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Voicing Abel Select hammers #2800882
01/11/19 01:40 PM
01/11/19 01:40 PM
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A few weeks ago I ordered WNG shanks/flanges along with the Abel Natural hammers for my Mason and Hamlin BB, and I also had WNG do the hammer hanging. They did a great job hanging the hammers but accidentally used the Select hammers instead of the Naturals. I find the Select hammers by default to be bright and ‘glassy’, and also a bit thin sounding compared to the previously installed NY Steinway hammers.

Before I decide whether I want to keep the Selects I wanted to get some feedback and tips from people who have experience voicing them since I have no experience with them. I’m looking to get a ‘rich’ and ‘warm’ and more mellow sound. I know these terms are subjective. So here are some videos to get a vague idea of what I mean.

I’m looking to get a sound somewhat like this:
https://youtu.be/jzAQWqy37y4

And definitely not like this (what it basically sounds like now):
https://youtu.be/HyW1WUrmEjI

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Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2800890
01/11/19 02:11 PM
01/11/19 02:11 PM
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I don't think you should have to worry about trying to have the hammers voiced to your liking. If the wrong hammers were installed, whoever did this should replace them with the ones you ordered at no cost. This seems especially so since the ones that were installed are not at all to your liking.

Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2800965
01/11/19 05:08 PM
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That’s a good thought pianoloverus smile The Selects are nice hammers though and I’d like to get some thoughts on them before I decide to send them back and then have to wait a few weeks for another order.

I am able to voice them and get them at least sounding good, but I’m mainly looking for advice from people with experience voicing them how to get the most out of their potential tone.

Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2800970
01/11/19 05:17 PM
01/11/19 05:17 PM
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Ronsens are great on a M and H BB. I wouldn't keep the hammers I didn't want. Although a good voicer could make the select sound the way you want.

These are small improvements compared to having a better designed board installed. I prefer adding a small cutoff bar for ribs 4,5 and 6 as they are over 42" in length. Plus they are very weakened because of making room for the tension resonator. To fix the weakness they came up with a band aid fix by tying those
ribs together with a small piece of maple. The panels are a little too thick, and the ribs are generally too tall. Make those changes and the BB develops an awsome depth and wide range of dynamics and projection that imo can compete with the SS D on the stage due to it's design shape.


Maker of Fine Piano Soundboards
Chernobieff Piano Restorations
Lenoir City, Tennessee
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Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: Chernobieff Piano] #2800984
01/11/19 06:04 PM
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You piqued my interest Chernobieff and so I had a quick look at the ribs on my BB smile I don't see what you described... The ribs looks just like regular ribs (I don't see any maple or ribs tied together), they appear to be the same height as the ribs on my 1925 Steinway L, and there's also plenty of clearance between the ribs and the highest part of the tension resonator. Am I missing something?

I don't know yet if I definitely don't want the hammers, that's why I'm asking. They're what's used on modern BB's but I've never worked with them and I'd like to get some advice before I start poking them.

Last edited by jsilva; 01/11/19 06:06 PM.
Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2800992
01/11/19 06:12 PM
01/11/19 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jsilva
You piqued my interest Chernobieff and so I had a quick look at the ribs on my BB smile I don't see what you described... The ribs looks just like regular ribs (I don't see any maple or ribs tied together), they appear to be the same height as the ribs on my 1925 Steinway L, and there's also plenty of clearance between the ribs and the highest part of the tension resonator. Am I missing something?

I don't know yet if I definitely don't want the hammers, that's why I'm asking. They're what's used on modern BB's but I've never worked with them and I'd like to get some advice before I start poking them.
What age is your BB? Mine is 2009 and does not have the issues that Chernobieff mentions. The tension resonator sits well below the ribs, so no notching of the ribs or reinforcement is required. I don't know when the engineering change was made.

I would definitely stand with Chernobieff on the Ronsens. Great hammers and can be made to your specs as well. I put them on mine earlier this year on WNG composite shanks. Nice change.

Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: prout] #2801007
01/11/19 06:44 PM
01/11/19 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by prout
What age is your BB? Mine is 2009 and does not have the issues that Chernobieff mentions. The tension resonator sits well below the ribs, so no notching of the ribs or reinforcement is required. I don't know when the engineering change was made.

I would definitely stand with Chernobieff on the Ronsens. Great hammers and can be made to your specs as well. I put them on mine earlier this year on WNG composite shanks. Nice change.


Mine is from 1951.

I agree about the Ronsens. I've been in contact with them about some other pianos I plan to use the Weickert hammers on. I was also planning on using them for my BB, but I wanted to get the BB ready asap and so I thought I'd use WNG to hang the hammers on their shanks and figured I might as well use their parts that would otherwise come on a new M&H.

I'm sure the Selects are good hammers, I'm just looking for some advice on voicing them.

Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2801015
01/11/19 07:11 PM
01/11/19 07:11 PM
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So here are some pictures that may help illustrate what I was talking about.
The soundboards should be replaced when it starts developing a lot of cracks. A flaw due to the tension resonator, which doesn't allow the rim to move.
You can see that the plate horn bracket is kind of tall so that the tension resonator goes through it. ( I think they changed this later). See how the tall bracket causes a weakness in the rib that goes over it for clearance.
The maple strip is inferior to a cut off bar. As I mentioned 3 ribs are just too long along with the weaknesses created.
If they changed any of this, i would like to see some pics of the changes.

http://forum.pianoworld.com//ubbthreads.php/galleries/2801014.html#Post2801014

Last edited by Chernobieff Piano; 01/11/19 07:12 PM.

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Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2801053
01/11/19 09:34 PM
01/11/19 09:34 PM
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I took a shot of the underside of mine and put it here:

http://forum.pianoworld.com//ubbthreads.php/galleries/2801049.html

You can see that the tension resonator is lower vs. the piano your photo. I obviously can't get the same perspective as your photos, but it should show the difference well enough. Mine doesn't have that tall bracket either. What year is the one in your photos?

Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2801055
01/11/19 09:44 PM
01/11/19 09:44 PM
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I have recently seen a number of early 1900s M&Hs in my tech's shop for rebuild, and none of them show a significant number of cracks or require soundboard replacement.

Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2801305
01/12/19 03:21 PM
01/12/19 03:21 PM
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Well I decided to do some voicing today. Those Selects are hard as a rock. I had to reduce my voicing tool down to 1 needle just to more easily stab it. I did probably 20-30 stitches in each shoulder, less in the bass (the hammers get harder as they get higher up the scale), not too deep, and 10-14 at the strike point very shallow. The hammers are still really hard but the piano is a lot better to play now. I’ll look forward to seeing how/if the tone develops and I expect I’ll need to do at least another couple of voicings as time goes on.

If someone comes along with experience with these Selects and can give some input I’d appreciate it!

Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2801306
01/12/19 03:22 PM
01/12/19 03:22 PM
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Would steam voicing be an idea?

Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2801334
01/12/19 04:36 PM
01/12/19 04:36 PM
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I bought a 2017 M&H AA that I believe has Abel Selects (with the blue felt core). I've had it voiced once and will have it voiced again next week. I'm optimistic my tech will be able to further soften the tone.


Mason & Hamlin AA
Slowly learning Beethoven Bagatelle Op. 126 No. 1
Also working through Faber-Piano Literature Book 4

Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2801374
01/12/19 07:32 PM
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I’ve never steamed hammers and I have no idea how these hammers would respond...! But it’s an idea. I care for a Boston GP193 which has even harder hammers and after I voiced it years ago it slowly developed a really nice tone (but the hammers overall are still rock hard).

I think the Abel Selects are/were the standard hammer on Mason and Hamlin’s since they switched from Renner. I thought I read M&H may be switching to the Naturals but I don’t know if that’s true or if they have switched yet. Both have the blue underfelt, but the Naturals have a ‘natural’ look with many visible layers of yellow-brown felt. Supposedly they’re softer hammers.

Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2801383
01/12/19 08:00 PM
01/12/19 08:00 PM
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(From an anonymous source who was not authorized to speak on record.)

M&H actually wanted to switch to Ronsens from the diamond-hard Renners, but Ronsen couldn't meet the demand, being that everyone else and their dog is trying to put Ronsens on rebuilds.

Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2801596
01/13/19 03:31 PM
01/13/19 03:31 PM
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I assume that Abel Select hammers are really just the standard Abel hammers as opposed to the natural felt hammers?


Chris Leslie ARPT
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au
Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2801636
01/13/19 04:54 PM
01/13/19 04:54 PM
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I don’t think they are a ‘standard’ Abel hammer, but the Select hammers use the Wurzen AA felt. You can read about them here:

https://technicians.wessellnickelandgross.com/action-parts/hammers/hammer-select-gross5.html

Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2801647
01/13/19 05:27 PM
01/13/19 05:27 PM
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They are just WNG hammers. Abel do not have hammers called "select".


Chris Leslie ARPT
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http://www.chrisleslie.com.au
Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2801682
01/13/19 07:22 PM
01/13/19 07:22 PM
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Pianotek sells Abel "Select" hammers, which they say are designed specifically for Pianotek.

One can assume that Abel also manufactures "Select" hammers for any proprietary dealer who wants to say the hammers were designed specifically to their specifications. Which may, in fact, be the case.

Re: Voicing Abel Select hammers [Re: jsilva] #2801720
01/13/19 09:42 PM
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Maybe I just should have entitled this thread:

“Voicing very hard Wurzen AA hammers” ...? smile

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