Odd Tech Procedure. Advice Needed

Posted by: DanS

Odd Tech Procedure. Advice Needed - 01/17/13 10:07 PM

I recently had some work done on a piano at one of my jobs. It's a 1980 Young Chang 157. The action was very heavy and the tech did something a bit odd...

He took off each key and removed the felt balance rail punching. He then cut each punching in half and glued the now crescent shaped punching to the key at the back of the balance rail hole. This basically moves the fulcrum of the key back about a half inch.

I didn't feel any difference. He then lubricated the action and it felt much better. Here's the problem. I have several keys that are now clicking.

One key clicks very badly when the soft pedal is depressed. I had to have the tech come back for this key already because the repetition spring was causing the hammer to restrike the key. I told him about the clicking, but I didn't yet realize it was only clicking when the U.C. was depressed, so it didn't get fixed.

Several other keys are clicking when playing very loud. Could this be from the odd punching procedure? They never clicked before. In fact I have to say, he really rushed the job. He tuned the piano too, and did a really bad job....he blew off the top octave and half, and had a several bad unisons and a few bad intonations. I called him out on the bad tuning and he said "oh, it didn't hold the tuning?" but I know the difference between a bad tuning and a piano going out of tune... I was thinking "yeah man, all 3 strings went flat...they stayed in tune with each other oddly enough." (He did fix some of the tuning problems when he came back for the rep spring, including one glaringly bad intonation)

I'm not sure what to do here. I've called and texted him, and I'm getting no response. Any suggestions on what could be causing the clicks, or on dealing with the tech? I'm somewhat capable of fixing problems on the piano. I took a class, and have worked on my own project piano for fun...
Posted by: Bob

Re: Odd Tech Procedure. Advice Needed - 01/17/13 10:21 PM

A 1980's Korean piano in a commercial setting is going to be worn out unless hammers and dampers and maybe strings have been replaced. It most certainly needs more than a quick once over. It's hard to comment further without seeing the piano, and I suggest you have a reputable rebuilder evaluate the piano. Clicks indicate something loose, or miss-aligned, but again, we can't tell what from here.
Posted by: Supply

Re: Odd Tech Procedure. Advice Needed - 01/17/13 11:03 PM

Many low grade or entry level grand pianos of that era, such as the one you write about, play like a Mack truck. There are a number of reasons for this, and this cannot be remedied in a house call. More extensive action re-working would be needed to turn it into a nicely playing piano. This can cost well over a thousand $$. This needs to be done by someone who really has a thorough understanding of piano action geometry.
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Odd Tech Procedure. Advice Needed - 01/17/13 11:54 PM

You can actually buy so called 'accelerated' balance rail punchings that have had this done; it shouldn't cause clicking, though. This, combined with friction treatment, should improve the "Mack truck" feeling, but Jurgen is right about what your piano likely needs to play its best.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Odd Tech Procedure. Advice Needed - 01/18/13 04:31 AM

I suggest that the YC keys have pulley, so using the half cut balance punchings could produce noises.

This trick may lighten the first part of the blow, Steingraeber use it but apparently to have more speed on the key so the half balance punching is glued on the front side of the key.

I never tried that, it probably work up to some point,(it does not move the fulcrum so much, the fulcrum is moving during the stroke on a piano key but not so much, the fixed point is somewhere under the balance rail but near the surface I believe ) but the balance hole must be in perfect condition, and probably modified a little to accept more easily the different move.

Those actions can be made normal with quite some work, pinning of the parts is not very good and the wood of the flanges and shanks also is not very robust.

The hammers are difficult to voice, they must have enough power as the soundboard is very rigid, but the tone is easily too clear and harsh. Often if the hammers have been needled a lot the tone is then too soft,adding to the heaviness sensation.

lube and centers control helps, plus regulation, but stability implies that a second visit is done soon after the first with a second fast pass and keyframe mating control.

A bad tuner certainly cannot regulate those instruments at best, as they can be made playeable but a first grade tuning is necessary.

Posted by: DanS

Re: Odd Tech Procedure. Advice Needed - 01/18/13 01:13 PM

Thanks all for the info. The piano is in surprisingly good shape, considering it's age. It spend the first 25 years hardly being played by a little old lady, was sold, and has only seen really heavy use in the last 3 years. I'm going to give the guy one more call, then I'm going to move on to a different tech. I do realize that it's not going to play like a top tier instrument. I'm just looking to keep it in good shape, and to not hear clicks and scrapes when I'm trying to play quietly. It's in a really nice space, so that helps a lot!
Posted by: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: Odd Tech Procedure. Advice Needed - 01/19/13 10:59 AM

You say you do some work on the piano yourself? Are you adjusting things after the tech leaves?
While you have every right to manipulate your piano any way you want-it does cloud the issue of responsibility.

The pinning on Samick's of your age was usually in need of redoing from day one. It is also not uncommon for the vertical position of the top action to be about 5MM too low from day one, The hammers are heavy and that makes the touch slow and limits the dynamics of the tone. Five days of tone regulation starting with hammer shaping to reduce mass, shimming top action to a better position, re-pinning all including the damper action, removing whippen assist springs, removing front key-leads in proportion to the reduced hammer mass, and lining up all the action and strings precisely combined with a solid tuning will make a very noticeable improvement that time will prove to be very durable.

I have never found a parlor trick like trimming the balance punching to be significant in improving touch.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Odd Tech Procedure. Advice Needed - 01/19/13 11:08 AM

You are talking of deformation of the action brackets there ?

It is a YC, not a Samick (while similar work is due for both, but I only heard action bracket problems on YC)

If all the work you state is necessary, for sure 5 days can be used.

I have seen some YC where 3 days where enough, but without changing much the leading.

Now you will find similar center pin, problems on the Chines piano
Posted by: DanS

Re: Odd Tech Procedure. Advice Needed - 01/19/13 10:55 PM

No, I don't do work on this piano. I have an upright at home that I tool around with (replaced whippens, leveled keys, adjust lost motion, letoff etc)