What Are Grand Pianos Made Of?

Grand pianos are magnificent instruments that produce a rich, high-quality sound. Indeed, grand pianos are often the first choice of many professionals. Manufacturers use only the best materials to make their grand pianos make the best sound. Read on to learn more about the materials in grand pianos:

The Components of Grand Pianos & their components

  1. Inner and Outer Rim

The inner and outer rim is made of thin hardwood (maple or beech) veneers that are glued together to make a layer. Several of these layers are then glued and laminated to make a long single board. 

High-frequency energy is used to heat the board and hydraulic pressure is applied to press the board into a mold in the shape of the piano case. A resin-impregnated paper is then glued to the outside of the rim as a base for the finishing process.

  1. Cabinet

Made of the same wood as the inner and outer rim, it is sanded and stained in order to improve sound properties.

  1. The framework

These are the parts of the piano that support the tension of the strings

  • Pinblock – Bonded layers of rock maple make the pinblock tough enough to hold the pins in place.
  • Plate – this is the metal frame, sometimes called the “backbone”of the piano. Cast iron is the material used for this part.
  1. Soundboard

The soundboard is a central part of the piano that amplifies the sound of the strings. It is usually made of different types of spruce (Sitka spruce, Japanese spruce, Adirondack spruce, etc.) or beechwood that is about ⅜ inches thick.

  1. Strings

The piano strings are made of high-quality carbon steel which makes the strings strong enough to withstand extreme tension. The higher notes use thinner strings while the lower notes have a steel core with copper winding. Metal bars and brass studs (agraffes) hold the strings in place.

  1. Bridge

The bridge transfers the vibrating energy of the piano strings to the soundboard. Maple wood is the usual choice for making piano bridges.

  1. Tuning pins

Tuning pins are made of steel wire and nickel-plated to prevent rust from forming. These pins are machine-inserted into the cast iron plate and are fitted into the pinblock.

  1. Keyboard and keys

Firwood or spruce wood is used in the keyboard. Artificial ivory, acrylic, or a mineral and ebony wood mixture is used to cover the keys. 

  1. Action 

The action mechanism determines whether the touch is light or heavy. Maple wood is the usual choice for action parts.

  • Hammers – Pressing the keys moves the hammers, part of the action mechanism of the piano. Hammers are made of white pure wool felt cut into strips which are wrapped around a wooden core. Thin felt strips are used for the treble hammers while thicker felt strips are used for the bass hammers.
  1. Pedals 

Piano pedals are made of brass. The golden color of the metal gives the piano a classic look. Some pedals use other metals like chrome which weighs lighter and don’t show scratches or imperfections easily.

  1. Fallboard/key cover

The fallboard protects the keys when the piano is not in use. It is made of the same layered wood veneers used in the inner and outer rims.

  1. Hinges

Solid brass is the material used for the hinges found in the piano. The metal used helps the hinges withstand the weight and tension of the top lid and the fallboard. 

  1. Top lid 

The top lid protects the mechanism of the grand piano. It also functions to prevent sound or to reflect sound when pressing the piano keys. Manufacturers put together this part using layered wooden veneers. The top lid uses wood such as maple or beech.

A high-quality grand piano uses only high-quality materials. But, remember that manufacturers use different material combinations in the pianos they produce. This affects sound quality, touch control, and price.