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loud/bright piano; should it be voiced down? #1961309 09/19/12 08:57 PM
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Otis S Offline OP
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My acoustic piano seems to have gotten louder since I purchased it a few years ago. Perhaps this is due to hardening of the hammers after repeated use. It is particularly noticeable at the treble end, and the sound now may be a bit too bright. Other than that, I feel that my piano is an amazing instrument, and I couldn't be happier with it.

I am considering having it voiced down. However, I am concerned that if the voicing is not done properly, this could be bad for the piano and detrimental to the sound quality. I thus have the following questions for those of you who are knowledgeable in this area.

1. Would you recommend having the piano voiced down by a technician, as opposed to adding additional carpeting, cushions, drapes, etc to the room? A problem with the latter solution is that it is hard to precisely modify the sound produced by the piano.

2. If I get the piano voiced down, can I trust my tuner, to do this or should I try to find someone who is specifically known to be an expert voicer? I have talked to a number of people about this, and I could not get specific recommendations on who the top voicing technicians are. The feedback was since my tuner is well respected and I have used him since I got my piano, he is the right person to do the voicing. No one seemed to have strong views on whether one technician might be a better voicer than another. In this situation, how does one identify the right person to do the voicing?

3. Should I be concerned about permanent damage to the hammers which might occur as a result of the voicing?

4. Is there a danger of voicing the piano too low, with no easy way to rectify the situation other than drastic actions like replacing the hammers?



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Re: loud/bright piano; should it be voiced down? [Re: Otis S] #1961314 09/19/12 09:06 PM
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You probably should have the piano voiced. Your concerns can probably best be addressed by the person who does it. That person can do a little, and more later if that is not enough. Communicate what you want, and be available as the work is done so you can decide on how much to do.


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Re: loud/bright piano; should it be voiced down? [Re: Otis S] #1961323 09/19/12 09:23 PM
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Voicing can make a big difference (improvement) in the tone of your piano. It can definitely take the sharp, shrill edge off. It may need some regulation too, such as the hammer-blow distance between the hammers and strings (distance from the static rest position to the surface of the strings) usually about 1.75”, but specified by the manufacturer.

Thing is, voicing is a special skill that not every tuner has. For example, it can make a difference in the results depending on whether the tech pokes the needles in the hammers slowly or stabs them in hard with force. Some techs use liquid chemicals like rubbing alcohol, but caution is in order there too.

The key is finding the right technician; there are some fantastic technicians who are members of this forum.

Good luck, and keep us informed.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: loud/bright piano; should it be voiced down? [Re: Otis S] #1961325 09/19/12 09:28 PM
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Not only should you voice the hammers, but regulate the action, file hammers, level strings, etc as well. Every few years, a piano in the home should have a major go over. Do you have a University close by with a large music dept? If so, call them and find out who takes care of those pianos. You do want someone with experience for the best results. This may be your technician, or it may not.




Re: loud/bright piano; should it be voiced down? [Re: Otis S] #1961392 09/20/12 01:44 AM
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Hi Otis,

People might be able to offer some first hand info if we knew were you were located.

Voicing and regulation are necessary every few years to keep a piano in top notch condition.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: loud/bright piano; should it be voiced down? [Re: Otis S] #1961393 09/20/12 01:56 AM
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If the piano is voiced properly at the outset, the hammers will require less voicing later, and they will last longer. The more maintenance that you do on a piano when it is fairly new, the less you will do in the long run.


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Re: loud/bright piano; should it be voiced down? [Re: Minnesota Marty] #1961478 09/20/12 08:40 AM
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Thanks for all of the responses received so far.

Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty


People might be able to offer some first hand info if we knew were you were located.

I live north of New York City in Westchester County. There is certainly no shortage of piano technicians in this area. The challenge is to pick the right one. Perhaps I could follow Bob's advice and find out who voices the pianos at SUNY Purchase.


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