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#633059 - 12/05/01 10:29 AM what to expect after a very cold, long-distance move
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
hi,
my new grotrian piano just arrived yesterday after traveling 2,500 miles by truck and railway in cold temperatures. i'm keeping it bundled up with sleeping bags and the heat turned down for a couple of days to give it a chance to acclimate.

it is perfectly in tune, but the action and the tone are not at all what they were like when i played it at the dealer. i did have a tech inspect the piano before i bought it, and he raved about it, and described the tone and touch just as i remembered them. so, i believe the piano left the dealer beautifully voiced and regulated.

from the moment i first played it, i noticed there was a problem: the action is stiff, the key dip is shallow, the touch is uneven across the scale, the tone is too soft on some notes, too bright on others, and difficult to control. and, the action is noisy.

this is not at all like the piano i bought, (yes, the serial number is correct), and i am wondering if traveling could have caused these problems? the piano was very carefully crated and the piano movers expressed admiration for how well it was prepared for travel. the action was locked down by being wired to a wooden rod, and my tech came and pulled the action to remove this.

is this normal for this situation? should i be concerned about the action having been damaged? i don't understand how moving could have changed the touch and tone so dramatically. can anyone here enlighten me?
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#633060 - 12/05/01 08:05 PM Re: what to expect after a very cold, long-distance move
SamLewisPiano.com Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 635
Loc: WHITE BLUFF (Nashville area) T...
Hey Pique- congratulations on the piano. Now, dont get too upset. The piano has just gone through piano "hell", and probably needs nothing more than a little time. The one thing that it went through that you didnt mention is humidity, either too high or too low can cause problems. As far as tone, it is going to be different in your home when compared to most showrooms. If needed after a while, voicing will help that. Give it time..........Sam
_________________________
Since 1975; Full-time piano tuner/tech in Nashville;
Lacquer and polyester specialist.

www.SamLewisPiano.com

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#633061 - 12/07/01 03:09 AM Re: what to expect after a very cold, long-distance move
Niles Duncan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 513
Loc: Pasadena, CA
 Quote:

from the moment i first played it, i noticed there was a problem: the action is stiff, the key dip is shallow, the touch is uneven across the scale, the tone is too soft on some notes, too bright on others, and difficult to control. and, the action is noisy.



Picking up additional humidity in very cold weather during transit could easily swell up key bushings and the bushings in the action centers adding friction and making the action stiffer. Since this won't be consistent across the keyboard the action would feel inconsistent. If the felt punchings under the heads of the keys (front rail punchings) also swell up the key dip could be reduced. If so this should come out on its own as the piano acclimatizes.

Similarly if hammers take on additional moisture they can sound softer. I would expect most of these things to resolve themsleves as the piano warms up, but some adjustment by your tech may be required.

Niles Duncan
Piano rebuilder, Pasadena, CA

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#633062 - 12/07/01 09:44 AM Re: what to expect after a very cold, long-distance move
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
thank you so much, niles, for explaining the details of the mystery. it does now seem to be gradually returning to normal, though it is still uneven. the treble is thin and the key dip still is shallow in that section of the keyboard, but the bass and tenor have returned to some semblance of what i remember. there is still some buzzing strings, though it is minor. the noise is quite a bit less, but still there. it seems to change almost hour by hour. it is a massive body of wood and it was out in the cold during bad weather a very long time.

it really does help me when i understand the mechanics of what is happening. this also makes me realize that i don't want the regulation worked on until the piano has had a chance to fully acclimate. it was so perfect when it was in new york, and i don't even know if i could describe to my tech what it should be like. there was so much subtlety to it.

i really wish we hadn't had to ship this time of year. . if it returns to what it was, i will be thrilled.
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#633063 - 12/27/01 10:03 AM Re: what to expect after a very cold, long-distance move
T2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/18/01
Posts: 341
I can identify with Pique's concerns about a beloved instrument. I have been checking into piano moving services lately, and there appear to be a couple that move only pianos long distance and do so in heated trucks.

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