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Tips for dampers having damping issues? #2848983 05/16/19 06:44 PM
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jsilva Offline OP
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I’ve read several resources in an attempt to find a remedy for dampers which aren’t damping properly. For the piano in question, my guess is that it’s ‘age’ related. It’s the bass strings not damping well enough—which also causes some ringing in the higher notes.

Does anyone has any special tips for improving the damping of older felt without replacing them?

Last edited by jsilva; 05/16/19 06:45 PM.
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Re: Tips for dampers having damping issues? [Re: jsilva] #2849000 05/16/19 07:14 PM
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P W Grey Offline
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One band-aid you can apply is VS-Profelt to the felts (keep them off the strings till dry...24 hrs). That will soften them up a little (maybe alot) and be a start in the process. Then examine each one individually and make sure they are contacting front and back simultaneously (by adjusting the bend in the wire at the head), as well as both strings (in the case of bichords) by tilting the damper head, or by "leveling" strings (or both).

WARNING WARNING...DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!

If you do not actually know what you're doing with dampers you can very quickly make a huge mess. Old dampers like to remain ad they are. They have taken a compression set (imprint) against the strings. Changing their positions is dicey. They don't like it and can easily rebel.

Take it from someone who has tried. Your best bet would be the VS-PROFELT treatment. Soak the felt but not enough to affect the glue and make them fall off. WARNING WARNING!

Otherwise have fun. Eventually replace them.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Tips for dampers having damping issues? [Re: jsilva] #2849027 05/16/19 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by jsilva
I’ve read several resources in an attempt to find a remedy for dampers which aren’t damping properly. For the piano in question, my guess is that it’s ‘age’ related. It’s the bass strings not damping well enough—which also causes some ringing in the higher notes.

Actually, you are probably hearing the higher partial sounding in the bass string with the damper issue-- the damper is acting like a termination point while not killing the tone (ie. shortening the vibration length of the string and thus causing the higher partial to sound--- sounds like a high note, but touch the bass string and it goes away)...

Quote
Does anyone has any special tips for improving the damping of older felt without replacing them?

The best solution is to replace. Damper felts are not that expensive. But, you can try to use an emery board (or file) on the felts to soften them up a little.
Also- if this is a vertical (don't know what the piano is you are working on) and it is a bichord damper (i.o.w- a wedge damper), you might try moving the two strings closer together at the v-bar/pressure bar- sometimes on old junk you can get by with this to help kill bleeds. Also, attempt to cause the damper to seat bottom first (meaning a slight angle upward as it returns into place), sometimes this can make a difference as well on older dampers.


Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com
Re: Tips for dampers having damping issues? [Re: jsilva] #2849029 05/16/19 09:04 PM
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jsilva Offline OP
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Thanks! I had placed an order from Pianoteksupply just a few hours ago so I just placed another order for the vs-profelt. Hopefully they’ll see it and not charge me twice for shipping.

I admit dampers are my weakest area, but I can certainly make the typical adjustments without problems. I struggle when I come across older dampers though—I don’t want to do anything lest I make it worse and then it takes a lot of effort to get it back to mediocrity smile

Re: Tips for dampers having damping issues? [Re: Rick_Parks] #2849033 05/16/19 09:12 PM
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jsilva Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Rick_Parks
Actually, you are probably hearing the higher partial sounding in the bass string with the damper issue--


Yes, sorry, that’s what I was meaning to say.

Originally Posted by Rick_Parks

The best solution is to replace. Damper felts are not that expensive. But, you can try to use an emery board (or file) on the felts to soften them up a little.
Also- if this is a vertical (don't know what the piano is you are working on)...


I’d like to replace but under the circumstances it has to wait, so I’m just trying to find the best solution for right now. This is for a grand and I actually have another older grand which would benefit from better damping, so I’m anxious to try out some other techniques.

Thanks for the tip of the emery board! That’s easy enough and I have them around already. If that doesn’t work well enough I can use the vs-profelt.

Last edited by jsilva; 05/16/19 09:12 PM.
Re: Tips for dampers having damping issues? [Re: jsilva] #2849071 05/16/19 11:42 PM
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I prefer to needle felts that have hardened. But there are other issues that you need to check, such as worn damper guides, weak or broken springs, things like that.


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Re: Tips for dampers having damping issues? [Re: jsilva] #2849158 05/17/19 07:59 AM
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Just one bit of advice: diagnose the problem before you fix it.

If the problem is regulation (like spoons or damper tray holding the dampers barely on the string) then voicing probably won't help.
If the problem is dampers being on a node, voicing or replacing the felt with another of the same size probably won't fix it. (Bass dampers on old uprights are notoriously underbuilt BTW)

Find the worst damper and try your fix on that before you do the whole set. Good luck :-)


Anthony Willey, RPT
PianoMeter
Willey Piano Tuning
Re: Tips for dampers having damping issues? [Re: jsilva] #2849443 05/17/19 10:43 PM
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Keith Roberts Offline
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yes, sometimes the damper pedal is split to create two sections. The bass section felt may have come off and when you adjust the pedal, those dampers are held off the strings. That could be what it is if it's pervasive over the entire section. I have found loose screws and other stuff that affects a whole section but not bad felts. A few might be difficult to get right if you mess with them from the begining


Keith Roberts
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Re: Tips for dampers having damping issues? [Re: AWilley] #2849770 05/18/19 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by AWilley
Just one bit of advice: diagnose the problem before you fix it.

If the problem is regulation (like spoons or damper tray holding the dampers barely on the string) then voicing probably won't help.
If the problem is dampers being on a node, voicing or replacing the felt with another of the same size probably won't fix it. (Bass dampers on old uprights are notoriously underbuilt BTW)

Find the worst damper and try your fix on that before you do the whole set. Good luck :-)

Good advice here... Definitely diagnose before you begin voicing or bending the damper wires, etc... Save a lot of time and heart-ache if it is something simple causing it.


Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com
Re: Tips for dampers having damping issues? [Re: Rick_Parks] #2849776 05/18/19 10:43 PM
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jsilva Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Rick_Parks
Originally Posted by AWilley
Just one bit of advice: diagnose the problem before you fix it.

If the problem is regulation (like spoons or damper tray holding the dampers barely on the string) then voicing probably won't help.
If the problem is dampers being on a node, voicing or replacing the felt with another of the same size probably won't fix it. (Bass dampers on old uprights are notoriously underbuilt BTW)

Find the worst damper and try your fix on that before you do the whole set. Good luck :-)

Good advice here... Definitely diagnose before you begin voicing or bending the damper wires, etc... Save a lot of time and heart-ache if it is something simple causing it.


Thanks for all of the tips everyone! I appreciate it.

Re: Tips for dampers having damping issues? [Re: jsilva] #2867007 07/07/19 12:30 PM
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I was finally able to test the vs-profelt on the lowest Bb. That was the worst one. It’s definitely improved but not perfect so obviously the dampers need to be replaced.

I’m actually having a hard time figuring out what dampers are leaking. Bb5 is ringing when played. I muted every Bb on the piano with rubber wedge mutes and it made no difference. The only thing I found was that when I press down Bb2 (not to sound the note but raise the damper) the ringing is more pronounced. But if I aggressively mute Bb2 the ringing from Bb5 is still there. It’s got to be one of the Bb’s but which one is eluding me smile

Re: Tips for dampers having damping issues? [Re: jsilva] #2867113 07/07/19 05:22 PM
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You will need to mute EVERYTHING except just the Bb2 and see what happens. If it still rings its in the damper position on the string. If it stops ringing then you slowly start undamping strings till you find the offender, then ascertain why.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8

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