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Pillows under the soundboard
#2632489 04/12/17 02:47 PM
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Hi,
I just put a new Kawai GX-2 (5'11") in my living room (16'x24' with one side opening into the dining room, 8' ceiling, the usual living room furniture).
I loved the sound of the piano in the (large) showroom, but there is a problem in my living room. I've attributed it to resonance of the soundboard building up in the space it's in, resulting in a muddy, unpleasant sound.
Stuffing pillows under the soundboard takes care of the problem - the piano still has good tone and volume, but the annoying build-up is gone.
I question whether hammer voicing would help this problem, and in any case since this seems to be a cheap, reversible solution, I would prefer not to unnecessarily alter to piano, especially not being sure if it would even solve the problem (and maybe create others).
I can't be the only one who has had this issue, and I'm wondering what solutions anyone else has found. (My wife is opposed to any acoustic panels, etc. in the living room, beyond a rug under the piano, which I will try. The room is carpeted, but I can put an area rug under the piano in addition to the carpet.)
Does anyone see any problem with just leaving the pillows under there permanently? Is voicing likely to solve the problem?
Any input welcome. (p.s. I want to keep the piano, so I'm not interested in replacing it with something else.)

Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2632492 04/12/17 03:02 PM
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There is no trouble with leaving the pillows there permanently. A side benefit is that if you ever decide to take a nap under your piano - you will already have pillows there!

Seriously, bring this up with your piano technician when he comes to service the piano next. If he/she is there in person, they can give the best advice.

Enjoy your new piano!


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila., Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct
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Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2632493 04/12/17 03:05 PM
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EP,

Is there by any chance a large glass window (or other type of glass) next to, or very near the piano? Glass can seriously change the acoustic situation of a piano...basically enhancing it unrealistically. It can make a very small piano sound much bigger than it really is.

Also, higher ceilings enhance the sound, as do suspended hardwood floors.

I have a client with a nearly identical situation. I like the pillow solution and may suggest it for them.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2632500 04/12/17 03:18 PM
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Rich,
Thanks, I will talk it over with my technician. It is handy to have the pillows in case I get bored with my practice!
Peter,
Good points. It is near a wall that has large picture windows, although the windows have quilted blinds that are (almost) never opened. The 8 ft ceiling and hardwood floors and plaster walls (it is an older house) certainly contribute to the problem. Unfortunately, this is the only place in the room the piano can go, and room modifications are not acceptable to my wife (and a lot more expensive that a few pillows!) I just have to make the piano work where it is.

Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2632554 04/12/17 06:48 PM
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What kind of pillows and how did you fasten them in place? It sounds intriguing for my situation.


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Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2632557 04/12/17 06:54 PM
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Yes, plaster...I forgot...plaster is MUCH harder and more reflective than sheet rock. Sounds like you have a room pre-disposed toward amplification.

I have passed your solution on to my client with similar situation. Waiting to hear the results.

I would also isolate it from the floor with a nice thick, dense, fluffy rug. Adding a nice quilted, monogrammed piano cover can also cut down projection. But if you want to show off the instrument that might not work so good.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2632558 04/12/17 07:06 PM
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Speaking of glass, I have noticed some of the newer recital halls have glass walls, which seems disasterous to me on so many levels--sound, light, distractions, keeping the windows clean, etc.

But, maybe the architects/acousticians know what they are doing. 😀

http://www.music.northwestern.edu/about/news/2016/fine-tuning.html


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Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2632559 04/12/17 07:08 PM
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They are just plain old el-cheapo fluffy fiberfilled pillows from Walmart (I got a couple of extra long ones for the long spaces). I put them in black pillow cases so they wouldn't show, then just stuffed them up there between the beams. I haven't attached them at all, they seem to just stay up there so far. If I need to I may use a couple of thumb tacks to help hold them up.
It is sitting on a carpet but I may add an area rug under the piano, although at this point I'm quite satisfied with the sound and don't know that I need to do anything more.

Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2633145 04/15/17 03:49 AM
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I was thinking about doing this, either with pillows or foam. But I have a Dampp Chaser. Would that create excess moisture or mold?

Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2633174 04/15/17 06:38 AM
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At the least I think it would interfere with the DamppChaser operation.

Re: Pillows under the soundboard
b54632 #2633210 04/15/17 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by b54632
I was thinking about doing this, either with pillows or foam. But I have a Dampp Chaser. Would that create excess moisture or mold?


Any pillow would absorb humidity so it definitely would interfere with the normal function of a Dampp Chaser.

Just a thought though - putting that same pillow inside the piano along the spine then closing the lid would also help in a pinch (The straight side - where there are no bass strings and there is exposure to the soundboard in most grands) and it would not interfere with the Dampp Chaser system.

My 2 cents,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila., Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2633225 04/15/17 10:36 AM
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fibre filled pillows would mostly absorb lower end frequencies - middle and upper frequencies maybe just a few db If the lower end is what is being cured and the result pleases, might do better with a _thick_ rug underneath the piano because yes wadding up the soundboard directly will affect humidity levels at one side of it and will warp it decreasing the lifespan of your piano. Room treatments need not be disturbing to one's spouse.. A well placed book case here, some canvas art on the wall with some absorbing material behind it in between the wooden framing.. Glass facades are problematic - anything short of thick velours curtains won't dull those reflections, but venetian blinds will diffract them.

Last edited by Goss; 04/15/17 10:40 AM.

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Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2633373 04/16/17 01:47 AM
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Goss makes the point of a tick rug. That is important- within practical limits, the thicker and heavier the better. Under the drums in my music room, for example, I have a very thick room which is also on top of some packing blanket to increase the thickness. It has made a big difference.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2633502 04/16/17 03:28 PM
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b54632:

Please be advised that the UL listing for the Dampp-Chaser system ASSUMES that there is air space above and around it. And, nothing heated is in contact with a flammable material.

Personally, I would suggest NOT putting any pillows (or anything similar) any place where there could be even the remotest chance of it slowly coming in to contact with a dehumidifier rod.

Better yet, I would contact Dampp-Chaser and ask them about the matter before doing anything.

Pwg

Last edited by P W Grey; 04/16/17 03:29 PM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
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Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2633540 04/16/17 06:58 PM
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PWG is right. And quite apart from possible danger of fire, if the space beneath the soundboard is filled with pillows I cannot see how a Dampp-Chaser could operate satisfactorily.

Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2634116 04/18/17 01:05 PM
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Hmm, thanks, I will not do this then.

Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2634135 04/18/17 02:39 PM
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Too late to edit my post. For tick rug, read thick rug.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: Pillows under the soundboard
PhilipInChina #2634168 04/18/17 04:47 PM
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Thanks for the clarification, Phillip. We have more than enough ticks in this neck of the woods as it is. grin

Re: Pillows under the soundboard
P W Grey #2634234 04/18/17 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Please be advised that the UL listing for the Dampp-Chaser system ASSUMES that there is air space above and around it.

What if some other gov't agency certifies that the pillows are fire resistant? wink

(that's a joke)



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Re: Pillows under the soundboard
EP #2634483 04/19/17 04:15 PM
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It isn't clear to me if you want to absorb low or high frequencies. If it's the latter, i.e. High/mids, go to Guitar Center or similar and pick up a couple panels of acoustic foam. It's thinner and will work better than pillows. (I've designed and built several music studios) If it's lows, you need bass traps.

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