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#2125494 - 07/30/13 07:10 PM Rear Duplex muting........?
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2726
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Greetings....on this piano, a 1930 Weber "FR" Duo-Art Reproducer, the whole rear duplex is muted with felt, as you can see in the video. The bass section is pretty much the same with the thinner felt, but some duplex "noise" can be heard if you pluck or strum the strings in that area. There is no sound to the rear duplex of the rest of the piano with that thick red felt in place. The piano case is 6ft, however the piano itself is 4ft 8inc. It has excellent sustain on all the notes, inc the 5th octave all the way to note 88. Original soundboard!

My question is should I remove it and take a listen...was it something the factory did to suppress this noise one hears? It does not look like it's from 1930, more likely done about 20+ years ago when the treble was re-strung.

I suppose I could remove it fairly easily, getting it back in under the strings would be a bit of a hassle, especially under the wound bass strings. I did try muting the bass rear duplex area, but did not like the sound. I would like to know what it sounds like without it. What would you suggest? Is it worth removing and the hassle to put it back?

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#2125498 - 07/30/13 07:21 PM Re: Rear Duplex muting........? [Re: Grandpianoman]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3489
Originally Posted By: Grandpianoman
Is it worth removing and the hassle to put it back?

No. Trying to weave it in the duplex section underneath the bass strings would be a pain in the rear end.

#2125502 - 07/30/13 07:28 PM Re: Rear Duplex muting........? [Re: Grandpianoman]
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1359
Loc: Québec, Canada
Remove just the top treble first, and then see....
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician


#2125504 - 07/30/13 07:31 PM Re: Rear Duplex muting........? [Re: Grandpianoman]
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1359
Loc: Québec, Canada
In my experience, the tenor rarely has a rear duplex, and is almost always muted with braiding.

It certainly does not look original, but in it's past maybe the owner liked a "drier" sound.

If it's all one piece (going under the struts of the plate) just use scissors to cut it.

I would try it.

All the best.
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician


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#2125602 - 07/30/13 11:02 PM Re: Rear Duplex muting........? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Craig Hair Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/03/11
Posts: 361
Loc: Chesterfield. MA
It would be worthwhile to unweave a section and see if you like it. I suspect though that you will put the braid back. untuned rear "duplexes" of this sort just tend to contribute noise. Rather than gain anything musical, there is just a loss of purity. I have seen them with no muting, but more often they are braided like yours or are fitted with a strip of felt on the bead...usually orange for some reason.

OT As a man with a reproducer,(or two?)you may know someone who would have use for a complete duo-art mechanism. When I collected it, I was thinking I would someday find a Steinway ex-player. The players have come and gone and I am just never going to do anything with this, if I'm to be honest. It needs a home badly. Motor, bib, even the tags from the controll levers.
Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration

#2125607 - 07/30/13 11:09 PM Re: Rear Duplex muting........? [Re: Grandpianoman]
TunerJeff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 534
Loc: Oregon Coast
I see a straight bearing bar here. A tuned duplex would have the bar parallel to the 3 bridgepins for each note (tenor/treble). Think of the appearance of the half-round bearing bars that many instruments use; they want all three segments of that duplex area to tune the same! Removing the felt, on the piano in the video, would not appear to gain a tuned rear segment...just three dissonant jangles of untuned noise.

My take is this is an original stringing/felting pattern, and you would not gain anything by pulling that felt. Noise, maybe....

Most pianos don't use a rear-tuned duplex until the midrange anyway...somewhere above middle-C most common, and I see no attempt to 'tune' that rear area at all. Just that straight (...ok, slightly curved) bar running across the plate.

Leave it!
Says I,
Yr. humble and ob't svt.,
I remain,
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services

#2125742 - 07/31/13 08:27 AM Re: Rear Duplex muting........? [Re: Grandpianoman]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 944
Loc: shirley, MA

It night be useful to know what you are looking to find in the sound that you feel is missing.

It always useful to try stuff just to see what happens...I do it all the time, and it's highly instructive. In this case, if you find anything at all, I think you'd find small amounts of un-musical noise, rather than complexity of sonority.

...But...got a piano question?...ask your piano...it will tell you. Its worth the effort to see "what happens if I"...

Jim Ialeggio

Edited by jim ialeggio (07/31/13 08:28 AM)
Jim Ialeggio
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

#2126009 - 07/31/13 05:19 PM Re: Rear Duplex muting........? [Re: Craig Hair]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2726
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Thanks guys.....i did a little sleuthing on the web for pics of this model piano...found a few, and they both had the same felt for the whole piano, and found one that did not. Craig, Jeff, I also listened to a few notes without the felt....not that much difference in the overall tone, however, the 3 strings of each note did have this "out of tune" noise that area. I think having the whole piano without the felt would not have the best sound. The wound bass notes do sound better without braiding.

I have seen discussions here on PW in regards to a "tuneable" rear duplex...the jury seems to be out whether it contributes positively to the overall sound. My M&H has individual bars that can be moved for each note. It's never been done on my piano as long as I have had it. The rebuilder told me he marked each bar before he removed them, and placed them back in the same position.

Jim, it was just out of curiosity and a desire to improve the sound of this 4ft 8 grand.

#2126028 - 07/31/13 06:07 PM Re: Rear Duplex muting........? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Bojan Babic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/09
Posts: 335
Loc: Vojvodina, Serbia
I have struggled for years to get clear treble tones on one old grand piano, and could not succeed until I inserted a felt stripe between the strings of the duplex in the treble section. It made tones much more clear.
Bojan Babic
piano technician and tuner
Sid, Vojvodina, Serbia


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