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Thread: Two String pipes overblowing

  1. #1
    ppp Pianississmo lemare's Avatar
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    Two String pipes overblowing

    A strange issue recently arose with two separate string pipes in the Swell division of a ten year old Casavant. Both pipes are Tenor E (E-17), one is a Viola 8' and the other a voix celestes pipe. Each pipe played alone is overblowing to the octave and sounding very much like a flute. These had previously played normally (as do all other pipes of both these ranks). Now that temps are near 80 degrees in the chamber, neither of these pipes will sustain its normal pitch without overblowing for more than a second. There are no obvious problems with the mouth or toe, no loose rollers. There has been no change in the pressure. Can there be some resonance taking place in the swell box near this temperature which is preventing normal speech? It just seems so odd that two strings of the same pitch are individually having the same problem. Any thoughts on this?

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    mf Mezzo-Forte Nutball's Avatar
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    I wonder if you could adjust the mouth to be less likely to do that. The air conditioner might need an upgrade to keep temps consistent. It is definitely happening everywhere and not right where you observe the sound from right?
    Allen 530A

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    ppp Pianississmo lemare's Avatar
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    It happens everywhere, not just when standing in the swell box. The church is air conditioned, but in summer the temps high in the loft are still in the 80s. I tried some adjustments with the mouth, but was unable to prevent the pipe from overblowing to the octave. The temps in past years have been even higher than they are now, but I've never had this issue before.

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    mf Mezzo-Forte Nutball's Avatar
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    Does the volume/expression affect it? Are the pipes oxidized? Any recent tuning work done to them? Any recent work done in that area that would change pipe locations or add things that might reflect sound differently possibly causing the strange note? Can you add a flow restrictor to hopefully reduce the chance of over blowing it? Is it a reed pipe? (I don't know that much about real pipe organs) If not a reed, I think the upper lip needs to be higher to keep the pitch lower. If it is a reed, maybe there's fatigue or excessive wear in the reed material?
    Allen 530A

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    mp Mezzo-Piano VaPipeorgantuner's Avatar
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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by lemare View Post
    A strange issue recently arose with two separate string pipes in the Swell division of a ten year old Casavant. Both pipes are Tenor E (E-17), one is a Viola 8' and the other a voix celestes pipe. Each pipe played alone is overblowing to the octave and sounding very much like a flute. These had previously played normally (as do all other pipes of both these ranks). Now that temps are near 80 degrees in the chamber, neither of these pipes will sustain its normal pitch without overblowing for more than a second. There are no obvious problems with the mouth or toe, no loose rollers. There has been no change in the pressure. Can there be some resonance taking place in the swell box near this temperature which is preventing normal speech? It just seems so odd that two strings of the same pitch are individually having the same problem. Any thoughts on this?
    Well, there are a couple of possibilities going on here. While it is possible that this is temperature related, I don't think that is the cause of the trouble. If you can blow the pipe by mouth and it produces the correct timbre, pitch and loudness, then it can be rectified by very slightly closing the toe hole. It is also possible that the position of either the languid or harmonic bridge or upper lip is slightly out of position. The way string pipes are typically voiced on the voicing jack is that the upper lip is positioned to the correct placement as desired by the voicer, then the languid is adjusted so that the pipe overblows to it's octave. the voicer then positions a harmonic bridge (either a hollow metal tube of the correct diameter or a wooden dowel of the correct diameter) until the pipe speaks it's proper pitch and produces the desired timber and loudness. The harmonic bridge is then tacked in place so it will remain in the proper position. THIS IS A JOB FOR A PROFESSIONAL VOICER or very experienced tuner that has had the correct training. Sting pipes are notoriously finicky and many things will "upset" them. One other thing to try would be to play the note in question and while it is misbehaving gently place your hand around the body of the resonator portion of the pipe and see if the pipe stabilizes. Because these pipes are usually made of very thin spotted metal sometimes the vibration of the air column inside the pipe and the physical vibration of the body itself they to counteract each other. Again, this is something that is best left to a professional to fix, but anyone can CAREFULLY check to see if this is the cause. A pipemaker can install a bracing rod to stiffen the pipe in a way that timbre would not be affected. Call your regular service provider to check this out.

    Rick in VA

  6. #6
    ppp Pianississmo lemare's Avatar
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    This is a labial pipe, not a reed pipe. No work or tuning has been done, and the position of the swell shutters makes no difference. I don't want to raise the cut-up, even though that might help, because it's not easily reversible if it should actually make things worse. I'm going to have a voicer look at this later in the fall.

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    Moderator myorgan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lemare View Post
    I'm going to have a voicer look at this later in the fall.
    Lemare,

    Great choice! I wish more people thought as you do. One can't imagine how many pipe organs are unfortunate victims of tinkerers. Thanks for sharing your issue with us, and I can't wait to hear the result of the voicer--curious minds.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 4 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony)
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

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