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tuner destroyed my piano! (Read 10145 times)

Offline gothess

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tuner destroyed my piano!
« on: May 15, 2004, 03:39:37 PM »
Early this year, due to a dehumidifier malfunction, mildew started to grow on my piano. a check by the piano tuner confirmed that, and he recommended the mildew on the hammers be sandpapered off lest it spreads and cause the hammers to expand. i agreed to it being sent off for restoration without asking for advice (which i totally regret now)

the hammers now look good as new, but the piano sounds ALOT muter and some of the keys arent responding as quickly as they used to. also, some of the springs arent in the right place (which i repaired). initially i thought it would recover after some settling in, but its been almost half a year and it still sounds as bad! im wondering what exactly during the process of sandpapering caused it and what i can do to revert the piano back to its original state. totally devastated... any advice / suggestions?? thanks so much!

Offline jr11

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Re: tuner destroyed my piano!
«Reply #1 on: May 15, 2004, 04:57:57 PM »
Uh... you have contacted the tuner again, right?

If you haven't, PLEASE do. As far as he knows, you are a happy customer, and everything is wonderful. There is nothing worse for a business person to think they have provided good service, only to hear through the grapevine that people are displeased and spreading bad press. Do yourself, your tuner, and your piano a favour and invite the guy back. I'm sure he will want you to be satisfied with his work, and do what he can (within reason) to make it right.

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: tuner destroyed my piano!
«Reply #2 on: May 16, 2004, 01:21:39 AM »
To answer your question about sanding the wool off of the hammers:

The wool is bound to the hammers with great tension.  This makes it very hard.  When you sand the wool, you end up tearing the hairs and thus cause them to fray.  This reduces the tension of the wool which makes the surface softer.

Another thing is that the frayed hairs mute more than taut hairs because surface area has increased upon contact with the strings and because when it contacts the stray hairs touch the strings longer thereby muting it.

I know how it sounds with worn out hammers - muted somewhat.  I can imagine that your piano is a lot more muted.  I don't know if there is a way to remedy this other than having the hammers re-felt or applying some kind of substance on the hammers to harden them.  Have you heard of "honky-tonk"?  They apply some substance to make the hammer wool harder so it has a sharp tone when the hammers strike the strings.  Anoying, I find it.  But just offering something else to think of.

Offline CPS_Pianotek

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Re: tuner destroyed my piano!
«Reply #3 on: May 18, 2004, 12:15:57 AM »
First... don't worry it is very unlikely that your tech ruined your piano. Hammers (Heck - entire action mechs) can always be replaced - and often are - especially in concert pianos!

What kind of piano to you have? (Make, model, vertical or grand, how old etc.etc.)

Hammer shaping isn't a big deal, although it is easy for begining techs to goof up hammers by removing felt unevenly, or too much.

What do you mean when you said he sent them out to be restored? Hammer shaping is usually something done in-house by a tech (not in your house but in his shop).  How much were you charged for this service?

Also, shaping hammers will usually brighten up the tone as opposed to darkening the tone. (I won't go into why here though.) Depending on the make of the piano and whether the hammers are cold or heat pressed, a hardening solution appplied to the shoulders and judiciously to the strike point could help.  I'd have to see/feel/hear the hammers to know for sure.

Here's a question for you, did the tech regulate the action once the hammers were filed? Shaping the hammers changes the blow distance from the hammer at rest to the string. If this isn't corrected you can lose power.

Also shaping the hammers shouldn't effect repitition. It worries me that springs were out of place...

My advice is to call the tech back, ask if he is a member of the piano technician's guild. If he isn't find someone who is to work on your piano.

Gotta run, talk to you later.

R.Cromwell

Offline Piazzo22

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Re: tuner destroyed my piano!
«Reply #4 on: May 19, 2004, 06:25:07 AM »
You can try to gently press the felt of each hammer with a hot cloth iron (cotton position or so), following the curve in the attack surface (the wool would compress with the shape of your movement). The more you press against the hammer with the iron, the brighter it will sound. If you did it too much, you can always go back by pinching with a needle the attack point.
August Förster (Löbau) owner.

Offline gothess

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Re: tuner destroyed my piano!
«Reply #5 on: May 20, 2004, 03:23:01 PM »
thanks so much for all your replies :) really helped me gain some perspective on the problem!

CPS_pianotek: my piano's a PACO upright (not too sure about the model), and i think its about ten years of age. as for the sanding of the hammers, i was charged apprx. US$300. the technician tuned the piano after reinstalling the hammers... hmm yeah thats about it. the springs are fine now tho, hopefully! :)