Steel is used to make piano strings but soundboards that translate their energy to rich and resonant sound are made from wood. In case the purpose was to loudly amplify the produced sound after a hammer strikes the strings, metal plates would have been a better material.
But Why Are Soundboards Made of Wood?
Well, the simple answer is that metal amplifies both low-pitched and high-pitched notes in the same way. However, wood amplifies only low-frequency sounds and reduces the high-frequency sounds.
The sound produced by piano strings is essentially metallic jangling noises. If the sound had to be amplified, the piano would end up as a giant noise generator. However, as woodcuts off the higher harmonic components, this doesn’t happen. It leaves only the sound components that are musical and sound good to our ears. It transforms them into richer and resonant tones.
Hence, soundboards are boards transmitting vibrations while also being a board that stops vibrations. This is the reason why the spruce family is highly valued for their soundboard materials specifically the Alaskan Sitka spruce which is commonly used in some pianos. This particular species absorbs high-pitched overtones effectively. They only transit pitches perceived as mellow and round in a specific rich fashion.
In case you are looking to buy a new or an old piano in Tampa, FL, check out the collection by Dave’s Piano Showroom. They have an exclusive range of pianos for all purposes and every budget. They also service pianos for their customers and you may even take their service if you wish to move your piano from one location to the other.