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Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: Jeff Clef] #1428704
05/02/10 11:42 PM
05/02/10 11:42 PM
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Robert 45 Offline
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I have heard that excessively low levels of humidity can contribute to this problem as the damper felts dry and and lose their softness.This of course creates more friction against the strings as the dampers are raised.
The problem could be worse in very old pianos where the damper felts have hardened with age and wear.

Good luck!
Robert.

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Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: Robert 45] #1428981
05/03/10 11:26 AM
05/03/10 11:26 AM
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mrFussy Offline
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I have this issue on my newly rebuilt piano. It bugs me to the point that I sometimes get frustrated and play a Bach two-part invention without letting the hammers contact the strings. OK, it is quiet, but it sounds like a harpsichord.

Some things I've noticed:
- my 'double-wedge' dampers extend all the way up through the middle section past A440.
- one great tech and one average tech both told me there's nothing to be done within reason.
- sound board is very good/sensitive
- I had been accustomed to an upright (less high freq 'noise')

So not to sound like I'm trolling, but I went to a S&S dealer with a medium size room with a door holding their nicer pianos. I played a new O at full stick and listed quite carefully. No damper whoosh.

On the one hand, I'm OK thinking this gives me a reason to save up $60K. On another hand, it is a little frustrating to be told by multiple technicians that the dampers are "working correctly", when they don't sound all that great to me. I play a lot at night in the quiet. The signal to noise ratio becomes sub-optimal. I'm sure it would sound great on stage.

Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: mrFussy] #1428990
05/03/10 11:37 AM
05/03/10 11:37 AM
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AJF Offline
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I kinda like the subtle sound of the dampers. It reminds me of the way you can hear an acoustic guitarist's fingers sliding up and down the fretboard. However, if this was something that I didn't like, I wouldn't rest until the issue was resolved.



Pianist, Composer
Disclaimer: Shigeru Kawai Artist
Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: AJF] #1429006
05/03/10 12:28 PM
05/03/10 12:28 PM
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Posts: 301
Tampa, FL
Music Major Offline
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On my own piano I only hear this sound if I am pre-opening the dampers before I strike the first note of a piece. It is a quite clear sound then. I kind of get a kick out of it. It's like the sound of a door opening on a deep cave.


Kevin

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The most important thing in music is what is not in the notes.
Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: Music Major] #1429287
05/03/10 09:35 PM
05/03/10 09:35 PM
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If you play staccato notes up the scale from middle C until you come to the point where the dampers are all flat, you will notice that the dampers become less efficient at that point. This will give some understanding of why clip dampers are considered necessary in the lower trichords of a professional instrument. There are instruments that have more flat dampers than others in order to lessen the swish of the pedal but the cut off of sound is less efficient and professional players who were consulted a hundred years or so ago preferred to have a slight noise that they could learn to control rather than sloppy termination of sound that they couldn't control.
There was a salesman who would whisper "this is a "........", listen to it breathe!" then, in the silence he had skilfully created, press the sustain pedal to produce this sound. We never had a client obsess over this sound in his bailiwick.
So why don't we notice this sound in recordings and concert halls? Firstly, it is skilfully
controled by the pianist and secondly it is not nearly the intrusion we imagine it to be when we are idly platyng with our piano. It has often been said that the keyboard is the worst place to listen to a piano. There are many noises created in the act of playing the piano that are masked by the notes themselves.


Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: Music Major] #1429306
05/03/10 10:23 PM
05/03/10 10:23 PM
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Lexington, Kentucky
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Originally Posted by Music Major
On my own piano I only hear this sound if I am pre-opening the dampers before I strike the first note of a piece. It is a quite clear sound then. I kind of get a kick out of it. It's like the sound of a door opening on a deep cave.


I love that imagery, Music Major! I used to be a little irritated when I heard my damper whoosh at the very beginning of pieces I recorded. You've given me a much nicer way to think about it. thumb

Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: Monica K.] #1429453
05/04/10 08:25 AM
05/04/10 08:25 AM
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Northeast USA
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NoctuGranes Offline
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I think it is downright silly that folks like RXD seem compelled to go to great lengths to minimize a _problem_ with some pianos.

And these little gems (called "poisoning the well") are ugly:
He who doesn't like the sound,
-must not be a "professional player" and must be OK with "sloppy terminations".
-must be "obsessing"
-can't "skillfully control" the piano

What the heck? On some pianos the damper noise is too loud. Avariel was asking for some help.

I have a wonderful piano with a very 'active' (?) soundboard, that tends to amplify the high freq stuff. I love the piano, but am always looking for ways to improve it. My dampers are loud enough that my wife notices. She doesn't play. This COULD be a useful thread for all of us non-professional, sloppy, obsessive, unskilled folk.

We now return to the more rational, helpful posts by Seeker, Jordy, PianoWorksATL, etc.


-Nocty
Not in the piano business.
1906 Baldwin C rebuilt 2008
Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: NoctuGranes] #1429822
05/05/10 12:32 AM
05/05/10 12:32 AM
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Noctugranes, There are degrees of everything, I was refering to the subtler degrees that cannot be heard in normal playing or can be heard when listening to the pedal alone in relative silence. I know nothing of your problems but if your piano has an extremely noisy damper release then call in your technician. As others have said, the problem can be made worse by rapid moisture changes that harden the felt. I saw no need to repeat the advice of others. There are ways of minimising your problem and, as I said, the possibility of completely erradicating it. Some very old pianos had flat dampers throughout the whole piano and it was a trade-off with damper efficiency. Even earlier fortepianos had wedge dampers that became noisy.
Your technician will offer you a range of options up to complete replacement of dampers.
I'm sorry that you chose to take my post personally and I apologise for my complete underestimation of your own particular problem.


Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: rXd] #1429832
05/05/10 01:06 AM
05/05/10 01:06 AM
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In addressing the problem of sudden changes of humidity causing felt to harden, i'm reminded of the advice generally given when taking delivery of a piano on a rainy day. It was to open all the windows of the piano room prior to delivery and then gradually close them over the next couple of hours after the piano is delivered so that there is no rapid change of humidity. This advice dates from before air conditioning and may be even more appropriate today. Maybe just another archaic bit of wisdom that may sound silly today. I just throw it in for what it's worth since this thread concerns changing felt texture. Any situation where felt touches metal makes this problem worse.


Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: rXd] #1429838
05/05/10 01:21 AM
05/05/10 01:21 AM
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I appreciate your insights rxd. I don't find them "silly" or "ugly". While I'm sure there are geniune issues with the dampers on some pianos (which I'm sure can be properly addressed by a qualified tech) I agree with you that pedal technique can play a large role as well. Playing the piano well goes beyond just the keyboard.



Pianist, Composer
Disclaimer: Shigeru Kawai Artist
Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: AJF] #1429917
05/05/10 08:06 AM
05/05/10 08:06 AM
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Northeast USA
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NoctuGranes Offline
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RXD,
OK maybe I was having a bad day. I don't consider this a major problem on my piano, just something I'd like to tweak a bit. My room is quiet. I play very quiet passages. Some argue that I over-hear the high frequencies. Can't help it.

I didn't much care for the way you made your argument, nor how AJF just piled on suggesting someone doesn't know how to play his/her piano. Crazy argument when we haven't heard Avariel play.

It IS helpful to have pointed out that this is a compromise. Any decrease in whoosh is likely to also decrease the damping ability somewhat. What compromise we each choose depends on how and where we play and how we hear the high frequencies.

I also agree it can be seasonal. More zing when the air is really dry.

It also may be more common on great pianos with responsive sound boards.

The question was: is it common. Is it "fixable" (I'd use "adjustable"). My opinion: yes. yes.

The still open question is how easy or expensive or risky is it to try to adjust. What should you expect from your dealer/rebuilder (e.g. mine does back flips to assist me with the smallest of issues, long after the sale).


-Nocty
Not in the piano business.
1906 Baldwin C rebuilt 2008
Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: NoctuGranes] #1429973
05/05/10 10:33 AM
05/05/10 10:33 AM
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Noctu,
how did I imply that someone doesn't know how to play their instrument? I simply agreed with the points made by rxd as they add another angle to ponder which could be beneficial.
You choose to read into the meaning as an insult. And your interpretation is in no way indicative of what was being said. Amazing how people read words that are right in front of their face and yet see words that aren't there....



Pianist, Composer
Disclaimer: Shigeru Kawai Artist
Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: AJF] #1430012
05/05/10 11:56 AM
05/05/10 11:56 AM
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Noctu. All the questions have been addressed by someone or other. On this thread except maybe price and that is between you and your tech. Yes it can be tweaked, fixed, or erradicated and you now understand the trade offs (trades off?) I was not making an argument, merely relating my personal experiences of this problem. I'm glad you found them useful. Dampers problems are. often really string spacing issues or interconnected with the rest of the piano and their felts can very quickly be rendered useless and because of this I strongly advise against any DIY. (this is a public forum so don't take that personally.)
I'm sorry you were having a bad day but that is neither a reason nor an excuse for your bullying manner. How can we, as a society deal with bullying among our children if we can't give them an example as adults?


Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: rXd] #1430130
05/05/10 03:14 PM
05/05/10 03:14 PM
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Sheesh. I'm a bully? Now someone is clearly getting personal. I thought I was bringing this back up to a nice level. I'm happy to give up. Sorry to have been involved in dragging the thread down.


-Nocty
Not in the piano business.
1906 Baldwin C rebuilt 2008
Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: NoctuGranes] #1430430
05/06/10 12:24 AM
05/06/10 12:24 AM
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NoctuGranes, again and again you do not read accurately. I refered to your bullying behaviour, which is but one, hopefully small, aspect of your behaviour. I did not call you a bully, that would be name calling and tend to be totally dismissive. There is a vast difference. I'm sure you are a lovely person. If you can read your vitriolic post again without getting too embarassed, what word would you use to describe it?


Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


Re: Dampers making a sound when lifted? (new piano) [Re: rXd] #1433480
05/10/10 08:55 AM
05/10/10 08:55 AM
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Since Avariel doesn't accept PM's, I'll take the risk of re-opening this thread:

I had some trimming done on my dampers and it helped a lot. Others who feel there is too much zing when dampers are lifted may want to consider giving this a go, particularly on the double-wedge dampers if you can see felt extending well past the bottom of the strings. As Seeker pointed out, it may be tough to talk your tech into doing it. But, it seems to have very nice results in my case.


-Nocty
Not in the piano business.
1906 Baldwin C rebuilt 2008
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