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Crystal Sound Board
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The technique of the Crystal Sound Board

The qualities of glass compared to those of wood account for the Crystal Soundboard being so special. The qualities of a soundboard of (toughened) glass are completely predictable during the entire life of a piano. This contrary to a wooden soundboard, which is usually made of specially resounding wood. How well-manufactured it might be, even with wooden strips, joists or spreadings on the back, the qualities of such a wooden soundboard do change in the course of time.

Besides, the qualities of such a wooden soundboard depend on thermical or other environ- mental conditions (think of air humidity). Glass and certainly toughened glass is a homogeneous material. Therefore not nearly as sensitive as wood. And it does not age as quickly as wood.

The Crystal Soundboard, that is the glass soundboard for pianos and grand pianos, is the most substantial improvement of the piano for centuries.

A soundboard makes the vibrations, which are raised in a musical instrument (like a piano), audible (through the so-called cam). Because the soundboard determines the sound quality of a musical instrument, it is a very critical part of the instrument.

No two wooden soundboards sound alike, they will always differ in resonance. The reason is that the conditions in which the used wood grows can never be completely controlled

Glass on the other hand and certainly toughened glass is a homogeneous material. It is not as sensitive as wood and it also does not age as quickly as wood.

The convention now dictates wood. For centuries pianos are being provided with a wooden soundboard. Therefore it sounds strange, a soundboard of glass. Theoretically. But everyone who wants to, can hear, with his own ears, that a glass soundboard sounds everything but strange in practice. That's the practice of the Crystal Soundboard.

As glass is so homogeneous, its qualities can be influenced in a predictable way by, for instance, making round holes or other (half round) blank spaces in the glass. In the middle or on the edge: Sometimes that can also be practical to, for instance, fit fastening elements in the piano at any desired spot, in a manner that they cannot get in contact with the soundboard. In short: using a glass soundboard does not only have sound technical, tune technical, and aesthetical, but also construction technical advantages.

For further information or a visit to Stemco, please contact Kees de Baat.