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Sustain Bar not lifting lowest octave
#2990367 06/11/20 10:37 PM
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I have an ancient Kimball upright (manufactured est. 1905) and its sustain bar isn't lifting the lowest octave (approximately). When I take the action off and look a bit closer I can see that the sustain bar appears to be sitting further back in the areas affected. I take this to indicate that the sustain bar itself somehow has been misshapen?

The felt on the part of the damper levers that sit against the sustain bar in the areas of question shows zero signs of indentation, which to me suggests that this particular action has never actually worked correctly with the sustain bar.

So what can be done? I've discussed this with a technician casually as he was tuning the piano, and while he didn't look as closely as I just have, he said that due to the age of the piano it's likely something that cannot be fixed, either because attempt to re-bend the sustain bar could result in breakage due to age, and that a replacement part doesn't exist due to the age of the piano.

Do you guys concur with this?

I was thinking perhaps of augmenting the sustain bar in the areas affected with some medium that "extends" the sustain bar by the appropriate amount (~1/8 to 3/16 of an inch). Tape or some kind of tapered stick...

It seems really odd to me that the sustain bar would be bent this way on the section of the bar that is closest to the point of contact with the rod... i.e. it's bent in the opposite way you would think from years of use. If anything I would suspect that the higher octaves would be the first to be effected by a worn out sustain bar given the increased tension load.

The picture below shows when the dampers look like when I lift the sustain bar (sorry it's upside down)

[Linked Image]

Last edited by Mike5413; 06/11/20 10:38 PM.
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Re: Sustain Bar not lifting lowest octave
Mike5413 #2990371 06/11/20 11:06 PM
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There are a bunch of things that could be wrong, such as worn bushings on the hinges, and a number of problems with the regulation. The piano must be over 80 years old, so wear, or attempts to compensate for the wear, could have caused it. I doubt it is a bent damper lever lifting bar.

The usual method of regulating upright dampers is to bend the wires so they lift evenly with the pedal, and then adjust the spoons so they lift evenly with the keys. Everything else has to be regulated properly before starting, including leveling the keyboard.

It would probably be cheaper to replace the piano than to fix this.


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Re: Sustain Bar not lifting lowest octave
Mike5413 #2990417 06/12/20 03:51 AM
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I've seen this a few times and it's always been a broken hinge on the rod. It's highly unlikely to be bent. There are three or four hinges spaced along the bar hidden by the damper flanges. You will probably find that the one nearest your hand has broken. You will need a new part and the dampers will need to be removed in the area affected. Your tech should be able to do this.
Nick


Nick, ageing piano technician
Re: Sustain Bar not lifting lowest octave
Mike5413 #2990506 06/12/20 09:38 AM
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Seen the same as Nick.

Re: Sustain Bar not lifting lowest octave
David Boyce #2990540 06/12/20 11:00 AM
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Thanks guys. From what I can see the hinge closest to the rod looks intact, and moves in a way that doesn't suggest it's loose, but perhaps there is some hard-to-see failure going on. I'll update on whatever I find out when I do. smile

Re: Sustain Bar not lifting lowest octave
Mike5413 #2990768 06/12/20 08:46 PM
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My money was going to be on the broken hinge pin as well.


Anthony Willey, RPT
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Re: Sustain Bar not lifting lowest octave
Mike5413 #2990783 06/12/20 09:19 PM
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Jean Poulin

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www.actionpiano.ca
Re: Sustain Bar not lifting lowest octave
Mike5413 #2990945 06/13/20 08:39 AM
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Here's another thought then. With the action in place (dampers on the strings) can you work the lever with your hand?(not using pedal rods)
Is the problem still there?


Nick, ageing piano technician

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