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#2027622 - 02/05/13 06:28 PM Plucking strings
newinstru? Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/12
Posts: 113
Loc: SoCal
I was at a friends house the other day, and she had acquired an old upright (Benjamin Curtaz) that her tech told her was wonderful, and not to give away. He had taken the whole action out to work on so that all that was there were the strings. I plucked one of the strings on the lower end of the treble and was astounded at the sound and sustain that came out of that thing.

Since then on a few pianos I have been plucking as much as playing so I can hear what it sounds like without the variable of hammer condition getting in the way. However.....on my friend's piano I could pluck from the middle without anything in the way.....on everything else I have to pluck much closer to the pins.

Does it make any difference in the sound and if so what? Thanks!

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#2027649 - 02/05/13 07:07 PM Re: Plucking strings [Re: newinstru?]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3458
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Sure, the "strike point" is very important, just like playing a guitar near the bridge, or near the middle. The relative volume of each overtone is different, depending on where the string is struck. Can you hear the difference in sound?

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
www.shusterpiano.com
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Director, PTG Norfolk 2016 Technical Institute
http://convention.ptg.org

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#2027656 - 02/05/13 07:21 PM Re: Plucking strings [Re: Cy Shuster, RPT]
newinstru? Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/12
Posts: 113
Loc: SoCal
Yes, I can hear the difference, but didn't know how much to attribute to different pianos, or that I was plucking from different strike points. On my own upright, I cannot get behind the dampers to go lower down.... same with another upright I tried, and today I couldn't get under the bass strings of a grand I looked at. Am I right in thinking the further I get toward the middle the richer sound I will get? Not sure how to make use of this info as I look at pianos. I guess if I pluck all of them near the top or front then I can make a fair comparison?

Thanks for your response.

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#2027670 - 02/05/13 07:44 PM Re: Plucking strings [Re: newinstru?]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
newinstru, it is generally not a good idea to pluck piano strings, and definitely not on a new instrument. Human hands have oils and acids which will corrode strings, tarnishing the plain steel strings and the copper wound bass strings. If you need to satisfy that plucking curiosity, you can use something like a guitar pick. Be careful not to dislodge or un-seat any dampers as this will result having to call in a technician coming to rectify things.
Originally Posted By: newinstru?
... Not sure how to make use of this info as I look at pianos. I guess if I pluck all of them near the top or front then I can make a fair comparison?
Unless you have a very trained ear, plucking will probably not be helpful in trying to evaluate pianos that you are looking at.
...just play 'em....
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2027699 - 02/05/13 08:44 PM Re: Plucking strings [Re: Supply]
newinstru? Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/12
Posts: 113
Loc: SoCal
I guess I kind of mAde it sound like I've been running Around plucking piano strings, but it was with permission, with my fingernail, to my own piano and 3 others, none new. I first did it to see what my piano sounded like without its terrible hammers getting in the way. But..... Your gentle admonition is duly noted and I will be good!

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#2027704 - 02/05/13 08:47 PM Re: Plucking strings [Re: Supply]
rXd Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 2151
Originally Posted By: Supply
newinstru, it is generally not a good idea to pluck piano strings, and definitely not on a new instrument. Human hands have oils and acids which will corrode strings, tarnishing the plain steel strings and the copper wound bass strings. If you need to satisfy that plucking curiosity, you can use something like a guitar pick. Be careful not to dislodge or un-seat any dampers as this will result having to call in a technician coming to rectify things.
Originally Posted By: newinstru?
... Not sure how to make use of this info as I look at pianos. I guess if I pluck all of them near the top or front then I can make a fair comparison?
Unless you have a very trained ear, plucking will probably not be helpful in trying to evaluate pianos that you are looking at.
...just play 'em....


+1

A knowledgeable dealer will not thank you for touching anything inside a piano.

Unless you have long fingernails, the flesh will touch the string.

The dark stains from touching with the fingers take a few days to show.
It looks ugly and too much of it dulls the tone of a strong.
_________________________
Amanda Reckonwith
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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#2027761 - 02/05/13 11:06 PM Re: Plucking strings [Re: newinstru?]
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1114
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
You might be mindful that plucking strings on a piano with all the dampers removed will sustain nicely no matter what. Since there are no impediments to the entire sound board/string assembly reverberating, the sound will sustain an unusually long time.. Then again, it could be a wonderful instrument, but without any encumbrances, (Dampers) it would be hard to judge.
_________________________
Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding

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#2027762 - 02/05/13 11:06 PM Re: Plucking strings [Re: newinstru?]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1664
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: newinstru?
Around plucking piano strings, but it was with permission, with my fingernail, to my own piano and 3 others, none new. I first did it to see what my piano sounded like without its terrible hammers getting in the way. But..... Your gentle admonition is duly noted and I will be good!

Previously, Max was doing just that.

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#2027782 - 02/06/13 12:22 AM Re: Plucking strings [Re: newinstru?]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Oh, lordy, spare us already..... please!
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2027817 - 02/06/13 01:38 AM Re: Plucking strings [Re: Maximillyan]
kpembrook Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1449
Loc: Michigan
Good grief! sick
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
Editor, Piano Technicians Journal
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2027960 - 02/06/13 08:51 AM Re: Plucking strings [Re: Supply]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1664
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: Supply
Oh, lordy, spare us already..... please!

Such tsvikovka (a pluck) can make every adult man, if you look closely this film. Perhaps pianist standing next tell him (her) what to do
IN GOD WE TRUST

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