Natural Reverb on Taller Steinway Model K c.1905

Video Transcript

Hello, this is the assessment of a Steinway upright piano. Model K. And you can see it’s been restored. The outside has been restored and finished off in a mat sort of mahogany. Reddish sort of mahogany. You can see the logo there, that’s been changed, that’s not the original logo there on the piano. That’s a modern logo.

Now it’s actually got replacement ivories. One piece ivory keys. Which is really good. Those aren’t done recently, obviously. I would date, looking at the inside in a minute, the work being done in about 1960. Possibly.

First thing, the tone is generally good. But round here, (mid-treble) very weak hammers [soft tone]. This is typical, it is really difficult to get them right on a Steinway actually. Put the right strong hammers on to start with obviously. But we will have to look at the hammers in a minute. Down here is a good tone. And the damping is generally good

The damping is generally good . You always get an echo on these tall Steinways anyway. It is a question of reducing it. We will take a look at that in a minute.

You get the echo because it is very hard to cut off these very resonant bass strings. And they echo even though the damping is as good as it can get. You can strengthen the springs. Just try and make the damping a bit better. But you will get this echo. [plays staccato chords, listen for ringing], on taller Steinways. You’ll actually get it on new tall Bechsteins as well. Even today. Because you are trying to go for resonance you end up with echo. You can’t get rid of it. On a grand you have no problem with that. Because the damping is gravity operated, and with weights.

The tone round here [top treble], is not so bad when the piano is open, like this. But when the front is on, it is not be strong enough. It is to do with the hammers. Although they have been voiced, they are quite hard here though. I think they will be over-voiced at the end. Maybe I will have to reface them a bit, to get the tone back. Apart from putting new hammers on. Strong Renner hammers. These are Steinway hammers actually. Renner, Steinway hammers. They have been put on more recently.

The strings date to the 60s. And the keytops, but this action work is much later. I would date it to within the last, shall we say, 10 years certainly. It has not been used hugely since. It has been used a reasonable amount. But we need to strengthen those hammers [treble area]. Let’s work out how to do that. It is always a problem, as I say, with these tall Steinways. They tend to get a problem with it. The mellow sound here, you want a strong hammer.

The Regulation is generally quite good. Whoever has done this action work, apart from the hammers being too soft. Has done it well. Because the regulated dampers are coming off nicely. Look at those two with the key, pretty good. And also, with the pedal, good. I think that the hammer blow could be a bit more than that. But the actual touch weight feels good. It’s about 50 grams.

Tuning pins are tight too. I’ve tested tuning pins. Although they are quite old. In fact they are tight. So, that is good.

So that’s a Steinway model K. And generally a lot of good things to say about this piano. The action has been restored well. Strings have been changed some time ago. Still pretty good. Round here though [mid treble]. It just doesn’t do what you want it to do, in the mid treble. It sounds a bit woolly. So it needs to be worked on. We would have put stronger hammers on in the first place. But really changing these hammers, which have been well put on. We will try and strengthen the hammers. We will see what we can manage to do there. Refacing them to start with. We will see what we get back. But I think we are going to have to try and strengthen the felt as well.

Lots of echo round here, I don’t know if we are going to be able to improve it. It is just the way it is on a Steinway like this.

Thank you for listening!

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