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#2292582 - 06/20/14 02:05 PM Cost of Hammer work
Jasper82 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/11/10
Posts: 118
Loc: Ann Arbor MI
I was wondering about getting the hammers in my piano a little softened. Basically how much does it cost.

I forget the exact term for the proceedure but I know what it involves to a degree.

Basically, my piano is very bright and almost harsh. It's 50 years old so I don't know if it's the strings or the hammers.

I was hoping to get it mellowed out a bit.
_________________________
Yamaha CP20
Yamaha EL25
Baldwin Hamilton Studio Upright 1963
http://jdsy.bandcamp.com/album/solo-piano-improv

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#2292591 - 06/20/14 02:18 PM Re: Cost of Hammer work [Re: Jasper82]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1845
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Voicing. Do you have a photo? Age and condition is germane to cost. At 50 years, hammer replacement may be required.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2292593 - 06/20/14 02:24 PM Re: Cost of Hammer work [Re: Jasper82]
Jasper82 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/11/10
Posts: 118
Loc: Ann Arbor MI
I don't have photos of the hammers... but I do remember my tuner said it could be voiced differently if I wanted to, so at least I know it's possible.

I guess I'll ask my tuner about it when he tunes the piano in July. On a side note the piano holds a tuning really well.

Is there any ball park estimate about how much it costs to voice a piano?

Thanks,

JD
_________________________
Yamaha CP20
Yamaha EL25
Baldwin Hamilton Studio Upright 1963
http://jdsy.bandcamp.com/album/solo-piano-improv

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#2292599 - 06/20/14 02:41 PM Re: Cost of Hammer work [Re: Jasper82]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1845
Loc: Conway, AR USA
If your tuner is correct, then perhaps a degree of shaping and needling is all that's needed to mellow the timbre. Cost will depend upon time. From this distance, I cannot say. Perhaps a tech here on PW in your area will give an educated guess as to cost. Best wishes.


Edited by bkw58 (06/20/14 02:42 PM)
Edit Reason: clarity
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2292701 - 06/20/14 06:40 PM Re: Cost of Hammer work [Re: Jasper82]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1974
Loc: Philadelphia area
Are you sure its the hammers that need work and not strings that need to be replaced?

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#2292709 - 06/20/14 07:22 PM Re: Cost of Hammer work [Re: Jasper82]
Jasper82 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/11/10
Posts: 118
Loc: Ann Arbor MI
Dave,

From what I can tell the strings are fine. My tuner didn't say anything about them needing to be replaced. The piano stays in tune too. One thing about how it sounds now that is nice, is that it has quite a bit of reverb and resonance. A trail of echo that is pleasant. It is just that it's very bright. and I'd imagine if the hammers were voiced softer it would mellow out.

I'm just curious as to how much a technician usually charges for the job.

I hope it's not taboo to ask about that.

Thanks,

Joey
_________________________
Yamaha CP20
Yamaha EL25
Baldwin Hamilton Studio Upright 1963
http://jdsy.bandcamp.com/album/solo-piano-improv

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#2292715 - 06/20/14 07:33 PM Re: Cost of Hammer work [Re: Jasper82]
A454.7 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/12
Posts: 1577
Loc: Manywheres
Some charge extra from the tuning--by an hourly rate. I never have: if the piano needs voicing, which interferes with the quality of the tuning, then I spend more time on the voicing and less on the tuning. Pianos need to be maintained. If the piano is regularly serviced, then there should be time for voicing.

Technicians that are experienced voicers can probably get the voicing 90% to where you want it in about 20-30 mins...the other 10% could take days.

With all that said, $100-$200 should be enough to make a noticeably good difference...if they know what they are doing.
_________________________
Masters degree in piano technology, +factory(s) training, etc., blah, blah, yada, yada, yada...[uncensored break-out in song]..."it don't mean a thing, if you aint got that swing."
--Klavierbaukuenstler des Erwachens--
Email: klavierbaukuenstler@gmail.com

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#2292719 - 06/20/14 07:41 PM Re: Cost of Hammer work [Re: A454.7]
Jasper82 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/11/10
Posts: 118
Loc: Ann Arbor MI
Cool, that is good news. I have confidence in my tuner so it's good to hear that it's not much more expensive than a tuning is.

I can budget for that.

Thanks for the reply A443

I haven't had a tuning in about 2 or 3 years, it sounds good, but I just want to do my part in taking care of the piano!
_________________________
Yamaha CP20
Yamaha EL25
Baldwin Hamilton Studio Upright 1963
http://jdsy.bandcamp.com/album/solo-piano-improv

Top
#2292722 - 06/20/14 07:46 PM Re: Cost of Hammer work [Re: Jasper82]
Jasper82 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/11/10
Posts: 118
Loc: Ann Arbor MI
Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if the hammers are voiced softer, if some of the resonance and reverb will diminish?

I had this fear that a re-voicing would remove some of the resonance.
_________________________
Yamaha CP20
Yamaha EL25
Baldwin Hamilton Studio Upright 1963
http://jdsy.bandcamp.com/album/solo-piano-improv

Top
#2292723 - 06/20/14 07:51 PM Re: Cost of Hammer work [Re: Jasper82]
davidglenn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/14
Posts: 31
Loc: North Carolina
JD,
It's worth a try to have your original hammers filed and needled. Done properly, softening the hammers should mellow it out. I know you are concentrating on a price. It all depends on your tuner/tech's technique. Simply put, how much time and labor will it take. It can be time consuming. Some pianos require more work. It's hard to put a set price across the board. If your tuner mentioned it to you, I'm sure he has an idea of what is needed and a price in mind.
Good luck!
_________________________
David Glenn
Piano tuner/ pianist
1970 Baldwin R Grand
1952 Baldwin M Baby Grand
1922 fully restored Estey 6' Grand
1910 restored Estey Upright
Yamaha PSR-750

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#2292760 - 06/20/14 09:13 PM Re: Cost of Hammer work [Re: Jasper82]
A454.7 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/12
Posts: 1577
Loc: Manywheres
Originally Posted By: Jasper82
[...] if the hammers are voiced softer [will] some of the resonance and reverb will diminish?
Technically, no, not at all. However, your perception of what resonance/reverb is in relation to your piano...maybe, perhaps, yes.

If you posted a picture of the hammers and a quick sound recording, people could give you a better assessment of what might be necessary/appropriate in your situation.
_________________________
Masters degree in piano technology, +factory(s) training, etc., blah, blah, yada, yada, yada...[uncensored break-out in song]..."it don't mean a thing, if you aint got that swing."
--Klavierbaukuenstler des Erwachens--
Email: klavierbaukuenstler@gmail.com

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#2292929 - 06/21/14 10:52 AM Re: Cost of Hammer work [Re: Jasper82]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2411
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
When your technician is next at your piano-have him/her identify the notes that are most out of voice as he/she hears things and see if you both agree. You both need to take the time to "understand" each other musically.

The cost would depend on so many other items in regulation, cleaning, and maintenance that might need addressing. You may have worn key-bushings by now as well.

It is not too hard for a technician skilled in tone-regulation to find a days worth of service that would greatly benefit the sound, feel and durability of a 50 year old piano. Little extras like removing mass from the top two or so octaves of hammers to reduce the woody "whack" sound could also be employed to benefit.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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