Robert Estrin - piano expert

How are Piano Plates Made?

Learn the different ways piano plates are made today

In this video, Robert talks about piano plates and how they are made in modern pianos.

Released on July 13, 2016

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, this is Robert Estrin at and Welcome.

Today's question is, how are piano plates made? The cast-iron frame in a piano's a massive thing, and you may wonder, how do they make such a thing? Well, actually, there are two methods I'm going to talk about.

The traditional method, going back to the 19th century, is what's called a wet-sand cast plate. And the plate takes a long time for the metal to cure, and it could take months, as a matter of fact. And this is the way Steinways, Mason & Hamlins, and other top-tier pianos are still made.

Well, the Asian manufacturers found a much quicker way to make plates that could take, really, just minutes, a vacuum mold process, much like the way plastics are made, filling a mold. Now the question is, do they have structural integrity? Well, the simple answer is yes, they do. Many people feel, though, that the sound you get from a vacuum mold type plate that's found typically in Asian pianos, compared to the wet-sand cast plate found in American and European top-tier pianos, differ in the tonality. That is to say that the wet-sand cast plate tends to be a denser metal. Therefore, it doesn't impart the metallic ring that you get to some extent on a vacuum mold processed plate.

I'd love to hear from any of you out there, piano technicians with experience, and any of you who've played Asian pianos and American pianos and noticed any sonic difference, and how much of this can be attributed to the difference in plate technologies. This is a great question.

Thanks so much for joining me. Once again, this is Robert Estrin at and at
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