From The Blog Of Ric Overton...


As promised I am going to explain a couple of things about piano parts.  Tonights discussion is pinblocks.

For many years sales people have used certain terms to describe different parts of the piano and would use that information to develop a sales  pitch.  Salespeople to this day continue to use certain phrases as if they have some type of exclusivity to these parts or that no other piano has these parts.

Pinblocks are one of those parts.  Pinblocks ( at least all I know of them ) are made of hardrock maple, multi-layered and cross-grained to supply support.  Pinblocks are the part of the piano that the pins go into that hold the strings in place.  Each pin is placed in a scientific location and then pulled to a predetermined pitch to create a sound on pitch.

Every piano has a pinblock and is used for the same purpose. The location of the pinblock is the same and they are all made of the same materials.  The differences in pinblocks come down to how many plies of hard rock maple are used for these pinblocks.

where the pinblock is located in a grand

Some pinblocks are made of up to 18 plies of hard rock maple while others are made of up to 5 plies of hard rock maple.  As far as my knowledge is concerned, all piano makers use hard rock maple as their wood of choice.  The reason we use wood and not some other material is that wood will move and breathe with the change in climates and while it will go out of tune, most makers would agree that the use of any other material could cause the strings to break or lose their integrity quicker.

When sales people talk to you sometimes they make you feel as if their piano is the only one that has this.  It’s not.  Every piano has a pinblock.    

It is really important to understand terms when you go to shop for a piano or when on occasions your technician may want to talk to you when tuning.

One thing I do want to point out is the construction of the pinblock, in a new piano or a used on in particular is probably the most important part of the piano.  It’s location is such that it will require you to take the strings out of the piano, then the plate and finally the pinblock when you have to replace one.  It is one of the most difficult parts to repair and replace.

Ric Overton via


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