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#628591 - 06/23/08 08:49 AM Soft Pedal
MVB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 89
Loc: San Antonio, TX
My teacher has begun to give me instruction on the use of the pedals and I've noticed that there is virtually no difference in sound on my new piano when using the soft pedal. I checked the hammers and they do move closer to the strings as I press. My teacher also demonstrated on the studio piano how the keys shift as the soft pedal is pressed. So far on mine - no difference in sound and no shifting of keys. I'm obviously going to call my technician but can anyone tell me exactly what I should be looking for? I have a Yamaha P22.
_________________________
MVB

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#628592 - 06/23/08 09:04 AM Re: Soft Pedal
tds Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/30/06
Posts: 446
Loc: Bastrop, Texas
Your pedal appears to be working correctly. By having the hammers closer to the strings, you can play the keys with much less force, resulting in a softer sound. If you use the same force when you play with the soft pedal engaged as you do when it is at rest, you won't hear any difference.

Grand pianos have an una corda pedal which shifts the action slightly to the right, allowing the hammer to strike two of the three strings instead of all three. Pianists use the una corda pedal for subtle shading of the tone as well, not just to play softer.
_________________________
Stay tuned.

Tom Seay, Recovering Piano Technician
Bastrop, Texas

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#628593 - 06/23/08 09:39 AM Re: Soft Pedal
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2365
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Is your teacher aware that you have an upright piano?
The soft pedal usually pushes the hammer rest rail forward on upright pianos(and some cheap grands), decreasing the distance of hammer travel resulting in quieter sound. On a grand piano, the entire action shifts laterally letting the hammers in the treble hit only 2 of the 3 strings when the una corda pedal is depressed.
The difference is quite subtle on some pianos and since you are just starting to use the soft pedal, your sense of touch may be compensating for it without you noticing it. Try playing a song with soft touch (piano) and use the pedal intermittently to see if you notice any difference. Since you say the hammers move forward I would assume the pedal is working fine but your tech may find that they can adjust it a little more forward if its out of spec and certain other conditions allow for it.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#628594 - 06/23/08 09:41 AM Re: Soft Pedal
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2365
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Is your teacher aware that you have an upright piano?
The soft pedal usually pushes the hammer rest rail forward on upright pianos(and some cheap grands), decreasing the distance of hammer travel resulting in quieter sound. On a grand piano, the entire action shifts laterally letting the hammers in the treble hit only 2 of the 3 strings when the una corda pedal is depressed.
The difference is quite subtle on some pianos and since you are just starting to use the soft pedal, your sense of touch may be compensating for it without you noticing it. Try playing a song with soft touch (piano) and use the pedal intermittently to see if you notice any difference. Since you say the hammers move forward I would assume the pedal is working fine but your tech may find that they can adjust it a little more forward if its out of spec and certain other conditions allow for it.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#628595 - 06/23/08 09:41 AM Re: Soft Pedal
MVB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 89
Loc: San Antonio, TX
Thanks for the clarification. The piano at the studio is one of the shorter upright Wurlitzers. The keys very visibly shift as you press the soft pedal while mine does not do this at all. Does this vary from piano to piano?
_________________________
MVB

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#628596 - 06/23/08 09:50 AM Re: Soft Pedal
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2365
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
When you say "shift" I assume you mean they drop down a little...which is normal in many cases. On a grand the keys all move to the right about 1/8 to 3/16" but stay at the same height. On my old Lesage upright I can actually get some notes to play if I really hammer on the pedal.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#628597 - 06/23/08 09:50 AM Re: Soft Pedal
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
MVB,
On the upright Wurlitzer, are you talking about the keys shifting downward slightly, instead of sideways?
The release of the pressure upon the capstans might be what you are seeing there. On yours the pedal might not be set up correctly…………………or the key set is weighted differently.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#628598 - 06/23/08 10:53 AM Re: Soft Pedal
MVB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 89
Loc: San Antonio, TX
Dan,

The Wurlitzer had very marked upward shift as the teacher pressed the pedal. I might add he pressed it pretty hard and mentioned that this shouldn't normally be done but he thought it was a way to "test" if the pedal was working. My piano keys do not move at all.
_________________________
MVB

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#628599 - 06/23/08 11:11 AM Re: Soft Pedal
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
That is unusual. It is something then that I would have to view. The way an upright is assembled with the action’s weight on top of the key set, the usual motion is for the keys to drop ever so slightly in height when the left pedal is used. This is because the weight at the back end of the key (opposite end to your playing) is partially removed.

Actually when thinking about it, the teacher could be stepping on the pedal so hard the action is going forward and then bouncing back against the rod that pushes the action upwards. This may result in a bounce against the key set and then the upwards motion for a second.

When your piano is due for a tuning ask the technician about it.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#628600 - 06/23/08 12:32 PM Re: Soft Pedal
Gadzar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1681
Loc: Mexico City
MVB,

Your piano is OK. That´s the way the soft pedal must work. When you depress it the hammers are pushed midway to the strings and the keys don't have to move at all.

The studio piano, the Wurlitzer, must be regulated. The keys are moving because when the pedal is depressed the briddle straps are probably pulling on the whippens which in turn release the keys making them move, but it is not normal, it must be fixed by regulating. Something is wrong with this piano, it may be several things....

Definitely, in an upright piano, when you depress the soft pedal the keys must not move at all. It is just the hammers that should get closer to the strings.
_________________________
Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx

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#628601 - 06/23/08 03:33 PM Re: Soft Pedal
MVB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 89
Loc: San Antonio, TX
Thanks to all. Your input was really helpful and I believe I just saved my technician a trip!
_________________________
MVB

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#628602 - 06/23/08 05:31 PM Re: Soft Pedal
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
My guess would also have been that the bridal straps are engaging pulling the whippens forward which is causing the keys to move as the action is moving forward with the soft pedal going down.

You said: The Wurlitzer had very marked upward shift as the teacher pressed the pedal. I might add he pressed it pretty hard and mentioned that this shouldn't normally be done but he thought it was a way to "test" if the pedal was working. My piano keys do not move at all.[/b]

That's a silly way for her to try to see if it's working. Open up the piano and look instead. ;\) Let's just floor the car and slam on the brakes to see if the brakes are working... \:\) Makes just about as much sense.

If the pedal is working properly, you will notice a slight difference in tone when the pedal is depressed. It will be a bit softer. This can be adjusted by adding or removing felt from underneath the pedal if necessary, adjusting the pedal, or other ways.

Vertical pianos do not shift left to right. Only grands do this. The action moves forwards and backwards on vertical pianos.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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