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Yet another piano - Steinway A2 #2741681
06/03/18 12:04 AM
06/03/18 12:04 AM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,070
New York
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trigalg693 Offline OP
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I moved to the NYC area a few months ago and left a Phoenix C212 back in California with my parents. Now I finally have a piano, and it takes up a third of the space in my studio despite being very small by my standards smirk

It's a 1910 A2 that got new black paint recently, and new strings/hammers/soundboard shims in 1974 so I'm told.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

I spent a while scrubbing grime off the plate so it at least has some shiny spots, and vacuumed as much dust out as I could with the assistance of a human powered air compressor (aka my mouth), and spent a quality 6 hours practicing as I pretty much haven't practiced for 2 months.

For a piano this old, it really has a very lively and powerful sound which is great. The low bass sounds surprisingly clean considering the string length. However, the highest note on the bass bridge sounds much "tubbier" than the note immediately above, which is really annoying. I believe a modern model A I played in a store had quite a tone transition there as well, but not this bad. I'm thinking about putting different bass strings in to fix this.

It has NY Steinway B hammers which are a little heavy and too soft at the top in particular as well. That'll be fixed in due time.

Last edited by trigalg693; 06/03/18 12:04 AM.
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Re: Yet another piano - Steinway A2 [Re: trigalg693] #2741682
06/03/18 12:46 AM
06/03/18 12:46 AM
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Steinway A and B hammers are identical.


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Re: Yet another piano - Steinway A2 [Re: BDB] #2741689
06/03/18 02:00 AM
06/03/18 02:00 AM
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trigalg693 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BDB
Steinway A and B hammers are identical.


I was told that at that time, the B hammers were the only hammers, but the original A2 hammers from 1910 were lighter. I wouldn't know.

Re: Yet another piano - Steinway A2 [Re: trigalg693] #2741690
06/03/18 02:06 AM
06/03/18 02:06 AM
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I have not been able to confirm that older hammers are lighter than newer ones. It sounds like what you really need is someone very good at voicing.


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Re: Yet another piano - Steinway A2 [Re: trigalg693] #2741701
06/03/18 04:15 AM
06/03/18 04:15 AM
Joined: Sep 2016
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huaidongxi Offline
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Mr.McMorrow might have knowledge on the vintage Steinway hammers if you care to contact him. i.i.r.c. the 'golden age' pianists sometimes did have pianos with lighter hammers and action than the pianos' later descendants, and 1910 is right there in the Belle Epoque/edwardian section of the golden age.

Re: Yet another piano - Steinway A2 [Re: trigalg693] #2741716
06/03/18 07:48 AM
06/03/18 07:48 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 81
Indonesia
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Faiz Offline
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Beautiful piano!
I like the finish
Satin finish piano is quite rare in my place


Let's help each other... laugh
Re: Yet another piano - Steinway A2 [Re: BDB] #2741915
06/04/18 01:01 AM
06/04/18 01:01 AM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,070
New York
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trigalg693 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BDB
I have not been able to confirm that older hammers are lighter than newer ones. It sounds like what you really need is someone very good at voicing.


That's right, it really needs voicing. If the tonal change from bass to tenor can be moderated with voicing, then I suspect the bass strings might actually be just fine. The keys do feel maybe a slight touch heavy but it's not bad.

I put some WS2 powder on the knuckles and it seems to have taken some friction out along with some squeaking noises, and did a little bit of let-off adjustment myself so it plays a little more evenly before it gets a real regulation. Right now the key dip is too deep, feels like well over 0.4" to me though I can't measure. I tend to like it at 0.38"-0.39" ish.

Also, the bridge cap is cracked at the top 3 notes, but those notes sound terrible on any piano so it's not a big deal.

Can't wait to start holding some mini-concerts when the action is sorted out.

Last edited by trigalg693; 06/04/18 01:02 AM.
Re: Yet another piano - Steinway A2 [Re: trigalg693] #2741989
06/04/18 09:00 AM
06/04/18 09:00 AM
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Congratulations on your new piano. A twisting of those bass strings might help with the "tubby" sound of those bass strings. Ask your piano technician about that when he comes next time. Some will do it, and some won't.

Re: Yet another piano - Steinway A2 [Re: trigalg693] #2742006
06/04/18 09:47 AM
06/04/18 09:47 AM
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trigalg693 Offline OP
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Actually, the reason I think it's not the strings' condition is because there is one shiny wound string that was probably a recent-ish replacement, and the dirty oxidized strings next to it sound almost the same (there is a tiny difference, but not really in the new string's favor; the new string also has maybe an inch less winding at the end which I imagine has some effect), but then you move into the bass bridge section and the sound quality immediately becomes much worse.

I'm guessing the tension is low or something in that section by design. Had a long conversation with Larry Buck about this, who suggested asking Stephen Paulello about lower breaking point strings to decrease string displacement which improves the tone.

Another thing that's starting to bother me is the key bushings. They're not horrible but I got used to the brand new Phoenix that had zero play, so feeling the play is a bit irritating. Hoping they can be puffed up a little because the felt doesn't look worn down.

Last edited by trigalg693; 06/04/18 09:49 AM.
Re: Yet another piano - Steinway A2 [Re: trigalg693] #2742705
06/06/18 11:25 PM
06/06/18 11:25 PM
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trigalg693 Offline OP
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Okay this is really weird, I was wondering how much the static touch weight was, so I grabbed 8 quarters, 2 dimes, and 1 penny. To my surprise, all of those didn't make the key budge. I grabbed 4 more quarters, still nothing. Finally, at 15 quarters, 1 penny and 1 dime, the key went down. That's 90 grams!

Then I took coins off the stack. The key started rising at 8 quarters 1 penny 1 dime, around 50 grams. 40 grams friction?

The weird thing is, I don't feel fatigued playing this piano. I was told the knuckles are placed closer to the fulcrum than they are supposed to be with these wippens, but 90 grams is much higher than I have ever heard of. Repetition speed is decent on the few notes that are in a good state of regulation. Frankly my only real complaint is that there's way too much let-off distance on most of the keys so soft key presses give no sound.

Last edited by trigalg693; 06/06/18 11:28 PM.
Re: Yet another piano - Steinway A2 [Re: trigalg693] #2742710
06/07/18 12:05 AM
06/07/18 12:05 AM
Joined: Aug 2008
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New York
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trigalg693 Offline OP
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Actually, I just noticed that the dampers are starting to lift at only 1mm key dip, that's probably what's going on... I really need to get this piano fixed up.

Last edited by trigalg693; 06/07/18 12:05 AM.
Re: Yet another piano - Steinway A2 [Re: trigalg693] #2743561
06/11/18 02:10 AM
06/11/18 02:10 AM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 195
Taipei, Taiwan
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Kenny Cheng Offline
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Beautiful! Congratulations!

I wonder if it's possible to replace the entire action parts with WNG action parts.
.

Re: Yet another piano - Steinway A2 [Re: Kenny Cheng] #2743601
06/11/18 09:31 AM
06/11/18 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Kenny Cheng
Beautiful! Congratulations!

I wonder if it's possible to replace the entire action parts with WNG action parts.
.


I'm pretty sure it's possible. I did it on my S&S B.

Re: Yet another piano - Steinway A2 [Re: trigalg693] #2743635
06/11/18 01:03 PM
06/11/18 01:03 PM
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trigalg693 Offline OP
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Yea it's possible, I'm probably not going to do that. The hammer bushings are good and the knuckles are good, the wippens work. I'm having Larry Buck come sometime to fix my broken high treble bridge and do some action work. I don't think a bigger investment would pay off unless I was also tossing the soundboard for a new one, but this one sounds fine so I'm not going to do that.

I adjusted the dampers the other day so they lift much later (right now they lift at a bit under 20mm, it's hard to measure) and unfortunately discovered a few of the screw holes are stripped. For some stupid reason they are machine screws in wood... One of them was so bad that the damper didn't lift at all. I put some wood glue in the hole and will see if that will sort of hold the screw.

Also tried the clothing steamer on the middle octave hammers to quiet it down, which actually worked wonders. Now the tone is very even and mellow, and the neighbors haven't complained again.

I did try the twist on the lowest string, I can't tell any difference. I think this is about as good as copper strings of this length get, which is why I originally wanted a bigger instrument. I think I'm going to try some iron wound strings on the monochords, as those are the ones that sound really bad. Hurstwood Farms is starting to use them, and they say they sound great, I'll hopefully be able to visit later this summer and hear for myself.

Re: Yet another piano - Steinway A2 [Re: trigalg693] #2743649
06/11/18 01:56 PM
06/11/18 01:56 PM
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In the era when that was done, the best pianos, including Steinway, had copper-wound strings for the lowest and thickest strings, and iron-wound strings for the higher, thinner strings.


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