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Topic Options
#1167128 - 03/23/09 05:45 AM voicing Yamaha U1 - ok to have hammers filed?
Kanga Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/31/05
Posts: 9
Loc: Yerevan Armenia
Hello - I have just had my 25 year old Yamaha U1 moved from the US to Switzerland (along with me and my family!)

I'm about to have it voiced and regulated and the technician would like to file the hammers as part of the voicing - I think he said he would file them down completely and then start over with the voicing. I remember someone telling me once that Yamaha hammers should be left alone as much as possible to prolong their life - that if they're messed with too much they can fall apart. Is that the case? Should I ask the technician to leave the hammers alone even though the voicing is now uneven?

Another question - I didn't plug the damp-chaser in until about 6 mos after we moved in. Once it was plugged in again and the piano adjusted I noticed the action was much improved. Could I have caused any long term damage by allowing it to be in an unregulated environment (specifically very dry winter) for as long as I did?

Thanks for considering!

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#1167173 - 03/23/09 08:38 AM Re: voicing Yamaha U1 - ok to have hammers filed? [Re: Kanga]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: Maine
Six months without humidity should not be any problem.

In a 25 y/o instrument I'd wager the tech will have to remove string cuts and get a good rounded strike surface before any serious voicing can be attempted.

Yamaha hammers are tough. They won't fall apart.
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service

#1167177 - 03/23/09 08:52 AM Re: voicing Yamaha U1 - ok to have hammers filed? [Re: David Jenson]
Dave Stahl Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 1645
In addition to what David said, many of the voicing issues may go away after the hammers are shaped correctly.
Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA

#1167256 - 03/23/09 11:52 AM Re: voicing Yamaha U1 - ok to have hammers filed? [Re: Dave Stahl]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22973
Loc: Oakland
Hammers do not fall apart if they are filed. They will eventually lose enough felt that they cannot be regulated properly. However, hammers that are worn out are worn out, whether it is from filing or from not sounding good because they are not voiced. If you do not have the hammers filed and therefore the hammers cannot be voiced, then the hammers are worn out already. On the other hand, if the same hammers are filed and voiced, then they have some more life in them. If you think of it this way, filing prolongs the life of hammers.

However, eventually hammers do need to be replaced.
Semipro Tech

#1167342 - 03/23/09 02:50 PM Re: voicing Yamaha U1 - ok to have hammers filed? [Re: BDB]
Kanga Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/31/05
Posts: 9
Loc: Yerevan Armenia
thank you all for your responses.

I feel very comfortable now that this is the right approach. I asked the technician if it was time to replace the hammers and he said they were fine.

#1167463 - 03/23/09 06:03 PM Re: voicing Yamaha U1 - ok to have hammers filed? [Re: Kanga]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2817
Loc: Olympia, WA
Let us know how it worked out!
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA

#1168040 - 03/24/09 03:53 PM Re: voicing Yamaha U1 - ok to have hammers filed? [Re: Kanga]
PianoRestorer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/24/09
Posts: 15
Loc: Dorset, UK
Yamaha hammers/Japanese felts are the hardest felts in the world They are very hard to tone and if you are finding the tone hard you would be better of replacing the hammer heads with a european felt, which would render a more mellow tone! Also if you are finding the tone hard maybe having the piano in a larger room or have heavy furnishings, ie carpet can reduce the harshness as hard flooring can add to the hard tone.

I am worried about your hammers being sand papered "the technician would like to file the hammers as part of the voicing" very few technicians have the knowledge and experience when it comes to voicing. We reface hammers with a razor sharp knife following the shape of the head, and then we paper the felt to remove any knife marks (but not the nose), but with Yamaha's they do need to have the nose lightly papered. Its not really the correct way to voice hammers to paper the noses, but with very hard felts you can get away with it to break the felt membrane!

I have toned many Yamaha pianos but tend now to suggest new european hammers, as this will last, where as just papering the nose/refacing/toning/voicing will just be a temporary measure and in a year or two or less it will need doing again, take my advice....find a more experienced restorer and get a estimate for new hammer felts.

With regards to dry atmosphere, if you don't have any playing problems then no damage has been done. Pianos can be very hardy, I tuned a piano in a church which was hot in the summer and damp and cold in the winter. I was unable to tune the church piano in the winter due to the damp swelling up the wood and felts making the notes stick and unplayable, where as in the summer it was playable as the parts would shrink.


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