Is there a music box doctor in the house?

MuensterMann

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Mar 23, 2008
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Love those musical cuckoo clocks!

I have a music box that squeaks while it is playing. It seams to squeak at the same positions in the time line every time the music plays. The problem location cannot be located even after elimination and pivot oiling and worm gear oiling. The squeak sounds like the typical metal on metal. It does not have a even interval pattern. In other threads some folks suggested the dampers - however, I don't understand too well how they can be involved.

What am I missing? Any music box lovers out there who can resolve any music box problem thrown at them? How do I get this squeak out?

Are dampers located under the tines between the anchor block and the ends of tines that touch the drum notches? Are they under all tines or just some?

Okay, after reading a slew of other postings I am now convinced that my problem is related to a damper. Does anyone have a good photo or video that shows the dampers and/or how to put new ones into place?
 
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MuensterMann

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Mar 23, 2008
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At least I understand now how the damper or lack of damper can cause a squealing (squeaking) sound.

Does anyone have a photo that illustrates the dampers on typical cuckoo clock music boxes? It will help a lot! Thanks!
 

LaBounty

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Aug 29, 2002
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Love those musical cuckoo clocks!

I have a music box that squeaks while it is playing. It seams to squeak at the same positions in the time line every time the music plays. The problem location cannot be located even after elimination and pivot oiling and worm gear oiling. The squeak sounds like the typical metal on metal. It does not have a even interval pattern. In other threads some folks suggested the dampers - however, I don't understand too well how they can be involved.

What am I missing? Any music box lovers out there who can resolve any music box problem thrown at them? How do I get this squeak out?

Are dampers located under the tines between the anchor block and the ends of tines that touch the drum notches? Are they under all tines or just some?

Okay, after reading a slew of other postings I am now convinced that my problem is related to a damper. Does anyone have a good photo or video that shows the dampers and/or how to put new ones into place?

A DVD is available which shows how to service different styles of music platforms for cuckoo clocks. It also shows how to replace dampers, where they are located, and how to cut them to length.

"The Musical Cuckoo" DVD

Hope that helps!
 

MuensterMann

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Mar 23, 2008
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I may just get one or two of those videos!

1. I did find where the dampers are located. From all the descriptions in other posts, it now makes sense. Question: are all the reeds (fingers) dampened, or is it just the longer ones? The one I am looking at seems to have dampers on 50% of the reeds - the longer ones.

2. On another box I am trying to fix the drum in the correct position. It has 22 positions for bumps (lack of any better term!), thus there are 22 fingers - oh, wait, 23 fingers? Is the first finger, the wider one, a note playing finger, like bass or something? Or, is that one just part of the structure and doesn't get twanged?

3. On this other box, the drum is loose on the spindle - but needs to turn with it. How does one fix the drum to the spindle? It seems the only way is to use some sort of glue/tar like substance. Perhaps a wrap of tape to friction fit it?

Thanks for your help!
 

Jay Fortner

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Feb 5, 2011
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You have a 23 note comb and maybe the first note is not played,you'd have to watch it in action to see. The reason for the squeal is that note is still vibrating at a high frequency when it comes into contact with the next pin on the drum that's going to strum it.
What is supposed to happen is the pin on the drum should come in contact with the damper first,stopping the finger from vribrating before the pin actually touches the metal end of the finger. There is an art to installing dampers and I've yet to master it. The dampers are little slivers of mylar(originally bird feathers)that have to be glued to form a loop under the tip of the note.
 

LaBounty

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Hey MM-

If you examine the cuckoo clock music platform comb teeth from underneath, you will see that some have raised flat areas. These flat areas are where the dampers are glued to the tooth. There needs to be a slight gap between the damper and the tip of the tooth for it to function properly.

Music box dampers can be quite different and I would recommend reading Ord-Humme's book "Restoring Musical Boxes & Musical Clocks" before tackling one.

Hope that helps!
 

MuensterMann

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Mar 23, 2008
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Are all the teeth dampened, or is it just the longer ones? The one I am looking at seems to have dampers on 50% of the teeth - the longer ones.

Is the first tooth (the wider one) an active tooth that is twanged when the drum rolls? Does it function like a bass tone?
 

Tinker Dwight

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Oct 11, 2010
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Calif. USA
The higher frequency ones may not need dampers. They loose energy faster than the low
frequency ones do. It might be an issue still if that note was a series of 1/8th notes.
Tinker Dwight
 

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