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Voicing ideas for Baldwin Spinet and Otto Altenberg Grand

  • 1.  Voicing ideas for Baldwin Spinet and Otto Altenberg Grand

    Member
    Posted 14 days ago
    The Baldwin is a circa 1975 spinet that was 108 cents flat due to neglect/nonuse. It is a family heirloom and overall needs tlc . Tight pinblock and in very good overall condition - no rust, string issues, good damping, decent regulation. I am returning tomorrow after doing 3 pitch raises 2 weeks ago. Looking for some fast tips to get some of the harsh percussion out of the hammers that are rock hard, have some flat strike points and mild string cuts. I think a little shoeshining of hammer felt will help and maybe some hammer squeezing and/or side needling.

    Piano 2 is a straight strung grand that has more flatter strike points, medium string cuts. I am thinking the starting point is to shape and file the hammers, align to the strings and do something to the super hard hammers.  It needs some action regulation for blow, rep spring strength, backcheck height and letoff. I have worked on the piano in the past and it is so percussive it can hurt your ears on certain notes. It was owned by a teacher who liked it as it is and did not want anything done to it. New owner is one of her former students who is quite good but would benefit from a well regulated and sounding piano. I believe the piano is 1970's or 1980's  Model is OA-510

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    James Kelly
    Owner- Fur Elise Piano Service
    Pawleys Island SC
    (843) 325-4357
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  • 2.  RE: Voicing ideas for Baldwin Spinet and Otto Altenberg Grand

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 14 days ago
    James.

    Have you considered steam voicing both pianos? You can do a little or a lot. The problem is, steam voicing is not a permanent solution, but it makes the piano sound softer right away. You can always recommend they have you do it once a year or more often.

    Wim.

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 3.  RE: Voicing ideas for Baldwin Spinet and Otto Altenberg Grand

    Member
    Posted 13 days ago
    New hammers are needed. Bending over backwards will only delay this. Why do we keep pianos limping along?

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    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
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  • 4.  RE: Voicing ideas for Baldwin Spinet and Otto Altenberg Grand

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 13 days ago
    Because of code of ethics #5 I will render the best possible service under the circumstances, always keeping the best interests of my client in mind

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    Larry Messerly, RPT
    Bringing Harmony to Homes
    www.lacrossepianotuning.com
    ljmesserly@gmail.com
    928-899-7292
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  • 5.  RE: Voicing ideas for Baldwin Spinet and Otto Altenberg Grand

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 13 days ago
    I would not hesitate to apply a solution of "All" fabric softener and alcohol (and possibly H2O) to the hammers. I have had remarkable success with this concoction (I did not dream it up and it has been discussed here several times).

    Ratio: 1 part All : 2 parts alcohol for general purpose usage. If more effect is needed add up to one part water.

    I use Everclear 190. You can use industrial denatured alcohol if you want but you don't necessarily know what the water content of it is. Your choice.

    I use a spent Cory Key bright pump sprayer bottle and shield other parts with my other hand and fingers. After a few minutes of penetration (5-15) follow up with a light wire brushing of the strike points. If more seems to be needed, add some water and re-apply. Finally, light needling of persistent outliers should tidy things up.

    Under the aforementioned circumstances (you mentioned) I fail to see any legitimate concerns regarding the efficacy of this procedure. You should find it to be a very effective tool in your voicing "bag of tricks".  Just like CBL I don't leave home without it. Nothing but success with it.

    Peter Grey Piano Doctor

    P.S. If they are truly incorrigibly rock hard, I use VS-Profelt (not sprayed) with care. It is slower acting but more powerful. Use with caution.

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    (603) 686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 6.  RE: Voicing ideas for Baldwin Spinet and Otto Altenberg Grand

    Member
    Posted 13 days ago
    Best possible service is hammer replacement. Does that imply best affordable service? If you can't afford the upkeep on a boat, you do not own a boat. If you can't afford the upkeep on a piano...

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    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
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  • 7.  RE: Voicing ideas for Baldwin Spinet and Otto Altenberg Grand

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 13 days ago
    Sounds elitist Jon. If you can't afford new tires for your car, maybe you shouldn't have a car.

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    Larry Messerly, RPT
    Bringing Harmony to Homes
    www.lacrossepianotuning.com
    ljmesserly@gmail.com
    928-899-7292
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  • 8.  RE: Voicing ideas for Baldwin Spinet and Otto Altenberg Grand

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 13 days ago
    For the grand it sounds like shaping the hammers is probably the best first step.

    For the spinet, if you can get the needle in there at the correct angle, I’ve found inserting the needle straight down (parallel to the molding) just next to the strike point does wonders. I’ve yet to try it on Baldwin spinets but it gets amazing results for too-bright Yamahas.

    I’m sure someone will also mention Angel-Shot voicing too. I’ve had good results with that method also.



    Benjamin Sanchez, RPT
    Piano Technician / Artisan
    (256) 947-9999
    www.professional-piano-services.com




  • 9.  RE: Voicing ideas for Baldwin Spinet and Otto Altenberg Grand

    Posted 13 days ago
    I would try Chris's spritz of fabric softener on the Baldwin. I think he has you tube video of it but ASK!





  • 10.  RE: Voicing ideas for Baldwin Spinet and Otto Altenberg Grand

    Member
    Posted 13 days ago

    Baldwin, c.1975 has Corfam (1974-1984) in it. You'll just be keeping it going for its inevitable catastrophic failure.
    Hopefully, if you're lucky, that action was one of the last ones with buckskin.

    Alternatively, I have an Acrosonic drop action pre-Corfam. Simply replace the h/s/f and you'll be done. Come and get it.
    You can use my oscillating spindle sander to reshape these barely worn hammers while you're here. Might as well take the rest of the action with you.
    If you're ambitious, I'll show you how to taper them too.  A road trip and vacation all-in-one.

    I also have the top action from a Brambach (RIP - Rest In Pieces).



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    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
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  • 11.  RE: Voicing ideas for Baldwin Spinet and Otto Altenberg Grand

    Member
    Posted 13 days ago
    The story on the Baldwin spinet is that it was purchased new in 1975 by owners aunt and barely used. The pianos pitch dropped to over 100 cents because it went 47 years
    without a tuning. There is no need to put new HSF on it and after the pitch raises and fine tuning it sounded much better. I did a little light needling on some of the harsher sounding hammers but no fabric softener or alcohol spritz. Next time I service it will try that option.  The grand will get attention in the fall with a few hours of hammer shaping and regulation of blow, rep springs, back checking and letoff. The owner is going back to college in two weeks so it can wait. Amazingly the piano was moved and stored for two years then it was moved again and needed to be lifted 3 stories with a hi rise forklift to a large balcony. A4 was only 5 cents flat. The pin block is tight and the strings are straight strung with hitch pin loops- no shared strings. All of your responses are useful and appreciated..

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    James Kelly
    Owner- Fur Elise Piano Service
    Pawleys Island SC
    (843) 325-4357
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  • 12.  RE: Voicing ideas for Baldwin Spinet and Otto Altenberg Grand

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 9 days ago
    Personally, I would stick to alcohol (Everclear) and water or steam voicing to bring the voicing down. I recently tried to file a set of hammers that had been fabric softened by a previous tech and the sandpaper was clogging up immediately. I abandoned the hammer filing.

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    Tremaine Parsons RPT
    Georgetown CA
    (530) 333-9299
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