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Piano info

  • 1.  Piano info

    Posted 05-17-2022 08:20
    Can any of you tell me how to find out what pianos made during a certain time have issues with such and such?  Is there a book or app to find this out? Or is this learned from experience? For example: Wurlitzers in the 1980's had issues with weak pin blocks.

    Thanks so much for your wisdom!
    Mary


  • 2.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-17-2022 08:32
    Mary

    As far as I know, there is no such books available. Most of what we know about issues with particular pianos is by word of mouth or personal experiences. This is where attending chapter meetings, going to seminars and conventions is so important. Having a list like this is also good, but it's not the same as in person conversations. 

    Wim





  • 3.  RE: Piano info

    Member
    Posted 05-17-2022 09:49
    Let's see, there's Corfam (1974-1984), center pin plating, expanding action brackets (1990-1998), Yamaha upright hammer return spring cords (until 1988). These are the first to come to mind. Any others?

    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-17-2022 10:20
    Jon

    That's the kind of information field experience will get you. What Mary is looking for is a book or ap that will have all this information. 

    Wim





  • 5.  RE: Piano info

    Member
    Posted 05-17-2022 11:07
    How about verdigris in S & S pianos , teflon bushings , bridge gluing on Baldwins, warped keybeds/key frames ? in early Pearl Rivers, poor bushing cloth on action centers of some Baldwin grands, flaking paint on some Dampp-Chaser heater bars , plastic elbows and plastic parts,

    It would be an excellent list for us to build based on our collective experiences. Sure would save a lot of time. I had read about expanding action brackets and saw none for many many years. And then I had 4 pianos in a row and one recently. The problems are out there.

    ------------------------------
    James Kelly
    Owner- Fur Elise Piano Service
    Pawleys Island SC
    (843) 325-4357
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-17-2022 11:24
    How about the need for new pianos to be completely regulated after 5 to 7 years of use?

    Richard West





  • 7.  RE: Piano info

    Member
    Posted 05-17-2022 12:06
    Add to that exploding hammers. The list is too great and varied.

    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-17-2022 12:43
    Actually the search function for this forum will provide information on most known issues, a little clumsy though.

    >Add to the list pin blocks separating on later model Everett verticals.

    ------------------------------
    Steven Rosenthal RPT
    Honolulu HI
    (808) 521-7129
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-18-2022 02:31

    Don't forget too much glue in Kimball console jack flanges.






  • 10.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-18-2022 07:04
    .. or not enough glue in some Baldwin upright hammer-to-shank glue joints6.

    ------------------------------
    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Piano info

    Member
    Posted 05-18-2022 09:30
    It sounds like we have the beginnings of a list. It would be helpful to list the models, years, serial number ranges and if it was or is a warranty issue.

    At the same time I would like to see something like a swap/spare part list where techs can list spare parts they are willing to give to those in need. Some of that stuff collecting dust and taking up space in your shop could be useful to others. For example if you have accumulated a collection of music desks, piano legs, old whippens, flanges, hinges, screws, lyres etc let it be known.

    ------------------------------
    James Kelly
    Owner- Fur Elise Piano Service
    Pawleys Island SC
    (843) 325-4357
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-18-2022 17:45
    Memories of sending lots of stuff to Cuba back in the day, lots of it spare and some of it not spare.





  • 13.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-18-2022 19:25
    Hello everyone

    I'm in charge of the Southeast Regional Seminar which will be in October. When that's over, I will be glad to compile a list of all the repairs that we've come across over the years, and how to fix them. 

    I've put a note on my calendar to ask you guys for this information. Please stay tuned. It might turn out to be more than I bargained for, but this looks like it will be very useful information for our new and upcoming technicians. 

    Wim





  • 14.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-19-2022 08:04
    …Or starved glue joints in Kawai verticals of a certain age.

    Bob Anderson
    Tucson, AZ




  • 15.  RE: Piano info

    Posted 05-19-2022 08:37
    Hammer flange screws on Baldwin studio uprights loosening and hammer rebounce rails on Kawai grands coming loose

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    Petrus Janssen
    Peachtree City GA
    (678) 416-8055
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  • 16.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-17-2022 16:46
    I think this list (especially Jon Pages response with years) would be very useful and save us all a lot of research time as well as puzzling time for the subtler problems like the centers that don't freeze until played for an hour after we've left....
    Thanks, Nancy Salmon





  • 17.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-18-2022 15:29
    Split action rails on American verticals from the 50's-70's, this on on actions where the sustain pedal lifts the dampers from the treble end of the piano-usually compressed actions.

    ------------------------------
    Steven Rosenthal RPT
    Honolulu HI
    (808) 521-7129
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-19-2022 10:12
    This type of compilation can also be useful to let a client consult so as to assure them that we (techs in general) are not trying to pull the wool over their eyes and take advantage of their ignorance.

    I remember one time I was looking at a 70's Yamaha studio that a couple wanted to sell (that I might buy). It looked good and played pretty well. Then I checked the spring cords...pop, pop, pop...and brought it to her attention. This was of course changing the picture as to how much I might pay for the piano. She was thinking I was making it up and trying to rip them off (after all, no one had ever brought it to their attention before and everything was just "fine"). Things were starting to get tense.

    As we were talking her husband silently disappeared upstairs. Turned out he was going up to check out my story by googling "Yamaha spring cords". A few minutes later he comes down and announces: "He's right...Yamaha spring cords...it's a problem!"  I was vindicated and tensions subsided. We made a deal.

    In the end it turned out to be even worse so that I replaced the entire top action rather than just the spring cords, but that's just one story that illustrates the value of having some corroboration from a "trusted" source when decisions must be made.

    Peter Grey Piano Doctor

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    (603) 686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 19.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-19-2022 15:26
    Since the actions are so easy to remove on Yamahas, I pull it so they can get a good look at the damage, the showing them how the threads turn to dust when you rub them between your fingers makes it clear that they are shot.
    A lot of models will still work without those springs if the bridle straps are intact, some times I give people the option of replacing the flanges in the tenor section where hammers are most likely to hang up and tackle the rest of the piano at a later date.

    ------------------------------
    Steven Rosenthal RPT
    Honolulu HI
    (808) 521-7129
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-19-2022 15:32

    "He's right", some of the sweetest words ever heard. "She's right" works pretty well, too.






  • 21.  RE: Piano info

    Posted 05-23-2022 08:11
    Baldwin hammer butt buckskin repairs found on Hamiltons.. I remember doing some of those in the 1980's and Baldwin actually paid (mostly) for the repair.

    ------------------------------
    Patrick Greene
    OWNER
    Knoxville TN
    (865) 384-6582
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-23-2022 09:30
    Here's a couple:
    1.Kawai upright actions with sticking keys.  They'll stick if you try to repeat the notes fast.  The jacks get stuck between the letoff rail and the hammer butt.  Solution- loosen the letoff rail screws and move the rail out a few mm's, then retighten the screws.
    2.Wurlitzer spinets with sluggish keys.  These were lubricated at the factory with a solution of naptha and silicone oil.  After so many years, they get gummed up.  Just need some Protek to free them up.
    3.Some pianos here in San Diego were treated with oil and various lubricants by a certain technician named Mr. Rokos, former PTG member.  Symptoms: Greasy feel on the tuning pins, which were smeared with lip balm.  Dark string grooves on the hammers and damper felts.  Fuzzy strings near agraffes on grands.  Small lead squares glued on the back of keysticks.  Letoff distances changed to be1/4" or more.  Dull, lifeless sound from piano that seems otherwise to be good, enough crown, etc.  This person's business card is often glued to the inside of the music desk and also under the bench lid.  There are literally thousands of these pianos in this area, and some may have been transported to your area.
    4.Action frames in grands that won't move when the pedal is pressed, or won't slide out.  Leg screws of different lengths may have been mixed up with the lyre screws, etc.  The leg screws in the tail of some grand pianos are a different length than the others.  Some older grand pianos fitted with early player systems (pneumatic) will not allow full removal of the action.  The solution is to remove the lyre to discover a block of wood which has been added to the keybed.  The screws on this block penetrate the action cavity.
    5.Yamaha fallboards of early models had a slow-close feature that used a spring on the bass cheek block.  The fallboard itself has leather glued to a cutout in the fallboard that rubs on the spring.  This leather often deteriorates or comes unglued, which makes it noisy or rough when you move the fallboard.
    6.Some Yamaha grands were made with a synthetic ivory which gets dirty looking in course of time, and no cleaning attempts or sanding will renew them.  Also, some Ivorite keys from these will pop off due to a manufacturing defect with the adhesive.  There are warrantee repairs available.
    7.Turbo-wippens from some manufacturers, with springs that are attached to the flange were not adjusted from the factory, and the leading of the keys was erratic as a result.  If you find a grand piano with these wippens and the weighting of the keys is uneven, this could be the cause.
    8.In some rare instances, a famous brand of pianos improperly mounted the bridge too far from the pressure bar in the top treble area.  This caused the strings of the last few notes to break before reaching pitch.  I confirmed this from the factory.  Name is redacted to protect myself from legal implications.  You know which one.
    9.Some Baldwin grands had a mysterious buzzing from the dampers, due to excess glue in the guide rail bushings which made them very hard.  When the key is released,  movement of the strings causes the damper wire to bounce off of the hard bushings and make a buzzing sound, but not like the sound of old crusty damper felt.
    10.Heavy action key weight due to heavy hammers installed where originals were much lighter.  Sometimes jiffy lead weights were screwed to the underside of the keysticks to balance them.  This causes the action to become very unresponsive to fast trills, though it works ok otherwise.
    11.Clicking sounds coming from an action that seem to have no cause, other than they appear when the piano is played very forcefully.  Gospel churches come to mind.  The cause is the hammer tails were shaped before mounting, so there is an angle of the surface of the tail relative to the hammer felt.  The backchecks are angled to match the tails, but this causes the hammer to move to one side when it is caught on a hard blow.  The flanges are stressed by this, and can also cause the keystick to momentarily lean to one side and make a clicking sound.  In normal play, you can't hear anything.
    12.Woody sounding notes randomly in the treble due to glue failures of the hammer and shank.  Remove the action, turn it upside down, and drip in some CA glue in the joint.  Baldwins are often noted for this.
    13.Some Asian grand pianos have a retainer on the cheek block screws, the intention being to keep the screw in the piano rather than fall to the floor.  These retainers are like a washer that is threaded.  They often prevent the screws from fully tightening the cheek block.  I regularly remove them to prevent this.
    14.Rattling noise from some grand actions due to loose leads in the underlevers.  Sometimes the leads fall out or become stuck between the underlevers which causes two dampers to lift at the same time from one key.  Pianos made overseas, usually Asian, are the usual suspects, though it can happen to any piano in a very dry environment.
    15.Some Asian pianos have some loose tuning pins which were determined to be caused by some lubricants applied to plate screws at the factory, and migrated to nearby tuning pin holes in the block.

    Just some of the things that I can recall.

    ------------------------------
    Paul McCloud, RPT
    Accutone Piano Service
    www.AccutonePianoService.com
    pavadasa@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Piano info

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-23-2022 10:45
    Some more:
    16.  Elusive buzzing sounds in a grand piano can come from loose screws in the lid pin bracket.  I always tighten these screws to prevent this.  This is the bracket that hold the lid from moving when it's being transported, and is screwed to the inside of the case opposite the hinges.  Buzzes can also come from the lock mechanism in the stretcher.
    17.Loose leg-to-plate joints, as well as lyre joints, which need to be taken apart and reglued with wedges.  I've seen huge gaps in some joints that needed massive amounts of epoxy to fill.  Mostly on Asian and Chinese brands.
    18.Some of the last American made Baldwin grands were fitted with actions that didn't fit properly and could not be regulated well.  Not enough key dip, with no cardboard punchings under the front rail felts, and no possibility of raising the keys because of fallboard clearance and short key pins which would disappear into the mortices if you raised them at all.
    19.Some rebuilt grand actions become sluggish because the ivory keytops weren't shaved to accommodate thicker keytops.  Raising the sharp keys to compensate causes geometry problems and friction, as well as clearance problems with the fallboard.  Black keys bury below the surface plane of the naturals when depressed.
    20.Set screws on grand piano fallboards become stuck because they were overtightened.  Brass screws in brass brackets will stick readily when tightened too much.
    21.Some Asian import pianos, of the budget variety, have bleeding dampers in the bass.  Most of the problems are due to movement of the damper rail to the bass side, which causes the right string of the bichords to ring somewhat.  Moving the rail is difficult because the screws are countersunk, so even if you loosen the screws to move the rail, it will go back where it was when you tighten the screws.  I have bent the damper wires to angle the damper heads a little (ok, I know, not good) to make them seat.  Better would be to properly bend the wires to make the damper head lie directly over the strings.
    22.Shifting problems in some grand pianos due to screws in the dags which have indented the back of the key frame in some spots.  The screws are meant to help locate the action along with the cheek blocks, and if the screws are too tight (stick out too far) they'll indent the back of the key frame and cause sticking and uneven movement.
    23.  Squeaking sounds from some Asian pianos with aluminum damper tray.  The pitman dowel has a pin that goes in a rubber grommet in the rail.  If the pin is too long, it will rub on the aluminum above the hole.  Sometimes the pins are of different lengths, and if you install it upside down, the longer pin is installed in the rail and causes problems.
    24.Many (sorry!) Asian grand entry level pianos have a split damper rail.  If you don't adjust the lift of  the tray(s) carefully, pressing the pedal may lift the tray off of the pitman dowel in the bass and it may become stuck or inoperative.
    25.Often I find upright backchecks adjusted improperly to try to cure bobbling hammers.  Sometimes the checking distance is a 1/4" or less.  The real problem is often insufficient dip or too much blow distance.  Maybe the tech just wanted to provide an easy solution or the customer just "wants it to work".
    26.Some upright pianos (my case a Sohmer) the lowest tenor strings don't want to remain spaced properly, so the dampers don't fall into the strings very well.  I put a U-shaped piece of wire between the strings above the pressure bar to keep the wires spaced apart.
    26.Most grand pianos have a rail underneath the hammers, the rest rail.  They are supported on screw studs with two locknuts, one above and another under the rail.  Often these nuts get loose and the result is that the rail makes a rattling sound when the hammers rebound.  The nut on the underside backs itself down the screw to leave the rail unsupported.  This also happens on the upstop rail in many grands so that the bottom nut is rubbing on the keysticks on either side of the mounting stud.  Check this when there is some unexplained noise or sticking of two natural keys, usually in the middle of the keyboard.
    27.Hidden pencils or other objects under or wedged against keysticks.  I once did a pencillectomy on a small baby grand which had so many pencils stuck in it that, held together, they measured about 4" in diameter.  I've found gold chains and all kinds of toys inside piano actions and action cavities.

    My apologies if I"ve gone beyond the scope of the OP's questions.  These are all things that i've run across repeatedly, that other techs may have missed.  Knowing where to look to find a problem is at least half of the solution.  If you can zero in to a solution immediately, you'll save a lot of frustration and time chasing a problem.  And you'll be a hero to your client.

    ------------------------------
    Paul McCloud, RPT
    Accutone Piano Service
    www.AccutonePianoService.com
    pavadasa@gmail.com
    ------------------------------