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Voicing - how much effort?

Posted By: Gretel

Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 05:26 PM

Hi all,

I am considering to ask my piano tech to voice my piano a bit softer, but I am unsure what this would entail. How much effort is this? And: can this only be done a limited number of times (before e.g. new hammers or felts are necessary)? Is this a risky operation? I don‘t know the tech yet but the store where I bought the piano is pretty big and they do a lot of tunings (and I suppose voicings, but I am not sure).

Many thanks in advance,
Gretel
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 06:02 PM

Gretel, you sound a lot like me... I'm very particular about my pianos, and especially particular about who I allow to stab my hammers with needles.

Voicing is different from tuning. First of all, before voicing of the hammers is done:

* the piano should be tuned to perfection or as close as possible
* the piano action should be well regulated
* any string to hammer mating/string leveling should have been done

Secondly, the tuner/tech should be experienced at voicing hammers. Not all tuners are. An inexperienced tech can ruin a hammer(s) if over voiced or voiced improperly.

Also, FWIW, it depends on how new the hammers are. Newer, softer hammers are relatively easy to voice with a needling tool. Harder hammers are more of a challenge, and need more aggressive needling, or even chemical treatments (which can be more dangerous and uncontrollable than needling).

As far as the life expectancy of your hammers, as it relates to voicing, it depends on the skill of the technician. A good set of hammers can be reshaped and voiced many times, at least in my view.

Ask the store owner, or tech what their experience is regarding hammer voicing.

Good luck!

Rick
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 06:14 PM

Gretel:

I agree with all that Rickster has written. Ultimately, it all boils down to the skill of the technician; what he does, how he does it, and what he knows not to do!

Regards,
Posted By: Gretel

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 06:28 PM

The hammers are new - the complete piano is new. So ... how long would something like this take (as a rough measure of how complex or difficult this would be)? Someone in another thread mentioned half an hour. That sounds fairly minor and I would probably give it a shot. If however it would take three hours or so I would be more reluctant since this sounds more invasive and difficult.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 06:35 PM

My tech voiced my hammers mellower and softer during my recent tuning a few days ago, and it only took him a half hour. It made a huge difference in my ability to play p and pp. He told me he did some needling. I was surprised he could make such a big difference in such a short time. He tuned the piano after the voicing.

It's possible that although it made a big difference in my ability to play pp easily what he did would be considered a very minor voicing on the whole piano. So I think how long voicing takes, what preparatory measures are needed, depends on what has to be accomplished and the skill of the tech. I think my tech is extremely skilled. He has written an important book on tuning and invented a new tuning hammer that has become quite popular.
Posted By: Rich D.

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 06:36 PM

Might be best to start off slow with the voicing. Ask your piano tech to voice down your piano down slightly on his or her next tuning visit and then see where you stand. You can always have further voicing done at the next tuning if needed.

Rich
Posted By: MarkL

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 06:40 PM

When my piano was new, the technician came from the store where I bought it to do the first tuning. He voiced about an octave worth of keys starting from about G4 and I would say the voicing part took him about 10ish minutes (I was watching), the rest of the slightly more than an hour total was the tuning. He does all the setups for new Kawais at the shop as well as rebuilding pianos, and has 30 years experience, so his skill level is high. I would guess if the tech works at the shop where you bought your piano their skill level will also be high.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 06:49 PM

Originally Posted by Gretel
The hammers are new - the complete piano is new. So ... how long would something like this take (as a rough measure of how complex or difficult this would be)? Someone in another thread mentioned half an hour. That sounds fairly minor and I would probably give it a shot. If however it would take three hours or so I would be more reluctant since this sounds more invasive and difficult.
You have to ask the tech who is going to do the work. I not sure anyone can say with much certainty until they hear your piano and have a sense of how much softer you'd like it to be and the general condition of the piano's regulation.

I don't think you should necessarily use a tech that works for the dealer where you bought the piano because some of the techs that work for dealers are relatively inexperienced. You need to try and find out beforehand how good any tech you use, whether from the dealer or not, is as a voicer. If you give your location you can probably get good recommendations from some of the dealers or pianists here.The advice they give you may also be better than mine.

If you are concerned about the tech over doing the voicing I think you can ask them to voice a few test notes or to do the voicing in stages. I think you should post your question in the Technician's Forum also. It's OK to post a question on more than one forum if it's relevant for both of them.
Posted By: Hakki

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 07:17 PM

Why would you need a new piano voiced?
You have just bought it new and already knew how it sounded.
How about returning the piano and replacing it with another one, while it is under warranty?
I wouldn't count on voicing ?

Edit: Did you check that messing up with the hammer felts will harm your warranty or getting a full price in case of an upgrade?
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 08:43 PM

Originally Posted by Hakki
Why would you need a new piano voiced?
You have just bought it new and already knew how it sounded.
How about returning the piano and replacing it with another one, while it is under warranty?
I wouldn't count on voicing ?

Edit: Did you check that messing up with the hammer felts will harm your warranty or getting a full price in case of an upgrade?
A piano can sound different in the owner's home environment vs. the showroom or someone can change their mind about the tone. Normal voicing by a qualified tech would not usually void a warranty. It's considered appropriate maintenance. It's not unusual to have a new piano voiced in the home environment.



Posted By: Rickster

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 08:58 PM

Originally Posted by Hakki
Why would you need a new piano voiced?
You have just bought it new and already knew how it sounded.
How about returning the piano and replacing it with another one, while it is under warranty?
I wouldn't count on voicing ?

Edit: Did you check that messing up with the hammer felts will harm your warranty or getting a full price in case of an upgrade?

Good point, Hakki.

However, minor voicing is, or should be, part of the basic prep and set-up of a new piano. I'm sure different dealers have different levels of prep they perform on new pianos.

Also, and this is my own opinion, based on my own personal experience, any amount of voicing is not going to yield a drastic change in the tone/timber of the piano. Voicing will make a bright tone less bright, and a mellow tone less mellow, but it will not make a tremendous change in the tone. Also, and again, just my opinion, voicing usually doesn't last a long time before it needs to be repeated, especially in cases of frequent and hard playing.

When I was shopping around for a grand piano, and visited a few dealers, I had a couple of dealers tell me they could voice a certain new piano anyway I wanted, up or down. Based on what I have learned and what I know now, that is a promise I'm not so sure they could actually follow through with.

Usually, what you hear at the piano store is what you will get at home, although voicing can improve any harshness, and balance out the overall tone across the entire piano.

As far as voicing causing problems with a pianos manufacturer's warranty, I don't think tuning and/or voicing is part of the warranty to begin with. If an inexperienced tech were to damage the hammers while voicing, due to inexperience, I'm quite sure that is not something covered under the manufacturer's warranty. Usually, tuning and voicing, and any minor repairs of sticky keys, squeaks, and other minor issues is covered by the dealer as part of their post-sale customer service and not part of any warranty.

Just a few thoughts...

Rick
Posted By: terminaldegree

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 09:01 PM

Originally Posted by MarkL
I would guess if the tech works at the shop where you bought your piano their skill level will also be high.


This is only sometimes the case.
Many less experienced, or apprentice technicians learn by working for dealers, doing floor tunings and then lower-priority tuning calls. This gets them access to a wide range of pianos quickly, all in one location. In exchange for this (and for eventually being referred by the store for outside clients), the reimbursement rate to the tech is typically lower than what techs charge independently for service, even if you're paying full retail prices as the customer. On the other hand, if the store does a lot of concert service, they typically will either have at least one more expert tech on staff, or with whom they frequently hire as an independent contractor.
Posted By: Hakki

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 09:03 PM

Is your new piano a W.Hoffmann T122? That is designed by C.Bechstein and produced at their Czech factory under Bechstein's supervision?
Posted By: Gretel

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 09:05 PM

@Hakki: Do you suggest returning the piano and replacing it with another piano because this would be less effort/cost/risk compared to a voicing?

I am very happy with the piano, but sometimes I think it is a bit too bright, hence the question if a voicing would be worth a try.
Posted By: Gretel

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 09:06 PM

Originally Posted by Hakki
Is your new piano a W.Hoffmann T122? That is designed by C.Bechstein and produced at their Czech factory under Bechstein's supervision?


Yes, exactly.
Posted By: Hakki

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 09:12 PM

And according to Pianobuyer.com the hammers for W.Hoffmann pianos are produced by Bechstein.

I don't know. C.Bechstein is a tier one company in piano business. I wouldn't change the original voicing of a brand new high quality piano.
Posted By: dogperson

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 09:18 PM

Gretel
You might want to post this question in the tech forum. Please be sure to include all the details about your piano
Posted By: ShiroKuro

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 09:24 PM

Quote
I am very happy with the piano, but sometimes I think it is a bit too bright, hence the question if a voicing would be worth a try.


To me, even with a brand new piano, this is exactly the sort of thing that voicing can address. And just because a piano is brand new doesn't mean it doesn't need voicing, it all depends on how it was prepped.

Having said that, Gretel, what is the acoustic environment like in your piano room? Is it possible that adding some soft furnishings, an area rug and/or soft curtains could make a difference?
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 09:31 PM

Originally Posted by Hakki
And according to Pianobuyer.com the hammers for W.Hoffmann pianos are produced by Bechstein.

I don't know. C.Bechstein is a tier one company in piano business. I wouldn't change the original voicing of a brand new high quality piano.
Why not? I don't think the quality of the piano makes a difference.

Just because the hammers may be high quality doesn't mean they're voiced to a particular buyer's home and personal preference. It's common to have pianos of all qualities voiced in one's home.
Posted By: Hakki

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 09:43 PM

This from T122 Bechstein.com site:

All the production steps involved in making this piano, including the manual voicing of the hammerheads, are performed in the Czech Republic by the C. Bechstein Europe piano-makers. The five-year warranty also comes from C. Bechstein Europe, a production site unique in Europe as it offers optimal prerequisites for high-quality piano-making.

Again, if it were me, I wouldn't let my new piano voiced.
But that is up to you to decide.

Edit: That is because I paid already for this cost of manual voicing at the factory.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 09:48 PM

Brand new pianos often do not sound thier best at first. Was your piano a floor model
or new from a warehouse ? Before my present piano I had a VERY new U1. All I.can say
is that it developed a metalic bright sound ? Some of the technicians apart from the well
qualified ones were hopeless even with tuning ,apart from voicing.
After we upgraded (a few months later ) The Head Technician (RPT) took far greater interest
In my piano. In a few days I am having an independent technician service my piano., tune do ,
touch up.,regulations and voicings .He a concert technician very well known in Vancouver. I am glad I have taken this step .I tried a W Hoffman 48" and it was a beautiful sounding piano !
Ask for the Head Technician to voice your piano !
Posted By: akc42

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 10:00 PM

I have no real knowledge, except last week I went to visit Venables and Sons (see my thread on auditioning Baby Grands). When I arrived Will Venables - he's the son, but seems to be the only person there put me on an old piano while he voiced a new one that had just arrived, after about 15 minutes I didn't much like the old piano and went to join him in the room where he was voicing a new one. It probably took another 10 minutes whilst I played on a very small baby grand next to it. I then got to play it and he dynamically altered the voicing as I discussed what I liked and didn't like, and where I was finding issues. The action came in and out of the piano about 10 times in this process. By the end the tone was gorgeous. From the moment I walked in the door to the moment I left again was exactly two hours. That included discussions on logistics if I did want to purchase, a brief discussion about recording pianos and quite a bit of playing on the piano by me when he was taking phone calls and doing other stuff.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 10:58 PM

Originally Posted by Hakki
This from T122 Bechstein.com site:

All the production steps involved in making this piano, including the manual voicing of the hammerheads, are performed in the Czech Republic by the C. Bechstein Europe piano-makers. The five-year warranty also comes from C. Bechstein Europe, a production site unique in Europe as it offers optimal prerequisites for high-quality piano-making.

Again, if it were me, I wouldn't let my new piano voiced.
But that is up to you to decide.

Edit: That is because I paid already for this cost of manual voicing at the factory.

I guess you mean change the voicing like Gretel seems to want to ?
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 11:18 PM

Originally Posted by Hakki
Again, if it were me, I wouldn't let my new piano voiced.But that is up to you to decide.

Edit: That is because I paid already for this cost of manual voicing at the factory.
l know for a fact that NYC Bechstein dealer voices the Bechstein grands when they arrive at their factory/dealership. As far as I know this is not an unusual occurrence at dealers. In fact, they may spend more time voicing their expensive pianos because the profit is greater than on a less expensive one and potential buyers may be more fussy.

So the idea that a piano's voicing at the factory should be or is the final voicing is simply not true. Some dealers will also agree to voice the piano in the owner's home at no additional expense, especially if it's an expensive one.

Would you really rather play on a piano whose tone you didn't like at your home because it was already voiced at the factory? Not every piano sounds the same in the buyer's home as at the dealer.

Posted By: Hakki

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 11:37 PM

IMO, after having played on a digital previously, OP is simply finding the acustic piano loud and hoping that voicing might silence down the piano. I don't think it has anything to do with the tone of the piano.
Posted By: Gretel

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 11:45 PM

Okay, you think I am an idiot.
Posted By: BDB

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/13/20 11:54 PM

Pianos often come minimally voiced, with final voicing to be done when the piano is in the final position. Most people do not bother to change it.
Posted By: dhull100

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 01:43 AM

Originally Posted by Hakki
IMO, after having played on a digital previously, OP is simply finding the acustic piano loud and hoping that voicing might silence down the piano. I don't think it has anything to do with the tone of the piano.


Your ideas and assumptions in this thread are a bit much. New pianos are settling in, getting played in (beyond what happens at the factory). Minor voicing and regulation issues are common; I've experienced this on mid range and high end new pianos. They can be frustrating if not expected, but the notion that this is unusual or that "quality" craftsmanship entirely eliminates these changes seems wrong. If the tech is good, and it won't hurt to get a second opinion, voicing isn't risky and won't void warranty (ha!). Techs don't go from 10 all the way down to 1 in my experience. They can do a few notes / section and see what you think, and probably mostly reverse unwanted results.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 07:58 AM

One needs to be on good terms with the head technician
of a dealer, in case there is ever is a warranty problem .It would
be safer to for him judge what should or can be done .
New pianos sometimes have issues to be dealt with.Pedal
adjustments etc .
Posted By: OE1FEU

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 08:20 AM

Voicing done right is a time consuming process that requires a really experienced technician. It is also a necessary process to adapt a piano's capability to its final location in the customer's home. Before you start needling extensively, however, one should take a closer look at some of the acoustic elements hat influence the sound character and volume of the instrument, so it makes sense to play around with thick rugs or the piano's position in the room.

I am confident that a good technician will substantially improve on the piano's sound quality in its final position. If your seller is an official Bechstein piano reseller, one can expect a competent service and I would assume that voicing it in a customer's home will be done by someone with the necessary experience. Does this piano store have other Bechstein instruments from the concert series, i.e. a B 212 or C 234 in the showroom? If so, you can assume that their technician will have spent some time voicing it, even if it's already pretty good when new from the factory.
Posted By: Beemer

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 09:46 AM

Originally Posted by Gretel
Hi all,

I am considering to ask my piano tech to voice my piano a bit softer, but I am unsure what this would entail. How much effort is this? And: can this only be done a limited number of times (before e.g. new hammers or felts are necessary)? Is this a risky operation? I don‘t know the tech yet but the store where I bought the piano is pretty big and they do a lot of tunings (and I suppose voicings, but I am not sure).

Many thanks in advance,
Gretel

Hi Gretel,
I voice my own Blüthner but have done so only after taking three years learning to tune and regulate pianos. It would be helpful to know what you thought of the tone of the same piano presuming that you played it at the dealer? I like the soft tone of my Blüthner and there were only a few hammers that required voicing.
Questions like yours are sometimes better answered in the Technician and Tuner section.
Ian
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 01:58 PM

Originally Posted by OE1FEU
I am confident that a good technician will substantially improve on the piano's sound quality in its final position. If your seller is an official Bechstein piano reseller, one can expect a competent service and I would assume that voicing it in a customer's home will be done by someone with the necessary experience. Does this piano store have other Bechstein instruments from the concert series, i.e. a B 212 or C 234 in the showroom? If so, you can assume that their technician will have spent some time voicing it, even if it's already pretty good when new from the factory.
If the dealer is a major Bechstein dealer they probably have some good voicers available. But I wouldn't assume they will necessarily send their best voicer to voice a piano on the low end of what they sell in the store. So I think the OP should definitely inquire about who they will send and what his qualifications are.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 02:06 PM

Originally Posted by Lady Bird
One needs to be on good terms with the head technician of a dealer, in case there is ever is a warranty problem .It would be safer to for him judge what should or can be done .New pianos sometimes have issues to be dealt with.Pedal adjustments etc.
A reasonable dealer or head technician is not going to hold it against a customer who has been using an outside but excellent tech if there is a warranty problem at one point. I think the one possible advantage of using the dealer's tech is that they may be more familiar with voicing the particular make/model piano in question. OTOH very good techs can usually work successfully on any piano and using them may have other advantages.
Posted By: j&j

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 04:23 PM

Gretel- how long has your piano been in your home? How long was it on the dealer’s floor? Did you notice the brightness when you tried out the piano? Pianos need extra tunings the first year and can be expected to have some changes as they settle into your home. Plus, now you’re playing every day so you’ll notice new minor changes, to speak with your tech about at your scheduled appointment.

I’m assuming you just want some slight adjustments and not the whole voice of the piano altered. If it’s the latter, then you need to do what Hakki suggested and return it and get another.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 04:45 PM

Originally Posted by j&j
I’m assuming you just want some slight adjustments and not the whole voice of the piano altered. If it’s the latter, then you need to do what Hakki suggested and return it and get another.
The dealer might agree to switching to another piano but very well might not agree. They are certainly under no obligation to do so unless there was some return policy in the contract. If they agree, the OP would probably have to pay for the two piano moves. Depending on how long the OP has had the piano, the dealer might not even be able to sell the piano as a new piano any longer.

Since no on here except the OP knows what the piano sounds like or what the OP desires in terms of tone, I don't think it's possible to know how much voicing would be needed to change the tone enough to suit the OP's taste.
Posted By: j&j

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 05:11 PM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by j&j
I’m assuming you just want some slight adjustments and not the whole voice of the piano altered. If it’s the latter, then you need to do what Hakki suggested and return it and get another.
The dealer might agree to switching to another piano but very well might not agree. They are certainly under no obligation to do so unless there was some return policy in the contract. If they agree, the OP would probably have to pay for the two piano moves. Depending on how long the OP has had the piano, the dealer might not even be able to sell the piano as a new piano any longer.

Since no on here except the OP knows what the piano sounds like or what the OP desires in terms of tone, I don't think it's possible to know how much voicing would be needed to change the tone enough to suit the OP's taste.


Yeah, that last option would definitely be a last resort, and probably the most expensive. That’s why I asked all the questions. The OP still loves the piano overall so maybe it’s just new home new environment adjustments are needed.
Posted By: EssBrace

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 06:41 PM

Originally Posted by OE1FEU
Voicing done right is a time consuming process that requires a really experienced technician. It is also a necessary process to adapt a piano's capability to its final location in the customer's home. Before you start needling extensively, however, one should take a closer look at some of the acoustic elements hat influence the sound character and volume of the instrument, so it makes sense to play around with thick rugs or the piano's position in the room.


I agree entirely.

Voicing a piano to the owner's satisfaction in their unique acoustic environment at home is the final process necessary to marry that piano to that space. I see nothing wrong in principle with the idea of a voicing in the owner's home. If done with skill and sensitivity it is not going to cause any detrimental effects in the piano.

I also agree it is worth considering the other elements in the room that might affect the piano's tone (or a person's perception of that tone). If it's bright consider whether it is feasible and aesthetically attractive to add soft furnishings of some sort; rugs, upholstered seating, cushions, wall tapestries, thicker curtains etc. Even changing wall coverings from emulsion paint to textured wallpaper, hessian or cork can change the acoustic properties of a room and will have a tendency to reduce the brightness of the acoustic feedback from the room.
Posted By: LarryK

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 06:57 PM

So, when should a new piano be voiced in its new home? Should that be done in the first year? How soon?
Posted By: j&j

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 07:06 PM

Originally Posted by EssBrace
Originally Posted by OE1FEU
Voicing done right is a time consuming process that requires a really experienced technician. It is also a necessary process to adapt a piano's capability to its final location in the customer's home. Before you start needling extensively, however, one should take a closer look at some of the acoustic elements hat influence the sound character and volume of the instrument, so it makes sense to play around with thick rugs or the piano's position in the room.


I agree entirely.

Voicing a piano to the owner's satisfaction in their unique acoustic environment at home is the final process necessary to marry that piano to that space. I see nothing wrong in principle with the idea of a voicing in the owner's home. If done with skill and sensitivity it is not going to cause any detrimental effects in the piano.

I also agree it is worth considering the other elements in the room that might affect the piano's tone (or a person's perception of that tone). If it's bright consider whether it is feasible and aesthetically attractive to add soft furnishings of some sort; rugs, upholstered seating, cushions, wall tapestries, thicker curtains etc. Even changing wall coverings from emulsion paint to textured wallpaper, hessian or cork can change the acoustic properties of a room and will have a tendency to reduce the brightness of the acoustic feedback from the room.


I’ve read in some previous posts that you can use big pillows or stuffed animals, say, placed underneath the grand to see if a thick rug would help or not. Voice down the room before voicing down the piano. Certainly worth a shot, IMHO.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 07:37 PM

Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by j&j
I’m assuming you just want some slight adjustments and not the whole voice of the piano altered. If it’s the latter, then you need to do what Hakki suggested and return it and get another.
The dealer might agree to switching to another piano but very well might not agree. They are certainly under no obligation to do so unless there was some return policy in the contract. If they agree, the OP would probably have to pay for the two piano moves. Depending on how long the OP has had the piano, the dealer might not even be able to sell the piano as a new piano any longer.

Since no on here except the OP knows what the piano sounds like or what the OP desires in terms of tone, I don't think it's possible to know how much voicing would be needed to change the tone enough to suit the OP's taste.
Yeah, that last option would definitely be a last resort, and probably the most expensive.
My point was it might very well not even be possible. Dealers don't have to and I think rarely agree to have a piano returned just because the buyer doesn't like it unless the contract has a clause about that.
Posted By: MarkL

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 07:50 PM

Originally Posted by LarryK
So, when should a new piano be voiced in its new home? Should that be done in the first year? How soon?

I would say do it whenever you find yourself unhappy with the sound. In my case as soon as the new piano was moved into my house there were some keys above G4 that were just too bright. So at the first tuning, which was about 3 weeks after the move, the tuner was able to hear what I was talking about so it was easy for him to address it.
Posted By: terminaldegree

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 08:28 PM

Originally Posted by MarkL

I would say do it whenever you find yourself unhappy with the sound.


I tend to agree. Do make sure you're starting with a freshly tuned piano in a decent state of regulation, and that the room acoustics make some sense. Some voicing work takes just minutes, while others can take hours or days (allowing for things to cure, etc.).
Posted By: Jethro

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 09:00 PM

Here's a nice brief blog about this topic: https://finetuningco.com/blog/voicing-a-piano

My piano was already voiced by a Shigeru MPA at the dealer and will get another one in about a year after it has settled in my home. I'm hesitant of having a technician voice my piano unless I am familiar with their work. The last time I had my RX-2 voiced by a reputable technician it was on his suggestion the tone in the upper octaves could "sing" better. Being a Steinway technician he was familiar with applying to shelacs to Steinway hammers. I can't remember if he told me that he was going to apply this shelac or not but I remember when I saw him doing it I was taken by surprise and at that point very concerned because the piano was fairly new. Needless to say, I didn't like the result and the following tuning he had to pin the felt to voice some of that brightness away. Standard Kawai's are known for their mellow tone and I wouldn't know why someone would want to artificially mess with that. So I agree with Hakki and J&J here, if you like the sound of your piano first try to "voice" room rather than doing something drastic. Fortunately, he was able to pin the felt back to the tone and brightness that I preferred.

I have noticed that even with experienced technicians they have a bias towards what they feel a good piano should sound like but they are oftentimes comparing apples to oranges. Say trying to make a Kawai sound like a Yamaha for example and then they make tweaks that sometimes don't work. Again for example, my last tuner of my Kawai brightened up the higher octaves of my RX-2 but I think he raised the pitch of a couple of the keys to the point that the upper octaves were piercing and annoying. Again the RX-2 was designed overall for a mellower sound and sometimes trying to make it something it is not can have bad results.

My Shigeru SK2 because of it's construction has a more clear bell-like tone in the upper octaves that is naturally beautiful and comes from the overall construction of the piano. The piano was voiced at the dealer by MPA Terri Otake and I think he will be the same gentleman who will eventually voice and regulate my Shigeru in my home. I know his work and it's fabulous. All I would tell him is to do what he did before to my piano otherwise I wouldn't know where to start. I'm having a technician come to tune my Shigeru in a couple of weeks, the first thing I will tell him is to just tune it don't try to voice it to what he prefers, I like the way the piano sounds as it is and as it was voiced by the Shigeru MPA. In fact I'm going to record my piano and in a few years when it's time to have the piano voiced again I'll tell the technician I want it to sound like this.

Getting back to my point I think it would be wise to hire a technician who is familiar with your particular brand and what a well voiced piano in that brand may sound like given its inherent character. I know not all two pianos are alike but I think we can agree that they each tend to have a signature sound character that you don't want to stray too far away from.

My two cents.
Posted By: j&j

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/14/20 09:08 PM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by j&j
I’m assuming you just want some slight adjustments and not the whole voice of the piano altered. If it’s the latter, then you need to do what Hakki suggested and return it and get another.
The dealer might agree to switching to another piano but very well might not agree. They are certainly under no obligation to do so unless there was some return policy in the contract. If they agree, the OP would probably have to pay for the two piano moves. Depending on how long the OP has had the piano, the dealer might not even be able to sell the piano as a new piano any longer.

Since no on here except the OP knows what the piano sounds like or what the OP desires in terms of tone, I don't think it's possible to know how much voicing would be needed to change the tone enough to suit the OP's taste.
Yeah, that last option would definitely be a last resort, and probably the most expensive.
My point was it might very well not even be possible. Dealers don't have to and I think rarely agree to have a piano returned just because the buyer doesn't like it unless the contract has a clause about that.


I’ve heard some horror stories. From both sides. Depending on the dealer if the buyer called right away like the next day crying that the piano’s sound was completely unacceptable, the dealer might offer to take the piano back right away in exchange for another piano at equal price. Buyer pays all moving costs. It’s significantly less hassle and cost in the long run. Very unhappy and very whiny customers are every business’ worst nightmare. The vast majority of the cases I’ve heard about, the dealer would include some voicing adjustments with the free tuning. Again the piano does need to settle in and some little annoyances are typical the first year. That’s why the “Ahhhh new piano” is a thing. Accompanied with a heavy sigh. Everything expands and contracts with temperature and humidity changes and the piano slowly needs to adapt. You kinda wait for it to bloom. With my little tuning app, I quickly check the tuning drift. If I was really OCD I’d build a graph. That way I’m prepared for my next piano tech appointment.

I’ve only heard cases of people who bought a piano and hated it right after delivery. I can’t imagine it. I seriously play a piano when I’m trying it out so I’ve never had that kind of issue. Guess I’m blessed.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/15/20 04:03 AM

Unless the piano Gretel bought was not the actual piano she tried in the showroom.
Perhaps one brand new from the warehouse ? Has the piano been prepped before
delivery?
On the other hand the OP is more familiar with digital pianos and in all the models
the pianos sound exactly the same ! So we can understand her difficulties.
Posted By: j&j

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/15/20 02:21 PM

Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Unless the piano Gretel bought was not the actual piano she tried in the showroom.
Perhaps one brand new from the warehouse ? Has the piano been prepped before
delivery?
On the other hand the OP is more familiar with digital pianos and in all the models
the pianos sound exactly the same ! So we can understand her difficulties.


Again I have heard of such things but think it’s pretty rare. The OP did say she still loves the piano but now noticed it’s a bit too bright in the treble. I haven’t seen or heard the piano but I think it’s probably just a case of the piano settling into a new environment and the OP thinks it sounds somewhat brighter at home than it did in the store. Either or both of the problems are typical for new pianos. Especially if the piano was just recently uncrated/unboxed, prepped, and then put on the floor. Since the OP has digital experience I guess it can be a bit unnerving to hear and feel the changes a brand new piano has while it settles in. I hope her tech can adjust the tone to her liking (odds are high he/she can) and she has a long happy relationship with her new acoustic piano. As others have also mentioned the room acoustics directly affect how the piano sounds so maybe a thick rug under the piano or different window coverings could really help. I wish th OP all the best.
Posted By: Gretel

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/15/20 03:21 PM

Thanks again for all the comments. I meanwhile opened up a similar thread in the piano technicians subforum, as was suggested here, since this is actually the most appropriate subforum for this topic.
A few remarks: the piano is brand new. I tried a similar one in the showroom but this had chrome metallic parts (not sure how to call this properly) whereas I wanted „normal“ brass. However also the showroom model was too bright for my tastes. The salesperson suggested that a tech could voice it brighter or softer, depending on my personal tastes, which is why I focussed on feel and not so much on sound while testing it.

An anecdote: I tested a Kawai K500 in this shop. Man was it soft/dull/dead. I decided that this is certainly not a sound I could appreciate. They also had a K300. This sounded very lovely. I was surprised - I have thought they should sound similarly. I concluded that they must be voiced differently, and concluded that I can probably not take the sound too much into account when testing a piano - at least not how bright or mellow it sounds.

Currently I put again my mattress behind the piano. Now it has again the less bright sound that I appreciate. This is actually pretty close to the ideal sound I woud like my piano to have, only that I need a mattress behind my piano for achieving this, which is somehow strange and I would like to get rid of the mattress. I guess a voicing would be the way to go.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/15/20 03:57 PM

You could try just a blanket behind the piano.
Posted By: dogperson

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/15/20 04:41 PM

Hi
Check the room: add a rug, soft furnishings such as drapes, pillows and furniture. If you don’t have much room for furniture think about big floor pillows. I would do all of this before I would have a piano voiced
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/15/20 05:57 PM

Foam wedged in there would be better. Don't count on voicing to achieve the same effect. You are altering the sound in two totally different ways.

Pwg
Posted By: Gretel

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/15/20 06:28 PM

Originally Posted by dogperson
Hi
Check the room: add a rug, soft furnishings such as drapes, pillows and furniture. If you don’t have much room for furniture think about big floor pillows. I would do all of this before I would have a piano voiced


Yeah, I did all this already. I have soft furnishings like drapes, pillows and furniture. Since Christmas I also now have a rug under the piano.
Posted By: Gretel

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/15/20 06:30 PM

Originally Posted by P W Grey
Foam wedged in there would be better. Don't count on voicing to achieve the same effect. You are altering the sound in two totally different ways.

Pwg


Foam wedged in there would be better? Can you elaborate? Sorry I am not a native English speaker.
Posted By: Jethro

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/15/20 06:52 PM

Originally Posted by Gretel
Originally Posted by P W Grey
Foam wedged in there would be better. Don't count on voicing to achieve the same effect. You are altering the sound in two totally different ways.

Pwg


Foam wedged in there would be better? Can you elaborate? Sorry I am not a native English speaker.

The same was recommended to me years ago when I had my RX-2. To wedge foam underneath the soundboard. Shirokuro brought this up in your previous thread http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2922560/8.html. A thick rug worked for my new piano, but I could see the foam inserts doing wonders for you without detracting from the sound character of your new piano.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/15/20 09:47 PM

I still think some voicing may help.because the piano is so new .,Perhaps a full length rug with a not too thick underflelt. I know this can be quite an expense .
Every piano is different ,so is every room .We all perceive sound differently .,so a bit more of a mellow sound may help.
The piano will assert it's individual characteristics again but may have settled more so sound
differently .Help yourself and the piano by getting some voicing done.
I agree keep the mattress as well ,after voicing try it again without .
Wishing you and your piano well !
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/16/20 01:24 AM

Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Unless the piano Gretel bought was not the actual piano she tried in the showroom.
Perhaps one brand new from the warehouse ? Has the piano been prepped before
delivery?
On the other hand the OP is more familiar with digital pianos and in all the models
the pianos sound exactly the same ! So we can understand her difficulties.


Again I have heard of such things but think it’s pretty rare. The OP did say she still loves the piano but now noticed it’s a bit too bright in the treble. I haven’t seen or heard the piano but I think it’s probably just a case of the piano settling into a new environment and the OP thinks it sounds somewhat brighter at home than it did in the store. Either or both of the problems are typical for new pianos. Especially if the piano was just recently uncrated/unboxed, prepped, and then put on the floor. Since the OP has digital experience I guess it can be a bit unnerving to hear and feel the changes a brand new piano has while it settles in. I hope her tech can adjust the tone to her liking (odds are high he/she can) and she has a long happy relationship with her new acoustic piano. As others have also mentioned the room acoustics directly affect how the piano sounds so maybe a thick rug under the piano or different window coverings could really help. I wish th OP all the best.

Well then the BRAND NEW U1 I chose then was a bad piano and I glad I upgraded (full value of U1) to the one we REALLY loved (even though it was more than 3×the price of the U1 .)
I think a dealer can take a "whiney" customer if he is a good dealer ! I was persuaded by the sales
person to take the the new one as the floor model was 4 years old !
I do not think this is Greta's problem with her piano.
Posted By: j&j

Re: Voicing - how much effort? - 01/16/20 04:46 PM

Originally Posted by Gretel
Originally Posted by dogperson
Hi
Check the room: add a rug, soft furnishings such as drapes, pillows and furniture. If you don’t have much room for furniture think about big floor pillows. I would do all of this before I would have a piano voiced


Yeah, I did all this already. I have soft furnishings like drapes, pillows and furniture. Since Christmas I also now have a rug under the piano.


Ok. So I think I better understand. The new piano delivered to you is not the same piano you tried at the dealer’s. You thought the piano you tried in the showroom was too bright but the salesman said the piano tech could voice it down to more mellow, less bright. Your new piano, same model that you tried in the store is also too bright. You’ve tried changing the room acoustics but the piano is still too bright. Am I correct?

A good piano tech should be able to adjust the tone to be less bright without damaging the hammers. The tech’s work won’t change the piano’s tone or voice, it should be able to make it somewhat more mellow.
Best wishes for success.
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