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Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
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On my ancient Bechstein grand, medium weight Abel Natural Felt hammers (having a weight and density recommended by Abel for my piano) sounded almost the same as the century old hammers they replaced.

It's hard to describe the difference, but it was just like there was nothing wrong anymore. They got better when voiced, and I imagine this is what the piano sounded like in 1911.

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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
but all reports seem to be positive.

You're talking about an extremely small cross section of techs, and it's definitely not my perception that agreement is widespread. Those who disagree with those processes have basically chosen not to participate in the discussion. I'm not saying I agree or disagree, just that the PW tech forum is not always reflective of the larger reality of the profession.

Your skepticism is well placed. My feeling is that those techs who disagree or abstain have never tried the process, but perhaps time will tell. However, if you're going to dump your hammers anyway, I don't see why you wouldn't try it if you're comfortable pulling your action, or if your tech will pull it for you and put it back in.


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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
but all reports seem to be positive.

You're talking about an extremely small cross section of techs, and it's definitely not my perception that agreement is widespread. Those who disagree with those processes have basically chosen not to participate in the discussion. I'm not saying I agree or disagree, just that the PW tech forum is not always reflective of the larger reality of the profession.

Your skepticism is well placed. My feeling is that those techs who disagree or abstain have never tried the process, but perhaps time will tell. However, if you're going to dump your hammers anyway, I don't see why you wouldn't try it if you're comfortable pulling your action, or if your tech will pull it for you and put it back in.

No insult meant but I just think it’s financially rather risky to perform DIY short cuts on a 2 year old Estonia that’s still under warranty, when we still don’t know what necessary voicing done by a professional piano technician might accomplish. We’re not talking a free old beat up spinet to experiment with. Just saying.


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Originally Posted by j&j
No insult meant but I just think it’s financially rather risky to perform DIY short cuts on a 2 year old Estonia that’s still under warranty, when we still don’t know what necessary voicing done by a professional piano technician might accomplish. We’re not talking a free old beat up spinet to experiment with. Just saying.

Indeed. Even if the current hammers are going to be thrown away, messing around with a piano action is risky for people who don't know what they're doing.

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Caution is a good thing. But, next time your tuner or tech pulls the action, see how he or she does it. It ain't hard, an 8 year old would remember the steps after watching it done once or twice. Just don't drop the action, and don't push down on any of the keys while sliding the action in or out. There's no mystery, and it's a useful skill especially if you drop something like a pencil or small object into the piano.

Musicians should have some basic understanding of the mechanical workings of their instrument, and pulling an action on a piano is pretty basic so long as you can handle the weight of it. Adjusting pedals is also something that falls into the basic category and should be something most piano owners can handle on their own.


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The important thing to remember about pulling a grand action out of a piano is that you cannot press any of the keys as you do it! Doing that will break hammers.


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If one is determined to change these hammers, I would suggest hanging the new hammers on new shanks and putting the original hammers in a box. It provides an easy backout plan.


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Originally Posted by BDB
The important thing to remember about pulling a grand action out of a piano is that you cannot press any of the keys as you do it! Doing that will break hammers.

Yes. It’s too easy to cause damage.


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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
but all reports seem to be positive.

You're talking about an extremely small cross section of techs, and it's definitely not my perception that agreement is widespread. Those who disagree with those processes have basically chosen not to participate in the discussion. I'm not saying I agree or disagree, just that the PW tech forum is not always reflective of the larger reality of the profession.

There is a lot of truth in this statement.


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Actually I cannot imagine anyone needing to change the hammers on a piano like Estonia after owning the instrument for 2years.If you are talking about a new piano and really want a totally different sound rather sell the piano or trade it in for a different one.
Estonia an excellent European piano but rather trade it in than experiment on an expensive piano.
Renner and Abel make very good hammers.I would think the Renner was chosen for a musical
reason for your piano.
Work with an excellent technician who is prepared to work with the piano rather than one who suggests a "quick fix " radical change.A quick fix seldom works.

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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Actually I cannot imagine anyone needing to change the hammers on a piano like Estonia after owning the instrument for 2years.If you are talking about a new piano and really want a totally different sound rather sell the piano or trade it in for a different one.
Estonia an excellent European piano but rather trade it in than experiment on an expensive piano.
Renner and Abel make very good hammers.I would think the Renner was chosen for a musical
reason for your piano.
Work with an excellent technician who is prepared to work with the piano rather than one who suggests a "quick fix " radical change.A quick fix seldom works.

Well said! - work with the excellent Renner hammers you have. I've voiced the same set of hammers in my previous Schimmel to make it sound like a different piano over the 15 years I'd had it to suit my varying tastes. Once you undo the careful work Estonia has performed in setting up the hammers you have, you are on your own from a labor standpoint and it's easy to spend large amounts just getting back to where you were.


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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Actually I cannot imagine anyone needing to change the hammers on a piano like Estonia after owning the instrument for 2years.If you are talking about a new piano and really want a totally different sound rather sell the piano or trade it in for a different one.
Estonia an excellent European piano but rather trade it in than experiment on an expensive piano.
Renner and Abel make very good hammers.I would think the Renner was chosen for a musical
reason for your piano.
Work with an excellent technician who is prepared to work with the piano rather than one who suggests a "quick fix " radical change.A quick fix seldom works.

Agree with you 100% Lady Bird, and was thinking the same thing myself, but didn't want to say anything.

I would imagine that many members here (a very high percentage) have probably bought a piano that they liked to begin with, but after a while they were just not happy with it for some reason, and traded up, or sold the piano and bought another one they liked better.

This can happen, even with higher end pianos too, I would imagine.

In my view, changing the hammers on the latter model Estonia to try and get a different tone would be a gamble and an experiment at a minimum.

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You can read about why Wizkit changed hammers to Abel on his 2006 model Sauter Delta. The information provided in that thread might be relevant for you:
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...with-softer-hammers-after-reshaping.html

Last edited by Skjalg; 08/03/20 12:54 PM.

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Chemical treatments as a method of voicing should be approached with extreme caution as it is quite challenging to reverse the course if not impossible. It’s best to leave it to the technicians. As with many aspects of piano work,while the concept is not too complex, performing it with precision is quite difficult without many years of experience.

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Originally Posted by K8KT
Chemical treatments as a method of voicing should be approached with extreme caution as it is quite challenging to reverse the course if not impossible. It’s best to leave it to the technicians. As with many aspects of piano work,while the concept is not too complex, performing it with precision is quite difficult without many years of experience.

I discovered on my previous cc213 Schimmel that chemical treatments left the hammers much less able to vary in hardness according to the strike pressure, hence narrowing the range of available sounds from ppp to fff.

Last edited by blueviewlaguna.; 08/04/20 03:09 PM.

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Originally Posted by blueviewlaguna.
Originally Posted by K8KT
Chemical treatments as a method of voicing should be approached with extreme caution as it is quite challenging to reverse the course if not impossible. It’s best to leave it to the technicians. As with many aspects of piano work,while the concept is not too complex, performing it with precision is quite difficult without many years of experience.

I discovered on my previous cc213 Schimmel that chemical treatments left the hammers much less able to vary in hardness according to the strike pressure, hence narrowing the range of available sounds from ppp to fff.
Did you feel it affected the actual tonal characteristics of the piano in anyway ? I ask because I think the OP would like a different type of tone.(more mellow I think )

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One other consideration: it costs a fair amount of money to change out the hammers. The process does not stop with just putting in the new parts, the whole action has to be adjusted, and the new hammers will need some voicing and shaping and mating to the strings, so they strike the right strings the right way. And, the voicing process, and adjustment of the regulation, will continue over time, until it's as good as your tech can get, and can then keep it there.

My theory is that you'll be pretty happy with the sound and feel, with the hammers Estonia saw fit to supply, if you treat your new piano to the care it needs to be its best. And, if you're going to be consulting references and asking for advice, why not contact the Estonia factory? I have heard that they go well out of their way to be sure their customers get the help and information they need. New pianos always need special care the first few years, and if you play a lot, every day, the maintenance visits will need to keep pace with the use on the instrument.

There are books which can help you understand the inner workings of your instrument and its many parts, and the art and science of acoustics.

I guess I'm assuming that you have tried moving the piano to different places in the music room. It is very surprising, the difference that moving the piano, or your seat, can make in what comes back to your ears. Trial and error is the only way to discover the best place.

You may laugh, but I've figured out that one window in my room needs to be open, with the blinds half drawn down and open, but with the vanes at about a 45-degree angle, reflecting some sound up and letting some sound out. The neighbors don't mind; I check. The other window has the glass closed, and the blinds all the way down, vanes open, same angle as the other. Front door is 1/3 open, the glass outer door is shut. All this limits the reinforcement of high frequencies that hurt my ears if they are too loud.

Just lately, I have found that, besides cushiony dog beds under the piano, sound-attenuating cloth drapes on one 16-foot wall of naked sheetrock, bookcases, couch, etc (sounds like what you talked about in your home), that one additional thing has made a surprising difference in what I hear. I pulled one dog bed (looks like a big sheepskin, but is not) out from under the piano, under the pedal lyre, under my feet, and a bit under the bench. A lot of sound bounces from the soundboard, to the floor, and up the front of the piano into my ears. Actually, I kind of love it; I never before had a piano that was as effective in allowing artistically useful dynamic changes in the sound. But, I don't enjoy having my ears ring after I practice.

We both do what we have to, to cope, and to hone ourselves and our spaces, to get the very best available peformance. I'm guessing a little, but I think it sounds like you. Best of luck! It would be nice to know about what you do, and how it works out for you.


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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Originally Posted by blueviewlaguna.
Originally Posted by K8KT
Chemical treatments as a method of voicing should be approached with extreme caution as it is quite challenging to reverse the course if not impossible. It’s best to leave it to the technicians. As with many aspects of piano work,while the concept is not too complex, performing it with precision is quite difficult without many years of experience.

I discovered on my previous cc213 Schimmel that chemical treatments left the hammers much less able to vary in hardness according to the strike pressure, hence narrowing the range of available sounds from ppp to fff.
Did you feel it affected the actual tonal characteristics of the piano in anyway ? I ask because I think the OP would like a different type of tone.(more mellow I think )

Yes, it brightened it up considerably to the level I'd desired at the time, but it was very difficult to keep evenly voiced from note to note afterward.


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I heard that Renner and Abel are made in China now.Possibly there as well as Europe??
Anyone know?


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Originally Posted by Lushey1
I heard that Renner and Abel are made in China now.Possibly there as well as Europe??
Anyone know?

That is nonsense and I wonder who spreads such nonsense for others to repeat in forums like this one.

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