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interesting new clues to an old buzz

Posted By: beet31425

interesting new clues to an old buzz - 10/28/15 05:16 PM

Hi folks--

For many years, my 2010 190 Estonia has been haunted by a buzz. It comes and goes. Sometimes it's there for an hour, sometimes it appears and disappears within a minute, sometimes it's gone for weeks. It's never there when a technician is over. It's survived many tunings, voicings, and room redecorations.

I now think it's related to something in or near where the pedal mechanism attaches to the piano, and I'd love to get people's suggestions for possible culprits. Here's why I think the pedal:

1. I always thought the buzz was coming from the strings, so it was a big surprise when I found that when I stand up and put my ear towards the strings, the buzz goes away! On the other hand when I crouch under the piano and put my ear where the pedal shafts join the main body, I hear the buzz particularly loudly and localized.

2. When the buzz appears, it usually only sounds for a specific range of the sustain pedal. For instance, one day it might only buzz when the sustain pedal is down a tiny bit. Another day it might only buzz when the sustain pedal is down all the way. And another day it might only buzz when the sustain pedal isn't down at all.

So something that seems to be coming from where the pedal mechanism attaches to the piano, and is highly dependent on having the sustain pedal pressed down in a specific way... Any suggestions for things to try to tighten or mute?

Thanks for your help!

-Jason
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: interesting new clues to an old buzz - 10/29/15 02:56 AM

Is it possible there are adjustable fixtures on the pedal rods that are not tight? Is there a loose lock washer?
Posted By: RonTuner

Re: interesting new clues to an old buzz - 10/29/15 03:23 AM

A plain piece of rubber tubing can be used to help find odd noises on or under the piano - one side in your ear and the other side pointing to where you think the noise is sounding. Check springs, especially if there are coil springs, sometimes, a place where two poly finished pieces of wood come together can cause some noises..

The tubing might direct you to the pedal mechanism, or up inside the action cavity, or closer to the soundboard. It really helps to have someone else to play the notes while you crawl around under there!

Let us know what you find...

Ron Koval
Posted By: Olek

Re: interesting new clues to an old buzz - 10/29/15 09:12 AM

Originally Posted by beet31425
Hi folks--

For many years, my 2010 190 Estonia has been haunted by a buzz. It comes and goes. Sometimes it's there for an hour, sometimes it appears and disappears within a minute, sometimes it's gone for weeks. It's never there when a technician is over. It's survived many tunings, voicings, and room redecorations.

I now think it's related to something in or near where the pedal mechanism attaches to the piano, and I'd love to get people's suggestions for possible culprits. Here's why I think the pedal:

1. I always thought the buzz was coming from the strings, so it was a big surprise when I found that when I stand up and put my ear towards the strings, the buzz goes away! On the other hand when I crouch under the piano and put my ear where the pedal shafts join the main body, I hear the buzz particularly loudly and localized.

2. When the buzz appears, it usually only sounds for a specific range of the sustain pedal. For instance, one day it might only buzz when the sustain pedal is down a tiny bit. Another day it might only buzz when the sustain pedal is down all the way. And another day it might only buzz when the sustain pedal isn't down at all.

So something that seems to be coming from where the pedal mechanism attaches to the piano, and is highly dependent on having the sustain pedal pressed down in a specific way... Any suggestions for things to try to tighten or mute?

Thanks for your help!

-Jason


Use a hard wood rod as a stethoscope to detect buzzes (or a big screwdriver, as mechanics)

I usually bang everywhere trying to hear the same buzz
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: interesting new clues to an old buzz - 11/04/15 01:56 PM

Check the brass fixtures for the Sostenuto system! They are very nice, elegant looking fixtures but they brass nuts tend to come loose and they buzz they way you have indicated. Estonia is the only brand I know of that has them. I have run across this very problem several times, so if I have an Estonia grand with fleeting buzzes as you describe, I know right where to go.

Simply remove the action and reach in to check those brass nuts and 10:1, you will find them loose enough to move with your fingers. They may be so loose that you will have to make sure you are not moving anything by tightening them (much like loose nuts from a key upstop rail) but once you tighten the nuts firmly with an open end wrench, those buzzes will be gone.

The piano is designed to carry sound, so it is no wonder that the buzzes travel and lead you to thinking they are coming from anywhere and everywhere but their actual source. I have not had the time lately to comment on anything here nor have I seen much if anything I could help with, so I hope this is one thing that is truly helpful.
Posted By: beet31425

Re: interesting new clues to an old buzz - 11/09/15 05:56 AM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
Check the brass fixtures for the Sostenuto system! They are very nice, elegant looking fixtures but they brass nuts tend to come loose and they buzz they way you have indicated. Estonia is the only brand I know of that has them. I have run across this very problem several times, so if I have an Estonia grand with fleeting buzzes as you describe, I know right where to go.

Simply remove the action and reach in to check those brass nuts and 10:1, you will find them loose enough to move with your fingers. They may be so loose that you will have to make sure you are not moving anything by tightening them (much like loose nuts from a key upstop rail) but once you tighten the nuts firmly with an open end wrench, those buzzes will be gone.

Thanks... I will definitely check this out!

Could you (or someone else) please explain exactly where these brass fixtures are and what they look like? I know how to remove the action, but I'm not sure what I'll be looking for after it's removed.

Thanks!

-J
Posted By: BDB

Re: interesting new clues to an old buzz - 11/09/15 06:33 AM

He probably means the supports for the sostenuto bar that holds the tabs up when the pedal is pressed.
Posted By: beet31425

Re: interesting new clues to an old buzz - 11/09/15 06:49 AM

Originally Posted by BDB
He probably means the supports for the sostenuto bar that holds the tabs up when the pedal is pressed.


Could you explain what that looks like a bit more, please? smile

-J
Posted By: Olek

Re: interesting new clues to an old buzz - 11/09/15 12:18 PM

This is in Bronze, or steel generally

Only the sostenuto rail is brass, or bronze, BTW, I am not sure.
Posted By: beet31425

Re: interesting new clues to an old buzz - 11/09/15 06:51 PM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
Check the brass fixtures for the Sostenuto system!...


Thanks for the suggestion. I think I located the fixtures you were talking about, but they were all secure. frown

-J
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: interesting new clues to an old buzz - 11/11/15 03:06 PM

Are you sure about that? The fixtures are brass in the Estonia and they are not the same as in other pianos. They are held in place by large (at least the width of a 5 cent coin) brass nuts. When those nuts get loose, they buzz.
Posted By: Olek

Re: interesting new clues to an old buzz - 11/11/15 06:40 PM

I am not sure, probably bronze is more suitable than brass don"t you think ?
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: interesting new clues to an old buzz - 11/12/15 12:45 AM

Olek,

I was asking the original poster if he was sure about having found and checked what is most likely the culprit of the phantom sounds, not whether you think they would be brass or bronze. They are brass. There are four of them. Only one loose nut is enough to cause the problem but if there is one loose nut, there are probably four loose nuts. Brass nuts, not bronze. In fact, I think there may be two such nuts per unit. Something tells me that what is loose and buzzing in the sostenuto system simply has not been found yet but that is where the problem is, 100:1 likelihood. No other piano that I know of or have ever seen or worked on has the same configuration.
Posted By: Olek

Re: interesting new clues to an old buzz - 11/12/15 10:37 AM

Interesting place for a buzz indeed.

They hold well generally as they are screwed in a good support. As all screws they may need some tightening.
There is often a system to regulate the position of the rail. And I have seen some that can be bowed, too.
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: interesting new clues to an old buzz - 11/12/15 02:22 PM

I am not talking about screws, Isaac, I am talking about brass nuts that come loose and vibrate, the very same as nuts on the hammer rest rail or key upstop rail. Other kinds of sostenuto systems with other configurations have been known to develop loose fasteners too but the Estonia is one piano where that will surely happen sooner or later.
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