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#641028 - 03/28/02 09:58 AM Blanket under soundboard to reduce volume
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19460
Loc: New York City
A tech I recently spoke with said that if a piano is too loud for a room that in addition to trying to solve the problem by voicing or changing the room's acoustics(adding drapes etc.), a blanket can be installed under the soundboard to reduce volume but not otherwise affect the tone. He said he was talking about the same kind of blanket you could have on a bed. Has anyone ever heard of this and does it work? I've seen somewhere advertisements for some kind of device that can be temporarily put in the piano so you can practice at night without disturbing the neighbors. Is this similar to the tech's blanket idea and does anyone know the exact name of this device?

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated!
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#641029 - 03/28/02 10:25 PM Re: Blanket under soundboard to reduce volume
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3876
A blanket on top of the strings will dampen the sound - however - in very humid areas it may absorb enough moisture to accelerate rusting and corrosion of the strings. Go to a fabric store and get a couple of yards of thick cloth. Cut it to size if you want, or just tuck the excess in at the sides. Make sure the dampers still lift ok. You can always tack one to the underside of the piano as well.
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#641030 - 03/30/02 10:19 PM Re: Blanket under soundboard to reduce volume
pianoseed Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/13/01
Posts: 884
Loc: here
Ear plugs ar much cheaper. I always wear them when I tune,Thammer.
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pianoseed

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#641031 - 03/30/02 11:55 PM Re: Blanket under soundboard to reduce volume
.rvaga* Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 2046
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Pianoloverus -- yours is a question with a million dollar answer, if someone was clever enough to come up with a good solution that was aesthetically pleasing. I would certainly be one that would spend a couple of hundred bucks for a reasonably portable solution, just as I'd spend a couple of hundred bucks for snow chains that were easy to install.

On the other side of the issue. . . Have you ever sat underneath a grand when someone is playing? It's amazingly loud, as would be expected. I have always wanted to try and devise an "under-lid" lid just for fun: an angled sound deflector UNDER the grand, and see (hear) what effect it had in the hall. Probably been tried and the idea tossed, but there is a lot of beautiful sound from a grand that splashes on the floor without direction! I know, because this down-sound is the main culprit you (and I) are dealing with when trying to cut the volume. - RV

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#641032 - 03/31/02 04:36 PM Re: Blanket under soundboard to reduce volume
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3915
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by rvaga:
...I have always wanted to try and devise an "under-lid" lid just for fun: an angled sound deflector UNDER the grand, and see (hear) what effect it had in the hall. Probably been tried and the idea tossed, but there is a lot of beautiful sound from a grand that splashes on the floor without direction! I know, because this down-sound is the main culprit you (and I) are dealing with when trying to cut the volume. - RV[/b]
There was an article (I think in the New York Times) sometime in the last year or two in which someone did indeed invent such a device (looked just like the piano lid, except that it was installed under the piano). It did seem to project more sound into the hall, but some halls said they would refuse to let their artists use it. (And who are they to make that decision? Damfino, but that's what I remember.)
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#641033 - 04/02/02 01:27 AM Re: Blanket under soundboard to reduce volume
giez Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/01/02
Posts: 4
Loc: Sacramento, CA
The post from rvaga above talks about how loud the piano is underneath. Anything you can do to muffle that tone somewhat will help cut down on the loudness. Yes the blanket underneath will help.

You could even put a throw of some sort on top of the piano lid. I would not recommend putting any cloth directly on the strings because it con collect moisture and cause rusting strings, sluggish action, etc. as was correctly noted above.

Some vertical pianos have an attachment that puts a strip of felt between the hammers and the strings so the tone is very muffled, called a "muffler", or "piano silencer", or "practice piano attachment".
I don't know of any such device for a grand piano.
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Complete restoration and rebuilding for pianos and pump organs.

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#641034 - 04/07/02 09:44 PM Re: Blanket under soundboard to reduce volume
RKVS1 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 3192
Loc: Topeka, Kansas
Giez, I'm not a piano tech in any sense, but at MidwesternPiano in Manhattan Kansas I saw either a Baldwin or an M-H grand with a "practice-silencer" installed. It was engaged via a lever under the left end of the keybed as opposed to an extra pedal, and I'm pretty sure the salesmen said it had been added after the piano had been manufactured. (This store's main business is used and rebuilds). I've been told of after-market silencers but I don't know who actually manufactures them.

Bob

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#641035 - 04/20/02 11:23 AM Re: Blanket under soundboard to reduce volume
Grotius Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/11/02
Posts: 100
I am not an expert on piano technology either, but yesterday a local Steinway dealer told me that they can install a device that allows you to play while the keyboard is muted. Apparently the device generates some sort of electronic or digital reproduction of your playing that you can listen to through earphones. Then again, if you want to play this way, you might be better off with a digital piano.

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