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#294136 - 10/13/07 06:13 PM Voicing
soundofmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 88
What is voicing and how often does this need to be done? Is this a consideration when trying to decide to buy new or used? In the tuning post, someone said that this costs $600! That's a lot of bones.

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#294137 - 10/13/07 06:25 PM Re: Voicing
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 23778
Loc: Oakland
Voicing is the process of evening or slightly changing the tone color of the piano. It is the final part of routine piano maintenance, after tuning and regulation. Voicing is not necessarily that expensive, but regulation, the process of adjusting the action of the piano so that it plays evenly, can make it that expensive, particularly if it is not done often enough.

Many people never bother to do any maintenance on their piano other than tuning. The piano works, but much less well than it could. So whether it ever needs to be done depends on your standards.

The cheapest way to maintain a piano at its best is to tune, regulate, and voice it often in its first 2-3 years. The need to regulate and voice actually diminishes as the piano ages, because there is less initial wear of the felts as time goes on.
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#294138 - 10/13/07 06:27 PM Re: Voicing
soundofmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 88
How often do you suggest voicing? Thanks, Sound of Music

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#294139 - 10/13/07 06:48 PM Re: Voicing
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 23778
Loc: Oakland
When it needs it. If one note sounds different from adjacent notes, or when the piano begins to sound harsh, or too soft, it is probably time.

The same is true of regulation. When you have trouble playing soft, or evenly. However, most people never notice that they are having trouble, because the degradation of the action happens slowly, so that you adjust. It is a good idea to have the regulation touched up after about a year of playing on a new piano, and to have the voicing touched up at the same time. A lot of touch-ups can avert a big bill.
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#294140 - 10/13/07 06:55 PM Re: Voicing
soundofmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 88
Good to know. I will print this and put it in my piano folder. Thanks.

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#294141 - 10/14/07 03:22 AM Re: Voicing
Bruckner Fan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 30
Loc: Canada
If I could enlarge a bit on BDB's good descriptions, I would like to say that one of the most important things that affects voicing is the shape or profile of the hammer's striking surface (the part that contacts the strings), and over time, grooves develop on this surface, diminishing the tone quality.

Voicing actually involves a few different procedures. First is putting a dead-accurate tuning on the piano, then reshaping the striking surface of the hammers to renew the egg-shaped profile, and reduce but not quite eliminate the string grooves. Then the alignment of the hammers to the strings is adjusted from side to side, and also the simultaneous contact of the three strings to the surface of the hammer.
Then needling may be necessary to even out the tone, whether too bright, too dull, or not enough sustain, or power.
Working with the strings is also part of voicing, and part of a proper prep of a new piano is caressing the wire around the bearing points to establish a profile for stability and power-projection. Having said that, a good regulation of the action is also prerequisite to fine voicing. I like the Kawai "Circle of Refinement" approach: Tune Regulate Voice, Tune Regulate Voice, Tune Regulate Voice......
_________________________
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In Canada it's not "A-440",
It's "440, Eh?"

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#294142 - 10/14/07 07:21 AM Re: Voicing
ctc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/07
Posts: 50
Loc: canada
Sorry if this question will sound so silly ....

we just started looking at buying a new piano, so I am just trying to learn and absorb all the info I need to know about having a piano.

THe piano will be used by an 11 year old who is in Grade 4/5 piano; how often does one have to have the piano tuned ?

When it is tuned, does the tuner/technician do all the above ... tune, regulate and voice ? or do we have to ask extra to have the regulate and voice done in addition to tuning ?

BDB, your statement "The cheapest way to maintain a piano at its best is to tune, regulate, and oice it often in its first 2-3 years" - how often is oten enough ?

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#294143 - 10/14/07 07:50 AM Re: Voicing
fishline Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/11/07
Posts: 91
Loc: NJ
ctc: Since you're buying a piano, it's really a good idea to get Larry Fine's Piano Book. It's not just about buy a piano, but also about owning (e.g., maintaining) one. Much of what is mentioned in this thread, and answers to your new questions, are in the book. If you are buying a new piano, the annual supplement will help.
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Fishline

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#294144 - 10/14/07 10:36 AM Re: Voicing
GoatRider Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/07
Posts: 460
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
Pianos need to be tuned based on the environment, and on the individual piano, and not so much how they are played, unless they are played a heck of a lot.

Humidity plays the biggest role on how often they need to be tuned. Pianos are made of wood, which grows when it absorbs moisture, and shrinks when it dries out. So, if you can keep the humidity around the piano stable, you won't have to tune it as much.

With that said, you usually need to tune between 1 and 4 times a year. My previous piano would go slightly out of tune in the summer, but tolerable, and it would come mostly back into tune by the end of fall. I had it tuned every January, the driest time of the year in my house. I keep my house air conditioned when it's muggy out, and use a whole-house humidier in heating season.

Usually voicing and regulating are only done every few years. If there's something you don't like about the way the piano sounds or plays, that's the time to do it. Tell your technician about it. A good tech will also tell you when he thinks more work needs to be done. He's not trying to drum up more business, he's trying let you know what your piano needs to sound the best.
_________________________
- Benton Jackson. Permanent piano novice.
Kawai RX-2 #2555861 in Satin Walnut
Kawai ES6

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#294145 - 10/15/07 01:39 AM Re: Voicing
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14987
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
 Quote:
Voicing actually involves a few different procedures. First is putting a dead-accurate tuning on the piano, then reshaping the striking surface of the hammers to renew the egg-shaped profile, and reduce but not quite eliminate the string grooves. Then the alignment of the hammers to the strings is adjusted from side to side, and also the simultaneous contact of the three strings to the surface of the hammer.[/b]
Excellent!!

That's exactly how I have always seen the *best of the best* do it - anywhere in the world!

[Oh, then there is of course that cumbersome pulling in and out of the action about every 3-10 keys, this to guarantee maximum eveness of tone across the keyboard..... ;\) ]

Norbert
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