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#1165013 - 03/18/09 11:41 PM Piano Shock Absorbers?
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1117
Loc: PA
Tonight I did a tuning on a Steinway "M" that I've been tuning for the last several years. The piano is in good condition (including the pinblock). Yet, every time I tune it, I have to raise it about 20 cents to get it back to A=440. (It falls uniformly flat.) Fortunately, I think I've narrowed down the problem...

The piano sits directly above the garage door opener. I touched the piano tonight while the garage door was opening. The piano was vibrating like the bottom of an fine orbital sander as well as shaking and quaking. I've encountered this before in homes, but not to this extreme.

Moving the piano to another room does not appear to be an option. But, I did some checking aroung the internet, and I found this:
(The piattino acoustic insulating caster cup)

I see that the Piattino acoustic insulating caster cup "cuts sound transmission into the floor."

Has anyone here tried using these to do the reverse... Isolate the piano from vibration in the floor?

Was it sucessful?

Or, is there some other way of isolating a piano from this sort of vibration?

Of course, the piano itself vibrates, but not like this. I think that if the piano's exposure to this can be lessened, the instrument will start to calm down a bit more.


Edited by daniokeeper (03/19/09 01:30 AM)
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair

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#1165670 - 03/20/09 02:50 AM Re: Piano Shock Absorbers? [Re: daniokeeper]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
I have two thoughts on this:
First of all, if the garage door opener is creating such a vibration in the house, perhaps someting is amiss either with the mechanical operation or the mounting of the mechanism. Maybe a rubberized mounting is needed to isolate the garage door opener's vibration from the house.

Second, the Piattino caster cups are designed to isolate the piano from the floor by inserting an acoustic break. This break is designed to work for the frequencies of the piano. The lower the frequency, the harder it is to filter it out. Presumably, the garage door opener is creating a very low frequency, actually sub-sonic, i.e. it is more felt than heard. I think the acoustic insulating material in the Piattino caster cups is too rigid to do a lot of isolating in that low frequency range.
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

#1165700 - 03/20/09 06:46 AM Re: Piano Shock Absorbers? [Re: Supply]
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
Me thinks it might be time to call in a qualified tech from the GDTG - the Garage Door Technicians Guild. - LOL

I had an older door mechanism bite the dust and was truly amazed at the difference in noise and vibration level with the new unit. The old chain-drive motor and system was replaced with a screw-drive. The tracks were carefully aligned and adjusted, the old metal wheel rollers were changed to nylon wheels, lift spring tension adjusted, and all of the hinges were lubricated.

Sounds like a full action regulation to me and I think the problem needs to be addressed from below and not from above.

Now, I can barely hear when the door is in operation, and sitting directly above, it doesn't even cause a good cognac to vibrate in a snifter.
Marty in Minnesota

#1165713 - 03/20/09 07:40 AM Re: Piano Shock Absorbers? [Re: Marty in Minnesota]
UnrightTooner Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 5206
Loc: Bradford County, PA
I am not so sure that the pitch dropping problem is due to the garage door. It doesn't seem that all the pins would be turning CCW so evenly. If the house is very dry, the soundboard may be steadily loosing crown. A DampChaser is always a good idea.
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

#1165735 - 03/20/09 08:36 AM Re: Piano Shock Absorbers? [Re: UnrightTooner]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2285
Loc: Maine
Joe, I'm in agreement with Jeff. I don't see how the door opener would be much of a problem. I'd be more suspicious of the temp/humidity changes associated with being over a garage.

I think they need to move the piano, or be willing to pay your tuning fee every two weeks. grin
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service

#1165757 - 03/20/09 09:21 AM Re: Piano Shock Absorbers? [Re: David Jenson]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I agree with David. Pianos get moved all over the place. Our D's get moved from our "garage" where we keep them to the stage and back continually and of course, they bounce around as pianos do on hard floors, over edges etc., and nothing changes the tuning or pitch on them. It more than likely has to do with humidity changes but, a 20 cent change?

Tighten all plate bolts and seat all strings for starters. I think something else is going on here. RPT ghosts are coming in and de-tuning it between times? grin

Marty, you're funny!

Whatever you do, don't call in any member of the PTG or the post is liable to be deleted! grin
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan

We love to play BF2.

#1165759 - 03/20/09 09:23 AM Re: Piano Shock Absorbers? [Re: David Jenson]
Keith Roberts Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 1988
Loc: Murphys, Ca
This time of the year, for you, it should be flat. However, the continued release of tension means something is giving way. Since you say it goes flat evenly, I wouldn't suspect that the wires are still tightening up around the pins and such. I suspect you have an anomaly or whatever. You just happened to tune when it had some room to tighten up, then you tuned it when it was humid. Next time it was less humid and now it is dry.

Since it is a Steinway, the humidity swings could be causing the board to fail. Or the plate bolts are loosening up in the dry season. Loss of downbearing is causing the CONTINUED drop in pitch. If it is the plate, it will keep flexing till it breaks.

I would schedule your next tuning for when the piano should be sharp, towards the end of the humid season. If it isn't sharp or at the same pitch, I would look for the cause.
Keith Roberts
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca

#1166373 - 03/21/09 01:11 PM Re: Piano Shock Absorbers? [Re: Keith Roberts]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1117
Loc: PA
It's that it fell uniformly that set me off a bit. I do believe it was also going flat in the summer as well, but my memory may not be perfect.

But I do see... Yes, it's probably isn't the garage door opener after all smile

You guys have given me some world-class advice.
Thank you!!! smile

I will apply it. I've already contacted the owner to make absolutely sure I can see the piano this summer.

Thanks!! smile

Edited by daniokeeper (03/21/09 01:25 PM)
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair


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