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#3218447 05/22/22 05:43 PM
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I noticed a note on my piano sounded duller than its neighbour. For some reason I took an old toothbrush to the strings at its bridge pins. Lo and behold the note sounded brighter, just like its neighbour. After repeating the procedure on numerous notes the piano seems more even and mellifluous.

A figment of my imagination?

Last edited by Withindale; 05/22/22 05:48 PM.

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An unconventional way of seating the strings at the bridge pins, perhaps?


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I’m curious to see what others have to say.

I doubt it’s imagination. 😳

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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
An unconventional way of seating the strings at the bridge pins, perhaps?

I was thinking the same thing. Also, a possibility of the tooth brush removing some minute dust that has accumulated near/around/beside the strings at the bridge pins? More likely the seating as td mentioned; or, perhaps a combination of the two...

Interesting.

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What do you mean by "took an old toothbrush to the strings at its bridge pins"?

Do you mean you cleaned them?
Re-seated them, as suggested by TD?
Or...?


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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
What do you mean by "took an old toothbrush to the strings at its bridge pins"?

Do you mean you cleaned them?
Re-seated them, as suggested by TD?
Or...?
I mean he probably just brushed it a bit?

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Just brushed the strings around the tuning pins? I can imagine with a lot of dust there would be a difference.

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Originally Posted by tre corda
Just brushed the strings around the tuning pins? I can imagine with a lot of dust there would be a difference.
“Bridge pins” ?

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Originally Posted by Withindale
I noticed a note on my piano sounded duller than its neighbour. For some reason I took an old toothbrush to the strings at its bridge pins. Lo and behold the note sounded brighter, just like its neighbour. After repeating the procedure on numerous notes the piano seems more even and mellifluous.

A figment of my imagination?
Was this your Ibach? I'm not familiar with the particulars of the scale of that instrument so what follows is conjecture.

If "mellifluous" means "brighter", maybe it's that "non-speaking" part of the string in a duplex scale that you've brushed up that accounts for the brightening of the tone?
This article has a bit about such things. "
http://ericjohnsonpianos.com/what-is-a-duplex-scale/

Perhaps you are getting more "zing", upper harmonics in the non-speaking part of the string near the bridge pin of the strings you've brushed? If a note is too bright, or has too much "zing", it's not uncommon to mute that segment off in some way. The note will usually sound a bit "duller" treated that way.

FWIW - it's my understanding that the upper partials help project the sound into a larger space, e.g., in a recital hall, and sound different up close to the piano than say 25' out.


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Now that you have discovered the efficiency of the toothbrush cleaning method, you just have to brush every square inch of the piano inside parts ....

Last edited by Sidokar; 05/23/22 04:05 AM.

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I suspect the OP's question is a rhetorical one, but in case it's not, I'd answer: Yes, I suspect there is a good deal of imagination involved.
(Which is fine. It's his piano, so if it works for him, great. I tend to become more skeptical and wary when such observations are presented as general remedies.)


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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
What do you mean by "took an old toothbrush to the strings at its bridge pins"?

Do you mean you cleaned them?
Re-seated them, as suggested by TD?
Or...?

The aim was to brush out any dust from the nooks between pin, string and the surface of the bridge, as well as any dust along the length of the string.

In one case I used the other end of the toothbrush to tap the strings at the hitch pin to bring the note up a bit more.

There was no attempt to reseat the string but there might have been some microscopic movements.

As a finishing touch I brushed out the holes in the agraffes as best as I could in a few minutes.

I did not brush the tuning pin coils though I have done that before


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Did you use toothpaste? 😉

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I am thinking about a shaving brush next time !!!

Last edited by Withindale; 05/23/22 05:25 PM.

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Andrew, thank you for the link about duplexes. I have never understood what all the fuss is about, and the audiologist showed me why the other day.

I think a little dust in the wrong places can dissipate treble energy including the highet partials down into the tenor. That would explain why the duller notes became brighter.

The origin of the word melliflluous is honey flowing. I don't know about the honey, but the evenness of tone surprised me. It lets the sound to flow from note to note. I had thought the uneveness was down to tuning bùt apparently not.

There is nothing new here. It was discussef a few years ago in the Technician's forum, including the change in tone after stroking a feather across the strings.


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Originally Posted by Withindale
The origin of the word melliflluous is honey flowing. I don't know about the honey, but the evenness of tone surprised me.

Reminds me of some of the lyrics to my latest original blues song, "You're gonna' look back and say"... "I thought you were sweeter than honey; I'd give you all my money. I'd come home every night; I thought everything was alright. But you thought the grass was greener; and that's when you changed your demeanor, baby. Ah one of these days, you're gonna' look back and say".

Sorry, Ian, I couldn't resist... smile

Now back to our piano imagination and tooth brushes. smile

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What you could do is to get a machine that strikes the key at approximately the same velocity ----- without damaging the key etc.

And then have a high quality sound recorder, put in recording mode. And do this for each key that you think that the sound is 'dull' etc.

And while recording ------ get the machine to strike one of those keys a few times. Then do your 'brushing' thing. And then strike a few more times. And then use a spectrum analyser to analyse the frequency components in the audio range. That will help to 'confirm' whether it is imagined, or not imagined.

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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by Withindale
The origin of the word melliflluous is honey flowing. I don't know about the honey, but the evenness of tone surprised me.

Reminds me of some of the lyrics to my latest original blues song, "You're gonna' look back and say"... "I thought you were sweeter than honey; I'd give you all my money. I'd come home every night; I thought everything was alright. But you thought the grass was greener; and that's when you changed your demeanor, baby. Ah one of these days, you're gonna' look back and say".

Sorry, Ian, I couldn't resist... smile

Now back to our piano imagination and tooth brushes. smile

Rick



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A couple years ago someone at a PTG meeting, who was summarizing the annual conference for those who didn't go, said that someone demonstrated dusting off the strings and how much better they sounded! By comparison, I vacuumed out one of my pianos over the weekend (Spring cleaning), and although it looks a lot better inside I did not notice any change in tone. YMMV I suppose.


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This guy appears to believe dusting a pianos strings makes a huge impact on tone.

Article

The skeptic in me says what a bunch of baloney. I can see years of neglect can cause corrosive changes from rust, but major changes in tone after dusting the strengths every few days. I say pafooey!

Best just to use a toothbrush to one’s ears and THEN you’re on to something.

Last edited by Jethro; 05/23/22 09:21 PM.
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