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#2082224 - 05/14/13 12:51 AM Steinway hammer position  
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Reno Offline
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I recently purchased a rebuilt 1933 Steinway A3. Per the rebuilder recommendation, the piano was only refinished and re-strung.The action was rebuilt around 30 years ago, and the hammers didn't show signs of excessive wear, thus no work was done on the action. The piano was delivered last week. I asked our local Steinway dealer to send their tech to tune the piano and do some voicing and regulations. The technician who also happens to be a concert tech, told me that the position of the hammers are wrong. He had a measure from Steinway that showed where the hammers are supposed to be and the hammers needed to be lifted up to that specific position. He mentioned for changing the position of each hammer, he needs to adjust around 28 different things. He gave me a quote for regulation which is quite expensive.
I would like to hear the experts opinion about this. should I pay the high price tag to get this fixed.

I also have a second question, does my piano have the Accelerated Action?
thanks

Last edited by onlysteinway; 05/14/13 01:04 AM.
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#2082256 - 05/14/13 01:42 AM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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It may be that your piano needs regulating. It is impossible to tell how badly it is out of regulation without seeing it. What the technician told you sounds excessively dire, as regulation is routine maintenance. Also, Steinway specifies the distance the hammer is from the string by the amount of aftertouch, not by a specific measurement. You should get other bids for the work.

I believe that your piano is too early for the Accelerated Action. Chances are you will not notice a difference. No other manufacturer uses it, and yet somehow they survive.


Semipro Tech
#2082258 - 05/14/13 01:58 AM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: BDB]  
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Originally Posted by BDB
It may be that your piano needs regulating. It is impossible to tell how badly it is out of regulation without seeing it. What the technician told you sounds excessively dire, as regulation is routine maintenance. Also, Steinway specifies the distance the hammer is from the string by the amount of aftertouch, not by a specific measurement. You should get other bids for the work.

I believe that your piano is too early for the Accelerated Action. Chances are you will not notice a difference. No other manufacturer uses it, and yet somehow they survive.


Thanks for your quick response. The Accelerated Action patent was granted on October 13th, 1931. How quickly Steinway implemented these patents in the manufacturing?

#2082260 - 05/14/13 02:07 AM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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Originally Posted by onlysteinway
Originally Posted by BDB
It may be that your piano needs regulating. It is impossible to tell how badly it is out of regulation without seeing it. What the technician told you sounds excessively dire, as regulation is routine maintenance. Also, Steinway specifies the distance the hammer is from the string by the amount of aftertouch, not by a specific measurement. You should get other bids for the work.

I believe that your piano is too early for the Accelerated Action. Chances are you will not notice a difference. No other manufacturer uses it, and yet somehow they survive.


Thanks for your quick response. The Accelerated Action patent was granted on October 13th, 1931. How quickly Steinway implemented these patents in the manufacturing?


I concur with BDB. It honestly does not matter whether your piano has it or not.

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#2082298 - 05/14/13 06:20 AM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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Olek Offline
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Originally Posted by onlysteinway
I recently purchased a rebuilt 1933 Steinway A3. Per the rebuilder recommendation, the piano was only refinished and re-strung.The action was rebuilt around 30 years ago, and the hammers didn't show signs of excessive wear, thus no work was done on the action. The piano was delivered last week. I asked our local Steinway dealer to send their tech to tune the piano and do some voicing and regulations. The technician who also happens to be a concert tech, told me that the position of the hammers are wrong. He had a measure from Steinway that showed where the hammers are supposed to be and the hammers needed to be lifted up to that specific position. He mentioned for changing the position of each hammer, he needs to adjust around 28 different things. He gave me a quote for regulation which is quite expensive.
I would like to hear the experts opinion about this. should I pay the high price tag to get this fixed.

I also have a second question, does my piano have the Accelerated Action?
thanks


Making a complete regulation on an old instrument can take a few days, but what may really cause trouble is if the hammers are not well centered under the choir.
If not a rough regulation job is done relatively fast.
If the damper rise is not correct (perfectly even with the pedal, ) this may add also some work.

With new strings , the damper felt should be new, but seem to me that on the NY models the felts at the back of the key wear fast, then it is good to change theme (and not use the cheap grade felt I often see there, as it will wear fast)

Hammer stroke distance could be different from the book and perfect for the action, I am not sure of the argument.
Then under "action rebuild" I have seen so many things done, some really wrong for a good touch


Last edited by Olek; 05/14/13 07:16 AM.

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#2082303 - 05/14/13 06:42 AM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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You should break your 'onlysteinway' namesake and get an independent tech to look at it. Steinway-dealer-affiliated techs have to uphold the Steinway mystique, and so will inflate the importance and complexity of maintenence tasks and overcharge. IMHO, of course wink

#2082313 - 05/14/13 07:17 AM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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May be charge more but they are the only ones who know how to regulate Steinways, here anyway.



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I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#2082316 - 05/14/13 07:29 AM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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The old Steinway regulation manual covers both uprights and grands. Not sure if it is still in print.


Bob W.
Piano Technician (Retired since 2006)
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com
#2082318 - 05/14/13 07:34 AM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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Greetings,
If that action was "rebuilt" 30 years ago and nothing done to it since, it is totally out of regulation. No other way. An action will settle out of regulation without any play if left alone for that amount of time.(felt and leather pack down, friction changes).
As far as the hammer being out of place, the STeinway specs don't really fit all their pianos. The plate heights are too inconsistent for hard and fast figures to give the best performance. The blow distance must allow suitable aftertouch with a range of key dip that can vary from .380" to .430". It takes a tech that understands the relationships between blow, dip, and customer to get these pianos at their optimum. Go play one that the tech has recently regulated. If they haven't regulated a piano in the last month, find someone else.
regards,

#2082368 - 05/14/13 09:47 AM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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What is it about the way the piano plays and sounds that the proposed work is supposed to remedy? That is the question for you and your tech. If you don't notice any problems and you have adequate experience playing well prepared and maintained pianos, then what result are you paying for?


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#2082402 - 05/14/13 10:33 AM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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Interesting to note this contradiction in the original posting.

First the rebuilder; no mention if the rebuilder is connected to Steinway.

Originally Posted by onlysteinway
Per the rebuilder recommendation, the piano was only refinished and re-strung.The action was rebuilt around 30 years ago, and the hammers didn't show signs of excessive wear, thus no work was done on the action.


Then a Steinway dealer tech gets involved;

Originally Posted by onlysteinway

I asked our local Steinway dealer to send their tech to tune the piano and do some voicing and regulations. The technician who also happens to be a concert tech, told me that the position of the hammers are wrong. He had a measure from Steinway that showed where the hammers are supposed to be and the hammers needed to be lifted up to that specific position. He mentioned for changing the position of each hammer, he needs to adjust around 28 different things. He gave me a quote for regulation which is quite expensive.
I would like to hear the expert’s opinion about this. Should I pay the high price tag to get this fixed?


For me I would search out a third opinion of someone who has no connection to the previous two.


Dan Silverwood
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
#2082404 - 05/14/13 10:38 AM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: bkw58]  
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Originally Posted by bkw58
The old Steinway regulation manual covers both uprights and grands. Not sure if it is still in print.


Manuals are not enough, even if there is a good one provided by S&S NY.

On Hamburg instruments, knowing the real tips can make an instrument rise from "passable" to very good. Also the Steinway touch and Steinway tone goes together.
I am sorry to say so but real experience with the adapted prep method is really makung a difference in the end.

Then indeed some tech will do more, some less, charge more, charge less. Could be negociated, but each time I see a Steinway precedently repaired , I have 2 -4 days work, often doing things that where incorrectly done.

Many techs do not even position and travel the hamners correctly, as on new hammers,mating or position mistakes are not noticed, this is left aside "for later" , eventually. And then hammer wear is uneven, no UC voicing is possible, as regulating a car when suspension is uneven...


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#2082432 - 05/14/13 11:22 AM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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The piano was rebuilt in California and shipped to Canada. How important it is that the tech is familiar with older Steinways? can I ask a good tech with less experience on Steinways to regulate my piano? with what the Steinway tech is asking, I can buy a used Yamaha vertical.

#2082439 - 05/14/13 11:50 AM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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I have Steinway manuals from about 1950, 1970, and the current one. The regulation specs have not changed.

You can certainly ask for other estimates. There is nothing specific to Steinways that a good tech should not be familiar with, even without having a lot of experience with them. However, Steinway grands are relatively common, so most techs are familiar with them already.


Semipro Tech
#2082448 - 05/14/13 12:15 PM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: BDB]  
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Originally Posted by BDB
There is nothing specific to Steinways that a good tech should not be familiar with, even without having a lot of experience with them. However, Steinway grands are relatively common, so most techs are familiar with them already.

This is worth repeating!


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2082451 - 05/14/13 12:20 PM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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Originally Posted by onlysteinway
The piano was rebuilt in California and shipped to Canada. How important it is that the tech is familiar with older Steinways? can I ask a good tech with less experience on Steinways to regulate my piano? with what the Steinway tech is asking, I can buy a used Yamaha vertical.


In my experience, no, I have seen Steinways rebuilb by Boesendorfer specialist, or by old French puanos specialists, ... No.
The same apply in the other direction : I have seen a Boesendorfer partially rebuild at Hamburg ... No. That said, goid tech mean Steinway soecialist, most often, so your question is answered.


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#2082457 - 05/14/13 12:26 PM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted by BDB
There is nothing specific to Steinways that a good tech should not be familiar with, even without having a lot of experience with them. However, Steinway grands are relatively common, so most techs are familiar with them already.

This is worth repeating!


Please gimme some help. A good tech will alwaus know vhow to do a basic job without hurting something, but so many details in those strange beasts , I would not give a first grade instrument in the hands of some...

Yet for the tone, if you do not know it you cannot get it. But may ne NY instruments are more basic.


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#2082462 - 05/14/13 12:37 PM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Olek]  
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Originally Posted by Olek
Originally Posted by bkw58
The old Steinway regulation manual covers both uprights and grands. Not sure if it is still in print.


Manuals are not enough, even if there is a good one provided by S&S NY.

On Hamburg instruments, knowing the real tips can make an instrument rise from "passable" to very good...


True thumb. While helpful to have, manuals only cover the requisite basics. A good tech can help an instrument achieve greatness. As one concert pianist was reported to have said: "the difference between a Steinway and a good Steinway."


Bob W.
Piano Technician (Retired since 2006)
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com
#2082464 - 05/14/13 12:43 PM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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Steinways are not certainly common in my city. Yamahas are.

Now I am confused, some of you are saying that I need a tech with lots of experience with Steinways, some are saying Steinways are not different from other pianos. What should I do?

#2082466 - 05/14/13 12:49 PM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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Originally Posted by onlysteinway
Steinways are not certainly common in my city. Yamahas are.

Now I am confused, some of you are saying that I need a tech with lots of experience with Steinways, some are saying Steinways are not different from other pianos. What should I do?


You need a tech with significant experience doing high-level work. If they've never seen a S&S before, they may take a little longer to achieve optimum performance but they needn't have the majority of their experience on S&S.

Here's a newsflash:
The laws of physics are not owned by any particular manufacturer, brand or marque. Even regardless of implicit claims to the contrary.


Keith Akins, RPT
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USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#2082470 - 05/14/13 12:55 PM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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What should you do? Call up techs and get their opinion!

There is a little difference in Steinways, mostly to do with voicing, which may or may not be relevant in the case of your piano. Definitely not if your piano does not have Steinway hammers. Nothing that a good tech could not handle. Even among those who work on Steinways frequently, there are different opinions and styles. But no matter what, you have to start with the basics, and any tech with grand regulating experience can get you that far.


Semipro Tech
#2082472 - 05/14/13 12:57 PM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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my piano has Steinway hammers.

#2082504 - 05/14/13 02:18 PM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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I have been bad-mouthed and shafted by more than one Steinway tech. I'm not a big fan of their approach and I don't agree with their "high level at all costs" aproach to selling work. Not everyone needs that kind of precision. In my opinion, selling high level work to someone who would not feel the difference is bordering on fraud. I'm not saying you wouldn't notice a difference, but another tech could recommend a basic or intermediate regulation that may make a huge difference in tone and feel, without the extra cost. Let's face it, when a tech recommends that kind of work and high cost, they are really only doing the work for themselves; you are paying them so they can make the piano feel good for them, not you.

As an aside, I only recommend work when the customer and I agree there is some defficiency in performance. What is it about your piano that makes you feel it needs more work? Not just because the Steinway tech told you it needed work. Basically, a piano needs work, IMHO, when you have trouble playing soft enough, fast enough, loud enough, consistently enough, etc. If you are not having fun with your piano, this is a great starting point for you and your tech to begin a great relationship.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
#2082512 - 05/14/13 02:38 PM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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Originally Posted by onlysteinway
Steinways are not certainly common in my city. Yamahas are.

Now I am confused, some of you are saying that I need a tech with lots of experience with Steinways, some are saying Steinways are not different from other pianos. What should I do?

Are you having problems playing the instrument, or do you just want to tweak it?

#2082623 - 05/14/13 05:49 PM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Mark Cerisano]  
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Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
I have been bad-mouthed and shafted by more than one Steinway tech. I'm not a big fan of their approach and I don't agree with their "high level at all costs" aproach to selling work. Not everyone needs that kind of precision. In my opinion, selling high level work to someone who would not feel the difference is bordering on fraud. I'm not saying you wouldn't notice a difference, but another tech could recommend a basic or intermediate regulation that may make a huge difference in tone and feel, without the extra cost. Let's face it, when a tech recommends that kind of work and high cost, they are really only doing the work for themselves; you are paying them so they can make the piano feel good for them, not you.

As an aside, I only recommend work when the customer and I agree there is some defficiency in performance. What is it about your piano that makes you feel it needs more work? Not just because the Steinway tech told you it needed work. Basically, a piano needs work, IMHO, when you have trouble playing soft enough, fast enough, loud enough, consistently enough, etc. If you are not having fun with your piano, this is a great starting point for you and your tech to begin a great relationship.


Your ethics are highly commendable, Mark. There is a wild card in the deck that we sometimes forget, and which has caused me to lose a client or two. Example: We regulate the action in accordance with client needs, which we predetermine to be just basic, and price it accordingly. But we're not told of an esteemed friend of the family who is an accomplished pianist - who occasionally is invited over to play the instrument - and does know the difference, and who makes a disparaging remark about the touch just days after the regulation. But this problem may be avoided by simply asking the client the right questions at the outset.


Bob W.
Piano Technician (Retired since 2006)
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com
#2082687 - 05/14/13 08:36 PM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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I am not a serious player . I am going to practice a lot since I have this lovely piano now. I want my piano to be brought back up to its full potential. The piano requires voicing, as I can tell from the tone. Honestly, the touch is way better than my previous piano which was a vertical. However, according to the Steinway tech the action need lots of work.

I need to get another estimate but the issue is I only want to leave my piano in the hand a qualified technician. It is very difficult for me as someone who is not in the piano industry to find a technician who has the set of skills to work on my piano.

Last edited by onlysteinway; 05/14/13 08:37 PM.
#2082695 - 05/14/13 08:42 PM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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It really is not. Someone who works on Yamahas could as easily work on Steinways. Just ask around for someone with experience.


Semipro Tech
#2082759 - 05/14/13 09:27 PM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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Contact any schools of music in or near your area or large churches that have active acoustic music programs to see who they use for piano work. Talk to those techs.

Before hiring a tech make sure it is clear what the work is supposed to accomplish in the way of feel, sound and durability.

Would you mind describing what about the sound you want remedied in the tone? Then maybe we can direct you about service techniques that might apply.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
#2082772 - 05/14/13 09:34 PM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]  
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Contact any schools of music in or near your area or large churches that have active acoustic music programs to see who they use for piano work. Talk to those techs.

Before hiring a tech make sure it is clear what the work is supposed to accomplish in the way of feel, sound and durability.

Would you mind describing what about the sound you want remedied in the tone? Then maybe we can direct you about service techniques that might apply.


the tone in the tenor area is more bright than the rest of the piano.

#2082846 - 05/15/13 12:12 AM Re: Steinway hammer position [Re: Reno]  
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Is the treble tone full, warm and capable of producing a wide dynamic range? Because if it is weak the tenor will sound especially loud in comparison.


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According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
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