Posts tagged loose
HOPEFULLY you don’t have a rattle like this snake inside your piano! But you have to admit… it DID grab your attention right? Well… needless to say, sourcing out rattles in pianos are tough tough tough… Yep… A rattle in a piano is a difficult thing to find the source of. Why? Because the piano emits vibrations and the vibrations usually excite some part on the piano unrelated to the string that is loose. Generally there are 4 main areas that cause rattles in pianos:
- Something loose on the soundboard (especially on grands) – a pencil, paperclip, ummm (don’t laugh) rat poop (ewww i know…), marbles, combs, pieces of paper
- Loose hinge pins are HUGE on the list – the centre pin of the hinge is sitting too loosely in it’s frame and rattles sympathetically with the string
- Loose pedal rods or trapwork
- Buzzing unseated string – where an individual string is not snug against the bridge or capo
- The solution? I start by removing any extraneous things (like pictures or ornaments from the area). Next, try to localize the source. Move your ears around as you play the note and try and find out the general vicinity where the noise is coming from. If you see any loose item, now’s the time to grab the tweezers and pull it out. It may be something simple like that. Then start holding things – start touching all the hinges or piano parts until the noise stops. When all else fails, try touching individual strings that are being struck by the hammer. If for example there are 3 strings being struck at once, place your finger on each one and then strike the key again. You may find that one of them is creating noise. Now when it comes to loose parts, you MAY be able to tighten a screw down and stop the noise. But if you feel like you’re over your head, simply ask a technician about it next time he/she comes to tune.
Alright listen up… literally. Listen for clicks when you play each note on your piano. The cause? Well… kinda like the last post of Cause & Effect, there are many many things in a piano that could make noise but the most common – 2 things: Loose flange screws and loose flange pins.
Ok calm down… i know you don’t know what a flange is so i’ve conveniently uploaded a pic for you. Shown here are the hammer, shank and flange. The flange is the jointed piece at the bottom that is attached to the hammer rail. When the hammer strikes the string, believe it or not, the force will go running down the shank and into the flange. If the flange screw is loose, you’ll hear a click. After you tighten the flange screw, if it still makes noise, dollars to donuts it’s the flange pin itself. The flange pin is a small little steel pin. When it gets worn out and the joint is too loose, it’ll manifest that looseness by clicking. There you have it! The most common source of ‘clicks’ in pianos. And like the other post on Cause & Effect… better to ask the technician to remedy the situation.
If you own an upright piano and it hasn’t been maintained other than tuning, it’s time to do a simple test. Ever so gently, press some keys down on your piano. The first 1-2 millimeters (1/16″) does it feel kinda loose? If so, you may have a case of something called ‘lost motion’. What is lost motion anyway? Well before we discuss it, take a moment to look at the two videos below. The one on the left has gaps in the parts. Notice how the one green part is moving significantly before engaging the assembly? The one on the right is a snug fit – I just finished adjusting the same piano. So what actually is happening here? Glad you asked. Over time, parts wear and compress and create spaces or gaps between parts. And instead of moving smoothly together, the parts start travel at different times. At the keyboard i would describe it as feeling ‘loose’. It’s called lost motion because the green backcheck is moving without pushing the hammer towards the strings. In essence, the hammer has lost some of it’s power or force due to the gaps between parts – thus the name. And the fix? Easy – there’s an adjustment screw to take out that lost motion. A technician can have that fixed in no time at all. So if you’re feeling like you’d your piano isn’t quite right, do this little check and ask your tech the next time they come to tune because is probably the quickest fix with the most drastic results on a piano that i know of.