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#1993235 - 12/01/12 02:30 PM Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?)
KarelG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 132
Loc: Czech Republic
Hello,

I've borrowed small grand piano from my piano technician. It is partially restored August Forster model IV (160cm) from about 1936 year. My technician exchanged all hammers, tunable pegs, strings and repainted it completely. Problem I see now while playing it is that dumpers are not completely in sync. If I push dumper pedal slowly down I see some of them start moving up before others and one is nearly dead (i.e . Also on close inspection some of dumpers are not hitting all the strings in a tone -- they are kind of off-axis and some of them do have worn out felt -- or strings are too much in-printed into felt.
Now, I've seen that majority of restored grands are sold here with completely exchanged dumpers so I'm curious if my technician should also do the same or at least I shall try to convince him to do so, as it looks like dumpers are kind of replaceable items like hammers on the piano? To be honest technician agreed on complete readjustment of the dumpers, I've just not asked him about possible dumpers swap yet. Two pictures of dumpers below.





Thanks!
Karel
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November 2011: piano entered into my life.

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#1993236 - 12/01/12 02:35 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4182
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

The felt looks to be in fairly good condition.The damper set appears to require some regulation to straighten them out and have them work correctly by lifting all at the same time.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1993263 - 12/01/12 04:12 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
To me, it looks like the damper felts are not 70+ years old - they look new. They have probably been replaced.

However, the damper spacing is quite bad. As well, there should be wedge shaped dampers on the wound bi-chords and on the first 6 plain wire unisons, at least.

It is not a very big job for an experienced technician to fix that. But if the dampers are any indication of the rest of the work, there is a lot which has been left undone.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1993279 - 12/01/12 05:02 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1680
Loc: London, England
Strangely enough, the large changes are easier to make than the small ones. The locating screws tend to slip back into the old marks on the damper wires if they are at all close. The old marks can be ground off but it doesn't help. Even when properly spaced and adjusted, this felt will not damp well because the felt has a good memory and will not sit level on the strings through having been in the wrong position for too long. They can be weighted down with a sock full of key leads for similar for a few days to refresh their memory. I, too would use wedges and split wedges in the tenor.

Far easier to replace them if you have the skills, bearing In mind that Fred Drasch told that in the history of Steinways, there have been three suicides... All of them dampermen.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1993287 - 12/01/12 05:20 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
KarelG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 132
Loc: Czech Republic
Thanks a lot guys for your information! In fact I've shot dumpers from player position. If I shot from the position of sound board (wing) I can see 8 W-cut dumpers felts. So it looks like those 8 dumpers do have different felt form from the front side in comparison with back side. See the picture.
_________________________
November 2011: piano entered into my life.

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#1993293 - 12/01/12 05:21 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
KarelG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 132
Loc: Czech Republic
Interesting is that I do have only V-form and inverse V-form dumpers on copper wounded strings. But at least those dumpers do have the same form-felt from both sides (front versus back)



Edited by KarelG (12/01/12 05:23 PM)
_________________________
November 2011: piano entered into my life.

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#1993301 - 12/01/12 05:28 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: Supply]
KarelG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 132
Loc: Czech Republic
Originally Posted By: Supply
[...]
It is not a very big job for an experienced technician to fix that. But if the dampers are any indication of the rest of the work, there is a lot which has been left undone.

I'm afraid of this, but honestly speaking my piano technician is trustful person very honest. The problem is he does have really big problems with his eyes, he is nearly blind I'm afraid so those "cosmetic" things might slipped unnoticed by him. So I think well, I'll probably get a chance to correct this dumper issues on his own guidance -- at least I'll offer my help here.
Thanks a lot for your information, it really helps here!
Karel
_________________________
November 2011: piano entered into my life.

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#1993327 - 12/01/12 06:16 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1680
Loc: London, England
Speaking of visual, it helps with dampers to have a mirror perpendicular to the strings behind the dampers so that you can see both ends of the damper at the same time.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1993406 - 12/01/12 09:34 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: KarelG
The problem is he does have really big problems with his eyes, he is nearly blind I'm afraid so those "cosmetic" things might slipped unnoticed by him. So I think well, I'll probably get a chance to correct this dumper issues on his own guidance -- at least I'll offer my help here.
Thanks a lot for your information, it really helps here!
Karel
This is not cosmetic as you call it. It is functional, as you stated the dampers were not lifting evenly, and one you call nearly dead.

Damper work is quite tricky and challenging for many piano technicians. I doubt a layperson could do a good job with guidance from a technician who can no longer judge the situation himself. I agree with rxd that the felt would probably have to be replaced as it is already indented from being in the mis-aligned position for too long.

Sadly, if the rebuilder's poor eyesight prevented him from seeing the obvious damper problems, there is a good chance there are other problems that went unseen as well.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1993624 - 12/02/12 11:58 AM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
Olek Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6333
Loc: France
Damper work is one of the hardest, for the back (posture) the eyses (with progressive glasses !) and because the part is not easy to move a hair (the wire can be twisted a little sometime.

We have to put the part in the correct position, then hold tight the wire and tighten the screw .

And then the screw tend to push the part to its older location. and the screw if no brass thread present, can be difficult to tighten, break, or get stripped by the screwdriver ..

Also the dampers tend to twist when raised.

With the Steinway type , there is no spoon or regulating screw, sot at once the technician is regulating the damper lift for the pedal and for the individual lift.
It is easier to begin with a new good quality felt on the end of each key (no wear, same thickness for each note, less rubbing friction)

Then position the wire with the heads in the wanted position, verify if some balances are not warped.

I usually dismount the whole system, ream the holes where the wire goes in, and if the bottom of the wire is bend as it is the case with some finishers there I am in trouble. New felts are not that difficult to glue, but new wires is better done with new wooden heads.

If you had the piano for a low price, you may find someone who can change the dampers correctly (AND with a first grade felt) Or simply having them regulated (the trichords are sometime the only ones to replace, but they look clean on your piano) .

It may be a good rebuilder or regulating tech, the usual tuner is not a damper man, or more or less efficient, one need to have regulated plenty of them to do the job well and fast enough (which is yet not so fast !)




Edited by Kamin (12/02/12 12:00 PM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1993626 - 12/02/12 12:02 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: rxd]
Olek Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6333
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: rxd
Speaking of visual, it helps with dampers to have a mirror perpendicular to the strings behind the dampers so that you can see both ends of the damper at the same time.


And that way you can also have a shave during the job, which is not bad because it takes some time and your beard may grow wink

(sorry !)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1993659 - 12/02/12 01:26 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
Zeno Wood Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 427
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Not a very important point, but they're called dampers, because they dampen the string's vibration, not dumpers.
_________________________
Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College

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#1993670 - 12/02/12 01:44 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: Zeno Wood]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Zeno Wood
Not a very important point, but they're called dampers, because they dampen the string's vibration, not dumpers.


I wondered who was going to be the first to say it. smile
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DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1993672 - 12/02/12 01:51 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: Loren D]
Zeno Wood Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 427
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
I wondered too, and I had hoped it wouldn't be me.
_________________________
Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College

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#1993681 - 12/02/12 02:39 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1680
Loc: London, England
Current practice on damper screws is finger tight. Of course, this depends on how strong your fingers are but it doesn't take much to hold them and keep them in place. Although there is a slot, the use of a screwdriver is not advised. For years, I used the pliers I was using for the wires and sometimes the bending pliers for the set screws.

It would help if the manufacturers who intend finger tight would knurl them instead of a slot. Finger tight puts an end to the problem of the screws forcing the dampers into their old position but once they have been forced, there isn't much option. The reasons not to use a screwdriver are twofold, 1, too much force, 2, tendency to bend things out of line keeping the s crew driver in the slot and C, it's just another tool to pick up when the attention is divided above and below the stretcher.

Where I live they are pronounced 'dempahs' because they demp To an Australian they are 'dimpus' because they dimp. In the southern states they are 'deyempurs' 'cos they deyemp. It's not surprising a French gentleman, one of Germanic descent and an Englishman knew automatically what the OP meant. This forum has been commandeered by bloody f'r'n'rs.


Edited by rxd (12/02/12 02:51 PM)
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1993688 - 12/02/12 02:43 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: rxd]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3324
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: rxd
To an Australian they are 'dimpus' because they dimp.


No that's New Zealanders... We have "dambpers."

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#1993694 - 12/02/12 02:45 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4182
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

KarelG is from the Czech Republic and most likely ESL.
I wonder why spelling or grammatical errors are important to note for this poster and not for other posters in the same ESL situation.
If this is not an important point as per the previous claim then why mention anything at all? This is about pianos not an English study course. Good grief……
_________________________
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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#1993707 - 12/02/12 03:06 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Zeno Wood Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 427
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
I don't know what came over me. I had been thoroughly enjoying reading about dumpers, as it brought to mind all sorts of funny images. I'm sorry I said anything, please disregard my previous post.
_________________________
Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College

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#1993715 - 12/02/12 03:25 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: rxd]
Olek Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6333
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: rxd
Current practice on damper screws is finger tight. Of course, this depends on how strong your fingers are but it doesn't take much to hold them and keep them in place. Although there is a slot, the use of a screwdriver is not advised. For years, I used the pliers I was using for the wires and sometimes the bending pliers for the set screws.

It would help if the manufacturers who intend finger tight would knurl them instead of a slot. Finger tight puts an end to the problem of the screws forcing the dampers into their old position but once they have been forced, there isn't much option. The reasons not to use a screwdriver are twofold, 1, too much force, 2, tendency to bend things out of line keeping the s crew driver in the slot and C, it's just another tool to pick up when the attention is divided above and below the stretcher.




I was told to use round pliers in left hand and a small screwdriver in the other. sometime I use pliers on the screws but it is not easy to feel the strenght of twisting.
SO I use a small screwdriver with a cylinder guide on it.
Indeed I dont tighten hard, but I had enough screw getting untight and the damper twisting to secure them enough.

The wires are smooth enough so the screw tighten them soon. Tightening with the fingers is for regulation, for me, then I need to check that the screw will not move so I tighten more.

With the brass thread, the screw can easily move under the vibrations (but I see what you mean, the more you tighten the more the damper head is prone to twist)

What I consider important on a piano with new hammers is to have a perfect spacing/under the strings position done not to late. Allow for UnaCorda pedal regulation, and for even wear of the hammers in time, so better do that sooner than later.
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Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1993717 - 12/02/12 03:28 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2340
Loc: Olympia, WA
Looked like you got dumped on Zeno!

As for me, I sometimes call them DAMNpers!
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1993743 - 12/02/12 04:04 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1680
Loc: London, England
I know what you mean, Isaac. I think the manufacturers that recommend finger tight use a screw with a sharper point. It feels that way but, to be honest I never looked.

Does anyone out there know?


Edited by rxd (12/02/12 04:06 PM)
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1993765 - 12/02/12 04:47 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
Olek Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6333
Loc: France
You think of the heagonal screw head ?
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1993778 - 12/02/12 05:22 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1680
Loc: London, England
No, Isaac, the usual looking ones.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1993784 - 12/02/12 05:26 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos

KarelG is from the Czech Republic and most likely ESL.
I wonder why spelling or grammatical errors are important to note for this poster and not for other posters in the same ESL situation.
If this is not an important point as per the previous claim then why mention anything at all? This is about pianos not an English study course. Good grief……


There's nothing wrong with politely correcting someone. I appreciate it when it happens to me.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1993788 - 12/02/12 05:29 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: Loren D]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3324
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos

KarelG is from the Czech Republic and most likely ESL.
I wonder why spelling or grammatical errors are important to note for this poster and not for other posters in the same ESL situation.
If this is not an important point as per the previous claim then why mention anything at all? This is about pianos not an English study course. Good grief……


There's nothing wrong with politely correcting someone. I appreciate it when it happens to me.


Agreed, it was done in a very gentle way. No big deal. In this case I think it was warranted because the word "dumpers" might carry with it lots of other connotations and I'm sure Karel will be happy to avoid them. I speak a couple of other languages and I'm always happy to be corrected because it helps me to improve my clarity and expression.

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#1993814 - 12/02/12 06:23 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
KarelG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 132
Loc: Czech Republic
Guys, I'm really sorry for this mistake and thanks a lot for dampers correction! :-) I've already discussed the issue with my technician and the piano owner and he promised to have a look at it so I'll see what happen. Good that dampers may still be used and not exchanged although a price for a set of new from Detoa is not that high here. The other question is how they will fit. Err, another possibility is just to exchange felt on dampers as also sales person from Detoa noted. So well, I'll leave this issue to my technician and will rather deal with my playing ability and practising. ;-)
Thanks a lot for all provided information, I really appreciate it!
Karel
_________________________
November 2011: piano entered into my life.

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#1993819 - 12/02/12 06:45 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: rxd]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: rxd
... I think the manufacturers that recommend finger tight use a screw with a sharper point.
All the regulation manuals I know state to tighten all screws finger tight temporarily, during regulation, then to tighten with a screwdriver to prevent loosening from the impact and vibration during playing.

Which manufacturer recommended finger tight?
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1993865 - 12/02/12 08:47 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
Gadzar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Mexico City
Originally Posted By: KarelG
... So it looks like those 8 dumpers do have different felt form from the front side in comparison with back side...


I do not understand why they do that.

If the flat portion of the felt rests on the strings then the wedges of the other side won't fit on the strings and visceversa, if the wedges engage the strings then the flat felt won't rest on the strings.

Can someone explain the reason for using flat/wedge felt on a single damper?

Also, what kind of precautions must be taken when replacing the felt in such dual shaped dampers in order to have both kinds of felt working appropriately?




Edited by Gadzar (12/02/12 09:32 PM)
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Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

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http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx

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#1993891 - 12/02/12 09:51 PM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: KarelG]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2340
Loc: Olympia, WA
I agree with Jurgen - finger tight is risky. If the dampers get bumped they may easily go out of alignment. Also, I do a lot of voicing with a chopstick tool, and the sometimes I work between the dampers - if they are not screwed down fairly firmly they will move.

At Yamaha I was taught to tighten them in two passes - the first just tight enough so that they can still be rotated with duckbill pliers if necessary, and then a final pass where they are tightened enough so that they can't be easily moved.

The beanbag device that rests on top of the damper heads when tightening screws helps a lot to keep the dampers held in place while tightening the screws.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1993988 - 12/03/12 05:56 AM Re: Question about dumpers (good for adjustement or swap?) [Re: rysowers]
Olek Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6333
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: rysowers


The beanbag device that rests on top of the damper heads when tightening screws helps a lot to keep the dampers held in place while tightening the screws.


I find the idea good so I tried, but it can move your damper heads. What make the damper twist is the pressure of the screw, more if the screw is overly tightened so I understand what mean Rxd with "finger tightened") holding the wire with round pliers just above the lever is how to secure it.

The round pliers are also good to tap on the lever lightly to make it go a little lower (I have a leaded wood dowel to tap on the damper head to do the opposite)

Damper pliers are also useful in case the wire have to be twisted a little (with round nose pliers)

Learning to hold quietly the wire with the pliers is not as easy, but then the damper does not turn.

A small pry bar allow to have the same motion than with the pedal, but in the cavity.

@Gatzar : dampers are mixed flat plus double wedge to have a more progressive damping, in my opinion the height of the felt is of course important, but you may have noticed that dampers often rise one side sooner than the other (they are well guided then).

There are different type of damping "effect"/progressiveness depending of the orientation of the fiber, and how much the head is level to the wire surface.

Not so easy to have good damper felt those days it is worth keeping the old ones if you dont have good replacement. (The Detoa felts are medium quality, they are too soft and deform easily) A damper is always" damping" a little like a piano is always "playing" good damping mean you can extinct the tone progressively without ringing notes or parasites

The double wedges on the Foerster of the pics are properly cut , no wedge protuberant under the wire (or very little).

For damper work on Steinway style systems I find important to have the good quality/thickness of felt (I have seen plenty mounted with too soft felt that added a lot of friction and wear too fast)
For Steinways I buy strips of the good felt directly at S&S, not very expensive, Jahnn had a similar quality availeable.

The amount of raise of the dampers is important - 5-6 mm for the flat dampers depending of the piano and the unacorda mechanism, if any.

The sharps have the dampers raise more than white keys,(generally) the more the dampers rise the more there will be difference between white and black keys.

A jig laid on the stretcher is very useful to verify the squareness of the head, the angle of the wire vs the head, etc.






Edited by Kamin (12/03/12 05:59 AM)
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Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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Beginner adult book to read AWAY from the piano?
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Ruben Schoutrop - Nocturne Op. 55 No. 1 in F Minor
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