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Steinway pinblocks, photo Steinway

Pinblock

Steinway & Sons pianos are world-renowned for their incomparable sound quality, revolutionary technology and unrivalled craftsmanship. The beautiful sound produced by Steinway grands and uprights is largely reliant on the quality of their tuning. Let’s uncover how a piano’s pinblock helps it produce a beautiful and consistent sound.

What a piano’s pinblock

At first glance, the pinblock appears to simply be a piece of wood. Yet, it is much more than that. Also known as the wrest plank, the pinblock is located inside the piano, just behind the keys and action frame. One side of the pinblock features an array of holes that hold the tuning pins, which secure the piano’s strings in place and maintain their tension.

This means the pinblock is instrumental in ensuring that the piano remains in tune and can play as beautifully as expected from a Steinway piano. What makes a Steinway piano different is the revolutionary Hexagrip Pinblock, developed by Steinway in 1963.

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How a piano’s pinblock is constructed

The Steinway Hexagrip Pinblock is constructed from seven layers of hardwood. Steinway pinblocks are made by laminating these layers of maple, beech and Bubinga in a staggered grain formation. Each layer alternates in orientation, offsetting the angle by 45 to 90 degrees. This means the pinblock is less susceptible to splitting in one direction, ensuring that each tuning pin is held tightly in place with at least one layer aligned with where the stress is being applied to each pin. This makes the tuning pins smoother to tighten. All in all, this means that when a Steinway is tuned, it is easier for the tuner to make sure the pin placement is optimal, guaranteeing its superior sound is maintained.

How much does a Steinway upright piano cost?

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How Steinway’s unique pinblocks make for superior sound quality

Each Steinway piano is handmade by experts in their craft, with a Steinway grand taking a year to complete. Steinway grand and upright pianos are painstakingly crafted from the highest quality materials available using Steinway’s trusted processes and techniques.

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It is this precision and dedication to quality that guarantees Steinway pianos provide outstanding sound quality. The Steinway Hexagrip Pinblock is one of many designs that see a Steinway holding its tune and producing a consistently beautiful and precise sound long after its most recent tuning.

Frequently asked questions

How long does a pinblock last?

The life of a pinblock depends on the quality of its construction and the materials used. Generally, pinblocks last anywhere from 40 to 70 years. However, some pinblocks can last longer with careful care, and maintenance handled appropriately by professional tuners. Steinway grands are known to feature pinblocks that last many decades.

What is a pinblock on a piano?

A piano’s pinblock is made up of several layers of hardwood. On one side, it features an array of small, circular holes. The tuning pins, which hold the piano’s strings and control their tension, are driven into the pinblock via these holes.

What does a pinblock do?

A piano’s pinblock ensures the instrument remains in tune. It grips the tuning pins, which control the strings, tightly. When a piano is tuned, these tuning pins are turned.

Is it necessary to replace the pinblock when rebuilding an old piano?

When restoring or building an old piano, the old and damaged pinblock may be replaced with a newer pinblock. In some cases, the old block may be salvageable. It depends entirely on the condition; the pinblock may have experienced cracking, delamination or other damage. Steinway pinblocks are built for longevity and likely will not need to be replaced when being restored.

Contact our Piano Servicing or Piano Tuning teams if you require tuning, repairing, or replacement support.











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