CAUT

Expand all | Collapse all

Key Leads

  • 1.  Key Leads

    Posted 11-11-2012 17:24
    This message has been cross posted to the following Discussions: CAUT and Pianotech .
    -------------------------------------------
    Wow! What a lot of key leads on the cover of the Journal!

    Question: when you you all remove lead?  It's a nasty thing.  I know that more than 5 is bad in bass.and none is optimal in the treble.  Where do you draw the line on '70's Steinways?? some of mine are out of control with too many leads. they play pretty well. but what should I do in the long run?

    Best,

    Paul


    -------------------------------------------
    Paul T. Williams RPT
    Piano Technician
    University of Nebraska
    Lincoln, NE 68588-0100
    pwilliams4@unl.edu
    -------------------------------------------


  • 2.  Key Leads

    Posted 11-11-2012 21:03
    -----------Wow! What a lot of key leads on the cover of the Journal! Question: when you you all remove lead? It's a nasty thing. I know that more than 5 is bad in bass.and none is optimal in the treble. Where do you draw the line on '70's Steinways?? some of mine are out of control with too many leads. they play pretty well. but what should I do in the long run? Greetings, If there is excessive lead, the piano will not play well. The excessive leading was common on the Steinways of that vintage because the action geometry was so poor. Most of the heavy leaded pianos had a combination of shallow keydip and excessive aftertouch. This was due to action ratios well over 6:1, which causes all the work to be done in less distance, and leaving a lot of aftertouch to avoid having an overly shallow dip. I think they feel terrible. In the long run? Lots of things can ameliorate the problem to a degree. Moving the capstans proximally will reduce lead, as will moving the knuckles distally. The capstan move will often create additional friction, but that can be reduced with the use of the WNG anodized aluminum capstans. They are light and virtually frictionless. Lighter hammers will also help with the weight and mass problems but will do nothing for the ratio. Front weights over 40 grams in the bass and 30 grams in the middle of the piano will usually create inertial problems for pianists, who register it as a piano that begins to "fight back" when played hard or fast. I have been addressing the problem by throwing the whippens and shanks in the trash,where they belong, and replacing with parts that allow the geometry to come closer to 6:1 at the most, and preferably less. These actions are often poorly installed, and the leading was done to overcome not only inconsistencies in the geometry and oversized hammers, but also friction levels which are all over the map. Regards, Ed Foote RPT http://www.piano-tuners.org/edfoote/well_tempered_piano.html


  • 3.  RE:Key Leads

    Posted 11-12-2012 17:44
    Ed Foote: "Most of the heavy leaded pianos had a
    combination of shallow keydip and excessive aftertouch. This was due
    to action ratios well over 6:1, which causes all the work to be done in
    less distance, and leaving a lot of aftertouch to avoid having an
    overly shallow dip. I think they feel terrible."

    This combination of statements caught my eye, and I feel the need to address them - not having to do with leads in keys, but to do with regulation and ratio.

    I agree that a high ratio action regulated with "standard modern specs" will feel awful: too much aftertouch, not enough blow, and too much drop (to compensate for too much aftertouch and keep the hammers from bobbling on the strings) are the main culprits. With a higher ratio action, the blow needs to be increased (from modern standard of about 46 mm to 48 mm or so), and the dip will need to be decreased to produce the appropriate amount of aftertouch, meaning probably 9.6 - 9.8 mm rather than 10.1 - 10.3 mm (for early 20th century instruments). Given these regulation parameters, the action will function quite well. I don't believe most pianists will find that lesser amount of dip to be problematic. It may be noticeable initially, but if the action is functioning correctly (and appropriate aftertouch is key here), it is easily adapted to.

    The higher ratio means that a smaller change in the "attack of the key" will produce a bigger result. Does this mean it is less controllable? I don't think so, from my own experience anyway. Rather, it makes it easier to make the contrasts that we sweat blood as pianists to make, particularly in voicing particular notes within clusters or chords. Lower ratio means you have to work extraordinarily hard to make those contrasts as vivid as they need to be so that they will convey to the audience. Higher ratio makes the work that much less.

    This does depend on the hammer mass being wedded to the geometry. The hammers must be lightened in accordance with the increase in ratio. So a 10 - 20% lighter hammer is probably needed to go from 5.5:1 to 7:1 or thereabouts. If you are going to put on modern, heavy hammers, lower ratio is pretty much a must. You can fuss at the edges by adding turbosprings, some kind of magnetic deal, and so forth, but that will only take you so far. The mid 20th century Steinway is a mess because hammers that are too heavy were wedded to to high a ratio, with lead added to sort of kind of compensate. It didn't work, and that has provided a lot of work for piano technicians of today.

    I am not arguing that those pianos should be given lighter hammers and retain the high ratio, though I suppose it is an option. I am mostly wanting to address the prejudice in Ed's comment, that high ratio actions are bad, feel awful, and don't function well. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The best evidence of that can be found in the fact that the 19th century was a culmination of the art of piano playing, will all pianos at much higher ratio than those of today. Somehow Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, Mozart, etc. struggled to make do, right? They would all prefer to play on a modern, heavier, lower ratio action, right? I don't think so. I believe lighter hammers on high ratio actions is an option well worth pursuing, on the appropriate instrument.

    -------------------------------------------
    Fred Sturm
    University of New Mexico
    fssturm@unm.edu
    http://fredsturm.net
    "The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination." - Einstein
    -------------------------------------------








  • 4.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-19-2018 14:16
    Edited by David Love 05-19-2018 14:18
    "Front weights over 40 grams in the bass and 30 grams in the middle of the piano will usually create inertial problems for pianists, who register it as a piano that begins to "fight back" when played hard or fast.:"

    Just a side note.  It's not the the lead that is causing the inertial problem, it's the action ratio to hammer weight relationship that is both creating a high inertia situation and a high touchweight that requires more lead to achieve a "normal" balance weight.  The contribution of the lead is relatively small in the whole scheme in terms of inertia.  Hammer weight (mass) and action ratio combinations are mostly responsible.   Thus just removing lead from a high inertia action will not do much for the inertia.  It mostly just increases the static weight.

    Here's an interesting article.  If the math is difficult go to the end and read the analysis.

    Hammer/Dynamic piano action analysis





    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE:Key Leads

    Posted 11-12-2012 12:46
    Hi Paul,

    Some don't like wippen assist springs, but they have their place. On one rebuild we have, the person removed the springs and added two of the very large leads in most of the bass. This meant 7 (!!) leads there. If you measured up and down weight it was within specs, but the inertia was terrible. The large holes (the extra two) also made key compliance bad; i.e. the key was too flexible.

    We added the Scott Jones "TouchRail", removed the big leads, and the students started liking the piano more, so this is a viable option you might explore. I'm tempted to put the wippen assist springs back on, because we never had complaints before, but the TouchRail is a great, quick option.

    Both of these are to nontraditional for some to stomach, but they are both good options.

    Best,
    Jim

    -------------------------------------------
    James Busby
    Mt Pleasant UT
    801-422-3400
    -------------------------------------------








  • 6.  RE:Key Leads

    Posted 11-12-2012 15:41

    Hey Jim,

    I did install some "turbo" wips on a '78 B in one of our piano prof's studio.  It worked out pretty well, but still heavy, (in my humble opinion). He told me his students liked the heavier action feel, so we decided to leave it at that. Good thought, though!

    Thanks!
    Paul

    -------------------------------------------
    Paul T. Williams RPT
    Piano Technician
    University of Nebraska
    Lincoln, NE 68588-0100
    pwilliams4@unl.edu
    -------------------------------------------








  • 7.  Key Leads

    Posted 11-12-2012 21:56
    Fred writes: >> I am mostly wanting to address the prejudice in Ed's comment, that high ratio actions are bad, feel awful, and don't function well. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The best evidence of that can be found in the fact that the 19th century was a culmination of the art of piano playing, will all pianos at much higher ratio than those of today. Somehow Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, Mozart, etc. struggled to make do, right? They would all prefer to play on a modern, heavier, lower ratio action, right? I don't think so. This combination of statements caught my eye, and I feel the need to address them - not having to do with leads in keys, but to do with regulation and ratio. With a higher ratio action, the blow needs to be increased and the dip will need to be decreased to produce the appropriate amount of aftertouch Given these regulation parameters, the action will function quite well. I don't believe most pianists will find that lesser amount of dip to be problematic. It may be noticeable initially, but if the action is functioning correctly (and appropriate aftertouch is key here), it is easily adapted to. > The mid 20th century Steinway is a mess because hammers that are too heavy were wedded to to high a ratio, with lead added to sort of kind of compensate. It didn't work, and that has provided a lot of work for piano technicians of today. << Trying to validate some kind of rebuttal by stretching 19th century standards onto the modern Steinway is pretty thin logic, and if Chopin struggled with what he had, I don't think he would take kindly to a 1965 Steinway with 40 gram FW in the middle of the keyboard. I also dont' think he was regularly playing in 2,000 seat auditoriums. I stand by my original point. I didn't say the high ratio, big hammer, overly-leaded actions were bad or didn't "function" well. I said they feel terrible, a point reinforced by numerous encounters with these pianos and artists trying to use them. Ed Foote RPT http://www.piano-tuners.org/edfoote/well_tempered_piano.html


  • 8.  RE:Key Leads

    Posted 11-13-2012 11:55
    Hi Ed,
    I guess I didn't make myself plain enough. I don't argue against replacing actions of mid/latish 20th century Steinway with modern design parts: ie the new wipps and shanks designed for lower ratio. That change works well. I also don't argue against the opinion that they don't feel very good with their original parts.

    What I am arguing is against this precise statement:
    "This was due to action ratios well over 6:1, which causes all the work to be done in less distance, and leaving a lot of aftertouch to avoid having an overly shallow dip."

    The problem is not the higher ratio, it is the heavier hammer mated to that higher ratio. If it is regulated so that "dip is not overly shallow" and therefore "aftertouch is excessive" it will feel even worse. What do you mean by "too shallow dip?" For most of the 20th century, 3/8" (9.5 mm) was the nearly universal standard published by all manufacturers. Today Steinway publishes .40" (10 mm) and tells people .41" (10.3 mm) for concert instruments. And some people stretch it to .42" (10.6 mm).  So is this 10.0 - 10.6 mm standard "just right" and 9.5 mm is "too shallow?"

    Some of the worst feeling actions are those of early 20th century Steinways with original action geometry, on which modern weight hammers have been installed. They feel and perform horribly. It isn't because they have high ratio actions (and the knuckle distances can be 15.5 mm), but because they have too heavy a hammer for that ratio. Furthermore, if you regulate the monstrosity to modern specs, you exacerbate the problem. A far better solution is to match the original hammers for weight, and regulate according to the design of the action, which means shallower dip and increased blow.

    Frankly, I think that set up is preferable to the modern Steinway, more attuned to the pianists physique - though modern pianists (who survive and are successful) manage to cope with the increased mass and increased motion required. A lot of pianists don't survive, and playing especially the early classical repertory is quite awkward and requires enormous skill to pull off well on the modern set up, compared to playing it on a lighter, high ratio instrument. The modern instrument puts a lot of rep beyond the reach of the average player. And, of course, mismatched pianos (high ratio and high hammer mass) are that much worse, and make many things simply impossible to pull off.

    -------------------------------------------
    Fred Sturm
    University of New Mexico
    fssturm@unm.edu
    http://fredsturm.net
    "The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination." - Einstein
    -------------------------------------------








  • 9.  RE:Key Leads

    Posted 11-13-2012 12:50
    Just a wee addendum: Blow distance was nearly universally specified as 1 7/8" (48 mm) throughout most of the 20th century by almost all manufacturers. Today it is in the 46 mm ballpark, and sometimes gets down to 45 mm. So we have come from 9.5 mm dip and 48 mm blow to 10.3 mm dip and 46 mm blow. At the same time, hammer weights have risen in the 2 gm per hammer or more range. Small differences, but they become quite significant taken together.

    -------------------------------------------
    Fred Sturm
    University of New Mexico
    fssturm@unm.edu
    http://fredsturm.net
    "The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination." - Einstein
    -------------------------------------------








  • 10.  Key Leads

    Posted 11-13-2012 06:16
    Greetings, Oddly enough, it seems my letter was altered between the time I sent it and it was posted. The missing paragraph was : To: ptg_cautne Sent: Mon, Nov 12, 2012 8:51 pm Subject: Re: [PTG CAUT]: RE:Key Leads Fred writes:>> I am mostly wanting to address the prejudice in Ed's comment, that high ratio actions are bad, feel awful, and don't function well. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The best evidence of that can be found in the fact that the 19th century was a culmination of the art of piano playing, will all pianos at much higher ratio than those of today. Somehow Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, Mozart, etc. struggled to make do, right? They would all prefer to play on a modern, heavier, lower ratio action, right? I don't think so. Regards, Ed Foote RPT http://www.piano-tuners.org/edfoote/well_tempered_piano.html


  • 11.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-12-2018 19:20
    I'm experiencing a related problem.  Some bass keys have up to 10 leads in them.  I'm installing new Steinway hammers and shanks that aren't heavy enough to counter balance the front of the key, so there is no up-weight.  In fact, the hammers won't return to rest position.  This piano had a player system in it, and I suspect the leads were added to assist the player mechanism.  I'm thinking about removing one of the leads from each key, but would it be better to take one from closer to the center of the key, or more toward the front?

    ------------------------------
    Robert Callaghan
    Reno NV
    775-287-2140
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-13-2018 07:24
    Measure the Touch Weight. A half inch lead at the front of the key will affect about 12 grams of Balance Weight. A lead at the end of the tail will have 6-8 g affect. A lead a few inches in front of the balance rail pin will have 2-4 grams. So decide how much the weight has to rise to select the appropriate lead or leads. Removing from the front will have the most inertial benefit.

    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-13-2018 08:47
    Dear Robert et al,

    You can measure the precise effect of the key leads by removing the keystick and tipping on its balance point with the front of the key - on a digital scale with 0.1g accuracy at the position were touch weight is measured.   The resulting value is called Front Weight - abbreviated as FW.   Front Weight Levels always are in a normal range that can be well defined in actions that have a good match of hammer weight and action ratio levels.    In March 2000 I published what I consider to be a reasonable and prudent upper limit to key lead usage as defined by my "Front Weight Ceiling". Presently Journal pdf's don't go back that far but there is a link to the article on my web page at the bottom this post.   I've found that the lower limit of prudent key lead usage is the FW ceiling minus 6 grams.  Sort of a Front Weight Floor as apposed to the Ceiling!   Floor and Ceiling define the FW  normal zone. This puts the midline of my normal FW range at FW ceiling minus 3 grams.

    In the last year I have been beginning to teach, at PTG chapter meetings, a novel approach to key balancing and ratio matching that starts with codifying the Front Weights to a scale such as FW Ceiling, Floor, or midline.  This offers a very simple an direct approach to correcting keysets such as those with way too much lead weight usage. Simply add or remove keyleads to match the FW scale of your choice. The Ceiling is associated with higher inertia action types and the Floor with lower inertia action types.

    Once the key weighting is codified and made right then the action is balanced by finding the hammer weight level that produces Down Weight, Balance Weight, and Up Weights of a desired level. This may be done by setting test hammer weights and coming up with a Hammer Strike Weight scale.  Standard Hammer Strike Weight scales that relate to the FW normal zone scales and are also published in the March 2000 article.   A link to definitive sub divisions of Hammer and Strike Weight scales at the bottom of this post.

    This approach guarantees that the actions ratio level will define the hammer weight level that produces a normal key lead usage and resulting normal touch weight level.  It places emphasis on Hammer Weight which we all are realizing has most influence on touch.    I've found that the best playing quality comes from smoothly scaled  hammer strike weights and key weight components that are well matched.    In the big picture (playing the piano)  Down weight is the least important.  I just needs to be in a reasonable range.

    Hope this rattles your cage!  Wanting to set us free from the key lead trap!

    Respectfully,

    David Stanwood

    http://www.stanwoodpiano.com/PTGMarch00.pdf
    http://www.stanwoodpiano.com/SW-HWstandards4.pdf

    Additional resources:
    http://www.stanwoodpiano.com/touchweight.htm



  • 14.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-13-2018 08:56
    Once you've figured out your target key weight, you need to figure out which of the many leads you need to remove to reach it.  Last years May or June Ptg Journal had a great TT&T article with a little "cheat sheet" that someone had figured out... "if you need to remove x grams, remove the one at 3".  What a great timesaver this has proven to be!   


    Debbie Cyr
    Registered Piano Technician 
    508-202-2862 cell

    Sent from my iPhone





  • 15.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-14-2018 10:56
    Interesting discussion. David, thank you so much for your hard work and generosity sharing your data
    and insight with us.

    I often read, but seldom participate since I am such a plebe. But this discussion touches on something
    that I have been ruminating over for years.

    Jon Page mentioned at the opening of this discussion the issue of inertia. To me it seems like this is an
    issue that does not get enough consideration. If there are 7 leads behind the balance pin and 12 in front,
    yet the touch weight measures in a desired range, does that not effect the speed with which the key can
    pivot?

    Another way to think of it - I like LaRoy Edward's everyman way of thinking about things, especially
    his baseball analogies:

    If I overload a baseball bat with weight, perhaps to warm up my swing, does a 5lb weight at the end of
    the bat cause more resistance than a 10lb weight that would be at the point where it imparts the same
    amount of balance weight (for simplification just say 1/2 way up/down the length)? Apart from the
    increased difficulty of raising the bat, I which case could I swing it with more velocity?

    When faced with removing weight from a key and there is a lot to remove, I generally opt to remove
    a bunch of it from closer to the fulcrum and work my way out to the end of the key. Am I backward
    in this?

    Thank you for indulging the idiot.

    Dave

    ------------------------------
    Dave Conte
    Owner
    North Richland Hills TX
    817-581-7321
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-15-2018 11:52
    Thanks.  I found the article you referred to.  "Getting the Lead Out" in July 2017 PTJ by David Huggins from Colorado Springs.  I contains a very helpful chart about which lead to remove for the desired result.

    ------------------------------
    Robert Callaghan
    Reno NV
    775-287-2140
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-25-2018 09:48
    To figure out what lead to remove, I have the kay on the scale, and place a lead weight the size of the one in the key over that lead. How much does that increase FW? Move the lead to different installed leads to find the one you want to remove, or do it additively if you need to remove more than one. Fast, efficient and accurate.
    Regards,
    Fred Sturm
    "Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it." Brecht






  • 18.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-14-2018 11:29

    I think that's a good approach, reverse engineer the hammer (or strike weight) based on a targeted Front Weight.  My own midline is 85% of the published FW maximums that produce a balance weight of 38 grams.  That's a bit less than what you've posted as your midline.  Where that needs to deviate is in the case of concert instruments that sometimes want heavier hammers and one draws a limit to how low you want the action ratio to go for reasons of regulation.  That 85% number is very close to what  you get in the Fandrich and Rhodes ("Actions to Die For), btw.  Also I'm not rigid about following that specific target as you move up into the high treble as long as the strike weight curve is smooth.

    Most of the inertia in the system comes from the relationship between the action ratio and the hammer weight.  The key provides only about 30% of the total inertia, some of that is the lead, some of that is the keystick itself.  Taking a lead or two out of the key stick doesn't impact the inertia that much.  Changing the relationship between the hammer weight and the action ratio does.  The wippen contributes virtually nothing to the overall inertia.

    As suggested, a simple way to establish a targeted hammer or strike weight curve is to remove the key(s), install or remove enough lead to get the Front Weight to the desired 85% of FW maximums target (I usually do this with C3, C4, C5 initially) and then mix and match shank configurations with sample hammers until you get the desired balance weight.  Use those sample hammer weights to establish your strike weight curve.  As I mentioned, I am pretty careful about not exceeding my strike weight curve down through the bass but if the upper part of the piano wants to deviate on the heavier side I don't worry about it too much.  The inertia in the upper end will always be lower than the inertia in the lower end because the hammers are always lighter.

    While there are many programs that will calculate all this for you this simple method does get you on target very quickly.

    It's worth noting that the force to overcome inertia is some 20x greater than the static weight (DW) and so making sure that the inertia stays within a range is much more important than the static downweight (as DS points out).



    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-14-2018 15:06
    Edited by Floyd Gadd 05-17-2018 14:42
    This thread is very helpful!

    My question for David Stanwood:

    I have been using the Touch Designer's Tool Kit for about 5 years now.  It is evident to me that there will always be some inconsistencies in an action, so I can't get everything as precise as I want it.  I have to fudge somewhere.

    In a perfect world, I would have
    • a perfectly smooth hammer strike weight curve
    • a perfectly smooth key front weight curve
    • perfectly consistent balance weight across the compass of the keyboard.
    To date I have fudged the key front weight in order to achieve consistency in the other two factors.  I suppose I could fastidiously clip balance rail punchings to correct inconsistencies in action ratio, but I've never had sufficient inclination to pursue that option.

    What I think I hear you saying here is:
    • Establish your front weight
    • Negotiate between hammer strike weight curve and action ratio to get in the right ballpark for balance weight
    • Establish a smooth hammer strike weight curve
    • Let the chips fall where they may in terms of balance weight variability.
    Am I reading you correctly?

    ------------------------------
    Floyd Gadd
    Regina SK
    306-502-9103
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-15-2018 07:07
    Dear Floyd et al,

    You are reading me correctly!     It is my firm belief that Front Weights should be scaled as a design feature of the piano.  Some day manufacturers will realize this and produce pianos with scaled front weights.   In the mean time we have to take on the challenge of sorting out the key lead messes that result from the archaic down weight method.

    Once the front weights are established then all focus is on the hammer weight - as measured with the strike weight method.   When front weights are codified then the Balance Weight becomes an indicator of ratio and the associated inertia and dynamic playing forces.  Let the chips fall.  The balance weights  will be within a reasonable range of evenness.

    There will be cases when the Strike Weight tests out to be very low which can have tonal issues.   Very light hammers need to be softer with a deeper gradient of density.    The tone may be beautiful but it will lack energy.    Voicing up is not the solution.  Light hammers have less capacity for lacquer. You can see this in pianos miked for jazz.  With light hammers the mike signal is weaker even though the voicing is right.   You can hear it when you step back and listen.   The tone of light hammers typically won't fill a big room and will have trouble keeping in balance with ensemble.  The solution is to reconfigure to a lower ratio which allows higher hammer weights. This requires special skills -  Moving capstan lines, wippen heels, tweaking arc geometry, center pin elevations, spreads, knuckle core radii, balance rail points.

    Thank you Floyd!

    David Stanwood

    Floyd wrote:
    >What I think I hear you saying here is:

    • Establish your front weight
    • Negotiate between hammer strike weight curve and action ratio to get in the right ballpark for balance weight
    • Establish a smooth hammer strike weight curve
    • Let the chips fall where they may in terms of balance weight variability.
    >Am I reading you correctly?


  • 21.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-15-2018 11:23
    Hi all-

    With great respect for the wisdom represented in this discussion, I humbly suggest that it seems a bit presumptive of us to re-design historic old gems from 100 + years ago with action ratios and hammers they were not intended for.  Granted, there are plenty of venues where big and powerful reign supreme but I hope we can leave room to respect and restore a great pianos heritage. Especially, since we have available now appropriate matches to the original layout. Instrument making history is littered with examples of people who completely re-designed classic old beauties to suit modern tastes- and in the long run something was lost.  It's not right or wrong here, I hope I make that clear.  In these situations I offer customers the option of "modernizing" or "restoring".   For homes and non-piano teaching studios they usually choose the later, in a performance venue I'd recommend the former. 

    I totally agree with setting front weights as a scale design feature of the piano. That is a worthy goal indeed. My impression is that it used to be more like that. 

    best, and thanks........

    Dennis Johnson
    St Olaf College





  • 22.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-16-2018 05:56
    Hi Dennis,

    I'm so glad you brought this up.  Maintaining the original set up is an important issue and this option should always be considered.    I'm sitting here next to my c1924 Steinway O with completely original everything.  It's a spectacular example of that vintage with tone that is extraordinarily beautiful with a touch that allows sufficiently acceptable translation of musical intention.    In many cases the key leads and front weight scale is all that is left of the original configuration in vintage pianos that have had hammers and/or parts replaced and in many cases even the key leads have been mucked with.    Also there is the fact that in many cases the original configuration may not have been all that great.  This is especially true with key lead/front weight patterns.   There is no standard front weight scale for Steinway O or any other model from any period, period.   The down weight / Pound-hammer weight method was just too variable.

    From decades of experience I  strongly believe that the most ideal configuration of weight components in the main action is to have scaled hammer strike weights and scaled front weights.  The latter eliminates the need to rebalance keys every time hammers are replaced.  The solution then is to scale the hammer weights ad infinitum.   So with following this method pianos made now will in the future will more likely to be maintained their originally intended configuration.

    Back to the past: For vintage pianos I feel that it is wise to always survey the keylead front weight pattern if it appears to be original.  Use that information to make a decision as to the best course to take.     I find that there are many pianos that have front weight scales that are quite uniform in level and these deserve to be considered for preservation.    My choice in these cases would be to idealize the original front weights to a smooth scale that represents an average level with minimal tweaking of the original key leads.    Then bring in a  hammer/strike weight scale that produces conventional DownWt/balanceWt/UpWt levels.

    Thank you Dennis!

    ------------------------------
    David Stanwood

    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-16-2018 06:09
    PS Dennis,

    Paul's original question is pertinent to the question of keeping true to the original FW scale.

    Paul wrote: >Where do you draw the line on '70's Steinways?? some of mine are out of control with too many leads.

    ------------------------------
    David Stanwood

    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-16-2018 06:56
    Dennis et al,

    Here's an example how to preserve the original FW scale from a Vintage Steinway while attaining a smooth scale.  Only a small amount of key lead needs to be added to the original FW scale.  Once the FW is smooth scaled all that's needed is to come up with a hammer/strikeWt Scale to match.    With restored or matching the original parts this should reproduce the original configuration.

    http://stanwoodpiano.com/VintageFW.pdf






    ------------------------------
    David Stanwood

    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-16-2018 09:26
    What's the objective of all this for the pianist? To make the touch weight consistent across the range, or to give a smooth transition in weight from bass to treble, or to improve repetition, or other purposes?
     
    Laurence





  • 26.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-16-2018 11:31
    Hi Laury,

    I would say smoothing hammer weights and front weights is to produce the most consistent inertial response of touch from each key at all dynamic levels of volume at a level of resistance that is comfortable for pianists.   This improves expression and artistry.   Smoothing out the hammer/strike weight has been also found to improve the consistency of voicing generally and specifically across the bass/treble break where there is often a big jump in weight.

    Regards,


    ------------------------------
    David Stanwood
    ------------------------------



  • 27.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-16-2018 12:11
    Thank you, David. It's important not to lose sight of the ultimate purpose, from the musician's viewpoint.





  • 28.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-17-2018 12:16
    Thank you David for the detail and further clarification. You never fail to make us think :). 


    cheers,

    Dennis Johnson 





  • 29.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-18-2018 19:31
    Edited by David Love 05-18-2018 23:36
    Maintaining the original configuration is a worthy goal but more complicated and there are many things to consider, not the least of which is whether the original was worth copying.  On many pianos it's not.  For example, older Mason Hamlin action ratios are often way to high for the hammers they used and the actions are sluggish and difficult to play.  Vintage pianos, depending on the vintage, often went through different iterations, some successful some not so much.  Also, soundboards can change over time (if you are keeping the original) and a hammer that may have been ok on the original soundboard may no longer be on a belly that now has lower impedance characteristics.  When installing new soundboards, even using "original designs", the outcomes may vary from the original in terms of impedance and require a somewhat different hammer than was on the original.

    Steinway is probably the best example of the difficulties of sticking with original designs.  The original bellies were very light and the original hammers were too.  It's typical to find hammers from pianos prior to 1937 (when they switched from German felt to "other" felt) to find bass hammers weighing only 8 grams.  That was due to lower density felts along with lightweight moldings.  These hammers were very trim in their profile and the felt was quite soft.  You will be hard pressed (no pun intended) to find a hammer that duplicates the qualities of those original hammers both in density and weight.  No hammers produced by either Abel, Renner, or Steinway come close to those original hammers when considering all of those characteristics.  The lightweight hammers produced by Abel and Renner are much denser and have a very different response.  Lightweight hammers that are hard produce something quite unpleasant.  The Steinway hammer (current) is also different both in weight, density, felt type and spring response.  Ronsen comes the closest in being able to produce the characteristics of the original hammers of that period but even there a lightweight set of hammers from them will still produce, when tapered fully, bass hammers that are 9 - 9.5 grams.  If you choose a lightweight hammer from Abel or Renner the voicing required will render a very different tonal response.  In part that's because needled felt compresses and decompresses differently than softer felt that is relatively undisturbed by the intrusion of needles.  The spectrum produced will be different as a function of the difference in spring response.

    If you choose a hammer that is somewhat heavier then the tonal response will also be different, especially on an older soundboard that is more reactive at impact.  You will have to tone down the attack sound and in so doing, combined with the increased mass, you will filter out more high partial energy from the strings than you will with a lighter and trimmer hammer.  More whump but a reduced partial spectrum.  The piano will tend toi sound duller and without clarity.

    That brings us to the action performance.  The original actions on Steinways with ratios at 6+ were designed for very lightweight hammers.  As we know, action performance in terms of inertia (the most important aspect) comes from a combination of hammer mass and action ratio more than anything else.  If you end up increasing the hammer weight by even one gram you will throw that relationship out of balance (if you're trying to duplicate the original).  You can compensate for static touch weight by adding lead but the inertia will be higher with our without the extra lead.  To duplicate action performance you will need to reduce the action ratio.  By how much?  It depends on the difference in the new hammer weights and what the original action ratio was (they do vary) and your final target.

    Does lowering the action ratio to accommodate a heavier hammer change the action dynamics?  If you believe, as I do, that the performance characteristics are mostly driven by inertia then the answer is no.  Does changing the action ratio itself change the tone?  I don't think so.  At least not the tonal spectrum.  Changing the action ratio changes the speed at which the hammer travels relative to the key.  In a 6:1 ratio if the key travels at 10 mm per second then the hammer travels at 60 mm per second.  If you lower then action ratio to 5:1 then that 10 mm per second key travel will produce a hammer velocity of 50 mm per second.  That can have an effect on perceived power *initially* but I think pianists compensate for that pretty effortlessly just as they do when actuation the key from different positions for and aft (which also effectively changes the action ratio).

    So if you are planning to change the hammers and along with it the strike weight then you would do best to change the action ratio to accompany that.  Assuming that the key leads were smoothed and placed properly, and assuming that you had a smooth strike weight curve, then changing the hammer weight with a corresponding change in the action ratio would produce no changes in the required key lead pattern (of course those are a lot of assumptions but you catch my drift).

    Therefore, while the idea of adhering to the original may have merit, in practice there are many other considerations and sticking to the original design on principle may not make the most sense, ultimately.

    My approach, and I think this is the best approach, is to chose the hammer for tonal reasons first.  Tone is number one.  That includes hammer type, felt, weight, etc.  Once you've determined the hammer and weight curve that suits the piano best then establish the action ratio to produce the inertia level that you want.  I outlined how to do that simply in another posting recently.  Whether you do that by changing the knuckle hanging position or capstan position or both I think is not that important.  The ratio is the ratio and I'm not convinced that it really matters how you get there with one possible exception.  Short knuckle hangings with heavy hammers may produce more let off friction at the knuckle.  I've not really been able to quantify that but I have reason to think that might be the case.

    I agree with DS that letting the balance weight float a bit is *probably* best if you have to chose something.  Smooth strike weight, smooth FW first.  If slight variations in the executions produce different ARs that yield different BWs then usually it's not that big of a problem.  The other alternative is to produce a smooth SW and then target a uniform BW by letting the FWs float away from a smooth curve.  I've done that too and, honestly, I don't really think it's a problem either way.

    The main limiting factor on ARs is what your tolerance is for regulation and key dip.

    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 30.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-19-2018 10:39
    Dear David L

    Thank you for your very lucid post. A comment on:

    >Does changing the action ratio itself change the tone?

    I'm sure we've all experienced listening to the same piano sounding differently when played by different pianists. If not I can assure you that it happens. What's going on? I started to understand the answer to this question in 2009 when I showed the first prototype of my Adjustable Leverage Action to Robert Hill - Professor of Historical Keyboard Instruments, Performance Practice and Chamber Music at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, Germany. What was immediately noticeable to Robert was that the tone changed when he dialed in  different ratio levels. Robert was the first to answer the question "how does the tone change when the ratio changes?" He stated very clearly that tone gets brighter as the action ratio gets lower and said that it related to technique. I had another experience with Ken Iisaka, winner of the International Piano Artist Competition and finalist of the Van Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition. John Callahan and I listened to him play for an hour in John's shop in Oakland. With other pianists we could hear a difference in the tone when the ratio setting was changed. With Ken we noticed that the tone didn't change. We asked him about this and he said very clearly that he has a very keen sense of the kind of tone he wants to produce and he had to adjust his technique to different ratio settings in order to produce his desired tone.  He said he was learning a lot and thought it was a great teaching tool. So it seems that the inertia has an effect on driving technique and tone.

    ------------------------------
    David Stanwood
    ------------------------------



  • 31.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-19-2018 12:43
    Edited by David Love 05-19-2018 13:03
    It's an interesting question.  I have some trouble with understanding what exactly is changing and how that would affect tone.  It's true that given the same key speed, hammer speed will change.  More velocity, of course, produces a louder sound and with that comes in increase in partial development generally.  So, assuming that the  pianos plays the keys with the same downward velocity there would be a change in the hammer velocity with different ratios.

    However, you said that the pianist stated "He stated very clearly that tone gets brighter as the action ratio gets lower and said that it related to technique."  That seems counter to what I suggested except that all other things being equal the inertia with a lower action will decrease so the pianist can accelerate the hammer with less effort.  The question would be, given the hammer traveling with the same velocity between two different ratios is the tone produced different?

    I'm inclined to think that pianists are always making unconscious compensations and the pianist who says that he has to adjust for different ratios probably does that.  If you are simply pulling a lever and making an instant change before the pianist has an opportunity to adjust technique based on the tone they want then I'm sure there would be an instantaneous change.  But given some time to make the touch adjustment which results in the two systems producing equal hammer speed I wonder if there really is a difference.

    One problem in trying to understand differences in this case is that when you throw a lever to change the ratio many other things change: balance weight, inertia, hammer speed most notably.  All of these things can have a collective and separate impact on how the pianist reacts and ultimately the speed at which the hammer hits the string and thereby produces differences in hammer compression bringing different parts of the hammer into play.  But if the pianists ultimately is adapting with the pianistic goal of controlling hammer speed then once that adaptation is made are we still experiencing tonal differences?  In other words does the ratio itself, all other things being equal, produce different tone?  I would question that.

    Compounding the question is that while a keyboard may measure out at, say,a 5:1 ratio, in reality pianists play all over the keys and anytime the pianists shifts fore and aft the ratio is changing because of their finger position on the key.  I don't ever recall a pianists saying that the tone is so different when I play out on the end of the key as opposed to nearer the fallboard yet actuating the key near the fallboard may result in an action ratio that could be twice that at the end of the key: 5:1 versus 10:1.

    So there are other things at play here, it seems to me.  The only real way to test is with a blind or mechanical testing and some measure of the hammer velocity and spectral dynamics to eliminate the psychoacoustical contribution.  Interesting topic though.    


    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 32.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-19-2018 12:59
    The question has been approached with ultra-high-speed video, showing how hammer shanks flex during acceleration and how hammer coverings scrub the strings before rebounding. Such factors influence the tactile feedback pianists receive from the action. This feedback in turn affects perception of tone in complex ways. One thing that's clear to me, at least, is that it's misleading or inadequate to discuss the tone of any instrument, in a musical as opposed to a lab situation, without considering the player as part of the system. Fascinating problem.
    Laurence
     
     
    It's an interesting question.  I have some trouble with understanding what exactly is changing and how that would affect tone.  It's true that...
    Please do not forward this message due to Auto Login.

    CAUT

      Post New Message
    Re: Key Leads
    Reply to Group Reply to Sender
    David Love
    May 19, 2018 12:43 PM
    David Love
    It's an interesting question.  I have some trouble with understanding what exactly is changing and how that would affect tone.  It's true that given the same key speed, hammer speed will change.  More velocity, of course, produces a louder sound and with that comes in increase in partial development generally.  So, assuming that the  pianos plays the keys with the same downward velocity there would be a change in the hammer velocity with different ratios. 

    However, you said that the pianist stated "He stated very clearly that tone gets brighter as the action ratio gets lower and said that it related to technique."  That seems counter to what I suggested except that all other things being equal the inertia with a lower action will decrease so the pianist can accelerate the hammer with less effort.  The question would be, given the hammer traveling with the same velocity between two different ratios is the tone produced different? 

    I'm inclined to think that pianists are always making unconscious compensations and the pianist who says that he has to adjust for different ratios probably does that.  If you are simply pulling a lever and making an instant change before the pianist has an opportunity to adjust technique based on the tone they want then I'm sure there would be an instantaneous change.  But given some time to make the touch adjustment which results in the two systems producing equal hammer speed I wonder if there really is a difference.

    Compounding the question is that while a keyboard may measure out at, say,a 5:1 ratio, in reality pianists play all over the keys and anytime the pianists shifts fore and aft the ratio is changing because of their finger position on the key.  I don't ever recall a pianists saying that the tone is so different when I play out on the end of the key as opposed to nearer the fallboard yet actuating the key near the fallboard may result in an action ratio that could be twice that at the end of the key: 5:1 versus 10:1. 

    So there are other things at play here, it seems to me.  The only real way to test is with a blind or mechanical testing and some measure of the hammer velocity and spectral dynamics to eliminate the psychoacoustical contribution.  Interesting topic though.   


    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------
      Reply to Group Online   View Thread   Recommend   Forward   Mark as Inappropriate  
    -------------------------------------------
    Original Message:
    Sent: 05-19-2018 10:38
    From: David Stanwood
    Subject: Key Leads

    Dear David L

    Thank you for your very lucid post. A comment on:

    >Does changing the action ratio itself change the tone?

    I'm sure we've all experienced listening to the same piano sounding differently when played by different pianists. If not I can assure you that it happens. What's going on? I started to understand the answer to this question in 2009 when I showed the first prototype of my Adjustable Leverage Action to Robert Hill - Professor of Historical Keyboard Instruments, Performance Practice and Chamber Music at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, Germany. What was immediately noticeable to Robert was that the tone changed when he dialed in  different ratio levels. Robert was the first to answer the question "how does the tone change when the ratio changes?" He stated very clearly that tone gets brighter as the action ratio gets lower and said that it related to technique. I had another experience with Ken Iisaka, winner of the International Piano Artist Competition and finalist of the Van Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition. John Callahan and I listened to him play for an hour in John's shop in Oakland. With other pianists we could hear a difference in the tone when the ratio setting was changed. With Ken we noticed that the tone didn't change. We asked him about this and he said very clearly that he has a very keen sense of the kind of tone he wants to produce and he had to adjust his technique to different ratio settings in order to produce his desired tone.  He said he was learning a lot and thought it was a great teaching tool. So it seems that the inertia has an effect on driving technique and tone.

    ------------------------------
    David Stanwood



     
    To change your subscriptions, go to My Subscriptions. To unsubscribe from this community discussion, go to Unsubscribe.





  • 33.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-19-2018 14:03
    We haven't even discussed shank material and flex.  Certainly another consideration and there are many different shank materials and styles these days and historically.  Lots of variables.

    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 34.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-25-2018 13:11
    My own experience with David Stanwood's adjustable ratio action (when at PTG conventions for classes and display) is that a higher ratio increases the tonal spectrum. I could tell that both playing the instrument and listening from the back of the room when someone else was playing (and not being told which was which). 

    I would agree with David Love's thought that higher ratio tends to be "brighter," but that characterization is not really a good way to describe what happens. The total tonal character changes somewhat, but what changes most is the range. In playing high ratio French instruments of late 19th/early 20th century a few years back (on a trip to France, a Pleyel and a Gaveau belonging to the family friend I was staying with), my ears were opened to far more musical possibilities. It's hard to describe, but it was an amazing experience for me. I was playing Villa-Lobos, with lots of layering of dynamics (different voices and levels happening simultaneously), and IT WAS SO EASY to do what I had been struggling to do for so long. Unfortunately, I had neither the time nor the tools to measure and see what was different physically in specific terms.

    That's an anecdotal account of personal experience, and far from satisfying from a scientific point of view, but I offer it for what it's worth.  
    Regards,
    Fred Sturm
    "We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same." - Carlos Casteneda






  • 35.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-25-2018 15:18
    Edited by Benjamin Sloane 05-25-2018 15:57
    A lot of confusion has developed from the advent of the Steinway accelerated action.

    It was a Newtonian argument, F=MA, introduced to augment Mass and attenuate Acceleration in the key and beyond. Recently, a group of piano techs started chanting, "Get the lead out," and the US Steinway factory argument started getting undone as the same group claimed action reconditioning required moving lead weight in keys outward, and reducing Mass, completely dismantling the main argument for the Accelerated action and punching.

    ------------------------------
    Benjamin Sloane
    Cincinnati OH
    513-257-8480
    ------------------------------



  • 36.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-26-2018 02:52
    Edited by David Love 05-26-2018 13:36
    Just for clarification, I didn't state that the tone gets brighter with a higher action ratio.  David Stanwood's pianist stated that.  I'm not inclined to believe that action ratio alone will produce something brighter when all things are taken into account.  However, higher action ratios are usually accompanied by lighter weight hammers which will filter fewer high partials and therefore, indeed, be "brighter" by definition.  Further, a lightweight hammer will generally offer greater control and tonal clarity than a heavier hammer.  Not necessarily in terms of pedal to the metal power but in terms of nuance, control, clarity and, as mentioned, the ability to get a brighter (i.e. less high partial damping) when increasing power.

    As an aside, one of the main goals in voicing is to insure that increases in power are accompanied by increases in spectral dynamics.  In other words, as we play with more force we want more players in the orchestra to join in, we don't just want the sections that are already playing to just play louder.  With heavier hammers, sometimes our increases in power are not accompanied by the same increases in spectral dynamics (or partial development if you prefer) due to the greater damping qualities of heavier hammers for a variety of reasons.  The type and quality of the hammer can also make a difference.

    In this discussion, however, we were referring to an adjustable action that changed the action ratio but where the hammer weight was not changed.  I am at a loss as to why the piano would sound brighter with a higher ratio except for the fact that you can more easily accelerate the hammer to a higher velocity and with that comes an increase in the amplitude of upper partials (all partials for that matter).

    Further complicating the issue with respect to historical instruments is that they are usually designed with much lower tension scales, presumably lighter weight soundboards to go with that as well as matching lightweight hammers--often very light (and sometimes of different materials than felt).  That combination tends to produce a broader palette, i.e. the ability to produce a greater range of combinations of power dynamics along with changing spectral dynamics.

    The subject is a complicated one with many different elements in play, not the least of which is the pianist's own response to any perceived changes in the touch dynamics and the impact that has on their playing.


    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 37.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-26-2018 22:43
    Dear Fred,

    Your comments, coming from and accomplished pianist who is also an accomplished piano technician are so relevant and valuable.  Thank you!  To be clear: the comments from the eminent Professor Robert Hill and others I have had experience with do not support the notion that lower ratios mean brighter tone.  Rather the context is to a given voicing.  I have observed that the trend of notable change in tone when moving from high ratio to low ratio with all other factors remaining unchanged is something like moving from a darker warmer stronger tone to a brighter more delicate tone.  This can be infinitely influenced by technique.  So your experience of a high ratio action with light hammers and a beautiful tone is more a function of the voicing relative to the particular combination of hammer weight and action ratio.  Quoting the notable Englishmen: "How do I love thee. Let me count the ways".  We're all striving to understand the ways.

    Thanks again for your anecdotal account and sharing your personal experience,

    David S

    ------------------------------
    David Stanwood
    Stanwood Piano Innovations Inc.
    West Tisbury MA
    508-693-1583
    ------------------------------



  • 38.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-26-2018 23:43
      |   view attached
    David,
    It's not so much a different tone, as a much broader pallet that is easily accessed. With the lighter hammer and the higher ratio, layering of dynamics, "bringing out the melody," and various expressive devices are much easier to achieve. I found that when dialing your action from low to high ratio, though not to the degree I found in the French pianos I mentioned in my earlier post. It was a smaller degree of the same experience.

    Much of what we have today in the piano world - and have had for the past 100 years and more - is largely the result of the 2000 seat concert house, and the need to fill it with sound, and also project above a large orchestra. Which is overkill for any other venue. 

    The inflation of hammer mass over the course of the 20th century was immense, and not well documented. We really should document it, along with action ratios, while instruments in original condition are still around. I'm sure many people have collected a good bit of such data, but it is hard to get at. It would be nice if we could pool such data and make it generally available.

    Most of us have a rather jaundiced view of the 19th century piano, based on the instruments we have heard (often in recordings). I invite you all to check out this Youtube video I came across today, not so much listening to the man speak, but to the piano music behind it. It opens with Chopin played on an 1842 Pleyel, then Bomtempo played on an 1807 Broadwood, and Hérold played on an 1830 Graf. I particularly draw your attention to the Chopin at the beginning. This is an original piano that is "still alive." 

    My point here is not that there is a right or wrong type of piano, or way that a piano should be set up, but that there is an enormous range of ways to make a piano that is an extraordinary and expressive instrument. I don't think we should box ourselves in, and try to make one size fits all specifications. Rather, we should adapt to the instrument at hand (echoing Dennis Johnson here). Granted, most instruments built within the past 50 years could be treated essentially the same in many respects, as they were initially designed and set up in much the same way. When it comes to older instruments (perhaps 75 years old and older), I think we should tread carefully and sensitively (assuming the condition of the piano warrants it). 

    One major problem, as David Love said, is the fact that hammers that match 19th through early 20th century are not made by modern hammer makers. One option is having them re-covered by someone like Desfougeres (they have a wide variety of hammer felt densities). But perhaps, if there were enough demand, some of the hammer makers would set up to make a lighter and less dense hammer. There is a lot more of that sort of skill and supplies in Europe than in the US, because there are far more 19th century pianos there. In France, in particular, there are piano technicians searching for reproductions of the original Pleyel felt. We should be searching for the original Dolge blue felt (see attached article from 1895 Music Trade Review).



    Attachment(s)

    pdf
    Dolge MTR 1895.pdf   1.02MB 1 version


  • 39.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-27-2018 08:06
    HI Again-

    I would only like to inject that the one of Stanwood's adjustable ratio pianos I regularly got to service was an amazing Steinway D, which came from LA to MN. I can't play as much as I used to, after decades of tuning, so respectfully defer to comments of the pros, but I will always remember that piano as being among the most amazing instruments I've had the pleasure to work on in my career. The hammers were not modern factory but in the mid-weight range, and it seemed to us that change in the tonal spectrum was evident, but certainly more subtle than changes to touch and responsiveness in a physical way. As mentioned these all work together in a circle, so it's complicated.
    Sadly, that beautiful piano was lost in a house fire.

    Next week I am starting a new action project myself on an older Steinway B and will be making parts decisions. This has been an interesting discussion.

    thanks,
    Dennis Johnson

    ------------------------------
    Dennis Johnson, R.P.T.
    St. Olaf College
    Music Dept.
    Northfield, MN 55337
    sta2ned@stolaf.edu
    (507) 786-3587
    ------------------------------



  • 40.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-28-2018 06:49
    The fine work done on that Steinway D was by David Andersen and Steve Bellieu in LA.  The refinements included my Precision Touch Design  in combination with Adjustable Leverage Action.


    ------------------------------
    David Stanwood
    Stanwood Piano Innovations Inc.
    ------------------------------



  • 41.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 05-28-2018 11:25
    ...... and to complete the credits, with redesigned belly work by Dale Erwin & family.  Your adjustable leverage mechanism is probably the most ingenious new innovation to piano design in our lifetimes. 

    d.





  • 42.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 07-12-2018 15:23
    Edited by Floyd Gadd 07-12-2018 17:37
    I am working out samples on a 1965 Yamaha G2.  Front Weight tends to average about 12 grams below the Stanwood recommended ceiling.

    I'm sampling the effect of installing a somewhat newer set of G2 hammer assemblies -- new enough that the crossover is at note 26 rather than 29, and that they are set up for an aluminum rail, so some hammer assembly modifications are called for..  The weight of the hammers is somewhat greater than the originals, but obviously there is room to bring up the front weight.

    Here's my question:  Strike ratio for the sharps is greater by .3 to .6 than it is for the naturals, which are coming in right around 5.7.  Key ratio measures the same for naturals and sharps on 6 out of 9 of my sample pairs, and on those that vary, the difference  is only .1.  I could simply decide to work as though the strike ratio is, say, 5.9, or I could set my front weight for the sharps to a sightly different curve than I am using for the naturals.  I'm thinking of going at 3 grams below the Front Weight Ceiling, at least for the naturals.

    Is one alternative better than the other?  Or is there another approach that is consistent with an establishment of front weight as a point of reference for the rest of the balancing?

    ------------------------------
    Floyd Gadd
    Regina SK
    306-502-9103
    ------------------------------



  • 43.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 07-13-2018 08:33
    Dear Floyd,

    Front weight level of 3g below ceiling is good for a medium inertia type with a medium 38 Balance Weight. I would set Front and Strike Weight scales for the 5.7 average R of the naturals and let the sharps be what may. This would put you at a Hammer Strike Weight curve #8 which is all very medium!

    Take a close look at the balance rail under the sharps. You may find that the bevel comes up and under the balance rail punchings. If so, this moves the effective pivot point closer to the front of the keyboard which may be why the sharps are testing out with a higher R than the naturals. If this is true you also may not be getting a accurate key ratio because you may not be pivoting the key on Front Weight scale jig in the same place as it is in the piano which would give a false key ratio.

    If the bevel does not undercut the sharp punchings then you can tack a piece of veneer to the balance rail under punching stack and remove a paper punching of the same thickness. This would shift the pivot point away from the naturals and make the R of the sharps closer to the naturals.

    Otherwise I would not worry about the sharp Balance Weights being higher as a result of using one front weight curve based on the naturals.

    ------------------------------
    David Stanwood

    ------------------------------



  • 44.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 07-13-2018 08:44
    Thank you David!

    ------------------------------
    Floyd Gadd
    Regina SK
    306-502-9103
    ------------------------------



  • 45.  RE: Key Leads

    Posted 17 days ago
    Edited by Floyd Gadd 17 days ago
    David,

    In your May 13 post in this thread, you spoke of a front weight ceiling, and a front weight floor, as it were.  What are your thoughts on a front weight floor when wippen support springs are involved?  I have in front of me my manual from your Touch Designer's Tool Kit, but I wonder what further thoughts you have related to your more recent approach of making the front weight spec a design feature?

    ------------------------------
    Floyd Gadd
    Regina SK
    306-502-9103
    ------------------------------