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#650201 - 04/30/02 02:38 PM Re: Stanwood?
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
derick,
your hammer experience sounds really neat. can you try to describe for us the differences in tone between the three different steinway Ls? how would you characterize steinway v. abel v. renner hammers, from that playing experience?

very curious.
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#650202 - 04/30/02 06:36 PM Re: Stanwood?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Keep in mind that all three pianos were rebuilds done by three different rebuilders. I was not particularly impressed with the action of the piano with Steinway hammers as it felt like the key dip was too shallow and the action was very light. The actions on the other pianos were more to my liking.

The Steinway with Steinway hammers was the darkest of all the pianos. Not dark (i.e. muffled) as a new (NY) Steinway's, but too dark for my taste. I found it difficult to get much volume out of the piano and impossible to get even a slight 'metallic edge' out of it when I layed into it. But, the complex tone that Steinways are famous for was there in abundance. It was the 'lady' of the bunch. Quiet, refined, always minded her manners. Exactly the girl Mom wanted you to bring home. Action aside, if the hammers were a little brighter, this probably would have been my favorite of the three.

Next was the Steinway with Abels. This piano was a just a little too bright for my taste. The action on this piano was the best of the three and the piano could be played softly to very loud. It had that slight 'metallic edge' I like when playing hard; although it came on a bit sooner than I would have liked. The fundamentals were more prevalent in this piano than in the former, but they didn't overshadow the other harmonics. It was this piano that convinced me to go with Abels. This piano was the girl who would know her place in front of your mother, but a heap of fun when out of earshot of your mother.

Finally, the Steinway with Renners. This piano was too bright for me. The treble had far too much 'ping'. The rest of the piano was ok, but it was just about impossible to play softly. The base had a "thunky" sound when played hard. The notes seemed to fly out of the piano and it was difficult to hear anything other than the fundamentals. Perhaps, because of the ping, it seemed like the treble was lacking sustain. This piano was the girl you secretely desired but knew you'd kill your mother if you ever brought her home. What it lacked in refinement it made up for in 'curb appeal'. It was clearly the favorite of everyone who entered the store.

Again, three different rebuilders did these pianos. Had the piano with Renner hammers been voiced by someone who knew had to voice Renners, the results may have been different.

Derick
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#650203 - 04/30/02 08:40 PM Re: Stanwood?
Chris W1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/26/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Boston
Derrick,

Steve?? I guess you meant me.

There is no other site like Stevespianoservice on the internet. Who knows how he gets his S&S hammers. They are probably fine, for all I know, but, from what I've read and, sorry, I can't remember where, S&S hammers are the hardest of the three brands to come up with. I've seen abels used by the majority of S&S rebuilders, so they must be widely available for these people. I don't think availability is important, anyway.

You wrote:
>If Abel's are readily available to techs, Steinway's must be even more so as they are available to the general public.

I think that is a pretty rapid conclusion on your part.

FWIW, I wasn't putting Abels down by saying they are more like Renners than S&S. After all, don't you agree? You comments in the above description seem to bear that out. Personally, I think Abel does make a better hammer than Renner, but even that is debatable on every Bosendorfer I've ever tried. I've heard some Estonia's sound poor with Abels, too. You don't know unless you've found the quintesential voicing expert for each one.

My Renners do harden up. I am not a tech, but I still selectively needle them to tame things down about every 40 hours of playing. You can never, and shouldn't, needle hammer crowns too deeply and, as such, you are always left with things eventually brightening back up. If you don't pick up a set of needles, or call a tech every so many hours of playing, than you are living with a piano whose voice becomes imbalanced. I happen to play a few things in C# and G#. Its no mystery to me why I am in there occasionally needling down at least the tonic/dominants, etc.

With regard to my Schimmel, perhaps the Abel tip (triangles) are less stiff and would sound better. I don't know, but am happy with my own results through needling. YMMV.

Chris W
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#650204 - 04/30/02 09:54 PM Re: Stanwood?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Chris,

Yes, I meant you. Sorry, I had Steve on my mind from stevespianoservice.

It sounded to me like you were saying that Abel's are the "blue-light" specials in the hammer world because they were "readily available" and "cheaper". I guess you weren't.

As for Boesendorfer and Hamburg Steinway, I can't find a thing wrong with the way they sound and wouldn't swap their Renners with anything else.

However on the limited number of other pianos I have played with Renner hammers (Falcone, M&H, S&S, and Petrof), I have not been particularly happy with the sound. Or, more precisely, I felt those pianos had a lot more potential.

I've never encountered a Schimmel, but if it's like every other German made piano, I'm sure it's fantastic. Nevertheless, I still maintain that if your Renners were replaced with Abels, you would hear quite a difference. Whether that difference would be for the better is questionable.

Derick
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#650205 - 04/30/02 10:53 PM Re: Stanwood?
piqué Offline
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Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
derick,
thanks for the review. very interesting.

so which pianos come standard with abel hammers? this might help me understand if i like them or not. i've played new york and hamburg steinway side by side and prefered hamburg. i was told the real difference between those two was the hammers.

my current voicing problem actually doesn't have anything to do with brightness, but with lack of power in octave 6. any ideas on what that might be about? my tech showed me how to voice down for brightness, and that wouldn't address this issue.
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#650206 - 04/30/02 11:02 PM Re: Stanwood?
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Derick said:

If the piano with Renner hammers been voiced by someone who knew how to voice Renners the results would have been different.[/b]

Personally I don't buy that, that Renners require a "special" sort of technique. I've already indicated above what my own method is and I could use that for Renners as well as any other hammer make.

Reminds me of the time I attended a class given by Bosendorfer on voicing their piano. They were rather adamant that it had to be done the conventional way, i.e., repeatedly jabbing the hammers's shoulders. Well, yes that can do it so I have no argument with it really. But so can a tangential approach which in fact is my favored technique when working on especially hard hammers. And I also indicated that the radial single needle method is quite effective in creative a rounder sort of tone.

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#650207 - 05/01/02 12:49 AM Re: Stanwood?
Derick Offline
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Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Mark,

Can you tell me why pianos with Renner hammers such as Boesendorfers and Hamburg Steinways sound so nice, whereas other high-quality pianos sound awful with Renners? The NY Steinway I mentioned earlier was VERY rough around the edges. If voicing/the voicer wasn't the problem, what do you think it was?

Thanks,
Derick
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#650208 - 05/01/02 01:28 AM Re: Stanwood?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
pique,

Estonia comes with Abels as does Sauter (I believe). The Hamburg Steinway has Renners, the NY Steinway has Steinway hammers.

There is no comparing a new Hamburg to a new NY (IMO), because (NY) Steinway doesn't bother to do much (if anything) with the cotton balls it puts on their pianos. I have played 'seasoned' NY Steinways that I prefer to the Hamburgs.

Getting back to your piano, I have a few questions. Not that I know anything, but no one else is volunteering ;\) so I'll play amature piano tech.

If I have this right, you really like the way your piano sounds except for octave 6, right? So right there I don't think different hammers are the answer. I believe you also said that that octave was fine in the showroom and when you first got it, but later on developed this problem, correct?

A few more questions... Where does the duplex scaling begin on your piano? Are there any breaks for supports in or near octave 6? Could the change in tone also be described as 'thin' or 'hollow' rather than lacking in power? Or it it strictly lacking in power?

Derick
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#650209 - 05/01/02 09:38 AM Re: Stanwood?
Simon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/21/01
Posts: 95
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Octave 6...that almost sounds like a new drink mix, or even the next blockbuster movie (reminds me of The Thirteenth Floor, for some reason)!

Is this the range C5 to C6, and is that range what has been called the killer octave? On my piano, I've noticed that that range seems particularly 'sensitive' to voicing or regulation changes, if that makes any sense. After the first voicing and regulation, the tone in that octave went from 'thin' and 'hollow' - as you so aptly described, Derick - to round, fat, juicy. After the second voicing, it has gone just a little bit thinner.

Also, along the lines of playing amateur piano tech!: Pique, I would hazard that the Stanwood mod might help more than you think, as a result of smoothing out the strike weights in that region. Or at any rate, customizing the hammer weights to your preferences. Now I know someone might just come knock me on the head for that!

Btw, Derick: Would you possibly be able to send me a copy of those scans of your Stanwood charts?

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#650210 - 05/01/02 10:37 AM Re: Stanwood?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Simon,

I will try to scan those charts tonight and send them to you. Last week I tried to scan something and kept getting an error message from my scanner (it's an all in one; scanner/printer/copier/fax) that I hadn't configured something correctly. But this gives me the incentive to fix the darn thing.

Although I never had an entire octave that sounded hollow, there were two notes on my piano prior to the upgrade that bothered me. F# one of the first few copper wound strings when decending the keyboard and after the largest support brace. And D in the 5th octave following another brace. Both notes sounded hollow.

Since I changed two things at the same time, I can't say with 100% certainty what eliminated the hollow sound, but I think it had more to do with the Stanwood system then the hammers. The reason I say that is because I complained about those two notes to every tech who voiced the piano and the problem never got any better.

Derick
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#650211 - 05/01/02 01:11 PM Re: Stanwood?
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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

Without actually being there to see the New York Steinway I can only conjecture what I would think is the problem here--an unthorough voicing job.

The Bosendorfer's construction involves the use of spruce rims so that in itself has a palpable effect on the tone(the tone is absorbed in this case as opposed to being deflected back out). As far as the Hamburg Steinways go, they're properly very painstakingly and meticulously voiced by a factory expert until it satisfies his(or her) most rigorous expectations.

Does that "sound" right to you then?

Mark@pianosource.com

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#650212 - 05/01/02 01:57 PM Re: Stanwood?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Yeah, I think you're on the right track. More or less.

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#650213 - 05/02/02 11:59 AM Re: Stanwood?
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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

Interestingly enough, the tech at the local piano supply house here in Van Nuys(who's actually the son of the man who established the outfit)now supplies wippens that have auxiliary springs so as to make action weight adjustments. Till then, he was not so "taken with" the Stanwood system and thought that his hammers alone(called Pacific Gold, they're actuall "modified" Tokiwas)would be sufficient to make any needed action weight changes. That together with removing key leads I would say.

Mark

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#650214 - 05/02/02 09:03 PM Re: Stanwood?
Bill G. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/01
Posts: 171
Loc: New York
Derick & Rebdler

This thread is very informative and intriguing. In some respects I wish I never read it.

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#650215 - 05/02/02 10:07 PM Re: Stanwood?
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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

But in this instance, ignorance needn't be bliss. \:\)

Mark@pianosource

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#650216 - 05/02/02 10:47 PM Re: Stanwood?
JohnC Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/02
Posts: 1672
Loc: Lower Left Coast
OK, I'm not a tech.....but I have been thinking. \:D

If each brand of hammer is obviously different, then they would produce different sounds in the same evironment (piano). Taking it one step further, they would then, obviously, create different sounds in different environments (pianos).

Therefore, if you were trying to achieve a particular sound/tone in any given piano, wouldn't the needling required be different for each hammer brand/piano? And so, techs who are more familiar with a given brand of hammer and piano combination would conceivably be able to achieve this better than a tech less familiar with the hammer/piano combination?

In summary would my logic not hold that every tech is not as capable of voicing Renner, Abel, or any other brand based on their experience with that brand? And that one size (voicing technique) does not fit all?

Did any of that make sense?
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#650217 - 05/03/02 09:26 AM Re: Stanwood?
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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

Consistent with what I had stated earlier, it is simply NOT the case that a particular hammer requires some sort of voicing technique altogether different than another. So in other words, one size DOES fit all.

Y'know it's rather interesting at our shop for instance, that once we voice the hammers to our satisfaction in any rebuilt piano, it sounds good enough(and we're using the standard voicing procedures) and we wouldn't even be able to tell whether it was an Abel, a Tokiwa, or even a Renner hammer that had been installed. However, we haven't used Steinway hammers as yet. They do require more attention in the voicing process(lacquering in addition to needling)so THAT might produce noticeably different acoustic results than the others.

So you might then say(based on what I just said)that yes, the Steinway hammers DO seem to call for a voicing procedure quite different than the other brands. But if I happen to come across ANY sort of hammers that are weaker sounding, the lacquering process is a standard treatment anyway to be followed by needling once the lacquer's dried enough.

Gets a little confusing, doesn't it? No wonder Bill couldn't figure it out! \:D

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#650218 - 05/03/02 10:35 AM Re: Stanwood?
Bill G. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/01
Posts: 171
Loc: New York
Reblder

Is there any particular reason why you haven't used S$S hammers yet? Are they proprietary, too difficult to use, or just not worth the effort?

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#650219 - 05/03/02 11:41 AM Re: Stanwood?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
rebldr - In my earlier post about the 3 Steinways I stated:

a) three different pianos
b) three different rebuilders

For whatever reason, all 3 pianos sounded different. And, based on my familiarity with Steinway and Renner (hammers), I could easily distinguish what piano had which hammers.

If the Renners on my piano were voiced to sound like the Abels do now, I wouldn't have paid 4 different techs over $1K to voice the piano. And a 5th a heap of money to put on new hammers. Perhaps none of the 4 knew proper voicing techniques? I don't know. But, as I said, Faust-Harrison gave me the name of the guy who ruined my hammers and said he was "the best in the area".

I'm not doubting your statement about Renners, I'm simply stating my observations/experiences.

Bill G. - You (or I) can buy Steinway hammers over the internet for $325. I spoke to the guy who owns the website and he swears they are the 'real deal'. He certainly sounds legit.

Derick
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#650220 - 05/03/02 12:09 PM Re: Stanwood?
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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

In the final analysis I pretty much have to say "I dunno". It's a rather complicated issue what with perceptions, labels, expectations and "wut knot" involved. I'd be willing to bet though that if that Faust Harrison recommended tech had been more thorough he "might" have been able to achieve the results you wanted(for instance if he had also used the radial technique I've already described which makes use of the single needle).

Bill G.--

We can of course install Steinway hammers if that's what a customer requests. However, it does require additional time with an additional expense which we would point out to the customer.
Actually, my partner Niles has considered using them on a B he acquired last year that will get rebuilt soon.

Mark

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#650221 - 05/03/02 12:25 PM Re: Stanwood?
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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

I re-read your post and realized you had this experience with four techs and then that Faust Harrison tech really added insult to injury.

The Renner hammers are pretty much metallic sounding to begin with, that much I'll concede.
But I still would maintain that any really thorough tech could have transformed them into a sound that you would have found certainly more agreeable than they were in their "raw" state.
But it's also possible that you were so acutely aware of the initial metallic aspect to them that even when that was corrected to what I would perceive to be a sufficient extent, you'd still not have liked them(this then referring to my last post about the role of "perceptions" in what we hear).

Reminds me of a customer that we just had that came to check out our pianos quite recently. He already owned a Schimmel grand he wasn't all that content with and said he always wanted a Steinway, his "dream" piano. He did observe though that the new Steinways at his local dealership were too muffled sounding for his ears.
When he came to our place, he rather liked the two model B's we have for sale. One in particular he commented on favorably but said that he'd have to put his Schimmel on consignment.
But he wouldn't commit to buying. After I didn't hear from him for a couple weeks, I decided to call to find out what happened. He then said he wound up buying a new one, this in spite of his favorable experience with ours. It demonstrates to me that there are people too uncomfortable with "hybrid" Steinways, the ones that don't have the Steinway hammers in them. And I've also observed that the more accomplished players really don't give a **** about this either. In his case, though, I'm sure he was offered money on his Schimmel as a trade in and hopefully the tech there worked on the hammers to his satisfaction as well.

Mark

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#650222 - 05/03/02 12:54 PM Re: Stanwood?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Mark,

You could be right about my perception of how my piano sounded versus how it actually sounded. Particularly with regard to the metallic sound.

But one thing these techs never were able to get rid of was what I earlier called a "boomy" sound in the bass. Perhaps a more appropriate description is a "thunky" sound. Basically a very sharp attack followed by sustain at a much lower volume. Almost like the note was 'clipped'.

I checked out a number of things: hammer not rebounding from the strings, dampers not clearing the strings, etc... but that wasn't the case. If I held up the damper and plucked the string the note had plenty of sustain, so I always suspected voicing. As I said, none of the techs were able to fix it. And that Steinway L with the Renners had the same "thunky" sound as do a lot of Petrofs that I've played on showroom floors. Maybe the problem is more where the hammer is needled? The problem was very evident when playing hard. Just rambling here...

But I do think the tech I now have probably could have eliminated the problem - but I found him after my hammers were shot.

FWIW, there was one (just one) rebuilt Steinway that I really liked. Everyone talked me out of it saying "it's not a real Steinway". That stuck in my head. Of course, now I know differently and would respond "Yep, it's not. It's better." Nevertheless, I am finally very happy with my Falcone.

Derick
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#650223 - 05/03/02 03:26 PM Re: Stanwood?
Bill G. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/01
Posts: 171
Loc: New York
Mark & Derick

My (limited) experience with new and factory rebuilt Steinways (L,B) is exactly as you both describe them, muffled in the treble. Steinway claims the pianos develope over time as they are played. Is there some intrinsic benifit to using soft hammers that harden thru playing?
Thanks again for this thread.

Bill

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#650224 - 05/04/02 12:27 AM Re: Stanwood?
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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

Based on your description here, it's just possible(and of course I'm speculating)that the piano has too much downbearing and if so cannot be remedied through voicing. I mention this because when this phenomenon is present(this excess downbearing)there be will an "overtransfer" of energy from the strings to the bridge and soundboard resulting in too strong an attack(also called "prompt sound")and a concomitant weaker sustain as well. Technically this is also known as "improper impedance matching" but I don't want to go into the details of that. This would have occurred in the manufacturing(or rebuilding if this were done instead). But I imagine none of those techs checked for that. And even if they had, they might have not even have known how much downbearing was too much.

Bill--

Yes, one school of thought has it that even if you start out with weaker sounding tone from the Steinway hammers, just leave well enough alone and in time, the tone will mature. Well, trouble is that's gonna take some pretty constant playing over a number of years. And I remember a former customer I had with one(during the 80's, possibly Steinway's worst period)and during this time, the sound never improved one wit. Matter of fact, even lacquering didn't help all that much(a more strident tone from this doesn't do anything for the lack of breadth to the sound, it's much too shallow sounding). But the customer didn't want to go to the expense of replacing the hammers either since they had just bought the instument.

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#650225 - 05/04/02 02:58 AM Re: Stanwood?
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
pique,

Estonia comes with Abels as does Sauter (I believe). The Hamburg Steinway has Renners, the NY Steinway has Steinway hammers.

There is no comparing a new Hamburg to a new NY (IMO), because (NY) Steinway doesn't bother to do much (if anything) with the cotton balls it puts on their pianos. I have played 'seasoned' NY Steinways that I prefer to the Hamburgs.[/b]
hm. the side by side comparison i did was with two seasoned pianos. maybe i just like the renner sound. though it would seem there are both makes with abel and renners i like and abel and renners i don't like. so the hammers must not be a factor.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:

Getting back to your piano, I have a few questions. Not that I know anything, but no one else is volunteering ;\) so I'll play amature piano tech.[/b]
hey, much appreciated. i have a new tech (local) who is coming to tune next week, and if i glean any ideas from this forum from any of you here as to what might address this problem, i will be thrilled.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:

If I have this right, you really like the way your piano sounds except for octave 6, right? So right there I don't think different hammers are the answer. I believe you also said that that octave was fine in the showroom and when you first got it, but later on developed this problem, correct?[/b]
well, it arrived with this problem, but then, the plate was loose, too. but tightening the plate didn't fix it. the tech who flew out from new york gave it a quick fix with some laquer and needling, and also a double concert tuning. after his tunings, my piano was absolutely sublime, much better even than in the showroom. but, true to what the tech predicted, by the next morning it was sliding back to its previous condition. he said nothing he could do would have a shelf life longer than 24 hours, as the piano is changing constantly at this stage of its career. when i raved about how much better the treble was, he said 90 percent of what he did to address the problem was the good tuning, and that the piano would go out of tune again almost immediately, because it is brand new.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
A few more questions... Where does the duplex scaling begin on your piano? Are there any breaks for supports in or near octave 6? Could the change in tone also be described as 'thin' or 'hollow' rather than lacking in power? Or it it strictly lacking in power?.[/b]
grr. this is so hard to answer. the tone could also be described as thin or hollow, though i call it "wooden" sounding. it doesn't project, it lacks the resonance of the rest of the keys. but if you pluck the strings for those notes, they have excellent sustain.
and yes, since you ask, there is some sort of a break in the scale right where the shift happens, around E5. the agraffes stop at the beginning of that octave. and yes, i do believe that must be where the duplex scaling begins, as there is felt under the strings right behind the pins for the upper octaves, but not below d5.

so what does this tell me about my problem with octave 6? and what can be done about it? anyone???
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Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#650226 - 05/05/02 03:37 PM Re: Stanwood?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Another completely wild guess/idea...

In a post above I described a problem I heard with one of the Steinways as having a sharp attack and then sustain at a low volume in the bass. Mark mentioned that it could have been due to too much downbearing. I wonder if too much downbearing in the treble could manifest itself in a way that you are hearing on your piano? Tightening the plate would have some affect on downbearing, right???

What I don't understand is how tuning could affect it THAT much. But, as I said, I don't know a thing and am just taking shots in the dark.

My piano has a break between C# and D. If i listen VERY carefully, I can detect a slightly different tonality between the two notes, but then the rest of the octave sounds like the rest of the piano. I wish I had some other stupid thing to throw out as a possibility...

Derick

P.S. Have you ever written to Grotian?
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#650227 - 05/06/02 10:23 AM Re: Stanwood?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
pique,

One more stupid question...

You said that octave 6 had a "wooden" sound. Is such a sound characteristic of one might imagine a piano to sound like if very little felt were covering the hammer core (don't know if that's the proper term).

Again, just trying to help; I readily admit I don't know what I'm talking about.

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#650228 - 05/06/02 10:51 AM Re: Stanwood?
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
the sound in just that section lacks dimension. the round, full tone of the preceding octave is absent. it is a flatter sound, lacking depth. it doesn't sound wooden in the sense of hearing wood striking string. it sounds wooden in the sense of being dull.

it is interesting that this shift in tone occurs just at the point that the agraffes stop, and there is more felt under the strings by the pegs.

do any of the techs here know what i'm talking about? and is this a common phenomenon due to scale design? and if so, how is it commonly addressed?

thanks a bunch.
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#650229 - 05/06/02 11:45 AM Re: Stanwood?
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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

Yours is a real mystery gotta say. At first I thought that the felt under the strings was perhaps overdamping the string harmonics and thus causing the condition you describe. Then I went to my own piano(a Yamaha S4 grand)and saw that I have the same exact style and it has no effect whatever on that region tonally speaking. I do remember that years ago Baldwin had a patent on this frontal aliquot system with no string underfelt that allowed the front segments of the strings to vibrate with the idea that it could enhance the overall tonal color. Similarly Bluthner has these supplemental aliquot segments though I feel the result is no negligible as to be non-existent(as far as enhancing the tonal harmonics goes). But maybe in your case the effect of that string underfelt is TOO effective causing that undesired muffling effect you've described.

Mark Mandell
www.pianosource.com

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#650230 - 05/06/02 11:54 AM Re: Stanwood?
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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

Just an afterthought. It's possible that this was intentionally done BECAUSE the Grotrian makers realize that that section has a tendency to get rather strident sounding relative to the other piano sections. This is because the shorter string segments vibrate to a greater degree vertically relative to the horizontal component unlike the longer strings in the preceding tenor area. It's for this reason that this section always requires a more aggressive voicing. So Grotrian's philosophy might be that it's better to have that section tonally on a par with the rest of the piano.

But I also wish to emphasize that this is conjecture on my part and I too could be way off base. Might be worth your while to contact the Grotrian company to see if this has been done for this reason.

Mark

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