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#2050643 - 03/19/13 05:31 AM Resonance, a little too weird for me  
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I'm trying to improve my over dampers but it's weird. Even damping the 3 strings with my finger is not totally effective. There's a resonance that sings on throughout the piano. Even quickly damping all the strings with my hand it's still there. What is it kind folks?

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#2050666 - 03/19/13 07:09 AM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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To me, all overdampers do that. Poor damper condition or adjustment in general won't help, but the design also doesn't allow efficient damping as I am sure you are well aware. All the slightly leaking strings combine to create a wash of sound. Sometimes the action , or just the damper assembly, is not pushed up far enough to the strings. Just how bad is it? Can you post an example?


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#2050668 - 03/19/13 07:11 AM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: Chris Leslie]  
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Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
Just how bad is it? Can you post an example?
I just happen to have posted this at the ABF: https://www.box.com/s/bkltozppwlqbun4hmnfw I've had a PM which explains the middle of the strings still vibrate even though I've stopped the top of the string with my finger.

#2050730 - 03/19/13 10:07 AM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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Sounds like a birdcage piano. These pianos were designed to have the non fully damped "old Timey", sound. You will not get modern piano style damping on these pianos. One must either like the sound or move on to a different piano.

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#2050734 - 03/19/13 10:19 AM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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Could it be that it is the sympathetic vibration of the 'birdcage' damper wires themselves? Just a thought.


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#2050737 - 03/19/13 10:34 AM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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The physics of vibrations on struck strings are such that-the ideal place to damp a struck string is the same place it was struck. Over-dampers are far from the striking point-and all vertical pianos except ones made with the dampers on the opposite side of the strings from the hammers have less effective damping.

An overdamper piano does sound a little like it is in a large acoustic space and they may have used that as a selling point. Pointing out that "this piano has concert hall resonance".


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#2050767 - 03/19/13 11:28 AM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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Actually the dampers are quite close to the striking point:
[Linked Image]

And as it turns out it doesn't matter where I dampen, the effect is still there. Here's a recording: https://www.box.com/s/yoqibyh22kim7itf1dew You can hear me put my thumb on after about a second. Maybe all pianos do this?

edit: I see, my under damper piano does it too, but to a much lesser extent. Conclusion? It must be the sound board and a particular Pleyel thing?

Last edited by chopin_r_us; 03/19/13 11:37 AM.
#2050780 - 03/19/13 11:47 AM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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The dampers are too close to the top termination point. That does not damp the lower harmonics as well.

In addition, the piano is old. Whatever provides the force pressing the dampers against the strings is not as strong as it used to be. The dampers have undoubtedly been moved from side to side many times, so the grooves that have developed in them have not always lined up with the strings in the same way, resulting in uneven pressure on each of the strings in a unison. The ones with less pressure leak. This happens with underdampers when the action has been removed from the piano too many times, particularly with old felt that has lost its resilience.

You are never going to get new piano performance from an old, poorly designed piano.


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#2050782 - 03/19/13 11:53 AM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: BDB]  
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Originally Posted by BDB

You are never going to get new piano performance from an old, poorly designed piano.
Now that is fighting talk! This is a Pleyel Pianino - something Chopin always had by his side! I'm not looking for new piano performance (for that I play my Geyer or Schiedmayer), I'm looking to get to it's original sound. Should I replace the dampers? Is there a 're-newing' process?

#2050791 - 03/19/13 12:10 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
.....

This is a Pleyel Pianino - something Chopin always had by his side!

.....

Maybe it belongs back at Chopin's side. laugh laugh laugh


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#2050807 - 03/19/13 12:34 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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Here's the snippet with a good mike and as a wav: https://www.box.com/s/6c4omxleqkshm7sq2v8q

#2050813 - 03/19/13 12:51 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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In the picture, the dampers look a little uneven in height. Also there appears to be several mm of gap between the dampers and the hammers. Some appear to contact the strings above the termination points which would be useless. There could be more room for new and larger dampers which, when correctly adjusted, could improve damping efficiency. Also, harder than normal damper felt seems to work better in these circumstances.


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#2050857 - 03/19/13 01:52 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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You could replace them with softer less compacted felt and it looks like there even might be room to extend them slightly longer out towards the hammer. As others have mentioned, this leakage is quite common for this type of piano, especially with the dampers so close to the termination point, you might make it a bit better or similar to "new' condition with replacement and possibly some better positioning/fitting to the strings.


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#2050874 - 03/19/13 02:19 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us

And as it turns out it doesn't matter where I dampen, the effect is still there. Here's a recording: https://www.box.com/s/yoqibyh22kim7itf1dew You can hear me put my thumb on after about a second. Maybe all pianos do this?

edit: I see, my under damper piano does it too, but to a much lesser extent. Conclusion? It must be the sound board and a particular Pleyel thing?


If you stop the strings with your thumb near the strike point, the sound should cease. The reason it isn't, is probably sympathetic vibration from all the other strings that aren't being damped properly. In this sample, are the dampers engaged, or have you taken the action away to pluck the string? If you perform the same experiment, and after you damp the string you pluck with your thumb, damp the notes on all the octaves below it, does that make a difference? It might not just be the octaves - try the set of octaves a fifth below, or a fifth above etc.

(you shouldn't really be touching the strings with your thumb - moisture and grease from your skin can corrode the strings, increasing the problems you have with false beats)

Whatever you find, you've got your work cut out to make those dampers work more effectively. The only real way to do it would be to replace the damper felt, and even then you will be a long way from finished as they will all need to be bent manually to engage the strings as close to the strike point as possible without interfering with the hammers. It is a tedious and frustrating task!

I have seen many overdampers that do not bleed below the treble break, but some damper bleed is inevitable from the top section of the dampers.

Last edited by Phil D; 03/19/13 02:20 PM.
#2050876 - 03/19/13 02:23 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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It definitely isn't the strings. It's the sound board somehow.

#2050895 - 03/19/13 02:56 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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It can't be the soundboard on its own - it doesn't have the resonances that would sustain a note for that long. The soundboard is designed to project sound energy, not hold it.

There are definitely strings still vibrating even after you damped those that you plucked in the sample you gave.

#2050905 - 03/19/13 03:04 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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I think Phil probably hit it with sympathetic vibration. You are correct, the sound is coming from the sound board, but the energy to excite the soundboard comes from the strings through the bridge. When you hit one string, all the strings want to vibrate sympathetically. You can hear this in any piano when you listen to the difference between holding a long sustain on a single note, and striking a single note with the pedal raising all the dampers. You get a fuller more resonant sound in the later case because all the strings are free to vibrate and all kinds of different harmonics on different strings get excited.

So in this case you know that your dampers are leaky, presumably not just on the string you are striking but on all the other strings as well. So even if the dampers are engaged on the other strings, and even if you stop the vibration of the struck string manually all the other strings will continue to vibrate through their leaky dampers resulting in the carry over.

Rob

#2050925 - 03/19/13 03:23 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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You would assume that, but I pluck a note, damp it, run my hand over the entire 'harp' and it's still there!

#2050936 - 03/19/13 03:37 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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That tells me you have the action out when you are plucking the string. The resonance of the piano will be very high in this situation - stopping the sound with your hand won't work unless you can mute all the strings at once!

Or am I wrong here - is the action in place with the dampers doing their job to the best of their ability in that sound sample?

#2050943 - 03/19/13 03:55 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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You're right, I have the action pulled back. Surely after I've stopped all the strings they can't re-start?

#2050956 - 03/19/13 04:09 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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It's not so much that they are restarting, it is that you aren't taking enough energy out of the system at any one time to make a noticeable difference.

Your diagnostics aren't telling you anything. You have the answer to why your piano doesn't damp properly - the dampers are leaking, because they are old and inefficient.

A small question with the action back in the piano - at what point do the dampers lift during the key stroke? Immediately, in the middle, or towards the end? If they are lifting immediately then the dampers might not actually be seating properly. There is usually a threaded portion of the birdcage wires at the top that can be screwed in (with a wooden nut that will need to be unscrewed first) to allow the dampers to fully seat, and to lift at their appropriate time (half way through the stroke)

But that is a long shot here. The dampers are old, and almost certainly the felt needs to be replaced. Your problem is not with the soundboard, or with the strings (except they are really out of tune! wink )

Last edited by Phil D; 03/19/13 04:09 PM.
#2050978 - 03/19/13 04:45 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: Phil D]  
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Originally Posted by Phil D
There is usually a threaded portion of the birdcage wires at the top that can be screwed in (with a wooden nut that will need to be unscrewed first) to allow the dampers to fully seat, and to lift at their appropriate time (half way through the stroke)
I've been adjusting those. What they do is apply a downward pressure to increase damping.

#2051050 - 03/19/13 08:24 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Originally Posted by Phil D
There is usually a threaded portion of the birdcage wires at the top that can be screwed in (with a wooden nut that will need to be unscrewed first) to allow the dampers to fully seat, and to lift at their appropriate time (half way through the stroke)
I've been adjusting those. What they do is apply a downward pressure to increase damping.


I'm not sure you know what you are doing if you think this my friend. The object of adjustment on these is to ensure that there is enough free movement before the dampers start to lift. If you have been taking the free play out by adjusting these wires then I imagine the damping will be horendous.


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#2051074 - 03/19/13 09:57 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Originally Posted by Phil D
There is usually a threaded portion of the birdcage wires at the top that can be screwed in (with a wooden nut that will need to be unscrewed first) to allow the dampers to fully seat, and to lift at their appropriate time (half way through the stroke)
I've been adjusting those. What they do is apply a downward pressure to increase damping.


You need to examine your attitude, and question why you are posting in this forum. If you want to ask questions of people who understand how these instruments work, and get help with improving your instrument, then continue. If you want to come here and tell us your own ideas about what is happening, then by all means continue as well, but only if you are prepared to listen to what we have to say.

I'm talking about the wire that transmits the upward movement of the whippen to the damper. It is lifted as you lift the key. Are you looking at the same thing? Read what I said before. It should lift the damper after the key has moved, about halfway through the stroke.

Last edited by Phil D; 03/19/13 10:01 PM.
#2051112 - 03/19/13 11:59 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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Pleyel was indeed a favourite of Chopin. They made grand pianos as well as uprights like yours.

Next time you have it tuned see if you can find someone with some affinity for your piano. Most tuners in the UK are familiar with overdampers and many will work on them. They may be able to get slightly better damping but it will never be much better than it already is, even with new felt. Under dampers never shut off the sound efficiently, they never did, even when new. In the meantime, don't mess with it. You will only make the job harder.

Even though your Pleyel upright is nothing like Chopins Pleyel grand, it has the special old Pleyel sound that we don't hear much any more. If it is sufficient for your needs, learn to love it the way it is.

What you are hearing from your other piano has been called 'soundboard reflection'. All uprights do it, all of them. It is their nature as has already been explained to you. overdampers exhibit this characteristic more than underdampers for the additional reasons that have also been adequately explained to you.


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#2051161 - 03/20/13 03:15 AM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: MU51C JP]  
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Originally Posted by Johnkie
I'm not sure you know what you are doing if you think this my friend. The object of adjustment on these is to ensure that there is enough free movement before the dampers start to lift. If you have been taking the free play out by adjusting these wires then I imagine the damping will be horendous.
Below are the top of the wires with the adjustment buttons and one with just the wire showing:

[Linked Image]

The horizontal part of the wire pushes up (through action of the whippen) - that pulls the damper away. The action of the whippen returning then pulls the wire down. That's when the button adjustment regulates how much pressure the whippen applies to the damper which applies against the strings. The butttons have no role in adjusting the lift of the dampers.

#2051162 - 03/20/13 03:23 AM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: rXd]  
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Originally Posted by rxd
Pleyel was indeed a favourite of Chopin. They made grand pianos as well as uprights like yours.

Next time you have it tuned see if you can find someone with some affinity for your piano.
I've had it looked at, not tuned, by someone who works on Chopin's pianos at Hatchlands - to no avail. No one is that interested in old uprights. If you know of a specialist in Pleyel uprights I'd be very interested. Saying that, I own six pianos - I can't afford to get them all professionally looked at.

Chopin composed many of his Preludes on this type of piano. He also played on one when giving lessons (the students played on the grand)

Quote
What you are hearing from your other piano has been called 'soundboard reflection'. All uprights do it, all of them.
Thanks. Yes, I think that's the answer. It would still happen even if all strings were 100% damped?

#2051172 - 03/20/13 04:10 AM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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Many worn birdcage actions damp a little better when better secured and pushed toward the strings a few mm. It fight tge natural wear and deformation of the felt.

Those felts are yet sold but their change is not easy.

Damper timing is regulated on the whippen side in the pianos I worked on. The top zection is for the sustain pedal.

Some birdcages have a real unacorda.

I dont remind if the metal wire is just a transmission or if it add weight to dampers. Johnkie is probably right as the touch would be strange with dampers linked to the wire, and leads are used in the dampers

Last edited by Olek; 03/20/13 03:53 PM.

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#2051174 - 03/20/13 04:14 AM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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Just looking at the pic we know something wrong, too much space before up stop of the dampers. They may jump too high.
More weight does not do much for damping on such pianos, felt quality, centers, lining, is the max you can do.

Last edited by Olek; 03/20/13 03:54 PM.

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#2051401 - 03/20/13 02:17 PM Re: Resonance, a little too weird for me [Re: Olek]  
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Originally Posted by Olek
Just looking at the pic we know something wrong, too much space before stop of thue dampers. They may jump too high.
More weight does not do much for damping on such pianos, felt quality, centers, lining, is the max you can do.
Do you mean:
[Linked Image]

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