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Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
#1381384 02/23/10 06:28 PM
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When I push a white key, it will go down and before it hits the strings, I will feel the key stop and then play. This only happens in lite/soft playing. What parts am I looking at replacing in order to rid myself of this. It is not that bad, its just that If I can do it myself with a few hundred dollar parts, I am VERY mechanically inclined.

Any ideas? Is it joints?

Thanks

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Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
joeydonuts #1381433 02/23/10 07:46 PM
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It's a good bet that a technician can help you with that for a lot less than "a few hundred dollars".


David L. Jenson
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Jenson's Piano Service
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Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
David Jenson #1381435 02/23/10 07:48 PM
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Joeydonuts,

I think you might be describing 'letoff' (noticed when depressing a key very slowly). This is not something to get rid of.


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Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
Nick Mauel #1381460 02/23/10 08:36 PM
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Let me try being more clear. I feel the resistance about half way down then when i continue downward, it will strike. Its like it should feel smoother.

Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
joeydonuts #1381463 02/23/10 08:39 PM
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Its not the letting off its the pressing down that feels crunchy

Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
joeydonuts #1381503 02/23/10 09:53 PM
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Yes, that is what is called letoff and normal in a piano action, although it can probably be made smoother. Consult your technician.


Nick's Piano Showroom
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New Estonia, Mason & Hamlin, Kawai, Brodmann & Ritmuller
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Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
Nick Mauel #1381509 02/23/10 10:04 PM
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Thanks Guys. So what is "Touch" than?

Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
joeydonuts #1381565 02/23/10 11:47 PM
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You're probably feeling letoff and / or damper lift. The key is just a lever that comes into contact with the functioning parts of the piano action.

http://www.rennerusa.com/VirtualActionModel.asp

Below the interactive diagram is a keyboard that you can play to see what happens in the action. This should help you understand what you are feeling.



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Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
Dave Stahl #1381604 02/24/10 12:46 AM
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Ok, I lifted the dampener to see if that was causing this and it still did it when I played the key. So where would I make the adjustments to fix this for letoff. Are there technical words for this so I can google it. I need to make it more smooth. Thanks

Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
Dave Stahl #1381607 02/24/10 12:53 AM
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Dave, I love how the rep lever doesn't seem to be pinned and slides toward the action rail as the wippen rotates. I guess all in all it's really a great illustration but getting all the movements perfect is problematic.

http://www.rennerusa.com/VirtualActionModel.asp

Joey, several things happen during the key stroke that change the feel at various stages.

The first thing that changes the feel radically is when the back of the key contacts the damper underlever. That is well illustrated by the renner virtual action. If the damper underlevers are set too low, the damper timing will be early and will make the action seem heavy. Trying to describe where it should occur may be confusing so I recommend you ask your tech to show you the proper timing

The other two things that affect the feel at the front of the key are when the jack tender contacts the let-off button in preparation for let-off. This should happen almost simultaneously with the repetition lever contacting the drop screw. This adjustment (called drop) limits the upward movement of the repetition lever so that it (the rep lever) will not continue to propel the hammer toward the strings after the jack escapement (let-off) has occurred.

If the drop is set too early, the drop screw contacts the repetition lever too early, before the let-off button contacts the jack tender,(or there is too much drop to say it another way), the repetition lever spring will start to compress too early in the action movement cycle and you will find it very difficult to play with control at pianissimo. This is because as the repetition spring begins to compress, it makes the touch weight increase rapidly. You will notice a lack of control at low level dynamics when this occurs.

As to a crunchy feeling, you may have other issues as well. Perhaps the knuckles need some teflon powder to make the jack disengage more smoothly.

Best of luck.


Dale Fox
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Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
Dale Fox #1381613 02/24/10 01:00 AM
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Thanks everyone in helping me out!! Your educating me.

Dale, recently, my tuner adjusted the action. She explained to me that she made the hammers hit closer and the keys press less before hitting. It was a HUGE improvement...after 2 hours $120.

I watched her and adjustments did not seem to difficult for the most part if I knew what did what and where do you adjust. Perhaps a book to lead me to savings is in call.

I am wondering Dale, if you may be on to something with the Knuckles. This happens when I press very lightly and sometimes I will not hear the note. It does not happen often but the crunchy feelings is prevalent when playing light. When I go all out, I have no problem.

Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
joeydonuts #1381616 02/24/10 01:11 AM
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You're right, Joey, the motion really should feel seamless although it isn't. It sounds like you have a grand. I bet it is very well broken in. The jack pushes against a piece called a knuckle (also called a roller) that has probably become flattened.

There is a technique called "bolstering the knuckle" that can restore its roundness. There is a fore-aft adjustment for the jack that pushes on the knuckle. If it is too far aft, it will drag on the knuckle and contribute to the feel you are experiencing.

There is an adjustment for the height of the repetition lever in relationship to the jack. If that adjustment is too low, it could also contribute to that feel.

If the escapement of the jack is too early, you will definitely feel what you are feeling. If the limiter to the repetition lever called the drop screw adjustment is also too low, you will also feel what you are feeling.

If you replaced all of the parts, you would have to go through all of these adjustments and many more, many times over before the action would work right.

There isn't any one adjustment that without understanding the entire picture that you could make that would solve the problem. That is why you need a piano technician. If you are mechanically inclined and that technician will permit you to watch and to ask questions, you may begin to understand what the process is and also understand why it is not a job that a do-it-yourselfer could ever accomplish successfully. All of these adjustments affect each other. Getting them all right is a "catch-22". You can't get them right unless they already are.

There are a myriad of tools you would need. The whole job takes experienced, sensitive hands that have gained that experience and sensitivity over many years of doing that kind of work full time as a profession. Don't be surprised if your questions quickly become annoying and disruptive to what the technician is trying to accomplish. The job can take hours of concentration and quiet so that the technician can actually concentrate.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
Bill Bremmer RPT #1381617 02/24/10 01:15 AM
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Joey, your last comment came while I was writing mine. It sounds to me like the action was improved but it will take more than two hours work to make it better. It's a lot like what can be done with a very out of tune piano. It won't take long to make it sound much better but what it will take from that point to make it sound really good will take at least twice as long as it did the first time.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
joeydonuts #1381640 02/24/10 02:04 AM
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Originally Posted by joeydonuts
Thanks everyone in helping me out!! Your educating me.

Dale, recently, my tuner adjusted the action. She explained to me that she made the hammers hit closer and the keys press less before hitting. It was a HUGE improvement...after 2 hours $120.

I watched her and adjustments did not seem to difficult for the most part if I knew what did what and where do you adjust. Perhaps a book to lead me to savings is in call.

I am wondering Dale, if you may be on to something with the Knuckles. This happens when I press very lightly and sometimes I will not hear the note. It does not happen often but the crunchy feelings is prevalent when playing light. When I go all out, I have no problem.


Joey,
there a lot of interrelated adjustments. Sounds like your tech did the quick and dirty version to make things better. Depending on the condition of the action, things may be capable of more improvement. Is the crunchy feeling accompanied by a quiet squeaking noise when played slowly? If so the knuckles could benefit from some teflon powder lubricant.


Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding
Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
Dale Fox #1381741 02/24/10 08:36 AM
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Thank you all for your truthful comments. No squeek Dale. I best just pay her and get it done right. Something tells me my question had been asked before and you all watch how long it would take for the poster to say, "I get it now". lol

Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
joeydonuts #1381780 02/24/10 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by joeydonuts
When I push a white key, it will go down and before it hits the strings, I will feel the key stop and then play. This only happens in lite/soft playing. What parts am I looking at replacing in order to rid myself of this. It is not that bad, its just that If I can do it myself with a few hundred dollar parts, I am VERY mechanically inclined.

Any ideas? Is it joints?

Thanks


This could also be the back check catching the hammer tail on the way up. This will cause excessive pressure on the jack top and make it feel like the knuckle is being crushed.

Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
joeydonuts #1382291 02/24/10 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by joeydonuts
... Something tells me my question had been asked before and you all watch how long it would take for the poster to say, "I get it now". lol


Yup! Do-it-yourself action regulation has been discussed on this forum before. Piano actions are very complex. Mechanical ability goes a long way, but experience and a thorough knowledge of how things are supposed to work is absolutely essential.

What a good tech will charge is a genuine bargain.


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
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Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
joeydonuts #1382451 02/25/10 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by joeydonuts
When I push a white key, it will go down and before it hits the strings, I will feel the key stop and then play. This only happens in lite/soft playing. What parts am I looking at replacing in order to rid myself of this. It is not that bad, its just that If I can do it myself with a few hundred dollar parts, I am VERY mechanically inclined.

Any ideas? Is it joints?

Thanks

Yeah, it's probably joints.

Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
Supply #1382497 02/25/10 08:28 AM
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I've applied Aspercreme to the joints with good results.


Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College
Re: Any ideas how to rid the action of hesitant keys?
Zeno Wood #1382525 02/25/10 09:53 AM
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