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Re: Tenor break #1126125
09/06/03 01:25 AM
09/06/03 01:25 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 512
Sterling Heights, Michigan
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Mat D. Offline
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Sterling Heights, Michigan
Hi Del,

Wonderful response as I would have expected from you.

3-4 years ago I wrote you directly w/this exact problem on my Mason & Hamlin BB. You were kind enough to respond with very detailed information & support---thank you again.

I loved the piano (my BB)& hated the break. Since then I have had the Stanwood upgrade done & replaced the Renner blues w/ Steinway hammers (much better IMO)..the tone & feel of the piano is great---the break still stinks!!! It is definately a design/scale problem since the break sounds no different than it did before.

I have written Mason & Hamlin detailed letters on at least 2 occasions, talked with Cecil Ramirez etc. M&H never even wrote me back----they wanted me to go away because they know I'm right about my assertion that my particular BB (90637)had a diff scale than the one they had advertised in their literature...."original design" etc. etc.---It makes me mad to think of it.

Don't get me wrong, my piano overall is fabulous, but that doesn't change the fact that the scale at the break is not workable. Yes, I'm particular, but that's why I bought the piano I did. If I knew then what I know now, there is no way I would have let myself be sweet-talked into thinking the break would be able to be fixed by voicing. It wasn't till a couple months later that I found out my scale was different than the others M&H was selling. There is very little info out there about this problem because it only affected a handful of pianos. When I first had a break problem everyone said it was a voicing thing & I believed them because of the reputation M&H BB had; their wonderful scale etc., etc....little did I know then...Even Cecil gave some BS when I asked him straight out about the 6 bicords at the break on my piano as opposed the the trpile wires on the original (and current) BB design. He danced around my direct question & never gave me a satisfactory answer. I know he checks in here and he knows I'm right. I do like Cecil as a person (he's got his gig) and the direction that M&H is going, but my particular problem was never addressed and it still makes me mad! I have a great piano tech and believe me, it is a struggle.

I still think Mason & Hamlin owes me-----more than an apology. I bought a different piano than the advertised piano---I've done the research & I know I'm right...the very least they should have done is send their best tech out to take a personal look---they didn't do that because they knew EXACTLY what I had there..."ignore him, he'll go away"

Sorry to go on like this, but this thread reminded me of my struggle with my piano. Again, I love my piano, but it's like buying a Mercedes w/a different engine---frustrating...oh, can you tell I'm passionate about this....maybe I'll send another letter to M&H.

Anyone out there have any ideas? It seems to me, I did mention this to Rich Cunningham in a personal note to him...

Cecil, if you want to call me on this, I'm all ears!

Thanks,
Mat D.

Piano & Music Accessories
Re: Tenor break #1126126
09/06/03 04:32 AM
09/06/03 04:32 AM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,930
El Cajon, CA
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Del:
Quote
Originally posted by 88Key_PianoPlayer:
[b] ok... i figured that you'd probably have to add hitch pins when changing trichord plain strings to bichord wrapped strings. But, what do you do with the extra tuning pin hole that's left?

Also, although I can't recall any situation off the top of my head where you'd want to do it, is it ever possible to add an extra tuning pin, like if you wanted to change a bichord to a trichord, for example?
1) You either leave it or you plug it. If you plug it you can use an appropriately sized wood dowel. Paint it gold if you want. If the plate is out of the piano you can fill it with steel reinforced epoxy, seal it and paint over it when the plate is sprayed.

2) Anything is possible, but I can't imagine any situation in which I would change a bi-chord wrapped unison to a tri-chord wrapped unison. Indeed, I can't think of any situation in which I would willingly use a tri-chord wrapped unison.

Del [/b]
I don't remember specifying whether or not they'd be wrapped or plain strings. i was just curious if it was possible and as far as I can tell you've answered that question.

Another question prompted by discussion with my brother and father.... when you wrap bass strings to get the required mass with the shorter than ideal length, we normally use copper nowadays, right? (I think I read/heard somewhere that they used to use iron way back when). Generally you need more mass / weight on the strings to get the lower pitch, and thicker strings means greater inharmonicity, right? My dad and bro put the idea into my head of maybe trying another heavier material to wrap strings with, like tungsten for example, which is approx 2x or so heavier than copper. What would be the possible results of using a heavier material, besides not having to wind the strings as thick? If I was going to do an experiment like this, I would probably need to find someone who was willing to wrap a couple strings with the different material (whether it's tungsten or something else) then install them among copper strings in an existing smaller than 45" vertical or smaller than 5'3" grand and see what kind of a difference it makes in the tone. (although with a different string diameter it'd probably need a different hammer, too...)

Another thing, what kinds of places do you think is the ideal place for the bass/tenor break on a few sizes of pianos (assuming that you put plain wire all the way to the break, or maybe use a few trichord wrapped unisons on a separate tenor bridge (a 9'2" Knabe with wrapped trichords from F2 to C#3 on a separate bridge sounded quite nice to my ear - I practically had to LOOK at the piano to realize they were wound strings, not plain. smile ) (on larger pianos - bichords on smaller ones for example)? for example on grands, 9', (I think you said B27/C28 for 7-foot), 6', 5'6", 5', or verticals - 60", 56" (my piano this size has the break at B27/C28, and I've seen some old uprights that had a separate tenor bridge with 2 bichords, then trichords up to D#3 in the 52" and taller range), 52", 48", 45", 42", or 36" (how DARE anyone build a piano THAT small!! wink (exceptions that my ear tells me about: Wurlitzer (a couple older ones) and Baldwin Acrosonic))

Is it possible to have a vertical short enough to see over (for me that would be 52" with a high bench, 48" stretching with a normal bench, 45 or 44" sitting normally) that has, maybe not actual plain wires to notes that I'm talking about, but is voiced to have a tone like what a piano would have if it had plain wires down to, say, A#2 for example (assuming the piano you're comparing it to is of sufficient size to be able to have plain wires to that note)? Would, for example, putting the break at A2/A#2 and using 7 wrapped bichords on a separate tenor bridge possibly do this, kind of like what was done in a 9'2" Knabe I played a few months ago (except the Knabe had the break at E2/F2 with 9 wrapped trichords)?


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1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
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Re: Tenor break #1126127
09/06/03 12:08 PM
09/06/03 12:08 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,534
Olympia, Washington
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Del Offline
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Quote
2) Anything is possible, but I can't imagine any situation in which I would change a bi-chord wrapped unison to a tri-chord wrapped unison. Indeed, I can't think of any situation in which I would willingly use a tri-chord wrapped unison.

Del
I don't remember specifying whether or not they'd be wrapped or plain strings. i was just curious if it was possible and as far as I can tell you've answered that question.

You didn't. I made an assumption. But, in over fourty years at this stuff I have never encountered any situation in which it might be desirable, practical or beneficial to switch from a bi-chord wrapped unision to a plain steel tri-chord unison.
------------


[quote] My dad and bro put the idea into my head of maybe trying another heavier material to wrap strings with, like tungsten for example, which is approx 2x or so heavier than copper. What would be the possible results of using a heavier material, besides not having to wind the strings as thick?

You'll have to try it. I've not, though several folks who are thinking about it have consulted with me on the subject. So far as I know none have yet actually wrapped any strings. Beware the unintended consequence.


[Quote] Another thing, what kinds of places do you think is the ideal place for the bass/tenor break on a few sizes of pianos (assuming that you put plain wire all the way to the break, or maybe use a few trichord wrapped unisons on a separate tenor bridge...

Stephen, we've been over this and similar questions in the past on PIANOTECH. There are still no simplistic cookbook answers -- no "one-size-fits-all" solutions. There are far to many variables in a question like this to answer in anything resembling the space available. At some point the question involves as much art as science. The science part can come from books and research. The art is something else again. For this I know of no substitute for hands-on work.

Within a given length of piano there can be long scales, short scales, high-tension scales, low-tension scales and any combination of these. Each will-at least can-have a different answer depending on what the designer/manufacturer was after.

As you know, I teach all-day seminars on this subject. And in six-plus hours barely scratch the surface. My advice is still the same -- get in there and get your hands dirty. Figure out how to use a basic scaling package, or set up your own in Excel. Dr Al Sanderson's formulas and writings on the subject are as good as anybodies. Go to one of his classes while you still can. Then measure and evaluate a few dozen or few hundred pianos. See what you see and compare what you see to what you hear.

Then figure out exactly what it is you want to hear in a piano and relate that all that back to the scales you've evaluated from pianos you like.

The internet is wonderful, but there is still no substitute for hands-on experience. As with most worthwhile stuff in life there is still a learning curve.


Del


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Tenor break #1126128
09/06/03 03:09 PM
09/06/03 03:09 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,930
El Cajon, CA
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
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El Cajon, CA
The problem might be what I want to hear in a piano doesn't match what is possible to scale in a piano. Is it possible to have something like this in the tenor (notes played on this clip among others are F21 and A#26) on a 45" vertical or 5'6" grand? (that's a Steinway with plain wire to F21 AFAIK)


Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
You can right-click my avatar for an option to view a larger version.
Re: Tenor break #1126129
09/06/03 09:33 PM
09/06/03 09:33 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,534
Olympia, Washington
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Del Offline
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Olympia, Washington
Quote
Originally posted by 88Key_PianoPlayer:
The problem might be what I want to hear in a piano doesn't match what is possible to scale in a piano. Is it possible to have something like this in the tenor (notes played on this clip among others are F21 and A#26) on a 45" vertical or 5'6" grand? (that's a Steinway with plain wire to F21 AFAIK)
Sorry, I don't download audio clips over the internet -- we still don't have any kind of high-speed access out where I live.

And I've learned enough by now to refrain from any attempts to voice pianos via even the best of audio speakers.

Del


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Tenor break #1126130
09/06/03 10:25 PM
09/06/03 10:25 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 27,738
Oakland
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Quote
And I've learned enough by now to refrain from any attempts to voice pianos via even the best of audio speakers.
I don't work with the monitors or house on, but for those of us who work in the jazz and pop worlds, listening to your tuning and voicing amplified keeps you honest. thumb


Semipro Tech
Re: Tenor break #1126131
09/06/03 11:43 PM
09/06/03 11:43 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,930
El Cajon, CA
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
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El Cajon, CA
Quote
Originally posted by Del:
Quote
Originally posted by 88Key_PianoPlayer:
[b] The problem might be what I want to hear in a piano doesn't match what is possible to scale in a piano. Is it possible to have something like this in the tenor (notes played on this clip among others are F21 and A#26) on a 45" vertical or 5'6" grand? (that's a Steinway with plain wire to F21 AFAIK)
Sorry, I don't download audio clips over the internet -- we still don't have any kind of high-speed access out where I live.

And I've learned enough by now to refrain from any attempts to voice pianos via even the best of audio speakers.

Del [/b]
FYI that clip is approx 227k. About voicing via a recorded sample with speakers or whatever, is there another way to be able to have someone's piano voiced to his satisfaction without having to play an audio clip of what he wants for the technician? I wouldn't want to go so far as to make a table of all 88 notes, with several harmonics for each note and plotting the relative strength of each harmonic. (I don't even think I could do that!!) How do people NORMALLY tell how they want their piano voiced, besides just "brighter", "mellower", etc? how would you get more detailed than those general terms?


Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
You can right-click my avatar for an option to view a larger version.
Re: Tenor break #1126132
09/07/03 12:38 AM
09/07/03 12:38 AM
Joined: Jun 2003
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Oakland
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Quote
How do people NORMALLY tell how they want their piano voiced, besides just "brighter", "mellower", etc? how would you get more detailed than those general terms?
Most people don't even know it can be done. I always start with getting the piano even.


Semipro Tech
Re: Tenor break #1126133
09/07/03 02:13 AM
09/07/03 02:13 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,534
Olympia, Washington
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Del Offline
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[/qb][/QUOTE]FYI that clip is approx 227k. About voicing via a recorded sample with speakers or whatever, is there another way to be able to have someone's piano voiced to his satisfaction without having to play an audio clip of what he wants for the technician? I wouldn't want to go so far as to make a table of all 88 notes, with several harmonics for each note and plotting the relative strength of each harmonic. (I don't even think I could do that!!) How do people NORMALLY tell how they want their piano voiced, besides just "brighter", "mellower", etc? how would you get more detailed than those general terms? [/QB][/QUOTE]

You sit down with the piano owner in front of the piano and you listen to it together. You then both have a point of common reference -- the piano in question. Then, when the piano owner or piano player says he or she wants it brighter, softer, whatever, you both know what he or she is talking about.

I haven't heard a set of speakers yet that can substitute for that experience.

Del


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Tenor break #1126134
09/10/03 08:57 AM
09/10/03 08:57 AM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 33
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Opus31no2 Offline OP
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Gads! What have I started? Dropped in to see if any new replies, and was flabbergasted to see so many people took this to be a serious issue.

Well, now my question is this...from what I've read, the tenor break problem is due to scaling design, and the manufacturer has most likely tried everything to correct it, and if they can't fix it nobody can. That's what I'm hearing here.

Surely some "custom" work could still be done, either by making custom strings, or repositioning the string, etc., that could make the break acceptable, right? The manufacturer isn't about to do this and in doing so admit there's a design problem, but couldn't an experienced rebuilder do some "after market" work, and improve things? It IS possible right? I mean you're not giving up are you? What if a rebuilder COULD improve all the tenor break problems for those brands that have them, and make quite a name for him/herself! I know I'd pay whatever it took to make the piano "complete". Can it be done?

Thanks again for all the response!

Re: Tenor break #1126135
09/10/03 10:30 AM
09/10/03 10:30 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
Midwest U.S.
ChickGrand Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Opus31no2:
...couldn't an experienced rebuilder do some "after market" work, and improve things? It IS possible right? I mean you're not giving up are you? What if a rebuilder COULD improve all the tenor break problems for those brands that have them, and make quite a name for him/herself! I know I'd pay whatever it took to make the piano "complete". Can it be done?
Anything is possible if you throw enough money at it. Some of the "after market" work that has been suggested here is in the realm of voicing and tidying up where inconsistency of build may emphasize the problem break. Rescaling a portion of the string may not even be considered drastic and may minimize the problem to an acceptable extent. If it gets beyond that, into the bridge design or bridge placement though, or into that further realm of the rebuilder's art, to correct a problem, I'd think the place to have gotten drastic would have been during the comparison shopping phase. Most customers do not expect to buy a new piano only to have to call in the rebuilder to correct design problems. They buy the nearest to satisfactory for their budget at the outset and try to avoid design problems. Even if a rebuilder could redesign the piano to correct the problem, there probably will not be sufficient customers willing to make that kind of outlay to permit the rebuilder to "make a name for himself". Someone could probably take an old Kimball spinet and make it sound good with drastic redesign innovation and make a name, too. Is it reasonable to consider financially? Would anyone care? The place to deal with this issue is on the sales floor at the time of purchase. If you have unfortunately bought a piano where the break is just unbearable, even after the reasonable steps that have been suggested here to temper it, you'd be better off trading in the piano and a bit more cash for another make and model without the inherent design problem, rather than get into the unknown cost and outcome of a significant rebuild.

Still curious what make and model we're talking about. smokin

Re: Tenor break #1126136
09/10/03 10:31 AM
09/10/03 10:31 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,534
Olympia, Washington
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Del Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Opus31no2:
Gads! What have I started? Dropped in to see if any new replies, and was flabbergasted to see so many people took this to be a serious issue.

Well, now my question is this...from what I've read, the tenor break problem is due to scaling design, and the manufacturer has most likely tried everything to correct it, and if they can't fix it nobody can. That's what I'm hearing here.

Surely some "custom" work could still be done, either by making custom strings, or repositioning the string, etc., that could make the break acceptable, right? The manufacturer isn't about to do this and in doing so admit there's a design problem, but couldn't an experienced rebuilder do some "after market" work, and improve things? It IS possible right? I mean you're not giving up are you? What if a rebuilder COULD improve all the tenor break problems for those brands that have them, and make quite a name for him/herself! I know I'd pay whatever it took to make the piano "complete". Can it be done?

Thanks again for all the response!
-------------
Possibly. E-mail me privately with some details and I might be able to give you a better answer.

Del


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Tenor break #1126137
09/10/03 11:11 AM
09/10/03 11:11 AM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 33
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Opus31no2 Offline OP
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This reply is for chickgrand.

Yes, I agree that this could all have been avoided before the purchase, but unfortunately, some of us customers still (again unfortunately) trust the dealer, and believe a simple voicing is all that's needed. I've owned approximately 15 different pianos since 1970, used and new grands, and never had an issue that voicing couldn't correct. In the mid 70's I played on a concert grand that was "my" ultimate sound, and this year, that same brand had that sound, save the tenor break which I didn't think was a concern, because due to previous experience, I assumed it could be voiced out.

For those of you intent on buying an expensive grand, learn from this...be careful...be vewy vewy careful that your instrument sounds and plays the way you want AT THE STORE, before accepting delivery, and going through an awkward, frustrating, embarrassing and possibly expensive rectification.

Re: Tenor break #1126138
09/10/03 12:28 PM
09/10/03 12:28 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
Midwest U.S.
ChickGrand Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Opus31no2:
This reply is for chickgrand.

Yes, I agree that this could all have been avoided before the purchase, but unfortunately, some of us customers still (again unfortunately) trust the dealer, and believe a simple voicing is all that's needed. I've owned approximately 15 different pianos since 1970, used and new grands, and never had an issue that voicing couldn't correct. In the mid 70's I played on a concert grand that was "my" ultimate sound, and this year, that same brand had that sound, save the tenor break which I didn't think was a concern, because due to previous experience, I assumed it could be voiced out.

For those of you intent on buying an expensive grand, learn from this...be careful...be vewy vewy careful that your instrument sounds and plays the way you want AT THE STORE, before accepting delivery, and going through an awkward, frustrating, embarrassing and possibly expensive rectification.
Your advice is good advice. I understand the perspective you had going into this purchase. I may perhaps also put too much faith in the possibilities of voicing, also based on my own personal experience. Hopefully the manufacturer and dealer will continue to work with you to find an ultimate solution that will give you an instrument that will make you happy.

Re: Tenor break [Re: Opus31no2] #2825921
03/12/19 02:46 PM
03/12/19 02:46 PM
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For "TUBBY" sound on my large upright I have finally found (even after buying new wound strings for the problem section), that it is the fact that the hammers do NOT strike both strings at the same moment. This means that the string which is struck first take most of the "power" out of the hammer.
In my piano the base hammers are only 9,5mm wide and are angled across their strings - this makes it very difficult to get an even strike.
I have vastly improved the situation by filing and repositioning the hammers (i.e. left to right), but the sound still bugs me as the notes in question are from A3 to D3 and thus form the base for just about any piece of music.

Re: Tenor break [Re: Opus31no2] #2827870
03/17/19 02:01 PM
03/17/19 02:01 PM
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Is that from Fsharp going down to B3. My break from D3 down to B3 and the strings are wrapped. I first tried replacement using slightly lighter steel under the copper - not much difference.
I am, now, having some success mating the hammers to the strings.
Althought my piano is a large upright I would imagine that your grand also has base hammers where the horizontal plane thru 'a' hammer is not at right angles to the strings. You will see that string's the impact marks on it's hammer are not the same length and depth I have worked to even these marks - it requires a lot of time but it has made a big difference.

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