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Baldwin G pedal limit

  • 1.  Baldwin G pedal limit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-05-2022 23:17
    Greetings all,
    I was working on a 1907 Baldwin G today, and wanted to adjust a too-high damper upstop rail. Damper lift was higher from the pedal compared to the key, but there seemed to be no way to limit the pedal travel. No felt or capstan. Is it possible it's the damper upstop rail itself that limits the pedal/damper travel? So far, that's how I've set it, but any other suggestions are welcome. I can imagine pedal use might keep pushing the rail up?

    thanks!

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    Scott Cole, RPT
    rvpianotuner.com
    Talent, OR
    (541-601-9033
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  • 2.  RE: Baldwin G pedal limit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-05-2022 23:58
    Why not install some felt or a capstan?  Not so hard to do.  If you make the upstop rail limit the damper underlevers, something is going to break.  Your foot is very strong, so you need to limit the movement of the underlevers without stressing the upstop rail.  The upstop rail should allow just a little movement of the damper if you press the sharps fully.  The upstop rail is only there to prevent the damper heads from flying away and then landing again on the keys.

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    Paul McCloud, RPT
    Accutone Piano Service
    www.AccutonePianoService.com
    pavadasa@gmail.com
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  • 3.  RE: Baldwin G pedal limit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-06-2022 01:25
    Paul,
    That's what I was thinking. So what were Baldwin's intentions on this design?

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    Scott Cole, RPT
    rvpianotuner.com
    Talent, OR
    (541-601-9033
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  • 4.  RE: Baldwin G pedal limit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-06-2022 07:07
    On a piano that old, it was probably refurbished/rebuilt at some time.  Or maybe not.  I see a lot of pianos with no limiting felt or capstan.  It must have been "good enough" without anything there to limit the travel other than the movement of the pedal in the box.  Then over time, the felt in the box wears out and it moves farther than before.  I'm pretty sure it was good when it was built, and at least they put an upstop rail.in it.

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    Paul McCloud, RPT
    Accutone Piano Service
    www.AccutonePianoService.com
    pavadasa@gmail.com
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  • 5.  RE: Baldwin G pedal limit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-06-2022 10:31
    Yes, this is typical with Steinway also. I have worked on a couple old model G grands. 

    Get the upstop good for the tray lift and it crowds the movement of the keys. 
    You have to live with the dampers bouncing on the backs of the keys. 
    It can be felt, but as yet, SS won't correct this in their back action design geometry. 

    What Paul McCloud said may mitigate the problem, but chances are you will just
    be moving the issue to another place. 

    You may take a look at where the tray end pins are located and perhaps move the holes.
    This will change the geometry overall and start the movement from a different angle.

    Good luck,

    --





  • 6.  RE: Baldwin G pedal limit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-06-2022 11:54
    That is pretty typical of Baldwin grands, of most eras, as well as many other brands. The damper upstop rail is the only limiting factor for the damper pedal. Another quirk is that typically the Baldwin upstop rail is "stabilized" by brads. If you want to adjust it, you need to pull the brads first (4 or 5 of them). 

    The stabilizing method isn't actually a bad idea. In university settings, hard playing drives the upstop rails up, often no matter how hard you tighten the screws. I often drilled a few small holes and installed centerpins, leaving them protruding a couple mm so they can easily be removed when desired (hole is just a snug enough fit so they won't work their way out).

    Back to limiting the pedal, the amount of space to be taken up by a stop for the trap work is quite a bit, at least in some models, so a block of wood may be needed. I prefer two pieces of hammer felt (one on the key bed, the other on the trap lever) to a capstan arrangement. The capstan stop can turn the keybed into a drum for the heavy-footed pianist. It also quickly creates a dent in the felt against which it pounds, changing the regulation. Felt against felt is quite stable and quiet. It isn't that hard to cut to size, remove and replace, should you need to change the setting.

    I had several upstop rails whose felt had been destroyed by use as the pedal stop or just by forceful playing, mostly on Steinways. I became adept at removing one of the end blocks on which the damper tray pivots, swinging the tray free, and insinuating the rail out behind and under it, so as to be able to replace the felt. Touchy work, but it can be done.

    Regards,
    Fred Sturm
    fssturm@unm.edu
    http://fredsturm.net
    www.artoftuning.com
    "Art lives from constraints and dies from freedom." Leonardo










  • 7.  RE: Baldwin G pedal limit

    Member
    Posted 10-06-2022 13:23
    Why not use some small drywall screws going through the upstop rail to lock it in place. No need to drill holes that way. It probably makes sense to put the screws in line with the existing screws. ACE hardware carries many sizes of drywall screws and sells them per screw .

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    James Kelly
    Owner- Fur Elise Piano Service
    Pawleys Island SC
    (843) 325-4357
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  • 8.  RE: Baldwin G pedal limit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-06-2022 15:47
    Using the upstop rail to limit pedal travel stresses the entire system, including small parts and rail felt and tray cloth.
    Blocking the trap lever limits the stress to the large parts under the keybed.

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    Ed Sutton
    ed440@me.com
    (980) 254-7413
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  • 9.  RE: Baldwin G pedal limit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-07-2022 08:35
    I tend to get distracted by one regulation adjustment at a time, and upstop rail too high is still my focus. I hate that kickback on the keys. But if it’s too low, you can really kill power.

    I’d like to hear how others adjust it carefully, especially when it’s just one piece of wood all the way across. I’ve measured the highest travel of pedal or sharp lift, then wedged the tray to that height (next to the pitman), and dropped the rail down accordingly.

    But sometimes one section will still be too high. I guess the rail could be split into sections, but I’m unwilling to try Fred’s Houdini trick to get it out of there!

    Any better ways to adjust?

    —Cy—

    P.S. Some older Mason & Hamlins have the brads, too. Hard to see, and quite a surprise when the rail doesn’t move with loose screws!




  • 10.  RE: Baldwin G pedal limit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-07-2022 10:48
    I have found that this problem can be resolved by replacing the key end felt. Factory felt is often so dense that it does not cushion the impact of the returning damper lever. I use the key end felt sold by Pianotek. It's a pretty quick job. I have a jig that I made for my bandsaw to remove the old felts. I do this pretty regularly for rebuilds. Then I can adjust the upstop rail properly which is to allow the dampers to travel slightly
    beyond where the key and the right pedal and the sos. pedal place them.

    Ted Kidwell, RPT, CTE
    Kidwell Piano Works
    916 200 8747





  • 11.  RE: Baldwin G pedal limit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-07-2022 11:17
    Ted, that’s just the kind of insight I was looking for!

    Wait, does that mean felt on piano hammers could get hard with time, too? (slaps forehead)

    —Cy—




  • 12.  RE: Baldwin G pedal limit

    Registered Piano Technician