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A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha #2827231
03/15/19 03:46 PM
03/15/19 03:46 PM
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Horowitz67 Offline OP
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Hello all,
Here is my dilemma. I have a Yamaha GC1 baby grand. I have grown to absolutely love the piano. Initially the Yamaha brightness was too much, and Over a period of time I have had my technician Work On bringing it down, to warmer, mellow, and most importantly eveness ..and the ability to play a true pp.
But with that… It seems like I have lost a little bit of that ‘ping’ attack on treble notes( that Yamaha is famous for)
Here is the question. It is possible to get a just a little bit of that ping attack at the beginning of notes back.. without it affecting the brightness, volume, and evenness of the piano
voicing.
And if so, how would this be done?
Many thanks

Last edited by Horowitz67; 03/15/19 03:47 PM.
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Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827245
03/15/19 04:36 PM
03/15/19 04:36 PM
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Not certain what your tech did to mellow the sound but I would start slow and easy because treble hammers easily change.
For example: pick the worst offender and put hammer on a voicing block and simply pound the strike carefully with the butt end of a screwdriver plastic handle to compress the felt and see what happens.
Or carefully sanding the strike point with fine sandpaper.
Sometimes careful ironing.
Most potent response could come from chemical hardeners.
I like a small amount of plastic key top dissolved in acetone and just a drop on the strike point can get big results and it’s somewhat reversible.
That said, these are techniques to brighten up, not necessarily blend to tonally with neighboring notes.
Do sample note before you commit to all.


RPT
PTG Member
Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827247
03/15/19 04:47 PM
03/15/19 04:47 PM
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P W Grey Offline
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How much string grooving has occurred since the initially shaping the hammers?

I am assuming he/she reshaped the hammers somewhere along the line. If not, then a careful shaping is in order (very careful), and then fitting the hammers to the strings. If the hammers were deep needles right over the crown, all the more reason to do this before applying ironing or hardening agents IMO.

Pwg

Last edited by P W Grey; 03/15/19 04:50 PM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
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Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827262
03/15/19 05:42 PM
03/15/19 05:42 PM
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Horowitz67 Offline OP
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Thank you for the quick responses…
iI don’t think there was any reshaping. I think it was all needling But I’m not sure about that and could be wrong . I’ll check...

Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827271
03/15/19 06:08 PM
03/15/19 06:08 PM
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It's a terrible suggestion to have you, as the client, to do any work on the hammers. Have your technician, who is already familiar with those particular hammers, adjust the tone to your liking again.
As a technician, there is nothing worse than voicing a set of hammers only to get a call with a complaint, then to find out the pianist decided to do it himself, and mucked it all up.
-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
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Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827273
03/15/19 06:11 PM
03/15/19 06:11 PM
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If you want it to sound a little brighter, play it more.


Semipro Tech
Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827280
03/15/19 06:23 PM
03/15/19 06:23 PM
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Horowitz67 Offline OP
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I Don’t want it to sound any brighter. Not at all. I think it is right where I want it.
It is just the attack. Tough to describe. I want a tiny bit more ping on the attack. I guess one would describe it as having a Consonant on the attack of the note. A ‘p’ or ‘k’.. not a vowel of ‘a’ or ‘i’.
But without increasing brightness of the tone that much or sacrificing the ability to play pianissimo,

Last edited by Horowitz67; 03/15/19 06:27 PM.
Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827313
03/15/19 07:36 PM
03/15/19 07:36 PM
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Have your tech put some of his/her preferred hardening agent into a perfume type spray bottle (atomizer). Then just spritz the tops of the hammers very lightly, let dry, and try it. Start with the treble and if satisfactory proceed farther down. This is a very controllable way of getting a tiny amount where it counts. If it doesn't do what you want, then reshape the hammers, fit, and start again.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
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Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827331
03/15/19 08:26 PM
03/15/19 08:26 PM
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Quote
I Don’t want it to sound any brighter. Not at all. I think it is right where I want it.
It is just the attack. Tough to describe. I want a tiny bit more ping on the attack. I guess one would describe it as having a Consonant on the attack of the note. A ‘p’ or ‘k’.. not a vowel of ‘a’ or ‘i’.
But without increasing brightness of the tone that much or sacrificing the ability to play pianissimo,


But, essentially, "ping on the attack" IS brightness. But it's a question of degree.

I know that it is difficult to get just the right vocabulary - and use it consistently - to describe the subjective experience of piano tone. But, basically, the sensation of ping on the attack is due to the mix of 'onset partials' in the wave envelope - the high partials that die away very quickly. The harder the surface is that strikes or plucks a string, the more those high partials will be activated and the brighter or harder the note will be. There is a difference between plucking a guitar string with a piece of thin metal, and with a fingernail. It has to do with how long the plucking or striking surface stays in contact with the string.

You have had some good suggestions here. I think you really need to consult with your regular technician about them.

Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827344
03/15/19 09:58 PM
03/15/19 09:58 PM
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Horowitz67 Offline OP
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Very good point David..,
Thank you for all the excellent feedback!

Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827353
03/15/19 10:13 PM
03/15/19 10:13 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
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The treble tone is very sensitive to hammer weight. If your tech is skilled at trimming weight from the shoulders and tails of the treble hammers without touching the striking surface, you will gain more dynamic range, sustain and color. I am talking about from about note 55 to 88.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
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Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2827375
03/15/19 11:58 PM
03/15/19 11:58 PM
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Horowitz67 Offline OP
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Thx Ed. This is great to know 👍👍

Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827583
03/16/19 02:33 PM
03/16/19 02:33 PM
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New Hampshire
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P W Grey Offline
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Another vote for shaping and more. Often as much as .5g - 1g can be removed with care. Asian hammers are often not tapered as much as they could be, and there can be wood behind the hammershank that can be trimmed. You might try with one and see if there's any improvement.

Pwg

Last edited by P W Grey; 03/16/19 02:36 PM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: David Boyce] #2827682
03/16/19 07:52 PM
03/16/19 07:52 PM
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Maine, USA
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Originally Posted by David Boyce
...But, essentially, "ping on the attack" IS brightness. But it's a question of degree.

I know that it is difficult to get just the right vocabulary - and use it consistently - to describe the subjective experience of piano tone. But, basically, the sensation of ping on the attack is due to the mix of 'onset partials' in the wave envelope - the high partials that die away very quickly. The harder the surface is that strikes or plucks a string, the more those high partials will be activated and the brighter or harder the note will be......


Agreed with Mr. Boyce here entirely- what you are describing is the result of brightness to the hammer voicing.
If what you had was "overly bright", and now what you are describing is "less bright" than what you wish for-- there is a happy target in there somewhere that a good tech can find with the ear of a listening client. Trick is as the others have suggested- SMALL changes at a time (which can be reversed)...

As another thought all together- from my experiences, it can turn out that what a client is speaking of when they want something that has gone away in tone, it might actually be something altogether aside from voicing. For instance, has a note (or 2 or 3) slipped in their unison tuning? This would certainly diminish the tone on the attack (as a crisp unison would not be there to begin the attack's tone properly)... Just a side thought.


Parks and Sons Piano Service
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Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827707
03/16/19 09:59 PM
03/16/19 09:59 PM
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Voicing is ideally best done to a piano in otherwise perfect shape. So a piano with significantly cut hammers is not really ready to be voiced (if by voicing we mean using needles). If hammers in that condition are needled on the crowns, you can generally expect a mushy attack. A good voicer can control the brightness at ff and pp independently to a very large extent. So although the generall level of brightness at medium power the OP describes is OK, the dull attack suggests that the color at pp is foggy, whatever the color at forte is. Diagnosing voicing problems at a distance and from a written description isn't very practical. But even in person it's virtually impossible without reference to the most valuable test: listening to a repeated-note crescendo on every single note. To solve the problem described I'd start , after filing the hammer, by getting the color at pp closer (not identical ) to the attack color desired by listening at pp to diagnose, then adjust the color at pp by shallow crown needling, or reducing the radius of the hammer crown, or both (or possibly using hardener). This is what will get the attack on louder playing brighter as desired. Then as the crescendo test indicates, the deeper layers of felt can be addressed either at the shoulders or cautiously at the crown to adjust the color at louder levels of playing. Oh, and by the way there's no reason why the effects of shallow crown needling can't last, but its durability depends on what's going on down deeper.

The bottom line is that, if the OP's technician is a good voicer, and the hammers are intact and workable, the best strategy is to let the tech do a thorough job and not try cut corners. The perennial problem with the piano as an instrument is that if you love the sound of your instrument and play it much, there will come come a day when you won't love the sound and it will have to be voiced again.

Bill Schneider


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Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827708
03/16/19 10:07 PM
03/16/19 10:07 PM
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Sorry for the run-on sentence in my previous post!

Bill


Piano restoration
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Pipe organ service and rebuilding
bill.schneider79@gmail.com
Mason & Hamlin CC, Steinway B, Steinway M
Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827717
03/16/19 11:47 PM
03/16/19 11:47 PM
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Horowitz67 Offline OP
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Great Answers everyone. Many thanks
Bill… I think you really nailed it. This is where I am

Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827765
03/17/19 07:13 AM
03/17/19 07:13 AM
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I Would never add hardener to a Yamaha hammer although Peter's method would be the least detrimental as far as reversibility is concerned.
I agree with everything that Bill has said and have found that filing and ironing can bring a Yamaha hammer to any brightness needed especially in this situation with the concerns of Horowitz67.


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Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2827859
03/17/19 01:21 PM
03/17/19 01:21 PM
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I still think the best thing to do is to play it a bit more. Voicers often leave pianos slightly softer than they expect them to be finally, and the last bit comes from playing the piano in.


Semipro Tech
Re: A question for some voicing experts..Yamaha [Re: Horowitz67] #2828090
03/18/19 03:43 AM
03/18/19 03:43 AM
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I just installed some VFG Ronsens on a "S". They were very soft sounding. After I leveled the strings, I put my key pounding machine on it for a half hour. I am always amazed how that brightens up the tone.
-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
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