My piano has unpleasant harmonics, is there anything I can do?

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Harmonic-sufferer
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My piano has unpleasant harmonics, is there anything I can do?

Post by Harmonic-sufferer » 12 Jul 2020, 19:42

Hi

I recently bought a second hand reconditioned piano, but I am sadly not enjoying playing it because it has some discordant harmonics which are very obtrusive to me and spoil the sound for me.

My piano tuner has attempted to address the problem, but sadly it hasn't made much difference. I hear these lingering harmonics which are particularly noticeable when some notes are played, particularly when they are part of some chords.

It's really sad for me because I was looking forward to having a decent piano and now I don't know what to do.

The piano is a 50-yr-old upright and it cost me £1500, which I appreciate is not a high cost for a piano, but it is a lot of money for me. I don't know how easy it would be to sell it on, as I don't believe there is a big market for second hand upright pianos. But because I struggle to enjoy playing it, I think I might have to try and replace it with another piano.

Do you have any advice for me? Either in terms of improving this piano or making sure I don't have the same problem again if I try to replace it with another.

I didn't notice the problem when I played the piano in the showroom and I suspect my piano tuner doesn't hear exactly what I hear. I understand that certain harmonics can resonate more in some ears than others, so this might be something that is quite unique to me?

Thanking you in advance.

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Barrie Heaton
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Re: My piano has unpleasant harmonics, is there anything I can do?

Post by Barrie Heaton » 16 Jul 2020, 18:45

Any chance of a sound file with the overtones

Sound like damper bleed but this type of problem is difficult when you are not in the room.

is it just on certain notes like all the "C"

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Re: My piano has unpleasant harmonics, is there anything I can do?

Post by Harmonic-sufferer » 21 Jul 2020, 23:27

Hi Barrie

Yes, it is just on certain notes. There is one note that I find particularly unpleasant: the C# that is two octaves below middle C. My piano tuner had a go at fixing it, but what he did didn't really make much difference.

I do have a sound file, I have uploaded it here: https://youtu.be/UzBpdipwhfY

I will be interested to know whether you can hear it on the recording.

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Re: My piano has unpleasant harmonics, is there anything I can do?

Post by Barrie Heaton » 22 Jul 2020, 07:52

when you play single notes some of the Bass string are a bit false and the unison is just out on some notes.

on the cords, it shows up, possibly a bad scale did the tuner use an electronic tuning device or by ear.

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Re: My piano has unpleasant harmonics, is there anything I can do?

Post by Harmonic-sufferer » 22 Jul 2020, 22:50

I don't know whether the tuner used an electronic device or did it by ear. Do you think it would be worth me getting a different tuner to look at it?

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Re: My piano has unpleasant harmonics, is there anything I can do?

Post by Barrie Heaton » 23 Jul 2020, 07:56

if the tuner was using an ETD they may need to adjust the stretch also, ETD is don't handle old bass strings very well they're better done by ear.

Have you used the tuner before? if you are going to change, call some local music teachers to see who they use.

The problem could be mismatched bass strings. Have some of the strings been changed

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