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#611097 02/09/07 09:19 PM
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Hi All,

I am brand new to this forum, but have really enjoyed spending a number of hours reading the postings and getting to know the site.

I was wondering if anyone could provide a little info and/or advice.

The D, an ocave above mid-C, has decided to not let the hammer drop from the strings if the key is held down. Of course, the thunk is driving me nuts! It is a Steinway M (1929 - Action rebuild, new dampers, restrung in 1959). I have had it for about 1 1/2 years and it had an action regulation and voicing done after I bought it.

I moved to a new area about a year ago and had no problems. It has had a couple of tunings, since. Then last Wednesday - THUNK-GRRR

I called the local S&S dealer and they gave me a recommendation. He will be coming next Wednesday.

Here is what I hope someone could help me with. I don't know the person, though he is highly recommended, and I don't have any idea of the complexity of the problem. What might be wrong? Is this usually an easy fix or do I have to transfer funds from my IRA? It would be great to start to build a relationship with a technician that I trust, and just want to be better prepared on what to expect.

My Thanks, in andvance, for any comments.

Marty


Marty in Minnesota
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#611098 02/09/07 09:39 PM
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It may be as simple as the let-off being set too close to the strings. If that is the only problem, it is not expensive.

Now that the piano has acclimated to its new environment, has been played in another year, it may need some additional regulating. The technician who inspects the action in person will be able to give you the most accurate/complete assessment of your pianos needs.


Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
www.rivervalleypiano.com
#611099 02/09/07 09:41 PM
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Welcome Marty! It's often hard to diagnose anything on-line, but if I am getting your drift, it sounds as if the hammer is coming up and blocking itself against the strings. If that's so, being the vintage that it is, I would guess a broken jack. The jack is supposed to push the hammer to within about 1/8" from the string, then "escape", allowing the hammer to strike the string, then rebound back to rest. If the jack is broken (very common), then the hammer can't escape, and blocks (THUNK) against the string. Easy fix, not expensive.
Keep in mind this is my best guess, trying to visualize what you are describing. Please follow up and let us know.

Sam


Since 1975; Full-time piano tuner/tech in Nashville;
Lacquer and polyester specialist.

www.SamLewisPiano.com
#611100 02/09/07 10:09 PM
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Thanks Guys!

Talk about quick replies. You have made me feel better and am looking forward to meeting this tech and hearing his opinion. Though tuned in December, he is also going to tune the piano, as he is neither of the previous tuners in my new location. That will also help me make a judgement, as I would prefer to always use a Tuner/Technician, rather that a person who only tunes.

Sam, your description hit the mark. It is as if the hammer was just direct link to the key, like a teeter-totter pivot. I just checked a few other notes and see that, upon striking, the hammers immediately drop a short distance from the strings, and then fall when the key is released. The offender just stays pressed to the strings.

Though I have played piano for about 48 years, I never really thought about the mechanics of the instrument. I am fascinated by these forums and am learning so much.

Thanks Again.

Marty


Marty in Minnesota
#611101 02/09/07 10:26 PM
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A common problem is the arm of the jack coming unglued. It is easy enough to glue it back.


Semipro Tech
#611102 02/10/07 06:28 PM
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Hi Gang,

Received an early call from the Tech this morning. He had a cancellation and asked if I would like him to come over this morning. YEAH!

Sam was right, a broken jack. Fixed in an instant. He did a bit of inspection, then considerable playing, and followed by full keyboard, chromatic scales. Said he wanted to get to know the piano. Pulled the keyboard and made a few quick adjustments. He then began the tuning.

Once completed, he asked me to play for him and to make sure I was happy. "That way I can understand how you relate to your piano." The tuning was absolutely perfect. His next question surprised me! "What is your reaction to your piano? What are it's strenghts? It's weaknesses?"

It was a very interesting conversation and the keyboard came out again so he could illustrate some of the points of regulation and how all of this will affect tonal quality. I asked about voicing and he indicated that the regulation should happen first and check the results before doing any hammer tweaking. He thought the voicing would be very minor and just to even out a few notes.

Rich, as you indicated, we did get into the discussion of action regulation, and had you not mentioned it, I might have been uncomfortable and felt that he was just trying to drum up some work. Thank you.

I was impressed. From the very first moment, I got the feeling that he wanted my piano to be the best for me and for my tastes. We have scheduled a block of time for the work to be done.

I am so pleased. This was a unique experience for me. In the past, it has always been an in/out experience with tuners and techs. And it was so great to be "Thunkless"!

Again, my thanks to all of you for your quick responses and for your help.

Marty


Marty in Minnesota
#611103 02/10/07 09:10 PM
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hang on to this guy, Marty. There are far too many who just don't understand that the piano MUST be in perfect (as possible) regulation before voicing is attempted. If not, you are just wasting money. Sounds like you got a winner.

Sam


Since 1975; Full-time piano tuner/tech in Nashville;
Lacquer and polyester specialist.

www.SamLewisPiano.com
#611104 02/11/07 07:12 PM
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Glad you had a positive experience. Typically the local S&S dealer will have access to the top techs in their respective area. Rare they will risk their reputation to recommend a poor one.


Piano Technician, member Piano Technicians Guild.
#611105 02/27/07 04:39 AM
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Hi All,

Just wanted to do a final update. The action has been regulated, a bit of voicing, a finish tuning, and I couldn't be more pleased.

Once the piano had been regulated, I spent some time playing. My technician just relaxed for a moment, enjoyed a soda, and listened to every note that I was playing. What really amazed me was the pianissimo response. It is easy to "thunder", but the control of inner voices and counterpoint was a joy. The bass had taken on a new clarity, too.

There were some spots in the tonal balance that needed to be addressed. Back to work.

How many times can an action be pulled out? eek

At the end of a very long afternoon, I now have a Steinway that is so damn responsive, matched in tonal quality from top to bottom, will provide the clarity for Bach or Mozart, and can also bark out the sound for the big Brahms or Rachmaninoff when I dig deep into the keybed.

I had no idea that a little M could be so good! thumb I don't need to shop for that seven footer!

Thanks for all of your help and input. All of this started with a broken jack! And better yet, I didn't have to borrow from my IRA or 401K!


Marty in Minnesota

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