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Dampers less effective after re-installing piano action
#2748977 07/03/18 08:18 AM
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Hi all! I have a beautiful old Estey Upright that was restored in the 1980s and is a really lovely piano to play and record.

A little while back I decided to do a few repairs on it. I replaced the hammer rail felt and keytops as well as the felt above the keys. These have all improved the piano except for the fact that after removing the piano action and replacing the rail felt, when I reinstalled the action I was unable to achieve the same level of damper effectiveness. I tried removing it and reinstalling it a few times, but theres still a fair bit more leaking string resonance than there was prior to my removing it.

I assume that when I replaced the hammer/damper assembly I haven’t lined it up as perfectly as it was, or perhaps not as tightly… The dampers still work but there is more ringing going on than there was.

Is there any trick to reinstalling the piano action that aligns the dampers perfectly? Or is there something obvious that I may be missing to rectify this issue?

It was working pretty good before, so I figure I should be able to get it to at least the same level…

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Last edited by DMPiano; 07/03/18 08:19 AM.
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Re: Dampers less effective after re-installing piano action
DMPiano #2748985 07/03/18 08:40 AM
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Your instincts are correct, the dampers should be working at least as effectively as they were before you removed the action, and there should be no ringing of strings.

Are you certain that the damper work is seated correctly on its feet? Are you certain that the top damper frame connections are seated exactly on their supporting pins? With the damper installation in place, is there any ringing when you pluck a string (with clean hands or fingernails?


Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA
Re: Dampers less effective after re-installing piano action
DMPiano #2748991 07/03/18 09:20 AM
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If you use your finger to lightly press the strings of a middle or bass note away from the damper, the damper should follow your finger . If it doesn't something in the action is adjusted such that the dampers are not able to return to the proper rest position. It could be the pedal system. It could be the action. The dampers are lifted by the lift rod when using the pedal and by the spoon at the end of the whippen with the key.


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Re: Dampers less effective after re-installing piano action
DMPiano #2748996 07/03/18 09:31 AM
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Thanks for the quick reply guys! I'm in australia where its currently midnight and won't be at the studio where the piano is for another 10 hours or so but will check those things then. I'm pretty sure it is all seated properly as I was really careful each time a put it back in place... although it is quite tricky to do by myself as its fairly heavy.

Anything else I can check or alter to try and solve this when I get there?

Re: Dampers less effective after re-installing piano action
DMPiano #2749044 07/03/18 12:31 PM
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Another thing to check, make sure the damper lift rod is in it's proper position and not pushing on the damper mechanism abnormally. There is usually a metal dowel rod (for alignment purposes) inserted into the wood damper pedal rod and the action damper lever with felt washers between the upper and lower positions.

It can be difficult to get everything aligned all at one time. Just a few thoughts.

Good luck!

Rick


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Re: Dampers less effective after re-installing piano action
DMPiano #2749053 07/03/18 12:57 PM
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Check to make sure that the bottom wedge felts are correctly seated. That can be difficult to see.

Strum the keys with a pick of some sort. See if any stand out.

Removing the action can move the felts slightly so they do not damp quite so well.


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Re: Dampers less effective after re-installing piano action
DMPiano #2749056 07/03/18 01:01 PM
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Ed's comment about the damper following the string is the critical one. If the damper doesn't follow the string a bit, the task is to figure out why.

You talked about replacing the felt above the keys. By this, do you mean the the wippen heel cloth? One possible source of damper leakage could result from a failure to readjust the capstans to eliminate "negative lost motion", which would result in the spoons engaging the damper levers too early.

Don't ask me how I know!


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