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False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height #2575697
10/02/16 10:54 PM
10/02/16 10:54 PM
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DanS Offline OP
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Hi all,

One of the pianos on which I practice tuning has false beats on almost every string from F3 - F5 (the middle section trichords). I simply can't get any workable tuning on the piano. I don't think it's just my lack of experience; I can get a pretty decent tuning on all the other pianos I practice on (not good enough to record Ravel on, but I've played tons of gigs on worse).

The bridge is in good condition, and the pins aren't loose. The notching isn't great, but it's certainly not bad enough to cause this many false beats. I tried the resting the screwdriver on the pins trick but it made no difference.

The Piano is a 1973 Kimball small console (40"). It was about 130cts low when I got it. Many of the strings are spaced too closely. I think the false beats have gotten worse since I've been trying to learn to tune (or maybe my ears have improved). Also, it has a very metallic buzzing kind of sound.

I'm thinking the pressure bar is too high, or maybe the shape of the V-bar is too round (or maybe I just need to restring it). I've included some pics. I'd love to get some feedback from the community. Thanks in advance.

[Linked Image]

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Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2575731
10/03/16 03:50 AM
10/03/16 03:50 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,650
Canberra, ACT, Australia
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Chris Leslie Offline
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If you have tried the usual tricks, why not change just a few strings and see how that goes.


Chris Leslie
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au
Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2575747
10/03/16 06:10 AM
10/03/16 06:10 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,758
Mexico City
Gadzar Offline
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I have zoomed in the image. Apparently, in the trichords, strings are touching each other.

The first thing I would do is to correctly space strings.


Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx
Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2575813
10/03/16 11:32 AM
10/03/16 11:32 AM
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DanS Offline OP
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Good thinking Chris, I think I'll change the lowest couple of notes and see if that helps.

Gadzar, thanks for the tip. It's hard to see in the pic, but the strings aren't actually touching, although they are a bit too close.



Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2575816
10/03/16 11:45 AM
10/03/16 11:45 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 3,232
Olympia, WA
rysowers Offline
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Olympia, WA
Tightening the pressure bar sounds like a good idea. The string angle looks a little gentle. More positive pressure on the upper bearing could help. It can also give more control when tuning, because it may make the strings less sensitive to slight tuning pin movements.

Did you put the felt in below the capo bar? Looks like a past attempt to quiet string noise. You will have to lower tension a lot before tightening the capo bar. But, what the heck! You need the tuning practice! .:)


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2575847
10/03/16 01:43 PM
10/03/16 01:43 PM
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DanS Offline OP
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I'll give that a try too, thanks. I didn't put in the felt, it came to me that way. How far should I lower the tension? Is 1/4 turn on each pin enough?

Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2577228
10/08/16 10:39 PM
10/08/16 10:39 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 5,296
Seattle, WA USA
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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All pianos with this mild steel rod string termination produce a "nasal" whine if not an outright buzz. I call it the "Kimball" tone because many Kimbal uprights used this type of string termination. You might try getting some phosphor bronze alloy wire of slightly smaller diameter to replace the mild steel presently there. You might want to shim the smaller diameter rod to sit higher in the groove too. I have never done this but I suspect it would improve tone if you also make sure the bearing angle is sufficient and the string spacing is done well. I suspect some of the "whine" in the sound is longitudinal waves reflected and the softer bronze will reduce the reflection of L-modes somewhat.


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
Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2577233
10/08/16 11:21 PM
10/08/16 11:21 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 3,232
Olympia, WA
rysowers Offline
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Olympia, WA
I'm not sure about the 1/4" turn. That would certainly get the bar lower and would probably help things. I think Ed's advice sounds good and if you are going through the trouble of removing the string tension you might see if there is a way to change the material like he suggests.

Good luck and let us know if you have good results.


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2577385
10/09/16 03:14 PM
10/09/16 03:14 PM
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Oakland
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BDB Offline
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If someone called you to tune this piano, would you listen to it and tell the owner, "I am sorry, but I cannot tune it until I do umpteen dollars worth of work"? If you want to learn to tune pianos, you need to learn to tune the bad ones as well as the good ones. You cannot spend more than the amount of time that you can afford to give away to make it better. Sometimes that means only doing as good a job as you can. Afterwards, you might be able to say that it could be better if you did thus or so. But if you start out that way, the person who tunes it is going to get the job.

If you do offer to do more work, you should be absolutely sure that you can do it, and that it will make a difference to the owner, and not just you as the tuner.


Semipro Tech
Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2577415
10/09/16 05:41 PM
10/09/16 05:41 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 3,232
Olympia, WA
rysowers Offline
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Olympia, WA
He said it was a piano that he practices on, so I assume this not a normal retail client piano. A practice piano is just right one to try new procedures without risking your reputation.


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2577452
10/09/16 08:19 PM
10/09/16 08:19 PM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 935
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DanS Offline OP
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Yes, it is one of my pianos, one that I'm using to learn tuning/tech work.

I tried a bunch of stuff;

First I raised the pressure bar a tiny amount (turned the screws less then a 1/4 turn). I tuned the section and noticed a few new false beats. There was one where I could actually tighten one of the screws a small amount and get the FB to go away. Interesting...

Next I replaced the two lowest trichords (and practiced making coils with the old wire for about 2 hours). I'm not sure if this helped or not. There are still false beats. (I recorded each string before replacing, but I haven't compared them yet).

Next I released the tension from the strings and lowered the pressure bar. The screws didn't want to tighten anymore then they already were. I'm not sure if they were bottoming out (probably not) or just need to turned with a lot more force. Either way, I added a small washer to each screw so I could get the bar lower. I also re-spaced some of the strings. Some were pretty bad (my teacher said they left the factory that way). There was a definite improvement, although there are still a lot of false beats.

Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2577453
10/09/16 08:24 PM
10/09/16 08:24 PM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 935
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DanS Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
All pianos with this mild steel rod string termination produce a "nasal" whine if not an outright buzz. I call it the "Kimball" tone because many Kimbal uprights used this type of string termination. You might try getting some phosphor bronze alloy wire of slightly smaller diameter to replace the mild steel presently there. You might want to shim the smaller diameter rod to sit higher in the groove too. I have never done this but I suspect it would improve tone if you also make sure the bearing angle is sufficient and the string spacing is done well. I suspect some of the "whine" in the sound is longitudinal waves reflected and the softer bronze will reduce the reflection of L-modes somewhat.


I love this idea, but I think I'll wait a bit before attempting it. Two questions. 1, how would I shim the new wire? 2, how would I go about shaping the new wire?

Thanks!

Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: rysowers] #2577464
10/09/16 09:28 PM
10/09/16 09:28 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 27,728
Oakland
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BDB Offline
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Originally Posted by rysowers
He said it was a piano that he practices on, so I assume this not a normal retail client piano. A practice piano is just right one to try new procedures without risking your reputation.


Which makes it exactly the type of piano that he should know how to tune before doing any extensive work on it.

I read that myself. It was not clear whether it was his piano or someone else's, but either way, the first procedure to try is to tune it.


Semipro Tech
Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2577508
10/10/16 03:57 AM
10/10/16 03:57 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,570
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rXd Offline
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In answer to your original questions,
Firstly, the ghost marks on the bearing bar show that the strings of at least the first two trichords have been better spaced at some point in time. Deal with the spacing as best you can first, aiming for as straight a line as possible from the tuning pin into the line of the speaking length. There was a time when I could have told you which notes on what models would be problematic but that was long ago when I worked for a Kimball dealership.
Even on these pianos it is possible to do a halfway decent job, only occasionally resorting to discreet spacers in the non speaking length. (A narrow strip of thickish listing woven between the strings just above the pressure bar gives neat looking spacing in the area you have photographed where it is most needed).
You will have to compromise keeping the hammer spacing looking even and striking as centrally as possible. Damper adjustments may become necessary or moving strings might even cure existing faults.
On to tuning.
Falseness in this region is not uncommon, usually at a similar beat rate to fourths and fifths and causes confusion for the beginner. Experienced tuners might not even notice it.
In these cases you are dependent on RBI's, using them comparatively to verify that your fourths and fifths are tempered on the correct side and are sounding as convincing as you can get them. This is a good excercise in learning the comparative beat rates going outside the temperament octave and using sixths and tenths to verify fifths, etc. etc. if you don't already know them. (Learning them also helps when tuning in noisy environments)..



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.


Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2577700
10/10/16 10:20 PM
10/10/16 10:20 PM
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DanS Offline OP
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Amanda, thanks for the tips. I never would've thought about adding string spacers. Do you think the red felt between the strings is from the factory, or did someone do that after the fact?

BDB, I totally agree. I'm not doing any major work until I can tune it successfully. I did some minor work and it improved the false beats. The midrange still sounds like a ride cymbal with pennies taped on it, but that's the challenge. I have several pianos I practice tuning on, three are mine, and a few others I'm fortunate enough to have unlimited access to. This is by far the most challenging one. It's also the one I spent the first 4 or 5 months learning on. I'm still a long way from doing this professionally, but I'm working hard towards that end.

Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2577743
10/11/16 02:54 AM
10/11/16 02:54 AM
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rXd Offline
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That felt looking blob is not factory. If the strip is made of felt it is not factory. The best material to use for that purpose is woven and needs to be positioned lower down (centrally or a bit lower looks better) and possibly slightly thicker material to be effective.
I would avoid lowering tension to do this.

Don't let strings contact pressure bar screws. This can cause unnecessary extra friction and consequent tuning difficulty.


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.


Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2577768
10/11/16 07:38 AM
10/11/16 07:38 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,755
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daniokeeper Offline
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Here are instructions on how to correctly adjust the pressure bar and other things. These are instructions from a Kimball Troubleshooting Service Manual from the 1980's.

There links should open automatically in your browser if you have pdf viewer configured to do so. If not, you should be give the option of downloading.

http://daniokeeper.tripod.com/webonmediacontents/KTSG_pt9.pdf

http://daniokeeper.tripod.com/webonmediacontents/KTSG_pt9.pdf

Last edited by daniokeeper; 10/11/16 08:04 AM.

Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -Marcus Aurelius
Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2577833
10/11/16 12:25 PM
10/11/16 12:25 PM
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DanS Offline OP
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These are great. Thanks Joe!

Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2577849
10/11/16 01:38 PM
10/11/16 01:38 PM
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Posts: 109
Fort Worth, TX
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Nathan M., RPT Offline
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Fort Worth, TX
That bit about taking the bridge pins toward the string looks awfully fishy...


Nathan Monteleone
Piano Technician / Rebuilder
PTG Registered Piano Technician

My pianos (in various states of rebuild):
- 1900 Mason and Hamlin AA
- 1911 J&C Fischer 6'2" grand
- 1935 Story and Clark vertical
Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height [Re: DanS] #2577856
10/11/16 01:54 PM
10/11/16 01:54 PM
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I thought that if Kimball spent as much care making their pianos as they did trying to correct the mistakes that they made, they would have made better pianos for less money.


Semipro Tech
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