Results.... I did this a couple of days ago but wanted to play the piano a bit before reporting.
Overall, I think the results are good.
- The piano is less loud. From another room, it just sounds like it’s further away.
- Sitting at the piano, I don’t hear a very big difference in volume. I have it on the half stick.
- I don’t hear a significant difference in tone. I am sure that there probably is some difference, but my hearing may not be finely tuned enough to notice it much.
- I do notice more of the ‘klunk’ noise when the keys bottom out. It’s been there all along but I guess with sound from the strings partly blocked, it’s more noticeable. I discussed this a while back with my RPT and he didn’t think it was any louder than the norm. I think it’s now just a larger proportion of the sound I hear.
- I was expecting the sound to seem muffled or garbled. I don’t notice much of this, just a few keys that I don’t think sound quite right. I have tweaked the foam and think it’s improving but I think I need more time.
- I can walk through the room or the next room in high heels and there is a lot less of the ‘vacant house echo.’ This is a big help. Certain parts of the room still have a big echo but it’s better.
So, I’d say that yes, this was a success. I plan to also work with some of the suggestions above - the bookcase and the casters are the first things. I may reposition it slightly, but I think it’s in the right position, I have adjusted it in the past. I’m due for a tuning and it will be interesting to see what my RPT says.
So, here’s what I did. Photos once I figure out how.
1 Started with a 6’ x 18” x 5” piece high density foam. It was $88 at Jo-Ann’s, using a coupon.
2 I closed the lid and laid a large piece of paper on top, and traced the edge to get the shape right
3 I sketched a line 4” inside the outline (1” for the lid overlap and 3” for the rim)
4 Sketched on the paper the layout of the supporting beams and the tension resonator. This is harder than it sounds and took a while.
5 Made pattern pieces from newspaper. There are five. I added 1” all the way around, so that the compression of the foam would hold it in place
6 Laid the pattern pieces on the foam and cut out. (Cuisinart Electric knife. Worked great)
7 Tried to put the pieces up under the piano and realized that the extra inch was completely unnecessary and pulled it out and cut it off
8 Tried it again and cut off some more. This foam does not slide at all, so getting it into the right place requires some effort.
9 Pulled it out again and carved out areas for the tension resonator
10 Put it back in again to make sure that the bottom level of the foam did not extend below the bottom of the rim or the bottom of the support beams, so that the foam would not be visible. This took quite a few tries.
11 Removed each piece and cut a chunk out to ensure air circulation.
The entire project took about 3 hours. The actual work time was a lot less, but the electric knife got hot and I had to stop quite a few times to let it cool. There was also a fair amount of waste, since I had to trim the pieces several times. I think I could have managed with a 5’ piece.
No support is needed. The foam doesn’t slide and it holds itself up with no problem. I could yank it out in under a minute, zero damage. Putting it back in would take about 10 minutes, since the foam does not slide at all and so getting it into the right position requires some wrestling, since the sides of the support beams are not smooth.
It feels like there are a couple of inches between the top of the foam and the bottom of the soundboard, and there are several openings large enough to put my hand through. It’s completely invisible unless you crouch down and look up at the bottom of the piano.
So far so good. Looking forward to my RPT visit and see what he thinks. Stay tuned.
A huge thank you to all of you have responded with suggestions. It’s all been very helpful.