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False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height
#2575697 10/02/16 10:54 PM
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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.

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Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height
DanS #2575731 10/03/16 03:50 AM
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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
DanS #2575747 10/03/16 06:10 AM
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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.

Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height
DanS #2575813 10/03/16 11:32 AM
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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
DanS #2575816 10/03/16 11:45 AM
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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
DanS #2575847 10/03/16 01:43 PM
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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
DanS #2577228 10/08/16 10:39 PM
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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.
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Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height
DanS #2577233 10/08/16 11:21 PM
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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
DanS #2577385 10/09/16 03:14 PM
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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
DanS #2577415 10/09/16 05:41 PM
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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
DanS #2577452 10/09/16 08:19 PM
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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
Ed McMorrow, RPT #2577453 10/09/16 08:24 PM
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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
rysowers #2577464 10/09/16 09:28 PM
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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
DanS #2577508 10/10/16 03:57 AM
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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
DanS #2577700 10/10/16 10:20 PM
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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
DanS #2577743 10/11/16 02:54 AM
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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
DanS #2577768 10/11/16 07:38 AM
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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
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Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height
DanS #2577833 10/11/16 12:25 PM
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These are great. Thanks Joe!

Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height
DanS #2577849 10/11/16 01:38 PM
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That bit about taking the bridge pins toward the string looks awfully fishy...


Nathan Monteleone
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My pianos (in various states of rebuild):
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Re: False Beats-V Bar Shape and Pressure Bar height
DanS #2577856 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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