Although cracks in the soundboard appear from time and time again, they are often more of a cosmetic nature than functional. And in cases like this the cracks are not even visible unless the lower panel is removed or the piano is turned around and looked at from the back – both which never really happen except during a tuning.
In most cases it is not a case to cause alarm. Nevertheless I am documenting it in this case so that we can track the progress of this piano for future service. I would probably never have been able to tell there were cracks (based on the sound) if I hadn’t opened it up and looked around.
As Larry Fine says in his Piano Book:
Q. If the soundboard is cracked, does that mean the piano is junk?
A. No. Soundboards have a tendency to dry out, shrink, and crack as they age, especially in environments that have pronounced seasonal variations in humidity. The shrinkage results in a loss of crown, or curvature, from the soundboard, which can be detrimental to the tone. But the cracks themselves are usually harmless unless they are accompanied by buzzing sounds or other problems. Larry Fine