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MMD > Archives > May 1995 > 1995.05.05 > 03Prev  Next

Hard Piano Hammers and Nancarrow Rolls
By Mike Walter

Hi AMI friends!

I have recently been speaking to a piano technician friend of mine concerning the hammers on our 1935 Chickering AMPICO B. They are getting a bit on the hard side, although they are not badly worn, I asked him about replacing them even though the thought of finding good hammers today seems to be tough. Either very expensive or very hard. He mentioned that in piano tuning circles there is a newly discovered procedure which softens hammers up and keeps them soft for more than a year or two. Apparently if you mix equal amounts of alcohol (denatured?) and water and use a dropper to carefully place small amounts on the curved area of the hammer it will do the trick. It supposedly takes a day or so to allow the alcohol-water mixture to evaporate, but after that the hammers are softer. If not soft enough, reapply the mixture. Has anyone heard of this? I'm not a piano technician and don't really have access to this kind of info. I would appreciate any kind of information that anyone has to share. Also, if this works on old, hard hammers, will it also work on newer, hard hammers, such as Matagawa (sp?) hammers?

Concerning Conlon Nancarrow rolls, I have seen and heard a recording of them a number of years ago on disc. I can try to locate the disc and give the information to anyone who wants it. I am looking to find any copies of his rolls that may be floating about, even if only to borrow for a week or two.

Mike Walter

(Message sent Sat 6 May 1995, 02:50:29 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Hammers, Hard, Nancarrow, Piano, Rolls

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