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MMD > Archives > April 2001 > 2001.04.17 > 08Prev  Next

Duo-Art Expression Box Springs
By Craig Brougher

After reading Doug Henderson's posting in regard to his Steinway AR
Duo-Art and the springs on it, it occurred to me that not only Doug but
many people not deeply involved with the design criteria of the Duo-Art
might very likely miss the fact that what to the eye appears to be two
identical springs, in fact, are not.

Although it may have been that when Doug found his ARs originally (he
has two of them -- one just for display) it had two accompaniment
springs, the only way that can happen, as I explained earlier, is that
the customer wanted a salon style playing Duo-Art.

Stores were apparently instructed that this might cure the complaints
of customers who didn't like the soft pedal on all the time, and didn't
want their instruments going all the way to quad forte, either.  The
tech removed the theme spring and substituted an accompaniment spring.
During the heyday of the big Jenkins Music Company, here in the
Midwest, that same tech used to tie the removed theme spring to an
onboard hose underneath with white twill tape, and I have found them
this way.  That's how I know that Aeolian made the suggestion,
otherwise the strictly straight-arrow Jenkins Music would have never
been responsible, alone.

All Steinway ARs came with the theme and accompaniment springs,
normally.  As I say, a casual observer who doesn't really restore
Duo-Arts might not notice it -- as obviously Doug didn't, either.  But
I happen to know that Doug's working AR Steinway expression box came to
me with both springs, and was also returned to him the same way, after
I had repaired and regulated (not restored) his box.  A few years ago,
he asked me to restore the pump and motor for that instrument, and so
I suggested to Doug that as long as he was out of commission anyway for
awhile, I'd just take a look at his expressions, too.  He thought that
a good idea, and sent them along.

One thing that I found in his box was a pair of accordions that someone
had recovered with Polylon and glued with plastic glue.  They were
gapping open as they closed, creating a really weird chart (of course).
So it's a good thing I asked for his expression box too.  This is a
good example of just how really subjective expression in music really
is.  You tend to hear what you expect to hear, I think.

Even in a box of used regulator springs I have around here, that has
both theme and accompaniment springs inside, I have to look closely to
tell the difference between them, and I am looking for it.  So I am not
surprised at all when techs tell me all the time that they have rarely
run across a box that has two different springs on it.  I can assure
you all, they do.  But the wire used is only a few thousandths
difference, as Sam Harris has documented already.

I have also restored boxes in which the rebuilder got the springs
reversed -- I bet that sounded really cool!  So much for what things
appear to be.

Craig Brougher

(Message sent Tue 17 Apr 2001, 15:08:12 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Box, Duo-Art, Expression, Springs

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