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Testing parts: New hammer, string, or both? #2825801 03/12/19 08:18 AM
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TurboMatt Offline OP
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My 1924 Chickering has original strings however the hammers were changed around 1960. Most of the middle and upper register sound good for the age. All of the bass strings sound dull and flat. The piano has been serviced twice by two different techs in the are, both noted that it was ok for it's age.

What I would like to try is to replace a few parts and see how it works out. Would it be crazy to consider replacing one bass string, move up one note and replace only the hammer, move up one more and replace the hammer and string? I would like to see which part would offer the most beneficial increase in sound quality. Then go from there.

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Matt


1980 Yamaha G5 Grand Piano
1924 Chickering Baby Grand
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Re: Testing parts: New hammer, string, or both? [Re: TurboMatt] #2825813 03/12/19 08:51 AM
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P W Grey Offline
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Matt,

That scenario is not wise. You would be better off to try reconditioning a few bass strings, and shaping and regulating a few hammers and see what you get then.( This of course my opinion, but is probably how I would go about it first).

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Testing parts: New hammer, string, or both? [Re: P W Grey] #2825817 03/12/19 09:03 AM
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What exactly would be involved with the reconditioning of the strings? I followed a thread a year or so ago to add a few twists to the bass strings. I tried this on 2 or 3 and it made a very small improvement. As reference, my Yamaha P22 upright sounds worlds best with it's bass section. Both in volume and presence.

Any good videos to follow regarding the bass string reconditioning or hammer shaping?


1980 Yamaha G5 Grand Piano
1924 Chickering Baby Grand
Re: Testing parts: New hammer, string, or both? [Re: TurboMatt] #2825835 03/12/19 09:57 AM
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P W Grey Offline
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If you twist it backwards against the windings a turn or two, then put it back on with a full twist in the correct direction, then try it. If there is no noticeable improvement with that, then it could be argued that a full unison of both strings could be installed as a further test.

Or you could take one off completely (carefully threading it back out through the agraffe without breaking the coil) and soak it in ammonia (there's a video by Craig Hair on this), reinstall it and see what you get. If it sounds great that argues that a new set of bass strings is in order.

For hammer filing and regulating you need to KNOW what you're doing.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Testing parts: New hammer, string, or both? [Re: P W Grey] #2825838 03/12/19 10:04 AM
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I'll look on YouTube for a video on soaking the strings and how it's done. So if that makes it sound better, I am safe to assume that strings are the issues and no more so the hammers?

I do realize that about the hammers. I've been on the fence about it since it's such an old piano. Does a tool exist to test hammer hardness? Or am I getting way off track with that thinking?


1980 Yamaha G5 Grand Piano
1924 Chickering Baby Grand
Re: Testing parts: New hammer, string, or both? [Re: TurboMatt] #2825846 03/12/19 10:19 AM
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BDB Offline
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If you do not know what the results of changing strings and hammers are, then it is worthwhile to change all the strings, and all the hammers of a piano to find out what the results are. Replacing just one or two is expensive, and may not teach you enough. Note that you should do one job, and then the other.


Semipro Tech
Re: Testing parts: New hammer, string, or both? [Re: BDB] #2825857 03/12/19 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by BDB
If you do not know what the results of changing strings and hammers are, then it is worthwhile to change all the strings, and all the hammers of a piano to find out what the results are. Replacing just one or two is expensive, and may not teach you enough. Note that you should do one job, and then the other.


I would agree as that is how I would typically do most things in life. From what I suspect, the strings are more 'worn' than the hammers. If I slowly play each note moving down the keyboard, there is a very big different in sound as soon as you reach the bass strings. They sound quite dull in comparison to the steel strings.


1980 Yamaha G5 Grand Piano
1924 Chickering Baby Grand
Re: Testing parts: New hammer, string, or both? [Re: TurboMatt] #2825904 03/12/19 12:54 PM
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TurboMatt Offline OP
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Should have asked earlier.

What would be the preferred string and or hammer brand or company to go with? The piano is 5'7" if that matters.


1980 Yamaha G5 Grand Piano
1924 Chickering Baby Grand
Re: Testing parts: New hammer, string, or both? [Re: TurboMatt] #2825908 03/12/19 01:05 PM
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Mapes wire is fine. I am not familiar with all the different brands of hammers.


Semipro Tech
Re: Testing parts: New hammer, string, or both? [Re: TurboMatt] #2825960 03/12/19 02:49 PM
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adamp88 Offline
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I wouldn't focus on hammers at all right now. If the bass sounds dull and lifeless, and they're the original 95 year old bass strings, then it's likely time to replace the strings.


Adam Schulte-Bukowinski, RPT
Piano Technician, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
ASB Piano Service
Re: Testing parts: New hammer, string, or both? [Re: TurboMatt] #2826515 03/13/19 06:47 PM
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You could also be missing another possibility... On older pianos, it is not uncommon to have the bass bridge come loose from the soundboard (glue joint releases)... This will definitely kill all tone across the register. Not saying this is the issue, but possible.

Also, as far as hammers being the cause--- it would be nice to get a pic of these hammers, for us to see condition.
I recently had a grand that was terribly dead tone in the bass. The treble was nice and bright (made the problem even worse).
The hammers in the bass had 1/4" grooves in them, and were flat at striking point. Grooves were killing the strings (gripping them on the sides at strike). Tone came back nicely, once the hammers received a 'proper' resurfacing, and the striking point was restored.


Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com
Re: Testing parts: New hammer, string, or both? [Re: TurboMatt] #2826517 03/13/19 06:49 PM
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Have a 1884 Knabe upright-- original strings... Bass sounds beautiful. Not perfect, but nice. String age does not always necessitate dead tone.


Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com
Re: Testing parts: New hammer, string, or both? [Re: TurboMatt] #2826663 03/14/19 07:19 AM
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If it's a grand, then I don't think removing the bass strings to clean them is such a good idea, because of the agraffes.


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