• 1.  Kawai/Howard poor damping

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-03-2022 11:26
    I recently tuned a Kawai/Howard grand, serial #290538​, that had marginal damping. Not sure of the year, but maybe late 60s?

    One bass bichord refuses to damp quickly. I messed with it for a while, checked for good contact and proper motion. The felt seems to be in good condition, and I lubed the wire.

    One thing I noticed was that the damper underlevers are plastic, and although weighted, don't seem to have a lot of weight. Next time I visit I may try sticking a small binder clip on somewhere to see if that helps. It's in a faculty office in a community college, and they basically have zero budget for any extra work. I would like to make it better, though, if even to make the prof happy and satisfy myself.

    Any other suggestions? Are these pianos with plastic damper systems known for poor damping?


    Scott Cole, RPT
    Talent, OR

  • 2.  RE: Kawai/Howard poor damping

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-04-2022 10:01
    I have had good luck with removing the bichord damper from the piano, and squeezing the damper felt with key easing plier to make the felt tip more pointed.  This helps it to wedge down in between the strings more, rather than just resting on top.

    Robert Callaghan
    Reno NV

  • 3.  RE: Kawai/Howard poor damping

    Posted 03-05-2022 07:14
    Hi Scott,

    I wonder if a drop or two of CLP on the damper flange center pin might help?
    My other thought is to remove the offending damper,  place it against the stretcher bar and check that the straight sections of the damper wire are parallel with the stretcher bar. This is an old trick taught to me by an old tech that has helped me out in similar situations. Maybe you tried this, maybe not, but I wanted to throw it out there...

    Good luck,
    Jeff Cutler

    Jeffrey Cutler
    University of Wisconsin Eau Claire

  • 4.  RE: Kawai/Howard poor damping

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-28-2022 11:55
    Good Morning Scott,
    Small point but our industry is made up of just that.  The plastic you refer to from that era in a KAWAI-made piano is ABS Polystyrene so said George Defebaugh, National Service Manager for Kawai America Corp., at the time.

    Ed Whitting, RPT
    Lake Forest Ca.