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Loss of brightness in mid-treble in Kawai K-500 #2741112
05/31/18 09:42 PM
05/31/18 09:42 PM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 13
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SergeiTaneyev Offline OP
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SergeiTaneyev  Offline OP
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I have a Kawai K-500, about four years old now. A couple of years ago, I began to notice the instrument losing some tone quality in the upper part of the melody octave (it is most noticeable around A5-C6 but also extends above that area). I asked the technician from the dealer, and he dismissed it, telling me I was hearing something that most people wouldn't. However, it has gotten worse over time. The sound is, for lack of more specific vocabulary on my part, duller. My understanding is that the hammer felt, as it gets more compacted, would result in a brighter tone over time, not a duller one. I asked a Kawai rep if it could be caused by changes in the soundboard, and I was assured that it couldn't be. I understand that a new piano's tone changes over time -- but this is more than I expected.

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Re: Loss of brightness in mid-treble in Kawai K-500 [Re: SergeiTaneyev] #2741116
05/31/18 09:56 PM
05/31/18 09:56 PM
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Oakland
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BDB Offline
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How worn are the hammers?


Semipro Tech
Re: Loss of brightness in mid-treble in Kawai K-500 [Re: SergeiTaneyev] #2741148
06/01/18 01:42 AM
06/01/18 01:42 AM
Joined: May 2006
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Georgia, USA
terminaldegree Offline
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Have you had the spacing and fitting of the hammers checked? Could it be that the hammer flange screws got a little loose, causing things to not strike exactly the same place as before? Has the rest of the piano brightened up enough that it could be voiced down a bit, to match the quieter range? Are you sure your hearing hasn't changed at all?

Just a few random possibilities at this late hour...


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
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Re: Loss of brightness in mid-treble in Kawai K-500 [Re: terminaldegree] #2741181
06/01/18 06:37 AM
06/01/18 06:37 AM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 147
Surrey, UK
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Adypiano Offline
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Bit of a wild suggestion for such a new piano, but if the tone is getting softer, is there a chance the hammer felt is coming away from the wooden cores? Should be an easy thing to check, and therefore cross off the list of possible causes...!

Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Has the rest of the piano brightened up enough that it could be voiced down a bit, to match the quieter range?


Very good point. I visited a piano recently to tidy up a couple of bright hammers over the break. Having toned two hammers, it then became obvious that the adjacent hammers (six as it happened) also needed attention, even though before calming the original offenders down, they sounded fine! Played in isolation, how does the soft area of the piano sound?


Started work at the Blüthner piano re-building workshop in Perivale, UK, in 1989. Self employed since 2000. Learning something new about pianos every day... smile

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Re: Loss of brightness in mid-treble in Kawai K-500 [Re: BDB] #2741287
06/01/18 01:15 PM
06/01/18 01:15 PM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 13
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SergeiTaneyev Offline OP
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SergeiTaneyev  Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 13
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Have you had the spacing and fitting of the hammers checked? Could it be that the hammer flange screws got a little loose, causing things to not strike exactly the same place as before? Has the rest of the piano brightened up enough that it could be voiced down a bit, to match the quieter range? Are you sure your hearing hasn't changed at all?


I think the spacing of the hammers was a little funky to start with. I imagine at this point I would have to have someone file the hammers down and adjust the spacing? See the photo below. (I'm not a technician; just an enthusiast.)

And as for my hearing, I had it checked at my ENT's office a couple of years ago, and I was told it was normal for someone my age (late 30s). So I sure hope that hasn't progressed!

Originally Posted by BDB
How worn are the hammers?


I tried taking a quick pic this morning before I left for work. I will be out of town for the weekend and can try to get a better one with my DSLR on Monday. The hammer that is engaged is A4.

[Linked Image]

Last edited by SergeiTaneyev; 06/01/18 01:16 PM.
Re: Loss of brightness in mid-treble in Kawai K-500 [Re: SergeiTaneyev] #2741358
06/01/18 04:49 PM
06/01/18 04:49 PM
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Posts: 13
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SergeiTaneyev Offline OP
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SergeiTaneyev  Offline OP
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Meant to say the hammer engaged in the photo is A5, for reference. For some reason I can't edit the post any longer.

Re: Loss of brightness in mid-treble in Kawai K-500 [Re: SergeiTaneyev] #2741405
06/01/18 07:48 PM
06/01/18 07:48 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,522
PA
daniokeeper Offline
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I tried enlarging the photo you included. Unfortunately, it becomes grainy as I enlarge it.

From what I can make out, it *appears* that the hammers are not only scored from hitting the strings, but also flattened or blunted.


Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)
Re: Loss of brightness in mid-treble in Kawai K-500 [Re: SergeiTaneyev] #2741408
06/01/18 07:59 PM
06/01/18 07:59 PM
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daniokeeper Offline
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Edit: Usually as hammers become scored, they tend to become brighter because the felt becomes more compressed and therefore harder.

But your hammers *appear* to be quite blunt as well. Therefore, a much larger surface area contacting the strings. Think of it as plucking a string with your finger rather than your fingernail.


Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)
Re: Loss of brightness in mid-treble in Kawai K-500 [Re: SergeiTaneyev] #2741410
06/01/18 08:03 PM
06/01/18 08:03 PM
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daniokeeper Offline
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Btw, this is only a guess. Only your local piano technician can diagnose the problem for sure.


Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)
Re: Loss of brightness in mid-treble in Kawai K-500 [Re: SergeiTaneyev] #2741422
06/01/18 08:32 PM
06/01/18 08:32 PM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,324
New Hampshire
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P W Grey Offline
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Can you get someone else who plays piano to confirm or deny what you are hearing? Someone you trust other than the piano technician? If they confirm it great...if they can't hear it pretty much the same as you, then you might reconsider the hearing issue.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
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Re: Loss of brightness in mid-treble in Kawai K-500 [Re: daniokeeper] #2743768
06/11/18 11:42 PM
06/11/18 11:42 PM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 13
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SergeiTaneyev Offline OP
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Originally Posted by daniokeeper
Edit: Usually as hammers become scored, they tend to become brighter because the felt becomes more compressed and therefore harder.

But your hammers *appear* to be quite blunt as well. Therefore, a much larger surface area contacting the strings. Think of it as plucking a string with your finger rather than your fingernail.


I used to practice with the moderator pedal a lot, but now I just use earplugs, because it was harder on my fingers. Could frequent use of the moderator pedal change the shape of the hammer felt?

Re: Loss of brightness in mid-treble in Kawai K-500 [Re: SergeiTaneyev] #2744057
06/13/18 04:51 AM
06/13/18 04:51 AM
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daniokeeper Offline
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I'm not sure what you mean by the moderator pedal. Do you mean the center pedal? The pedal that drops a sheet of felt between the hammers and strings?

I would think the felt would wear through if it was used more or less continuously. But, I have never seen the pedal used that way, so I'm not sure if the continuous use of the moderator pedal contributed to the flattening of the hammers.

Hammers wear over time. The felt compresses and becomes harder. With heavy playing and practicing for many hours a day, the hammers will also become more and more blunt. From what I've read, it sounds like you are using the piano alot. So, of course the hammers are wearing faster.


Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)

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