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#635892 - 01/19/09 12:46 AM Help! Echo when using the sustain pedal. Is this normal?
Norman P. Aquino Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/08/08
Posts: 12
Loc: Manila
I am a bit dissatisfied with my newly bought Yamaha U2 (made in Japan in 1999). Here's the story. My original problem was that the practice pedal was unusable because it took a large deal of force to make some of the notes (higher notes) produce a sound. Some of the notes (two or three)also had a metal sound to them (you only heard it when the sustain pedal was used while the practice pedal was engaged). The dealer sent a tuner who I thought did not know what he was doing. He tightened some screws under the hammers, but failed to fix it. He also adjusted a wire/cable underneath, which raised the felt paper on the practice pedal mechanism a bit. The metal sound disappeared. After a while, he cut the felt paper on the practice pedal mechanism and it improved a bit.

Anyway, after the "repair," I noticed a terrible echo in the higher notes when the sustain pedal was engaged. I am quite sure the piano did not have this problem before. Unable to get rid of the echo (I'm attaching a sample mp3 file if you want to hear it; you will need earphones), he blamed the room, and then the piano cabinet.

The dealer sent a different technician (I was told the first one was just a tuner) two days later. It turned out the felt paper being used to dampen the strings were skewed, so he cut and straightened it out. That made the keys softer and playable. He also voiced the piano to cut on the brightness since I have a small room.

But the problem is, several of the notes have "double" sound (it's like pressing the sol and sol sharp at the same time) when engaging both the practice and sustain pedals at the same time. I think about six or seven of the notes had this problem. The problem goes away when only the practice pedal is used. The second technician also failed to fix the vibration/echo that one hears when playing the higher notes. (Just a note: the notes that are affected are not just the ones without dampers.)

It's difficult to describe the echo/vibration, but it's like knocking on the brass inside the piano where the strings are attached. It's a bit loud and distracting if I play just one note with the sustain pedal. Otherwise, I barely notice it when playing a complicated piece.

I'm planning to record my play, but I don't have a decent microphone yet, so I can't say for sure the noise/echo will be noticeable. My question is, is it normal to hear an echo when playing the higher notes? Like I said, I am quite sure (okay, maybe 85% "sure") it wasn't there before. The echo/vibration is there even when all the removable boards are taken out. Please listen to the sound file (MP3) I am including here so you can hear for yourself.

About the MP3 file: The first note is without the sustain pedal. The second note is with the sustain pedal engaged, and that is when you will hear the echo. The echo becomes louder as the note becomes higher. Your advice is very much appreciated!



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#635893 - 01/19/09 05:10 PM Re: Help! Echo when using the sustain pedal. Is this normal?
Blackheath Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/29/08
Posts: 6
Loc: London UK
Yes, the sound you hear with the sustain pedal down is normal, you have released the damper (silencing) mechanism from every string on the instrument and they are free to sound in sympathy with any note you play.
When something is done to the piano, there is a common tendency to listen more carefully to the piano after it has had attention and blame anything 'new' that you hear on the technician or manufacturer.
Another sound you will eventually notice is a remaining sound, about as loud as the effect you have already described but deeper toned, when you play a staccato chord in the middle register with no pedals down. The oldtimers called it 'soundboard reflection'....all uprights do it to some extent, again, it is barely noticeable when the piano is played normally.
There is, however a cure for the surrounding notes sounding when you play a note with both pedals pressed. This is very noticeable in playing. What is happening is the strip of felt brushing the surrounding strings as the hammer hits it and the raised dampers allow them to ring. Simply readjust the height of the felt strip when the pedal is down so that the hammer hits on the edge of the felt, just far enough in to be effective but not far enough to cause the effect you describe. As you already noticed, it is only in the treble that this problem is noticeable but to have the hammer hit on the edge of the felt all the way down as much as possible is more uniform and improves the useful life of the felt strip.
professional tuner-tech

#635894 - 01/19/09 07:46 PM Re: Help! Echo when using the sustain pedal. Is this normal?
rysowers Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2872
Loc: Olympia, WA
It sounds like the impact noise of the hammer resonating with the rest of the strings. Sounds normal to me!
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA

#635895 - 01/23/09 10:34 PM Re: Help! Echo when using the sustain pedal. Is this normal?
Norman P. Aquino Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/08/08
Posts: 12
Loc: Manila
I compared mine with other Yamahas in one showroom that wasn't any bigger than my room and noticed that my piano's echo is way louder. Thanks for the replies, Blackheath and Ryan.

#635896 - 01/24/09 04:25 PM Re: Help! Echo when using the sustain pedal. Is this normal?
Blackheath Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/29/08
Posts: 6
Loc: London UK
The more lively the soundboard and stringing, the more evident these sounds can be.
professional tuner-tech


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