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#1543195 - 10/25/10 01:30 PM Weird overtone ringing on a few notes  
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pianokeys135 Offline
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Hi -

I have a weird overtone ringing sound on a few notes on my new piano. The fundamental is there, but then there is this weird noise that sounds like one or more overtones going wild above the fundamental. Is this likely a string imperfection, or a voicing issue or what? Only two or three notes have this problem.

Thanks!


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#1543241 - 10/25/10 02:31 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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Bass or treble?


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#1543245 - 10/25/10 02:38 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: Silverwood Pianos]  
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bass. in the bi chords.


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#1543252 - 10/25/10 02:43 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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It could even be tuning, but only someone who hears the piano can tell. Ask the tuner about it when it is tuned.


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#1543413 - 10/25/10 06:05 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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Bass strings are extremely susceptible to false beating. This is probably what is going on. The only way to remedy the problem is to get a new sting or voice the string itself.


David E Kozak, Piano Technician
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#1543668 - 10/26/10 03:14 AM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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Mark R. Offline
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David,

Could you give a short indication of what's meant by voicing a string? I wasn't aware that any physical changes can be made on strings (other than perhaps removing kinks, leveling them, etc.)


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#1544069 - 10/26/10 02:37 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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The Petrof 46” studio upright I owned had an odd ringing overtone in a couple of the bi-cord bass notes. The tuning was right on par. I could lightly needle the strike-point of the hammers and improve the tone, but the ringing overtone never disappeared all together. I was afraid to needle the hammer too much. It was tolerable but annoying.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#1544084 - 10/26/10 03:01 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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This is a new piano. It is bichords. There is an overwhelming possibility it is nothing but bad unisons.


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#1544373 - 10/27/10 12:33 AM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: Mark R.]  
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Originally Posted by Mark R.
David,

Could you give a short indication of what's meant by voicing a string? I wasn't aware that any physical changes can be made on strings (other than perhaps removing kinks, leveling them, etc.)


You would stretch the string by lifting it slightly off the bridge. Doing this would equalize all of the segments of the string from the tuning pin to the hitch pin.

But this would only help in rare cases, usually if the string itself is bad you would need to get it replaced.


David E Kozak, Piano Technician
Metropolitan Piano Service
www.MetPianoTuning.com
Serving All New Jersey and Manhattan
#1544388 - 10/27/10 01:05 AM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: David Kozak]  
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Originally Posted by David Kozak
You would stretch the string by lifting it slightly off the bridge. Doing this would equalize all of the segments of the string from the tuning pin to the hitch pin.


I've never heard of that kind of "voicing" of a string. It can not equalize tension from the tuning pin, as you are doing nothing on this side of the string. And I doubt it will equalize tension accross the bridge pins, as they are pushing the string against the bride cap and friction is not released when trying to lift the string. Furthermore, this equalizing of tension only helps to tunning stability, not to tone production or ringing overtones.

On the contrary, seating the strings on the bridge, by gently tapping down to the bride cap is always recommended to deal with false beats and other bearing points related problems.



Rafael Melo
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#1544392 - 10/27/10 01:19 AM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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I have a similar problem on my brand new piano. Does it sound like this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6U1_-w22goY#t=25s

The problem is that a had a piano technician come over and he can't hear what I'm talking about! My friend came over and he can hear it. It's not on a copper bass string though.

Can anyone help me identify that ringing overtone?

Last edited by electronblue; 10/27/10 01:20 AM.
#1544420 - 10/27/10 02:25 AM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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Electronblue,

I can hear what you are talking about and IMHO it is a voicing (hammer head) issue.

Look for a tech that makes voicing.

Rickster,

Have you tried the side needling at the shoulders as described by Chuck Behm?



Rafael Melo
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Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

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#1544477 - 10/27/10 05:02 AM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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Have your technician make absolutely certain that the strings are level and the hammer hits both strings simultaneously and that the hammers are the right shape before even considering attempting any needling. Doing these fundamentals first takes skill and experience and will very likely make your 'problem' notes become among the best sounding notes on the whole piano and your tech will then have to do the same thing throughout the rest of the piano to even things up and you will have a far superior sounding piano. This happens more often than you might think.
Side needling at right angles to the hammer separates the layers and the hammer will return almost to 'normal' within a few days.


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.


#1544812 - 10/27/10 01:30 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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Originally Posted by Gadzar
Rickster,

Have you tried the side needling at the shoulders as described by Chuck Behm?


Yes, I have tried the side needling, and have noticed some minute differences/improvement in the tone. I think the best voicing I’ve done, in terms noticeable tone improvement, is the traditional hard stabbing motion on the high shoulders and some very shallow needling on the strike point. To me, the biggest challenge with this is type of needling is supporting the hammers well enough to get in a good hard stab without breaking a shank or damaging a flange pin bushing. I use a small board to support the hammers on my grand actions.

I’ve also learned from experience, as others have said, that hammer to string alignment is vital to a clean, clear tone on each note. Plus, it is amazing how a little needle pricking on the strike point can solve an annoying sizzle, zing or ringing overtone, but not all the time.

I honestly think the skill required for voicing far exceeds that required for tuning. (Not that either is easy).

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#1545005 - 10/27/10 08:06 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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Gadzar Offline
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Rickster,

Do you think that replacing the strings would eliminate this ringing overtone?



Rafael Melo
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Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx
#1545026 - 10/27/10 08:52 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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Have you checked to be sure the dampers that are allowing the overtones are seated properly?

#1545039 - 10/27/10 09:18 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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Originally Posted by Gadzar
Rickster,

Do you think that replacing the strings would eliminate this ringing overtone?


Hi Gadzar,

I've sold the Petrof studio upright so I don't know if replacing the bichord bass strings would have helped or not (probably so). The buyer hired an RPT to evaluate the piano before they bought it and neither of them noticed it. The overtones were subtle anyway. I guess I'm a perfectionist and I wish I wasn't! grin

Take care,

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#1545200 - 10/28/10 03:01 AM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: SM Boone]  
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Originally Posted by SM Boone
Have you checked to be sure the dampers that are allowing the overtones are seated properly?


How would damper seating influence the sound of a string after it is struck by the hammer, i.e. while the note is sounding?


Autodidact interested in piano technology.
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#1545243 - 10/28/10 05:00 AM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: Mark R.]  
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Originally Posted by Mark R.
Originally Posted by SM Boone
Have you checked to be sure the dampers that are allowing the overtones are seated properly?


How would damper seating influence the sound of a string after it is struck by the hammer, i.e. while the note is sounding?

it wouldn't but poor seating on another note could. Unlikely by the description here but not to be ruled out. The test for this is simple and takes but a few seconds.


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.


#1545249 - 10/28/10 05:28 AM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: Mark R.]  
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Originally Posted by Mark R.
Originally Posted by SM Boone
Have you checked to be sure the dampers that are allowing the overtones are seated properly?


How would damper seating influence the sound of a string after it is struck by the hammer, i.e. while the note is sounding?


You could be hearing sympathetic vibrations from another string.


DiGiorgi Piano Service
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#1545314 - 10/28/10 08:41 AM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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Ah, OK, hadn't thought of it that way. I wouldn't have thought that sympathetic vibrations can actually be so strong as to stand out over the note while it's being played, but only become really audible after it's released. Learned something new - thanks!


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#1545440 - 10/28/10 12:32 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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Well, think of a guitar. When you play a harmonic you are only very lightly touching the string in a particular location and that note is plenty loud. In fact was used very effectively on a song from the 70's called Roundabout. This same phenomenon can occur on a piano as well.


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#1545484 - 10/28/10 01:56 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: John Dutton]  
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Originally Posted by John Dutton
Well, think of a guitar. When you play a harmonic you are only very lightly touching the string in a particular location and that note is plenty loud. In fact was used very effectively on a song from the 70's called Roundabout. This same phenomenon can occur on a piano as well.


I knew there would be some Steve Howe fans around here……….
Here is the intro John is referring to……

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2u5_7yg8O_g


Dan Silverwood
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#1545707 - 10/28/10 09:36 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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very nice Dan! Thanks for sharing. SM

#1545842 - 10/29/10 01:14 AM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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I finally got around to checking out this thread, and I'm surprised that nobody has suggested a longitudinal wave as being the culprit. They stand out as a gong like tone that no amount of needling or tuning will have an effect on - in fact one way to isolate it is to tune the string flat and sharp: you will hear the pitch of the string change but the pitch of the longitudinal wave will not.

I had a client with a new Yamaha C-1 that had a strong longitudinal wave coming off D2 bichord, and it was driving him crazy. We replaced the strings and the replacement strings had more wrap on it - it came scarily close to the agraff, but the client is much happier with the sound.

I had a client with a Bosendorfer that had a similar problem. I had one of Seattle's top technicians consult with me on it and he's who clued me into this phenomenon. Once you become aware of it you start noticing it on a lot of pianos, but sometimes it can really stand out. My understanding is that its pitch is defined by the length of the string not the tension, and that the vibration travels lengthwise along the string, not transversely.

If tuning and voicing doesn't fix your problem, you'll have to try replacing the strings. If the new strings have the same problem it may be a scaling problem that will require a different wrap/core wire configuration.


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
#1545866 - 10/29/10 01:46 AM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: John Dutton]  
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Originally Posted by John Dutton
Well, think of a guitar. When you play a harmonic you are only very lightly touching the string in a particular location and that note is plenty loud.


Being a string player, I know about flageolet tones, and use them myself (amongst others, for cross-checking tuning).

Now coming back to this thread: if the damper of the OP's piano were touching the string while it vibrates, causing a quasi-flageolet, would that not be a damper lift problem, rather than a damper seating problem? That's where my original question to SM originated from.


Autodidact interested in piano technology.
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1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.
#1546492 - 10/29/10 06:09 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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That depends. Sometimes the damper felt itself needs replacing and so "leaks." Or sometimes the damper gets bent and so doesn't hit both (or all three) strings correctly. In either case this could cause harmonic tones. Sometimes the dampers were not adjusted correctly in the piano's initial setup from either the manufacturer or original dealer.

Eventually damper felt needs to be replaced as it stops being effective. This would not be the case on a new piano I shouldn't think unless someone had got in there and started spraying chemicals/oils/wd40 around.


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#1550176 - 11/03/10 02:56 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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Hey everyone. Thanks so much for your responses. I am still in the process of trying to figure out what my problem is. I just had the piano tuned. The notes sound much better, but the problem is still there. I guess the next step is to have a voicing specialist (or a tech who is good at voicing) out to look at the hammers, dampers, and how the strings are sitting (whether they are level, etc).

Electron Blue, the problem that I have sounds similar to the recording that you posted in that my notes and your recording sound to me like there is extra ringing / beating in one or more overtones above the fundamental. Your recording sounds a little bit different than mine though. If I can, I will make a recording of my own notes and post it. I wonder if I would need a high quality mic to capture the sound sufficiently for people to really hear it...


pianokeys135
amateur piano player
#1551173 - 11/04/10 09:29 PM Re: Weird overtone ringing on a few notes [Re: pianokeys135]  
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simple test to demonstrate harmonics: Hit any note while silently depressing the octave above note, the octave above will ring. You can repeat this test by depressing the harmonic sequence that follows for that note, add octaves, 5ths, 3rds, etc.


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