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70's Yamaha upright #2721056
03/14/18 07:21 AM
03/14/18 07:21 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 3
Copenhagen, Denmark
P
polyfon Offline OP
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polyfon  Offline OP
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Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 3
Copenhagen, Denmark
This is my first post here. I apoligize if it's not in the relevant forum.

I bought a 1973 Yamaha M5J for around 700€. I am not a piano technician, but my plan is to work on it myself.
So far I have performed a pitchraise and a tuning with good results.

Next thing would be to work on the action.

Several flange cords are broken and the rest are weak. I'm thinking of three solutions:
A: replace the cords
B: replace the butt flanges
C: replace the hammer butts

Another issue is the sound, which is a bit hard. In fact I prefer playing with the practice pedal on all the time.
I can think of two solutions:
1: replace the hammers
2: try to file and needle the hammers.

And lastly I'm not satisfied with the dampers. There's some resonance after i release the keys.
Is this normal on this kind of piano ?
If not, I will look into replacing the dampers.


I'm leaning towards replacing both the hammer butts and the hammers (and shanks of course). Parts are around 400€ + shipping from Japan ( www.watanabemusical.com ).
I'm a little concerned how difficult the adjustment/alignment of new hammers will be for me as a novice.


Do you agree, that that would be the most cost/time effective way of improving the piano ?
And if so, which hammers are usually recommended for a mellow sound?


I hope this post is specific enough. Thanks.


--------------
Yamaha M5J 1973
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Re: 70's Yamaha upright [Re: polyfon] #2721072
03/14/18 09:14 AM
03/14/18 09:14 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,504
Scotland
D
David Boyce Offline
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David Boyce  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,504
Scotland
For the broken flange cord problem, the simplest way is to replace the flanges. You can replace the cords - it's not horribly difficult, just fiddly. No need to replace hammer butts.

For the hard sound: Try working on the hammers before giving up on them and ordering a new set. Are they badly grooved? Filing to restore a good playing surface will make a big difference, and then you can work on voiding the hammers with needling, or perhaps steam voicing.

Dampers: Depends what you mean by "some resonance" - hard to say without hearing a recording.

Last edited by David Boyce; 03/14/18 09:15 AM.
Re: 70's Yamaha upright [Re: polyfon] #2721085
03/14/18 10:18 AM
03/14/18 10:18 AM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 127
M
michaelopolis Offline
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michaelopolis  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 127
If your replacing the flanges you'll need to make sure the hammers are spaced and traveled , hitting the string exactly were they did before as there is likely some grooves on the hammers at this point.

Re: 70's Yamaha upright [Re: polyfon] #2721236
03/14/18 08:44 PM
03/14/18 08:44 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 223
Maine, USA
R
Rick_Parks Offline
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Rick_Parks  Offline
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Posts: 223
Maine, USA
Hanging new hammers (never having replaced even one) is a bit beyond what I think you wish to get yourself into... There are far too many things you could do to mess up the tonal quality of your instrument. You have to keep the striking point the same, without any angles (up-down, side-side, tilt, etc) being introduced to the hammer head...IF you introduce angles that don't belong, it can produce all sorts of tonal issues for you- from a really dead tone, to many other far from desirable results...
It really is a rather technical thing for someone to just try out of the blue. Unless you don't care, and don't mind costs to get it re-fixed afterward wink

Really, I am not trying to put you down--- I like the spunk.

But, the chances are you can soften the hammers up with some rather simple methods-- if you have enough felt on them to work with that is (you didn't say- but, a pic would be nice)...

I would suggest replacing the cords on the flanges-- as replacing flange will require further technical skills: proper reaming and alignment (as mentioned)...

The dampers could be something as simple as the fact that certain ones may not be seated properly, or they may be lifting too early in the hammer's travel (supposed to begin lift at half-way point; but then you don't have a regulated piano, so we don't know what the hammer travel is here)... Again, pictures of the dampers and action might help here too...

Unless you are truly willing to get into this (a learning and time consumption experience) and possible mess things up to where you'll be calling out someone who will charge you a fortune on top of what you have done- you better start as simple as possible here.

If on the other hand, you don't care about the possible repercussions, then by all means go for it. There are more than enough people round here willing to help guide you through these processese laugh

And far more who will be willing to come out and fix it for you ! (he-he)

Last edited by Rick_Parks; 03/14/18 08:44 PM.

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Re: 70's Yamaha upright [Re: polyfon] #2721318
03/15/18 05:49 AM
03/15/18 05:49 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 3
Copenhagen, Denmark
P
polyfon Offline OP
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polyfon  Offline OP
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Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 3
Copenhagen, Denmark
Thanks so much for all the answers.

I live in Denmark, so I'm not sure how many of you would come by to fix my possible problems :-)


Realigning the hammers is something i would be a bit nervous about.
So I think I will go with just changing the cord.

The idea of changing the whole butt/flange assemblies came from daniels piano

Do you agree that the action would improve noteworthy ?



Anyway, here's some photos of hammers and dampers and mp's of resonance and tone

Photos and mp3's


Let me know your best recommendations


--------------
Yamaha M5J 1973
Re: 70's Yamaha upright [Re: polyfon] #2721441
03/15/18 01:20 PM
03/15/18 01:20 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,928
Scotland
Beemer Offline
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Beemer  Offline
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Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,928
Scotland
I don't see anything in your photos that show a problem. The dampers are centred as are the hammers on the strings. The string indentations are not too deep.

You seem to be playing with the sustain pedal down either that or the sustain pedal and rod needs adjusting so that the strings are properly dampened all across the 88 notes.

The piano is not in good tune and given the piano's age the hammer felt is probably requiring voicing. I recommend you buy a copy of

Piano Servicing, Tuning, & Rebuilding: For the Professional, the Student, the Hobbyist
by Arthur A. Reblitz.

As for the flange cords see here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMd3bp0gkek

Your mp3 recordings have digital distortion. You should lower the mic sensitivity or put it further away from the strings.

Best wishes for your forthcoming work!

Ian


Last edited by Beemer; 03/15/18 01:21 PM.

I'm all keyed up
2016 Blüthner Model A
Re: 70's Yamaha upright [Re: polyfon] #2721638
03/16/18 08:08 AM
03/16/18 08:08 AM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 223
Maine, USA
R
Rick_Parks Offline
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Rick_Parks  Offline
Full Member
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Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 223
Maine, USA
Looks like some stains on the bass strings where the hammers have been striking- wonder if someone used something at some time on those hammers that caused that?... Dampers do look well settled and getting older (we would probably replace such).
But really, it is hard to determine technical problems with dampers from pictures- for instance a picture cannot tell me if the felt is definitely hard (a zinging or buzz when the damper returned on vibrating string would), or where in the travel of hammer they are lifting- are they all clearing the strings, or are some touching the vibrating string. And for instance, If a damper begins to lift too early in the hammer's travel- you normally can expect a note not to dampen properly (bleeding, or prolonged sustaining would occur).

- I did not hear any significant "bleeding" on the sample notes that you played staccato.

- I do hear that the tuning is out- but, still, I think it's pretty good for doing it yourself (the unisons do have some noticeable beats to them). I agree with Beemer - the audio is a bit piercing at times.

As far as agreeing whether the action "would improve noteworthy" with replacement of hammer flanges- this too is difficult to judge from here, as I do not know what your action feels like right now...It could very well be that the flange center pins are are fine, and that the spring and cord are your only issues there...

What I would suggest is that you put out a little bit of money (minor amount really), to have a local technician come out to look it over-- for an estimate for work that would need to be done to it to get it into the playing condition that you would like.
This shouldn't cost more than 100 Euros (at most), and it would give you very specific areas listed on paper that you could then know needed addressing.

My guess is that if this piano has broken flange cords, that there are many other issues that are requiring immediate attention as well... It probably has not been regulated in a very long time- meaning it would be hard to say in that situation what is causing any unwanted sustain in notes (until they are in proper regulation that is).

As for the hammers- they do definitely sound bright (but 70's Yamahas are bright)...There are many options to this-
- Usually, we need to get the regulation done first- since this affects the tone, volume, and sustain of the strike... Hammer travel distance and let-off are big factors for volume and tone. As is timing of damper lift in that travel- if a damper here or there is not lifting off the string entirely, it will create a dull/dead sounding note (one that has little or no sustain), or a zing. And again, if dampers lift too early- they "bleed" (continue sustain beyond play of note).

There are many options for softening hammers-- everything from needling (voicing), to that of using water/alcohol mix, or fabric softener even (which I don't particularly like)... Good discussions have taken place already on softening hammers (below is an example of one- do a search) ---
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2077111/Hammer%20softening%20solution.html

But, really- at least a decent regulation of the action should be accomplished in order to get everything working in its proper order.
Get a book out of your library, or buy one --- many good technical books for the average Joe/Jill to follow...
Arthur A. Reblitz, "Pianos, Tuning, Servicing, Rebuilding"
Mario Igrec, "Pianos Inside Out"
These are two good books (the Igrec book "Pianos Inside Out" is the more detailed and cost $$) that can help guide you through the problems you wish to cure here.

But, in closing--- at least have a local tech get you the info of problems on paper. That can save a lot of time and heart ache wink

Hope this helped.


Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com
Re: 70's Yamaha upright [Re: polyfon] #2722609
03/19/18 12:33 PM
03/19/18 12:33 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 3
Copenhagen, Denmark
P
polyfon Offline OP
Junior Member
polyfon  Offline OP
Junior Member
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Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 3
Copenhagen, Denmark
Thanks to all of you for your high quality advice.

I ended up calling a local tech to come and check the piano and give me advice on what to do.

He will be in my area in 2-3 weeks. Then i'll come back here and update the thread.

Untill then thanks again!


--------------
Yamaha M5J 1973
Re: 70's Yamaha upright [Re: polyfon] #2722671
03/19/18 03:34 PM
03/19/18 03:34 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 223
Maine, USA
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Rick_Parks Offline
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Rick_Parks  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 223
Maine, USA
Really think that will help you understand all that needs to get done... Will wait to hear from you.


Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com

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