John Johns has another interesting question-- this time about dampers in
large uprights seeming weak in the low tenor range.
I too have noticed this. Some uprights also have a duplex damper on
those last tenor notes just before the wound strings begin. They will
have a damper in the regular place, and then another one mounted on a
short loop of wire clearing the hammer travel and attaching a second
damper head above that
It isn't just on the oldest pianos, either. Some years ago, I noticed a
duplex damper arrangement on a Yamaha full-size upright. I don't know
if somebody added it, or if it was made that way. But in that particular
piano, its hammer line curves upward to prevent that harmonic from
"meowing" when the damper comes back down. To me, that kind of
engineering doesn't cut it. Replacing hammers would be a real pain, and
most technicians would probably just "wing it". So the piano may not
ever be quite right, after that.
I have also had to add a damper to poorly-designed uprights which were
restored and then like new in every other respect, except that those
last two or three notes in the tenor drove me up a wall. The manufacturer
ignored the problem, believing that Americans wouldn't know the
All I can say is, maybe they do and maybe they don't, but they will
always defer to somebody else who does know, and when that happens,
they can't sell their pianos anymore.