Zorba's "Secret" Piano Page
Tuning and Over-Damper Retrofit.
16 July 2007
Little damper on first tenor note (above the break), C#-29.
Over-Damper kit as supplied.
Over-Damper kit with cut down main damper.
Main (trichord) damper installed with over-damper wire.
Auxiliary over-damper in place.
Will it clear the practice mute?
It sure will!
If your piano has trapwork like this, make sure the bolts are TIGHT!
The great and mighty Piano Smith returns after 1 year to tune the beast! It was 16 cents flat across the board. Not too bad all things considered, although he said he had hoped it would be better than that. We'll see how it does in the next year - it sure sounds nice now. Boy, can I tell the difference!
He also sold me an over-damper kit for the first note above the break - I could not find anyone who would sell me one (being "outside the trade"), so he graciously purchased it for me. This is why it pays to have a sympathetic tech when you dive into this kind of thing, not knowing what you're getting yourself into!
This note has been a problem ever since I've had the piano - indeed it tends to be a problem in many/most uprights. Poor damping and lots of after-ringing. Does this over-damper kit work? You bet it does! It damps out as good as any note in the instrument. Piano Smith explained to me that the first several notes above the break are the bane of all uprights - they tend towards after-ringing. Mine is no exception. The over-damper retrofit stops the after-ringing on its note - and much to my amazement, has lessened the after-ringing of the other notes immediately above the break. Sympathetic vibration and all that.
The Piano Smith also gave me a couple of hints about damper regulation technique, I think I just might be able to do it now using his suggested method. He also wanted me to track down why the sustain pedal didn't impart much motion in the dampers, they barely cleared the strings. After much messing around with the trapwork, adding rubber washers to the lift rod and adjusting things I actually succeeded - although I'm still not quite sure how I did it! I now have about ¼" damper to string clearance when the pedal is depressed!
Part of my frustration with regulating the trapwork involved the rods rotating in the attached levers. Yea, I figured this out after screaming at the whole thing a couple of times! The take home lesson I learned is to make sure, on trapwork like mine (found mostly in players), that the bolts are good and TIGHT - as illustrated above. I suggest wailing on it and get it as tight as possible - then tighten it another half turn!
The other news was that I actually needed to vacuum out the bottom again, 2 years of working on it caused an accumulation of miscellaneous crud - not much, but enough to warrant cleaning it up!