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#1472965 - 07/12/10 02:00 PM How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling??
Nick Mauel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/05/08
Posts: 783
Loc: Sarasota and Naples, FL
I have read technicians comment that "It sounds like the strings need leveling."

How would you describe this sound?
_________________________
Nick's Piano Showroom
Naples, Fort Myers, & Sarasota, FL
New Estonia, Mason & Hamlin, Baldwin, Brodmann & Ritmuller
239-206-4541 direct line
www.nickspiano.com

Concert Piano Technician, Dealer, and Pianist

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#1472967 - 07/12/10 02:11 PM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Nick Mauel]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
tuuuurrrriiiinnnggg

It sounds "out of phase" instead of out of tune. I notice it most while tuning unisons - there is no place where the unison if really pure, but there are no false beats on single strings to explain it.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1472981 - 07/12/10 02:58 PM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: UnrightTooner]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

What happens usually is 2 or 3 strings are sitting at the bar. One of the strings states “I’m just not feeling 100% these days. One of the other strings states” are you on the level?”

Nick, I think it is a common mistake made on forums...it should actually state “this reads like the strings need levelling.”
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1473341 - 07/13/10 07:13 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Whew! I am glad that Dan didn't notice I spelled "tuuuurrrriiiinnnggg" wrong. (Now what was that silly rule about triple vowels and quadruple consonants???)
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1474058 - 07/14/10 09:37 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: UnrightTooner]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3186
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Nick, there is always a high partial that is prominent. The first reaction is to use a needle to suppress it but that is going after the symptom rather than the cause. The wrong solution can often leave the note sounding dull but still leave the annoying high partial.

It is actually a very simple concept. You know how you can get a high partial to sound by lightly touching a string in a certain spot? This can be done on a piano but guitarists often do it both in playing and tuning. When one piano string is higher than the other two, it is not struck with the same force as the other two or not even struck at all, just lightly brushed. That induces the high partial sound to be prominent. It is often described as a "whine" , "sizzle", "buzz" or a "ping".

It can sound similar to what a hard spot on a hammer would produce. Generally, the harder and brighter sounding the hammers are, the more of a problem string leveling becomes.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1474079 - 07/14/10 10:17 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 852
Loc: San Francisco
Welcome back Bill.....perfect explanation....
Anyone out there know why this piano 101 procedure is such a mystery to many techs when its application is so crucial to focus and tone.
_________________________
Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician



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#1474139 - 07/14/10 11:59 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician]
Nick Mauel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/05/08
Posts: 783
Loc: Sarasota and Naples, FL
Thanks Bill,

Do you think it could be described also as sort of a whistling sound, kind of raspy, like there is air mixed in with the tone, a hissing sound, if that makes any sense? Sounds sort of related to strings needing seating? Peter?
_________________________
Nick's Piano Showroom
Naples, Fort Myers, & Sarasota, FL
New Estonia, Mason & Hamlin, Baldwin, Brodmann & Ritmuller
239-206-4541 direct line
www.nickspiano.com

Concert Piano Technician, Dealer, and Pianist

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#1474231 - 07/14/10 03:01 PM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Nick Mauel]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1295
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Nick Mauel
I have read technicians comment that "It sounds like the strings need leveling."

How would you describe this sound?


Snotty.
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#1474252 - 07/14/10 03:29 PM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Nick Mauel]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3186
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: Nick Mauel
Thanks Bill,

Do you think it could be described also as sort of a whistling sound, kind of raspy, like there is air mixed in with the tone, a hissing sound, if that makes any sense? Sounds sort of related to strings needing seating? Peter?


Yes, that would describe it too. Kieth's description is funny as i have also heard it described as "nasal".

Everyone's word for it may vary but it all has to do with a high partial (or maybe more than one) that is overly prominent.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1474254 - 07/14/10 03:29 PM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: kpembrook]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Not all manufacturers advocate string leveling, so having level strings isn't the overall goal. Having hammers which are fitted to the strings is the goal. Leveling strings is one step in that process. I like doing it, because I think it makes the process of fitting hammers to strings more efficient. It also means that the hammers still fit the strings when the keyboard is in the shift position.

I just wanted to point out that string leveling alone doesn't eliminate the "out of phase" sound. Some techs like to fit the hammers to the strings instead.

Yes, strings needing seated is a similar sound.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#1474258 - 07/14/10 03:35 PM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3186
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician
Welcome back Bill.....perfect explanation....
Anyone out there know why this piano 101 procedure is such a mystery to many techs when its application is so crucial to focus and tone.


It's a matter of perception and priorities, Peter. Cheap grands have a low profit margin. The dealer doesn't want to pay a highly skilled technician for hours of work on something someone would buy whether voicing was done or not. There is always the assumption that the hammers will even themselves out eventually anyway.

I don't view it as such a basic skill either. It takes time and expertise to learn to do that well and efficiently.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1474682 - 07/15/10 07:33 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1938
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
What is the best way to hold the hammer when checking string mating, i.e. how does one best hold the hammer so that it barely touches, to see whether the (plucked) strings are all equally damped by the hammer? I have found that even the slightest force on the hammer damps all three strings, so my challenge is to find a grip on the hammer that exerts practically zero force on the strings, yet is sturdy and consistent enough to test all three strings one after the other. Any advice?
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1474721 - 07/15/10 09:26 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Mark R.]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Mark:

What I do is play the note and then damp it by using the hammer itself. If they all stop at the same time, fine. If one keeps ringing, figure out which one by damping with a mute or something.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1474726 - 07/15/10 09:38 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: UnrightTooner]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Hi Mark:
There are two basic methods that I see used. One is to put a layer of felt between the repetition lever and the knuckle. Then you push up from the bottom of the wippen to raise the hammer up to the strings. Normally the letoff function won't let you do this, and the hammer will fall away. The layer of felt provides a spacer which lets the hammer rise all the way to the string.

The other method is to reach down between the strings with a hook. They are often made out of music wire, with some sort of wooden handle attached. These can easily be home made. The hammer is then lifted up to the string by the shank.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#1474750 - 07/15/10 10:20 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: RoyP]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1938
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Jeff and Roy,

Thanks for the useful tips. BTW, Roy, I'm not a tech; I only work on my own pianos, but nevertheless want to check this on my upright (two uprights, in fact), as part of working through the whole regulation process according to Arthur Reblitz. So, to translate your suggestion from grand to upright: I could try a piece of felt between the jack and the butt.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1474761 - 07/15/10 10:38 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Mark R.]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Sorry Mark, didn't realize you were talking about a vertical. There the hammers are accessible, so you can just press them forward with your hand. I haven't tried using felt on a vertical, so I can't say.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#1475329 - 07/16/10 05:27 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: RoyP]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1938
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: RoyP
There the hammers are accessible, so you can just press them forward with your hand.


Well, yes... but as I wrote initially, I have the problem that my grip on the hammer is not fine or consistent enough: I seem to have problems with
a) bringing the hammer to the strings up to a point where it just barely touches but exerts no force, and then
b) keeping it perfectly still in that exact position while I test all three strings.

If I grip the hammer close to the head, I exert too much force and all the strings are damped immediately. If I grip it closer to the butt, I have too little control over the exact position. (Almost like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle...)

I'll try Jeff's idea of playing the note and then muting it using the hammer - hoping that I'll hear the difference between the decay sound of three strings and one string.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1475401 - 07/16/10 09:45 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Mark R.]
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 852
Loc: San Francisco
On an upright...
Using your left hand push the hammer to the string using middle finger and then lift the rep lever using your thumb on the backcheck.
This will prevent you from needing to depress the pedal and will also give less 'noise' as only one note will be 'open'...
Does that make sense??
_________________________
Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician



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#1475430 - 07/16/10 10:19 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7246
Loc: France
I find the use of a little metal ruler pushing on the shank to be more precise than a nail at the back of the head.

a little flat rule on the strings also may show something.
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1475436 - 07/16/10 10:29 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1938
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Umm, Peter, rep lever? On an upright? If by "rep lever" you mean damper or perhaps wippen, then I think I catch your drift: presumably you ensure that the damper is off the string by lifting the wippen by the backcheck.

Isaac: ah, a ruler, good idea - thanks. (Good to see you back in the forum)


Edited by Mark R. (07/16/10 10:34 AM)
Edit Reason: included response to Isaac
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1475442 - 07/16/10 10:38 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Mark R.]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
A colleague made this string leveling tool. I have one I made the other day. You can use center pins for the holes or even small nails with a head so they don't always fall out....

http://picasaweb.google.com/Jacka440/PianoToolsAndJigs#5332555659066272018
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1475467 - 07/16/10 11:09 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Mark R.]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7246
Loc: France
Thank you Mark. yes lifting the damper with the bacheck is what Peter mean, good idea. less noise, while it is not so disturbing.
I will mail you soon .

Best regards
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1475471 - 07/16/10 11:15 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Les Koltvedt Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3195
Loc: Canton, MI
Dan, nice set of pictures. Lots of good ideas there, looks like a life time of custom tools. I for one, like it. I really like the see through damper tool.
_________________________
Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate

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#1475556 - 07/16/10 01:05 PM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Les Koltvedt]
Nick Mauel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/05/08
Posts: 783
Loc: Sarasota and Naples, FL
Thanks to all for your contributions.

I have the Don Mannino string tool. Does anyone use this and how do you like it?
_________________________
Nick's Piano Showroom
Naples, Fort Myers, & Sarasota, FL
New Estonia, Mason & Hamlin, Baldwin, Brodmann & Ritmuller
239-206-4541 direct line
www.nickspiano.com

Concert Piano Technician, Dealer, and Pianist

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#1475573 - 07/16/10 01:27 PM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Nick Mauel]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Originally Posted By: Monster M&H
Dan, nice set of pictures. Lots of good ideas there, looks like a life time of custom tools. I for one, like it. I really like the see through damper tool.

Hey Les,
Thanks for the comments. Like myself, Jack spends time making up things and trying them out to see if they work. Some of the best tools you can make on your own. The damper tool is a handy one indeed.

Isaac,
Good to see you posting once again, hope all is well…….

Originally Posted By: Nick Mauel
Thanks to all for your contributions.
I have the Don Mannino string tool. Does anyone use this and how do you like it?


I don’t have that one Nick, got a picture for us?
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1475666 - 07/16/10 04:29 PM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Those are some nice custom tools Dan. Thanks for the pictures.

Charles Faulk has some string leveling tools. They look nice, but I haven't tried them.
Faulk Tools
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#1475921 - 07/17/10 01:53 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: RoyP]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7246
Loc: France
nice idea to reflect the strings plane with those plungers, I suppose the tactile feedback is good. What I don't get is how a good reference can be taken, in real word, the strings "plane" have little height differences, notes can be also more or less slanted in humid season in the low medium and even in some parts where the bridge is curved (lets assume that the agrafe is level, the bridge may not, at strike level the string plane is not always perfectly level during the humid season)

The plunger tool may be efficient to confirm an unevenness between the 3 strings, same as it can be felt with a finger, (with a lot of placebo effect !)

I like to use a simple logic to level strings, plus a bubble driven gauge.

I shape hammers at strike level (and a little above to counter the gang filing unevenness) I verify that my strike line is straight at strings level +-3mm tolerance) and I use that line as primal reference.
Even if it cant really be perfect, the hammer shaping may be good enough to be a primary source of reference.
The other tools are there to confirm the source of the problem.
In some region the stroke will be slanted a little, same as the strings, it is also mostly obtained with gang filing, regulating the height of the hammers with shims under the shaping block.

I of course try to have most of the strings leveled, but I am ready to encounter a natural slant in some regions, and deal with it

A very little level can help to ascertain that, the Mother goose tool is very practical, there.



Edited by Kamin (07/17/10 02:31 AM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1476482 - 07/18/10 10:41 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: RoyP]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

Originally Posted By: RoyP
Those are some nice custom tools Dan. Thanks for the pictures.
Charles Faulk has some string leveling tools. They look nice, but I haven't tried them.
Faulk Tools


Hey Roy,

Thanks for the comments but I can’t take credit for the tools shown in that photo album. Those are made by local colleague Jack Houweling.

A couple of threads coming about some of the inventions…….. if he and I can hook up next week.

The Faulk tools look interesting indeed. I will have to check them out….
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1476489 - 07/18/10 10:50 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Hey Isaac,

Yes I agree, the plunger string level instrument will only measure the uneven unison within itself.

Because of the tilting of the bridge from season to season like you have stated most of the time I prefer to leave the string where it is and then shape the hammer to it; this is the preferred method used by the piano company in Vienna, Austria.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1476501 - 07/18/10 11:08 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7246
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos
Hey Isaac,

Yes I agree, the plunger string level instrument will only measure the uneven unison within itself.

Because of the tilting of the bridge from season to season like you have stated most of the time I prefer to leave the string where it is and then shape the hammer to it; this is the preferred method used by the piano company in Vienna, Austria.


Ah yes ? Yamorfer !! (joking, they are very pleased to have that fresh money and that is not changing the factory, for what I know)

Steinway also use an artistic glueing that will accept easily the strings plane slant.

Trying to have a level string plane and hammer stroke near the break is somehow counterproductive. if the angle is the reflected , no problem with the left pedal.



BTW they work so much the string's plane at Hamburg that they consider that the field technician does not have to carry a string hook. they say "leave that alone, it have been done " !

indeed when age passes the situation change, but then when the strings are changed, agrafes are replaced as well (normal procedure for a Steinway).

Agrafes are not that expensive, hopefully, but I may confess I did not realize that we better change them if we want to do aquality job.

I believe also there is something good in a slanted hammer travel around the break, but there, for energy/mass displacement reason (while I have hard times visualizing how, I see some slant as natural and a too vertical move as sounding less good, it is mostly something visual to me)

Best wishes !
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1476506 - 07/18/10 11:18 AM Re: How Can You Describe The Sound Of Strings Needing Leveling?? [Re: Olek]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Yamorfer....good one Isaac
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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