Voicing

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  • 1.  Yamaha GB1 Voicing

    Member
    Posted 08-04-2018 12:32
    I have not seen this piano yet but owner wants it "voiced" stating that it is too bright. Also wants an estimate in advance which is not something I am going to do because it could be a full days worth of work . What I know: piano has a full damp chaser system that needs to be re-activated; has been here 5 months; was tuned on a regular basis 2 to 3 times a year. It appears from our emails that it is in a "live room" meaning tall ceilings, open spaces, hard floor under it, sparse furniture. My plan is to get the D/C up and running and evaluate the piano then for acoustic setting, hammer condition, string seating and level, overALL regulation , past history. before ever taking needles out I need more info. Assuming I do work on the felt what order of things would be best- shaping/steaming/squeezing/ chop stick ?

     I am not familiar with the GB1 and it sounds like it is a small piano with a mixed history. I once worked on a model it may have replaced (GA1 ?) which was way bad

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    James Kelly
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
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  • 2.  RE: Yamaha GB1 Voicing

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-04-2018 12:44
    Many experienced technicians I talk to recommended shaping first to "level the playing field." Then use needles to bring up or down individual hammers. This is assuming the piano needs it's hammers shaped in the first place. My guess is that it does, or at least could be touched up.

    My understanding of steaming is that it's used only if the hammers are so hard that you can't get a needle in, and squeezing them has no affect. So in answer to your question, start with hammer shaping and filing, evaluate, try and use needles next. If you can't, try squeezing. If that won't work, try steaming. If you have to resort to squeezing or steaming, think of it as a method to soften the hammers to the point that you can use needles.

    At least this is what I would do, but I'm sure there are others who have different methods.

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    Benjamin Sanchez
    Professional Piano Services
    (805)315-8050
    www.professional-piano-services.com
    BenPianoPro@comcast.net
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  • 3.  RE: Yamaha GB1 Voicing

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-04-2018 15:22
    Before you seriously soften the hammers, I think you should help the owner experiment with the room. Put a thick rug under the piano. (Jack in the Box might be helpful to have along for this.) Try a thin woolen blanket laid over the strings. It might even be helpful to put big blocks of foam rubber between the back posts. All of this is instantly reversible, and you can get the owner's reaction to the changes.

    Once you have a less reactive environment for the piano, you can then figure out how much change to the hammers will be best, and if the piano ever gets moved to a more cushioned space, the hammers are less likely to need replacement, compared to how gutless they would be if they were asked to overcome the acoustics of a hard-surfaced room all by themselves.

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    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
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  • 4.  RE: Yamaha GB1 Voicing

    Member
    Posted 08-04-2018 22:37
    More information via email exchange- the Dampp Chaser needs the tank serviced, new pads etc Because of company at clients house the month of August I am not going until next month. Piano was new when purchases 8-9 years ago and it was voiced with needles at least once but only a site visit will determine condition. Pictures I got show 14 foot ceilings, open floor plan and the piano on a very thin rug. Floor looks like the now popular laminate flooring most likely over concrete slab. I agree- a good acoustical evaluation and some changes may be in order to at least tame the beast. I had a customer move her Petrof from a town house with high ceilings, open floor plan etc to a home with low ceilings and stuffed with furniture. She whined about how dead the piano sounded , did not want to pay for the services of a tech who knew Petrofs and best way to voice them ( assuming he thought it was needed).  i told her it was the room. Eventually she moved the piano back to the town house without any voicing being done and said the piano was "wonderful"

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    James Kelly
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
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  • 5.  RE: Yamaha GB1 Voicing

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-05-2018 08:21
    All your suggestions are great: get the DC going, etc. But 90% of pianos can be improved by hammer filing (just until faint grooves remain). If still bright, sugar-coating with a tool like Jim Coleman’s twelve-needle tool does wonders, and is much easier to control than steam.

    —Cy—




  • 6.  RE: Yamaha GB1 Voicing

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-05-2018 16:11
    I almost posted something similar to Cy's post, but with only one minor difference. I would recommend David's Stanwood's "Spike & Peen" method of fairly shallow and very safe method of voicing first.
    This along with at least minor filing as Cy says, is a really great way to "recondition" the surface (and just a bit under the surface but it certainly does not go deep at all). David Stanwood recently described this on another site saying (basically)... it makes the felt more flexible & resilient, but without robbing the power or brightness with forte playing.
    Kent Swafford also posted about this method, saying, "I now consider this method the 'Holy Grail' of voicing".
    This is always worth a try-I suggest beginning with the brightest, most out-of-balance area of the Piano-usually right in the middle somewhere. If it does not seem to "do it".. hardly ANY time invested.

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    [Kevin] [Fortenberry] [RPT]
    [Staff Techician]
    [Texas Tech Univ]
    [Lubbock] [TX]
    [8067783962]
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