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#641485 - 08/25/02 08:28 AM Strange friction noise in keys
Roxane Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 932
Some of you would probably have read about my unhappiness with the unresponsive action of my year-old 6' Schimmel. Several weeks ago, I had the piano regulated, and although it has improved significantly, I am still disatisfied; the action is simply not as "crisp" as I would like.

I had come to accept since then that I must moderate my expectations but my frustrations came back yesterday when I played the 15-year-old Yamaha (I do not know the exact model, but it was only about 5') in my church and it actually had a more responsive action! \:\(

I recently noticed that if my fingers do not strike the keys exactly vertically, such that there is a resolved lateral force, I can hear a soft sound that is akin to the rubbing together of two pieces of paper or wood. The sound is obvious when I play softly and can be found in most keys.

I assume this sound is due to friction somewhere, but is it normal? Could this be part of the reason for the unresponsive action and what can I do about it? Any opinion would be much appreciated.

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#641486 - 08/25/02 11:52 AM Re: Strange friction noise in keys
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
That could very possibly be the contact of the keys between each other alongside their lateral surface area. They would need to be sanded to remove any excess wood that's sticking out. This is what I've personally encountered in many.

Mark Mandell
www.pianosource.com

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#641487 - 08/25/02 11:46 PM Re: Strange friction noise in keys
Jay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/01
Posts: 473
Loc: AUD
Hi, get an experience technician to check on it, he/she should be able to rectify the problem(s). You may even want to get a hygometer to check the humidity level. If the piano is placed in a humid place, even with fine adjustments the problems might return or maybe worst.

Btw, was the touch that bad when you first play on it in the showroom/delivered to your house?

Regards.

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#641488 - 08/26/02 10:21 AM Re: Strange friction noise in keys
Roxane Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 932
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jay:
If the piano is placed in a humid place, even with fine adjustments the problems might return or maybe worst.[/b]
I live in the tropics where the humidity is about 75-95% year round, day/night. I have DampChaser (heating rod only) installed and the interior of the piano is about 70% (the best I can manage). It is not practical to have an air-conditioner plus dehumifier on all the time since the piano is in my living room (about 25' x 25' with double-storey ceiling).

 Quote:
Btw, was the touch that bad when you first play on it in the showroom/delivered to your house?[/b]
The truth is I don't know. I bought the piano after laying off lessons as well as regular playing (sometimes I didn't play for more than a few months) for about 15 years. My technique was shot, so I bought what I liked the sound of. To compound the problem, I had the dealer hold the piano for more than 6 months while I had my house renovated and I had to rent a small apartment in the meantime. I took up lessons again 10 months ago and the huge comeback of my technique is coupled to increasing frustration with my piano's action. If I hadn't started playing seriously again, I would probably have been quite happy but now, I can't help feeling there's something lacking, which is confirmed each time I play someone else's piano! \:\(

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#641489 - 08/27/02 08:10 PM Re: Strange friction noise in keys
Joy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 550
Loc: Encinitas, CA
Roxane,

I could be wrong. But I suspect the source of your troubles lies in your own words:

(1) "I live in the tropics where the humidity is about 75-95% year round, day/night."

Aha.

(2) "I have DamppChaser (heating rod only) installed and the interior of the piano is about 70% (the best I can manage)."

Only one rod? And it's a 6+ ft grand?

Calling all techs: Doesn't this sound a little like piano abuse?

It seems sad to spend good money on a well-regarded piano only to get penny-pinching on the maintenance.

Would you repeat the same procedure with a Fazioli I ask you? Holy moly.

(3) "It is not practical to have an air-conditioner plus dehumifier on all the time since the piano is in my living room (about 25' x 25' with double-storey ceiling)."

Thinking out loud here: a D-C unit would probably be custom installed in accordance with such oppressive conditions. And it would probably switch itself on more frequently than a unit here in southern CA because it has to, like air conditioning does. Why? The humidity needs to read 40%, not 70%. Sounds like your current D-C set-up is woefully inadequate for your needs.

Perhaps there is still hope with a better technician who knows more about installing D-C units.

Another alternative would be to cut your losses now and sell the dang thing if you truly hate the Schimmel. Why put up with it any more? Beats whining about the same problem for months.

Except --- that dang humidity problem will still be there....

FWIW,
Joy

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#641490 - 08/27/02 11:01 PM Re: Strange friction noise in keys
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Joy--

What you're saying is NOT true. She can get by with one dampp chaser given the size of that piano.

What you're saying(which I assume is that a piano this size requires two DC's)applies to concert grands.

I still maintain that the cause of the scratching sound lies in the keys and is not climate related though I will concede I could be wrong since I'm not there checking on it.

Mark@pianosource.com

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#641491 - 08/28/02 12:54 AM Re: Strange friction noise in keys
Joy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 550
Loc: Encinitas, CA
Hi Mark,

I'm certainly not qualified to say how many rods should be installed in any piano. I'm sure one rod would be enough in southern California.

I'm only suggesting that it could be folly to ignore the humidity factor. Isn't 70% not-so-good?

No one can exaggerate enough how oppressively hot and humid it is in Singapore. It's really close to the equator. One gets very aware of the difference when you go from San Diego to Singapore. Like jumping from a sauna into a steam bath.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Joy
\:\)

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#641492 - 08/28/02 01:22 AM Re: Strange friction noise in keys
Jay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/01
Posts: 473
Loc: AUD
IMO, having install another DC inside the piano is not good especially in Singapore where the average temperature yearly is greater than 25 C?. The heat that is generated from the DC will might dried up the felts, cloths in the piano action, causing sluggish. IMO, I would that DC will work fine for country(s) where temperature is low to begin with.

I will suggest to get a dehumidifier (a good one with meter and moisture level adjustment) from electrical stores. It won't consume much of your electricity bill because the equipment shut itself down when the level of moisture reaches below the pre-set level. What you may need to do is to empty the water in the bucket every morning. Also is good for your room's furniture(s) and fitting(s).

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#641493 - 08/28/02 02:26 AM Re: Strange friction noise in keys
Roxane Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 932
Thanks for all the suggestions.

Jay, I have a large 630kW dehumidifier in the vicinity of the piano. I had it on (without airconditioning) for all of the past year and monitored the humidity levels both inside and outside the piano. At best, the level was 65% inside the piano, but this is usually on a sunny day when the humidity outside is lower. I have since given up on the dehumidifier because it made the indoor temperature rise above 30íC, without lowering the humidity by much.

I also discussed the problem of installing more Damp Chasers with the technician from the sole agent that sells Damp Chasers in Singapore. The technician said that one heating rod was more than enough due to the high ambient temperature, 28-30íC indoors daytime. He did not advise putting in more than one rod due to the heat generated. This tech is also a piano tech normally, and he could have made money by selling me more DC, but he didn't, so I am inclined to belive him.

Other pianos I have played recently (my teacher's Grotrian, my friend's IBach, my church's Yamaha) were not maintained in a controlled environment of low humidity, but they all had better action, so it may not necessarily be a humidity problem.

Joy, I am looking at other options to my Schimmel, but after spending US$20K just last year, it is not simply a matter of buying another one off the shelf. I was offered only around US$12-13K by dealers for the Schimmel, and many weren't even interested. I wish I could afford the Hamburg Steinway B I played at US$90K, but I have to be realistic too.

Mark, I will be getting another technician (not the one that regulated my piano some weeks ago) to look at the keys again. Thanks.

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#641494 - 08/31/02 10:56 PM Re: Strange friction noise in keys
jodi Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 6959
Loc: The Evergreen State (WA)
Roxanne - I had a couple of keys that had a scratchy sound to them - sounded like a sliver of wood, or something that was brushing against the keys next door. It turned out to be part of the stiff felt that was glued underneath the key and around the hole (sorry, not sure what the technical term is) in the key that fits over the metal pin below. This felt was just slightly out of place, and hanging over the edge of the key, and was brushing against the key next to it. All it needed was some trimming. Jodi

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