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I bought a 1960s Yamaha U1 about a year ago, and really like it. However, it's slightly too loud for the room it's in. I noticed it has a wing nut on the soft pedal that can be loosened, and this reduces the volume by moving the hammers closer to the strings (essentially like having the soft pedal slightly depressed all the time). This means that the mechanism is no longer resting on the felt, and is instead being held up by the pedal and the stainless steel bars in the picture below. Is this likely to cause any problem or damage something?

On a related subject, I had noticed the keys quite heavy on the U1, heavier than my previous piano (a smaller, much newer Yamaha). This left it quite difficult to control how soft a note sounds, either it was quite hard or very soft, sometimes missing. Is this just a question of practice or should I get it regulated in some way? Pre-tensioning the soft pedal also improves this.

Picture showing the gap between the mechanism and the rest

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  • All the U!s I've seen have a mute pedal that is designed to lock in place. Does yours not have one?
    – Aaron
    Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 22:33
  • No, it doesn't have a mute pedal. I'm talking about the soft pedal (the left-hand one).
    – David
    Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 23:14
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    I understand what you're asking, but I needed the clarification, because most U1s come with three pedals rather than two, and the quiet pedal on most uprights, Yamahas in particular, don't have much effect.
    – Aaron
    Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 23:52
  • @Aaron my U1 only has two pedals, maybe because of its age, don't know. Yes, I'd agree that the quiet pedal doesn't have a huge effect, but it's definitely noticeable.
    – David
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 9:45
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    Since it's a very old piano, I would call a good piano technician and ask about treating / replacing the hammers which must have hardened and cause the symptom you mentioned ("difficult to control how soft a note sounds, either it was quite hard or very soft"). See this article about voicing which introduces us to possible actions that a technician may do short of replacing: needling to soften it, chemical treatment, etc. Commented Jan 25 at 17:59

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