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#2026469 - 02/03/13 06:33 PM Mason and Hamlin Problems
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
I bought a new M &M BB last year. I think it was made around 2008, but I'm the first owner so I have the full warranty. The problem is that there are a tremendous amount of notes in the upper two octaves that have false beats. I can hear it and I've had two really reputable technicians acknowledge the problem. They cannot tune it well enough that I could use it for a recording and that's one of the reasons why I upgraded from my Yamaha C5.

The technicians came over to replace bridge pins as a possible solution, but they ended up only doing three notes. Well that didn't solve the problem since many more notes can't be tuned properly. I know there are false beats on every piano, but this is not acceptable from a high quality piano.

I'm wondering if anyone else has encountered this problem and if so, did they solve it? The technician now thinks he can add mass to the bridge and it might solve it. Key word is might. I'm not willing to let my piano be an experiment and I don't think I should have to. I've played on many M & M pianos and they are fine pianos (except for mine).

I wrote an email to someone at M & M, but getting someone to respond is like expecting the US president to answer your letter. Perhaps I'll be wrong this time.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Aaron
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#2026492 - 02/03/13 07:05 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1795
Loc: Suffolk, England
I suggest you move this to the Tech Forum because you are more likely to find a solution there.


Edited by Withindale (02/03/13 07:17 PM)
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Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
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#2026495 - 02/03/13 07:14 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Loc: New York City
Either forum or both of them makes perfect sense. If any other Mason owners have this problem, they may very well not read the Technician's Forum.


Edited by pianoloverus (02/03/13 07:15 PM)

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#2026497 - 02/03/13 07:24 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: pianoloverus]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1795
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
If any other Mason owners have this problem, they may very well not read the Technician's Forum.

... but they would be well advised to do so.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2026510 - 02/03/13 08:03 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Steve Cohen Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10341
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Have you addressed this in detail with the dealer you purchased it from?

GO RAVENS!! (Sorry)


Edited by Steve Cohen (02/03/13 08:04 PM)
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Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#2026522 - 02/03/13 08:39 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
Yes I have contacted the dealer and they were less than cooperative. They didn't seem to take it seriously which is too bad because it's suppose to be a reputable place in Oakland Ca. M & H has acknowledged the problem and even one of the guys back East said my particular year had the false beating problem with some pianos. M & H knows about the problem, but they haven't come up with a good solution for me. Sending someone out to try different things is not acceptable to me. If this were a lemon car, I'm guessing it would be replaced. Perhaps I'm wrong on this.
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#2026523 - 02/03/13 08:40 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
rlinkt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 292
Loc: CA
Aaron,

Sorry to hear about the problems with your piano. Peter was able to iron out some niggling issues with my piano. I hope everything works out with your piano.

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#2026533 - 02/03/13 09:13 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Rank Piano Amateur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1735
I apologize for my ignorance, but what are false beats? I am sure I could google this and find out, but I thought I might get an explanation I could understand this way.

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#2026535 - 02/03/13 09:14 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10753
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Isn't this what a warranty is for? Perhaps a letter written to the dealer and cc'd to M&H to honor their warranty would help. Be specific about what you expect to happen and ask for the problem to be resolved within a reasonable amount of time (15 days or whatever).

If that doesn't get a response, then perhaps you need to have a letter written by a lawyer (with a request for the legal fees to be reimbursed to you as well).

Was this issue not apparent when you played it in the showroom? Or is it possible this occurred during the moving process?
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#2026564 - 02/03/13 10:52 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8072
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Rank Piano Amateur
I apologize for my ignorance, but what are false beats? I am sure I could google this and find out, but I thought I might get an explanation I could understand this way.

I'm no expert, but a false beat is an unwanted nuance or a waa--waa--waa that is unwelcome. It prevents a note from sounding clean and pure, no matter how much you try to tune it away; hence, a false beat.

False beats are less common on higher quality pianos, supposedly.

Rick
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#2026593 - 02/03/13 11:39 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 612
Loc: NY and NC
I recently bought a 2004 (or maybe 2005) Mason-Hamlin BB. I am not sure if I would know what false beats sound like, but I don't think my piano has any trouble. It pleases me very much. Hope they can fix your problem. I really think the BB is a great model for M & H.
_________________________
2004 Mason-Hamlin polished ebony BB.
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#2026625 - 02/04/13 01:02 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2555
Loc: western Wisconsin
Back when I was grand shopping, I remember encountering a couple of pianos that I otherwise liked with this problem in the high treble register. I'm not sure if these issues were caused by incomplete prep work, assembly problem, or material defect, but I do remember one tech mentioning either a tool or some sort of process by which the issue could probably be alleviated. I didn't end up buying either instrument, so I can't say if it was fixable in these cases. Hopefully one of the techs with firsthand experience will post with their thoughts.
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#2026630 - 02/04/13 01:08 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Chopinlover49]
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
Thanks for all the replies. My false beating is pretty significant. If it were just a note here and there I could probably deal with it, but it's pretty obvious in the upper two octaves. To my ear it's completely unacceptable for a piano of this caliber. I can't remember if I mentioned this, but my girlfriend has a BB and hers does not have the same problem at all nor do most of them out there to my knowledge. I love the BB's, but not being able to get a great tuning is a big problem.

I'm hoping to hear back from Mason and Hamlin otherwise I may need to alter my approach to the problem. The Burgett's are really good people so I have faith that they will do what it takes to solve the problem.

Aaron
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#2026635 - 02/04/13 01:24 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1467
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Aaron;
Sorry you are having a piano problem. False beats are a vexing issue with pianos. There are many contributing factors. Some are:

shape of the capo bar too round,
string spacing at the capo bar or through the agraffes not straight enough,
loose bridge pins,
poorly spaced bridge pins,
wood of bridge surface too soft,
bridge pins too hard,
insufficient bridge pin stagger,
bridge notching sloppy,
wood splitting at the bridge pins,
peculiar resonances along the bridge that cause the termination point to "jump" around slightly out of phase with the fundamental string frequency. (Not easy to characterize or modify, but some pianos just have this problem.)

My first instinct would be to try a traditional copper plated, mild steel bridge pin if your piano is equipped with the stainless bridge pins some recent Mason's have.

The Burgett's are usually eager to help their customers in my experience. So good luck!
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#2026673 - 02/04/13 03:24 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20757
Loc: Oakland
I can guarantee that nobody can do anything about it without actually seeing and hearing the piano.
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Semipro Tech

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#2026730 - 02/04/13 07:23 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
The fact that, according to you, it is only happening in the treble, leads me to suspect that it is not an issue with bridge pins, notching, or bridge construction/materials. If you think about it, what is different between the treble and the tenor/bass sections? The answer is the capo bar. That's where I would focus my initial investigation.
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#2026792 - 02/04/13 09:36 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
If the issue cannot be resolved to your satisfaction within a reasonable amount of time, the dealer or the Mason Hamlin company should replace the piano with a BB and, of course, allow you to select a BB that you like a lot...not just any other BB that doesn't have the false beating problem. If the dealer has no BB you like right now, they should allow you to select one in the future. If the dealer only has one or two BB's that are not really to your liking and they move slowly, the company should pay for your trip to the factory where there may be a greater selection.

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#2027160 - 02/04/13 10:25 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: pianoloverus]
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
Pianoloverus,

I completely agree and am I think they should replace the piano. As I said, I don't want someone coming over trying a myriad of solutions until they figure it out. Although I'm a full-time music professor, I have an active playing career and spend a lot of time practicing so I need a good piano to stay sane.

Ed, you thank you for all the possible problem areas and to Chopinlover. I'll just keep my fingers crossed that a solution happens quickly because I've had the piano over six months now.
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#2027181 - 02/04/13 11:22 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4393
Loc: San Jose, CA
If you can prove up the condition to the company as you described it to us, what I would ask for, personally, is to swap for another unit of the same model. And of course, you will scrutinize it at a fine scale before accepting it.

It seems to me that it is possible that some rooms can contribute to this kind of sound, because of the shape and placement of the room's reflective surfaces. And therefore, acoustic treatment of the room is what it will take to give you a good sound, without the unwanted echoes.

In many cases, it's some of both.

I have heard that M&H is fine to deal with, once you can acquire their attention. Maybe NAMM has distracted them, recently.
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Clef


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#2027189 - 02/04/13 11:35 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
Good advice Jeff. I am thinking about moving it to a bigger room than it's currently in. Although the room will certainly affect the overall sound, I would think that the false beating would be independent of the room. The technicians couldn't get most of the upper two octaves in tune using a tuner; in some cases even one string let alone unisons.
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#2027201 - 02/05/13 12:10 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
I have only very rarely come across a piano where I did not notice any falseness during tuning. In other words, it is almost always there, to a small degree at least, even in the piano owner does not notice. (Tuners rarely go out of their way to point it out to clients. Once sensitized, the owner can always be bothered by it.) So one cannot make the generalized statement: "A piano's false beats constitute a warranty case and the piano should be replaced". It is a question of degree, and of course this is where one could possibly argue one side vs the other.

I am wondering if the piano took over four years to sell because it sounded a bit "off". Did you get a special deal on it?

From what you write, it sounds like the falseness is indeed significant and demonstrable. In that case, with a piano of that caliber and price level, I would call it a warranty issue, as it can easily be argued that the instrument is not performing as intended and as designed.

I know some that other high-end manufacturers who had some warranty issues with bridge problems in the past, so M&H would not be in bad company. Every manufacturer hates the kind of publicity that these kind of forums can bring, and that can add a bit of pressure for your case. I hope it all works out to a happy ending for you.
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Piano Forte Supply
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#2027221 - 02/05/13 12:52 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
I completely agree with everything you said. Mine is pretty significant. You are right, I did get an excellent price for it and it could have been the reason it didn't sell for so long. It was not in great tune in the store, but most pianos are not in my experience. I could tell it had a nice tone and I liked the way the action felt - still do. I assumed it would be fine once it was tuned a few times. I didn't start noticing the problem until it was tuned in my home. Maybe the lesson is to have a piano tuned before you buy it even if it comes out of your own pocket.

By the way, someone at the factory back East even mentioned that there were several pianos that had more than normal false beating in the year mine was built.

I know the Burgett Brothers from doing recordings for their Piano Disc company several years ago. I can't imagine that they wouldn't do whatever it takes to make a customer happy. They are very good people and their pianos are great in my opinion.
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#2027245 - 02/05/13 02:08 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13969
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
It is widely known that false beats are not uncommon among pianos, some have few, some less and hardly any have none.

The reasons for this are many and each case is different.

Proper prepping including several tunings right in beginning,i.e. allowing strings to stretch can help reduce the problem.

Strings stretch differently at different sections, before or after alliots for example, so there's quite a bit to this.

IMHO a top tech understanding the issue is about the best remedy I can think of. Perhaps MH can recommend one to you?

best wishes,

Norbert
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#2027249 - 02/05/13 02:23 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20757
Loc: Oakland
If I ran across this, barring anything readily apparent, the first thing I would try is restringing the affected area of the piano, because that is fairly innocuous if it is not the problem, and cheaper than most other possible solutions.
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Semipro Tech

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#2027338 - 02/05/13 09:25 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: BDB]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10341
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: BDB
If I ran across this, barring anything readily apparent, the first thing I would try is restringing the affected area of the piano, because that is fairly innocuous if it is not the problem, and cheaper than most other possible solutions.


+1

And, base on the facts as presented, the restringing should be covered under the warranty.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#2027349 - 02/05/13 09:52 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1467
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Plain wire by itself is almost never the source of false beats. New wire is an added source of tuning instability so it does have the "benefit" of creating more work for the tuner.

If when new wire is installed; problems with capo bar shape and string spacing issues are addressed THAT will have a material affect on reducing the number of, intensity of, and volume of false beats. Even the width of the unison string spacing at the capo can have some affect on false beats. Also proper tone regulation to establish perfect unison phasing at hammer strike can help.

As Supply points out; all pianos have some false beating, if they are weak they mostly disappear into the unison when well tuned because of the pitch pulling effect of bridge coupling.
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In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2027358 - 02/05/13 10:20 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 529
Loc: shirley, MA
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
Even the width of the unison string spacing at the capo can have some affect on false beats. Also proper tone regulation to establish perfect unison phasing at hammer strike can help.

Hi Ed,

Why would width of string spacing can effect the presence of false beating?

Jim Ialeggio
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www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
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#2027366 - 02/05/13 10:51 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1467
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Hi Jim,

It has to do with how straight the string path goes over the V-bar. Any sideways deflection of the duplex segment in relation to the struck string segment induces more horizontal displacement of the vibrations. The H-mode effective speaking length usually differs from the V-mode. When the pitch difference is outside the unison coupling window, beats arise.

Also, the unison phasing conditions are easier to maintain when the hammer striking width is reduced. And unison phasing helps eliminate false beats.

Gotta go tune now!
Ed
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2027415 - 02/05/13 12:05 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
...and for those piano players who have lynx's ears: if you want a piano virtually free of falseness, save your nickels and buy a Fazioli or a Steingraeber. In my estimation, that is about as pure a tone as is available out there. Everything else...., well,... beats. (YMMV)
_________________________
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Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

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#2027417 - 02/05/13 12:13 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20757
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
Hi Jim,

It has to do with how straight the string path goes over the V-bar. Any sideways deflection of the duplex segment in relation to the struck string segment induces more horizontal displacement of the vibrations. The H-mode effective speaking length usually differs from the V-mode. When the pitch difference is outside the unison coupling window, beats arise.

Also, the unison phasing conditions are easier to maintain when the hammer striking width is reduced. And unison phasing helps eliminate false beats.

Gotta go tune now!
Ed


What about the D-mode? If you have H-mode and V-mode, you have to have D-mode.

(Sounds like someone trying to enhance the $-mode.)
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#2027495 - 02/05/13 02:30 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1675
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
Aaron, I'm really sorry to hear you having to go through all this mess. That doesn't sound right with a higher end piano like that. Man all we want to do is practice and play. Stuff like this can take over your life... frown

I hope you get it sorted out one way or the other. Keep us posted and best with it.
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#2027501 - 02/05/13 02:40 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13969
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
...and for those piano players who have lynx's ears: if you want a piano virtually free of falseness, save your nickels and buy a Fazioli or a Steingraeber. In my estimation, that is about as pure a tone as is available out there. Everything else...., well,... beats. (YMMV)


True, but not having false beats doesn't mean you like piano.
Overall sound and identity is still an entity by itself.

Again, a top tech with experience in this matter is IMHO the answer.

Checking on German websites and talking to some techs over there, false beats, i.e. "unreine Seiten" are neither uncommon nor unmanagable.

http://translate.google.ca/translate?hl=...html&prev=/

http://www.pia-nola.de/klavier-und-fluegel-beratung1.php

Of course they couldn't have been talking about German pianos...

Norbert wink


Edited by Norbert (02/05/13 02:47 PM)
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#2044210 - 03/06/13 10:53 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
Thanks to all your suggestions. Quite a bit of work has been done on the piano, but no improvement. The tech replaced some strings, checked the capo, replaced some bridge pins and drilled holes in the bridge to add lead (mass). He's run out of ideas. I think he might try adding more mass to the bridge in the upper register, but he doesn't hold much hope for any improvement. At this point, I'm not willing to let my piano be used as an experiment. In the meantime, I've emailed and called Mason and Hamlin at least 2 dozen times and I've never had one person call me back. Even the dealer in Oakland wouldn't respond. I'm not impressed with with their customer service and so much for having a 5 year warranty. I'm sad to say that I need to solve the problem through the legal system which is not the best way to go in my opinion. Thanks again for all the input, it was very helpful.
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#2044238 - 03/06/13 11:23 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 852
Loc: San Francisco
I am sorry to hear about the issues with the M & H...the advice in these pages is spot on...i worry a little about the modifications that technicians have done in trying to solve the false beats...you may have invalidated any warranty..worth checking...
Have done a lot of work prepping grand pianos over the years and solving some issues that have eluded others and there needs to be a forensic approach...right now it will be hard to see what is original on the instrument...making it more complicated.
There are a number of things that can be tried...each in isolation...one string at a time with careful monitoring of any changes either good or bad...

Most of the guys in Sac know me...techs and at Piano Disc management...
Happy to discuss this off line if you are interested...
good luck

Peter Sumner
Curator of Pianos and Principle Concert Piano Technician
Stanford University
California
_________________________
Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician



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#2044245 - 03/06/13 11:31 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
Peter,

You have made a good point, but the tech was sent out from M and H. He does all of their warranty work. He's very good and I'm sure you know him and his partner. I've also had another very well-known tech evaluate the piano and he came to the same conclusion about the tuning issue. He did not do any work on it for the reasons you mentioned, he only tuned it. The only work done on the piano was paid for and authorized by M and H. I get the feeling M and H thinks I'll just drop the issue and go away which isn't going to happen.

Thanks for the response.
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#2044254 - 03/06/13 11:43 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 852
Loc: San Francisco
Hey Aaron...
Thanks for the clarification...guess I didn't pick that up from the thread...
Have one suggestion...get that pitch cranked up...maybe to A443...nothing will break....if it is done carefully..
That will change a whole bunch of stuff and at that point get the strings LIGHTLY pushed or tapped down on the bridge...this is prep 101...then tune again to A443 and listen...the treble strings can then be pushed up just forward of the V bar...tune again...listen...
This isn't easy stuff...especially in a instrument built to a high standard...
There may be an inherent issue in this instrument and treble beats suck big time...just hang in there
P
_________________________
Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician



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#2044263 - 03/07/13 12:02 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
Peter,

Thanks for the tip. I think your last statement is probably the sad truth. I was talking to one rebuilder and he said he's rebuilt dozens of pianos that turned out great, but every now and then one will have a tuning problem and he said he never knows why because he doesn't do anything different. M and H are great pianos, but maybe mine is just a lemon for some reason.

By the way, have you ever heard of drilling holes in the bridge and putting lead in them?

Thanks again.
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#2044271 - 03/07/13 12:10 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
What is a false beat?
_________________________
Casio Privia PX-150


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#2044284 - 03/07/13 12:29 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 852
Loc: San Francisco
Drilling holes in a bridge is a new one on me...filling with lead is a new one on me...
To answer the last question posted...
A false beat is one that is heard in a single wire as opposed to a beat that is heard when two wires are an interval apart and the beat rate assists in tuning....a false beats is a pain and just gets in the way..
It is really supposed to be a physical impossibility...a single wire beating...but it results from issues at the string/wire termination points at the bridge and/or the V bar...or a kink in the wire...and, and, and.....
Eliminating false beats is possible in many cases, but it must be noted that in some cases it results in the vitality of the sound being 'dumbed down' compared to the surrounding strings...
The beats are usually noticed during long sustained sounds but are rarely noticed in quick passages...

hope that helps..
P
_________________________
Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician



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#2044288 - 03/07/13 12:36 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
I should probably let a piano technician reply to this, but a false beat is when an individual string has sort of a beating sound. To me it sounds like two strings not in tune. Pretty much all of my upper two octaves has this sound and therefore does not sound like it has clean unisons. You can actually see it on a tuning machine when trying to tune one string. I'm sure others can offer a better explanation. All I know is that tuners can't get clean sounding unisons on my M and H BB.
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#2044297 - 03/07/13 01:26 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13969
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
The above is a good example how technical jargon or postering of sorts - instead of simply getting results - can confuscate an issue.

Even more treadful is the fact that a company does not seem to respond to a customer's query, something the maker here would perhaps reconsider if they'd know "who" is actually being involved....

[Kudos and respects to Aaron not having played this card wow]

The situation shows just once again that when discussing "pianos" a lot more is involved than generally meets the eye.

For us it always has been part of our own decision "who" to represent - and perhaps who "not"

We once had an action geometry problem with a Sauter 7' grand piano we couldn't solve. [or at that time didn't know "how"..]

Sauter company immediately sent us their top technician all the way from Germany to rectify the situation.

No questions asked....

Understanding that Sacramento is less of a distance here?

Norbert wink


Edited by Norbert (03/07/13 01:36 AM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#2044602 - 03/07/13 04:10 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1795
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Aaron Garner
I'm sad to say that I need to solve the problem through the legal system which is not the best way to go in my opinion.

Aaron, in case you haven't seen my PM, I'd suggest you post recordings of some offending notes at pp to ff on the tech forum, together with some close up shots of the strings at the capo bar and the bridge. It might just help to pinpoint the problem and lead to a solution.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2044615 - 03/07/13 04:17 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
What's up with M&H? You guys have got me worried. There has been no update on their website since August(or February, I never can tell with USA dates)2012. Is anybody home there? I had my new (dormant 2009 wood action) M&H delivered last summer. It had a broken A0 shank. Not fixed yet. According to my dealer, the part is still on order.

As an aside, I seem to have only one note (A#5) that has false beats (on all the strings of the triad). Can't get it to settle down. All other notes on piano have no issues.

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#2044679 - 03/07/13 06:12 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Withindale]
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
Ian,

How would I get a shot of the capo? I'm pretty sure I remember where it is. Would I take the action out and stick a camera under the strings? I can Google capo. By the way, pretty much all of the notes in the upper two octaves have false beating. I'll see if I can take some pictures this weekend. Their tech did check the capo and said it was fine.

Mwm, sorry you are having some issues as well. I've yet to have anyone answer an email or phone call. I know the Burgett brothers from years ago and they are really nice people so I'm surprised at how they do business. Perhaps they don't get involved until something escalates. I should reiterate that they have sent their tech guy out a number of times, but nothing has been fixed. If this were a car, I'm quite certain that most dealers would replace it if they couldn't fix it.

The dealer did call me back (amazing) and said M and H was working on it.
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#2044695 - 03/07/13 06:43 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
My issues are minor relative to yours. During the period that I was in the process of choosing/aquiring my piano, I communincated with Cesar R. at M&h many times. He was most helpful and instructive. I would think a replacement is in order. You would most defintely need to choose one from the floor. There appears to be a significant variability in the sound at the moment. Good luck. Keep us posted.

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#2044701 - 03/07/13 06:47 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 6091
Loc: Rochester MN
What PW needs is a Mason Mike - Sorta like Kawai Don, only different.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2044707 - 03/07/13 06:54 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1795
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Aaron Garner
How would I get a shot of the capo? I'm pretty sure I remember where it is.

I meant from above from the tuning pins to the capo and a bit beyond. Ed McMorrow wrote about string spacing earlier on. Better news from the dealer.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2044808 - 03/07/13 09:58 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
scepticalforumguy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
Originally Posted By: Aaron Garner
If this were a car, I'm quite certain that most dealers would replace it if they couldn't fix it.

The dealer did call me back (amazing) and said M and H was working on it.


Hi Aaron,

I'm sure you're upset about your piano, but I'd like to point out that a piano shouldn't be compared to a car. If you wanted to go that route--well, you bought a 2007 model in 2012, and you did 'drive it' off the lot after you'd inspected it. What would they replace it with? Another 2007? I'd think the better route for them would be to either give you a refund (probably not likely), or give you credit towards a new model with the WNG action.

Also, I'm curious: The problem with the upper two octaves only appeared to you when a tuner came and said he couldn't tune it properly, or did you notice that there was something wrong before that point? Are they really unplayable notes? Or just not as nice as the rest of the keyboard?

I too bought a MH BB last year, but it was used, and the dealer refused to give me a warranty because I'm finicky. That, and he lowered the price further than he appeared to want to. Go figure. In any case, I'm just telling you this because now that I've had my piano for 5 months of course I've found lots of little things that could bug me, BUT, without having a warranty, I find they don't really bother me as much as they could.
My last piano was as close to perfect as I could find (a Shigeru SK2), but chose character, with flaws, over it. I still question my wisdom in all this, but in the meantime I grow to appreciate the MH more everyday, warts and all.

I hope you get your issue resolved one way or another. Its not a nice feeling thinking you're in a situation you can't change.
_________________________
Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.



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#2044879 - 03/08/13 03:26 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
Scepticalforumguy,

Your point is well taken and I agree.

Like a lot of pianos in stores, the BB needed to be tuned. It wasn't horrible, but still out. Yes, I did notice it before the tuner came, but I assumed that after it settled into my house after a few tunings it would be fine. The upper two octaves just cannot be tuned so that the unisons sound clean.

I'm not sure how to answer the question about the notes being unplayable. Sure I can play the upper two octaves, but they don't sound in tune. There are actually more notes in other parts of the piano that have problems. I think it's a defective piano and two other very respected techs have agreed.

I'm going to give them a few more days before I find another way to solve the problem. The last thing I want is a lawsuit, but if that's what it takes I'll go that route. I just hate the idea of not being able get the issue resolved between me and M and H.

I'll keep you posted. Perhaps M and H will make this right, but I have my doubts.
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#2044918 - 03/08/13 06:06 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: scepticalforumguy]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
Originally Posted By: Aaron Garner
If this were a car, I'm quite certain that most dealers would replace it if they couldn't fix it.


Hi Aaron,

I'm sure you're upset about your piano, but I'd like to point out that a piano shouldn't be compared to a car. If you wanted to go that route--well, you bought a 2007 model in 2012, and you did 'drive it' off the lot after you'd inspected it. What would they replace it with? Another 2007? I'd think the better route for them would be to either give you a refund (probably not likely), or give you credit towards a new model with the WNG action.
The point of the car analogy was simply to say the piano should be replaced if it cannot be fixed. It certainly doesn't have to be replaced with a 2007 model, but I think the OP should have a choice of wood or WNG actions and, most importantly, a particular BB that he likes. If the piano has to be replaced it certainly shouldn't cost the OP any more money no matter what the price of a new BB is.

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#2044944 - 03/08/13 08:37 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Numerian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 1071
It seems to me if the M&H technician sent out to fix the problem tells the customer the false beats in the upper two octaves are irreperable, and that the piano has a basic flaw, the manufacturer needs to replace the instrument per the terms of the warranty. This is what other manufacturers do. Why is this so complicated for M&H?

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#2045007 - 03/08/13 10:59 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
Pianomarevelous and Numerian,

I completely agree with both of you and all the comments on this forum have been very meaningful to me. I not only teach for a living, but I spend many hours at my piano so having a good instrument is extremely important. I still really love M and H pianos and believe that the vast majority are fine instruments. I know they are because I've played many.

On a positive note, after literally dozens of calls and a few emails, I finally got a reply from M and H. I didn't get a resolution, but at least it's a start. I really would love to have my faith restored in M and H because I think they are fundamentally good people. I used to record for the Piano Disc Company when they first started and were really small. I know Kirk and Gary are super nice people which is why I have been so puzzled at how they have handled this. The other people I've met in Sacramento are also good people even if some of their business practices are a little flawed.

Anyway, thanks again for all the generous responses and private emails. Hopefully this will have a happy resolution.
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#2045021 - 03/08/13 11:34 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Norbert]
Mark VC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/26/12
Posts: 107
Originally Posted By: Norbert
The above is a good example how technical jargon or postering of sorts - instead of simply getting results - can confuscate an issue.

Even more treadful is the fact that a company does not seem to respond to a customer's query, something the maker here would perhaps reconsider if they'd know "who" is actually being involved....


Treadful and Confuscate are my new favorite words. smile

Mark

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#2045033 - 03/08/13 11:55 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13969
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Aaron:

Wishing you a happy outcome! Agree that the owners of Mason Hamlin have always impressed me as very fine people.
It's the dealer, the other 'company' which keeps confusing me..

Norbert smile
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#2045036 - 03/08/13 11:59 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1467
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
The Tech's advocating the placement of lead upon the bridge/soundboard to solve false beats in the treble are on the wrong path. The added mass will only damp the volume of tone and make it have a thinner sounding tone.

Some aspects of false beats are still a bit of a mystery to the piano world. I would have to hear and inspect the piano to make any meaningful diagnosis-so posting here has it's limits.

Good luck.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2045039 - 03/08/13 12:05 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Norbert]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1467
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Norbert,
I am surprised that a piano dealer who prides himself on knowing a "world famous piano technician" would have to get a tech from Germany to come to BC to solve a Sauter action problem. Perhaps you need to find better tech's locally-or have they soured on you?
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2045057 - 03/08/13 12:55 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13969
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
I am surprised that a piano dealer who prides himself on knowing a "world famous piano technician" would have to get a tech from Germany to come to BC to solve a Sauter action problem.


Don't know where this came from as it doesn't address company resonsibilty. Warranty starts at dealer level.

If I detect a level of cynicism or glee in your message don't understand what motivates you to it.

The problem with our piano was the action geometry which made piano a bit touch too heavy for most of our customers.

This was about 18 years ago.

When they send a factory tech who then re-drilled & reset all the capstans and then re-regulated entire action I thought it was exemplary service.

It was also interesting to watch a 65 years old factory tech tackling such issue with great confidence and experience.

In fact several local techs attended at that time and were very interested to meet the man and see him in action.

It was particularly nice seeing a company taking responsibility looking after its customer. [us] It's also nice a company is not denying that problems can occur and then acting on it in a responsible manner.

The piano is now used in home concerts and loved by every single pianist playing on it.

Hoping the same will come true for Aaron!

At same time why not contact OP and see if your own expertise as top RPT would be of help to him to resolve the case?

Opportunity to gain hero status!

Norbert thumb


Edited by Norbert (03/08/13 02:04 PM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#2045058 - 03/08/13 12:57 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1474
Loc: Danville, California
"On a positive note, after literally dozens of calls and a few emails, I finally got a reply from M and H."

These are "very fine people"?

Very fine people return customers' phone calls.

Sorry - I am not impressed.

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#2045075 - 03/08/13 01:45 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
Furtwangler,

I would have to agree with you. I guess the comment was my attempt to focus on something positive for my own sanity. This ordeal has caused a lot of stress in my already stressful life and the fact that they emailed me was positive. This has also taken up a tremendous amount of my time which like most of us I have very little of. But, I do absolutely agree. Just a simple response like, "we're working on the problem" would have made a world of difference in my book.
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#2045108 - 03/08/13 02:54 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
My previous company did a study against our close competitor on the number of defective units both companies shipped. Our competitor shipped significantly larger number of defective units. We had always been proud of our quality in general but no manufacturing company could ship 0% defects, still our defect rate was at less than 1% while our competitor was closer to 12%.

The reason for the study was that our competitor had a customer satisfaction rate of 95% while we had a customer satisfaction rate of only 80%. What's more the study showed that while the initial customer satisfaction of our competitor was only at 65% because of the high defect rate, because they had such excellent customer response time and speedy field replacement response that their customer satisfaction went to 95% versus our 80% even though we rarely shipped defects.

There is a lesson here. If customer response is ordinary, it really doesn't matter how good your stuff is. Customers do not remember an uneventful purchase. They do remember when they had problems and you were there to resovle their problem quickly leading to a much better impression of your company than the company that didn't give them any trouble to begin with.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2045129 - 03/08/13 03:28 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Entheo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 1111
Loc: chicago, il
i'll share my story as grist for the mill.

in 2000 i purchased a brand new M&H Model A -- a beautiful little beast. a few months after taking possession a buzzing developed when playing a note (or notes; memory fuzzy now). it drove me crazy, but the dealer & his techs made multiple visits to my house to attempt to debug it. i ultimately troubleshot the issue to the felt under the strings behind the bridge. the fix was to put a piece of leather under the tri-strings to squeeze the buzz out. not an elegant solution, but it worked. then, one of the dual string bass notes developed false beats. i had to have the strings replaced twice. after many years the action started to become quite sluggish, and i wanted to explore the possibility of replacing the capstans (? -- i think this was it) with the newer, slicker versions they had. my dealer put in the good word for me and i spoke with the lead engineer at M&H, who was quite gracious with his time. but that did contrast with other occasions in which i tried contacting the manufacturer (initially to make some much needed marketing suggestions about their website, etc.) and never received a reply (phone nor email). others here have noted the same experience.

they have a real customer service problem. if they want end users to take support issues thru their dealers they should at least have the courtesy of articulating that policy. i had a highly reputable dealer so i didn't freak out, but i can see how many would, especially with a dealer who isn't being proactive.

i also believe that what one other poster said here about "warts and all" does apply to smaller production manufacturers and/or piano makers who don't have a rigid QMS protocol, e.g. ISO 9001. quality can vary from instrument to instrument. that can be either charmingly unique or very frustrating. although i loved my M&H i am now experiencing with my newer piano what consistency is all about, and now understand why it's an overwhelming choice of institutions & teachers.
_________________________
diary of an amateur pianist

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#2045161 - 03/08/13 04:14 PM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
Good point 4ever. Although the outcome may get resolved satisfactorily in the end, the experience would make me think twice about purchasing another Mason and Hamlin. At the college where I teach, we may need to replace our Steinway D and I was really hot on looking into the Mason concert grand. After this experience I would have to suggest another piano to my dean. It gets used a lot by concert pianists so problems would need to be resolved quickly. I've had quite the opposite experience with Yamaha. They are very quick to take care of problems. I know of someone who got their low end grand replaced with a brand new C3 and the original piano was out of warranty by several years. They recognized it had some sort of design flaw and just gave them a piano a level up because they stopped making the one the customer owned.
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#2045818 - 03/10/13 07:29 AM Re: Mason and Hamlin Problems [Re: Aaron Garner]
geraldbrennan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/14/08
Posts: 77
Loc: ann arbor, mi
If M&H were smart (which they're not -- I have my own dealings with them), or at least wanted to get successful, they would address this issue with the OP and also IN THIS FORUM. Anyone thinking of parting with the jack needed to get a new BB or CC, unless they're not very bright, would be checking this website for the experiences of others.
I wish someone else bought them...

Gerry

(1918 M&H BB)

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