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#1873861 - 04/04/12 08:42 PM How to Replace hammers on a Steinway L 1953
Charles34 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/02/12
Posts: 3
Loc: Belgium,Europe
Hi.
I thought it would be simple to order a set of new Steinway hammers for my piano. It is a very good US Steinway but the hammers have to be changed.
Would somebody be nice enough to help me in my choice because I don't know what to do. Hereunder, my emails to Steinway and their answers.
What worries me, is the change in geometry of the hammers and repetitions (as Steinway calls the wippens), the apparent change of the position and may be the size of the rollers, and above all, the possible length change of the shanks in the standard complete hammers, that would change the contact point along the strings which would be disastrous. And would it be really necessary to change the repetitions also.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Me to Steinway :
Hi,
I have a 1953 L model Steinway (made in US).
I'd like to replace the hammer set with new hammers.
I would need complete hammers with shanks, rollers and flanges.
To be sure to order the right part, I would like to know if the
following choice is the right one for this piano :

NY HAMMERS GLUED TO PRE '84 SHANKS & FLANGES : part nr 006218 NY HAMMERS
GLUED HAM. S/F (5 1/8") -S/M/L/O - PRE '84
--------------------------------------------------------------

From Steinway Parts Department:
We suggest using the NY Improved parts whenever possible. The part number would be 006228 – NY Hammers Glued to NY Shanks and Flanges. In some cases you may also need to change the let-off buttons to a thinner size – part number 005070.
If you need more technical information, please contact our Technical Services Administrator
--------------------------------------------------------------

To Steinway Technical Services Administrator:
Concerning the full replacement of hammers, the Part Department suggests that I could ask for your help if needed.

As you can see in the emails, I am advised to use the part nr 006228 instead of part nr 006218, although this last being apparently for Pre '84 pianos.

In your price list, I suppose that PRE '84 refers to the year 1984. If that's the case, may I ask you why I should not use these hammers, my piano being a 1953 one, and if the advised hammers 006228 are a better choice and more important, fully interchangeable with the original ones.

On the other hand, I am advised that it could be necessary to change the let-off buttons to a thinner size - part nr 005070. Could you please tell me why I should change these parts when changing the hammers, and what would be the benefits of that change ?
--------------------------------------------------------------

From Steinway Technical Services Administrator:
Pre-’84 hammershanks are for use with lightweight hammers. Because we no longer make lightweight hammers, we do not recommend pre-’84 parts for action rebuilding.

Hammers 006228 is an acceptable choice for a Model L made in 1953. A better choice would be 006617 hammershanks and 006213 hammer heads, then glue the hammers in your own workshop to match the hanging distance of the original hammers.

When replacing hammershanks, you should always replace the repetitions 006689. If you are not replacing repetitions, then you will need 005070 let-off buttons to compensate for the difference in action geometry between the original hammershanks and the new hammershanks. If you replace the repetitions, then you will not need 005070 let-off buttons.

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#1873893 - 04/04/12 10:19 PM Re: How to Replace hammers on a Steinway L 1953 [Re: Charles34]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
As you are finding out, it is not straight forward at all.

With this kind of work, it is critical to have the right parts, otherwise your piano may not play properly. Judging by what you write, it does not sound like you have the experience with this kind of work. Especially on an expensive and good instrument such as an S&S, I think it is wise council to get this kind of work done by someone with experience in dealing with all the parameters. It is much too involved for someone lacking the skills and knowledge to attain a decent outcome of the parts replacement.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1873907 - 04/04/12 11:00 PM Re: How to Replace hammers on a Steinway L 1953 [Re: Charles34]
Ralph Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/01
Posts: 1293
Loc: Delaware (slower/lower)
Not a DIYer project unless you can pay to have an expert do it again.
_________________________
Do or do not. There is no try.

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#1873927 - 04/04/12 11:54 PM Re: How to Replace hammers on a Steinway L 1953 [Re: Charles34]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3296
The tools you need to do this job correctly will make this job more expensive than hiring a professional.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1874028 - 04/05/12 07:22 AM Re: How to Replace hammers on a Steinway L 1953 [Re: Charles34]
Charles34 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/02/12
Posts: 3
Loc: Belgium,Europe
Thank you to all for your 3 answers. I agree with all 3. Actualy, I did not intend to do the work myself. A pro will do the job but I have to make the choice among the solutions proposed by the Steinway Parts department. When they say that the 1st solution (006228 – NY Hammers Glued to NY Shanks and Flanges) is an "acceptable choice", I don't realize to what extent that's acceptable and if it would be really worhwhile to do the big job of separate hammers and shanks to be glued plus new repetions.

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#1874034 - 04/05/12 07:30 AM Re: How to Replace hammers on a Steinway L 1953 [Re: Charles34]
Zeno Wood Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 427
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
I would recommend that your pro go about buying the parts. It's usually not a good idea if the client buys the parts from the manufacturer/distributor, for just the sort of reason that we're seeing. Hopefully the technician knows all the variables involved in buying different dimension parts.
_________________________
Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College

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#1874140 - 04/05/12 11:16 AM Re: How to Replace hammers on a Steinway L 1953 [Re: Charles34]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Charles34
.... A pro will do the job but I have to make the choice among the solutions proposed by the Steinway Parts department. .....

If you are the one who selects the parts, then you are the one who is responsible for any touch problems which may (and probably will) occur upon installation of parts and completion of the job.

A qualified and experienced technician should never leave these decisions to a piano player/owner who has no experience in that department. It is a bit of a mine field for the layperson.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1874143 - 04/05/12 11:23 AM Re: How to Replace hammers on a Steinway L 1953 [Re: Charles34]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20749
Loc: Oakland
A real pro would know which parts to use.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1874201 - 04/05/12 01:31 PM Re: How to Replace hammers on a Steinway L 1953 [Re: Ralph]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1252
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Ralph
Not a DIYer project unless you can pay to have an expert do it again.


The cautions given are well founded. Experienced technicians have seen disasters.

Nonetheless, I have had success helping DIY folk with extensive rebuilding work. There is a difference between someone just diving in and making mistakes they don't even know they are making compared to having a seasoned professional for consultation.

Also, I recommend the Cadenza hammers. Not because I distribute them, but the other way around. I haven't found the same kind of tonal response from any other hammer -- and I have successfully worked with other brands. Premium hammers are more expensive, but they last longer and offer a greater tonal palette.

In your case, the Cadenza are made from the same felt Steinway uses and the sheets are made with the same double taper that S&S uses.

Competent technicians can take any action and then modify the action geometry if needed, to account for any difference in touch resistance. (A topic, BTW, which is not fully understood -- particularly as it relates to the dynamic response of the hammer).

If you want to explore anything mentioned here further, feel free to send me a PM.
_________________________
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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#1875050 - 04/07/12 08:21 AM Re: How to Replace hammers on a Steinway L 1953 [Re: Charles34]
Charles34 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/02/12
Posts: 3
Loc: Belgium,Europe
Thank you all for your answers. My case is a bit special. I live in Europe and bought my piano in USA. The seller (a professional) will provide me with the parts, and I have a pro who will install them here in Europe. I have to make the choice myself, as it will be under my responsibility, and among the 3 choices proposed by Steinway, there is also quite a big difference in price and work. That's the reason why I post my question on this wonderful forum where there are very knowledgeable and helpful people. (By the way, sorry for the faults in my English, which is not my language.)
The safe part of this work is that if the result is bad, it will be possible to put back the old hammers, as they are not totally worn out. Just a big lost of money in this case. But I still do not understand why new hammers, from S&S (or Cadenza ?), properly installed and harmonized, and of the exact same length, could be a failure.

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