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#2162873 - 10/07/13 06:07 AM Regulating Birdcage Action
chopin_r_us Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 1005
Loc: UK
Anyone got an old book with the procedure for regulating a birdcage action? The dampers need adjusting but I'm quite sure I need to start from elsewhere first - maybe the capstan screws? I saw a little book in a Halifax bookstore but he wanted 30 or 40 bucks for it! I tried to memorize the page, duh.

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#2162911 - 10/07/13 08:59 AM Re: Regulating Birdcage Action [Re: chopin_r_us]
David Jenson Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2198
Loc: Maine
Start with proper key dip. If that isn't right you'll likely be changing things that shouldn't be messed with.

I like to do fine regulation on birdcage pianos with a sledge hammer. smirk
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David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
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#2162926 - 10/07/13 09:34 AM Re: Regulating Birdcage Action [Re: chopin_r_us]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: chopin_r_us
Anyone got an old book with the procedure for regulating a birdcage action? The dampers need adjusting but I'm quite sure I need to start from elsewhere first - maybe the capstan screws? I saw a little book in a Halifax bookstore but he wanted 30 or 40 bucks for it! I tried to memorize the page, duh.


The older American School of Piano Tuning home study course had a page or two lesson devoted to this. Perhaps someone who has one of these might share the info with you? This isn't a recommendation. Don't know whether the method works or not. But it is a place to start. Good luck smile
_________________________
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Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2163030 - 10/07/13 01:52 PM Re: Regulating Birdcage Action [Re: chopin_r_us]
Johnkie Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 740
Loc: England
Regulate the whole action and keys first ... without the dampers attached. Then regulate the pedal damper lift (making sure the wires are not making contact with the under-levers but still inserted into the bushings), and then finally regulating the action damper lift by means of adjusting the wires.

The difficult part is regulating the pedal lift, where the need is to either move the damper heads closer or further away from the strings by means of the "L" shaped damper wire fixtures whilst keeping the heads lined up so as not to catch the hammer heads in the treble section when the pedal is used.
_________________________
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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#2163075 - 10/07/13 04:42 PM Re: Regulating Birdcage Action [Re: chopin_r_us]
chopin_r_us Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 1005
Loc: UK
Thanks. That's very helpful.

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#2163190 - 10/07/13 10:22 PM Re: Regulating Birdcage Action [Re: chopin_r_us]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
I would sooner touch my Ex Wife than a bird cage action!
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Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2163209 - 10/07/13 11:16 PM Re: Regulating Birdcage Action [Re: chopin_r_us]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
Whoever invented the bird cage paino should be crucified. You can't properly tune or regulate it. In my younger days, I would work on them. I don't need the money quite as much. I have more important pianos to service
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Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2163214 - 10/07/13 11:24 PM Re: Regulating Birdcage Action [Re: chopin_r_us]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21916
Loc: Oakland
Except for the dampers and anything else which became obsolete, birdcage actions are regulated just like other vertical actions. The damper regulation would be the same, but the places where you make adjustments are different.
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Semipro Tech

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#2163224 - 10/07/13 11:57 PM Re: Regulating Birdcage Action [Re: chopin_r_us]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
If you love bird cage action pianos so much, have at it. Maybe you could be a bird cage piano specialist
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Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2163273 - 10/08/13 04:03 AM Re: Regulating Birdcage Action [Re: chopin_r_us]
rxd Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1810
Loc: London, England
Johnkies method of taking the damper unit off entirely to regulate, even raise the pitch quickly is good. Some of the actions are kinda strange looking but anybody with some sense of mechanics and understanding of upright actions in general will quickly figure it out.

Many of them can be appreciably better than they initially seem to have any right to be within their limitations, if you have the time and patience to spend with one.
_________________________
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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#2163274 - 10/08/13 04:10 AM Re: Regulating Birdcage Action [Re: chopin_r_us]
chopin_r_us Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 1005
Loc: UK
Someone directed me to this site: http://www.davidboyce.co.uk/birdcage-pianos.php

Great site - I never knew birdcages went into the 50's! At the end of a fascinating page his conclusion is: 'Don't buy one, and if you own one, don't expect that it can be improved.' and I do agree, but mine are special.

The thing with them is that the damping is by gravity - that's organic, I like that.

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#2163286 - 10/08/13 05:08 AM Re: Regulating Birdcage Action [Re: chopin_r_us]
Johnkie Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 740
Loc: England
Over-damper actions may not be everyone's favourite instrument to work on, but they have been around for a long time, and many remain in need of regular tuning here in the UK. I normally have at least one or two to tune every week ... sometimes more!

Contrary to belief of some, most are perfectly capable of being regulated and tuned very well, however the only major drawback is their poor damping qualities in the higher treble sections where the dampers are so close to the top bridge.

I get the impression that many vehemently dislike them due to the perceived difficulty of muting off when tuning .... those that are established in the use of muting felt strips. The way forward with tuning these over-dampers is to use a papps wedge, tuning unisons as one goes .... it take a little practice but when mastered it takes no longer than any other tuning method.

I get immense satisfaction tuning concert grands and being able to satisfy some of the worlds most demanding pianists, but it's a bit like having too much fillet steak unless you are served up egg and chips occasionally to highlight the difference in quality!

On reflection though .... I suppose it's like "marmite" you either love them or hate them ! 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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#2163296 - 10/08/13 06:06 AM Re: Regulating Birdcage Action [Re: chopin_r_us]
chopin_r_us Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 1005
Loc: UK
My egg 'n chips has a true una chorda. As it's bichord, don't need no wedges.

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#2163349 - 10/08/13 09:23 AM Re: Regulating Birdcage Action [Re: chopin_r_us]
Johnkie Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 740
Loc: England
That's interesting C R us ..... are you saying that when using the soft pedal it actually moves the hammers across so that only one string is struck ? I've seen that type of action before but only ever on a full trichord model.
_________________________
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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#2163367 - 10/08/13 10:12 AM Re: Regulating Birdcage Action [Re: chopin_r_us]
LluĂ­s Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/09
Posts: 313
Loc: Barcelona,Spain, European Unio...
Chopin r us is your piano a Pleyel or Broadwood bichord??
_________________________
1942 Challen Baby Grand Piano

1855 Pleyel Pianino (Restoring -> www.pleyelrestoration.blogspot.com )

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#2163369 - 10/08/13 10:14 AM Re: Regulating Birdcage Action [Re: Johnkie]
chopin_r_us Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 1005
Loc: UK
Yep. Wornum probably didn't know any better. I assume the idea of moving the hammers closer to simulate una corda hadn't arrived yet.

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