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#2082068 - 05/13/13 07:35 PM Yamaha upright suddenly sounds muffled
jimmymio Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/07/07
Posts: 4
HI. I have one of those Yamaha uprights where the hammer butt flange threads have disintegrated over time. I replaced them all but when i reinstalled the action I noticed that the entire mid range of the piano sound sounds really dull where it used to be pleasingly bright.
I don't think it is individual hammer voicing. Any idea what might cause this across most of the keyboard?
Thanks for any help

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#2082073 - 05/13/13 07:48 PM Re: Yamaha upright suddenly sounds muffled [Re: jimmymio]
Johnkie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 688
Loc: England
Did the hammers get refaced ? If not that's most likely your problem, as it will be unlikely that you have installed them in exactly the original position, leading to strings not being mated properly.
_________________________
Concert Tuner & Technician for the past 49 years in the United Kingdom
and Member of the Pianoforte Tuners' Association (London)
www.jphillipspianoservices.freeindex.co.uk : E-mail jophillips06@aol.com

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#2082078 - 05/13/13 08:01 PM Re: Yamaha upright suddenly sounds muffled [Re: jimmymio]
SMHaley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 526
Loc: Seattle
I would guess two things. First I would double check the alignment of the action and make certain its properly seated. Second would be the squaring and mating of the hammer to the strings, especially if one removed the hammers to deal with the flange threads.
_________________________
AA Music Arts 2001, BM 2005
Pipe Organ Builder
Practitioner of piano technology
Church Music Professional
Curator of instruments - Chancel Arts
Baldwin F 1960 (146256)
Zuckermann Flemish Single

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#2082114 - 05/13/13 08:51 PM Re: Yamaha upright suddenly sounds muffled [Re: jimmymio]
jimmymio Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/07/07
Posts: 4
Thanks for the quick replies.
The action is properly seated and I also disconnected the pedals to eliminate that question.
Most definitely had to remove all the hammers to replace the flanges. Do you advise that i manually reposition each hammer so that it hits the string exactly where it had done it previously. Sounds pretty time consuming. But if that's what it takes...
Any tricks to make this easier?

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#2082123 - 05/13/13 09:13 PM Re: Yamaha upright suddenly sounds muffled [Re: jimmymio]
Zeno Wood Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 438
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Piano work is nothing if not time consuming.
_________________________
Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College

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#2082133 - 05/13/13 09:41 PM Re: Yamaha upright suddenly sounds muffled [Re: jimmymio]
Eric Gloo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1226
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
Did you replace the entire flange, or just the threads?
_________________________
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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#2082135 - 05/13/13 09:47 PM Re: Yamaha upright suddenly sounds muffled [Re: jimmymio]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Not many things (if any) in piano work are as easy and straight forward as they might appear. Most things become easier and quicker once you have done them a dozen times.

Did you replace the flange cords or the flanges themselves? You state both. If the replacement flange cords are a bit too short, that can restrict hammer movement.
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Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
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Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2082223 - 05/14/13 01:51 AM Re: Yamaha upright suddenly sounds muffled [Re: jimmymio]
jimmymio Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/07/07
Posts: 4
Sorry for not being more clear but I replaced the entire flange.

Can this adjustment be done without removing the action and using the screw that mounts the flange to the action rail? There didn't seem to be much play there.

Or do I have to remove the action and adjust using the the small hammer butt flange screw back behind by the cord?
Thanks again


Edited by jimmymio (05/14/13 03:03 AM)

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#2082270 - 05/14/13 04:53 AM Re: Yamaha upright suddenly sounds muffled [Re: jimmymio]
Johnkie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 688
Loc: England
As I have already said .... if you have taken the hammers of to replace the flanges then it's almost certain that your problem lays with the cuts in the hammer noses not being exactly lined up as they originally were. Either get them back to their original position .... using the flange screws not the butt plate screws ! or reface the hammers. The middle section will always be affected to a greater extent as the hammers are used a great deal more, making the cuts deeper. I hope that helps jimmy. wink
_________________________
Concert Tuner & Technician for the past 49 years in the United Kingdom
and Member of the Pianoforte Tuners' Association (London)
www.jphillipspianoservices.freeindex.co.uk : E-mail jophillips06@aol.com

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#2082285 - 05/14/13 06:22 AM Re: Yamaha upright suddenly sounds muffled [Re: jimmymio]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 436
Loc: new york city
What Johnkie said. Also, since you replaced the entire flange, you probably need to "travel" the hammershanks by papering the flanges so the hammers strike the strings squarely. If you don't the hammers may "swipe" the strings at an angle resulting in loss of power and tone.

You may want to call in a professional technician to help with traveling, alignment, and reshaping, which might be necessary now.

It's too late now for your piano, but there is a method to replace the flange cords without disturbing the flanges themselves. Jeffrey Hickey is a tech who posts here frequently, and he wrote an excellent article on this subject, published in the Piano Technicians Journal last year.
_________________________
Keyboardist & Composer, Piano Technician
www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#2082300 - 05/14/13 07:24 AM Re: Yamaha upright suddenly sounds muffled [Re: jimmymio]
Toni Goldener Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/11
Posts: 100
Loc: Switzerland
If possible, align the string grooves of the hammer head to the strings, loose the hammerbut flange screw, about half a turn and move the but with the indexfinger, then tighten the screw again or:
reshape the hammers, travel, mate to the strings etc.
I already had some loose hammer buts during a tuning, and I tighted them and the tone sounds dull. I aligned the hammer grooves to the strings and it was nearely the same again.
If you have really deep grooves not aligned with the strings, then a testblow can harm the hammer.
_________________________
Toni Goldener
Klavierservice Luzern
(Piano Service Lucerne)
Phone: +41 77 420 55 65

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#2082314 - 05/14/13 08:17 AM Re: Yamaha upright suddenly sounds muffled [Re: jimmymio]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1635
Loc: Conway, AR USA
If hammer misalignment - i.e. grooves to strings - is the correct diagnosis, and you opt to go the reshaping route, be prepared for the likelihood that, consequently, all hammers may need treatment accordingly to provide consistency in touch and timbre throughout; that is, reshaping, et al., the action regulated to compensate for all differential, fine tune, then voicing. Of course, it goes without saying that if the grooves are quite bad, then new hammers are needed along with regulation, voicing, etc.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicę

"Not to know what took place before you were born is to remain forever a child." - Cicero

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#2082429 - 05/14/13 12:18 PM Re: Yamaha upright suddenly sounds muffled [Re: jimmymio]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 450
Loc: Oregon Coast
Dear All,

I did indeed put together an article on replacing the flange-cords without disturbing the alignment of the hammers and regulation of the action. I was faced with an instrument where the owner absolutely wanted no change to the sound of the piano...so I had to find a way to change the cords without disturbing the hammer-to-string mating. Leaving all the flanges in place on the rail was the answer. I thought it was a brilliant discovery....but have learned that MANY technicians had already done it this way....I was just the guy who took pictures and sent it to the Journal!

Anyone who wants a copy can eMail and I'll heave it your way.
TunerJeff@aol.com

In this case, where the flanges were changed out, the ONLY answer is taking the time to carefully re-align all the hammers with the original string grooves in the hammer. The 'soft' 'muffled' sound is because the hammer is striking away from the grooves in the hammers. It takes time, but would certainly bring it back to where it was. Don't wait too long to make this adjustment! The hammers won't go back if you start pounding the felt away from the original grooves, and changing the composition of the strike-point yet again.

Slightly loosen the flange screws and use a narrow screwdriver to gently shift the flanges/hammers while striking the key; there may be enough play in the screw/flange to get the hammer back in place and then re-tighten the screw. But...the hammers must be square to the string and travel straight if this is going to help. Changing the flanges can lead to all manner of minor adjustment and tweaking needed to get things back to 'normal'. You may need an experienced tech to re-align the hammers.

From the armchair,
.02------Ching!
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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#2082509 - 05/14/13 03:37 PM Re: Yamaha upright suddenly sounds muffled [Re: jimmymio]
jimmymio Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/07/07
Posts: 4
Great feedback. Thanks to all for sharing so generously.

The problem is that it seems the flange really want to sit in one position only. When I loosen the screws and re-position the flanges, they seem to slide right back to their original position as I re-tighten them.

That being said, I was able to improve things somewhat but I see some hammer work coming up sooner rather than later.

Thanks again.


Edited by jimmymio (05/14/13 07:03 PM)

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