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Steinway upright voicing question

  • 1.  Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 26 days ago
    Customer purchased a new Steinway upright about a year ago. I can't locate either a serial number or a model number anywhere but the plate has the number 45 cast into it. Mostly a good instrument. With two problems I don't know how to address.

    Problem #1:
    Customer had a couple of issues that wound up being easy voicing corrections but there is one note around the bottom of octave 7 that simply goes thud. The notes around it sound great but this one note, above the dampers, has a distinct thud quality with no upper partials or sustain. Everything looks OK. Hammer is right in line with its neighbors. Strings are level and hammer strikes them evenly. Hammer is not blocking. ​Looking for recommendations on how to address this and wake up this one note.

    Problem #2:
    Surprising amount of false beating strings, mostly above the high treble break. I have determined that it is flag poling ​bridge pins but am hesitant to actually do anything about it because the piano is only a year old and I don't want to create a warranty issue. Most people would never notice this but there are a couple of notes that the false beats are working together in such a way as to be creating some distinctly annoying upper harmonics that make the notes stick out. Not a hammer voicing issue nor a string leveling issue that I can see. Looking for recommendation on how to quiet these false beats down.

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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 2.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 26 days ago
    #1: Swap the hammer assembly with a nice sounding neighbor. If that solves it test the flexibility of the shank. It may be too flexible, robbing power. Check glue joints and the flanges for proper friction. Maybe one or two are too tight?
    #2: False beats on Steinway verticals - so common you should ​​try to accept it.
    No serial number? Bought from a Steinway retailer? Rather odd.
    Good luck!

    ------------------------------
    Patrick Draine
    Billerica MA
    978-663-9690
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 26 days ago
    Interesting that you are concerned about creating a warranty issue,
    rather than declaring that there already IS a warranty issue. If the
    problem is loose bridge pins (common on this brand), the fix is…

    Since this piano is still under warranty, what remedy does the
    manufacturer recommend?

    Alan

    On 11/22/18, Patrick Draine via Piano Technicians Guild




  • 4.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 26 days ago
    Too much CA on bridge pins can cause that sound you disprove. Remove strings...scrape termination points...around pins...strings and bridges... just a quest

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 5.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 26 days ago
    Dang spell check....described ...guess...

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 6.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 25 days ago
    Thank you all for the quick feedback. Good suggestions and advice from everyone.

    All the best for this turkey day!

    ------------------------------
    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 7.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 25 days ago
    Something very strange about "new" and no serial number.  Does it have a case number (letter followed by four digits)?

    Did they happen to buy it at one of those "university sales) where they rent a gymnasium (or something big) and sell 'retired school inventory' and special bargain prices on "new" Steinways", etc ?

    Pwg

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 25 days ago
    A little research revealed that the 45 may actually be a model 1098. Only this one may not be as the 1098 description says that it has a sostonuto pedal while hers only has a practice pedal. I don't think it's the model K because I think it's too short, but otherwise the description matches.

    By no serial number I mean that there's no serial number that I could find. It wasn't on the plate. It wasn't stamped into the pinblock or anywhere on the soundboard. It wasn't on the back anywhere. It wasn't until later that I remembered that I might find it stamped into the front of the action behind the keyslip. I'll look there next visit.

    She bought the piano at a Steinway Gallery store, oops, I'm sorry, boutique. This particular store had no Steinway uprights in stock so she ordered one from New York, through this store, out of the catalog. In other words, she wanted a Steinway upright so bad that she bought this one from a dealer sight unseen. In retrospect, yada yada yada...


    ------------------------------
    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 9.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 25 days ago
      |   view attached
    Does it look like the piano with the "45" in the picture? That is a picture of me sitting at MY S&S 1098 - the one that I bought "new" prior to my involvement in this industry. I put "new" in quotes because the piano had actually been manufactured 7 years prior to my purchase as a new piano from the local S&S dealer. This piano was loaded with false beats and had all sorts of strange obnoxious harmonics that no S&S tech could figure out a fix for. I won't even mention the inverted soundboard or the pinblock separating from the frame........

    Perhaps much like your client, I bought the piano without knowing a single thing about pianos except that they had keys and strings. And besides, it was made by the finest piano manufacturer in the world - how could it possibly be anything but perfect?

    BUT, we solved the little 46" problem completely. We simply traded it in for the piano's full purchase price of thirteen thousand some odd dollars toward a gently used five year old Boston GP-178. MUCH nicer piano for only about a grand or two more. Perfect, complete solution.

    ------------------------------
    Terry Farrell
    Farrell Piano Service, Inc.
    Brandon, Florida
    terry@farrellpiano.com
    813-684-3505
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 25 days ago
    Terrence --

    Yes. Similar. It has one over-engineered feature that I thought was pretty cool. The hammer rest rail has adjustable capstans to adjust blow distance.

    She's a pretty decent player. She grew up with a Steinway upright and was sad when she had to get rid of it for whatever reasons. She had promised herself that she would one day have another Steinway upright. This is it. And I think she is starting to understand that no matter what piano she had purchased it would have its own quirks that give it its own individual personality. Except that that thud note I think she will learn not to obsess too much about some of them. I have recommended that she contact her salesperson at Steinway and see what they can offer in the way of solutions.

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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 25 days ago
    Geoff, Steinway keeps track of their pianos when they leave the factory. If you give them the date and destination they probably have a record. If it was within 5 years you can talk to them about the warranty.

    It sounds like this piano has a little too much personality. I've struggled through tunings of quite a few extremely false Steinway verticals for owners who had finally rewarded themselves by getting their Steinway. They don't even get on my list of recommended uprights.

    ------------------------------
    Steven Rosenthal
    Honolulu HI

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  • 12.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 23 days ago
    I was suddenly smart enough to look at the customers sales receipt. Turns out it's a 1098 and, according to the serial number on the receipt and the dates provided on the S&S site, it was manufactured in 2015. Obviously this one had been sitting on the showroom floor for a while.

    On my suggestion she contacted her Steinway salesperson about these issues. First she got scolded for not using an approved Steinway tech, and then she got a lecture about how tuning, voicing, regulation, etc., are not warranty issues. And I agree, they're not. Since the warranty, (5 years), should be good from date of purchase, not manufacture, I have encouraged her to bring in a Steinway approved tech, recommended by the store, to do her next tuning and see if the problems we're experiencing can be corrected. I think she'll get used to the false beating strings by then, but I don't think that one thud note will disappear into the noise quite so easily.

    Thanks, again, to all for the feedback on this.

    ------------------------------
    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 23 days ago
    Edited by Jon Page 23 days ago
    "Approved Tuner/Tech"... translation: the person who is willing to work for what they are willing to pay.

    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@pianocapecod.com
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------


  • 14.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 20 days ago
    Jon,

    👍

    Unfortunately he is likely to blame the non-authorized tech for the existing problems.  Be prepared!

    Pwg

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 20 days ago

    ...and more than likely, someone who has drunk their Kool-Aid.

    Alan 



    ------------------------------
    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 19 days ago
    Hi,

    Yes to all of the above.

    Additionally, while my information may be out of date now, as recently
    as just a couple of years ago, the "rate" for outside service calls was
    $50/call...and, one had to phone home to get authorization for more.
    And, yes...lots of Kool-Aid.

    To be fair to those of our colleagues who, for their own reasons, do
    that work, I prefer to bear in mind the pay and issues that go with the
    kind of control being maintained over their hours; and remain thankful
    that virtually never do I have to work on such instruments.

    For me, it's also worth remembering that the company has been aware of
    the problems with the scales of both the various iterations of the 1098
    and the K52. The long-standing reason that nothing has been (or will be
    done) is that such high percentages of each of those lines wind up in
    one of two places: First is institutions (of whatever type); and Second
    is private homes. If the latter, nearly 90% of those instruments wound
    up getting traded in for grands, often within five years.

    In any event, I wouldn't be looking for any "relief".

    Kind regards.

    Horace

    On 11/28/2018 1:18 PM, Alan Eder via Piano Technicians Guild wrote:
    > Please do not forward this message due to Auto Login.
    >
    >
    > ...and more than likely, someone who has drunk their Kool-Aid.
    >
    > Alan
    >
    >
    > ------------------------------
    > Alan Eder, RPT
    > Herb Alpert School of Music
    > California Institute of the Arts
    > Valencia, CA
    > 661.904.6483
    > ------------------------------
    > -------------------------------------------
    > Original Message:
    > Sent: 11-25-2018 13:12
    > From: Jon Page
    > Subject: Steinway upright voicing question
    >
    > "Approved Tuner/Tech"... translation: the person who is willing to work for what they are willing to pay.
    >
    > ------------------------------
    > Regards,
    >
    > Jon Page
    > mailto:jonpage@pianocapecod.com <jonpage@pianocapecod.com>
    > http://www.pianocapecod.com
    > ------------------------------
    >
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  • 17.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 19 days ago
    ...and more than likely, someone who has drunk their Kool-Aid.

    C'mon Gentlemen,

    There are so many flavors and they're all good. Besides; Who can watch a big glass pitcher crash through a wall without breaking, or even spilling a drop, and not be inspired?

    There have been some substantial changes in the 1098 within the last two years. Increased angle between the plate mound (upside down capo bar) and the duplexes in the treble has made tuning far more predictable. And through some change I can't get an answer about the last two I've tuned have false beats at a rate I'd expect from a European or Japanese vertical. Maybe explaining why the false beats went away would mean admitting they were ever there in the first place. They are after all just string noise. ;-)

    ------------------------------
    Karl Roeder
    Pompano Beach FL
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 19 days ago
    On some video somewhere, it shows a workman in the factory using a string roller with significant force on all the treble wires after about two or three chipping. When I saw this I said to myself: "He's putting an awful lot of extra tension on those...enough to push them past their elastic limit and perhaps cause false beat problems".

    I dunno. 😓

    Pwg

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 19 days ago
    Taking piano wire past its elastic limit trades the short-term gain of hastened tuning stability for the long-term problem of false beats in the wire. Hadn't thought about rolling the strings (which I don't do at all, personally) with excessive force being a possible cause of this, but doing initial tunings at too high a pitch can do similar damage.

    Alan

    ------------------------------
    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 19 days ago
    In one of my universities, their Steinway D was sent out to do restringing, and came back with the top two octaves filled with false beats.  I can only tune it with Tunelab (thank you, Bob Scott), tuning each string individually.  I have often wondered if the practice of initially pulling the strings a half step high to settle would cause damage to the strings, thus the false beats.  Thoughts?

    ------------------------------
    Clark A. Sprague, RPT
    Bowling Green, OH
    www.clarkspianoservice.com
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  • 21.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 19 days ago
    Yes.
    Alan

    ------------------------------
    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 18 days ago
    Edited by Peter Grey 18 days ago
    I am inclined to believe this is the case. A few years ago I decided to completely eliminate overpulling from my practice. When I restring I have become very careful NOT to pull any more than about 10 cents above on any note. Though I cannot PROVE it, I think the results are better than before. I have not ELIMINATED all false beats, but I am pretty sure that the incidence is less than previously.

    Same with a pitch raise...i don't overpull more than 10 cents regardless of how low it is. Yes, I do have to make more passes, but I think it's worth it.

    I also learned from Andy at Mapes, that wire does not "stretch" once it is up to pitch. This was a revelation to me. What we refer to as stretch in new wire is actually the bends in the wire slowly straightening. In the case of the bass strings, James Arledge has clearly demonstrated that the excessive "stretch" that we THINK is going on is actually the loop at the hitch pin tightening up.

    So there is NO NEED to "stretch" new wire by rolling it, yanking it up high, etc. It is useless and actually damages it.

    Pwg

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Steinway upright voicing question

    Posted 18 days ago
    I have tuned enough new pianos and recently restrung pianos to observe that inexpensive instruments that have received minimal "treatment" besides just tuning often have very clean trebles whereas expensive instruments or those that have seen many "high end" techs seem to have more problems.

    I have gone quite minimalist in my old age with good results.

    More to follow.......

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    Blaine Hebert
    Duarte CA
    626-795-5170
    ------------------------------