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Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10058
06/27/08 01:37 PM
06/27/08 01:37 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 246
S.Central Texas
SHPiano Offline OP
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As some of you know, I've got an 80 year old Blüthner grand. It has the Blüthner "Patent Action". When I bought the instrument last October it had judt been "renovated" -- new finish, new strings, new pins, new felts, new hammers, etc.

I've always liked the tone of the piano. I also liked the action, it was very light and responsive. I did however have some issues with the dampers. Mostly, it seemed that some weren't damping properly and thus, I was getting overtones I didn't like and occaisionally, even some "buzzing".

A while back, my piano tech replaced some of the new damper felts in the bass section with different shaped wedges. This helped a little bit but didn't completely address the problem.

Recently, I asked her to look at one note that was "clacking" a bit. I had read that the Blüthner patent action could be noisy and thought the clacking might simply be par for the course. On the other hand, none of the other keys were noisy at all. When my tech investigated the issue, she concluded that the noise was actually related to the dampers. It turns out, the rebuilder did not rebush the damper guide rail.

I'm relatively new to pianos had never really thought about the damper guide rail and certainly never imagined that the damper guide rail would have much impact on the piano. WRONG!

This past Monday, my tech removed the rail, took it back to her shop and completely rebushed it. She reinstalled it yesterday. Wow. It has really changed the piano. First of all, the clacking is gone. Additionally, the action feels quite a bit "heavier" than before. Apparently, the 80 year old bushings were completely shot. This allowed the dampers to have some lateral movement when engaged instead of moving strictly up and down. That "looseness" in the dampers meant that they didn't always come back down perfectly (and thus didn't damper entirely) it also translated into "lightness" for the action. While the action is by no means heavy now, it is different. Finally, and most significantly, the tone of the instrument is different. A while back CC2 & Chopin Lover wrote in a post that adjusting the dampers could have a dramatic impact on tone of a piano because it could eliminate "leakage". I can absolutely confirm that, at least in my situation, it really makes a difference. It allows the purity of the Bluthner's tone to come through.

I know that the bushings will loosen a bit as they "break in" and that some of the heaviness of the action will be eliminated because of that. I hope and expect however that the efficacy of the damper system remains. In fact, I think I'm pretty close to the point that with some final regulating and voicing, I'll have one amazing instrument. It's very exciting.


Bösendorfer 225 My New BÖSENDORFER Arrives
Blüthner Style 9 My 1926 Blüthner Arrives
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Roland FP7
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Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10059
06/27/08 02:31 PM
06/27/08 02:31 PM
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Please send me your tech :-) I have the same problem with my 1897 Blüthner but my tech hasn't managed to solve the problem. :-( I have the original dampers, which look fine.


1897 Blüthner Model 6
Pearl River UP117
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10060
06/27/08 02:54 PM
06/27/08 02:54 PM
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Hi SHPiano,
So glad to hear that you had such a great outcome. Dampers are definitely one of the more overlooked components when it comes to work that can significantly improve tone. Enjoy your beautiful instrument!!


Piano Technician/Tuner
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10061
06/27/08 03:27 PM
06/27/08 03:27 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 246
S.Central Texas
SHPiano Offline OP
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Quote
Originally posted by Benecs:
Please send me your tech :-) I have the same problem with my 1897 Blüthner but my tech hasn't managed to solve the problem. :-( I have the original dampers, which look fine.
I bet she'd travel if you live someplace nice (especially someplace cool--it's unbearably hot right now in Texas).

She also came up with an interesting fix for one of the damper underlevers. The way Blüthner used to do it, the underlevers were attached to a rail with velum. The rail is one piece. So, if the velum rips there is no practical way to fix it (i.e. you can't unscrew the top of the rail and put in a new piece). Over in the Tech forum they talk about using a "velum saw", cutting out the old velum and trying to slide a new piece in with glue. My tech did something a little different and basically attached it from the outside of the rail. We're going to keep our eye on this. But it seems stable right now. Fortunately it was just one underlever. If enough of them go, I think you'd almost have to rebuild the underlever action as a unit.

Replacing the bushings on the guide rail didn't seem to be so difficult. It was just a little time consuming. My tech sent some pictures of her work. When I get home tonight, I'll try to post them. Maybe that will help you or another Blüthner lover.


Bösendorfer 225 My New BÖSENDORFER Arrives
Blüthner Style 9 My 1926 Blüthner Arrives
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Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10062
06/27/08 04:21 PM
06/27/08 04:21 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by SHPiano:
Apparently, the 80 year old bushings were completely shot.
Ya think?
:rolleyes:


(Just funnin', but kinda serious! Certainly gave me a good laugh!)


PTG Associate Member

"There is always room above; there is only the ground below."....F.E. Morton (with props to Del F.)
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10063
07/01/08 09:24 PM
07/01/08 09:24 PM
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Very interesting post! I am very pleased you have had such success.

And please do post the pictures! I think they would be very interesting.

Final question: I would be interested to know how much work (if any) was done on the action during the renovation of your piano. Are the "new felts" you mention the felts in the action? Also, do you know if any of the springs were replaced?

Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10064
07/02/08 11:50 PM
07/02/08 11:50 PM
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S.Central Texas
SHPiano Offline OP
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OK. Here are the photos. The 1st is a picture of the damper guiderail with the worn out bushings.

[Linked Image]

The next is the guiderail taken apart and being cleaned (with vinegar it looks like):

[Linked Image]

This appears to be the guiderail in the process of having the old bushings removed:

[Linked Image]

Now the new bushings (of red felt) being made:

[Linked Image]

Finally a picture of the dampers inserted in the newly rebushed guiderail ready to be reinstalled:

[Linked Image]

I'll post the pictures of the damper underlever fix next.

I hope this is helpful.


Bösendorfer 225 My New BÖSENDORFER Arrives
Blüthner Style 9 My 1926 Blüthner Arrives
Shoninger upright
Roland FP7
Yamaha EZ30
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10065
07/03/08 12:03 AM
07/03/08 12:03 AM
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S.Central Texas
SHPiano Offline OP
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OK:
Now the underlever fix. This is a little harder to figure out if you haven't seen this before.

I think this first pic is of the underlever assembly. The wires are the damper wires. The damaged underlever is the one without a wire:

[Linked Image]

Now a close up oriented differently (from above) of some of the underlevers. The dampers have all been removed. She has removed the damaged underlever (to the right) and appears to be using an exacto knife to remove the velum:

[Linked Image]

In this picture you can see the "repaired" underlever. She's used felt to make the hinge. Instead of inserting the felt in the narrow slot in which the velum fit, she's attached the new "hinge" of felt to the outside of the underlever:

[Linked Image]

Here is repaired underlever back in its place.

[Linked Image]

The repair seems to be working.


Bösendorfer 225 My New BÖSENDORFER Arrives
Blüthner Style 9 My 1926 Blüthner Arrives
Shoninger upright
Roland FP7
Yamaha EZ30
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10066
07/03/08 12:13 AM
07/03/08 12:13 AM
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S.Central Texas
SHPiano Offline OP
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Quote
Originally posted by David-G:
Final question: I would be interested to know how much work (if any) was done on the action during the renovation of your piano. Are the "new felts" you mention the felts in the action? Also, do you know if any of the springs were replaced?
I'm not sure I can answer this fully. Certainly the action was cleaned and the the hammers were all replaced.

Here are two images of the action that I posted from before I purchased the piano. I believe the red felt is new (I'm presuming the original was blue):
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

I just don't know about the springs.

My tech says that the work done was excellent. Obviously, they didn't completely rebuild it.

I'm still hoping we'll be able to fine tune the action and make sure it's completely even and also voice it. Some notes are too quiet, others too loud or a little "boingy" sounding. But we're really getting there.

If anyone has any secrets or recommendations, please chime in!


Bösendorfer 225 My New BÖSENDORFER Arrives
Blüthner Style 9 My 1926 Blüthner Arrives
Shoninger upright
Roland FP7
Yamaha EZ30
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10067
07/03/08 04:08 PM
07/03/08 04:08 PM
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Lexington, Kentucky
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Thanks for the thread and photos, shpiano! I've read countless references to "bushings" but this is the first time I've seen what the little critters look like. Fascinating!


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Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10068
07/03/08 04:32 PM
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I'm still hoping we'll be able to fine tune the action and make sure it's completely even and also voice it.

Hi SH,
While a high level regulation of the action will go a long way to evening out the touch, there is really only one way to assure that the response will be "completely even", as you put it. That requires a complete analysis of the friction levels, weights and leverage points of the action's geometry. This includes weighing the hammers, shanks and flanges, removing or adding mass as required, weighing the keysticks and re-leading them, optimizing leverage points and minimizing friction between parts that move against each other. This is beyond the scope of many technicians, simply because few have gone through the course work necessary to become proficient in it. That being said, it does not mean that you can't expect significant improvement in your piano's performance without going through all I have just described. I was simply responding to your statement regarding your hope for a touch that was "completely even".


Piano Technician/Tuner
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10069
07/03/08 08:13 PM
07/03/08 08:13 PM
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S.Central Texas
SHPiano Offline OP
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Thanks CC2. I don't know whether my tech can do the complete analysis and work you describe or not. I'll ask.

If not, I know someone who probably can (Priscilla Rappaport). I just have to convince her to work on it the next time she's in SA. If you know someone in Texas or who travels to Texas that you could recommend, I'm all ears.

Is this the kind of work where a tech could remove the action and take it back to the shop?

Thanks!


Bösendorfer 225 My New BÖSENDORFER Arrives
Blüthner Style 9 My 1926 Blüthner Arrives
Shoninger upright
Roland FP7
Yamaha EZ30
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10070
07/03/08 09:08 PM
07/03/08 09:08 PM
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Quote
This is beyond the scope of many technicians, simply because few have gone through the course work necessary to become proficient in it.
There is probably not a single one who has ever done it on a Blüthner patent action. I would not suggest having anyone try it out on any piano with an unusual action.


Semipro Tech
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10071
07/03/08 11:01 PM
07/03/08 11:01 PM
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You may be right, BDB, at least in the US. I bet it's different in Germany and the UK. In fact, the UK equivalent of the PTG recently held a seminar on regulating Blüthner patent actions. I wanted to send my tech!


Bösendorfer 225 My New BÖSENDORFER Arrives
Blüthner Style 9 My 1926 Blüthner Arrives
Shoninger upright
Roland FP7
Yamaha EZ30
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10072
07/04/08 09:27 AM
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BDB has a good point. As I look at the photos, I see that the wippen assembly and the hammer shank seem to be integrated. It's true that you would not want someone experimenting on your action, and it is unlikely that you might find a technician who is experienced with the Bluethner Patent Action for this particular assessment and modification. You might write to David Stanwood to see if he has done one, and what he recommends. Here is the link:

Stanwood PTD


Piano Technician/Tuner
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10073
07/04/08 12:59 PM
07/04/08 12:59 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by CC2 and Chopin lover:
[b]"I'm still hoping we'll be able to fine tune the action and make sure it's completely even and also voice it."

Hi SH,
While a high level regulation of the action will go a long way to evening out the touch, there is really only one way to assure that the response will be "completely even", as you put it. That requires a complete analysis of the friction levels, weights and leverage points of the action's geometry. This includes weighing the hammers, shanks and flanges, removing or adding mass as required, weighing the keysticks and re-leading them, optimizing leverage points and minimizing friction between parts that move against each other. This is beyond the scope of many technicians, simply because few have gone through the course work necessary to become proficient in it. That being said, it does not mean that you can't expect significant improvement in your piano's performance without going through all I have just described. I was simply responding to your statement regarding your hope for a touch that was "completely even". [/b]
CC2 and Chopin Lover, I would like to ask you how you would class this work that you are suggesting. Specifically, would you regard your suggestions as being a sort of "super-regulation", with the aim of bringing the action back to tip-top "as new" condition? Or is the objective to try to improve on the original, so that the "evenness" of the action might be even better than it was when new?

Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10074
07/04/08 01:31 PM
07/04/08 01:31 PM
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SHPiano Offline OP
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There's no doubt that the Blüthner patent action is different. However, by all accounts it's not so unusual that a good technician cannot regulate it. (It's good that Blüthner still provides the regulation specs for it.)

The question is whether someone like David Stanwood or the like could really do a super regulation and bring out its true potential. If its something that can be done with the action removed, I suppose they wouldn't even have to be local. Still I'm holding out hope that Priscilla can and is willing to help. She was trained in Germany and I believe she's worked on Blüthner patent actions before.

As I've written to DAvid-G before, I'm thinking of starting a Blüthner lover's thread for folks to swap information about Blüthners (old and new). I think David is in. What about you BDB? I figure Benecs and Kenny and Alex would all be on board.


Bösendorfer 225 My New BÖSENDORFER Arrives
Blüthner Style 9 My 1926 Blüthner Arrives
Shoninger upright
Roland FP7
Yamaha EZ30
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10075
07/04/08 07:36 PM
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CC2 and Chopin Lover, I would like to ask you how you would class this work that you are suggesting. Specifically, would you regard your suggestions as being a sort of "super-regulation", with the aim of bringing the action back to tip-top "as new" condition? Or is the objective to try to improve on the original, so that the "evenness" of the action might be even better than it was when new?

Hi David,
Unfortunately, there is not a piano manufacturer in the world who takes the action geometry to the level I am speaking of. A few have been approached by Stanwood, but for varying reasons, they decline. Two of the primary reasons is that it takes a considerable amount of time to calculate, weigh, and alter all the components necessary to get the desired result. Take the hammers, for instance. Even Renner does not make a consistently weighted hammer from batch to batch. To counterbalance the weight of the hammers, shanks flanges, wippens, capstans, etc., the front of the key is laden with lead weights. Trouble is, this then adds mass which creates an increase in inertia. This all adds up to a harder to control, uneven response from key to key. The goal of a Stanwood Precision Touch Design is to modify all the essential components of each key so that it reacts EXACTLY like the key next to it. This eliminates the need for the player to constantly adjust the force used from one key to the next to get the same response. This, then, is a radical improvement over anything that currently comes out of a factory. Don't get me wrong, the finest pianos, when regulated properly, are wonderful....they just are not optimum. Think about it this way.....you can buy a Corvette, or Ferrari, or Viper, get a tune up and have a really super car. But then, for those who want to go above and beyond that level, there are a myriad of custom accessories that will boost horsepower and response over and above the stock factory specs....and take the car to a whole other level.


Piano Technician/Tuner
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10076
07/04/08 09:16 PM
07/04/08 09:16 PM
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I had my piano regulated recently; the experience might be of interest to SHPiano and others who have a Blüthner with the patent action.

Some background. The piano is a 6-foot grand and dates from 1881. It was last regulated when it was reconditioned in 1999 (this included new hammer felts and new strings). This work transformed the piano. It not only sounded magnificent, it was much easier to play.

When my tech visited recently to correct overtightened front rail pins (see this thread on the tech forum for the sorry story), he commented that the piano had become in need of regulating again. So he visited again for this purpose. On their web site, Blüthner publish Advice on how to produce a good touch with the Blüthner action in a Blüthner Grand. My tech followed these instructions to the letter. He adjusted the key dip, set the height of the hammers, and went on to adjust all the other settings.

The results were disappointing. Both tone and touch were more even, but the action somehow felt stiffer. It seemed harder to execute ornaments (usually delightfully easy with this action), and notes sometimes failed to sound altogether.

My tech consulted Blüthners in London, who were most helpful and supportive. The conclusion was that my action could not sustain these regulation settings, because of its worn felts and weak springs. (The action is all original 1881, apart from the replaced hammer felts.) The jack (3 on the Blüthner diagram) was sometimes failing to escape from the abstract (7), causing the missed notes. The solution would be to relax slightly the relevant regulation settings.

My tech did this, and the problems disappeared. The excessive stiffness of the action disappeared, ornaments again became a joy to execute, and (amazingly) the tone of the piano was transformed. I suppose I had not really been aware of the slow degradation in tone since it was last regulated. Perhaps the most impressive change is to the tenor, which previously had rather a dry, “absent” tone. I had put this down to the rather unusual scaling of the piano, which has a third “tenor” bridge and relatively little overstringing, this being the standard Blüthner scaling of the late 1870s and 1880s. But I was wrong. With this final adjustment, the tenor has suddenly sprung back to life. I can again see why a well-known concert pianist, happening to see the instrument when it was in the workshop in 1999, professed herself enormously impressed by it.

Despite this my tech was not 100% satisfied. He was disappointed that the action would not cope with the regulation settings adjusted to the optimum values, on account of “wear and tear”. This would, he said, have produced an even better result. He suggested that the only way to take things further would be to have the action completely rebuilt, and he gave me the name of a company close to London which has the capability to do this. (Although I do not see myself undertaking that expense in the nearish future.) Rebuilding the action would also eliminate the various clicks and noises, although these do not really bother me.

SHPiano, your piano is I think nearly 50 years younger than mine, and so it would not be surprising if you have stronger springs and less compressed felts. You might expect, therefore, an even better result. I am sure that your tech will be able to undertake the regulation, and that you will be pleased by the result. If she does have any difficulties, I would suggest that she contact Mr Roger Wilson of Blüthners in London, whom I am sure she would find very supportive.

Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10077
07/04/08 11:38 PM
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SHPiano Offline OP
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David:
Thanks for the details. This is very helpful! I don't know where my action is in terms of wear. When I have my tech regulate the action next using the Blüthner specs, I'll point out the issues you had and the solution your tech worked out.

I'm curious about the rebuilder in London and what they would do that may not yet have been done on mine.


Bösendorfer 225 My New BÖSENDORFER Arrives
Blüthner Style 9 My 1926 Blüthner Arrives
Shoninger upright
Roland FP7
Yamaha EZ30
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10078
07/30/08 09:07 PM
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I thought it might be of interest if I post some pictures of my Patent action. For reference, here is the diagram (reproduced from the Bluthner web site). The key to the numbers is as follows: (1) hammer flange screw, (2) wippen, (3) jack, (4) abstract, (5) hammer shank, (6) hammer rest rail, (7) abstract pin, (8) set-off dolly, (9) abstract spring, (10) jack spring.

[Linked Image]

The bass end of the action, showing the typical "wires" characteristic of the patent action (actually the abstract springs). The hammer felts have been replaced, everything else is original 1881.

[Linked Image]

Front rail pins and punchings.

[Linked Image]

More to follow...

Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10079
07/31/08 06:57 PM
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The hammers at the treble end of the action.

[Linked Image]

Close-up of the wippens, with regulating screws, and the abstract springs. These appear to pass through small bushings a bit like the damper wire bushings replaced by SHPiano.

[Linked Image]

The hammer flanges, individually numbered.

[Linked Image]

Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10080
07/31/08 08:30 PM
07/31/08 08:30 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 246
S.Central Texas
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Cool. Thanks for the pics, David. My tech is coming on Monday to regulate and voice the piano. We'll also take another look at the back action and decide whether to do additional repairs to the velum hinges. I actually received copy of an article written in a European piano tech journal about repairing the back action on a vintage Blüthner. I'll try to post it here or at least post the citation to it if it's copyright protected.

I'll also try to post some more pics!


Bösendorfer 225 My New BÖSENDORFER Arrives
Blüthner Style 9 My 1926 Blüthner Arrives
Shoninger upright
Roland FP7
Yamaha EZ30
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10081
07/31/08 09:22 PM
07/31/08 09:22 PM
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London
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David-G Offline
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Monday will be an exciting day! I look forward to hearing about it. Pictures would be nice! And I would be very interested to see the article.

Here are some more pictures.

I just love this one! It is a view along the "tunnel" beneath the hammer shanks. The hammer rest rail is on the right, covered in green cloth, and the jack springs are prominent on the left (one of them rather out of shape).

[Linked Image]

A view down from behind the hammers. The green cloth of the hammer rest rail is clearly visible. Towards the right, a jack can be seen nestling in its niche against the blue felt of the abstract.

[Linked Image]

It is rather hard to get a view where the jacks are visible. They can just be seen here. Notice that the rear part of the abstract, under which the jack sits, is leather covered, with an insert of blue felt beneath.

[Linked Image]

Rear view of the action, green cloth and blue felt clearly visible. These materials are all original. The variety of colours is interesting. The felt in the action is mainly blue, though it is green for the key punchings, and red on the jack springs; and there is green cloth on the hammer rest rail. The felts which damp the strings are red; the standard "Bluthner blue" had not yet been introduced when this piano was made. The damper felts are white.

[Linked Image]

Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10082
08/04/08 11:55 AM
08/04/08 11:55 AM
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Posts: 246
S.Central Texas
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It's Monday! I'll Blog this for those who are interested:

9:00 My tech arrives. We agree to regulate the piano first per the Blüthner instructions.

9:15 My tech determines that currently the Key Dip is too low. She begins adjusting each key by adding paper "punchings" to bring the key dip up a bit. She has neat guide from Steinway that is used to make sure the key dip is at a particular height. One of the Steinway guides is 3/8" (9.5 mm) which also happens to be the proper key dip for a vintage Blüthner.

11:00 My tech is finished adjusting the key dip. I don't notice a huge difference but I like the change. I was worried it'd feel too shallow. It doesn't. She begins adjusting the set-up of the jacks and the set-off of the hammers.

12:30 She reaches an impasse of sorts. She had moved to the step 6 of the instructions which calls for adjusting action to make sure that the hammer heads drop 3mm below the strings. The adjustments set forth do not seem to affect this and the hammers are dropping much more than 3mm. Nevertheless, she has me play the piano. Wow! The action feels much more controlled. Not heavier or stiffer, just cleaner/crisper. It feels like a new action (no looseness). I'm quite pleased.

12:45 We agree to table the hammer drop issue for now until she can figure out how to adjust that. She's now moved on to the dampers where I'm still getting some ringing in the middle registers.

1:30 She's adjusted some of the dampers and is now voicing the piano. She's used a very small amount of a hardener on the hammers is now shaping and needling the hammers.

3:00 It's really pretty cool what voicing can do. With the other adjustments she was able to bring out the volume in the treble (which was especially weak IMO). The hardener added some volume across the whole range. Now the shaping and needling is mellowing out the tone. It's really sounding lovely.

4:15 My tech finished up. I very pleased with the results. The action plays more smoothly and cleanly. It's still light but I've got better control now. The tone is also improved. The biggest improvements coming in the treble where I've now got some power. The tone of the middle registers is also better.

My tech and I agreed that I'm going to enjoy my invigorated Blüthner for a while and see how I like it. In the meantime she is going to see what she needs to do to deal with the hammer drop distance. She doesn't think I need to rebuilt the back action (whew!) but there are still a few notes where she wants to experiment with different damper felts. In a few months well take care of those items, tune the piano and fine tune the voicing.

Overall I'm a happy camper.


Bösendorfer 225 My New BÖSENDORFER Arrives
Blüthner Style 9 My 1926 Blüthner Arrives
Shoninger upright
Roland FP7
Yamaha EZ30
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10083
08/04/08 03:36 PM
08/04/08 03:36 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 246
S.Central Texas
SHPiano Offline OP
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Double post. Oops.


Bösendorfer 225 My New BÖSENDORFER Arrives
Blüthner Style 9 My 1926 Blüthner Arrives
Shoninger upright
Roland FP7
Yamaha EZ30
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10084
08/05/08 11:49 AM
08/05/08 11:49 AM
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Posts: 915
Boston
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Chris W1 Offline
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Boston
I can't speak much to the patent action, but will attest to the benefits of refurbishing dampers to make a piano have a more even feel. Its remarkable how much can go into making a piano action feel even, with the dampers up. Much of the mass vs friction equation, as it sums to inertia, stops here. If the dampers haven't been looked at and your piano is old, consider that the down-weight without dampers is as much as 20 grams shy of the downweight with them. That's a huge amount of added inertia and, over time, friction variances can spell big variations in your dampers-down downweights. The result is an uneven action. Add poor damping and sound leakage and dampers are probably one of the most unsung aspects of a decent action rebuild.


Amateur At Large
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10085
08/05/08 02:22 PM
08/05/08 02:22 PM
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Posts: 246
S.Central Texas
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S.Central Texas
The damper work my tech did last month improved things mostly relating to tone. In fact, initially, it "stiffened" the action a bit. I was a little worried about that, but once the new bushings "broke in" the action lightened up. The regulation work she did yesterday changed the feel of the piano quite a bit. There is no looseness, there is better controll, and most important some notes that wouldn't sound or repeat now work perfectly. The voicing and improved the tone even more. I've now got even "volume" accross all of the registers and a slightly fuller tone in the middle resgisters. The most dramatic difference is in the treble which now really sings.


Bösendorfer 225 My New BÖSENDORFER Arrives
Blüthner Style 9 My 1926 Blüthner Arrives
Shoninger upright
Roland FP7
Yamaha EZ30
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10086
08/06/08 09:28 PM
08/06/08 09:28 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 246
S.Central Texas
SHPiano Offline OP
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SHPiano  Offline OP
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Posts: 246
S.Central Texas
Here are some photos I took on Monday while my tech was working on the Blüthner.

This is a picture of the Patent Action from the top.
[Linked Image]

Here's one from the front
[Linked Image]

And a close up of the side. You can see the abstract, the coiled spring, etc.
[Linked Image]

Lastly, here's a close up of the right angle abstract repetition springs:
[Linked Image]

Pretty cool, huh? Just like yours David. At some point Blüthner obviously began to use the metal (iron, I suppose) brace on each end of the action instead of the wood.


Bösendorfer 225 My New BÖSENDORFER Arrives
Blüthner Style 9 My 1926 Blüthner Arrives
Shoninger upright
Roland FP7
Yamaha EZ30
Re: Damper Work, Regulation & Voicing on Blüthner -- What a difference #10087
08/10/08 02:44 PM
08/10/08 02:44 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,919
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Supply Offline
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Posts: 3,919
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Blüthner Patent action grands are a special and unique type of instrument, they are almost a genre of their own. They feel, play and sound different than any other piano. Contrary to what some people with limited exposure to these pianos may say, their repetition is lightening fast if the piano is working properly. They are renowned for their responsiveness, nuance of timbre and ethereal tone color.

Sadly, many are not working properly today, because they are all old, and many of the ones that have been repaired have been botched using incorrect parts and techniques. Often, repairpersons try to turn them into something they were never meant to be, rebuilding the actions with hard Asian hammers or even trying to install modern wippens and other parts.

In this thread, I see a number of people contributing, all with varying degrees of experience and expertise in piano technology in general and with the Blüthner Patent action in particular. Along many correct statements and some good advice, there is also a lot of entirely wrong information given, starting from parts nomenclature through to suggestions and directions for repairs and rebuilding.

At this point I will not endeavor to tease out the nuggets from the fools’ gold. I just want it to be known that parts and materials (and information) are available to do authentic repairs and rebuilding on Blüthner Patent actions. Professional technicians are welcome to contact me through my website for information on availability of stringing cloth, blue backed dampers, pre-bored hammers, shanks, flanges, abstracts, and more items. Sorry, no DIYers. Blüthner owners, please pass this information on to your technician.

Enjoy your Blüthners. They make wonderful music.


[Linked Image]
Special hammers for Patent Action

[Linked Image]
Shank with flange and abstract

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