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#1702937 - 06/27/11 11:53 AM damper felt noises?
KathyT Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/24/11
Posts: 4
I own a beautiful rebuilt Steinway L model circa 1926. I have been noticing a few odd sounds during the last several months. When I play the e and g below middle C I hear a sort of crunchy sound - like the felt hitting the strings. Occasionally, I hear a similar but more metallic sound when I play one of the high Ds in the upper register. I am wondering if it the felt is too soft or too hard, but the felt is relatively new, since I own the piano only a year. Or could it be related to fluctuating humidity levels during the changing seasons. [I recently installed a DampChaser humidifier to protect the soundboard.] Other than this, the piano sounds beautiful - has a tremendous tone and is very responsive. Any suggestions? Lastly (not related to felt, I think), when I play a D in the upper register at forte volume, I hear the damper hit an extra string on the way down. I have had a technician adjust the string, but it continues to happen. Any suggestions??

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#1702945 - 06/27/11 12:08 PM Re: damper felt noises? [Re: KathyT]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Is the sound when you hit the key, or when you release it? If when you release it, that would sound like hard damper felt.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1703075 - 06/27/11 03:59 PM Re: damper felt noises? [Re: KathyT]
Johnkie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 717
Loc: England
Hi KathyT

There are mainly only two regular faults associated with grand damper noises.

1. A slight swishing noise when the dampers are starting to lift or return ... mostly happens where the damper felt is either wedge i.e "V" shaped - or double wedge (looks like the wedge shape but is split down the middle. These are used mainly on the 2 and 3 strings per note in the bass. Steinways nearly always have a mixture of plain flat and double wedge on each damper in the tenor section too.
2. Metallic and crunching noises - These are very often caused by the damper wires being mis-aligned, and tend to be more severe when a note is played forte.

It's impossiblt to identify your faults without hearing the noise, but if you could record it and post an e-mail attchment, I should be able to identify exactly what your problem might be.
_________________________
Concert Tuner & Technician for the past 49 years in the United Kingdom
and Member of the Pianoforte Tuners' Association (London)
www.jphillipspianoservices.freeindex.co.uk : E-mail jophillips06@aol.com

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#1703127 - 06/27/11 05:21 PM Re: damper felt noises? [Re: Johnkie]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1940
Loc: Suffolk, England
Johnkie, Loren

Are there similar effects in uprights? Some of the bass and lower tenor strings on my newly acquired 1922 Zeitter & Winkelmann are a bit noisy when the keys are released. Everything in the piano appears to be original and not too worn. Is it possible to soften the damper felts (which I'd prefer) or should they be replaced?

Thanks, Ian.

_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1703150 - 06/27/11 05:53 PM Re: damper felt noises? [Re: Withindale]
Johnkie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 717
Loc: England
Hi Withindale,

Bass and lower tenor damper noises are mainly a feature of grands, but sometimes uprights suffer too, especially if the felt is of the double wedge type used on tri-chords. Damper spring tension can affect damper noises .... too much tends to lead to a "thumping" sound as the damper returns .... and too little can lead to a "buzzing" type of sound as the damper struggles to arrest the strings. I sometimes come across pianos where the felt has hardened up a little too much with general wear and tear, and find that easing the felt with toning needles restores the (almost) noiseless damping. Most reported damper noise problems are as a result of wedge damper felt .... (very seldom the flat treble type ... unless damaged by water!!)
_________________________
Concert Tuner & Technician for the past 49 years in the United Kingdom
and Member of the Pianoforte Tuners' Association (London)
www.jphillipspianoservices.freeindex.co.uk : E-mail jophillips06@aol.com

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#1703422 - 06/28/11 06:07 AM Re: damper felt noises? [Re: KathyT]
delacey-simms Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/14/08
Posts: 114
Loc: Kirkbymoorside N.Yorks UK
I've experienced the actual damper wire buzzing against the string in the past. It's worth eliminating as a possibility; hold the damper up and very gently a fraction to the side away from the string, then play the note to see if the sound has gone. To me though, the noise you have described when you play the note not release it, is indicative of the hammer felt bouncing out of check onto the string because there is too much tension in the lever spring. Get your tech to check it out.
On the upper D played at forte I think you are saying the damper felt does not hit all three strings simultaneously when it returns. If your tech really has levelled the 3 strings (check it with a metal ruler) then the damper head needs squaring up!
_________________________
delacey-simms
piano tuner, technician and enthusiast.
All my comments are posted with the utmost respect to the other technicians

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#1703447 - 06/28/11 07:41 AM Re: damper felt noises? [Re: KathyT]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Damper guide rail bushings could play a factor in that D problem too.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1703520 - 06/28/11 10:21 AM Re: damper felt noises? [Re: Johnkie]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1940
Loc: Suffolk, England
Many thanks Johnkie

"... too little can lead to a "buzzing" type of sound as the damper struggles to arrest the strings." Precisely.

Ian
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1703629 - 06/28/11 01:55 PM Re: damper felt noises? [Re: Withindale]
Johnkie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 717
Loc: England
Only too pleased to have been able to help Withindale thumb
_________________________
Concert Tuner & Technician for the past 49 years in the United Kingdom
and Member of the Pianoforte Tuners' Association (London)
www.jphillipspianoservices.freeindex.co.uk : E-mail jophillips06@aol.com

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#1704024 - 06/29/11 03:51 AM Re: damper felt noises? [Re: KathyT]
delacey-simms Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/14/08
Posts: 114
Loc: Kirkbymoorside N.Yorks UK
Just an addition to Johnkie's advice, stiff damper center can have same effect, if you tighten the spring to compensate you might get that irritating high pitched squeak of the centre pin turning in the wood. Release the spring and check the flange moves freely first!
_________________________
delacey-simms
piano tuner, technician and enthusiast.
All my comments are posted with the utmost respect to the other technicians

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#1704038 - 06/29/11 05:46 AM Re: damper felt noises? [Re: delacey-simms]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2002
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: delacey-simms
stiff damper center can have same effect, if you tighten the spring to compensate you might get that irritating high pitched squeak of the centre pin turning in the wood.


And to this I would further add the problem of heavier touch (at least on non-pedalled play) resulting from both the stiff damper center and the tightened spring.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

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

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#1719236 - 07/23/11 11:02 AM Re: damper felt noises? [Re: Loren D]
KathyT Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/24/11
Posts: 4
The crunchy sound is after the note is hit (on release) and the metallic sound happens when the key is hit. I think Johnkie below has hit the nail on the head (no pun intended). Any further thoughts are welcome and thanks to all! smile

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#1719240 - 07/23/11 11:14 AM Re: damper felt noises? [Re: KathyT]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
It's very likely that sound after the note is released, is due to "zinging" from the dampers as they come back down on the strings again. This can be corrected easily enough.

It is also likely, that the damper stop rail or up lift rail, is not adjusted correctly, allowing the dampers to travel up to high giving you that metallic sound when the key is hit.

Your solution is to hire a good technician that can correct these things. It is not a difficult fix if that is the problem.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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