Voicing

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  • 1.  High pitched ringing from bass note

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 04-03-2015 21:58
    I have a customer that I recently tuned for.  I've tuned for him 4 other times.  He has a Knabe (Young Chang built) KN-610. After I tuned it, he noticed a very high ringing from one specific note.  He said it "really, really" bothered him.  After much discussion and playing around, I finally heard what he was talking about.  When it plays A2, he can hear (quite predominantly) the E7 harmonic.  After moving my head around, I finally heard it.  His ear was much more sensitive to it.  I don't even know which harmonic that is, and I told him I suspected it was a longitudinal harmonic. I told him I'd research it, as my longitudinal harmonic training is next to null.  I voiced the hammer alittle on the shoulders, thinking giving the hammer a bit more solid strike point.  That didn't help at all!  I stopped there.
    Couple questions...
    First of all, IS IT a longitudinal harmonic?
    Can I voice it out?
    What other adjustments can I make to lessen the volume of it.

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    Dave Foster
    Foster Piano Technology
    Waterford MI
    248-431-8804
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  • 2.  RE: High pitched ringing from bass note

    Posted 04-03-2015 22:36
    I have tinitus, and around A5, there is a noticeable change in tone for me.
    Oh, I just noticed, that you could hear it too, so that washes that idea.
    Did you try reseating the E7 strings. Does it just happen on one string, or all three individually?

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    John M. Ross
    Ross Piano Service
    Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada
    jrpiano@bellaliant.net
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  • 3.  RE: High pitched ringing from bass note

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 04-04-2015 00:23
    A couple of thoughts:  The pitch of longitudinal waves are independent of tension/fundamental pitch.  So you could detune the note and see if the high harmonic changes pitch.  Or goes away.  The only time I had a complaint like this, it was on a Yamaha C2, and the problem turned out to be a feature, not a bug.  Strings in the killer octave just above the dampers were singing sympathetically with partials from the bass notes.  We isolated it by damping those strings with masking tape, but of course, we couldn't leave the piano that way - the owner had to either learn to live with the sound or replace the piano.

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    Michael Spalding
    Fredonia WI
    262-692-3943
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  • 4.  RE: High pitched ringing from bass note

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 07-22-2015 14:47

    While you can't damp out the speaking lengths of treble strings, you can check all the back lengths and see if they are contributing to the sound. I sometimes have used a strip of the old fluffy keybushing felt (damps better than light stringing braid) wrapped around the offending backlengths, to good effect, especially when the sound rings on after the note as if a damper is leaking.

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    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon

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  • 5.  RE: High pitched ringing from bass note

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 04-04-2015 03:21
    I've heard sounds like this and I think it is the string itself, that longitudinal wave you mentioned.  I think you need to replace the string.  I haven't tested this but I think the string is too heavy for the note it's producing.  Try lowering the pitch of the string and see if if goes away.  You could end up replacing the string with one slightly lighter, perhaps the gauge of the one above it.

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    Robert Callaghan
    Reno NV
    775-287-2140
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  • 6.  RE: High pitched ringing from bass note

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 07-22-2015 11:03

    Older Kawai grands often have these ringing bass sounds, and it isn't voiceable.  It is probably a longitudal wave sound.  I have heard replacements with the same dimensions, and the problem was just duplicated.  The answer seems to be  a different design for the bass string and attention to the hammer strike point. 

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    Thomas Armstrong
    Salinas CA
    831-229-6530
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  • 7.  RE: High pitched ringing from bass note

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 07-22-2015 16:38

    A bass string maker with scaling software and experience may be able to help.

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    Ed Sutton
    ed440@me.com
    704-536-7926
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  • 8.  RE: High pitched ringing from bass note

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 07-23-2015 11:32

    My theory on this is that the string is too heavy for the note it is producing.  This idea comes from lowering the tension to the next lower pitch and that high pitched or "barking" sound would go away.  This makes me think the string should be lighter, like the gauge of the one just above it.  If there is more than one, you might need to rescale the entire bass, as suggested by Ed Sutton.


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    Robert Callaghan
    Reno NV
    775-287-2140
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