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Side "Voicing" Pliers
#2994457 06/23/20 05:24 PM
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Duaner Offline OP
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I'm looking for some advice on whether to purchase the "Side-Voicing-Pliers" to help deal with the tone of hard old hammers. I wouldn't ask but I see they are kind of an expensive tool (around $100 plus shipping) and to buy it and have it sit in my tool box unused is kind of senseless. I really don't even know how well they work. This is why I'm asking. I had a piano today that could have used something like that as the hammers were like wood and sounded "pingish....not "pigish" but "Pingish"....to be clear....maybe...

So, can you give me your take on side voicing pliers....are they worth it or not and why? Tks in advance.

Last edited by Duaner; 06/23/20 05:27 PM.

Duane Graves


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Re: Side "Voicing" Pliers
Duaner #2994463 06/23/20 05:40 PM
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I have a pair of these side voicing pliers from Piano Forte Supply. I'd highly recommend them. I've found the affect to be really amazing! The ones from other companies are pretty expensive but these are around $50-60 I think. They don't list the prices, you have to sign up and get a price list as I recall.


"That Tuning Guy"
Scott Kerns
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com
Re: Side "Voicing" Pliers
Duaner #2996102 06/27/20 09:42 PM
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Scott,

How about some guidance on how you use your pliers for the amazing results.

Thanks,


David Bauguess
Re: Side "Voicing" Pliers
Duaner #2996107 06/27/20 10:21 PM
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Duane,

I would recommend that you carefully study the thread here on "dissecting piano tone" or something to that effect. I think if you learn to judiciously use the substances discussed you will have a lot of ammo to give more bang for the buck. Needle work will be greatly reduced (though not eliminated).

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Side "Voicing" Pliers
Duaner #2996371 06/28/20 12:12 PM
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I usually do 4 points: 1. Right under the strike point. 2. Further in from there. 3. Mid shoulder top. 4. Mid shoulder bottom. I think it's best use is in the break area between the bass and mid-range. Many times that area needs smoothing out. I have done a whole piano with them - an old grand with hard hammers - and it turned out nicely. The effect is pretty dramatic and I've found them to be very handy!

At one time I was very scared of voicing but I went to a voicing seminar by Wally Brooks and the main take away for me was to not be so scared of it. It isn't an exact science so you need to try some things and see how they work. Do a little at a time instead of a whole piano at once and at first I think it's good to try some things on say a Wurlitzer spinet, a piano that generally needs voicing, as opposed to some Steinway grand that you really don't want to mess up. But, as I always advocate, do what you're comfortable with. If voicing in general is new to you then you might want to start out with a wire brush, brushing it over the strike point. The affect is usually short lived so if it doesn't have the affect you wanted you haven't ruined the piano.


"That Tuning Guy"
Scott Kerns
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com
Re: Side "Voicing" Pliers
Duaner #2996376 06/28/20 12:23 PM
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An inexpensive alternative to the plier is to simply chuck a needle into a Dremell tool.
There is zero binding and results in ease of extraction. Minimize possible damage to hammer flange centers.


RPT
PTG Member
Re: Side "Voicing" Pliers
Duaner #2996389 06/28/20 12:42 PM
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The cheapest, easiest, most effective, and least destructive way to change the tone of old hard hammers is to get some All fabric softener mix it with alcohol (190 proof) in this ratio - 1 part All softener and two parts alcohol (aka 1:2). Put it in an oil/ vinegar sprayer and just make one pass over the strike points of all the hammers, wait 15 minutes and listen to the result. If that impresses you, and it will, go to the Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers thread to learn more.

All the best Duaner.

-chris

Last edited by Chernobieff Piano; 06/28/20 12:44 PM.

Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: Side "Voicing" Pliers
Duaner #2996877 06/29/20 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Duaner
I'm looking for some advice on whether to purchase the "Side-Voicing-Pliers" to help deal with the tone of hard old hammers. I wouldn't ask but I see they are kind of an expensive tool (around $100 plus shipping) and to buy it and have it sit in my tool box unused is kind of senseless. I really don't even know how well they work. This is why I'm asking. I had a piano today that could have used something like that as the hammers were like wood and sounded "pingish....not "pigish" but "Pingish"....to be clear....maybe...

So, can you give me your take on side voicing pliers....are they worth it or not and why? Tks in advance.

Side needling is a very effective way of either softening or adding targeted flexibility to hammers. (see my article)


But these pliers are an example of something that gets invented without thoroughly thinking things through. Normally needles can go through the side of the hammer very easily such that a single needle voicing tool works very well. (I make and sell one version). But sometimes a hammer is quite hard and it may be difficult (or impossible) for a needle to penetrate. Side-needling pliers can bring much more force to bear so that the needle will penetrate...

BUT...

Once the needle is in they are of no help in extracting the needle. So... great idea but it only solves half the problem.
Of the ones I've seen, I think the tool from Bolduc is the best thought out. But it is as useless as any of them to extract the needle from dense felt. The manual tool designed for side needling is actually better at getting the needle back out.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
editor emeritus of Piano Technicians Journal
Re: Side "Voicing" Pliers
Chernobieff Piano #2997011 06/30/20 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
The cheapest, easiest, most effective, and least destructive way to change the tone of old hard hammers is to get some All fabric softener mix it with alcohol (190 proof) in this ratio - 1 part All softener and two parts alcohol (aka 1:2). Put it in an oil/ vinegar sprayer and just make one pass over the strike points of all the hammers, wait 15 minutes and listen to the result.

That sounds like what I do with ProFelt. In fact I suspect that Profelt, a milky white liquid, has something like fabric softener in it.

I use a regular little hypo oiler bottle and basically run a bead down the strike point. It takes 30 seconds and usually has an audible effect within a minute or two. The downside is the results seem to vary depending on the age/make of the hammers. It does really well taking the edge off of hammers from Yamaha and Kawai, and you should be very sparing if you're applying to a new piano because a little bit goes a long way. We're talking less than a drop per hammer. On the other hand it struggles on those really hard hammers you find on things from Samick, and on the old hard crusty yellow hammers in 100-year-old pianos.


Anthony Willey, RPT
PianoMeter
Willey Piano Tuning
Re: Side "Voicing" Pliers
AWilley #2997106 06/30/20 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by AWilley
Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
The cheapest, easiest, most effective, and least destructive way to change the tone of old hard hammers is to get some All fabric softener mix it with alcohol (190 proof) in this ratio - 1 part All softener and two parts alcohol (aka 1:2). Put it in an oil/ vinegar sprayer and just make one pass over the strike points of all the hammers, wait 15 minutes and listen to the result.

That sounds like what I do with ProFelt. In fact I suspect that Profelt, a milky white liquid, has something like fabric softener in it.

I use a regular little hypo oiler bottle and basically run a bead down the strike point. It takes 30 seconds and usually has an audible effect within a minute or two. The downside is the results seem to vary depending on the age/make of the hammers. It does really well taking the edge off of hammers from Yamaha and Kawai, and you should be very sparing if you're applying to a new piano because a little bit goes a long way. We're talking less than a drop per hammer. On the other hand it struggles on those really hard hammers you find on things from Samick, and on the old hard crusty yellow hammers in 100-year-old pianos.


Anthony,
I have never use profelt for voicing. The solutions i use are all alcohol based, both softener and hardener. Plus you can use alcohol by itself for micro changes. The advantage of alcohol based products is that alcohol wicks better than lacquer thinner and acetone, and is not "Toxic" like the aforementioned are. Having both softener and hardener in the same base allows easy adjustment of the tone.


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: Side "Voicing" Pliers
Duaner #3001359 07/11/20 12:57 AM
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It should be noted that buying any voicing tool does not a make a voicer out of anyone. It is one more tool in your arsenal, and you need to learn and understand how to use it to get the best results.
Here is a website about the side voicing pliers, an introduction, of sorts.

http://pianovoicingpliers.com/

Last edited by Supply; 07/11/20 12:58 AM.

JG

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