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String levelling advice
#2608367 01/25/17 01:48 PM
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I would like to check the string levelling on my upright. Reblitz recommends using a tilter and a level. The tilter I don't have or otherwise need. How best can the levelling be done?

I'm thinking that a straight edge is not the solution as it is not a measure of parallel alignment.

Ian


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Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608368 01/25/17 01:52 PM
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You don't need them to be exactly level on an upright, just mated to the hammers.

On a grand they must be in line or the shift pedal will introduce mating problems.

Bubble type levelness is overrated in my opinion. A very experienced tech showed me how to check string alignment by feel.

Re: String levelling advice
Mark Cerisano #2608380 01/25/17 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT

Bubble type levelness is overrated in my opinion. A very experienced tech showed me how to check string alignment by feel.


Mark,

Please elaborate on how to check string alignment by feel.

Re: String levelling advice
Mark Cerisano #2608394 01/25/17 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
You don't need them to be exactly level on an upright, just mated to the hammers.

On a grand they must be in line or the shift pedal will introduce mating problems.
Bubble type levelness is overrated in my opinion. A very experienced tech showed me how to check string alignment by feel.


I agree with Mark. Experienced techs should have more than enough sensitivity in their fingertips to feel very small differences between three strings. And, since there is little that can be done to change the level, other than bending wire, on an upright, one would do best to mate the hammers to the strings with a file.
Regards,

Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608410 01/25/17 04:28 PM
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Sanding already level strings I accept is a standard mating practice, but surely sanding the hammer to correct a high or low strings might might unnecessarily remove much felt.

Additionally the strings might be at an angle and copying this by sanding the felt seems a short cut fix.

However if that is also a standard practice then I defer to RPT wisdom which I accept is well in advance of my experience.

Ian


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Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608415 01/25/17 04:36 PM
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Just curious, Ian, why you want to do this. Your piano is brand new, isn't it? Shouldn't you play it in for a few months anyway, before doing anything too drastic? Is there something about the tone that you don't like?

Paul.

Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608422 01/25/17 04:50 PM
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Paul,

I have had the piano now 10 months. The tone has changed in some notes of the first octave below the break. Even when I am satisfied with a tuning (mine), I believe that some voicing needs done. I have not mated the hammers but there is evidence that this has been done either at the factory or dealer prep. I would prefer to check string level before I do mating and gentle voicing over some double string notes that to me sound harsh.

Ian


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Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608448 01/25/17 06:41 PM
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Strings do not need to be level; they just need to be straight. Otherwise, you would need to do a whole bunch of work if the floor is not level! It would also change as the soundboard changes.

I am not convinced that after one has "leveled" the strings by pulling or pushing on them, that they do not move afterwards.

The amount of felt removed when mating the strings is minuscule.


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Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608497 01/25/17 10:28 PM
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The term "string leveling" does not mean level with the force of gravity horizon. What is meant is the level of the string plane in reference to the square movement of the hammer on the flange towards the strings is also square with the hammer flange line. Not all pianos are made precise enough to achieve this, and many pianos have crowned string planes at the strike line. But the string plane of the unison group can be put square with the hammer flange by putting slight bends in the wire where it leaves the agraffe or V-bar.

Then the hammer surface can be filed to remove whatever discrepancy remains in the unison string phase at strike. The hammer should strike all three or two strings at the same time. This enable the unison coupling to start quicker which warms up the tone and helps make the piano more tunable.


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Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608508 01/25/17 11:28 PM
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Greetings,
In addition to what Ed M. said above, there are situations in which there is no way to fix things. This occurs when one string of a trichord cannot be brought level with the other two. Usually caused by poor agraffe drilling. For example, if the middle string of a trichord is too high to be bent to match, (even with the other two pulled up), there is no way to file the hammer so that it hits all three evenly on normal position and una corda position. As the hammer is shifted, the hammer will approach from a new position and whatever was mated in the normal will not mate in the shifted one.

I haven't found anything that helps, but once, in a studio, I had to remove the agraffe and replace it with one that was more consistent. Since then, I take a hard look at the agraffes I install, and have often found a small percentage that were visibly uneven. I suppose some abrasive cord, or the proper taurus-shaped bit would address it, but agraffes are cheap enough to obviate the economy of repairing them instead of replacing.
Regards,

Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608509 01/25/17 11:28 PM
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I think others have answered your questions about my post Ian. Let me know if there's something specific that was not addressed.

Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608563 01/26/17 04:10 AM
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I used the word levelling as a term I see mentioned as a procedure for a grand piano. In that case levelling the piano first, then allows a bubble spirit level to be used to check the strings.

I did mention that I have an upright, not that I have a grand, and that Reblitz mentioned tilting the piano so that a similar levelling technique can be used.

However my idea is to use a steel straight edge to bridge across say five notes, then use my digital depth gauge to find low/high strings of the centre note. I have yet to obtain, or make, a string pull/push tool.

To some, I must appear pedantic but that's just the way I am.

Ian


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2016 Blüthner Model A
Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608628 01/26/17 10:30 AM
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That's what's great about this profession. There's room for all styles.

Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608659 01/26/17 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Beemer
I used the word levelling as a term I see mentioned as a procedure for a grand piano. In that case levelling the piano first, then allows a bubble spirit level to be used to check the strings.

I did mention that I have an upright, not that I have a grand, and that Reblitz mentioned tilting the piano so that a similar levelling technique can be used.

However my idea is to use a steel straight edge to bridge across say five notes, then use my digital depth gauge to find low/high strings of the centre note. I have yet to obtain, or make, a string pull/push tool.

To some, I must appear pedantic but that's just the way I am.

Ian

I am curious: does your upright have agraffes?
Likely not.
Isn't the upper capo/pressure bar string termination about equivalent to a straight edge?
Why would an additional straight edge a bit lower give an advantage?
Mark suggested earlier the sense of touch.
Just a finger on the three strings of a trichord should tell you instantly what needs to be done.
And I agree that after bending the wire which is all that can be done, it will try to return to its original shape .
Too much bending and you could either weaken or break the wire or induce an unwanted noise.


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Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608747 01/26/17 05:04 PM
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Gene,

All it's strings have agraffes, Of course we shouldn't touch strings with our fingers 😉

Ian


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2016 Blüthner Model A
Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608748 01/26/17 05:06 PM
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If the strings are all tarnished already, it's not as much a concern.

New strings? Use talc.

Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608758 01/26/17 05:56 PM
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Beemer,
put some baby powder on your fingers as suggested.
develope your sense of touch, its much more efficient.

Last edited by Gene Nelson; 01/26/17 05:58 PM.

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Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608763 01/26/17 06:07 PM
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What matters is not that fingers touch the strings evenly, but that hammers do. Hold the hammer against the string with the damper off and strum the string. Do not push on the hammers hard, because that can cause them to twist. On a vertical piano, I push them by the catcher.

Last edited by BDB; 01/27/17 03:34 AM. Reason: Left out a "not"!

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Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608896 01/27/17 02:40 AM
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Good tip BDB


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Re: String levelling advice
Beemer #2608905 01/27/17 03:39 AM
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Incidentally, I strum them with plectra, so I am not touching the strings.


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