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Young Chang entire action clicking #632091
11/05/06 02:51 PM
11/05/06 02:51 PM
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Holden Offline OP
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Mid-90's Young Chang G-175cm Grand

On every key, when the hammer falls back down during key release there is a 'plastic' clicking noise an instant after the requisite 'thump' of the action returning to rest. It sounds like a quick plastic rattle coming from under the hammer... so I guess it could be any number of things, the damper included.

Anyone ever run into a similar situation?

------------

One other action related question...

As I'm sure you are all aware Steinway actions yield very soft dynamic ranges the YC can't touch (forgive the pun). :rolleyes:

Can I have another action installed that will yield comparable results to the Steinway action?

Taking into account the 'plastic click', the inability to play at very soft dynamic ranges and the fact that the piano is a bit too bright for my taste I am seriously thinking of replacing the entire action. (Btw, the hammers have already been softened via needle)

Any advice or comments are much appreciated.

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Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632092
11/05/06 03:23 PM
11/05/06 03:23 PM
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Get a qualified tech experienced with YC - the action brackets of some models have defect that will cause many regulation problems.
The existing action is just fine for that piano. Changing it would be very expensive and may not give results any better.
Get yours properly regulated.
If after good voicing the tone is not satisfactory a new set of hammers is a much better bet than action replacement.
Voicing cannot happen unless the action is first regulated, strings leveled and mated to hammers, hammers shaped and piano tuned.
Also it helps to eliminate those string noises that can be eliminated.
If you want the Steinway sound you need to buy a Steinway.

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632093
11/05/06 03:35 PM
11/05/06 03:35 PM
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The usual cause of a clicking in every note of a grand is a loose hammer rail, key stop rail, or damper stop rail. The last can be a bit tricky to fix sometimes, but the others are a matter of tightening a nut.


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Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632094
11/05/06 03:35 PM
11/05/06 03:35 PM
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Holden,
The click sound is likely caused by a loose hammer rest rail. The round nuts which hold the rail in position, often become loose and cause the click you described. If this is not the cause, the next most likely is the hammers are set too low causing the hammer shanks to hit the rep lever height screw. Hopefully the 1st one is the problem.

Regarding being able to play softly, with proper action regulation, your Young Chang can play ppp just as softly as any Steinway. Bad regulation is bad regulation, whether it's a Steinway or a Young Chang. The action design is essentially the same. Even a new action would have to be carefully regulated for your piano.

Regarding the bright tone, this is a matter of voicing. I have regulated and voiced many Young Chang's. The result is they feel like a dream, and sound pleasant. They will never have the thunder and depth of a fine Steinway, but they can sound very pleasant.


Jerry Cohen, RPT
Piano Craftsman offering, concert tuning, voicing, regulating, rebuilding.
Serving Northern New Jersey, New York area.
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Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632095
11/05/06 04:08 PM
11/05/06 04:08 PM
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Holden Offline OP
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Wow, thanks a ton everybody.

@Jerry Cohen, RPT - Wow, I'm excited and relieved by your reply. (Btw, it's definitely not the hammer shanks hitting the rep lever height screw).

Anyone know of a Piano Craftsman in Rochester, New York who could do the work Mr. Cohen suggested?

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632096
11/05/06 04:26 PM
11/05/06 04:26 PM
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Another possibility is the round felt pads on the jack button gone hard. They are now clicking against the jack spoon.

Test it by depressing the jack tail manually, then letting go so it 'snaps' against the spoon. If you hear the same sound, there's your culprit. Try needling a couple from above and see if that quiets them down. If it does, replace the set.

Another possibility is knuckles going hard.

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632097
11/05/06 05:05 PM
11/05/06 05:05 PM
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Albuquerque, NM
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Quote
Originally posted by Holden:

Anyone know of a Piano Craftsman in Rochester, New York who could do the work Mr. Cohen suggested?
PTG Find a Technician (www.ptg.org)

--Cy--


Cy Shuster, RPT
www.shusterpiano.com
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Director, PTG Norfolk 2016 Technical Institute
http://convention.ptg.org
Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632098
11/05/06 05:50 PM
11/05/06 05:50 PM
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Rochester, New York -- hmmm -- don't they have a pretty good school of music there? Might be worth a call to see who they use --

More generally, word of mouth from respected musicians is often a good approach, especially combined with Cy's suggestion --


Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA
Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632099
11/05/06 06:04 PM
11/05/06 06:04 PM
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Modesto,Calif.
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my bet is with Jerry,loose hammer rest rail. let us know what it is. good luck.


Modesto, Calif.

..."pret' near, but not plum"
Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632100
11/21/06 01:28 PM
11/21/06 01:28 PM
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I did end up hiring the piano tech from the Easman School of Music and it turns out the clicking seems to be the cumulative effect of hardened felts, despite the fact that the felts are not overly worn. The wippin spoon and the area just under the hammer knuckle seemed especially loud. The Eastman tech was quite taken aback by the loudness of the action.

He tested one key by voicing the felts in the wippen and the hammer knuckle and it made the 'click' less pronounced and plastic sounding but the action is still very loud.

It seems to me the felts are defective, meaning not a result of ordinary wear and tear.

Again, anyone else encounter this problem? The piano is still under warrantee... do you think thats the direction i should go?

Thanks in advance.

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632101
11/21/06 05:47 PM
11/21/06 05:47 PM
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I have found that in many Asian pianos, the felts, cloth and buckskin used are on the firm side. After a short while of playing they become noisy. All these small clicks can add up to one heck of a lot of mechanical noise.

The main culprits seem to be the knuckles, jack regulating button punchings and the wippen heal cloth. Once these are replaced with high quality parts/ materials (my personal preference is German parts and felt), the piano will play and sound a lot better.

My advice: make your claim as long as the warranty is valid, and don't back off until the piano is functioning as designed. after all, it is not a sewing machine. :^)

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632102
11/23/06 02:36 AM
11/23/06 02:36 AM
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Did I ever encounter the problem? Did you read my previous post?

Is it "defective"? Well, if they used better stuff, it wouldn't do that. But there are always quality issues that are sacrificed in cheaper pianos. It's probably not defective in a sense they would admit to. But try if you want to.

Lots of these Young Changs have that problem.

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632103
11/24/06 01:41 AM
11/24/06 01:41 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by Holden:
[b]Mid-90's Young Chang G-175cm Grand...snip
As I'm sure you are all aware Steinway actions yield very soft dynamic ranges the YC can't touch (forgive the pun).
Can I have another action installed that will yield comparable results to the Steinway action?

Taking into account the 'plastic click', the inability to play at very soft dynamic ranges and the fact that the piano is a bit too bright for my taste I am seriously thinking of replacing the entire action. [/b]
Your piano should be able to play softly. If it can't there are regulation issues that need to be adressed, as well as possibly friction issues such as tight center pins. If the hammer centers are too tight, it is almost impossible to play softly in a controled way.

It sounds like your instrument needs a "10-year servicing" as I like to call it. That would be the time to upgrade the felts/cloth/buckskin components that are causing the mechanical noise. Pianos need continual maintenance and servicing to perform at a high level. When is the last time you spent $800 on your car? (tires, brakes etc) What about your piano?

Treat it well, give it what it needs, and it will perform for you.

And by the way, installing a new action is not the solution to your woes. Before you go that route, start shopping for a different piano. Actions aren't swapped like car transmissions, at least not on 10 year old pianos.

So - solutions:

Brightness - voicing or hammer replacement
Inability to play softly - regulation and/or repairs (repinning)
Action noise - new felts as described above in previous post

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632104
11/24/06 11:10 AM
11/24/06 11:10 AM
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Yes, what Jurgen said. Unless something has screwed up the action geometry, like the famous expanding action brackets.

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632105
11/28/06 03:03 PM
11/28/06 03:03 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Brick:
Did I ever encounter the problem? Did you read my previous post?
Yep, but I had no idea what that meant at the time... but I'm getting there. laugh

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632106
01/08/07 09:25 PM
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Well, for anyone whose been following along... here are the final results.

A PT tried comparing two notes side by side - one - replaced round felt that contacts the jack button pad and two, a replaced whippen. (replacing the whippen was my idea, thank you very much. :rolleyes: ) There was no contest. Although replacing the felt was dramatically better, replacing the whippen eliminated the problem all together. Expensive... sure but wow, the result was just as quiet as any piano I have ever played.

The original 'touch' issue seems to be a regulation and hammer pin issue - despite the fact the hammer pins were all replaced 4/2006 and the action was bench regulated at that time.

One important factor in this scenario, my 1990's YC was one that had the aluminum hammer rest rail - as opposed to having the hammer rest felt be part of the whippen. My PT told me the aluminum rail was part of the problem in that it helped to amplify and transmit (hammer return) noise.

-----
And now, to really wrap this story up we ended up buying another piano anyways, a remanufactured Steinway B, but the Young Chang has found a new home in my recording studio where (once the whippens have all been replaced) it will be put to good use.

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632107
01/08/07 11:34 PM
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Interesting outcome, thanks for posting back to us.

I don't think you really need new wippens when the culprits are the (lousy) felts they originally came with. After all, the wips are only ten years old. You may want to get a quote on replacing the wippen heel felts and the jack regulating button punchings. Those are the ones causing the noise (and I expect the knuckles are involved as well).

I have also come across aluminum rails that are noisy. Perhaps they can eaily be replaced with a wooden rail, either maple or even spruce/fir. That wouldbe an improvement, I am sure.

If your hammers were re-pinned in April 2006 and 6 months later they are too tight, it sounds like a warranty issue to me. If the instrument is not subjected to abnormal humidity, and is played off and on, center pins should last for quite a few years. Unless the bushings were inproperly reamed and burnished.

You may want to get a second opinion on how to get your piano back up to speed for minimal cost, now that you have a new primary piano.

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632108
01/09/07 01:48 PM
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Thanks for the reply, Jurgen.

Initially, I suggested we try replacing the aluminum rail but my PT assured me the 'part' was not available and would have to be custom manufactured.

I appreciate your sage (and frugal!) advice about the felts but the sad truth is I'd rather just pay the big $ and have the noise issue sorted. The new whippens (with their own hammer felts) will allow me to get rid of the hammer rest rail and (the new whippens) perform so quietly that the piano will be suitable for recording.

Thanks again for the expert advice, much appreciated.

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632109
01/09/07 01:53 PM
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A grand hammer rest rail is a strip of wood with some holes in it. A cabinet shop could make it from a piece of scrap. $25 worth of materials and labor.


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Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632110
01/09/07 06:09 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by BDB:
A grand hammer rest rail is a strip of wood with some holes in it. A cabinet shop could make it from a piece of scrap. $25 worth of materials and labor.
I can't say I am surprised by your statement - I have received some wildly differing advice from different PT's (although you forgot the cost of felt, so maybe we're talking $35 all told). My PT said the hammer rest rail would be so expensive to build I might as well buy a new piano - and mind you, this guy is no slouch, he's a fantastic PT IMHO.

In another instance I had an PTG member tell me to "run, don't walk away" from a rebuilt 1895 Steinway. He said "at that age the Rim will most certainly be cracked" while another PTG basically said that was completely untrue.

In yet another instance I've had one PTG member suggest the stiffness of my YC G-175 action is purely a matter of regulation while another insists the geometry of the action will always feel stiff.

Of course, all of this advice is given with the best intentions... but it certainly brings home the importance of seeking as many opinions as possible. wink

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632111
01/10/07 01:27 AM
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I'm glad your technician is a great tuner.

As for the cost of a glorified stick with four bolt holes and some wool felt on it, my estimate would be right there with BDB's.

Cost of a new piano? Your tech can't be serious...?

But no matter, you won't need that rail with your new wippens. I just hope the geometry is the proper one.

Enjoy your new-found silence!

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632112
01/10/07 12:31 PM
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@Jurgen & BDB - perhaps you could sell me a replacement? Could guys give me a firm price?

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632113
01/10/07 08:36 PM
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First of all, make sure that the rail nuts are tight. Loose rails are a major cause of noise. Next, make sure the hammer shanks are not resting on the hammer rail. They should be about 1/8" above the felt. The hammer rail only comes into play as a last resort to keep the hammer shanks from hitting the rest of the action after a heavy blow.

There really should be little or no difference in the noise made by an aluminum rail or a wood rail. After all, the shanks never touch the rail itself, only the felt on it. The only affect the material could make would be from its weight, and they should weigh about the same. But if you want to try wood, take the rail out, go to a cabinet shop ans see if they will make you one from an offcut, get some felt and try it out.


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Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632114
01/11/07 02:15 AM
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BDB - I have found that some aluminium rails can reverberate with a dull, gong-like ring when shanks hit the rail cloth during forte staccato playing. I have found the same in uprights - in that case it is the spring rail.

Holden - It would be easy to assume that your request for a firm quote is rhetoric in nature, as it will not be neccessary (or possible for that matter) to install a hammer shank rebound rail if the wippens you plan to use have the individual cushions on them.

I think business proposals should be negotiated via private messages, but If you are serious, and seeing that you have opened this publicly, I"ll bite.

For $25, I'll make you a complete new wooden rail, fitted with highest quality German hammer rail cloth. I'm serious.
All I need is the specs. You pay shipping/packaging.

This offer is open only to you, for a limited time of one week. Send me your Visa or MC number and full name, mailing address, phone number. You may want to do this in a private message.

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632115
01/11/07 02:56 AM
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Actually, if that is the case, you could take the rail out and fill the channel underside with silicone rubber. That should take care of any sound it makes. Just leave the area around the nuts free. Of course, your piano would smell like vinegar for a while.


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Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632116
01/11/07 10:46 PM
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Again, thanks Jurgen & BDB for your time and effort.

The hammers are sitting on the action rail... which is kind of disappointing because my former PTG PT charged me $800 to replace all the Hammer pins and 'regulate' the action this past summer (keys/hammers were sticking). As I have become more informed about pianos in the last few months I have realized he only performed a 'bench' regulation - he simply slid the action back in place collected his check and that was that.

My new PT commented right away that the hammers were sitting too low/on the rail but generally speaking I think he is too professional to be overly critical of the other guys work - small town and all.

My take on all this has been to write it off as bad luck and simply move on, educate myself and get more involved. Believe me, I am taking your suggestions very seriously. I'm going to ask my PT to try replacing all the felts on a whippen to see what that sounds like before I invest in replacing the whippens.

The only problem is my existing whippens generate a clicking sound that the new whippens don't. Mind you, this is in addition to the hardened felt noise. I can pinpoint the culprit but don't know what the part is called. Here's a picture of the piece that makes a 'click' sound in addition to the felts - circled in white
[Linked Image]

And finally, seeing as you guys have stuck with me through all this... I recorded the action so you could hear it first hand.

What you will hear is a live performance of a

- hammer/note strike followed by a quick release
- then a key fully depressed without a hammer strike, quickly released.

So essentially you will hear "note-CLICK" and then simply "CLICK". I repeated this sequence 4 times.

Click_for_mp3

You're going to think i enhanced this somehow help

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632117
01/11/07 11:05 PM
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If felt is too hard, it can be needled. That is not always permanent, but it will give you an idea whether that is the direction to head in.


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Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632118
01/12/07 03:04 AM
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Wow Holden, I am impressed by your technical ability to upload a thumbnail and to provide a link for the sound file - that stuff is beyond me.

The part you circled is the jack. When the depressed key is released, the jack resets itself for the next blow. The jack regulating button with its felt punching determines the jack rest position. The button is visible on the wippen to the right of your white circle. This felt punching, as has been said, is often too hard in many Asian pianos. It makes a clicking sound when it resets.

You can check this by lifting a hammer up, then pushing the front angled part of the jack (the tender) down, and letting it snap back into its rest position. It most likely clicks, proving that is where one problem lies.

On your sound file, there seems to be more than one mechanical click. I hear a click - thud. The thud can be the wippen heel cloth or the knuckle, or both. You can check the condition of the wippen heel cloth as follows: (the wippen heel cloth is the "pad" on the bottom of the wippen which comes into contact with the brass key capstan). With the hammer raised, press down on the keystick behind the balance rail pin to push the key into its rest position. Lift the wippen up and let it go. As it drops down onto the key, it will probably make a clunk or knock. If so, we know the wippen heel cloth is too hard.

Next, keep the key in its rest position and let the wippen rest on the key. Let the hammer drop down from about 3" high. This can take a bit more experience to judge, but if there is a smacking sound or a thud, the knuckles are too hard as well.

These are three typical sources of noise in piano such as yours, based on many that I have seen and repaired. Replacing the wippen heel cloth is fairly straight forward (for a technician); this can be done without even unscrewing the wippens from the action rail. Replacing the jack punchings is more labor intensive, as is replacing knuckles, which also cost more in parts. Knuckle replacement should be weighed off against replacement of the entire hammer shank and hammer head assembly. If the hammers are worn, it may be a better investment to replace them along with the shanks, which will have new, more resilient (=quiet) knuckles.

Usually, replacing these three noisemakers will cut down on the mechanical noise to a huge degree. It must be remembered that a certain (small) amount of mechanical noise is part of the piano sound, as we know it. In most entry level and some mid range pianos, material selection for action components is one place where cost cutting occurs. High quality virgin wool felts are more expensive than lower quality felts, which are often rayon or acrylic blends. These don't perform well and end up being noisy after several years of playing, if they were ever silent in the first place. Some people never really notice,or are not bothered too much.

The fact that it is a real issue for you tells me you are a sensitive listener.

Doing a test replacement of felt on one wippen, as you mentioned, is a good idea. You are obviously gathering information to make an informed dcision on how to proceed, which is the only way to go.

Re: Young Chang entire action clicking #632119
01/12/07 10:59 AM
01/12/07 10:59 AM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 14
NY
H
Holden Offline OP
Junior Member
Holden  Offline OP
Junior Member
H

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 14
NY
Quote
Originally posted by Jurgen:
...jack....It most likely clicks, proving that is where one problem lies.
...The thud can be the wippen heel cloth or the knuckle, or both.
You are absolutely correct on both counts (although I/we have not tested the knuckle). The click sound is from the jack and the thud from the whippen heel cloth (which was pretty anemic to begin with on the whippen we used for the replacement test) has a serious indentation in it from the brass key capstan.

You nailed the part about the quality of the whippens and their deterioration over the years, as well.

I must admit I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by having all the felts and jacks replaced - thats what's motivating my urge to just throw money at the problem and replace the whippens... but I am trying to persevere. ha Do you have a rough idea of a range of prices I might encounter for this?

By the way, if you are interest in knowing how to post a thumbnailed picture in a forum here is an explanation.

Go to imageshack .com. Follow these first steps. You don't need to enter your email address, by the way. Follow the directions I wrote in the picture - Click CHOOSE FILE and navagate to, and select, the picture you want to upload. Then click HOST IT.
[Linked Image]
After the upload is finished a page with these codes will come up.
[Linked Image]
For forums, copy the "Thumbnail for forums (1)" code into your Reply - that will provide a thumbnail linked to your full size picture.

Notice the "Hotlink for forums " code below - that is for posting the full size picture with no thumbnail. You should only use this if your picture is under say, 10k, because it will really slow down load times for dial up folks. The thumbnail is usually the way to go.


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