Damper Styles

by admin on August 2, 2016

I had a query yesterday from a client and very close friend about slanting dampers so I take this opportunity explain about such detail.
We have had under discussion recently with some excellent photographs from Dominic Eckersley on the way he is executing traditional mouse ear dampers. There was during that debate an excellent photo of how Bill Jurgenson used the normal cut in jacks for dampers to create the similar effect of mouse ear and that to me was very interesting indeed.  

In the days of the Ruckers school of thought most registration was a single 8ft choir plus a 4ft choir of strings and that did make damping a little simpler. Slanting dampers or mouse ear meant that when a register was off that choir of strings were left not damped so they could relate sympathetically with the speaking of other strings being worked. On later instruments where a second 8ft choir was added this could result, for some, in too much resonance (the cathedral effect) and so flag dampers in such cases were used. This really is a matter of personal choice and it should be realised once again, there is no right or wrong way, just the way that works for you.

I have altered the two instruments here to slanting dampers; one is a 2×8+4 double manual and the other a 1×8+4 single manual and they work very well in that format. But I personally do not like instruments to damp too positively and it is also very simple for me to regulate and make such adjustments. There are advantages of slanting damper set up, you are sure to have no lost motion between the pickup of the jack to string because the jack rests positively on the key. A flag damper can be adjusted to work the same and I used a thin soft material purposely so they fold a little on the string to achieve that but is more easy with slanting dampers to set that up. However I think flag dampers given a little prod would be more helpful to maintain by those that find such things difficult!

Of course there are other details that can come into play and I am sure they will be remarked about by those reading this post. However this post is just to hopefully put some minds at rest, note my previous statement about right and wrong. If you are in the flag league you are not committing a mortal sin and if you have slanting or mouse ears you are not guaranteed heaven.

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