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Voicing Out Metallic Noise

  • 1.  Voicing Out Metallic Noise

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-09-2018 21:08
    Hello all,

    Any suggestions / advice about voicing out metallic noise out of hammers?

    My subject in question is a Steinway M, original hammers (or at least Steinway hammers). The owner called complaining about a metallic noise for about an octave around middle C. I tried to break up the hard spots in the hammers (there were various hard pouches, both sides), but wasn't overly pleased with the results. The metallic sound was much less noticeable, and maybe the owner forgot about it shortly afterwards - I haven't heard back since....

    Any suggestions on dealing with this in the future (for S & S hammers and ‘normal’ hammers)? And maybe a faster method (it took about an hour to do)....

    Thanks,

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    Benjamin Sanchez
    Professional Piano Services
    (805)315-8050
    www.professional-piano-services.com
    BenPianoPro@comcast.net
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Voicing Out Metallic Noise

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-09-2018 23:14
    First, were there any grooves to speak of? Did the mettalic sound change with the shift?
    Sounds like you are on the right track, but with Steinway hams having laquer in them, many times the "traditional" approaches may not yield the best results.

    Big question: are you familiar with the David Stanwood technique of using a compas needle chucked in a pin vise, followed by striking the surface with a tiny (like 1.5 oz) ball pein hammer? The compass needle does not penetrate deeply but really "rearranges" the packed down felt fibers just below the surface. Then the ball pein sort of "packs down" the suface and kind of rounds out the sound.
    I have had tremendous success with this on quite a few occasions (and many of them very critical performance venues! It is definitely something to have in your bag! Then acetone or similar may be the next step.......Kevin



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



  • 3.  RE: Voicing Out Metallic Noise

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-10-2018 11:36
    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for the response. No, I don't believe the metallic sound changed with the una corda pedal.

    Ive heard of the compass needle technique you describe, but haven't tried it yet. How far do you insert the compass needle? And, does one insert it straight down, pointed at the molding, or at an angle, etc.?

    I do remember (this was the other month) that sugar coating the crown with a bit of a longer needle (approx. 2 to 2.5 mm) did have a bit more of an affect. No negative effects I recall or have heard of since.

    Thanks,

    ------------------------------
    Benjamin Sanchez
    Professional Piano Services
    (805)315-8050
    www.professional-piano-services.com
    BenPianoPro@comcast.net
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Voicing Out Metallic Noise

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-10-2018 12:19
    I recently saw posted a link for a source for compass needles.  Anyone remember where that was?

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    Zeno Wood
    Brooklyn, NY
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  • 5.  RE: Voicing Out Metallic Noise

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-10-2018 12:22
    From David Himself:



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



  • 6.  RE: Voicing Out Metallic Noise

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-10-2018 12:29
    That's it, thanks!

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    Zeno Wood
    Brooklyn, NY
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  • 7.  RE: Voicing Out Metallic Noise

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-10-2018 12:50
    You bet sir! By the way, Kent Swafford recently posted that he now refers to this as "the holy grail of voicing". So now I usually call it "holy grail" voicing. My piano professors now know what I mean by it. They LOVE it in the right situation. And, it's very forgiving. If it does not do the trick, you have still basically "refurbished" the string grooves/surface of the hammers & only good/great improvement has been made. Then just go deeper, use other methods if it isn't enough.

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



  • 8.  RE: Voicing Out Metallic Noise

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-10-2018 12:34
    My replacement small ball pein hammer just came in today. Ordered from Amazon but it's from Commando Products Inc.

    Brass Hammer

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



  • 9.  RE: Voicing Out Metallic Noise

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-10-2018 12:44
    Just straight into the crown. It's pretty shallow voicing as the needle is basically "blunt". It has a point on it but it doesn't penetrate very deep which is what you want for this. SO...you have to stab it pretty firmly with it in the pin vise in order to begin to see & hear the change. You can start off slow with about 6 stabs per hammer & then experiment from there. I have found that most hammers end up taking about 15 to 20 stabs all over the crown to really get the effect I am looking for-but it depends on you, how hard you are stabbling, the hammers you are working with, etc etc. And you need to follow up with about 10 to 15 whacks with the ball pein to really see where you are.
    If I am making this sound difficult or tricky, my bad! It's not! As with any technique it takes a little practice. Hope this helps.

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