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Seasoning a new piano (Read 8837 times)

Offline mozartean

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Seasoning a new piano
« on: December 28, 2001, 06:43:25 PM »
I have placed an order for a 7 foot Seiler grand piano and it is scheduled to arrive in a week's time. I compared the showroom model with a similar piano that has been used for performances in the auditorium and there was marked difference in the tone, the latter being more brilliant. The piano technician told me that it will take about 6 months of playing an hour a day for the piano to be seasoned.
What are the scientific principles behind seasoning of a piano? Is it the soundboard that gets seasoned or is it the hammers that get hardened or both?
A true blue Singaporean

Offline dinosaurtales

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Re: Seasoning a new piano
«Reply #1 on: January 03, 2002, 06:08:13 AM »
:D
First of all, congratulations!  I am beginning to shop for a new grand, but am nowhere near the selection point yet!  In my learning process I purchased a book, called The Piano Book,by Larry Fine - I got it through Amazon.com.   It is an incredible source for how to buy and care for a piano.  He doesn't mention "seasoning" per se, but he discusses the effects of humidity and temperature on a new piano and how it affects tuning.  I would recommend the book - there's too much for me to quote on this post - and let me know how you like the Seiler!
So much music, so little time........

Offline mozartean

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Re: Seasoning a new piano
«Reply #2 on: January 05, 2002, 11:34:03 AM »
Just received my Seiler 7-feet grand piano today. It is a beautiful instrument  in black. The sound is mellow and transparent and the touch is nice. Being in the humid tropics, I have installed a dehumidifier to keep out the moisture and airconditioned the living room to keep the temperature more constant.
A true blue Singaporean

Offline Pianorak

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Re: Seasoning a new piano
«Reply #3 on: January 05, 2002, 05:29:32 PM »
Congratulations on your new acquisition. I once played on a Seiler grand in Mexico City and was most favourably impressed. Many happy years of music making!

Offline mozartean

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Re: Seasoning a new piano
«Reply #4 on: January 07, 2002, 08:43:07 AM »
I would like to seek the opinion of owners of new grand pianos on the problem of `double-striking'. You see, when I play some notes softly in the middle register of my new Seiler 7-feet grand, the hammer strikes the strings twice ie. the hammer bounces off the string and strikes it again. Furthermore, when I depress the key a bit more, the hammer does not fall back and remains in contact with the strings giving it a damping effect. Could this problem be due to the change in temperature and humidity from the airconditioned showroom to the delivery van and the new environment in my living room?
A true blue Singaporean

Offline dinosaurtales

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Re: Seasoning a new piano
«Reply #5 on: January 07, 2002, 09:22:40 AM »
For what it's worth.  I don't have my grand yet - but I do have the Piano Book with me.  He mentions double striking as a problem with certain return springs made of nylon cord - which is not a problem in your Seiler, according to his description.  Since your piano is very new to your living room, he does mention that moving can cause several ill effects.  The most common is tuning, of course, which you will discover on your own.  He mentions that if the key stop rail is not fastened tightly before moving, the keys and associated actions can be tweeked and be just annoying or actually become unplayable after moving.  This can be readjusted by a technician.  Also he suggests that if  there is a large difference in humidity between the original location and your living room that it could take a few days to a few weeks for the porous parts to adjust to the new humidity.  I have not found any mention of the hammer staying up problem, but I'll keep looking.  
So much music, so little time........

Offline mozartean

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Re: Seasoning a new piano
«Reply #6 on: January 08, 2002, 08:44:21 AM »
I contacted the piano technician from the piano agent and he informed me that it is quite common for `double-striking' to occur after moving pianos from air-conditioned showrooms to living rooms of owners in tropical Singapore. He said that it is a matter of regulating the keys once the wood settles down to the new level of humidity. Thanks for looking up for me  ;)
A true blue Singaporean

Offline dinosaurtales

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Re: Seasoning a new piano
«Reply #7 on: January 08, 2002, 08:58:03 AM »
;)
I knew it couldn't be anything horrible.  I just can't imagine how anyone can be patient and "wait" for things to settle down when you have a brand new piano sitting there!  You are gonna love that Seiler!
So much music, so little time........

Offline mozartean

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Re: Seasoning a new piano
«Reply #8 on: January 09, 2002, 06:56:49 AM »
I am enjoying every moment of playing on the Seiler. It sounds very different from the Ibach upright that I used to play on. Seiler sound is more transparent and mellow while Ibach tends to be more brilliant and metallic. I bought the Seiler 7-feet grand for US$21000 while the Ibach upright cost me US$9600 in 1988. How are the prices compared to those in your country?

Singapore
A true blue Singaporean

Offline dinosaurtales

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Re: Seasoning a new piano
«Reply #9 on: January 26, 2002, 07:09:06 AM »
Hey, mozarteean!  How is your Seiler doing?   Is is all settled out?
So much music, so little time........

Offline rachfan

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Re: Seasoning a new piano
«Reply #10 on: January 10, 2003, 05:18:42 AM »
Here's my two cents worth on seasoning.  When a new piano ships and has not been previously played, the hammers are in pristine condition.  For the first several months or even up to a year, the timbre will be very mellow and even a bit fuzzy.  As the grooves (from striking the strings) start to form on the faces of the hammers, the mellowness starts to wane and the piano sound gradually brightens.  In a sense, the hammers have hardened from the compression of the grooves pressing into the wool.  The gradual change in the sound is like a transformation.  That's why when a person buys a new piano, he cannot fully predict how it'll sound, until the transformation actually happens.  
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline tosca1

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Re: Seasoning a new piano
«Reply #11 on: January 10, 2003, 06:57:19 AM »
It would depend on how much it is played but, it can take up to five years to season a brand new piano in the sense that it develops its optimum sound.  Over that period the tuning should stabilise provided the instrument is regularly tuned and the hammers  become harder and slightly grooved through playing which will develop more power and definition in the tone.  The strings will vibrate more freely if the  piano is played regularly and the sound board will also free up and transmit the sound more effectively.  
Like most  other musical instruments, a piano that is played regularly will sing better than one that is unplayed and neglected.  
Cheers,
Robert.