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Pedals and dampers

Posted By: pianoloverus

Pedals and dampers - 04/17/19 01:18 PM

With all the discussion about pianos on this forum I can remember almost no discussion of the pedals and dampers. For grand pianos are there major differences in these two areas? If so, what are some of the best features to look for or problems to avoid? Which pianos have the "best" pedal mechanism and damper set up?
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Pedals and dampers - 04/21/19 11:47 AM

Still hoping some experts will discuss what, if anything, makes the pedal and damper mechanism in the best pianos superior(if that's the case) to lesser pianos. Is it the design, execution, materials etc.? I can't imagine that all pedal and damper mechanisms are equal.
Posted By: Gene Nelson

Re: Pedals and dampers - 04/21/19 01:45 PM

On grands the materials are mostly the same: Wood, felt and metals.
The components are also mostly the same: lyre assembly, damper tray, lift levers, damper guide rail, damper wires and heads and damper felt.
For the lyre I suppose a solid assembly that don’t give or make noise and pedals have solid friction free motion.
Damper tray assemblies can vary and if it’s not built into the mechanism and I’m allowed to do the work I’ll modify it so the lift levers and tray have concentric rotation.
The location of tray return spring should be close to the pitman that lifts it to help avoid warping.
Lift levers can vary and ease of access and regulation is desirable. Some are glued in and the entire tray assembly must be removed to service one bad lever.
Spoons are great for regulation ease but they can cause problems with key end felts because they are small.
Spring as opposed to fixed sostenuto tabs are great.
Symmetry is great with location of guide rail and back action to help minimize excessive or odd bends in the damper wires.
Damper head felt quality can vary - I like the Yamaha CF felt.
I like to put as much felt in the damper heads as possible.
Regulation and ease of regulation is very important.
From the artist perspective the damper kills the sound instantly and efficiently with no buzzing or noise.
I’m certain others will elaborate much more.
Posted By: Gene Nelson

Re: Pedals and dampers - 04/21/19 02:30 PM

I’ll add this:
Choosing the correct damper felt for the particular unison is critical.
For mono chords, bichords, wound trichords and plain steel trichords.
Selecting the correct damper felt takes experience and experimentation.
Wedges, split wedges, flats, combination flat and wedge.
When completed the damper heads need to sit on the strings at consistent/even height. No easy task.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: Pedals and dampers - 04/21/19 06:24 PM

Gene, you have pretty much covered it.

There are different leverage mechanisms employed by different manufacturers but unless the system is really whacked out, a musician can get used to nearly any arrangement as long as it is well regulated.

Some feel that the felts should contact fully all at once, whereas others feel that having the front or rear touch first (as a unit of course) has superiority. Some like a total dead stop of sound whereas others like a little 'after sound' and then stop. It is usually within the realm of possibility for a talented tech to accommodate these things.

Placement of the edges of damper felts CAN be critical due to nodal influence.

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