Author Topic: Higher Octaves Have No Sustain  (Read 791 times)

Offline imnickb

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Higher Octaves Have No Sustain
« on: October 08, 2017, 05:28:31 PM »
I just picked up a 200a and the top two octaves have little to no sustain. Do you have any suggestions as to what to look into first? I love these things but I'm very new to rehabbing them. Any tips on what to google/youtube first would be helpful. Most of the search results I've found are about sustain pedals, which is not what I'm after.

Offline DocWurly

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Re: Higher Octaves Have No Sustain
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2017, 09:30:11 PM »
reshim the upper reed bar?  Tighten it? It's probably twisted slightly.  search that topic.

Offline Jezza

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Re: Higher Octaves Have No Sustain
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2018, 03:45:27 PM »
This is an old topic, but I'm not here very often anymore since my Wurli has been working fine for years now.

When I was voicing my 112 I found that all the hammers were needing to move in the same direction to hit a better strike point on the reeds. It was a subtle move, but it made a big difference in the resonance. After voicing half an octave that way I loosened one side of the reed bar and checked out the results when I slid it back and forth. As it turns out, everything sounded better when one side of the reed bar was relocated a little bit.

The adjustment was more than the existing hole allowed, so I filled it with a sturdy wood filler and re-drilled the hole in a slightly different spot. The end result was that one side of the reed bar moved 1/16", or perhaps 3/32", not more, but it made a huge difference in the sound. Then I undid the voicing work I had done on the lowest half octave.

I don't remember which direction I moved the reed bar, but I do remember that I moved the treble side and not the bass side. It was much easier than sitting with a heat gun to soften glue and reposition individual hammer strike points.

I hope that helps somebody.
- Jezza

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Offline pablotiburcio

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Re: Higher Octaves Have No Sustain
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2018, 08:13:45 AM »
My last 8 notes are low sound and no sustain.

I do not know if the reeds are in trouble or are of poor quality (I brought them from an old stock on ebay) or if the setting is wrong. I have already tried to realign the pickup and readjust the hammer, but with no result.

Could someone send a photo of the last reed bar, so I can compare it to mine?

Thank you.

Offline DocWurly

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Re: Higher Octaves Have No Sustain
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2018, 11:51:01 AM »
These things can affect sustain:

*As Jezza said, bad strike points.  This will give a note a kind of dead, hollow, thuddy sound.

*Poorly shimmed, twisted reed bar.  This will tend to affect sustain either on the top or bottom-most 6 notes on the upper harp.

*loose reed screws from slack tuning.

*wrong reed.  For example, a 120 reed in a 200 or vice-versa.  The strike points will be wrong.  (The bass reeds of a 1962-3 140 look like a rusty version of those of a 200A, but they are allegedly incompatible.)

*wrong reed, part two:  Bad aftermarket reeds by Speakeasy from 15 year ago.  These were only for the middle range.  You can detect them in a minute--the taper looks different than a normal reed.

*Those little "damping plates" being retained, on any reed bar from 1963 to around 1975.  There are five of them, and they should be removed from the reed screws.  They will be in the second octave from the top.

Am I missing anything?
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 11:55:31 AM by Paleophone »

Offline cinnanon

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Re: Higher Octaves Have No Sustain
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2018, 12:26:30 PM »
Am I missing anything?

Here are my findings from a post long ago.

https://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=8433.msg50608#msg50608

Also, make sure the reed screws are tight.  Some people like to tune by loosening the reed screws, pull out the reed, and re-tighten to pitch.

A note on my suggestions in that post, I believe my findings were due to manufacturing variance in the reedbar harps.  I happened to notice the reed didn't extend out over the razor-sharp reedbar edge like others I've seen. Filing it back slightly fixed some sustain issue in mine.

Also, to diagnose reedbar twist, loosen (one-at-a-time) one of the four screws that fastens the reedbar harp to the piano, retightening in between tests. You may notice the dullness shifts around the treble section of the reedbar, i.e. a note that sounded dull now rings like a bell and another note now sounds dull that didn't before.