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Hammer Voicing Cost #2585402
11/08/16 04:59 AM
11/08/16 04:59 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 65
California
C
Christopher Meraz Offline OP
Full Member
Christopher Meraz  Offline OP
Full Member
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Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 65
California
Hi everyone,

I have a 37-year old Yamaha G5 that is in pretty amazing condition, given it's age. However, the tone of the piano is a bit harsh and tinny when I play loudly.

I had one tech tell me "I need to take it to the shop, change the balance rail key pin felts, sand and iron the hammers, regulate the action, then come back to tune it and needle the hammers. That'll be $1200 please."

I can't pay for all of that, and I think it only needs some needling. Most of the hammers have small grooves, less than 5mm long and less than half the diameter of a string in depth. Some hammers are harder than the rest and have no grooves. A professional pianist friend came over, and he said he had no complaints about the playability of the instrument, so I don't think a regulation is necessary (though I am sure it would be helpful if I could afford it).

What do you think this piano really needs? Just a needling of the hammers, I'd guess. I know it's hard to know without seeing the piano in person, I just want some advice on whether I need to pay this guy for all this, or whether I can start with just needling (for example) and see how it improves. He insists I need to do everything all at once, but his tuning wasn't even that great, so I'm a bit skeptical of his skill...

Also, does regulation usually come before or after hammer shaping/needling?

Thanks!

Last edited by Christopher Meraz; 11/08/16 08:24 AM.

Yamaha G5, 37 years old (piano and I both!)
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Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: Christopher Meraz] #2585426
11/08/16 08:56 AM
11/08/16 08:56 AM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,012
Chicagoland
RonTuner Online content
2000 Post Club Member
RonTuner  Online Content
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Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,012
Chicagoland
There are a couple of answers here...

Because a big part of voicing is consistency of tone, it follows that to properly accomplish that goal, it is best to have consistent energy travel from your fingers to the hammers first - so the regulation of each key is adjusted to achieve that consistency.

Then, to adjust the tone/power of each hammer, it is best to start them all from about the same potential, so shaping prior to voicing provides the foundation for a long-term voicing.

That being said, there is a lot that can be accomplished to help the tone of an instrument without regulating and shaping first. It really comes down to what the tech is comfortable doing, based on the budget available...

Many techs may not take a voicing job without doing all the prep work first - they feel the results may not be up to their level of work.

Ron Koval

Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: Christopher Meraz] #2585448
11/08/16 10:35 AM
11/08/16 10:35 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 65
California
C
Christopher Meraz Offline OP
Full Member
Christopher Meraz  Offline OP
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Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 65
California
Thanks Ron. I'll get an opinion from a more experienced tech and see what happens.


Yamaha G5, 37 years old (piano and I both!)
Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: Christopher Meraz] #2585451
11/08/16 10:52 AM
11/08/16 10:52 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,805
Tennessee
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Ed Foote Offline
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Ed Foote  Offline
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Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,805
Tennessee
Greetings,
There is voicing and then there is voicing. A 37 year old car, piano, or sewing machine will need need work to make it operate as it was intended. This old of a piano would need not only a regulation but also hammerflange pinning and ALL the key bushing replaced if it needed any. Your tech may be thinking of turning the front pins and replacing the balance rail pins. This does not impress me.

This vintage Yamaha will probably have hard compressed hammers, and I have found that voicing them requires a preliminary needling of the shoulders first, them some time to play and allow the hammers to stabilize the newly introduced elasticity. Then, the needles can do their work closer to the strike point to even the voicing out.

Lastly, $1,200 for a keybushing, regulating, shaping, voicing and tuning, is not enough for a performance level job. Get another opinion!
Regards,

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Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: Christopher Meraz] #2585474
11/08/16 12:39 PM
11/08/16 12:39 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,850
Southwestern Ontario
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prout Offline
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prout  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,850
Southwestern Ontario
As a professional pianist and NOT a technician, I can tell you that, if you want to truly enjoy playing your instrument, improve your technique, and, most importantly, not damage your body, spending several thousand dollars to do essential maintenance on the instrument is cheap and worthwhile, assuming the core is still robust.

A few minutes of playing on your piano by a professional pianist who has to play and immediately adapt to various instruments in various states of repair does not produce a valid opinion.

Trust a good technician.

edit: punctuation

Last edited by prout; 11/08/16 12:40 PM.
Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: Christopher Meraz] #2585921
11/10/16 07:50 AM
11/10/16 07:50 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,519
Scotland
D
David Boyce Offline
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David Boyce  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,519
Scotland
edit punctuation? There's nothing wrong with your punctuation!

Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: David Boyce] #2585928
11/10/16 09:50 AM
11/10/16 09:50 AM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 310
Austin, Texas USA
B
Blues beater Offline
Full Member
Blues beater  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 310
Austin, Texas USA
Originally Posted by David Boyce
edit punctuation? There's nothing wrong with your punctuation!


I think that means he already fixed it.


Don, playing the blues in Austin, Texas on a 48" family heirloom Steinway upright, 100 year old 54" Weber upright, unknown make turn of the century 54" upright -- says "Whittier NY" on the plate, Starr, ca. 100 years old full size upright.
Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: Christopher Meraz] #2585933
11/10/16 10:13 AM
11/10/16 10:13 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,519
Scotland
D
David Boyce Offline
Gold Subscriber
David Boyce  Offline
Gold Subscriber
D

Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,519
Scotland
Kewl....

Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: Christopher Meraz] #2585934
11/10/16 10:20 AM
11/10/16 10:20 AM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,850
Southwestern Ontario
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prout Offline
3000 Post Club Member
prout  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
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Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,850
Southwestern Ontario
I wish I got as many responses to my posts as to my edits. laugh

Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: Christopher Meraz] #2585945
11/10/16 11:02 AM
11/10/16 11:02 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
M
Mark Cerisano Offline
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Mark Cerisano  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I think what the OP wants is a small improvement in tone. Considering the current tone level at 50% let's say, a high level job would involve all mentioned and should cost much more than $1200 and may improve the tone to 90% let's say.

The most basic needling (and hammer mating) may cost $200 and could improve the tone from 50% to 80% in my opinion. I've done this job many times and the improvement is clearly audible.

We must remember that some techs are very proud of their work and will do no less than the best, refusing to do anything less than the full work needed to make the piano perform at its highest potential. It's a winning business strategy and serves to create a very high reputation for the tech.



Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: prout] #2586017
11/10/16 03:40 PM
11/10/16 03:40 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,546
Canberra, ACT, Australia
C
Chris Leslie Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Chris Leslie  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,546
Canberra, ACT, Australia
Originally Posted by prout
I wish I got as many responses to my posts as to my edits. laugh


You might get more responses to your response about your edit response crazy


Chris Leslie ARPT
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au
Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: Chris Leslie] #2586022
11/10/16 04:04 PM
11/10/16 04:04 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,850
Southwestern Ontario
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prout Offline
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prout  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,850
Southwestern Ontario
Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
Originally Posted by prout
I wish I got as many responses to my posts as to my edits. laugh


You might get more responses to your response about your edit response crazy


That would definitely be a downward spiralling regression.

Edit: spelling cry

Last edited by prout; 11/10/16 04:04 PM.
Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: prout] #2586108
11/10/16 09:08 PM
11/10/16 09:08 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
M
Mark Cerisano Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Mark Cerisano  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
M

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
Originally Posted by prout
I wish I got as many responses to my posts as to my edits. laugh


You might get more responses to your response about your edit response crazy


That would definitely be a downward spiralling regression.

Edit: spelling cry


Prout,
Why do you need to edit your spelling? Seems fine to me.

Last edited by Mark Cerisano, RPT; 11/10/16 09:09 PM.

Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: Christopher Meraz] #2586122
11/10/16 10:00 PM
11/10/16 10:00 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 3,189
Olympia, WA
rysowers Offline
3000 Post Club Member
rysowers  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 3,189
Olympia, WA
I believe there is a shortage of experienced voicers. Many tuners "tune and run". It takes years to develop these skills and it is important to be practicing on a regular basis. I remember many years ago Darrel Fandrich encouraging me to do some voicing on every piano, even if it's just one note.

I regularly encounter pianos like the OP describes. Sure the $1200 job would be great. On the other hand, I have transformed pianos within the scope of what we call the "catch-up service" which takes about 2.5 hours for which we charge $250. There are techniques which can generally tone down the entire piano in fairly short order, such as "angel shot" voicing. http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1831444/Angel%20Shot%20Voicing.html

The challenge is finding the technician who is practiced at these various techniques. For this reason it is important to interview the technician carefully and find out about their experience. Improper voicing can have disastrous results, so take your time and find a technician you can count on.


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2586126
11/10/16 10:14 PM
11/10/16 10:14 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,850
Southwestern Ontario
P
prout Offline
3000 Post Club Member
prout  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
P

Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,850
Southwestern Ontario
Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
Originally Posted by prout
I wish I got as many responses to my posts as to my edits. laugh


You might get more responses to your response about your edit response crazy


That would definitely be a downward spiralling regression.

Edit: spelling cry


Prout,
Why do you need to edit your spelling? Seems fine to me.

edit: crazy

Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: rysowers] #2586128
11/10/16 10:21 PM
11/10/16 10:21 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 4,565
Georgia, USA
terminaldegree Offline
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terminaldegree  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 4,565
Georgia, USA
Originally Posted by rysowers

The challenge is finding the technician who is practiced at these various techniques. For this reason it is important to interview the technician carefully and find out about their experience. Improper voicing can have disastrous results, so take your time and find a technician you can count on.


I agree with your post, but I'll add one point from a pianist's perspective - interviewing is a good idea, but playing the finished product of a piano which has been subject to similar work by a technician/shop is a much more compelling way to know you've found who you want as the end user.


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: Hammer Voicing Cost [Re: Christopher Meraz] #2586274
11/11/16 12:50 PM
11/11/16 12:50 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 3,189
Olympia, WA
rysowers Offline
3000 Post Club Member
rysowers  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 3,189
Olympia, WA
+1 If your clients feel comfortable with that. Referrals from prominent and respected pianists in the area is also a good idea.


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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