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Hi, this is my first post to any of the forums here and I hope it is okay for a nontechnician to post a question in this forum. Forgive my general lack of knowledge about piano acoustics, voicing etc.

I have a baby grand (it's a Boston GP-163 if that matters), about 10 years old. There's one note, B3, that sounds annoyingly different from the other nearby notes in the lower register. I would best describe it as "boomy". It almost sounds like the tone is being masked by an accompanying boom sound or source of resonance coming from somewhere. It's not loudness per se (if I play it softly, I hear a soft boom). I don't hear anything similar with any other keys. The issue is present regardless of the position of the lid.

I am not sure if the issue was always present but I think it has been for a long time (the piano has basically been in the same spot in the same room since I purchased it 10 years ago). I remember being aware of it and bothered by it years ago but I put it out of my mind, in part because I wasn't playing the piano much. Recently I have started playing much more and so the issue is starting to annoy me.

I have an appointment with a tuner/technician for a regular tuning in a few weeks and thought to ask him about it. That tuner claims to be experienced with voicing on his website. No previous tuner has mentioned it but then again I myself didn't bring it up with them.

Does it sound like this is a room acoustics thing or a flaw in the piano itself? If the latter, is it something that could be corrected? Even if it is a room acoustics issue, which I probably couldn't easily solve, would voicing be able to mitigate the issue somewhat? (I have experimented a little with putting a rug under the piano, putting several pillows under the piano, but this has no effect on the issue.)

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Selinsky,

Welcome to PW.

Is this note right at the break between the bass and the tenor sections?

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Last edited by P W Grey; 08/13/21 01:50 PM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
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Hi Peter,

I am not sure of the precise definitions of "bass" and "tenor" here but I've attached a photo that may help. I've circled the strings associated with the problematic note.

So if "bass" means the entire section of wound two-string strings, then this is actually not the break before the tenor section, but you can see in the photo it is the first of the last few wound strings that is to the right of the inner frame divider thing and the damper is noticeably different from the others. Sorry I have utterly no knowledge of the right terminology here. [Linked Image]smile

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That is a common 'problem' area on many grand pianos - especially in the under 6' size as compromises to the string length and thickness are made as the string section reaches the end of a bridge.

I've heard of all sorts of approaches from voicing, to changing the string parameters to attaching weights to the underside of the bridge to try to smooth out problems at "the break"...

Let us know what the tech tries - and if the results work for you!

Ron Koval

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Yes, precisely. What needs to happen is that more resistance (impedance) needs to be added to that section. As Ron states, it is a very common problem, one not dealt with at the factory. I have improved this type of situation with both weights and giblets (depending on the situation. It can be rather amazing to hear the problem "magically" disappear with the right approach.

There is a test that can be done in advance to help determine what is needed, however I don't feel it's wise to get into that here. Hopefully your tech knows what to do.

Edit: After treating the soundboard, if not quite enough, examining and smoothing hammer weights in that area can also be of great benefit.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Last edited by P W Grey; 08/13/21 05:01 PM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
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I think Peter got autocorrected ;-) - "riblets" are an add-on small section of rib (wood on the underside of the soundboard) to provide support to a weak section of the soundboard. As you might imagine, it is best left to those experienced with the procedure!

Ron Koval

Last edited by RonTuner; 08/13/21 06:53 PM.
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😁😊😉

Yes...RIBLETS! not giblets.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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Peter, thanks. Sent you a DM about this.


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