the piano hit the strings. As the strings vibrate, the sounding board amplifies the notes and creates the satisfyingly rich tone we’ve all come to know and love.
The sound produced by a piano depends greatly on both the type of wood used to build the sounding board as well as whether or not the board is laminated. This is why all pianos are not created equal. For example, some sounding boards are made of spruce and vibrations are transported from the bridges to the center of the sounding board via the wood grain. On the other hand, if the sounding board is laminated, then it will be thinner and lacks grain lines. Vibrations will be drawn to the center of thinner boards much faster, resulting in a more violent vibration and a richer, stronger sound.
When purchasing a piano, beware of sounding boards made of cheaper woods as they are more likely to crack and cave. Because the sounding board is so important to the function of the piano, if it collapses you will most likely have to undergo a full piano reconstruction. After all – without the sounding board your piano cannot make the music you desire.
For those of you who currently own a piano, what tips do you have for potential piano buyers looking for a top quality sounding board?