Yamaha Celeste

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Bill Kibby
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Yamaha Celeste

Post by Bill Kibby » 21 Sep 2019, 16:36

I have just tuned a fairly new Yamaha upright, and found a problem I haven't encountered with them before. The working of the celeste rail is all at the bass end, and the treble end of the rail just swivels with a pin into a drilled hole in the end of the case. Unfortunately, that end of the rail flops to such an extent that when the pedal is on, it over-softens the treble, and it is difficult to get notes to sound at all. When the pedal is released, the rail does no lift enough, so the treble remains affected by the celeste felt. There is no provision for any adjustment.
I can see several ways that I could modify it, but it's a brand new piano!
I could move the return spring to a point when it has more effective leverage.
I could trim the celeste felt, as we sometimes have to do in old pianos that have been refelted.
I could drill a new hole about a centimetre higher for the swivel.
None of these makes sense on a new piano, am I missing something?
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Re: Yamaha Celeste

Post by chrisw » 21 Sep 2019, 19:36

Bill,
Your description of the celeste rail activation mechanism could equally apply to my 25 year old Kemble. However the felt does lower and retract correctly in front of the treble strings, even though the felt is glued to a relatively flimsy aluminium bar. I have had to repair the celeste felt three times because the treble strings quickly cut through the felt. Perhaps the issue with the Yamaha that you recently tuned was due to insufficient care at the factory in not trimming the bottom of the felt to the correct depth. I wouldn't want my technician to drill another hole.

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Re: Yamaha Celeste

Post by Barrie Heaton » 22 Sep 2019, 11:33

There are 2 types, one that you remove a screw to take out the system and the second you un huck the spring.

The first one you have to make sure the rail is seated correctly.

if it is, then open the bottom door and alter the tension so that the rail rises at rest to clear the hammers.

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Re: Yamaha Celeste

Post by Bill Kibby » 22 Sep 2019, 11:48

Thanks but the thing is already slackened off to the point where there is slack play between the celeste rail and the metal rod that pulls it, so slackening off more won't help.
The connection between them also has a flimsy bit of baize that is wearing out already.
The spring is placed in a position where it has very little leverage.
This is the type where the wing bolt is undone to remove the rail for tuning.
The swivel is just a metal rod pushed into a hole drilled in wood, so it squeaks.
This is not the standard I have come to expect from Yamaha.
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Re: Yamaha Celeste

Post by Barrie Heaton » 22 Sep 2019, 11:52

You need to make it titer so it raises the rail at rest

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Re: Yamaha Celeste

Post by Bill Kibby » 22 Sep 2019, 11:55

I am as sure as I can be that making it tighter pulls the rail downwards, that is the opposite of what I need. Also, the bass end of the rail functions perfectly well, it is the sagging of the treble end that is the problem.
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Re: Yamaha Celeste

Post by Barrie Heaton » 22 Sep 2019, 13:45

is it twisted or a week spring

I have had Kawais with the wrong rail in, The tuner in UK despatch got it mixed up with the piano next to it when prepping.

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Re: Yamaha Celeste

Post by Bill Kibby » 22 Sep 2019, 14:01

The spring is doing its job in the bass section, as is the pedal mechanism, it's the fact that the rail sags at the treble end.
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Re: Yamaha Celeste

Post by Barrie Heaton » 22 Sep 2019, 15:07

Then I would look at the bass end it may not be sat correct, was it like that before you removed it.
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Re: Yamaha Celeste

Post by chrisw » 22 Sep 2019, 17:18

If you lift the sagging rail at the treble end with your finger does it just fall back when it is released. If so and the bass end isn't moving because it is held by the spring, where is the rail pivoting or is it just twisting/bending ? If the rail is twisting/bending it doesn't have sufficient cross sectional area or the felt is too heavy (unlikely).

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Re: Yamaha Celeste

Post by Bill Kibby » 30 Sep 2019, 11:57

I have had some interesting responses from various tuners and dealers about this known problem, which seems to relate to American-made Yamahas, with a U before the serial number. Yamaha took a week to send me a brief email and said "Our Product Specialist has advised that trimming the Celeste felt is the preferable solution in this instance." Another source described the "Yamaha professional fix" as fitting a rubber band to the treble end of the rail! The customer had already done this.
I would have drilled another hole for the swivel if it was up to me. Much less damaging and more controllable than hacking bits off the felt.
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Re: Yamaha Celeste

Post by Barrie Heaton » 01 Oct 2019, 15:57

Bill Kibby wrote:
30 Sep 2019, 11:57

I would have drilled another hole for the swivel if it was up to me. Much less damaging and more controllable than hacking bits off the felt.
A much better solution - thanks Bill
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