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Topic Options
#1518175 - 09/18/10 11:39 PM Re: Piano hammer voicing techniques. [Re: DoelKees]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5328
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Del
For some years I have been presenting classes and seminars on such esoteric topics as “How the Piano Works,” “Understanding the Modern Piano, “Voicing the Soundboard,” or “Voicing the Whole Piano.”


Is any of this material available from you?

Thanks for the explanation of how fabric softener works!

Kees

It will be Real Soon Now. We're still trying to figure out the best way.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1518203 - 09/19/10 12:35 AM Re: Piano hammer voicing techniques. [Re: pppat]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5328
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: pppat
I agree on the need of knowledge. Still, I wouldn't encourage anybody to wait until they know it all before doing empirical research, because chances are you will never get there.

It is very easily related to the music field. Insufficient theory skills should never stop you from playing, writing and making music while you work on your theoretical deficiencies.

I don’t think I have ever encouraged anyone to wait until they know it all before doing “empirical research.” In my case I would not yet be qualified to do research of any kind! I do, however, encourage those wanting to expand their knowledge and skills—and that should include everyone wishing to make piano tuning and servicing a profession (even a part time profession)—to first do the requisite background study to guide them along the way.

Generally speaking, empirical research is used to answer questions or to test a theory. To continue using the idea of treating hammers with fabric softener it might be a good idea to learn just what fabric softener is formulated to accomplish and how the chemicals affect wool fibers in an effort to understand what might happen when it is applied to hammers. This knowledge will be quite useful in predicting how the fabric softener might work when applied to hammers of varying physical qualities and what might be the acoustical effect.

I continue to believe it is a good idea to acquire as much background information as possible before moving to the empirical research phase. Too often, I think, the question is there and the application is there—all too often on an unsuspecting customer’s piano—but the theory is missing.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1518233 - 09/19/10 01:31 AM Re: Piano hammer voicing techniques. [Re: charleslang]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1348
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: charleslang
Was one of the balls made by Ari Isaac and the other from China?

laugh
_________________________
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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#1518258 - 09/19/10 02:53 AM Re: Piano hammer voicing techniques. [Re: steppinthrax]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21928
Loc: Oakland
As far as I know, the Chinese only make plastic balls. The brass balls are all Italian. Externally, they are pretty much the same. The weight falls in the same range, but his balls are designed so that they do not bounce.

What you might want to consider is how hammers with the same characteristics might affect the sound.
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Semipro Tech

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#1518265 - 09/19/10 03:28 AM Re: Piano hammer voicing techniques. [Re: steppinthrax]
charleslang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 2084
I could imagine some kind of energy-absorbing layer under the surface. I don't know how bocce balls are made usually, but if you imagine a golf ball with sand inside instead of rubber bands, that would do it.

Otherwise, different tension on the surface could also make a difference, but I can't think of how that would figure in a metal ball.

What the former alternative would suggest is that the energy absorption characteristics of, e.g., the underfelt layer on a piano hammer would affect the bounciness of the hammer, which in turn affects how long the hammer contacts the string, and thereby the tone (and even how long the felt will last).
_________________________
Charles Lang

Baldwin Model R; Hardman 5'9" grand; Rieger-Kloss vertical

Jazz, pop and classical

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#1518879 - 09/20/10 06:08 AM Re: Piano hammer voicing techniques. [Re: steppinthrax]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Del, Keith, and all,

When reading Del's post # 1517663, specifically the part about voicing other parts than just the hammers, this put me in mind of earlier posts, where I read about adding mass to bridges, e.g. by drilling holes and filling them with lead, or even Keith's suggestion of inserting an old engine valve spring between a back post and the bridge area of the soundboard:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1461809/kpembrook.html#Post1461809

I had asked in that thread what sort of forces would be typical in this example: just a slight force (i.e. having to cut the spring almost down to size), or several pounds (i.e. having to compress the spring before installing it). Perhaps one of you could elaborate, either here or (more appropriately perhaps) in the other thread?
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1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1518918 - 09/20/10 08:20 AM Re: Piano hammer voicing techniques. [Re: Del]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Del

I don’t think I have ever encouraged anyone to wait until they know it all before doing “empirical research.” In my case I would not yet be qualified to do research of any kind! I do, however, encourage those wanting to expand their knowledge and skills—and that should include everyone wishing to make piano tuning and servicing a profession (even a part time profession)—to first do the requisite background study to guide them along the way.

Generally speaking, empirical research is used to answer questions or to test a theory. To continue using the idea of treating hammers with fabric softener it might be a good idea to learn just what fabric softener is formulated to accomplish and how the chemicals affect wool fibers in an effort to understand what might happen when it is applied to hammers. This knowledge will be quite useful in predicting how the fabric softener might work when applied to hammers of varying physical qualities and what might be the acoustical effect.

I continue to believe it is a good idea to acquire as much background information as possible before moving to the empirical research phase. Too often, I think, the question is there and the application is there—all too often on an unsuspecting customer’s piano—but the theory is missing.

ddf


Good idea, Del, but the sources of such information are pretty limited and often not trustworthy. Thank you for being a trustworthy resource!

So, do you see any particular drawbacks on using fabric softener/alcohol solutions for hammers that have hardened due to age?

Could you share any thoughts you may have about lanolin in wool? I plan on trying an alcohol/lanolin solution on my next project piano.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1519040 - 09/20/10 11:41 AM Re: Piano hammer voicing techniques. [Re: UnrightTooner]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5328
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Good idea, Del, but the sources of such information are pretty limited and often not trustworthy. Thank you for being a trustworthy resource!

Well, they are not all that limited. The Piano Technicians Guild has long been a source for (mostly) reliable and appropriate information. To be sure, it does take some effort and, occasionally, some expense, to track it down but it’s there. These resources include local chapter meetings, regional seminars and annual conventions. Not to mention The Piano Technicians Journal. During the 38 some odd years I have been a member I’ve attended hundreds of these events. Often I’m there as an instructor/lecturer but more often I’m there as a student simply wanting to learn more about some part of my craft from someone who has taken the time and effort to study a component or process long enough and carefully enough to have gained knowledge and skills worthy of being shared.



Quote:
So, do you see any particular drawbacks on using fabric softener/alcohol solutions for hammers that have hardened due to age?

Could you share any thoughts you may have about lanolin in wool? I plan on trying an alcohol/lanolin solution on my next project piano.

The only drawbacks I see is when technicians use the stuff without understanding what it is that they are doing.

Fabric softener works by coating the wool fibers with chemicals that act as lubricants. Lanolin is a wax and, when thinned out sufficiently, will probably accomplish essentially the same thing. The effect on the hammer, I should think, would be to make it some “softer” and reduce its resiliency. If my speculations are at all accurate this would mean that hammers so treated would stay in contact with the strings longer; damping out more of the energy in the higher partials in the process.

Keep in mind that when techniques like this are contemplated it because there is something wrong. The hammers are too hard or too dense—often coupled with being too massive—for a particular scale and soundboard combination. These measures are being considered as being less bad than other available—perhaps more traditional—alternatives.

Please keep in mind that I am speculating here as I have not personally worked with either product as a hammer voicing tool. In my own work I prefer to match the physical characteristics of the hammers to those of the piano I am working on. It never ceases to amaze me that technicians—no one on this list, I’m sure!—continue to fit hammers to pianos that are completely inappropriate to the scaling of the piano. And then wonder what heroic voicing techniques can be used to make the sound of the combination acceptable. And, after hours of exhausting work and the hammers have been thoroughly mutilated beyond any recognition, with the sound at least somewhere close to acceptable declare them to be “good” hammers. And buy more for another inappropriate matching.

ddf


Edited by Del (09/20/10 11:59 AM)
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1519043 - 09/20/10 11:48 AM Re: Piano hammer voicing techniques. [Re: steppinthrax]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Thanks, Del.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1519063 - 09/20/10 12:20 PM Re: Piano hammer voicing techniques. [Re: Mark R.]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5328
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Del, Keith, and all,

When reading Del's post # 1517663, specifically the part about voicing other parts than just the hammers, this put me in mind of earlier posts, where I read about adding mass to bridges, e.g. by drilling holes and filling them with lead, or even Keith's suggestion of inserting an old engine valve spring between a back post and the bridge area of the soundboard:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1461809/kpembrook.html#Post1461809

I had asked in that thread what sort of forces would be typical in this example: just a slight force (i.e. having to cut the spring almost down to size), or several pounds (i.e. having to compress the spring before installing it). Perhaps one of you could elaborate, either here or (more appropriately perhaps) in the other thread?

Actually, I (and others) have already written on both of these subjects both on this list and on Piano Forum.

The valve spring idea is one many of us experimented with back in the 1960s and 1970s. It has been pretty much discarded now in favor of auxiliary ribs of appropriate length and cross-section used in appropriate locations. A fairly complete discussion of this concept can be found in an article written by my brother, Darrell, and published in—where else?— The Piano Technicians Journal a couple of years back.

I think I originated the idea of inserting lead weights into certain areas of certain types of bridges. While I’ve not written about this technique in the Journal I have presented the basics in various posts on these Piano World Forums.

Both techniques have also been the subjects of various classes presented at PTG events around the U.S., Canada and Australia. Alas, I don’t know if they have made it to South Africa as yet. But the Journal is available world-wide.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1525141 - 09/29/10 04:39 PM Re: Piano hammer voicing techniques. [Re: steppinthrax]
Mark Davis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/08
Posts: 665
Del, you wrote,

"It never ceases to amaze me that technicians—no one on this list, I’m sure!—continue to fit hammers to pianos that are completely inappropriate to the scaling of the piano. And then wonder what heroic voicing techniques can be used to make the sound of the combination acceptable. And, after hours of exhausting work and the hammers have been thoroughly mutilated beyond any recognition, with the sound at least somewhere close to acceptable declare them to be “good” hammers. And buy more for another inappropriate matching." ddf

How does one know or learn what hammer to fit to what scale? Is there a simple way of working this out? Is there a book on this? Have you written on this on this forum or somewhere else, and if you have, please can you direct me to the thread?

Thank you
_________________________
Mark Davis
Piano Tuner & Technician

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#1525372 - 09/30/10 02:32 AM Re: Piano hammer voicing techniques. [Re: Mark Davis]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5328
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Mark Davis
How does one know or learn what hammer to fit to what scale? Is there a simple way of working this out? Is there a book on this? Have you written on this on this forum or somewhere else, and if you have, please can you direct me to the thread?

The best method is not one that will be readily available to you. I’ve done numerous classes and seminars giving the kind of theoretical background information that helps in making these kinds of decisions. And I’m not the only one; others have sharing their knowledge on these subjects as well. But the venue is The Piano Technicians Guild and the seminars and conventions are held in the U.S. and, occasionally, in Canada.

There are no books available that would be of much help in learning how to select appropriate hammers for any given piano. At least none that I know of.

I have written on the subject from time to time but I have no idea what the headings of the theads might be. I make no attempt to keep track of such things.

There has also been a fair amount written on this subject by the various participants on pianotech. Many technicians face these problems and it is a subject that continues to be discussed from time to time on that list. It is a fairly active list and there are usually some experienced and knowledgeable technicians participating who are willing to share their experience and knowledge. You can sign up through the PTG website (www.ptg.org). Pianotech is open to technicians around the world—it is not necessary that you be a member of PTG.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1525510 - 09/30/10 10:11 AM Re: Piano hammer voicing techniques. [Re: steppinthrax]
Mark Davis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/08
Posts: 665
Thank you Del.
_________________________
Mark Davis
Piano Tuner & Technician

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