IDENTIFYING YOUR PIANO …
There are two types of “acoustic” or “natural” pianos, the grand piano and the vertical piano. As most people are aware of what a grand looks like, this article will concentrate on the vertical.
Historically, the vertical piano fell into two main categories, the “overdamper” and the “underdamper”.
OVER DAMPER: Some old pianos had dampers mounted on long wires and resting on the strings above the hammers, therefore named over-damper – also known as bird cage or squirrel cage actions. As the dampers on these types of actions were above the striking line on the strings, the dampers, when released, failed to immediately quieten the strings struck, resulting in a prolonged after tone making the music difficult to enjoy.
Also, on the illustrations shown, it can be noticed that these dampers required springs – lead weights, or both, creating a false touch effect.
Pupils trying to learn on these types of pianos can develop bad habits or be discouraged from playing at all. The vast majority of overdamper pianos have the nasty habit of sounding like they need tuning even when they have been tuned!
UNDERDAMPER: or modem vertical pianos, fall into three types being spinet, console or upright.
SPINETS: In order to build a piano under 39″ (99 cm) in height with the keyboard the proper height above the floor, the action must be located below the keyboard. This arrangement is called the drop action, and the whippens are connected to the keys with lifter elbows and inverted stickers or drop stickers. Except for the inverted sticker, the drop action works exactly like the upright action.
Some spinet action brackets are screwed directly to the plate without the usual upper action posts. With this type of bracket, there is no danger of damaging the dampers by bumping them into the action posts when removing the action from the piano.
Some of the earlier spinets were poorly designed making them difficult to service. Although the touch on this type of piano can be quite good, it cannot produce the volume or richness of tone of the console or upright.
CONSOLES: 39″-51 ” (99-130 cm). A console piano, or studio upright, is basically short upright without stickers. The action is identical to the upright action, except the whippens have cloth pads instead of stickers, and rest directly on the capstans. Some taller consoles and studio uprights have dowel capstans, while shorter consoles have regular capst ans. Many
UPRIGHTS: 51″ (130 cm) and larger. Also known as “sticker action”, “extended action”, “prolong action” and so on. The main reason for this larger type of piano is for studios or professional use. These pianos are taller in height, having larger soundboards, and much longer and usually more accurate string scaling, thereby most of the player pianos made up to 1935 used this type of action so that the player “stack” action could easily make contact with the piano action above the stickers.
In summary, a modem piano is either a grand or a vertical, and if vertical it is either a spinet a consomedium size Victorian uprights have long dowel capstans instead of stickers.
These pianos are less costly to produce and therefore the main volume seller in new pianos today.
le, or an upright. Also, the overdamper piano has become obsolete and none have been made since the early 1900s