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#624958 - 07/13/08 08:56 PM Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
lolatalk Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/04/08
Posts: 5
Loc: New York
I have just purchased a grand piano Hamilton and it was delivered to my house.

The piano is sitting in the living room and since the living room is kinda open to the whole house when I play/practice there is nowhere to hide from the sounds.

I am thinking of some sort muting device or QuietTime installation. I was told that it is only possible to mute the uprights and not the grands. On the other hand QuietTime costs about 2500$ and I am not sure if they can install it while the piano is in the house.

Any ideas, suggestions?

Thank you very much for your help.

Ola
_________________________
I strive to be as good a person as my dog thinks I am

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#624959 - 07/13/08 09:13 PM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 852
Loc: San Francisco
Why not try this...
Remove the music desk from the piano...
Close the lid and front flap...
Cover the piano with a large quilt/comforter..
Place the music deck back in place but on top of the piano...
This should reduce the volume a lot...

hope that helps....
_________________________
Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician



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#624960 - 07/14/08 12:05 AM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
Peters suggestions are very helpful. You could also try an area rug under the piano. Some voicing to the piano itself may also be beneficial.

'QuietTime' and other such devices requires that the action be regulated differently than would be ideal. (though many people don't notice the difference..)

Still, it seems for $2,500, you should be able to get a very nice digital for times when you need silent practice.
_________________________
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
D-C installations, Player-Piano installations/service
Ritmuller/Pearl River

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#624961 - 07/14/08 12:43 AM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Sumner- Piano Technician:
Why not try this...
Remove the music desk from the piano...
Close the lid and front flap...
Cover the piano with a large quilt/comforter..
Place the music deck back in place but on top of the piano...
This should reduce the volume a lot...

hope that helps.... [/b]
i just tried that the other day.. it really really works.. however, it sounds awful.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#624962 - 07/14/08 01:32 AM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 852
Loc: San Francisco
Yes......but it's quiet.... :-)
_________________________
Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician



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#624963 - 07/14/08 01:49 AM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21526
Loc: Oakland
Wear ear protection. That will keep you from hearing the other people complain!
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#624964 - 07/14/08 08:18 AM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
David Jenson Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2101
Loc: Maine
The ear protection is a great idea, and you might want to consider a helmet and some padding if your family has a propensity toward physical expression of distaste.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
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#624965 - 07/14/08 08:31 AM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
UprightTooner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 839
Loc: North-East US
You could try laying some towels or something on the strings.
_________________________
Part-time tuner

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#624966 - 07/14/08 02:32 PM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
lolatalk Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/04/08
Posts: 5
Loc: New York
Thank you for your replies!! Earplugs and Helmet are definitely on my list. Unfortunately I happen to be very good pianist, but they don't understand that in order to make good music that they enjoy I have to work and make annoying noises from the instrument. \:\)
Quick time is costly and I also dislike the idea of making any changes to the instrument - I am very old-fashion about this. PianoDisk makes me sick!!!
Have anybody heard anything about something called "muffler" or something like that? It supposed to work similarily as on uprights. The only difference that there is no button/pedal to put in on the strings.

Thank you
_________________________
I strive to be as good a person as my dog thinks I am

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#624967 - 07/14/08 02:36 PM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
lolatalk Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/04/08
Posts: 5
Loc: New York
 Quote:
Originally posted by CTPianotech:

'QuietTime' and other such devices requires that the action be regulated differently than would be ideal. (though many people don't notice the difference..)

[/b]
Thank you for your reply.
Can you please elaborate a bit more what kind of action regualtion is required? And if can recommend QuietTime installer in New York area.
_________________________
I strive to be as good a person as my dog thinks I am

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#624968 - 07/15/08 07:13 AM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
joangolfing Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/06
Posts: 666
Loc: Iowa
lolatalk,

I found an inexpensive acoustical panel solution for my Everett upright when I wanted to reduce the sound on my hardwood floor. This might work for you.

I consulted with an acoustical ceiling company locally and found that sheets of fiberglass backed ceiling panels (2' x 4')(1" thick)could be purchased. I have 3 sheets just stacked behind my piano, not attached but just resting between the wall and the piano. They are very light about the weight of a 2'x4' piece of styrofoam. I turn the yellow side to face the sound board.

The man I talked to at the Acoustical Ceiling company said they are the same type material used for making the very expensive acoustical panels.


I noticed a "big" difference with my 100 year old Everett upright. They absorb much of the unwanted sound.

You might place six to eight of these panels around your room only when you play. They can be stacked and easily stored.

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#624969 - 07/15/08 09:42 AM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
 Quote:
Originally posted by lolatalk:
 Quote:
Originally posted by CTPianotech:

'QuietTime' and other such devices requires that the action be regulated differently than would be ideal. (though many people don't notice the difference..)

[/b]
Thank you for your reply.
Can you please elaborate a bit more what kind of action regualtion is required? And if can recommend QuietTime installer in New York area. [/b]
Sure. These devices work by lowering a padded rail in the path of the hammershanks, preventing the hammers from hitting the strings. Sensors underneath the keys, pick up what you play, and you hear a synthesized piano sound through headphones. In order to do this, while still allowing the action to function correctly, let-off needs to be set further back. This can make controlling dynamics, or attempting fast-moving passages at soft levels difficult.

I don't have the names of installers in the NY area, though I'm sure if you contacted PianoDisc or QRS, they could provide you with a name.

Another reason I'm not a particularly big fan of these systems, is that the piano tones generated by them are not particularly impressive. (at least last time I checked) A good digital would sound better, cost less, and allow you to keep the piano 'as is'.

As to the muffler rails, that simply reduce the volume... They work ok for a while (at least on uprights, I haven't seen them on grands...) However the soft felt used for them, tends to wear fairly quickly. Depending on how much, and how hard you play, it could be only a matter of months before you have worn through the felt on the most frequently played notes, while those which are played less often still sound like mush.
_________________________
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
D-C installations, Player-Piano installations/service
Ritmuller/Pearl River

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#624970 - 07/15/08 09:51 AM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
UprightTooner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 839
Loc: North-East US
Muffler rails also require more let-off.

Some kind of white noise generator could help. A vacuum cleaner, maybe.
_________________________
Part-time tuner

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#624971 - 07/15/08 11:20 AM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
lolatalk Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/04/08
Posts: 5
Loc: New York
Thank you everyone for your responses! You are very kind, and I appreciate the time you spent answering my query. I contacted the local piano technician (I need to tune the piano also) and he liked the most the idea of the blanket underneath the lid. He will come to the house next Tuesday and we will try to experiment what works the best. In the mean time I provided my husband with earplugs and looking to find inexpensive helmet to protect myself from unhappy listeners. \:\) will keep you posted.
_________________________
I strive to be as good a person as my dog thinks I am

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#624972 - 07/15/08 11:24 AM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
lolatalk Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/04/08
Posts: 5
Loc: New York
 Quote:
Originally posted by joangolfing:
lolatalk,

I found an inexpensive acoustical panel solution for my Everett upright when I wanted to reduce the sound on my hardwood floor. This might work for you.

I consulted with an acoustical ceiling company locally and found that sheets of fiberglass backed ceiling panels (2' x 4')(1" thick)could be purchased. I have 3 sheets just stacked behind my piano, not attached but just resting between the wall and the piano. They are very light about the weight of a 2'x4' piece of styrofoam. I turn the yellow side to face the sound board.

The man I talked to at the Acoustical Ceiling company said they are the same type material used for making the very expensive acoustical panels.


I noticed a "big" difference with my 100 year old Everett upright. They absorb much of the unwanted sound.

You might place six to eight of these panels around your room only when you play. They can be stacked and easily stored. [/b]
Thank you for your advice - I will send it to my sister, she has music school attached to her house and surely need better isolation. As for myself, the piano is in the living room and the only wall that it can be placed next to is the outside wall – therefore the panels will not help. The problem with the room is that it is open towards the rest of the house. Therefore the sound travels across the wooden beams and there is nothing to there to stop it – unless you put acoustic wall somewhere in between, which is currently not an option.
_________________________
I strive to be as good a person as my dog thinks I am

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#624973 - 07/16/08 07:09 AM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
joangolfing Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/06
Posts: 666
Loc: Iowa
Lola,

These panels are very light and they won't need to be against the wall. They can be placed flat on the floor or propped up next to a chair in the open space and be portable only when you play. I bought 7 of them for our gathering room at the condo I go to in the winter which is a very "live" room and they handle the loud voices of about 35 people.

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#624974 - 07/17/08 01:55 PM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Edwards String Covers also has a sound reduction kit - acoustic foam which is inserted under the piano. Here's a link to their site.

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#624975 - 07/18/08 02:35 AM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
To add my comment here.

I have much sympathy with your predicament. The whole point about having a nice grand is to hear it when you play. If you are constantly at odds with the others in the house, I suggest you purchase a digital for silent practice using stereo head phones, at least you can get your practice in, albeit rather artificial.

Or buy, or build a music room onto the house or convert the garage with acoustic add on features.

Sorry if my ideas are unworkable. I have some affinity with your position. Some folk just do not like music and you end up having to wait until the house is empty to get your uninterrupted enjoyment.

swingal

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#624976 - 07/18/08 03:03 AM Re: Mute the sound on the grand piano while practicing
WildWillie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 64
Loc: Austin TX
I have the same problem. My kids are 10, 7, and 5, and I can pretty much only practice after they are in bed. I refuse to modify my grand, though.

My solution was to buy a digital piano (Yamaha YPG-625, about $750 at local music store).

Pros:

1. Gorgeous tone! And I mean REALLY gorgeous tone. When I got it, I played until my fingers nearly fell off because it sounded so beautiful.

2. Always in perfect tune.

3. Lots and lots and lots of useful built in features. The metronome function is particularly useful.

4. Loads of built in drum tracks and tunes if you like to improvise.

Cons:

1. Action is weighted pretty well, but is still not a real piano. If I play too much on the digital without mixing in some play on the real piano I find that I struggle on the real piano. Also, if you get a digital, don't skimp on the bench. The cheap stools etc. that you tend to get with them are not good. I got a good bench, and measured it carefully to get it exactly the same height (keyboard and bench) as my grand.

2. Pedaling is on/off. There is no subtle pedaling on a digital piano.

3. Sustain is not particularly good. Hit the low D octaves on the Rach Corelli var. # 9 and it will last about 1.5 measures with the sustain pedal held down. Maybe I should play it faster!

Conclusion: Get a digital piano and a nice set of headphones if necessary to practice, but play the grand as much as you possibly can without getting thrown in jail. I actually had my neighbors call the cops on me in college for playing the piano, so I'm only about half kidding about the jail comment.
_________________________
There is no "try"! Do, or do not. - Yoda

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