Plates that "float" and pins that get "hitched."

Plates that "float" and pins that get "hitched."

or something like that!


One of the cool features of Baldwin grands are that they have a floating plate design.  All other pianos are screwed to the frame with big lag bolts.  In the case of the Baldwin, the plate itself is threaded and sockets are sunk into the frame structure.  What this means, is that the plate can be lifted up and down and be bolted rigidly in place, at any height, without the bottom of the plate touching the rim and frame.  
The other really cool feature of Baldwin grands are something called an accu-just hitch pin.  On all other pianos the wire wraps around the hitch pin and rests on the plate  (or more accurately - on a piece of felt that is glued to the plate).

Your thinking...."who cares?"
Well there is this little thing called down-bearing, which is actually a really big thing when it comes to how the piano sounds.  Piano strings are anchored at the tuning pin on one end of the plate and wrapped around the hitch pin at the other end.  Somewhere in-between the string is connected to the soundboard through a bridge.  

Here is the critical point:  
The downward slant of the string from the bridge to where it is anchored is crucial.  It determines how much force is loaded onto the soundboard.  When you have the right amount of down bearing the energy from the string is amplified through the soundboard and it has wonderful sustain and projection.  If its wrong, the piano can sound pinched, tight, lacking in sustain, projection or power.  

Over the last 10 months I had the opportunity to rebuild and optimize a Baldwin L grand that I have serviced since the day it was new. Between the floating plate and accu-just hitch pins, I was able to individually set the exact right amount of down-bearing for every single string.  As you can imaging this is a very painstaking process but oh the results are wonderful!

There is family story that goes along with this experience which you can read about as well as watch a video. Click the link and then scroll down to the "Baldwin L" heading.