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Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: dlee1001] #2958088 03/17/20 06:38 PM
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One should start by regulating the action and at least enough voicing to make the piano even. It is often the case that just a few notes are unbearable, and correcting those will change one's perception of how loud the piano is. In any case, much of what you are hearing comes directly from the piano, so you should make that part of the sound as good as possible. If you find that you need to make adjustments to the room, you can still do it, but adjusting the room will not correct that sound that you are getting directly from the piano. Garbage in, garbage out!


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Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: dlee1001] #2958178 03/17/20 10:58 PM
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dlee1001 Offline OP

d, if you let the carpet you put under the piano be long enough that it comes all the way out in front, under the pedal lyre and at least up to the bench legs, it will attenuate the sound volume reflected toward your ears from the underside of the soundboard. It carries a lot of volume because you are so close.

Breaking up bad resonances, like standing waves (sounds like a quick series of gunshots if you clap your hands sharply), or ones that amplify certain frequencies in a way that unbalances the total sound palette (if you sing in a bathroom and certain notes sound really big--- that's what this is)...

So, damping the sound out of existence is not really needed. Irregular surfaces are friendlier to the home studio than highly reflective ones. Bookshelves are great at this, and it's a nice look with a piano. Once you start collecting scores, books about music, recordings, technical manuals, musician biographies, books of blank manuscript paper... they can go a long way. Couches, curtains (yes, even behind you) or shutters--- anything that breaks up flat, highly reflective surfaces, like sheetrock, window glass, brick, stone or tile, exposed flat wood panels or floors.

Positioning the piano in the room takes experimenting, but it can make every difference in the sound as it presents at your eardrums. A few inches can make an astounding difference.

All this is a very big subject; nothing a few e-mails can possibly cover, but you can make a good start with what people have shared with you here. And yes, a piano of that age is certain to need tuning, regulation, and voicing, as a matter of course, by someone who is good at it. You give no indication of your location in your profile, so all I can suggest is that you try Piano Technicians' Guild http://ptg.org . Besides their free auto-listing of certified technicians, given by zip code, you can write to them and ask about technicians who are skilled voicers.

If you start to hear any ringing in your ears, it's time to put in the earplugs, period. Your hearing can be protected, but not recovered if it is lost--- and that is another very big subject. If I'm working on technical studies, I just go ahead and wear them.

Best of luck with your 'new' friend.


Clef

Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: dlee1001] #2958215 03/18/20 02:30 AM
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Here's the solution to two problems at once: voicing down a too-loud grand, and storing that hoard of toilet paper. Drawing the cartoon helped solve a third problem, too - what to do when confined indoors laugh.

[Linked Image]


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Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: dlee1001] #2958242 03/18/20 06:54 AM
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Awesome!


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Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: MarieJ] #2958313 03/18/20 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by MarieJ

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And you are sitting on a stool, did you say?

Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: Man] #2958387 03/18/20 02:14 PM
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Too cool. That cartoon should be in the PianoWorld newsletter.


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Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: dlee1001] #2958470 03/18/20 07:22 PM
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I put a thick comforter and a blanket under the piano on top of the rug, and even that made some difference in the volume. The piano store I bought it from did some repairs as necessary and a full regulation, so I'm actually good in that aspect.

I did forget to mention that I have window shutters for the windows behind me.

When my piano tech voiced down the really harsh-sounding notes, it did make those notes sound more pleasing and quieter, as expected.

As MSnow suggested, I also tried playing my piano with the fly lid closed and the music desk removed, and while it did indeed make the piano less loud, it also sounded too muffled. (On a positive note, that might be the way to go if I start to hear ringing in my ears or if I want to play later in the night!) But I was surprised at what a big difference it made with having the fly lid opened versus closed.

Last edited by dlee1001; 03/18/20 07:26 PM.

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Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: dlee1001] #2958489 03/18/20 08:23 PM
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Just to clarify..."I put a thick comforter and a blanket under the piano on top of the rug''
The blanket material or comforter for most effect should be pressed into the space on the underside of the piano between the sound board and the beams.
The reason I suggest this method is if you move to another home with different room acoustics then these sound muffling materials are easily removed, maybe to the extreme that you will want to play the piano with prop stick fully raised.
I had many Boston musicians as tuning clients with large Steinway and Yamaha grands who were in townhouses or condos and to be good neighbors had to limit the sound potential of their piano and this method worked well, when they either moved back overseas or relocated to a larger home they could remove the muffling materials.
If however you are in this home for a good amount of time Kawai pianos are very straightforward to voice down to a more mellow tone , this I have also done on multiple occasions ,find a qualified tech. in your area.....martin
www.snowpianos.com


Piano Technician and restorer www.snowpianos.com now relocated to Burlington Vermont after 33 years as Head Piano Technician at Boston University School of Music.
Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: MSnow] #2958491 03/18/20 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by MSnow
Just to clarify..."I put a thick comforter and a blanket under the piano on top of the rug''
The blanket material or comforter for most effect should be pressed into the space on the underside of the piano between the sound board and the beams.
The reason I suggest this method is if you move to another home with different room acoustics then these sound muffling materials are easily removed, maybe to the extreme that you will want to play the piano with prop stick fully raised.
I had many Boston musicians as tuning clients with large Steinway and Yamaha grands who were in townhouses or condos and to be good neighbors had to limit the sound potential of their piano and this method worked well, when they either moved back overseas or relocated to a larger home they could remove the muffling materials.
If however you are in this home for a good amount of time Kawai pianos are very straightforward to voice down to a more mellow tone , this I have also done on multiple occasions ,find a qualified tech. in your area.....martin
www.snowpianos.com


I've heard that suggestion of putting blankets or comforters on the underside of the piano many times, and this may be a dumb question, but how exactly do I go about doing that, and how do I get it to stay put in there? I've tried crawling under my piano and stuff the blanket in the space between the soundboard and the beams, but I had a hard time with it. Maybe I was just being too cautious for fear of something breaking...

Last edited by dlee1001; 03/18/20 08:39 PM.

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Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: MSnow] #2958518 03/19/20 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by MSnow
Just to clarify..."I put a thick comforter and a blanket under the piano on top of the rug''
The blanket material or comforter for most effect should be pressed into the space on the underside of the piano between the sound board and the beams.
The reason I suggest this method is if you move to another home with different room acoustics then these sound muffling materials are easily removed, maybe to the extreme that you will want to play the piano with prop stick fully raised.
I had many Boston musicians as tuning clients with large Steinway and Yamaha grands who were in townhouses or condos and to be good neighbors had to limit the sound potential of their piano and this method worked well, when they either moved back overseas or relocated to a larger home they could remove the muffling materials.
If however you are in this home for a good amount of time Kawai pianos are very straightforward to voice down to a more mellow tone , this I have also done on multiple occasions ,find a qualified tech. in your area.....martin
www.snowpianos.com

Hi Mr. Snow,

You don't know me but I just want to let you know I am a BU alumnus and spent most of my young adult life on campus. Started in 1986 all through 1999, getting my undergraduate degree, doing research for the medical school, and eventually getting my clinical degree. But through all those years I hung out a lot at the School for the Arts taking a few music classes here and there and snuck in often into the practice rooms to play your pianos. Let me just say your work brought me many years of joy and solace while I sought my higher education and I want to personally thank you for that. It's a small world and now I can put a face to the man whose work helped me through all those years. Thanks again!


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Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: dlee1001] #2958525 03/19/20 12:36 AM
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I got extra-wide and extra heavy-duty velcro--- or should I say "hook and eye fasteners" (same thing without TM), in pretty large rolls at Home Depot. You can cut it down to even very delicate strands, which are still plenty durable for removable cable ties. Grand piano has big beams on the underside, and you can put largish loops of "velcro" over the beams, where they can support battens, cables, mics, foam cut to size to fill such voids as you decide improves the dB attenuation. Or, maybe panels of reflective surface, to direct or focus the sound as your experiments may reveal. (I have heard that dealers in the various kinds of foam use an electric carving knife to cut and shape it.)

Just as a suggestion, I personally would not like to completely block air circulation to the underside, and what I place under there, I do not like to see it hanging down. But that's me.

Some say that the "v" material was a gift to suffering humankind from thoughtful aliens from beyond the sky. Others point to Fuller's Teasel, an Earthly plant (weedy in California) whose seed-head receptacles are remarkably similar to the hook and loop structure of "v," though greatly overscaled compared to the flat tape. It has long been used in the manufacture of fibers, woven fabrics, and felt.


Clef

Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: dlee1001] #2958594 03/19/20 09:56 AM
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"Jethro''.....many thanks for these kind words , appreciate it.

Original poster...I realize it can seem a little intimidating at first to attempt to pack these ' soft materials' between soundboard and beams but nothing ventured. nothing gained so try it out and it needn't be too tidy right away, if you like the results neaten it up if you don't hear or don't like the quieting effect then just remove the materials.


Piano Technician and restorer www.snowpianos.com now relocated to Burlington Vermont after 33 years as Head Piano Technician at Boston University School of Music.
Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: dlee1001] #2960610 03/26/20 09:57 AM
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To add to the already good suggestions,
The action can also be regulated to have less blow distance thus deliver less power. Its also possible to use a dilute form of fabric softener/alcohol/water mix and spray a mist on top of the hammers which will soften the tone and not harm the hammers.
-chris


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Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: dlee1001] #2960884 03/27/20 12:58 AM
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One more little thing, if you're still reading, dlee1001.

I think it can be something of a misunderstanding of the process to speak of "a" voicing. It is a process that needs, not only an experienced and skillful voicer, but also some time. If you've already gotten started with tuning, regulation, and a bit of evening-up of the tone, and you have identified aspects of your piano's tone, or its volume that you want to change, then your piano is ready to try some actual voicing as such.

It is best not to be too drastic with any one treatment, and it is essential to have a serious and detailed discussion with your voicer, to make sure she or he knows what your hopes are, and so you will know whether they are realistic. Let them try an initial treatment, and see how far along the axis of improvement that takes you; give it a few months. As you play, the hammers change, and who knows, you may change certain things about the room acoustic... or your ear, or touch, or repertory may change.

Assuming that, after those few months, you still want more, and that the regulation is still what you want, after a fresh tuning call in the voicer for the next iteration. Regulation and tuning have to be very good before a voicer will be able to help you.

Anyway, that's the process. By the time a year has gone by, it's likely that the only way you will be able to improve the way the piano sounds, is to learn to play it better. But after a year of applying yourself to it, the probability is very high. If this is not the case, it is better to sell that piano and get another one whose voice you like better. No fault, no foul--- your own ear and touch have been continuously educated. Maybe, you will have saved up a bit more, with your eyes on a higher goal. Nothing wrong with that. Eventually you will have a piano that it will not be possible to outgrow, given the remaining years of life you expect to enjoy.

Or maybe you are already there.

Best of luck to you!

Clef

PS- It is possible to find pianos which have been mutilated by people who have tried to modify the voice beyond what is possible in good conscience. I mention this for other readers' information; reading what you have said I know you would never be a party to such a thing, and any reputable technician or voicer, which is the only sort you would attract, would never be a party to it. But it happens. I like to think that such folk would give up on the piano, and take up the electric guitar, or karaoke.

Yes, karaoke. Just the thing.


Clef

Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: Jeff Clef] #2960939 03/27/20 10:07 AM
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That’s exactly what my Piano Tech told me. You can “over do” voicing and kill a piano’s tone. Needling the hammers to mush or making the felt on the hammer tops like rock. I let him do his work but he takes a 10 minute break at midpoint on the work. I save my questions and piano conversation for that break and then when he’s done.

Thank heavens for PianoWorld! I’d go nuts if the only person I could talk pianos with is my Piano Tech! My family and friends play guitar. And they can’t explain things very well. I asked them what is the pentatonic scale? I got really vague answers. I had to take a piano class to figure that out. Pentatonic is the black keys. Diatonic is the white keys and together the make the chromatic scale.

But that’s probably just my fault. The only reason I can pass a music theory class is with a piano keyboard sitting in front of me.
My apologies to the OP. I’m veering OT. Back to the Kawai.

Last edited by j&j; 03/27/20 10:09 AM.

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Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: j&j] #2960941 03/27/20 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by j&j

Thank heavens for PianoWorld! I’d go nuts if the only person I could talk pianos with is my Piano Tech! My family and friends play guitar. And they can’t explain things very well. I asked them what is the pentatonic scale? I got really vague answers. I had to take a piano class to figure that out. Pentatonic is the black keys. Diatonic is the white keys and together the make the chromatic scale.

Yes and no with regard to the pentatonic scale. The black keys are one of the pentatonic scales, such scales can begin on any note. So a pentatonic scale is 1,2,4,5, and 6 degrees of the major scale. Diatonic is the same thing as a major scale, so all the white keys is C major (diatonic) scale.

Re: Voicing Down a Kawai Grand Piano [Re: Steve Chandler] #2960947 03/27/20 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Chandler
Originally Posted by j&j

Thank heavens for PianoWorld! I’d go nuts if the only person I could talk pianos with is my Piano Tech! My family and friends play guitar. And they can’t explain things very well. I asked them what is the pentatonic scale? I got really vague answers. I had to take a piano class to figure that out. Pentatonic is the black keys. Diatonic is the white keys and together the make the chromatic scale.

Yes and no with regard to the pentatonic scale. The black keys are one of the pentatonic scales, such scales can begin on any note. So a pentatonic scale is 1,2,4,5, and 6 degrees of the major scale. Diatonic is the same thing as a major scale, so all the white keys is C major (diatonic) scale.


Thank you. That I get. 5 notes 1,2,4,5,6 pentatonic. From a pianist. Not from my guitar buddies. smile

Last edited by j&j; 03/27/20 11:05 AM.

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