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HELP!!!!! I need to make my piano quieter! #1343550
01/07/10 11:33 PM
01/07/10 11:33 PM
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Canada
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roselull Offline OP
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I just bought a HUGE Farrand upright grand (it's 58 inches tall), and I need to make it quieter because I live in an apartment and my neighbours downstairs have already complained. My floors are concrete, so thus far, I plan on putting an area rug underneath it, as well as covering the back with felt. Any other suggestions on how I can quiet this thing down would be much appreciated!

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Re: HELP!!!!! I need to make my piano quieter! [Re: roselull] #1343560
01/07/10 11:47 PM
01/07/10 11:47 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,476
Lower Mainland, BC
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Although some might say that this will kill the sound (it won't if done properly) you can stuff pillows between the back braces of the piano making sure you don't have the pillows touching (or at least not crammed against) the soundboard. I've done that for years with a few huge old uprights and it actually can improve the sound of the piano a bit too. What it does is actually makes the piano sound a bit more modern or 'tighter' sounding with less ringing. Also, they do sell certain castors that can separate your piano from the floor a bit more so the vibrations don't travel through the wheels into the floor.

Other than that, bake some cookies for the neighbours, bring them down on a plate with your telephone number and tell them you are sorry for the sound, etc, and that is almost guaranteed to make the piano less loud to them. I think most people will feel more empowered if they know they can do something about the situation, and may not get so bothered by the sound. Hope this helps!



Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.


Re: HELP!!!!! I need to make my piano quieter! [Re: scepticalforumguy] #1343667
01/08/10 03:33 AM
01/08/10 03:33 AM
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theJourney Offline
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A grand piano or large upright piano can produce as much as 100 db(A) of sound which is equivalent to a concrete jackhammer being driven a few feet from your head. Vibrations can be set up throughout your building which will drive just about anyone crazy.

It is next to impossible in an existing appartment setting to substantially reduce the air sound transmission from you to your downstairs neighbors from a large piano without spending many, many thousands of dollars on creating a soundproof room within a room surrounding your piano playing space. Remember: sound insulation is only as good as the weakest link or crack. Google " piano room soundproofing" or " home music studio " or " room within a room " .

Reducing the contact sound transmission can be done marginally with your idea of a carpet but would be more effectively done with a raised platform that is decoupled from both the floor and wall. This may or may not be noticeable or enough for your neighbors.

The experience of suffering from sound pollution is a subjective experience that has to do with personal expectations. Different people have different thresholds for experiencing noise pollution: personal and personality characteristics, time of day, duration of sound, nature of sound (music and music practicing tends to be more irritating than other sounds), and the predictability of the sound (i.e. agreed to times vs. out of the blue noise).

Sceptical's advice is very good. You might also do a listening test with them having someone else play your piano while you enjoy one of the cookies together -- you might be quite shocked at what you hear...

The best solution will likely be found in modifying your behavior by moving or by only playing at agreed times when the neighbors are not at home or not bothered. You might want to consider buying a digital piano with headphones for practice during other times of the day and night.

Re: HELP!!!!! I need to make my piano quieter! [Re: theJourney] #1343690
01/08/10 04:36 AM
01/08/10 04:36 AM
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England/Switzerland
AJB Offline
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Something that is rarely mentioned (along with the good advice about sound de-coupling) is that YOU can make a very big difference simply by learning to play softly. This can be very beneficial for your technique, as at first you will inevitably have to slow down in order to gain the necessary control over your fingers. Practice everything at PPP for a few weeks. Soon, having excellent control will become second nature.


Currently playing 2017 C212 with carbon fibre soundboard, WNG action. Working on Bach, Beethoven, Grieg mainly.
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Check out these threads [Re: roselull] #1343792
01/08/10 10:26 AM
01/08/10 10:26 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 134
London, UK / Michigan, USA
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Nicholas B. Offline
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I had the same problem a few months ago. You'll learn that sound travels through air as well as through the floor in the form of vibrations.

See this thread for quite a bit of background and links (and a few more aggressive views eek):

Piano Bothering my Neighbors

As you mention it is your downstairs neighbors that have the problem, I suspect vibrations are being transmitted.

Here is the solution I found for that problem:

Piattino Thread

Cheers


Nicholas B.

Steinway B (1912 rebuilt)
Kawai RX-2 (2008)
Re: Check out these threads [Re: Nicholas B.] #1343793
01/08/10 10:28 AM
01/08/10 10:28 AM
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Maryland/DC/No. VA
Steve Cohen Offline
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How are the hammers? When was the last time the piano was voiced?


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Jasons Music
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Since 1937.

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My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
Re: Check out these threads [Re: Steve Cohen] #1343804
01/08/10 10:40 AM
01/08/10 10:40 AM
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SeilerFan Offline
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some rubber disks to detach the sound/vibration transfer into the floor. There are special disks/cups for grands. Maybe you can find some for uprights or come up with your own design. The material should be stable yet flexible so that it swallows vibrations.

Years ago, when my piano was played at my parents house on the second floor, quite a considerable part of the noise heard downstairs was the vibrational noise transferred directly through the ceiling (wood), especially the thudding noise of the keys striking the keybed when played.

Last edited by SeilerFan; 01/08/10 10:42 AM.
Re: Check out these threads [Re: SeilerFan] #1343964
01/08/10 02:08 PM
01/08/10 02:08 PM
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Nashville, TN
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Pianolance Offline
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You could always tell your downstairs neighbor that you are glad they don't like the piano because you were thinking of selling it anyway to buy a drumset and a tuba.


Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.
Re: Check out these threads [Re: Pianolance] #1343983
01/08/10 02:30 PM
01/08/10 02:30 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 5
Canada
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roselull Offline OP
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I know...this is such a touchy subject. I have tried to work out a schedule with the downstairs neighbours and they were happy about that, but I am slightly worried that I will have other neighbours come out of the wood work and start to complain as well. Looking back at other threads, a lot of people seem to have extreme opinions, like either "[censored] the neighbours" or "time to move". I am sort of thinking that I will do everything that I can to quiet the piano, and try to work around schedules as much as possible, but aside from that I feel like I have a right to live my life as well and I don't think one hour a day, at a reasonable time is too much to ask...

I am seriously thinking of getting those piattino things, paired with a rug underneath. I think I will also try to put pillows between the back braces with a layer of sound absorbing foam covering the whole back of the piano. Hopefully that will help.

Thanks and keep the suggestions coming!


Re: Check out these threads [Re: roselull] #1344026
01/08/10 03:44 PM
01/08/10 03:44 PM
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Posts: 120
Amsterdam
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andrew f Offline
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My Piattinos look really classy, but my downstairs neighbor still complains about the piano. I also recently put a thick wool rug down, and that hasn't stopped the complaints either.

Re: Check out these threads [Re: andrew f] #1344056
01/08/10 04:27 PM
01/08/10 04:27 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,796
San Jose, CA
Jeff Clef Offline
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San Jose, CA
I had to laugh at the suggestion to "F___ the neighbors." It's an approach not everyone would care to try, but who knows. I favor cookies and considerate treatment, myself (there's a limit, of course). I actually did talk to all my close neighbors when I got my piano, and did a listening test; luckily, not a problem here. The double-paned windows help quite a bit, as well as saving energy.

The Piatinno caster cups are said to be helpful at decoupling the piano sonically from the floor. Your piano tech can order them for you. I would think a thick room-sized carpet, with a better-quality foam underlayment, would also help cut it down, including the "key thump". And yes, foam behind the piano (four inches thick, the more stiff and high-density kind is more effective). Nothing is going to give you 100%.

There are laws governing permissible levels of "noise" and the hours during which quiet must be observed. But if your neighbors understand that you are prepared to be reasonable and considerate of them, they may be inclined to behave likewise... or at least be tolerant, knowing the hour at which their "suffering" will be over.

Last edited by Jeff Clef; 01/08/10 04:32 PM.

Clef

Re: Check out these threads [Re: Jeff Clef] #1344179
01/08/10 07:20 PM
01/08/10 07:20 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 63
Montana, USA
Stearman Offline
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Montana, USA
Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies. Nice and warm and googy. Maybe some cup cakes too.

Re: Check out these threads [Re: Stearman] #1345167
01/09/10 09:06 PM
01/09/10 09:06 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 457
Melbourne, Australia
Oz Marcus Offline
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This was a problem for me in the last apartment that I lived in. To fix the problem, we moved.


Oz Marcus
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Schubert Impromptu in C minor - D899
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Re: Check out these threads [Re: Oz Marcus] #1345204
01/09/10 09:48 PM
01/09/10 09:48 PM
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Oakland
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BDB Offline
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Play heavy metal rock music at full volume whenever you are not playing the piano.


Semipro Tech
Re: Check out these threads [Re: BDB] #1345243
01/09/10 10:27 PM
01/09/10 10:27 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,044
♪oron♪o, on♪ario, canada...
pno Offline
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♪oron♪o, on♪ario, canada...
Someone should design a maglev caster cup so your piano would never touch the floor.


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YAMAHA C2M PE
Re: Check out these threads [Re: pno] #1345380
01/10/10 01:14 AM
01/10/10 01:14 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,280
Nashville, TN
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Pianolance Offline
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I think you need to find out if it's the pianos sound or the thumping from the action or both coming through the floor. If it's the thumping from the action then decoupling should work great, if it's the sound then installing sound absorbing panels or pillows will work better. If it's both do both. Sound proofing can be tricky. Read this article as it gives an excellent overview of several techniques. http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2007/06/soundproofing



Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.
Re: Check out these threads [Re: Pianolance] #1345399
01/10/10 02:11 AM
01/10/10 02:11 AM
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Oakland
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BDB Offline
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If it is an unreasonable neighbor, then a lawyer might work.


Semipro Tech
Re: Check out these threads [Re: BDB] #1345405
01/10/10 02:22 AM
01/10/10 02:22 AM
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guest1013 Offline
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Originally Posted by BDB
Play heavy metal rock music at full volume whenever you are not playing the piano.
laugh laugh laugh

Re: Check out these threads [Re: guest1013] #1345635
01/10/10 12:58 PM
01/10/10 12:58 PM
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Kansas
apple* Offline
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pillows REALLY work.

i had a K 52 - man it was loud in a loud apartment. Pillows affect the sound but not the action.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Check out these threads [Re: andrew f] #1345939
01/10/10 06:03 PM
01/10/10 06:03 PM
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Lower Mainland, BC
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Originally Posted by andrew f
My Piattinos look really classy, but my downstairs neighbor still complains about the piano. I also recently put a thick wool rug down, and that hasn't stopped the complaints either.


Duct tape would stop the complaints. Of course, it depends where you use it.


Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.


Re: Check out these threads [Re: scepticalforumguy] #1346496
01/11/10 08:12 AM
01/11/10 08:12 AM
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Amsterdam
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andrew f Offline
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Originally Posted by scepticalforumguy
Originally Posted by andrew f
My Piattinos look really classy, but my downstairs neighbor still complains about the piano. I also recently put a thick wool rug down, and that hasn't stopped the complaints either.


Duct tape would stop the complaints. Of course, it depends where you use it.


Don't think I haven't contemplated it! cool

Re: Check out these threads [Re: andrew f] #1346722
01/11/10 01:56 PM
01/11/10 01:56 PM
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Posts: 127
MA, USA
PreparedPipa Offline
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perhaps while you bring them cookies, work out hours that might work for them, and maybe work out a schedule? that way you can play all you want in those hours, and might help with the persistency of your practicing?


Lily L. - Certified Music Teacher, CT....
Sauter Master Class 130
Roland MP-70
Re: Check out these threads [Re: PreparedPipa] #1347370
01/12/10 03:01 AM
01/12/10 03:01 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 5
Canada
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roselull Offline OP
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Canada
Yes Lily, that is exactly what I have done. They are at the gym three nights a week for over two hours, so we have agreed that I will practice then as well as a little on the weekend. I have also taken some of the soundproofing advice. I laid down a bunch of rubber door mats side by side, and then on top of them I put a really thick wool rug. I also put pillows between the back braces and covered the back with a layer of felt. It certainly sounds quieter in the apartment, but I haven't actually asked them if I could do a sound check. Hopefully, that combined with our schedule will please them smile

Re: Check out these threads [Re: roselull] #1347538
01/12/10 11:08 AM
01/12/10 11:08 AM
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Encino, California
ChatNoir Offline
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After reading this thread, I have come to the conclusion that you don't need to do anything with the piano. You just need new neighbors. Maybe I'll send you mine, they complain that they can no longer hear me play.


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