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Damper noise
#623307 12/15/07 10:26 AM
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An acquaintance recently bought a 2-year-old Shigeru Kawai from a local dealer/rebuilder. I think 5'10". I went to see it at her house this week. I noticed a lot of noise from the dampers while she was playing, and it's bothering her too. When you sit at the keyboard and press the damper pedal up and down, they make a very noticeable swishing sound as they come off the strings. The tech is coming to tune it next week and she will ask him about it. I don't have much experience with newer grands and just wondered how you fix this. Are the dampers sitting too low?


Anne Francis
Piano Tuner-Technician

Check out my blog! www.annefrancis.ca/blog

1906 Heintzman upright (rebuilt)
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Re: Damper noise
#623308 12/15/07 11:10 AM
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Hi Ann,

It's the tricord dampers. This is noticeable on many pianos. They can be removed from the piano and trimmed, then reinstalled and re-regulated. I've done this on a couple of Kawais (an RX 6 and a GM 10). It removes most of the noise. I use a really sharp pair of cloth shears and cut as cleanly as possible.

The dampers only really need to be sitting on the string, not wedged between them.

A nice by product of this is the removal of some noticeable friction when playing the keys in that area.

There are probably 20 or so tricord dampers. If you can figure out a way to get them all off the strings using you hands, then depressing the sostenuto pedal with your left foot, you can see how clean the sustain pedal sounds when operating without the tricord dampers wedged between the strings.

Hope this helps!


Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
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San Jose, CA
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Re: Damper noise
#623309 12/15/07 07:06 PM
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Very interesting. Thanks, Dave. It will be interesting to see whether the dealer/tech is willing to do this.


Anne Francis
Piano Tuner-Technician

Check out my blog! www.annefrancis.ca/blog

1906 Heintzman upright (rebuilt)
Re: Damper noise
#623310 12/15/07 11:30 PM
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HI Anne,

I dunno...some people are reluctant to cut felt. I was when I first did it, but I got good instruction from the guys at Kawai tech support, and it was less troublesome than I'd imagined.

I'll be curious to know what the dealer/tech says. The most common response to complaints about this damper "woosh" is "that's just the way it is."

Keep us posted!


Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAniw3m7L2I
http://dstahlpiano.net
Re: Damper noise
#623311 12/19/07 12:06 AM
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Be sure to check the sustain pedal regulation. If there's too much travel when fully depressed, aggressive pedalling can really jam the wedges in.

Jurgen has curved mustache scissors that work perfectly, if you need to cut felt (pianofortesupply.com). You can pull the action and trim anything below the string at rest.

Give Kawai a call and see what they say. 800-421- 2177.

--Cy--


Cy Shuster, RPT
www.shusterpiano.com
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Director, PTG Norfolk 2016 Technical Institute
http://convention.ptg.org
Re: Damper noise
#623312 12/19/07 12:20 AM
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Thanks for the referral, Cy. A slight correction - the scissors are not curved, and they are actually hair stylists' shears. They are made in Germany and hand-finished, polished and honed. One blade has a micro-toothing which keeps the felt or hair fibers from sliding away from the cutting edge. These teeth stop just short of the cutting edge, which is razor sharp. The size and ergonomics of the scissors give you excellent control.

[Linked Image]


JG
Re: Damper noise
#623313 12/28/07 02:35 PM
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Did your dealer ever fix your problem for you? I have a brand new kawai ge-30 and I am having the exact same issue. It is awful and really takes away from my enjoyment of the piano. I have my dealer tech coming in tommorow and hopefully they can fix it!

Re: Damper noise
#623314 12/28/07 03:20 PM
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As it happens, my tech is here right now (Friday afternoon) doing a tuning, and I am having him do some damper work, as well. I have two or three notes that are not damping properly. He tells me it's on the tricords, and one side of the damper is longer than the other, so it's not seating totally, and one string is resonating. Interesting. He's in there futzing with the dampers.

I asked him about the "whoosh", told him it was louder than I prefer. He first indicated "that's just the way it is." So I printed out this thread and just handed it to him.

This prompted him (without even reading it) to go into more detail. Yes, it is possible to reduce the whoosh, he says. He suggested that the best way to do it is to replace the felts, mostly on the tricords, with softer ones. He said when he worked for Steinway he learned that the dampers on the Hamburg pianos used softer felt than on the NY pianos, and it was a little quieter. He said he noticed that the Hamburg pianos had a blue backing on the felts, where the NY ones had red.

I asked about cutting, and he said, yes, it is possible, but he generally doesn't like to do it. He popped out a damper and we looked it over. He said he could possibly cut a little bit, and it might help, but one has to be careful to avoid messing up the stopping power.

Interesting discussion. I told him that I might want to have him do something about this on his next visit, and asked him to think about it.

Re: Damper noise
#623315 12/29/07 08:47 PM
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A common gonzo mistake of beginning tuners is to insert their mute felt without stepping on the sustain pedal. This moves the strings together and traps the damper felt. When the key is depressed the felt is stretched as it is pulled from the strings. The result can often sound like what you are describing. Hard to imagine a rooky tech servicing a Shigeru.


Piano Technician, member Piano Technicians Guild.
Re: Damper noise
#623316 12/30/07 11:51 AM
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Maybe this wasn't clear from my original post, but I am not the tech for this piano. It's a friend's piano. I was asking purely for my own edification.

Craigen, what you describe sounds like something that would happen over time, no? The piano is only 2 years old.

Since posting this question I've observed the "whoosh" on other pianos, but it is much louder on this piano, and not just when you move the pedal up and down, but also while playing.


Anne Francis
Piano Tuner-Technician

Check out my blog! www.annefrancis.ca/blog

1906 Heintzman upright (rebuilt)
Re: Damper noise
#623317 12/30/07 11:53 AM
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Sorry, what I meant was, the whooshing sound from the pedal is noticeable while playing (and pedalling), not just when you're sitting with your hands in your lap, moving the pedal up and down to hear the noise.


Anne Francis
Piano Tuner-Technician

Check out my blog! www.annefrancis.ca/blog

1906 Heintzman upright (rebuilt)
Re: Damper noise
#623318 01/04/08 05:02 PM
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The problem with pulling the felt can and does happen with the first and only transgression of the unschooled (or lazy) technician.


Piano Technician, member Piano Technicians Guild.

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