Noisy notes - need advice

Posted by: Captain Obvious

Noisy notes - need advice - 03/25/07 11:02 PM

I just got a new Kawai RX-2. I had it tuned Friday.

F5 on my piano is just a noisy key. Played p or lower, it sounds ok. If you start to get on it, there is a vibration noise as if something is loose. I'm wondering if anyone has some ideas about what would cause this?

If it turns out to be a loose screw somewhere or a couple pieces of wood that are almost touching but only get excited by a few notes, then I'm not too worried.

If the problem is a poor bridge connection to the soundboard or something else like that, well, that's a little worrisome.

I ran my hand all around the underbelly looking for any debris, and I also inspected the soundboard as well as I could to make sure there was nothing on it.

If I have my head in the piano at the bass end, I definitely perceive the sound coming from the area of that note, not somewhere else. So I do think it has something to do with the connection between the string and the bridge, or the bridge and the soundboard... but I could be completely wrong.

What do you think the most likely cause of this vibrating, honking kind of sound?

Also, can anyone personally recommend a tech in the Omaha area? I've been to the PTG site, but I have no idea how to pick from the 5 or so people on the list.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/25/07 11:10 PM

If it is a new piano, the person who tuned it should have repaired the note.
Posted by: Captain Obvious

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/25/07 11:15 PM

I don't know if this makes a difference, but this was a tuner I hired, not one provided by the dealer.
Posted by: piannaman

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/25/07 11:59 PM

I doubt that it's a structural defect involving the soundboard and/or bridge, but it's hard enough to find these things when one is on site, much less when one is sitting comfortably in his own home browsing through PianoWorld's forums...:-)

Did you point the problem out to the tuner while he was there? Did he attempt to fix it?

I've had noises on pianos come from not-so-obvious places, including the lock (yours may still be taped shut, and if it is taped shut, couldn't be the problem, but check it), case parts, light fixtures, picture frames, Legos on the soundboard, loose hammer rail nuts, yada, yada, yada....

Some things just get excited by certain frequencies. It's gotta be annoying for you. If it's a brand new piano, call Kawai to see if they have someone in your area who troubleshoots things like this. They are quite responsive to customer inquiries and do their best to resolve this sort of technical issue.
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/26/07 08:10 AM

It could also be a bass string with loose windings. If the dealer balks, or warranty is problematic, have the technician loosen and twist the offending string one turn in the direction of the windings.

David
Posted by: piannaman

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/26/07 08:26 AM

David,

F5 is wire, close to the treble break on the RX2, either right next to it or one removed, I believe.

If the dealer is unwilling to help you out (he shouldn't be, you just laid out a good sized chunk o' cash), I'd talk directly to Kawai.
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/26/07 09:33 AM

Oops! What does one eat with humble pie?
Posted by: piannaman

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/26/07 10:10 AM

Crow tastes pretty good with a bit of salsa...I've eaten my share!
Posted by: Keith Roberts

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/26/07 10:13 AM

More likely it's loose screw. I had the same problem on a RX 3. I looked for hours, called Kawaii. I added a piece of felt between the upper lyre support and the underbelly. That helped but when summer hit and everything dries out, it got worse. Mainly it was on D# 5 and when I snugged the plate bolts it went away. I did the same thing the next summer, looked for the darn buzz for an hour before I remembered the plate bolts and it was the same one. A little snug and it cleaned up. She hasn't had a problem with it since.
Posted by: Captain Obvious

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/26/07 10:33 AM

Yikes. Plate bolts. Should I be doing that myself?

Also, since my dealer is not local (2.5 hours away), I declined the first tuning/voicing in favor of finding someone local. The price of the piano was adjusted accordingly, so there is no foul there.
Posted by: Marty Flinn

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/26/07 07:01 PM

Don't recommend you doing anything to a new piano. Get the tech back out. Perhaps a damperwire is being struck by a hard-attack string lateral movement. These things can be annoying. Don't go looking for the most ugly case scenerio. May be something simple.
Posted by: U S A P T

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/26/07 07:26 PM

Posted by: Igor Stravinsky

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/26/07 08:07 PM

USAPianoTrucker gives you very sound advice.
My new piano had a buzzing sound coming from one of the dampers landing on the strings. The noise disappeared on its own in 7 or 8 days. I guess it just acclimated. So, relax and play your piano. Ask the tech about the sound that's annoying on his next scheduled visit.
Posted by: Casalborgone

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/26/07 08:34 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Cephas:
USAPianoTrucker gives you very sound advice.
My new piano had a buzzing sound coming from one of the dampers landing on the strings. The noise disappeared on its own in 7 or 8 days. I guess it just acclimated. So, relax and play your piano. Ask the tech about the sound that's annoying on his next scheduled visit. [/b]
I'm chiming in here. It is all too easy to focus on the little noisy problems that invariably come along with a new piano. A better focus of attention is on what sounds good (or wonderful) in your instrument. There has got to be lots more of the good to listen to! The odd noises will be sorted out in time. In fact, if you focus on the good sounds your piano makes, the noises will disappear.
Posted by: Anne Francis

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/26/07 08:36 PM

I'm relieved to hear experienced techs talk about spending a lot of time finding the source of buzzes and rattles. I get rattled just thinking about it.
Posted by: Captain Obvious

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/26/07 09:52 PM

Well, I've been playing a few other songs tonight, and it is apparent that the noise isn't limited to the F5. I also have noise from G5 and others in the area. I hear noise in the fourth octave also, but it is less pronounced... higher tone to noise ratio I guess.

I have to believe something is loose.. probably a screw or bolt as Keith suggests. Whatever it is, I don't think it is within my reach (probably under the strings somewhere).

If I figure it out, I'll let you know. Otherwise, it will just have to be that way until I can get a tech out. Not sure if a loose screw would qualify as warranty work, but maybe I'll call Kawai.
Posted by: U S A P T

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/26/07 10:13 PM

Posted by: Keith Roberts

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/27/07 05:23 AM

USA has a good point and it is one I have made before too. However, as he says it is an organic box. It will have loose screws and a tech needs to go over a new piano and check ALL screws, not just the plate bolts. Yamaha requires that on their service bond.
Up here, people move from the coast and all their screwed together furniture falls apart. I get a quarter to a half a turn on a screw when tightening wippen and flange screws. This is new wood and it is changing so have a tech keep up with the sagging strings and the action going out of adjustment, dampers pack, etc and all these things will clean up.
Too many techs pass off a buzz as being part of the piano sound. I listen and decide if the sound if pervasive or does it have a definate location and I look and I try to find parts that are buzzing and such. An S&S A3 that Sarn?? the violinist for the SF symphony had looked at and complained he didn't like the Steinway sound had a buzz coming from the music desk guide. The buzz was making me mad. Took me weeks to find it. I'd sit and couldn't play because I had to look for the buzz. The finishers had broken the brass screws that held the brass guide on hadn't gotten the thing tight because the brass screws were going to break off without good pilot holes. What a joy that A was to play when I fixed that.
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/27/07 06:36 AM

Do you have someone else around who can hit the offending notes while you look for the source?

On one memorable occasion I had an offending range of notes in a small grand that buzzed. The sound seemed to originate inside the piano, but I couldn't find any source. Finally, I had the client hit the notes while I walked around the room. I found the piano buzz. It was a candle sconce with a penchant for ventriloquism a good ten feet away from the piano!

It's not a common thing, but it's at least worth a check.
Posted by: Steve W

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 03/31/07 08:50 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by smallfish:
Do you have someone else around who can hit the offending notes while you look for the source?

On one memorable occasion I had an offending range of notes in a small grand that buzzed. The sound seemed to originate inside the piano, but I couldn't find any source. Finally, I had the client hit the notes while I walked around the room. I found the piano buzz. It was a candle sconce with a penchant for ventriloquism a good ten feet away from the piano!

It's not a common thing, but it's at least worth a check. [/b]
I wonder if this phenomenon isn't actually fairly common...I know it has happened to me on my own pianos on at least 2 occasions, and it drove me crazy until I found the source. It is remarkable how some objects sympathetically vibrate when you hit a piano key, and also remarkable how poorly we localize those sounds.
Posted by: Verdi

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 04/05/07 12:41 PM

I have a similar problem with our newly acquired (recently rebuilt) 1927 M&H AA. A couple of the notes around middle C and up at times exhibit a metallic sound. It seems to mostly happen when played more robustly. Any ideas / advice? The tech said to wait a couple months.
Posted by: Captain Obvious

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 04/05/07 07:00 PM

I wouldn't call the sound I'm describing as metalic, though I do have that with some other notes.

The only thing I haven't ruled out is the light fixture which is 9ft above the floor. I'll have to get a ladder out to check that.

Anyway, my dealer is going to send a tech out sometime in the near future. Hopefully he can remedy all my piano ailments.
Posted by: Steve W

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 04/05/07 11:44 PM

I re-read your first post and realized you, too, are in Omaha -

Do you still need a name of a piano tech?

Send me a PM and can let you know who I've worked with before.
Posted by: R Barber

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 04/06/07 09:34 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
I just got a new Kawai RX-2. I had it tuned Friday.

F5 on my piano is just a noisy key. Played p or lower, it sounds ok. If you start to get on it, there is a vibration noise as if something is loose. I'm wondering if anyone has some ideas about what would cause this?

If it turns out to be a loose screw somewhere or a couple pieces of wood that are almost touching but only get excited by a few notes, then I'm not too worried.

If the problem is a poor bridge connection to the soundboard or something else like that, well, that's a little worrisome.

I ran my hand all around the underbelly looking for any debris, and I also inspected the soundboard as well as I could to make sure there was nothing on it.

If I have my head in the piano at the bass end, I definitely perceive the sound coming from the area of that note, not somewhere else. So I do think it has something to do with the connection between the string and the bridge, or the bridge and the soundboard... but I could be completely wrong.

What do you think the most likely cause of this vibrating, honking kind of sound?

Also, can anyone personally recommend a tech in the Omaha area? I've been to the PTG site, but I have no idea how to pick from the 5 or so people on the list. [/b]
Eenie-meenie miney-moe.

I just saw a Kawai that had felt woven into the damper lever spring, I have had lots of those cause a buzz- sometimes I just stuff paper towel under the spring, but now I've seen something that looks nicer, even though you can't see anything down there.

Also check hammer-string mating.
Music desk and desk rails,
Hinges' screws, sometimes a hinge pin almost coming out- allowing the loose end to buzz (Yesterday's discovery).

There should be a FAQ for this...
Posted by: Captain Obvious

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 04/07/07 12:14 AM

I actually did find the cause for one of my issues. The C# in the second octave always sounded weird and didn't play as loudly as the others around it. It almost sounded like one of the unisons was being grazed, or was chirping almost like a big pipe organ when I played quietly.

I used a clean cotton towel to dampen one unison and then play the note. Then I switched unisons. One unison played fine, but the other didn't unless I struck hard. I'm guessing either my hammer isn't square to the strings, or the strings are uneven.

I actually noticed this strange sounding note in the store and the tech that was there tried needling the hammer a bit... seems like a strange solution for a note that was actually missing some gusto.
Posted by: piannaman

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 04/07/07 12:21 AM

Hammer/string mating, as Mr. Barber says, will help even out the tone and get rid of lots of funky noises. It's something that should be done before "voicing" with needles is done.

Needling/voicing is the final touch on a piano where everything is regulated, hammers mated, piano tuned.
Posted by: R Barber

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 04/07/07 12:59 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
......

I actually noticed this strange sounding note in the store and the tech that was there tried needling the hammer a bit... seems like a strange solution for a note that was actually missing some gusto. [/b]
Some techs prefer to needle straight thru (like a secant) across the crown under side of the hammer that would have been too low, raising the hammer felt by separating the fiber on that side. Others prefer to file/sand the hammers to match the shape of the strings, others prefer to lift the strings to match the hammers. Many will go thru a combination of these until the desired effect is achieved.

For a second there I though you said you dampened the string with wet cotton. :p
Posted by: Captain Obvious

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 04/08/07 01:29 AM

No need to use a wet cloth since I had already sprayed down all the strings with Tilex to get rid of that ugly black mold that grows on them.
Posted by: eightyeight_keys

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 02/12/09 06:06 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
If it is a new piano, the person who tuned it should have repaired the note. [/b]
Yes I agree here - the tuner should have repaired it!!! If he was paid by the dealer, then if he needed to spend more time, he shoud have charged the dealer!
Posted by: eightyeight_keys

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 02/12/09 06:09 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
I just got a new Kawai RX-2. I had it tuned Friday.

F5 on my piano is just a noisy key. Played p or lower, it sounds ok. If you start to get on it, there is a vibration noise as if something is loose. I'm wondering if anyone has some ideas about what would cause this?

If it turns out to be a loose screw somewhere or a couple pieces of wood that are almost touching but only get excited by a few notes, then I'm not too worried.

If the problem is a poor bridge connection to the soundboard or something else like that, well, that's a little worrisome.

I ran my hand all around the underbelly looking for any debris, and I also inspected the soundboard as well as I could to make sure there was nothing on it.

If I have my head in the piano at the bass end, I definitely perceive the sound coming from the area of that note, not somewhere else. So I do think it has something to do with the connection between the string and the bridge, or the bridge and the soundboard... but I could be completely wrong.

What do you think the most likely cause of this vibrating, honking kind of sound?

Also, can anyone personally recommend a tech in the Omaha area? I've been to the PTG site, but I have no idea how to pick from the 5 or so people on the list. [/b]
Yes I agree here - the tuner should have repaired it!!! If he was paid by the dealer, then if he needed to spend more time, he should have charged the dealer!
Posted by: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 02/12/09 01:09 PM

Start by removing all objects from the piano.

Make sure the lamp that is used for sheet music reading doesn't have a vibrating filament or something else in it that is vibrating. Make sure something near the piano, a picture, glass ornaments, curio cabinets etc., floor vents etc., are not the cause.

Check to make sure that something, a pencil, paper clip or something similar hasn't accidentally been dropped or pushed onto the sounding board.

All of these are educated guesses from here of course but, everything mentioned above, screw tightening in particular, and key locks as well should be checked.

Kawai is very good about taking care of any problems. If the dealer isn't willing to help then, by all means, contact Kawai directly. You'll be surprised at how quickly they will respond to this.
Posted by: Keith Roberts

Re: Noisy notes - need advice - 02/13/09 09:23 AM

Tilex huh? Interesting. Very interesting.