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Piano Action (Read 2413 times)

Offline tremendousOt

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Piano Action
« on: April 08, 2003, 02:25:26 AM »
Hi, I've had this Kawai baby grand for a few years now (i got it almost right after i started playing), and have recently become rather dissatisfied with the action on it. It's always been really hard, when I first started I just assumed that it just seemed that way because of my underveloped technique or something like that, but at this point i have a rather decent technique and it's quite obvious that it's the piano's problem.  Now, I've asked my piano tuner about lightening the action on it, and he said that he couldn't do it-- does that mean that he can't do it, or that it can't be done?-- i'm assuming the former.  Is lightening the action the same as regulating it? I'm just asking here before i seek out a new tuner.  Thanks.

Offline rachfan

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Re: Piano Action
«Reply #1 on: April 08, 2003, 04:07:06 AM »
When you say you have a baby grand, I assume that it is somewhere between 5'2" to 5'6".  On grands, generally the shorter the piano, the stiffer the action.  The reason, simply, is that each note is actually a lever.  One of the compromises in a baby grand is that the levers are shorter too.  As in the law of physics, the longer the lever, the easier the work, in this case, playing the note.  So if, for example, you test the action of a 5'2" piano, then move over to a 7' model within the same brand, you'll be astonished as to how superior the action is in the longer (and more expensive) instrument.  Another reason for that is that some makers use Renner actions in their larger grands, and a more mundane action in their smaller grands.  So there is that factor too.  Assuming that the keys were weighted off properly, there are only so many adjustments that can be made to the action--leveling it,  adjusting escapement, ensuring the back checks are set properly, etc.  Basically though, the action is what it is.
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline tosca1

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Re: Piano Action
«Reply #2 on: April 08, 2003, 08:22:25 AM »
As David (RachFan) has very clearly explained the underlying problem is the shortness of the key in a baby grand and the Kawai baby grand is very small.  

There are possibly some adjustments that could be made to slightly lessen the problem and it may be helpful to go to the Kawai agent and ask for advice there.

As you have been playing your piano for a number of years now, a complete regulation of the action may be needed which may make it more responsive but there is really little that can be done to "lighten" the action.  However an expert piano technician may be able to effect some improvement in the response.
Robert.

Offline dinosaurtales

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Re: Piano Action
«Reply #3 on: April 08, 2003, 09:38:19 AM »
You will probably need to make the distinction between a *tuner* and *technician* here.  A tuner can't do anything with the action even if possible because he's trained to tune, but not rebuild - so he'll be largely unqualified to regulate actions.  If you get hold of a technician (assuming your guy is not) - he might be able to do some regulation that will produce the appearance of a lighter touch by evening out the action - this makes an incredible difference!  Depending on how much you've played the piano, certain notes will be more worn than others - If you can see the action at all, look at all the little joints and pieces of felt or leather - whatever goes between each part.  Those get a little squished after some play, and if you've had the piano as a beginner, the middle notes will be way more squished than the others.  I don't know how much *lighter* he can make it, but I noticed that a jolly good regulation produced the appearance of a lighter touch in some of the pianos I played.
So much music, so little time........

Offline tremendousOt

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Re: Piano Action
«Reply #4 on: April 08, 2003, 02:51:13 PM »
Ok, thanks a lot. I didn't realize that the length of the piano affected the action, I always assumed it was the same on most pianos, that only the string length was affected by piano length, but whatever. Apparently I've also incorrectly assumed that the job of a piano tuner was the same as that of a technician--I guess I'll have to get ahold of a technician then.  I was mainly curious about this because I had read something about Horowitz having the action overhauled to be made much lighter on a piano before a concert because he couldn't find a satisfactory one, but then again "overhauled" most likely means that he had a completely new action installed or something, not simple adjustment, right?  Well thanks anyway.