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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2995408 06/26/20 10:45 AM
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You are beginning to sound like the mad scientist in his lab! smile


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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2995524 06/26/20 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
I have a new diagram and i think it will answer your question. It shows the areas you work to make changes to tonal qualities. There is overlap of course, but the diagram would be of little use if drawn that way. Interesting to note, all qualities can be changed from the surface inward, except the quality at an FF blow which can only be manipulated from the side if you don't want to affect the other qualities.
-chris

[Linked Image]

This picture has been a great help to me as I diagnose and make quick adjustments to the sound of the piano. Finally, an easy to follow diagnostic and adjustment tool for voicing. Just today, I came across a Baldwin grand - just above the stringing break there are a few unisons with wound strings. One had that "booming" sound - a bit of hairspray in the open/closed area allowed it to blend in with neighbors. I may have added about 10 minutes to tone down/even out/brighten up specific areas. The player was very appreciative. The one thing to pass along about using hairspray - go lighter, and leave it sounding "less than you want" - It will continue to change over the next day and can get too bright.

Ron Koval

Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
BDB #2995536 06/26/20 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
You are beginning to sound like the mad scientist in his lab! smile


Frame this email Chris, you are the proud recipient of a smiley from BDB!

Also Ron: I too appreciate Chris's diagram, but was always a bit uncertain how the open/close section translated into the sound of the hammer. You hardened those areas with the hairspray, right? How did it affect the sound of the hammer? I take it if you were trying to cure "boominess," that it reduced volume. Any other tonal changes you noticed?

Thanks.

Last edited by Emery Wang; 06/26/20 03:38 PM.

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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2995579 06/26/20 05:14 PM
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That was a new area for me! (In fact most of this was new to me, I'd only really sprayed right at the top to quickly reduce the bright hammers, along with brushing and/or steam)

Yes, I shot into that area to reduce the loudness, or "boom". It was the opposite of what I would've thought in the past! It did manage to bring down the tone more in line with the neighboring notes without any apparent tonal penalty. This was a quick treatment, so I didn't take the time for a lot of testing and adjusting over days.


I do have a Steinway upright in a church that has always sounded weak. The hammers feel very hard and were likely over-lacquered in the past. I will try to experiment with adding the softener/alc mix to this area next visit to see if it helps.

As with any new skill, experimentation and practice will be valuable over time.

Ron Koval

Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2995594 06/26/20 05:52 PM
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Thanks Ron. OK, so the fact that hardening this area made things quieter confuses me. With needle voicing, you would needle the "open/close" parts on Chris's diagram to provide more cushion and soften an overly loud hammer. Then to make the hammer louder, you'd needle down nearer to the staple in what Oorbeck calls the "battery" area to release tension back up to Chris's "open/close" area and make it harder, thus a louder hammer.

Is that how you understand it too? If so, I don't understand how hardening that area with hairspray makes the sound softer. What am I missing?

Thanks.

Last edited by Emery Wang; 06/26/20 05:53 PM.

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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Emery Wang #2995596 06/26/20 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Originally Posted by BDB
You are beginning to sound like the mad scientist in his lab! smile


Frame this email Chris, you are the proud recipient of a smiley from BDB!



I will, maybe i should put that in my signature.


Regarding the open/close area. Open is booming, round, fluty, big. Closed is thin, nasal, reedy, small. It provides the character of the whole sound. That's the best i can describe it. If we were at the keyboard together describing the sounds, you would get it in just a few minute/seconds.

You need to harden the area when its open sounding to close it. And vice versa you would need to soften the area to open it up. i agree with Ron its the opposite of what i thought too.


The understand the vertical pp to ff you must play a note very softly to hear the pp, then gradually play the note harder to hear the FF. I usually repeat the note three times consecutively getting louder. This is extremely valuable for cold pressed hammers. I always find notes that do not get louder when playing it louder like they should. Applying 2-4 drops on FF will fix that.

Today I had a note that was giving just too much energy and plus the tone was open. I applied 4:4 B-72 to the shoulders to close it and applied 2 drops of the 1:2 softener at FF and that brought the note close to the others. On these notes, often next to the strut, the FF must be overpowering the pp as even the lightest stroke the energy goes through your ears.

Hope that helps.

-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2995646 06/26/20 08:37 PM
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I may sound like a broken record, but where is the concert grand prepared by this method, played by an internationally renowned pianist and recorded by a set up in terms of microphones, preamps, audio interface and a digital workstation that gives the world an idea about the superb superiority of putting chemicals into a hammer of a concert grand as opposed to voicing a piano without hairspray and plastic solutions?

Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2995654 06/26/20 08:58 PM
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Give it time.

It wasn't that long ago that we were told that ETD tunings could never be used for the concert stage, or that CA glue in a pinblock was only for 'junkers' or that changing the leads in keys or playing with the leverage parameters was best left to the manufacturers...

I don't think anyone is claiming superiority of sound - more talking about an alternate approach which may potentially be quicker and predictable than other methods. For those not working primarily on the concert stage, it gives the opportunity to improve the tone for those pianos without the budget to use traditional methods.

Acceptance comes slowly, often years after being successfully used by techs in the field.

Ron Koval

Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2995658 06/26/20 09:13 PM
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Peter,

You provide the internationally known pianist, the recording equipment, and fly them to my shop, and we'll get her done.


Hairspray is nothing more than lacquer. Steinway ( the leader of the concert stage) has been using lacquer in their hammers since lacquer was invented. Before that, they used shellac in the hammers. The hairspray is a way of spraying lacquer in the home. The fabric softener for piano technology has been around a short time, and Todd has been on the innovative cutting edge with coming up with a system that is quick and effective. The 1:2 and the 1:1:1 are his ideas. But using chemicals to manipulate the felt is an old idea.

Since this is a Piano Technicians forum, and not the Piano Forum, it is encouraged that you try the method and ideas yourself. That way you can bypass the digital filter of a recording and hear the difference in real life. Like the other Technicians that have participated here in this thread are doing.

It really works, and that is why people are trying it, and coming back with their positive feedback and interjecting even further new ideas.

-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2995716 06/27/20 03:10 AM
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I guess that, when you think about it, sheep's wool is treated with chemicals from the moment it leaves the sheep. (Actually while still on the sheep, since they go through Sheep Dip).

Chemicals are used to clean the newly-shorn fleece, other chemicals to remove lanolin (sheep sebum), etc etc.

Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2995800 06/27/20 08:56 AM
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They probably don't recommend the chemical treatment as a default because it's difficult to express How Much.

With the needle, the manufacturer can give you a uniformly applicable number. 5 stabs here, don't stab here, 1mm here 5 times.

For the chemical, if your spray gun is running a higher psi, or the nozzle is different, or the alcohol you're using is different, and for whatever reason methanol works different on their wool vs ethanol, they can't really hand out instructions on this, even if it can work in similar ways to the needling.

Last edited by jeffcat; 06/27/20 08:57 AM.
Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2995821 06/27/20 09:45 AM
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It's like adjusting nosebolts. The factory says DON'T EVER do it, yet they do it all the time. And for good reason...give em an inch and they'll take a mile...and then blame you when things go wrong.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Last edited by P W Grey; 06/27/20 09:47 AM.

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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
jeffcat #2996337 06/28/20 10:46 AM
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It’s quite similar to the amount of turning the pin. How much overpull? None, quasi none, a tiny amount?
You can tune a stable tuning, but it needs experience, training and a feeling for your work. Can be the same with chemical voicing. And that is probably why we share our experience here.

Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2997218 06/30/20 06:17 PM
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Hi Folks,

I can now add two more techniques that are quite nice to know with using these chemicals.

1st, the use of the steel brush.

Lets say you had applied some B-72 to the shoulders to close up the tone, but after waiting and then listening you found that you went just a little too far, too thin. Just a couple of swipes on the shoulders with the steel brush can bring back just a little fullness. Brush from the top (edge of strike lines) down to 2:00/10:00.

2nd,

Applying B-72 4:4 with a hypo-oiler is not as effective as B-72 4:8 is when applied to FF. The reason is because with the 4:4, you are inclined to do 2 drops at a time and build up in small increments, thus it is applied in a small circle. If you apply the thinner solution, apply it in a larger circle thus you are putting less material, but getting more "bang for the buck".


-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2997236 06/30/20 07:07 PM
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More voodoo - and no recording of it being applied to a professionally recorded concert grand.

Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2997247 06/30/20 07:47 PM
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Peter,

If you put up $60,000 I can get Yuja Wang or Khatia B and a professional recording studio to meet your demands. PM me and I'll tell you were to send the check.

Thanks,
-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2997370 07/01/20 03:27 AM
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Chris,

you're the pro here and you're praising something into the sky that so far hasn't seen any professional environment. It strikes me as odd that you are now coming up with an unreasonable suggestion instead of just getting yourself a decent concert grand, a place to put and a decent pair of microphones and an audio interface on to it.

Currently I don't have a need for you chemical stuff, because all the concert grands I encounter are being prepared by European technicians who prepare such a piano the traditional way with precise tuning, regulation and voicing. And voicing is done by filing and needling - with results that make me really, really happy and that are good enough for the Vienna Musikverein and Austria public radio. If you want to listen to a concert grand prepared this way, just visit https://oe1.orf.at/programm/20200716#604719 on July 16.

Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2997412 07/01/20 05:41 AM
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Hi Chris, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time and effort to share your experience and on going development of your craft (along with the other professional technicians/tuners who have posted their experience with it on this message board) regarding chemical voicing. Please keep it coming ...

Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2997425 07/01/20 06:00 AM
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Sorry, should have thanked as well the non or semi-professionals - like Emery Wang - wherever you may fit in smile - for sharing their experiences on this topic. Looking forward to more ...

Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
OE1FEU #2997451 07/01/20 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
I may sound like a broken record, but where is the concert grand prepared by this method, played by an internationally renowned pianist and recorded by a set up in terms of microphones, preamps, audio interface and a digital workstation that gives the world an idea about the superb superiority of putting chemicals into a hammer of a concert grand as opposed to voicing a piano without hairspray and plastic solutions?

No, you don't sound like a broken record, just a closed minded uninformed professional.

To start with, Steinway, way back in the 1880s, made a huge discovery to what we know as the modern piano sound. It's called the reinforced hammer, and to distinguish this, they used a grey dye. Perhaps you have seen it. It was, I believe, patented system of strengthening the shoulders of hammers using chemical hardeners. Perhaps you have heard a Steinway D in concert and recorded by well known pianists? More recently, another Steinway patent is a technique of using chemical hardener treatment on the felt before making the hammer. If you have heard a modern D in concert, you have heard this. Many concert technicians, myself included, use an array of chemicals, needles, sandpaper or the green cheese the moon is made of to prepare a piano for recording and concerts.

Just because an album liner does not include voicing notes from the piano technician, doesn't mean you haven't heard it.

Steve

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