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#909337 - 10/21/05 05:57 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Derick II Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/05
Posts: 1426
Loc: New York
Ori,

Here's a pic of the front duplex on a 290.

BTW, when I made the comment about the rear duplex or whatever is the accurate term for it, I was only speaking of this duplex on my piano; the front, "traditional", as I know it duplex, definitely "sang". The tone on the rear "duplex" lasted just a few micro-seconds.

Derick

_________________________
"People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid."[/b] - Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)


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#909338 - 10/21/05 06:23 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
curry Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/02
Posts: 3769
Loc: Hamilton Twp, NJ
Derick, the front duplex on the 280 and 290 is very effective. I bet yours sounds even better in the confines of your living room. The older 213 had a front duplex, I don't know why they did'nt continue it in the new model 214.
_________________________
G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358

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#909339 - 10/21/05 06:25 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21829
Loc: Oakland
I doubt it is the duplex section which is producing the tone. What is happening is that the vibrational energy passes under the capo bar to the speaking length of the string. You won't get much sound if you damp the speaking length.

I suspect that the biggest effect of all these things is changing the impedence of the end points of the speaking length. This would work whether the strings are damped in the duplex section or not.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#909340 - 10/21/05 06:32 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
curry Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/02
Posts: 3769
Loc: Hamilton Twp, NJ
BDB, the front duplexes on the Bösendorfer are very effective. If you touch your finger to the strings of of a note in the duplex section, then strike the key, the tone is very bland. Remove your finger and strike again, the tone blossoms dramatically.
I'm sure Derick can verify this.
_________________________
G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358

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#909341 - 10/21/05 06:50 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
seebechstein Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/04
Posts: 1085
Loc: houston
(sorry, wrong forum.)

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#909342 - 10/21/05 10:13 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
interesting discussion guys
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#909343 - 10/22/05 05:04 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5317
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by Roy123:
My memory may be mistaken, but I believe Del called rear duplexes worthless, or something like that. I haven't seen a post from Del for a while--I hope he's still here. Those who extoll the virtues of duplex scales may be reacting more to the sound of a front duplex. Just idle speculation... [/b]
The following is quoted from something I wrote a few months back. Nothing since then has caused me to change my mind.

From: “Benefit of a duplex or triplex scale design,” 27 May 2005

 Quote:
There is no clear theoretical function for the so-called tuned duplex, or aliquot string segments used by some piano makers. The most commonly held belief is that the tuned duplex string segment (whether it be front or back) will somehow reinforce the fundamental. And it is true that they will often introduce what is often called color to the overall sound mix. At least when it is used at the front end of the string (forward of the capo tastro bar). But this comes at the expense of sustain — and this in a part of the scale where sustain is most at a premium — and with the introduction of a strong propensity toward various obnoxious string buzzes and whistles. There is no proven benefit (though there are a lot of unproven and unsubstantiated claims) for the back tuned duplex (whether it is tunable or not).

Many of the recently introduced so-called tuned duplex systems are not functional at all — they just look similar to those that are. To work as the supporters of this system claim the string deflection angles at the capo tastro V-bar must be quite shallow and/or the string segment between the V-bar and the first bearing bar must be quite long. In other words the string’s speaking length termination must be imprecise and inefficient so that some amount of vibrating energy can be transferred to the duplex string segment. In theory, then, this energy must have some mechanism by which it can feed back to the speaking portion of the string. If the speaking portion of the string is efficiently terminated — i.e., with an adequate string termination angle coupled with a reasonably short duplex string segment — this energy transfer will not occur. Many of the so-called tuned duplex systems I’ve seen lately have string deflection angles that are great enough to limit this energy transfer (despite the claims made for them). At least, while these systems do not actually function as true tuned duplex systems they are not prone to the various string noises that so often plague the real thing.

I have not yet heard a convincing argument to be made for the back tuned duplex system. And I’ve really tried to make these thing work. I’ve also seen demonstrations put on by some of the best of the true believers. I keep coming away convinced that the inherent limitations of the systems outweigh any potential or claimed benefits. The best that can be said for the best of them is that the don’t due much harm and they may add some color to the overall sound mix at the expense of some sustain and at the danger of introducing some miscellaneous, and usually obnoxious, string noises.

-----

You might also look at the topic: Duplex Scaling that started 28 July 2004.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#909344 - 10/22/05 06:24 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1703
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
As I pointed out before, there are those that don't believe in the benefits of the duplex scale. I guess that this is the reason that certain piano designers decided not to incorporate this part of the design into their pianos. The fact is still, however, that with the exception of those that use single string design to the top of the instrument, the overwhelming majority of tier one and two pianos have some kind of a back duplex scale system and even more use front duplexes whether tunable or not.
The “trend” among modern piano designers seeking to improve the tonal projection and color of their instruments is to use duplexes and they invest much time in engineering systems that will work properly and benefit the piano.

The duplex segment part indeed has to be relatively long (again, as I mentioned before) in order to be effective, and the system has to be designed to perform correctly. Otherwise, some of the criticisms that we hear regarding duplexes can occur.
This may be the reason that in most low-end instruments there are no duplexes, and certainly not tunable duplexes.

Now in theory, as we sometimes here from the critics of the system, duplexes may reduce the sustaining qualities of an instrument...however, complex theoretical explanations aside, does anyone have a real issue with the sustain Mason & Hamlin, Fazioli , Estonia or a C.Bechstein?

Some of the pianos that use tunable duplex scale designs are actually KNOWN for having remarkable sustain....

Again, this isn't a black and white issue. There are those designers that don't like duplexes and are free to design their pianos without them.
They seem to be however in a rapidly growing minority.

The designers of modern instruments, not only from Mason, Fazioli , Estonia and C.Bechstein...but also Seiler, Schimmel Bohemia and Bosendorfer (front ), in addition to many other older designs by Steinway, Yamaha, Kawai and many other makes...
I guess the designers of these instruments weighed the advantages/disadvantages of the system and decided to use duplexes after all.

This isn't a black and white issue, and the ultimate test in this part of design is simply what does one think of the sound.

I’m glad that we have a piano designer on board that is willing to share his theories as to why he decided not to use duplexes on his pianos. I wish though, that the designers of Bosendorfer (front), Fazioli, Mason & Hamlin, Estonia, C.Bechstein and many others would have been writing here too telling us why they decided to use duplexes on their piano and why they believe that a that is properly designed duplex system can benefit the tone in the treble section of the piano.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#909345 - 10/22/05 06:54 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Rich D. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 1262
Loc: Rehoboth Beach De. USA
Ori,
It is a good question why piano makers like Bosendorfer and C.Bechstein and others are now designing pianos using duplex scales. Especially whern there reputations were built on their own unique designs (non duplex). Do they all want to sound more like Steinways?

Rich
_________________________
Retired at the beach (well maybe not completely)

Anton Rubinstein said about the piano: "You think it is one instrument? It is a hundred instruments!"

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#909346 - 10/22/05 07:32 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
BDB Offline
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Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21829
Loc: Oakland
I think the reason manufacturers are adding them is that they are cheap for the amount of advertising hype that you can get out of them.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#909347 - 10/22/05 07:37 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1703
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
I don't think that these companies are designing their pianos specifically to be more like Steinway (although I wouldn't eliminate it as one of the possible reasons).
Many high end European pianos have their own sound and character and are rather proud of it.
I believe that many of the European companies have come to recognize and admit that there are desirable elements of sound that can be obtained by using duplexes.

Steinway, as you probably know, wasn't the only company to use duplex scales.
So yes, saying that using duplexes is "a la Steinway" may be accurate, but it could also be said that this design is "a la other companies" that used (use) duplexes".

Steinway was also using duplex scale designs for more then a century, and I think that if these makers wanted to sound more like Steinway they had many opportunities to do so in the past.
Besides, if piano manufacturers wanted to sound more like Steinways they would have other ways of doing so other then incorporating duplex scales, sometimes saving a lot of money in the process...so I would think they'd go there first.

The designers I spoke to and decided to incorporate duplex scales in their pianos felt that it contributes to the color and the projection in the treble. They felt that this is an improvement and without the duplexes the sound may be thinner and/or duller.

As to why this kind of sound seem to be more popular with European makers nowadays and the reasons thees makers felt they needed to change things...well, I do have some theories and ideas, but since I'd only be guessing at this point, I'd rather keep my thoughts about this matter to myself.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#909348 - 10/22/05 07:51 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1703
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
I think the reason manufacturers are adding them is that they are cheap for the amount of advertising hype that you can get out of them. [/b]
This is ridiculous.
If a customer goes to the vast majority of dealers that carry pianos with duplex scale, the chance that they hear any explanation about duplexes and the way they are thought to contribute to the sound is slim.

Actually, I'd bet that the majority of sales people in this industry don't really know what a duplex scale is.

How many reports did we hear from people that went to Steinway dealers, and what thy were told by these dealers...and as I recall, none of them came back telling about the "marvelous duplex scale system".

How many of the consumers reading this ever heard of duplex scales before reading on this forum? How many of you knew what they are?
Even in the beginning of this thread there seem to be confusion among relatively knowledgeable readers...

"Hype"???
The only "hype" I see is the "hype" about the use of things that almost no consumer is even aware of as "advertising hype".

The biggest “hype” is to call everything a "hype".
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#909349 - 10/22/05 07:54 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 1931
Loc: Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
This is an interesting discussion and some definitions should be given as aliquots seem to be bandied about without realizing that essentially it is a mathematics term used for something that is divided into equal parts (fractions)and is applicable to the Pythagoras discovery that a single string divides into equal parts in a continuing sequence or its aliquot parts, thus: halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, sevenths, etc. and that accounts for the acousticians' partials, overtones, harmonic series.

As I understand it, the aliquot on a M&H or other piano is set by the factory to resonate with the speaking part of the string and thus enhance the tone and it is one of the mathematically determined divisions of the strings. It is sort of like a violinist or string player lightly touching a vibrating string at a point and creating an overtone or harmonic. I'm sure the designer of the scale of the piano took into consideration how to devise a method to get the non-speaking part of the string to vibrate sympathetically with the speaking part to enhance the sound.

If a piano is in tune then one can hold a key down without sounding it (lower registers work best) and play the same key at a higher register quickly (staccato) and hear the vibration. Simply hold the key down and slowly do a chromatic scale--all sharp staccatos with time to listen--and you will hear some that cause the held key tone to vibrate while others do nothing. To make it vibrate it must be in the dividing sequence for that pitch. These overtones make the music richer and when the pedal (damper) is applied it frees all the sequential aliquots to vibrate freely. So, if the aliquots in the design of the instrument are to be effective they MUST be in sync with the speaking length of the string.

Some more erudite acoustic professional can elucidate better than I can but this should help those unfamiliar with the process of tonal relationships.

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#909350 - 10/22/05 10:07 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
Of the Grotrian 'duplex' (or mixture scale) Piano*Dad said:
 Quote:
if the first one plucked gives a high C, then the second one would be a D and the third one would be an E
This may not technically be a tuned duplex, but these notes are certainly relative to the note being played. Those familiar with the harmonic series will recognize that these three notes are upper partials relating to the fundamental tone of "C".

In organ terms, we have a consonant octave (C), a slightly dissonant tierce (E), and a more dissonant none or neuvième (D) which adds spicy color. Nones and tierces can be rather discordant if they are close to the fundamental, but are better tolerated if they are several octaves above (as they would be in a duplex).

I find it interesting that some manufacturers take pains to tune their duplexes (with Blüthner taking the prize); I assume they want to eliminate any dissonant overtones. In spite of the fact that Grotrian's 'mixture scale' contains off-unison pitches, I really like the Grotrian sound! It is quite distinctive.

Discussions in this thread have been focusing on the vibrational energy of a string being transferred to the duplex portion of the same string.[/b] No doubt that's true, but isn't it also true that any undamped duplex will reinforce upper harmonics for multiple notes, not just the note associated with it? This means the duplex has the potential to color the entire instrument in a somewhat unpredictable manner.
_________________________
Grotrian 225
S&S Hamburg-C
M&H "A" at home

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#909351 - 10/22/05 10:27 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10410
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Whippen boy,

What I haven't (yet) done is to see how that major third in the rear duplex corresponds to the note itself.

If Del is right, these rear duplexes are no big deal anyway. I may play some games with felt to see if I hear a difference.

By the way, how's the big Grotrian in church?

Best,

David F
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#909352 - 10/23/05 01:59 AM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21829
Loc: Oakland
Unfortunately, no matter how well the duplexes are tuned physically by the placement of the aliquot, it really isn't possible to tune them that accurately in reality, due to the imbalances in the tension of the wire in that section. One tries to get the tension even in all sections of the string, but it is pretty much impossible to tune the duplex section well enough to distinguish between, say, a perfect interval and a tempered interval.

This doesn't apply to a Blüthner, of course, but even there, the tonal quality of a string which is either plucked or vibrating sympathetically is not identical to one struck by a hammer. The initial excitation of the string affects the pitch of the string to some extent, because the harder you move a string initially, the more tension there is, and the higher the pitch. How you move the string also changes the harmonic content. So even on a Blüthner, you aren't going to get the fourth string as exact as you can get the other three.

The results are rather unpredictable, then, which is probably what leads some people to dislike duplex scaling. I tend to ignore extraneous sounds when I need to, which, besides making me very popular with stage crews, makes me somewhat indifferent. The effect of most duplex systems is, for all intents and purposes, inaudible, as you can tell by damping them or not. When they are audible, the difference may not be preferable.

The only real difference may be in the impedance matching that I mentioned before. This would affect the ability of the string to vibrate more freely at the ends, particularly at certain frequencies. Damping the duplex portion of the string, if done lightly enough not to affect the speaking portion of the string, would probably have no effect on the impedance, so that without a big redesign, it would be difficult to see whether there is an audible difference or not. Even then, it would probably not amount to much, as the examples I previously cited (Steinway adding them, Baldwin removing them) show.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#909353 - 10/23/05 03:06 AM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5317
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ori:
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
I think the reason manufacturers are adding them is that they are cheap for the amount of advertising hype that you can get out of them. [/b]
This is ridiculous.
If a customer goes to the vast majority of dealers that carry pianos with duplex scale, the chance that they hear any explanation about duplexes and the way they are thought to contribute to the sound is slim.

Actually, I'd bet that the majority of sales people in this industry don't really know what a duplex scale is.

[/b]
Actually it may not be as ridiculous as it may seem at first blush. I’ve not looked at all of the newly implemented tuned duplex systems out there but I have looked at a few and at least some of them do not function as aliquot string segments. For enough energy to bleed across the V-bar to be effective two conditions are necessary, 1) the string angle must be relatively shallow and, 2) the string segment between the V-bar and the bearing bar must be relatively long. Yes, the string segment on the front side of the V-bar must also be tuned to some specific partial of the fundamental (and most are not), but it must be long enough to make the speaking length termination relatively inefficient.

If the string angle is greater than approximately 12° to 15° then the aliquot (duplex simply means the string is divided into two parts, aliquot implies that the string is divided into some specific fraction of the original) string segment must be upwards of 35 or 40 mm long or the string termination efficiency will be too great to allow much energy to bleed across the V-bar. If the string deflection angle is much greater than 15° the aliquot string segment is not going to get much energy no matter how long it is.

At least some of the newly introduced pseudo-aliquot systems are not functional aliquot systems. Either the string deflection angle is too great or the duplex string length is too short. Or both. I see two possible scenarios here: either the company implementing the feature did not understand how it works and got it wrong or they did understand the system and wanted to play the game but didn’t want the problems associated with the system. So they made it look like they were adding the front aliquot system but kept the string deflection angle well up there and/or the duplex string segments short enough to avoid the string noise and buzzing problems. Of course, in the process they also prevented the energy bleed that gives these systems their characteristic sound.

I don’t deny that tuning the front duplex string segment can/does affect the tone quality of the piano. And if you like that aliquot sizzle, great — your piano should have that feature. The problem with them, however, is that they often introduce unwanted side-effects. Two in particular. First, they contribute to the short sustain problem many pianos already have through the treble sections. And, second, they are the primary cause of many undesirable string buzzes and whistles through the capo tastro/V-bar sections. Some of these problems can be alleviated if the condition of the V-bar is kept just perfect but that is hard to do. And it’s expensive. The most common “solution” to the string noise problem is to mute out the offending string(s), but this reduces sustain time even further.

As for tuning the rear duplex, I’ve spent countless hours tuning these things, attempting to duplicate the dramatic claims made for them, but have yet found them to add anything of value to the tonal mix. Contrary to popular belief they do not add power or sustain to the sound envelope. Nor, except on a more-or-less random basis, do they add any measurable tone color to the tonal mix. And it’s not just me. I’ve attended seminars where this feature has been demonstrated by staunch advocates and self-appointed experts (including one gentleman who patented a tool to more precisely adjust the bloody things) and when the demonstrations were all finished the consensus among a broad spectrum of piano tuners and technicians was that no tonal improvements had been made.

As long as some folks claim that they do hear something back there I suppose the jury will remain out. But, as for me, I’m going on to more fertile grounds in my quest for improved tonal performance.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#909354 - 10/23/05 10:04 AM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
Piano*Dad, the Grotrian in church is great, thanks for asking! I'll be playing the daylights out of it, in about an hour! \:D

As you know, in spite of using a sort of 'mixture' (duplex) scale, Grotrians have PLENTY of sustain - almost more than needed.

You asked how a major third relates to the note itself. In the harmonic series, an "E" is the fifth (or is it fourth?) upper partial of the "C" two octaves below. Higher up in the series other notes (such as ninths, and even minor thirds) start appearing.

Here is an interesting website: Harmonic Series

If you hold down a low "C" without striking it and loudly play the other notes in the chart, you will begin to hear the low "C" sound. It will sound richer and louder, the more notes you play. It will start sounding more like you have actually struck the low C.

For any given note, the upper partials are an octave, twelfth, fifteenth, seventeenth (major third), nineteenth, flatted twenty-first (septième), twenty-second, twenty-third (none), twenty-fourth, etc. etc. The series goes way up beyond audibility.

If you were to somehow remove these harmonics from a tone, the note would begin to sound like a computer-generated sine-wave tone, rather uninteresting.

One more interesting thought: if you could remove the initial attack of a note and listen to the steady tone only, it can become difficult to tell what sort of instrument is playing (oboe? violin?). It seems that the burst of transient harmonics at the attack helps us to identify what instrument is playing. Larry Fine makes special mention of Grotrian's attack; perhaps it is their mixture scale that contributes to that.
_________________________
Grotrian 225
S&S Hamburg-C
M&H "A" at home

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#909355 - 10/23/05 11:29 AM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1703
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
Del,
The reason that the statements made are ridiculous have nothing to do with any theoretical explanations, or even the question of whether the system works or not.
It has to do with the facts that almost no consumer buying a piano ever hear the term "duplex scale", that most sales people don't even know what it is, and those sales people that heard the term probably won't be able to explain to their clients what it is and ho it is supposed to function even if their life dependent on it.

We have so many pianofiles here, that have probably looked in to their piano purchase much more thoroughly then the average buyer, and I'm sure that those that heard about it before their purchase were in the minority.

This is what makes the claim ridiculous.

If something is made for the only reason of "advertising" and may even be actually "detriment" to the sound then it should better be used as "advertising".
If it isn't used as advertising in any meaningful way then to claim that this is the reason for it is ridiculous.

The average piano buyers reading this can make up their mind by the "numerous" times they heard about the duplex system and it's advantages while piano shopping...or rather didn't hear about it.

Now, regarding the system itself...
You wrote:

 Quote:
I don’t deny that tuning the front duplex string segment can/does affect the tone quality of the piano. And if you like that aliquot sizzle, great — your piano should have that feature. [/b]
Great, were in agreement on the fact that the front duplex DOES make a difference. In fact, any one muting the duplex segment part in a properly designed duplex system will probably hear the difference immediately. One may call it "sizzling" when it is unmated and may also call is "dull" when it is muted or isn't there (it's been called thin also when there is no duplex system). This could very well be a tone preference as you mentioned.

You also wrote:

 Quote:
The problem with them, however, is that they often introduce unwanted side-effects. Two in particular. First, they contribute to the short sustain problem many pianos already have through the treble sections.
[/b]
Well, even if one would accept this, then when some instruments featuring front duplex scales are by no mean lacking of any sustain, it does make this argument somewhat theoreticle and moot, doesn't it?
Either the many high end companies, that designed instruments with duplexes and have great sustain found a way to design their duplexes properly, or that they have other ways to achieve great sustain and decided that at a certain point, they’d rather have the tonal advantages (as they see it) of the system then even MORE sustain.

You also said:

 Quote:
And, second, they are the primary cause of many undesirable string buzzes and whistles through the capo tastro/V-bar sections. Some of these problems can be alleviated if the condition of the V-bar is kept just perfect but that is hard to do. And it’s expensive.

[/b]
And even if one would accept this, the tunable duplexes can solve the issue. It give the tech CONTROL.
By changing the aliquots to larger or smaller size, and by moving these towards the front or back, both the string angle and the string length can be changed.
so one can decide if they want the piano to "sizzle" more, or to be more dull.
The most common "solution" as you described it, is not necessarily the right solution, and you shouldn't judge the effectiveness of something by the wrong approaches that some techs, even most techs, are taking to resolve a sound that you may find to be objectionable.

I at least, don't decide whether to change or move the aliquots by measuring their angles or string length. I make this decision by listening to the piano and trying to get it to sound how I want it to. I couldn't care less if the angle is 12, 14 or 16 degrees as long as I can get the desirable tone, and I don't waste my time on theoretical measurements when each piano may be somewhat different, enough different at least in order to eliminate the benefits of generalizing the ideal angles or length.

Also, some of the higher end companies featuring duplex scales are using certain methods to strengthen and reinforce the capo bar to keep it in perfect condition, whether you're aware of them doing it or not. And yes, this can be expensive (this may also be the reason that tunable duplex designs on modern instruments are found on higher end pianos and not exactly on the lower end)...but some of the companies featuring these, decided to bear the cost of doing it right and went on doing so.

Regarding the rear duplexes you wrote:
 Quote:
As for tuning the rear duplex, I’ve spent countless hours tuning these things, attempting to duplicate the dramatic claims made for them, but have yet found them to add anything of value to the tonal mix. Contrary to popular belief they do not add power or sustain to the sound envelope. Nor, except on a more-or-less random basis,
[/b]
And also:

 Quote:
But, as for me, I’m going on to more fertile grounds in my quest for improved tonal performance.[/b]
So wait... here you say that you think that the rear duplex doesn't add much EXCEPT on a random basis...well, please take into account the possibility that there are those that didn't decide to give up and move to more "fertile grounds", and that they may have found a way to make these improvements of sustain and projection to be less random.
If there is a "random" improvement, there is an improvement. If someone figured out how to eliminate the "random" part, they will stay with the improvement. Those that moved to other pastures may be left only with theoretical criticism.

Some piano designers and companies, decided to bear the considerable additional cost of producing PROPERLY designed duplex scale systems on their pianos.
I wouldn't relate to the designers of most high-end modern instruments, that believe the duplex design adds to the tonal quality as "self-appointed experts" but rather treat them with the respect they deserve for creating marvelous instruments.

It could be however, that as long as there are those that look at pianos as the sum of angles and numbers, and are quick to measure things instead of listening to the instrument, this question may still be open. But for now, there is a simple way of deciding what is one's preference...

If one plays the relatively newly designed Fazioli, Mason & Hamlin, Estonia, C.Bechstein, Bosendorfer concert grands, Schimmel and Seiler pianos (which all of them have incorporated duplex scales into their modern pianos), and yet find their treble inferior to the treble section found on instruments designed by Del... well, then the duplexes (or lack there of ) may have something to do with it.

If however, one actually like the in the treble sections of the Mason & Hamlin, Fazioli, Bosendorfer imperial, C.Bechstein etc (these are all modern pianos, I don't mention instruments like Steinway, and others that also use duplexes because they are older designs) better then the instruments designed by our fellow member here... well, then the possibility that these instruments produce a beautiful tone in the treble is also be due in part to the duplex scale design shouldn't be discounted.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#909356 - 10/23/05 03:02 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
del, i, for one, really appreciate that you are posting here on this subject, and value your input.

would you please settle for us whether or not grotrian's current design is a duplex scale design? it seems to me by your definition of the term, it is. it clearly is not an aliquot design.

ori, i happen to agree with you that these pianos have beautiful sustain and tonal color. however, i don't care for the tone of your post to del. you come across as being nasty and as attacking his credibility as a designer. care to edit your post?
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#909357 - 10/23/05 03:39 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1703
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
Pique,
Don't know what to edit...
I have all the respect for Del and appreciate his posts. Most often I'm in agreement with his opinion, but sometimes (like on this issue) not.
Yet, I don't mean to be insulting and don't mean to attack his credibility as a designer.
If I point out that other designers might not be in agreement with him than I don't think either he, or you should take offence to it.
If my comments were insulting then I'd say that his comments could be viewed as very insulting to many makers and designers that don't share his opinion but share mine.
I don't view though his comments as an attack of any sorts on any other designer’s credibility and stated before that he is entitled to his opinion and view of things.
As I also mentioned, it isn't a black and white issue and there are many designers that like to incorporate this system into their pianos, and some that don't.
writing on a forum when it's harder to convey emotions is hard enough without having to deal with those that feel a bit "sensitive".

If I had spoken to Del face to face I would have said exactly what I wrote here and I don't think that he would have been insulted. I hope that he isn't right now even if I don't agree with him and that you are just over reacting...but if he wasn't insulted, I'm afraid that after reading your post he may get upset as he see that some see it as an attack to his credibility.
So to Del, I hope I made myself clear that I respect you and don't mean to undermine anything by stating a position that is different then yours. And to Pique, comments such as this contribute to nothing. If I insulted Del he can and may have replied either here or privately without your help. Words like yours contribute to nothing but flaming a situation that isn't flamed. Also, if you object to something that is said, then please quote the part you view as offensive, or were profanities, accusations and personal attacks are suppose to appear and don't make blank comments about "tone".
It seems that it's hard enough to post comments, opinions or factual information on this board without being attacked by some people that have appointed themselves as the local police.
I doubt that Del, if feel insulted, really needs your help.
So would you kindly care to edit your post?

Now to make sure that my comments to you were made in good spirit I'll add this here... \:\)

Regarding the Grotrian, the pictures of the back stringing show that there is no duplex scale design there. That's pretty simple and this is also what Grotrian told you.
It also not a big surprise because this piano is single strung all the way up to the top.
If you post pictures of the front part, then someone could comment whether this is a duplex design or not.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#909358 - 10/23/05 03:56 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21829
Loc: Oakland
One can add rear duplex aliquots even if the piano is single strung. The designer just needs to leave enough room between the aliquot and the hitch pin.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#909359 - 10/23/05 05:26 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Roy123 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 1724
Loc: Massachusetts
More idle speculation... Ori has commented on the great sustain of some modern pianos that have duplex scaling. However, without some experimentation and/or measurements, we don't really know if the good sustain exists despite the duplex string segments, or if, as Del has mentioned, the angle of the string over the capo tastro bar is such that little to no energy is transferred to the duplex segment.

I guess my point is that there are a number of factors that determine a piano's sustain, and just because a piano with good sustain uses duplex scaling doesn't mean that the sustain wouldn't be even better if the instrument were designed without it.

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#909360 - 10/23/05 05:46 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5317
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ori:
Del,
(1) The reason that the statements made are ridiculous have nothing to do with any theoretical explanations, or even the question of whether the system works or not.
It has to do with the facts that almost no consumer buying a piano ever hear the term "duplex scale", that most sales people don't even know what it is, and those sales people that heard the term probably won't be able to explain to their clients what it is and ho it is supposed to function even if their life dependent on it.

….
(2) Great, were in agreement on the fact that the front duplex DOES make a difference. In fact, any one muting the duplex segment part in a properly designed duplex system will probably hear the difference immediately. One may call it "sizzling" when it is unmated and may also call is "dull" when it is muted or isn't there (it's been called thin also when there is no duplex system). This could very well be a tone preference as you mentioned.

….
(3) Well, even if one would accept this, then when some instruments featuring front duplex scales are by no mean lacking of any sustain, it does make this argument somewhat theoreticle and moot, doesn't it?
Either the many high end companies, that designed instruments with duplexes and have great sustain found a way to design their duplexes properly, or that they have other ways to achieve great sustain and decided that at a certain point, they’d rather have the tonal advantages (as they see it) of the system then even MORE sustain.

….
(4) And even if one would accept this, the tunable duplexes can solve the issue. It give the tech CONTROL.
By changing the aliquots to larger or smaller size, and by moving these towards the front or back, both the string angle and the string length can be changed. So one can decide if they want the piano to "sizzle" more, or to be more dull.
The most common "solution" as you described it, is not necessarily the right solution, and you shouldn't judge the effectiveness of something by the wrong approaches that some techs, even most techs, are taking to resolve a sound that you may find to be objectionable.

….
(5) I at least, don't decide whether to change or move the aliquots by measuring their angles or string length. I make this decision by listening to the piano and trying to get it to sound how I want it to. I couldn't care less if the angle is 12, 14 or 16 degrees as long as I can get the desirable tone, and I don't waste my time on theoretical measurements when each piano may be somewhat different, enough different at least in order to eliminate the benefits of generalizing the ideal angles or length.

….
(6) Also, some of the higher end companies featuring duplex scales are using certain methods to strengthen and reinforce the capo bar to keep it in perfect condition, whether you're aware of them doing it or not. And yes, this can be expensive (this may also be the reason that tunable duplex designs on modern instruments are found on higher end pianos and not exactly on the lower end)...but some of the companies featuring these, decided to bear the cost of doing it right and went on doing so.

….
(7) So wait... here you say that you think that the rear duplex doesn't add much EXCEPT on a random basis...well, please take into account the possibility that there are those that didn't decide to give up and move to more "fertile grounds", and that they may have found a way to make these improvements of sustain and projection to be less random.
If there is a "random" improvement, there is an improvement. If someone figured out how to eliminate the "random" part, they will stay with the improvement. Those that moved to other pastures may be left only with theoretical criticism.

….
(8) Some piano designers and companies, decided to bear the considerable additional cost of producing PROPERLY designed duplex scale systems on their pianos.
I wouldn't relate to the designers of most high-end modern instruments, that believe the duplex design adds to the tonal quality as "self-appointed experts" but rather treat them with the respect they deserve for creating marvelous instruments.

….
It could be however, that as long as there are those that look at pianos as the sum of angles and numbers, and are quick to measure things instead of listening to the instrument, this question may still be open. But for now, there is a simple way of deciding what is one's preference...

If one plays the relatively newly designed Fazioli, Mason & Hamlin, Estonia, C. Bechstein, Bosendorfer concert grands, Schimmel and Seiler pianos (which all of them have incorporated duplex scales into their modern pianos), and yet find their treble inferior to the treble section found on instruments designed by Del... well, then the duplexes (or lack there of ) may have something to do with it.

If however, one actually like the in the treble sections of the Mason & Hamlin, Fazioli, Bosendorfer imperial, C. Bechstein etc (these are all modern pianos, I don't mention instruments like Steinway, and others that also use duplexes because they are older designs) better then the instruments designed by our fellow member here... well, then the possibility that these instruments produce a beautiful tone in the treble is also be due in part to the duplex scale design shouldn't be discounted. [/b]
(1) So why do I hear factory sales reps and dealer salespeople touting the mis-named “duplex” scale in their new pianos? (All pianos have a duplex scale. The question is whether or not the duplex string segment is tuned.) Why do I see this feature cropping up more and more in sales literature? Function aside, this has become a sales feature used by many—even in pianos where it clearly doesn’t function as a true tuned aliquot system.

(2) This is a meaningless test. Well, almost meaningless. It is a good way to test a duplex system to see whether or not it is really functioning as a tuned aliquot system. If the note goes dull and sustain drops off when your finger is placed on the duplex string segment, it is. If the tone and sustain rate do not change appreciably, it is not. And, of course, there are many levels in between all on and all off—sometimes even within a given piano.

The worst of all worlds is heard when a functioning tuned aliquot string segment is artificially muted. The system deliberately allows some amount of energy to bleed across the string termination to the tuned aliquot string segment. When this string segment is damped with some energy absorbing substance (whether it be some piece of felt or your finger) sustain time will decrease—you’re drawing energy from the string (starting with the higher partials) and damping it out much faster than it would be absorbed into the plate. And, for the same reason, the tone will go dull—the highest partials are damped most readily by a viscoelastic material. Yet this type of muting is often done to dampen out the extraneous and irritating string noises that frequently develop in these systems. Sometimes there are alternate solutions but more often than not, unless the technician is prepared to so some serious plate grinding, alternate solutions simply do not exist. At least not in the real world in which most pianos, piano owners and technicians exist.

(3) Sustain time is a performance parameter determined by many things. The only way to test whether or not the tuned aliquot system is adding to or detracting from the sustain time of a particular piano is to measure it one way, change the system on the same piano and measure it again (without making any other changes). This is something I have done several times on several different pianos. In every case the when tuned aliquot system was functioning the sustain time decreased. When the string deflection angles were increased and the duplex string segment length was decreased (with no other changes being made), sustain time increased.

Tuned aliquot systems cannot, by design and fimction, add to the piano’s sustain time. Energy is deliberately drawn from the speaking portion of the string and transferred to the tuned aliquot string segment. Some of this energy may make it back across the V-bar (or whatever) but some of it is transferred directly to the plate where it is readily absorbed and converted into heat. Gray iron is good at this—it has a very high damping factor. (Which is another feature touted by many that is, in reality, actually a detriment to the overall performance of the piano.) Energy lost to the plate is not available to the strings nor to the bridge.

(4) Control? Most so-called tuned aliquot systems are not adjustable. Yes, some are but it is the rare technician who has even a vague idea of what to do with them. And the even rarer piano owner who is willing to pay to have these things experimented with. Most of those that are adjustable are adjustable only in length, not in string deflection angle. At least not without replacing some parts or adding shims and/or spacers. Hardly the kind of thing the average tuner is going to do during the average tuning call.

While you discount (with some justification) the systems used by Steinway (and the various Steinway clones) as not being true tuned aliquot systems, these are still the systems most commonly used. They are not adjustable by any reasonable means and the field technician has very little control over them.

(5) I don’t go around measuring string deflection angles on every piano I come across either. But when I’m studying a system and trying to lay a good theoretical basis for how it works and what its parameters are it’s a good idea to do so. It’s certainly not something I’m going to apologize for doing. I’m of the opinion that knowledge and understanding are always good things. Even when they fly in the face of conventional wisdom.

(6) I am aware that some companies are (still) trying to come up with V-bar materials and configurations that do not allow the string to quickly wear grooves in them. This has been going on for something over 100 years. And, while I don’t claim to have seen them all, in over 40 years as a field technician, a piano rebuilder/remanufacturer, a piano builder and researcher I’ve seen and used quite a few. Steinway, some decades back, heat-hardened the surface of the V-bar. (I’ve done this myself on more than a few soft plates.) Yamaha tried inserting a steel rod in a groove cast in the bottom of the V-bar. (I’ve retrofitted this on a few old plates as well.) But in every case I know of so far manufacturers have had to back away from these techniques somewhat to keep from prematurely breaking strings. The harder the V-bar material the faster strings break. As well, the sharper the V-bar radius the faster strings break. Other methods I’ve tried include the use of separate V-bar castings made of various materials such as manganese bronze, aluminum bronze and silicon bronze (all of which are harder than gray iron) pinned to the bottom of the capo tastro bar. Chickering used inverted agraffes inserted into the bottom of the capo tastro bar and, not being one to pass on borrowing a good idea when I see one, I designed this system into the Walter 175 as well. It the prototype, at least, it works very nicely.

(7) Yes, random. The same random phenomena is present when no attempt at all is made to tune the backscale. The backscale is a whole different animal from the frontscale. The frontscale is excited directly by the motion of the individual strings of a given unison. The backscale, on the other hand, is excited only by the movement of the whole bridge (at least through a broad, regional area). It would be pretty hard to design a backscale that is not going to be excited sympathetically by the broad spectrum of vibrations moving the bridge. Except in the case of some early Steinway backscale designs, the one big benefit to manufacturers attempting to tune the backscale is that they (usually) get it long enough.

As I’ve said before, I’m willing to be convinced on this, but so far the best efforts of those touting the system have been unconvincing. After spending huge amounts of time setting these things up the claimed performance advantages simply are not there.

(8) Yes, some companies are doing a better job than others when it comes to designing and building these systems. At least technically. (And I don’t relegate the designers of the worlds high-end pianos to the category of “self-appointed experts.” If that was the impression I gave, I apologize. I’ve apparently sat through more presentations of the pseudo-science sometimes used to explain these systems than you have.)

Alas, I do not have the financial backing to experiment on new pianos like the Fazioli, C. Bechstein or Bosendorfer. But, I do find it curious that folks intimately familiar with the current production M&H BB comment on the excellent sustain through the capo tastro bar sections of our remanufactured BB which has had the tuned aliquot system removed and a system incorporating a sharper string deflection angle and a shorter duplex string segment installed in its place.

And, yes, I confess, I do like to see things measured, tested and proven as opposed to simply claimed. I am aware that many pianists and (especially) many manufacturers and dealers swear by these systems. But 95 years ago many manufactures and wood technologists also swore that spruce got its special resonating qualities from the millions of tiny vibrating diaphragms in the cell walls of the wood fiber. Now we know better. Time goes on and the constant wondering and probing and study you seem to be almost contemptuous of continues to find answers and explanations to questions that have swirled around the piano for something over 300 years. Sacred cows also make good steak and barbeque.

Until I (or somebody—anybody!) can directly test one of these systems (using valid and repeatable cause and effect testing) and prove that some form of the system provides all of the claimed benefits while eliminating the known problems and disadvantages that accompany them, I tend to agree with BDB. I think much of the current popularity of the tuned aliquot system has more to do with marketing strategy than with proven substance.

Which does not mean that some builders are not doing a better job of implementing the system than others. Clearly, some manufacturers are putting a lot of effort into making the system work as well as it can be made to work. It just means that my own experience and research work over the years has led me to believe there are better ways to go.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#909361 - 10/23/05 08:51 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1703
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
Del,
You’ve made some interesting points, but reading through them I was a bit surprised. It seems that we agree over much of what you said although in the end we have different opinions. I’ll try to respond to the points you made so you can see the similarities and differences.

You wrote:

 Quote:
(1) So why do I hear factory sales reps and dealer salespeople touting the mis-named “duplex” scale in their new pianos? (All pianos have a duplex scale. The question is whether or not the duplex string segment is tuned.) Why do I see this feature cropping up more and more in sales literature? Function aside, this has become a sales feature used by many—even in pianos where it clearly doesn’t function as a true tuned aliquot system.

[/b]
1. The question IMO isn't if it is touted to industry pros that are supposed to know the differences and be able to appreciate them. The question is if it’s actually used on sales floors. As this thread readily demonstrates, confusion on the part of many, that are much more educated then the average piano buyer is rampant, and readers can answer for themselves the question of: How many times did we really hear at dealers the term duplex scale and how was it explained to us?
(for the record, when I say Duplex scale system I mean what most people mean...that it is tuned to resonate with the speaking part of the string. I wrote about it enough in previous posts of this thread).


 Quote:
(2) This is a meaningless test. Well, almost meaningless. It is a good way to test a duplex system to see whether or not it is really functioning as a tuned aliquot system. If the note goes dull and sustain drops off when your finger is placed on the duplex string segment, it is. If the tone and sustain rate do not change appreciably, it is not. And, of course, there are many levels in between all on and all off—sometimes even within a given piano.

The worst of all worlds is heard when a functioning tuned aliquot string segment is artificially muted. The system deliberately allows some amount of energy to bleed across the string termination to the tuned aliquot string segment. When this string segment is damped with some energy absorbing substance (whether it be some piece of felt or your finger) sustain time will decrease—you’re drawing energy from the string (starting with the higher partials) and damping it out much faster than it would be absorbed into the plate. And, for the same reason, the tone will go dull—the highest partials are damped most readily by a viscoelastic material. Yet this type of muting is often done to dampen out the extraneous and irritating string noises that frequently develop in these systems. Sometimes there are alternate solutions but more often than not, unless the technician is prepared to so some serious plate grinding, alternate solutions simply do not exist. At least not in the real world in which most pianos, piano owners and technicians exist.

[/b]
2.
I agree that it is a good way to test a duplex system to see whether or not it is really functioning as a tuned aliquot system. There is a difference between us here though about the semantics. You may be more accurate to call this segment " tuned aliquot system" while I refer to it as a duplex scale...but I think that we should keep things as simple as possible so we, and readers can actually understand what's being said.

I’ve seen duplex segments that have been muted with felts by some technicians, and it is enough to say that I don’t think that this is any solution if there is an issue. There are alternate ways to deal with the problem, and in some systems not just by grinding the plate.
In a properly designed system done by a manufacturer with improving the sound quality in mind there won’t be any substantial amount of “irritating string noise" anyway, at least not the kind that can’t be dealt with fairly easy.
I agree that with some designs this could be a problem but I make my remarks with the best systems in mind, the kind that I’m familiar with.

 Quote:
3. Sustain time is a performance parameter determined by many things. The only way to test whether or not the tuned aliquot system is adding to or detracting from the sustain time of a particular piano is to measure it one way, change the system on the same piano and measure it again (without making any other changes). This is something I have done several times on several different pianos. In every case the when tuned aliquot system was functioning the sustain time decreased. When the string deflection angles were increased and the duplex string segment length was decreased (with no other changes being made), sustain time increased.

Tuned aliquot systems cannot, by design and fimction, add to the piano’s sustain time. Energy is deliberately drawn from the speaking portion of the string and transferred to the tuned aliquot string segment. Some of this energy may make it back across the V-bar (or whatever) but some of it is transferred directly to the plate where it is readily absorbed and converted into heat. Gray iron is good at this—it has a very high damping factor. (Which is another feature touted by many that is, in reality, actually a detriment to the overall performance of the piano.) Energy lost to the plate is not available to the strings nor to the bridge.[/b]
3. There is no reason to argue about this as I assume that you’re talking here about the front duplexes. What you wrote isn't contradicting in any way to the point made by me and quoted by you.

I wrote:

Well, even if one would accept this, then when some instruments featuring front duplex scales are by no mean lacking of any sustain, it does make this argument somewhat theoretical and moot, doesn't it?[/b]

Nothing you said seem to be disputing that.
Are you suggesting that the pianos I mentioned before have a short sustain? I don't think so.

Could the sustain in theory be longer? Well, I answered this also before by writing:

Either the many high end companies, that designed instruments with duplexes and have great sustain found a way to design their duplexes properly, or that they have other ways to achieve great sustain and decided that at a certain point, they’d rather have the tonal advantages (as they see it) of the system then even MORE sustain.

[/b]

 Quote:
4) Control? Most so-called tuned aliquot systems are not adjustable. Yes, some are but it is the rare technician who has even a vague idea of what to do with them. And the even rarer piano owner who is willing to pay to have these things experimented with. Most of those that are adjustable are adjustable only in length, not in string deflection angle. At least not without replacing some parts or adding shims and/or spacers. Hardly the kind of thing the average tuner is going to do during the average tuning call.

While you discount (with some justification) the systems used by Steinway (and the various Steinway clones) as not being true tuned aliquot systems, these are still the systems most commonly used. They are not adjustable by any reasonable means and the field technician has very little control over them.

[/b]
4. Yes, control...I agree with you that most of these duplex systems are not truly tunable and offer very little control by the tech. I also agree in 100% that it is very rare that techs know what to do with these aliquots. I even mentioned before in this thread that if someone lets a tech touch these he'd better be very sure that the tech knows what to do with these duplexes.

However, please note that I carry some of the instruments that have a true tunable duplex scale (tunable aliquot system). These instruments allow for adjustments with much more control and by "experimenting" with these on my own time and dime, while prepping, many, many instruments, I believe that I can get good results by changing the length and size of the aliquots.
I don't look at things just from the angle of the average duplex system as it designed, and what results the average tech is capable of getting by working with it. I look at it from the angle of what can be achieved in a system that is tunable and properly designed by someone that knows how to work with it. If I were to summarize it in one word I'd use "control".

 Quote:
(5) I don’t go around measuring string deflection angles on every piano I come across either. But when I’m studying a system and trying to lay a good theoretical basis for how it works and what its parameters are it’s a good idea to do so. It’s certainly not something I’m going to apologize for doing. I’m of the opinion that knowledge and understanding are always good things. Even when they fly in the face of conventional wisdom.

[/b]
5. Again, I find myself in complete agreement with you...I also think that: "knowledge and understanding are always good things. Even when they fly in the face of conventional wisdom". However, I'm also of the opinion that real life results are also of great value, and if the instrument sounds great and excels in the department that theoretically it should not excel in...well, then with all the respect to the theory I think that it is moot and it could be that someone found a way to compensate for the theoretical disadvantages even if I wouldn’t understand how or agree with it.

 Quote:
(6) I am aware that some companies are (still) trying to come up with V-bar materials and configurations that do not allow the string to quickly wear grooves in them. This has been going on for something over 100 years. And, while I don’t claim to have seen them all, in over 40 years as a field technician, a piano rebuilder/remanufacturer, a piano builder and researcher I’ve seen and used quite a few. Steinway, some decades back, heat-hardened the surface of the V-bar. (I’ve done this myself on more than a few soft plates.) Yamaha tried inserting a steel rod in a groove cast in the bottom of the V-bar. (I’ve retrofitted this on a few old plates as well.) But in every case I know of so far manufacturers have had to back away from these techniques somewhat to keep from prematurely breaking strings. The harder the V-bar material the faster strings break. As well, the sharper the V-bar radius the faster strings break. Other methods I’ve tried include the use of separate V-bar castings made of various materials such as manganese bronze, aluminum bronze and silicon bronze (all of which are harder than gray iron) pinned to the bottom of the capo tastro bar. Chickering used inverted agraffes inserted into the bottom of the capo tastro bar and, not being one to pass on borrowing a good idea when I see one, I designed this system into the Walter 175 as well. It the prototype, at least, it works very nicely.

[/b]
6. I agree with this point too. I'm also aware that string breakage may be a bigger issue with steel reinforced and harder V bars. However, there are other ways to reinforce the V bar and as you mentioned, some companies have used or are using different methods to reinforce it.


 Quote:
(7) Yes, random. The same random phenomena is present when no attempt at all is made to tune the backscale. The backscale is a whole different animal from the frontscale. The frontscale is excited directly by the motion of the individual strings of a given unison. The backscale, on the other hand, is excited only by the movement of the whole bridge (at least through a broad, regional area). It would be pretty hard to design a backscale that is not going to be excited sympathetically by the broad spectrum of vibrations moving the bridge. Except in the case of some early Steinway backscale designs, the one big benefit to manufacturers attempting to tune the backscale is that they (usually) get it long enough.

[/b]
7. The back duplex is indeed very different then the front. It has to be longer and produce a relatively strong sound to be effective. It is much more similar to the 4th string system on a Bluther, and although not as pronounced or easy to control, in my opinion it is still effective if designed right. The additional string on the Bluthner is more effective because the string is long enough and the note is the same and not an octave higher. The fourth string is stimulated as a sympathetic resonance of the other three strings, and by tuning it a bit differently it can produce different vibes that can not only augment the treble, but also make the sound richer and more colorful. I'm sure that the effect can be measured on a Bluthner and the back duplex is aiming for the same target, although I agree that it is not as effective as the Bluthner's fourth aliquot string.
Bluthner by the way is also using a "sustain robbing" front tuned duplex design in addition to the fourth string, and they are also known for their remarkable sustain in the treble.
Again, I would agree that most of these back duplexes are not very useful, but I'm talking about those that are designed and built right.


(
 Quote:
8) Yes, some companies are doing a better job than others when it comes to designing and building these systems. At least technically. (And I don’t relegate the designers of the worlds high-end pianos to the category of “self-appointed experts.” If that was the impression I gave, I apologize. I’ve apparently sat through more presentations of the pseudo-science sometimes used to explain these systems than you have.)

[/b]
8. We agree about this too obviously.


Yet you added this:
 Quote:
And, yes, I confess, I do like to see things measured, tested and proven as opposed to simply claimed. I am aware that many pianists and (especially) many manufacturers and dealers swear by these systems. But 95 years ago many manufactures and wood technologists also swore that spruce got its special resonating qualities from the millions of tiny vibrating diaphragms in the cell walls of the wood fiber. Now we know better.

[/b]
This is an excellent example, thank you for bringing it. These wood technologists had a THEORY that now we know is wrong. They tried to explain why something is happening and now we know better.
This is exactly the reason that in spite of the respect that I have to the science and theory, and in spite of my efforts to learn all the time more about piano design, it is in the end the REALITY and the sound and the way that I, as a tech can manipulate the sound that forms my opinion the most. In other words, I’ll respect the theory but also the results.

For me, the proof is in the beautiful sound that many of these instruments produce in the treble and what I can do with it as a tech.
I measure it with my ears
I'd leave the scientists to figure out how to measure the effectiveness of the results.

Finally you wrote:
 Quote:
Which does not mean that some builders are not doing a better job of implementing the system than others. Clearly, some manufacturers are putting a lot of effort into making the system work as well as it can be made to work. It just means that my own experience and research work over the years has led me to believe there are better ways to go.[/b]
And indeed I respect your opinion and position on that matter, and was aware of it even before you wrote a word on this thread. I also didn’t think that I’d be able to change your mind, nor see a need to do so.
Yet, as I pointed out, your opinion and experience isn't only in contradiction to mine, but also in contradiction to the opinions of piano designers that built some of worlds finest instruments.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#909362 - 10/23/05 10:29 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6186
Wow! This discussion seems to have blossomed very nicely. I am glad that we have now achieved a better understanding and consensus on what is meant by "duplex scale" -- at least with regards to having the lengths of the undamped non-speaking portions of the strings be proportionate with the lengths of the speaking portions as to vibrate sympathetically with the speaking portions.

Having read Del on many occasions and having visited Ori and "talked piano" in the past, I am not foreign to their positions on this matter. Nonetheless, this is the first time I see these two positions getting hashed out, compared-and-contrasted side-by-side. That, I find gratifying. Angeleno's "salt" metaphor is certainly new and interesting to me. ;\)

Through out this thread, we have seen the tunable-duplex, non-tunable-duplex, "mixture" scale, triplex-scale, aliquots, etc. of such brands as Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Mason and Hamlin, Fazioli, Blüthner, Estonia, C.Bechstein, Steinway, etc. dragged into the discussion... conspicuously absent are the "mixture [/b] (or whatever you call it) scales" of Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska[/b] which are specifically mentioned in the title of this thread!

Ori stated that most European makes have gone duplex -- but not Petrof! They leave the tenor & treble sections' back-scale undamped. Any one would like to comment on Petrof in this regard? (As an aside: Del mentioned various experiments with the capo V-bar... interesting to note that Petrof II employs a screwed-on removable V-bar rather than one cast with the plate.)

Samick's and Nordiska's treble sections' back-scales are also left undamped and employs pressure bars -- very similar to Bösendorfer's and Grotrian's; although the former two do mute the tenor sections' back-scales while the later two do not, if I remember that right. Any one tried to remove the muting felt from a Samick or Nordiska's tenor-section's back-scale to see if that would make them sound any more like either Bösie or Grotrian? Any one tried to mute the Bösie/Grotrian's tenor-section back-scale to see if that would make them sound more like Samick/Nordiska? Any one would like to comment on Samick and/or Nordiska's use of this design element?
_________________________
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

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#909363 - 10/23/05 10:39 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
curry Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/02
Posts: 3769
Loc: Hamilton Twp, NJ
Ax, the new Petrof concert grand has a duplex scale, I believe front only. The tenor of the Bösendorfer is muted with felt in front of the hitch pins, the treble is the only part of the scale left to vibrate freely. Muting of the treble back scale in the Bosie does not change the tone, only muting the front duplex has any effect. Derick already posted about this since his 290 has a front duplex, and my 214 does not.
_________________________
G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358

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#909364 - 10/23/05 11:05 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6186
Thanks, curry. I haven't yet seen any Petrof I concert grand. My previous observations were made on models II, III, and IV.

As for the Bösie muting its tenor section's back-scale, thanks for pointing that out (Derick's earlier pictures didn't quite show that, so I missed it -- sorry \:o ). So now the 5'~6'+ Samicks and Nordiskas' back-scales are even more like Bösie's.

Any one's got more comment on Samick and Nordiska's unmuted pressure bar back-scale design?
_________________________
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

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#909365 - 10/23/05 11:10 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1703
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
 Quote:
Through out this thread, we have seen the tunable-duplex, non-tunable-duplex, "mixture" scale, triplex-scale, aliquots, etc. of such brands as Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Mason and Hamlin, Fazioli, Blüthner, Estonia, C.Bechstein, Steinway, etc. dragged into the discussion... conspicuously absent are the "mixture (or whatever you call it) scales" of Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska which are specifically mentioned in the title of this thread!
[/b]
Ax,
I thought the reason for this was clear.
On the second line of my first post in this thread I wrote:

"None of the pianos mentioned by AX function as having duplexes..."
[/b]
Petrof (except the concert grand as Curry mentioned), Nordiska and Samick don't have duplex scales, or at least don't have what we call the tuned duplex scale. In a tuned duplex scale the strings are set to produce sympathetic tone with the speaking part of the string. These companies of course don't have also a tunable duplex scale, where the aliquots can be moved and tuned differently.

All the other companies mentioned above have duplexes either on all or some of their models (most I believe have front and back and some only front) with the exception of Grotrian. I'm not sure whether Grotrian use front duplex or not and there were no pictures posted on this thread for us to see.
They don’t have a back tuned duplex scale though.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#909366 - 10/23/05 11:54 PM Re: Duplex-like thingies on Bösendorfer, Grotrian, Petrof, Samick, and Nordiska
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5317
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by piqué:
del, i, for one, really appreciate that you are posting here on this subject, and value your input.

would you please settle for us whether or not grotrian's current design is a duplex scale design? it seems to me by your definition of the term, it is. it clearly is not an aliquot design.

ori, i happen to agree with you that these pianos have beautiful sustain and tonal color. however, i don't care for the tone of your post to del. you come across as being nasty and as attacking his credibility as a designer. care to edit your post? [/b]
piqué, all pianos have duplex scales. Duplex means, “having two principle elements, or parts.” Or, “having two parts performing one function.” Whether you are considering the speaking portion coupled with the backscale portion of the string or the speaking portion coupled with the frontscale portion of the string, both are “duplexes.” The question is whether or not the duplex segment is tuned. If it is then it is more properly called an aliquot string segment. Aliquot meaning, “dividing into something exactly: used to describe a number or quantity that will divide another number or quantity without leaving a remainder.”

About the Grotrian—I’m not familiar with the current Grotrian design. The next time I find one (probably at the NAMM show in January) I’ll check. Or, if you have some pictures of their current production you can post, I can probably tell from those. If the pictures that started this topic are of current production then, no, this is not a tuned, or aliquot, backscale. Nor is the backscale stripped out, or muted, hence whatever sympathetic vibrating that goes on back there will be added to the overall sound mix produced by the piano. Probably to the same extent as it would if the most super-human efforts were made to tune it.

(About the tone of Ori’s post—It’s OK. At this point in my life I don’t have the time to spend being offended or insulted by much of anything. Nor do I have the time to spend trying to persuade others to my point of view. I try to share some of what I have learned and present the observations and conclusions I’ve reached over the years for the benefit of whoever wants to wade through the stuff I write. That comes under heading of “Give and it shall be given unto you….” Whether it is accepted or not is really not my responsibility. Much of what I’ve taught over the years has initially been received with a great deal of skepticism and with some resistance. Most of which has now dissipated as others have decided to walk the same path I’ve been down. Obviously, there are still a few skeptics out there and that’s probably a healthy thing for all of us. Whatever the reaction it still seems important to me to keep trying to pass some of this stuff on before I can’t. I’d like to end up leaving the business in better shape than it was in when I found it—a time when it was even more beset by mysticism and baseless traditions than it is today.)

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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