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#635965 - 05/29/01 01:33 PM Tech's visit to fix buzz
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19366
Loc: New York City
A few days ago the dealer's technician came to try and fix the buzzing strings on my 18 month old piano. In case you haven't read my previous posts about this, I have many buzzing strings throughout the bass and tenor sections. Originally, the dealer(who had inspected the piano previously)had suggested that the solution should be raising the pitch on the piano to A444, but even his own tech realized this was not a reasonable approach(as most of you had said in your answers to my earlier posts). The dealer's tech did no testing of possible causes of the buzzing but immediately said that the problems could be fixed by removing the buzzes due to sympathetic vibrations from the fallboard latches(he put some pieces of velcro on the latches} and by voicing. I told him very clearly that I did not want him to kill or deaden the tone by over needling. He said I would have to settle for needling or keeping the buzz or at least some of the buzz. In the lowest bass he did a little needling(I stopped him at one point) and also removed several strings at the hitch pin end and added some twists. In the bass starting at the second F below middle C and extending up to the C below middle C, he did heavier needling. On some notes he violently jabbed the hammer 8 or more times. He did much less needling on the rest of the hammers. I feel like there was a very small improvement in the buzz on some notes(many of them still buzz) and the tone in the area where he did the heaviest needling is dead.I feel like his real objective was to try and remove the buzz at any cost even if it harmed the tone or the hammers. Could another technician determine by sound or inspection if he over needled the hammers? Do I really have to choose between keeping a buzz or losing the tone(this is what the tech claimed}?

Please note: I am not,obviously, a technician. But I thought I might get better answers by posting the question here as opposed to only posting my questions on the board for non-technicians. Am I supposed to post technical questions here even if I am not, myself, a tedhnician?

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#635966 - 05/29/01 07:02 PM Re: Tech's visit to fix buzz
jodi Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 6959
Loc: The Evergreen State (WA)
John - I'm not a technician (and I think you are just fine posting this question under this category). It might help those reading if you tell them what make/model your piano is. My technician was just here - I have the opposite problem, a couple of notes in the mid bass section are just a tad duller than those around them. My tech did some sanding, and a slight bit of ironing, and said that if this didn't work, he could twist the strings a bit to brighten them up. I would be interested to know exactly what twisting the strings does? Jodi

[ May 29, 2001: Message edited by: jodi ]

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#635967 - 05/29/01 10:35 PM Re: Tech's visit to fix buzz
Cork Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 513
Loc: Dallas, TX
"I would be interested to know exactly what twisting the strings does?"

Tightens the copper coil on the steel wire (string).

Cork

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#635968 - 05/29/01 11:57 PM Re: Tech's visit to fix buzz
jodi Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 6959
Loc: The Evergreen State (WA)
"Tightens the copper coil on the steel wire (string)."

And what does this do to the sound? I guess I don't understand what tightening the copper coil does? I am assuming that they were tightened in John's piano because the tech thought that they might be too loose and the coils were vibrating against each other and causing a buzz? How would tightening the coil on my piano make the string sound brighter? Thanks! Jodi

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#635969 - 05/31/01 02:04 PM Re: Tech's visit to fix buzz
Chris Aher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 299
Loc: Brookfield CT
One of the reasons that a wound bass string can sound dead or buzz is that the winding is loose on the core. When a piano is strung, the string is supposed to be twisted in the direction of the winding. This is to ensure that the winding stays tight around the core.

Sometimes the stringer, whose name is Sum Dmu Phuk, (sorry, I couldn't resist ;\) ) will forget to twist the string. It will usually go dead within a year or two. It if they twist it in the wrong direction, it will develop a nasty buzz very quickly.

Regards,
Chris

 Quote:
Originally posted by jodi:
"Tightens the copper coil on the steel wire (string)."

And what does this do to the sound? I guess I don't understand what tightening the copper coil does? I am assuming that they were tightened in John's piano because the tech thought that they might be too loose and the coils were vibrating against each other and causing a buzz? How would tightening the coil on my piano make the string sound brighter? Thanks! Jodi[/b]
_________________________
regards,
Chris

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#635970 - 07/05/01 08:26 PM Re: Tech's visit to fix buzz
toddthepianoguy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/05/01
Posts: 13
My name is Todd and I've been a piano tech now for about 7 years. I've found that putting a twist in a bass string sometimes brightens it up, but not always. If the coils are not tight around the core wire then the hole thing will not vibrate as a single solid wire. Loose coils, while not necessarily causing a buzz, will bleed off energy from the string, energy that otherwise would have been used to produce sound. But if the coils are already tight, putting a twist in it won't do a thing.

As for a technician voicing a buzz out of the piano, I have never done this and I'm very sceptical of it's success. I've heard of other technicians doing it but have not tried it myself. It sounds like a measure of last resort. Finding extraneous noises in pianos is a science in and of itself. I've often thought that it would be possible for a tech to specialize in it. It's difficult for me to speculate what the source of the buzzing is on the piano that started this thread, but I'd check the cutoff point at the top of the string (nearest the tuning pin). Oftentimes a string will flatten out where it bears down on the cutoff point. The edges of this flat part can vibrate against imperfections in either an agraffe, capo bar, or v-bar. It's easy to fix this on treble strings as most of them share a hitch pin with a neighboring string. Simply loosen the shared neighbor of the offending string until you hear the offending string drop pitch as well. Then tighten the offending string up to pitch. Repeat the procedure until the buzz is gone. Then tighten the neighbor. Essentially what you are doing is pulling the flattened part of the string out of the speaking length. I've fixed many a buzz this way that mystified other technicians.

Good luck,
Todd

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#635971 - 07/19/01 02:30 PM Re: Tech's visit to fix buzz
toddthepianoguy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/05/01
Posts: 13
Hi,
Todd again. Another possibility occurs to me. I have a customer with a Kohler & Campbell baby grand who, ever since he bought it, has been complaining about a "metallic buzz" in the notes around C3 and below. I could immediately hear what he was talking about. The notes in question do not "buzz" per se, but they do have a heavily pronounced metallic quality to their tone. I improved it somewhat by leveling the strings and voicing the hammers. This masked enough of the overtone to make it tolerable, but it's still there. I've encountered this problem in other pianos of similar size, and I think it's a result of the construction of the bass strings. The smaller the piano, the thicker the bass strings have to be. This does terrible things to the tone of the entire piano because of the smaller soundboard; but it's most noticeable in the bass section because the thicker the strings, the more garbage is introduced into their tone. The only way to solve this problem completely is to get a different piano, preferably nothing smaller than a 6 foot grand or a nice tall studio upright.

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