Steinway upright Z, damper problem?

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Schumann
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Steinway upright Z, damper problem?

Post by Schumann » 15 Mar 2013, 12:45

Hello!
A few months ago I bought a nice little piano, a Steinway mod Z, from the mid 50's. It's in very good condition, sounds great (typical "small-room" piano).
But…the lower bass strings makes a quite long (and loud) resonance. I've tried to hold a hand against the lowest strings, and then this resonating sound disappears. The damper felt is in good condition (original, not new). I've spoken with several piano technicians, and some of them say that this is an "issue" with this model.
The action is great, everything is checked by professional techs, and they are not sure that this bass-string-issue will go away, even if I buy new dampers for the lowest register.
Can anyone help me with this question? Anyone with similar experience?

(please excuse my english, I'm Swedish…)

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Re: Steinway upright Z, damper problem?

Post by vernon » 15 Mar 2013, 22:38

Re-cover the damper felts and most important replace the damper springs with the correct strength springs and all your troubles will cease.
This is not a very expensive repair
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Re: Steinway upright Z, damper problem?

Post by Schumann » 15 Mar 2013, 22:45

Thank you for the advice!

I think the pressure of the dampers (or how I shall epxlain it in english) is OK. Nothing seems to be wrong with the action.
How do I re-cover the felt? Can I do it myself (interested amateur) or is it a job for pros?

Many Thanks

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Re: Steinway upright Z, damper problem?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 16 Mar 2013, 02:25

As Vernon said, most likely to be the springs... also get your tech guy to check out the following aswell....

1. Damper wires or grub screws/ head alignment (sim. lift)
2. Dampers lifting off too soon (need spoons regulating)
3. Tight or seized flange centre pins
4. Sustain pedal adjusted correctly with crank lever

If all ok - then replace felt/ backing cloth & springs

Shouldn't be any 'issues' as such?
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Re: Steinway upright Z, damper problem?

Post by Schumann » 16 Mar 2013, 09:50

Colin Nicholson wrote:As Vernon said, most likely to be the springs... also get your tech guy to check out the following aswell....

1. Damper wires or grub screws/ head alignment (sim. lift)
2. Dampers lifting off too soon (need spoons regulating)
3. Tight or seized flange centre pins
4. Sustain pedal adjusted correctly with crank lever

If all ok - then replace felt/ backing cloth & springs

Shouldn't be any 'issues' as such?
Thank you for your advice! I can see that my replies are delayed, probably due to the fact that I am a new member(?).
1–4 is all ok!
I will try to get new felt/backing cloth & springs.
Questions:
1) price?
2) does it HAVE to be original parts, or are there any high quality spare parts from other manufacturers that I can use? (If original parts really are the best I'll go for that, but for me it isn't necessary with the S&S logo on the bass dampers.)

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Re: Steinway upright Z, damper problem?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 16 Mar 2013, 17:17

Hi there....

If you in the piano trade, then ignore below.... however......

This forum is for general advice & help only - we cannot give trade prices, and you need to be registered in the piano trade to order parts like these.... best you contact your local piano tuner for more advice & a retail price to do the job. Some of the symptoms we may give for piano should be relayed to your piano tuner.

I would strongly recommend that a piano tuner/technician does this job, as to remove the damper springs, often requires removal & de-centering the pins for the flanges (to separate them from the damper bodies) - thats the only way to get the springs out, and you need a special tool to do it. The mechanism may also be "double flanged"..... and on most actions like this, the damper springs are located with a bushed pin.... so its a job for an expert.

In order that your damper felts are "custom fitted" - they will need to be cut on a felt guillotine - so again, I would recommend you contact your tuner. To do the job properly, I usually completely remove all the hammers & whippens aswell (and hammer rest rail) - so I get a perfect view & working area for installing new dampers.
I would also recommend to use the existing damper heads which are specially designed for your piano.... you may also need split/wedge felt? You can't just pop into a shop (or on-line shop) and order a set of dampers for a Z model Steinway!!

oh.... and .... damper springs usually arrived "oversized" - and ordered in graded sets
.... so they need to be re-profiled on a jig so that the 'mouse tail' fits comfortably into the damper body (button felt/ cord) recess - and in the correct position prior to the damper being activated. .... then they need to be regulated with the sustain pedal.... NOT a DIY job!
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Re: Steinway upright Z, damper problem?

Post by Schumann » 16 Mar 2013, 21:04

Hello again,

Thank you for the many advices. No, I'm not in the piano trade, I'm sorry if I gave the impression.
"DIY" – I had to look that up. Perhaps my english is even worse than I thought...

It was not my intention to do it myself, I'm not a handy man at all. Now, when knowing a lot more than I did before (I've been standing with my head inside the piano all day, just looking - no "amateur tampering"), I called a senior piano technician that works at a music academy (Universitet). I hope he can make my piano even better, and - thanks to you - perhaps even I can give HIM some hints and tips.

It's a beautiful little piano, I think I will keep it for the rest of my life. For a while, I got the impression that this model "just sounds that way", and there's nothing to do about it.
If the resonance disappears, as I think you say is possible, I will get back to you and in detail describe what was done. The technician told me he could do the work sometime this spring.
Once again thank you.

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Re: Steinway upright Z, damper problem?

Post by Withindale » 16 Mar 2013, 21:07

Schumann wrote:But…the lower bass strings makes a quite long (and loud) resonance. I've tried to hold a hand against the lowest strings, and then this resonating sound disappears. The damper felt is in good condition (original, not new). I've spoken with several piano technicians, and some of them say that this is an "issue" with this model.
I have read the advice in this thread but, before following it as a piano owner, I'd like to satisfy myself that it's really necessary to replace the damper felts as they appear to be in good condition.

Here are a few things I'd do with a sample note or two. Have a good look at what happens and then compare with other notes. Push the damper against the string, gently. Soften the damper felt, by manipulating it and/or using a wool softener. That should indicate whether the damper felts are still serviceable and whether replacement springs are necessary.

It would interesting to know what the "issue" you mention actually is.

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Re: Steinway upright Z, damper problem?

Post by vernon » 17 Mar 2013, 11:04

All this advice presupposes that the problem has been accurately diagnosed,preferably by a technician.
Our mission in life is to tune customers--not pianos.

Any fool can make a piano-- it needs a tuner to put the music in it

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