Yesterday a colleague and I were able to check out Ed's freshly remanufactured M&H BB (1970s vintage) which features his FTDS design. This instrument was purchased from Prossers in June of this year for a neighborhood high school performance venue. Prior to that it had received no reconditioning excepting hammer reshaping and periodic regulation. Given Ed's extensive handiwork,(new block, rescaled lower tenor and bass section(Mapes custom made strings with stainless steel wound tri-chords at the tenor/bass break), WNG shanks,Ronsen hammers, key rebalancing, reconfigured bridge thicknesses and other modifications best explained by Ed, I can't say to what extent the FTDS alone is responsible for its substantially improved clarity, power, and sustain in the last two octaves consistent with Ed's claims. I can say that in its unrestored state, from C5 up the treble displayed the problems Ed has enumerated as does the 1971 Mason A we're about to rebuild which has resisted conventional hammer mating/voicing and string leveling remedies. At the very least his FTDS which includes meticulous reshaping of the V-bar, height/alignment of agraffes and counterbearing angle adjustments has effectively eliminated any sizzles, snare drum/buzzes noises. In combination with optimizing strike point and his choice of Ronsen hammers, the tails of which he aggressively tapers to around 5 or 6 mm in the high treble (possible with WNG shanks) to lower mass, I suspect the FTDS contributes in large part to the greatly improved sustain, power, singing quality and color in the upper register. Over a range of dynamic levels the piano's tone was even, full-bodied and orchestral sounding without ever becoming strident even at fff. All in all a marvelous piano now. I will be visiting the music director at the H.S and may have more to report in a later post.
Piano Technician & Sales Consultant, www.prosserpiano.com
Manager/Piano technician, Steinway Concert & Artist Department, Washington D.C. 1975-1976
M.M. Piano Performance, Catholic University of America 1985