durability of action

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joseph
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durability of action

Post by joseph » 06 Aug 2012, 15:57

My Brodmann piano has some issues developing.

Several of the keys are blocking, which, according to the tuner is being caused by over tight action centre or something, and also the action apparently needs re-pinned, at the hammer flange bushing, because the pins are too tight. Is this normal for this work to be required on a younger piano, is it through wear that it happens or is it something I should look at under warranty? I mean, I give it a hell of a pounding but I'd have thought that it would be that things loosen off, not tighten up? To be honest, it's always been a bit creaky, and every technician has commented on it (but none have offered a solution)

I can accept keyboard bushings wearing out and I can accept hammerheads wearing out, but the jack springs (I think that's the spring he said) being too tight?

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Re: durability of action

Post by Johnkie » 06 Aug 2012, 16:43

When you say "blocking" do you mean the hammer hits the string and doesn't move away, until the key is released ?
Or do you in fact mean that when you try to play repeated notes, the key goes down but the hammer doesn't move forward?

There's quite a difference between these to examples - The first would indicate a regulation problem, and the second tight centres. If it is indeed the second example ... then it may well be a case of tight jack centres, and possibly tight centres elsewhere to boot !

You style of playing wouldn't have anything to do with tight centres, and (unless you have subjected the piano to extreme dampness) could well be a case of being repaired under warranty.
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Colin Nicholson
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Re: durability of action

Post by Colin Nicholson » 06 Aug 2012, 17:27

If the piano gets a regular pounding as you say, (assuming an upright piano?) - possible the set-off rail has warped under the pressure of the jack toes, or the set-off button felts have indented themselves so much its causing the hammers to block against the strings?...... ask your tuner to adjust the screws (about 1/4 turn clockwise) - this might help.

Do you have a hygrometer on your piano to measure the humidity?
I've also known tight centres in very warm conditions.
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Re: durability of action

Post by joseph » 06 Aug 2012, 19:59

It's a grand piano, not an upright, but yes, I play a key and the hammer doesn't move upward to the strings. This has happened on several of the notes on the piano - about 10, and usually ones that I need (it's never the top C...)

The piano was in Dundee until June, and now it's in Norwich. I haven't subjected it to humidity that other piano owners in the area haven't subjected their instruments to (I haven't showered with it).

It is quite warm here just now and the whole thing feels a bit sluggish, but it's always been a bit on the tight side. My Bluthner patent grand, which is still in Dundee, hasn't ever had any action problems but then, it's much more simple in design I guess.

The pins where the hammer joins on to the action rail (is it the action rail - the long bit of wood that the hammer flanges are bored into?) are the ones that are too tight as well - so the hammer travel is a bit sluggish.

It is important for me that I can play fast and soft. I'm regularly performing the big concertos (Rach 2, Beethoven 5, Grieg etc) and big recital programmes (currently working on Prokofieff 7, Goldberg Variations, and many others, lots of lieder and chamber music).

I've had a quote from a very good technician about giving the whole mechanism an overhaul, but I'm wondering if some of the cost should be borne under warranty or if it's normal for a piano that is under professional use (i.e, lots of heavy practice and teaching) to suffer this.

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Re: durability of action

Post by Barrie Heaton » 06 Aug 2012, 20:34

joseph wrote:
I've had a quote from a very good technician about giving the whole mechanism an overhaul, but I'm wondering if some of the cost should be borne under warranty or if it's normal for a piano that is under professional use (i.e, lots of heavy practice and teaching) to suffer this.
Depends if the action is just stiff from humidity then no. However,if the tuner removes the centre pin and it is bent then yes because this was a fault at the factory as the pin inserter was set too strong and bent the pin as it was going in Use to get this a lot with Woodchester pianos always the bottom section flange.

First thing you need to do is get a report on the problem then inform the retailer in writing, including the report as they are responsible for the warranty not the manufacture

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Re: durability of action

Post by joseph » 06 Aug 2012, 22:43

OK. Thanks for that. Well, the retailer is quite good with things like that so we'll see. It's probably humidity that's caused it, as Scotland is very humid. So is Norfolk. Would putting a dehumidifier in the room with the piano help or is it usually the damage is done by this point? I should get a Kawai...

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Re: durability of action

Post by vernon » 06 Aug 2012, 22:54

A "young" piano should exhibit none of these problems, Clearly a warranty job so get on to them asap.
Get it changed if neccessary.
If you've bought it you are entitled to a fully working instrument without having to consult technicians et al about re- regulating and adjustments etc.
If it's a duff piano your dealer will be pleased to replace it and aim his flak at the wholesaler who supplied it/
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Re: durability of action

Post by joseph » 06 Aug 2012, 23:07

vernon i sent you a message.

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Re: durability of action

Post by Johnkie » 06 Aug 2012, 23:18

Joseph : It sounds very much like a case of needing a complete re-centre job! If some hammers and jacks are sticking badly, then the likelihood is that they are all on the tight side. The overall performance and touch will be seriously bad in comparison to what it should be, but you will not appreciate this difference unless it is put right.

You failed to mention how old the piano is ..... is it still in warranty? If it's not years old you may be able to claim if this tightness was apparent from new, but otherwise you'll just have to bite the bullet and fork out to get the job done yourself.

The pins may indeed be bent rather than bushings being tight, in which case you should be in a better position to argue "manufacturing fault" - But you will need a reputable technician to examine the centres before being able to go down that route.

If it turns out to be tight centres due to excess humidity, the likeihood of centres returning to their servicable state by natural means is very unlikely, because once wood swells through excess humidity it nearly always remains swollen. The only way to restore things back to their proper state is to broach the bushings and fit over size pins.
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Re: durability of action

Post by joseph » 06 Aug 2012, 23:25

Hi Johnkie, I bought the piano in 2007, brand new. Yes, it is basically a re-centering job.

The quote was:

Clean out case, re-center action, replace flange pins, rebush keyboard, re-shape hammers, voice hammers, repair pedal lyre (yes, the box is coming away at the left side... the LEFT side??), regulate action.

I don't know the guy who sent the quote personally, but I've played pianos he has worked on and they've all been consistently excellent.

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Re: durability of action

Post by joseph » 06 Aug 2012, 23:26

and I do appreciate the difference it will make, because I play on many pianos, and mine is always sluggish. Always. Even after a big regulation.

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Re: durability of action

Post by Colin Nicholson » 06 Aug 2012, 23:41

Johnkie wrote:The pins may indeed be bent rather than bushings being tight,
I read somewhere (I think Reblitz) that is is 'allowable' for the jack pin to be bent occasionally (and purposefully done/ only the jack pin), depending on the condition of the wood and alignment of the rep lever aperture in relation to the jack. I had to do that once to a Schiedmayer grand - the jack was almost touching the side of the gap. The other problem that may arise is then re-aligning the jack tips with the existing rollers indentations - so they fit exactly into their pounded grooves...... so you may need new rollers aswell.
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Re: durability of action

Post by joseph » 06 Aug 2012, 23:43

can I swear on the forum? LOL!

OK price me an RX7, I'll see if I can convince the other half to give up holidays abroad etc for the next 5 to 10 years....

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Re: durability of action

Post by Johnkie » 06 Aug 2012, 23:45

Joseph:

Sounds about right .... and if you have confidence in your guy, I'd certainly consider having it done. It will be a great deal cheaper than buying a new replacement, and you'll have confidence in your piano again.

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Re: durability of action

Post by Colin Nicholson » 06 Aug 2012, 23:46

I played a 2nd hand one recently - wow! .... priced around £17K ...... no holidays I'm afraid!
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Re: durability of action

Post by joseph » 06 Aug 2012, 23:49

I played a couple of Shigeru EX grands in concerts in Italy this year. They were very nice pianos. And a couple of RX7s too, in rehearsal. Nice instruments. Yeah, expensive, but actually not for the instrument you are getting.

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Re: durability of action

Post by joe » 07 Aug 2012, 00:22

Tight centres are a common complaint on many cheap quality Chinese and East European pianos and are not caused by humidity,main reason is the quality of centre-pins used they bend when inserted,many years ago bought some Russia pianos and had to re-centre the whole action before selling,and had problems with Chinese instruments also.Know of many problems like yours from many players who bought this brand,and others who bought pianos from Estonia,if you send me a private message i will expand farther.

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Re: durability of action

Post by rgreig » 07 Aug 2012, 20:47

Interesting thread.

If you don't mind my asking, how much is all the repair work likely to cost? Depending on that I imagine it's an interesting dilemma whether to repair it or trade it in for something else.

Robert

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Re: durability of action

Post by joseph » 08 Aug 2012, 15:41

about £1500.

I'd like to trade it in for something else, but the piano that I want to buy is currently way out of budget, and there isn't much in the way of spare cash to buy any piano at the moment. So it's better to have the work done, I guess.

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Re: durability of action

Post by Barrie Heaton » 08 Aug 2012, 16:38

joseph wrote:about £1500.

I'd like to trade it in for something else, but the piano that I want to buy is currently way out of budget, and there isn't much in the way of spare cash to buy any piano at the moment. So it's better to have the work done, I guess.
After the work is done you may fall in love with again

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Re: durability of action

Post by joe » 08 Aug 2012, 17:13

joseph wrote:about £1500.

I'd like to trade it in for something else, but the piano that I want to buy is currently way out of budget, and there isn't much in the way of spare cash to buy any piano at the moment. So it's better to have the work done, I guess.
Are you getting work done under warranty ?

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Re: durability of action

Post by joseph » 08 Aug 2012, 20:31

Hi Joe,

I haven't agreed to have any work done yet. Watch this space.

My next piano will be someone else's.... save me the hassle...

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Re: durability of action

Post by Colin Nicholson » 09 Aug 2012, 09:17

Good luck with that Joseph - must be very frustrating for you.

Also.... if you get the work done, consider having the flange bushing cloth replaced. Your tuner should detect - if its a bright glaring red bushing, and a bit frayed & 'fluffy' at the edges, its not good quality stuff. Hainsworth's in Pudsey (Leeds) supply Heckschers & Fletcher & Newman with the proper stuff - good quality 1mm bushing cloth - when its cut, its clean - edges and will last you for donkeys years - and some good quality chromed steel pins .... back to your RACH 2 in no time!
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Re: durability of action

Post by joseph » 09 Aug 2012, 10:48

I'll discuss it, in time, with the tech.

I've had to, unfortunately, prioritize my money, having just moved house. I've spent £5000 between moving and having work done to my flat in Dundee so I can rent it out, so unfortunately until the piano starts earning me enough money from teaching down here, I can't give it any money back.... Sad, I know.

I want to get another 5 years out of the piano, maximum that is, by which time we should have bought a place (we're renting just now) and then I can think about replacing the piano. God willing of course. :piano;

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Re: durability of action

Post by joseph » 20 Aug 2012, 18:11

OK, since being in Norwich the piano has become progressively worse - much worse.

Now the keys don't return properly, even the keys that do return are feeling like they are down. It gets progressively heavier as I play it - in about 10 minutes it becomes completely unplayable.

I've bought a dehumidifier, because that sounds like a severe humidity problem - one that is probably going to effect adversely everything in the house. Perhaps the building has a problem with damp and it's just been well covered up by the estate agents? We are renting, we haven't bought, luckily!

I spoke to Tony Cooke on the phone, and he said just dry the piano out in the first instance, because if he services it with a humidity problem, then it won't be too long before it's exactly the same.

The instrument has even lost its tone, I think because the hammers are a bit messed up with this.

I certainly won't buy a new piano until we've moved house and had the place sussed out for damp.

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Re: durability of action

Post by Barrie Heaton » 20 Aug 2012, 18:53

joseph wrote:
I've bought a dehumidifier, because that sounds like a severe humidity problem - one that is probably going to effect adversely everything in the house. Perhaps the building has a problem with damp and it's just been well covered up by the estate agents? We are renting, we haven't bought, luckily!

.
Don't put the dehumidifier to close to the piano you will take to much moisture from the sound board before you see results in the action - talk to your tuner taking the action out and putting that next to the dehumidifier will do it quicker. However, once back in it will need regulating as moisture never come out of a piano evenly.

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Re: durability of action

Post by joseph » 21 Aug 2012, 20:10

The piano is now playable, and improving. The tuning has gone, obviously, because I've swung the humidity. Hopefully we can get an equilibrium. It has lightened the touch somewhat. Thankfully.

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