Del Fandrich Seminar - 2010 - Sacramento Valley PTG


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Seminar Description
Saturday March 20th, 9:00am - 6:00pm

Strings, Scales and Bearings -- 3 hours.

The morning session will introduce the basic concepts of how sound is created in the piano. What is it about the string scale and the soundboard that makes the timbre of a piano bright and hard or warm and rich? To answer these questions we will discuss and demonstrate some of the principles of vibrating strings and stinging scales. Using a new dual mono-chord string test fixture we will compare different string configurations and hear how changes in string lengths, tensions, bridge configurations and backscales as well as hammer strike points affect the sound of the piano. We will also be able to study the basic concepts of string downbearing and how different amounts of string bearing can affect how a soundboard works. Finally, we will discuss some guidelines to help technicians and rebuilders determine if an under-performing soundboard can be repaired or must be replaced.

What's Wrong with the Killer Octave (and other soundboard maladies)
3 hours

The afternoon session will continue where the morning session leaves off. We will start with a brief introduction to how the soundboard works. Then we will identify and analyze different tone problems that are caused or created by the soundboard or rim. Many, if not most, of these problems are usually blamed on the hammers--but voicing the hammers will not solve them. Particular attention wil be paid to the so-called "killer octave" and the bass-to-tenor break. We will discuss the technical reasons for the tone problems in these areas and describe solutions that can be applied without significantly altering the structure of the piano.

Bio: Delwin D Fandrich

Del began rebuilding pianos at the age of seventeen and, with the exception of three and a half years spent working on various electronics devices while serving in the US Air Force, he has been involved with the inner workings of pianos ever since. While most of his early piano work involved rebuilding or remanufacturing, he also built up a clientele of tuning customers that included the Portland Civic Auditorium and the Oregon Symphony Orchestra. He served as the Piano Service Manager for the Portland, Oregon Steinway dealership for several years which brought him in contact with many of the worldís greatest pianists. It was also a time of increasing frustration with the performance of the modern piano.

Long an experimenter, Del became a serious student of piano design. His studies include a wide variety of subjects ranging from basic engineering and physics to piano soundboard acoustics and vibration analysis. He began experimenting with specific pianos purchased for the purpose. In 1985, after working independently for several years he was offered the position of Director of Research and Development at the Baldwin Piano and Organ Company. Returning to the Pacific Northwest in 1990 he designed the new Walter 190 cm (6í3î) grand piano and built the first prototypes of that instrument. Subsequently he has been involved in a variety of different piano design and building projects.


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