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  • 1.  K25 muting

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 09-22-2021 08:07
    I have inventory of 32 fairly new Steinway model K52 uprights. It is getting tiring tryin to mute the
    first treble section by conventional means. There is very little clearance between the top of the damper
    and the hammer to insert mutes. The hammers will not clear the narrowest of temperament strips.
    I typically don't strip this area, but the rubber mutes do not stay in place and threading something
    through the handle loops creates more work moving them and slows me down, besides the fact
    that they don't really do an adequate job of silencing the strings.

    Has anyone landed on a good solution for this? As a rule these pianos get tuned 3 - 4 times a year
    to that's upwards of 100 piano tunings that frustrate me.

    Any input would be appreciated.

    Thanks!

    Dave

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    Dave Conte

    University of Tennessee
    Knoxville TN
    817-307-5656
    Owner: Rocky Top Piano
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  • 2.  RE: K25 muting

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 09-22-2021 11:34
    Dave,
    Try using a Papp mute, and/or one of those wooden ones covered with leather. Pianotek sells both. They are narrow, and easy to insert between the shanks under the hammers. 
    Regards,
    Fred Sturm
    "A mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled." Plutarch













  • 3.  RE: K25 muting

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 09-22-2021 12:12
    Dave,
    I don't know how I would get along without my Papp's mutes. I've used them since I started over 40 years ago. I've never understood why more people don't use them.  I hated rubber mutes that pop out and are too wide anyway. 


    Regards,
    ~ jeannie 

    Jeannie Grassi
    PTG Registered Piano Technician 
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    206-842-3721





  • 4.  RE: K25 muting

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 09-22-2021 12:54
    Jeannie, 

    Thanks for the response. 

    Maybe it's just the geometry of the K52 that's  the problem, but I can't seem
    to get them to stay put nor to damp very well with the Papps mute. 
    I find it pretty much useless in this instance. 

    Rubber mutes stay slightly better, but still have a tendency to pop out. 

    There's got to be a better way. Part of the problem is also that the hammers
    all seem to be justified slightly to the right when lining up with the tricords,
    so that the hammer barely hits the left unison and can't be heard on a hard 
    blow. The hammers are worn just enough that spacing them better would mean
    that all the pianos would have to have the hammers filed. There is not enough wear
    to warrant that, but just enough to cause tonal problems if  they are moved to
    the left. 

    There is not enough space between the hammers and tops of the dampers,
    nor is there enough room between the hammers and nut/capo further up in the 
    mid-treble section for the mutes to be inserted left and right or stuck in between 
    the strings of a unison. 

    There are four bracket nuts so it would be a paint to loosen the action and tilt it
    out to insert a temperament strip like John Pope suggests. And then there's
    the task of pulling in the unisons when I am done which I normally do by 
    leaving the strip in place and then pulling it out as I tune one note a time which 
    would be impossible with the strip behind the dampers. 

    I only have this problem with the K52, but there are so many of them here.

    Dave






  • 5.  RE: K25 muting

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 09-22-2021 15:11
    A Papp mute can also be inserted below the damper head. Do try those wooden mutes covered with leather. I find they do a good job in minimal clearance situations. 
    Regards,
    Fred Sturm
    "I am only interested in music that is better than it can be played." Schnabel






  • 6.  RE: K25 muting

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 09-22-2021 18:30
    Dave,
    This may not apply to you, however I've discovered that some people who dislike Papp mutes aren't using them properly. With the jaws closed, insert the whole mute into the the last two unison, (or the first two if you like doing it in that order) leaving one string open. Then let the jaws spring open and wedge them between the last string of the strict orders and the first string of the next trichord set. This is pretty much the way you would do it for just about any type of upright mute. Many people don't realize that the first insertion is done with the jaws closed. It should be snug. 

    If there isn't enough room to clear the damper heads you can always go under the hammer (and damper) and between the shanks. 


    Regards,
    ~ jeannie 

    Jeannie Grassi
    PTG Registered Piano Technician 
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    206-842-3721





  • 7.  RE: K25 muting

    Posted 09-22-2021 19:02
    When Mr.Papps invented these in the 1880's they were of course primarily used  and designed fir birdcage uprights...Martin.
    http://mshepherdpiano.com/antique-piano-tools/mutes/
    www.snowpianos.com

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    Martin Snow
    South Burlington VT
    617-543-1030
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  • 8.  RE: K25 muting

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 09-23-2021 12:46
    Also, the old Papps mutes I have seen were made of wood, which I think stayed in place better. The plastic is more slippery - I find that roughing up the plastic with some course sandpaper helps them stay in place under a test blow. You can also strengthen the spring by stretching it out which also helps it stay put. I like Jeannie's (Hi Jeannie!!) tips on how to use them - I'll try that today! I usually only use them in the high treble or in pianos where the clearance is really tight as the OP described.

    "An unmodified tool is an unfinished tool" - Joe Garrett

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    Ryan Sowers
    Olympia WA
    360-705-4160
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  • 9.  RE: K25 muting

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 09-24-2021 07:54
    About muting in the treble on these pianos: years ago I heard a tip, which I use all the time: take a narrow mute on a wire handle, clip off the ring at the end of the wire, and put a 1” mute on the cut end. I never use a temperament strip, just tune unisons as I go. This is the only mute I ever carry with me. One of the advantages of the wide mute on the other end is when tuning an upright, if the working end comes out from between the strings, it almost never falls into bottom of piano- it will catch on the action and can be easily retrieved.
    On pianos where you might have to use a temperament strip, like a bird cage action, I would pull the action back, insert strip and use the old cheap repetition spring tool from Schaff to reach in and pull loops out as I tuned unisons. Hope this helps someone. I do have a few Steinway uprights in my client list, don’t remember any bigger issue with them than other uprights, when I use this tool.

    David Graham
    Graham Piano Service, Inc.
    512 S. Main St.
    Sycamore IL 60178
    815-353-5450
    grahampiano1@yahoo.com




  • 10.  RE: K25 muting

    Member
    Posted 09-24-2021 09:24
    To tune C8 on grands, I insert the handle end of the Papp's Mute to mute the outer two strings.

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    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
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  • 11.  RE: K25 muting

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 09-24-2021 10:52
    I've never had a problem with the nylon plastic ones popping out. Make sure to wedge it in at an angle between the shanks so that it stays in place. 

    Regards,
    ~ jeannie 

    Jeannie Grassi
    PTG Registered Piano Technician 
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    206-842-3721