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#1936324 - 08/02/12 12:14 PM Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much?  
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Bokeh Offline
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I recently got a Steinway 1098 in very good shape, and in the process of cleaning it removed the fallboard to get to the keys.

When I put it back I noticed what seems too large a gap between the bottom of the red fallboard (nameboard) felt and the tops of the whites. Like about 3/16" at middle C. Frankly, I had not noticed before taking off the fallboard what the gap was.

Keys are almost perfectly straight (using aluminum level to check)
Odd thing is that there is very little gap at the ends of the keyboard, suggesting that the bottom edge of the fallboard (where the felt is glued) arches up somewhat.

question is: does this sound like a normal gap? could I have done something wrong? I took off and put back again to check. No difference.

thanks a lot

Last edited by Bokeh; 08/02/12 12:17 PM.
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#1936329 - 08/02/12 12:22 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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A couple of Photos would help to see whether there's something amiss or that it hasn't been put back together correctly wink


Concert Tuner & Technician for the past 52 years in the United Kingdom
www.jphillipspianoservices.freeindex.co.uk : E-mail jophillips06@aol.com
#1936333 - 08/02/12 12:30 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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good point- will take some. thanks

#1936399 - 08/02/12 02:36 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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Take the fall board off and look down its length. It may be bowed. If not, it is being bent when you put it in. Either way, there may be a way you could add shims that would tend to correct the bow. Just on the outer side of the screws, for example.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
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#1936461 - 08/02/12 05:09 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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I dont recall for that model but sometime there is a screw used to support the middle of the part.

Also taking it out may allow the part to bend a little, or tightening some screws of the panel.

I would also look at the way the panel is locked at its top.


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I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#1936508 - 08/02/12 06:50 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Olek]  
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Hey guys, thanks for the input.

I have some pics on this link, if you are curious
https://picasaweb.google.com/parksequity/Keyboard

upon closer inspection it looks like there is a tiny bit of bowing on the bottom edge of the nameboard. I ran a string tightly from end to end to check for straightness, (board upsdide down) and at the center the gap between the string and the board is about the thickness of a penny. Pretty uniform curve on the arc.

It actually looks more severe than it is because the felt is more compacted in the middle of the keyboard, so I may just put a new felt strip and call it a day. I may be obsessing over nothing.

One possibility is that the nameboard may have swelled a bit (thus lengthening) and this is putting some inboard pressure on the ends, causing the slight buckle upwards. I say this because it is very tight to get it in place. Not sure if this is normal.

A more aggressive approach may be to sand a tiny bit from the ends of the nameboard, to create more clearance, and then put some weight on it for a while, to see if it regains its shape.

There was no screw holding the middle. Only two screws on either end.

THanks again!

Last edited by Bokeh; 08/02/12 06:56 PM.
#1936567 - 08/02/12 08:49 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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Better to be high than low. Or low than high, depending on your view point. Steinway specs for a arched key height with the middle being the high point of the arch.

The Steinway & Sons Technical Reference Guide refers, "Steinway vertical pianos have a "crowned" key level which is approximatly 1/32" higher in the center than on the ends." And continues to say to adjust accordingly using a "crowned" keylevel stick.

I think Steinway's reason for doing this is to maintain the geometry of the crowned keybed.






"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
#1936597 - 08/02/12 09:27 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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Bokeh,

The photos you posted are helpful. To my eye, something just doesn't seem right, and I'm going to guess that the cheek blocks haven't settled down fully in the back.

From your photos, the gap between natural keys and the fallboard looks a bit wide at the center of the keyboard. It's not too bad, but if there were a gap that wide the whole time, you would have noticed crud was on the back on the natural keysticks. Usually that red felt is just barely touching the tops of the naturals. The photos you posted of the gap at the bass end and treble end are much more typical of the way it SHOULD be all the way across.

Then I look at the photos of the cheek blocks. These both look wrong to me, (but I haven't seen enough vintage Steinways to know for sure). The cheek blocks look high in the back, indicated by the fact that notes #1 and #88 are not parallel to the top surface of the cheek blocks. That may actually be how the cheek blocks are supposed to align with the keys, but it sure looks misaligned to my eye.

If I were to come upon this piano and see the gap at the middle and the cheek blocks like this, I'd probably do some investigating to see if the fallboard weren't somehow racked or crooked and need of readjustment.

I'm going to guess that somehow you haven't gotten the cheek blocks to settle quite right into their alignment holes. The other indication that tells me this is that you said it was difficult to put back in. Yes it's the summer and the wood may have swelled, but you shouldn't have to force the parts back in, and it should still give you a satisfying "thump" when all the case parts align and everything drops back into its proper alignment holes/position.

Hope I've helped,
Chris S.
Belmont, MA


Chris Storch
Acoustician / Piano Technician
#1936621 - 08/02/12 10:11 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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If that is the biggest issue/concern with the new-to-you piano, you have it made in the shade. In other words, don't worry about the 2 mm gap.

#1936630 - 08/02/12 10:35 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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very interesting...let's see.

Dave: Crowned key level is a good clue. The keys are perfectly straight, so maybe the piano was regulated straight at some point. That would account for some disparity between middle vs. ends.

if this is so, and since it plays fine, then no sense in re-leveling just for aesthetic purposes. A bit more reveal on a new felt strip should help.

Chris: I am pretty sure the cheeks just do that on this one. The slope on the cheeks is such that to level them with 88/1 would take almost 3/4" dip on the back. way more than the gap in question. The tightness though is still a small issue, and I may sand the edges a bit till I get the "thump"

Supply: Hey, I have to complain about something!



Last edited by Bokeh; 08/02/12 10:36 PM.
#1936681 - 08/03/12 12:26 AM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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Get a new felt that is a touch thicker and put a touch of crown on the keys and you will be set.
I once took a slightly bowed fallboard and put it between two chairs with 20 lbs of weight put in the middle of it. I checked it every day with a straight edge and in about 4 days, it straightened out. I loosened the screws on the hinge to help.


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#1936729 - 08/03/12 02:24 AM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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yes for crown on the keyboard. It change touch and leverage (even if I believe it is there to avoid the cupped keyboard)



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I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#1936732 - 08/03/12 02:37 AM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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Originally Posted by Bokeh
very interesting...let's see...
Supply: Hey, I have to complain about something!


Bokeh:
First off, Welcome to PianoWorld.
I was not complaining, I was encouraging you not to worry, as in "look on the bright side and don't sweat the small stuff"

Sorry if I offended you blush

If you want to stay around on these forums and have a good time, it probably is a good idea not to burst into the door lashing out at people who are supportive and may actually have something to offer.

no worries... thumb

#1936739 - 08/03/12 03:16 AM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Supply]  
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Originally Posted by Supply
If that is the biggest issue/concern with the new-to-you piano, you have it made in the shade. In other words, don't worry about the 2 mm gap.


I would not either, but the keys may have the same key dip than in the extremes, that is probably more important.
That said if originally the piano is regulated with a little crown it change the damper timing whith time if it have been now regulated straight probably it just settled .

Ssund in a good shape, celluloid keys ?


Professional of the profession.
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I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#1936766 - 08/03/12 06:57 AM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Supply]  
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Originally Posted by Supply
Originally Posted by Bokeh
very interesting...let's see...
Supply: Hey, I have to complain about something!


Bokeh:
First off, Welcome to PianoWorld.
I was not complaining, I was encouraging you not to worry, as in "look on the bright side and don't sweat the small stuff"

Sorry if I offended you blush

If you want to stay around on these forums and have a good time, it probably is a good idea not to burst into the door lashing out at people who are supportive and may actually have something to offer.

no worries... thumb


Supply! Ten years from now we will laugh about this... grin seriously, I was totally joking in my original response to you! The point I had tried to make was that I agreed 100% with you. That is, if this is my biggest problem so far, then I may just be looking for "something to complain" So I did not mean anything negative.

I really really appreciate the advice from you and all the other folks here.

#1936769 - 08/03/12 07:05 AM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Olek]  
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Originally Posted by Kamin
Originally Posted by Supply
If that is the biggest issue/concern with the new-to-you piano, you have it made in the shade. In other words, don't worry about the 2 mm gap.


I would not either, but the keys may have the same key dip than in the extremes, that is probably more important.
That said if originally the piano is regulated with a little crown it change the damper timing whith time if it have been now regulated straight probably it just settled .

Ssund in a good shape, celluloid keys ?


Kamin,

Keys are real ivory tops. Sound is good. Needs a tune, as I just moved it. I want to let it acclimate for a couple of weeks while I figure out how much work to do on it.
Given all the responses, I won't touch the bow on the nameboard. Sounds like it should be there.

The regulation is pretty good right now, but if I have it done, I will ask for a quote to put the crown on the keys. I suspect it will not be cheap.

I really need to find someone who is familiar with upright Steinways. Open to any reccomendations for a tech in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area (North Carolina).

Thanks

#1936778 - 08/03/12 07:27 AM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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Originally Posted by Bokeh
Originally Posted by Kamin
Originally Posted by Supply
If that is the biggest issue/concern with the new-to-you piano, you have it made in the shade. In other words, don't worry about the 2 mm gap.


I would not either, but the keys may have the same key dip than in the extremes, that is probably more important.
That said if originally the piano is regulated with a little crown it change the damper timing whith time if it have been now regulated straight probably it just settled .

Ssund in a good shape, celluloid keys ?


Kamin,

Keys are real ivory tops. Sound is good. Needs a tune, as I just moved it. I want to let it acclimate for a couple of weeks while I figure out how much work to do on it.
Given all the responses, I won't touch the bow on the nameboard. Sounds like it should be there.

The regulation is pretty good right now, but if I have it done, I will ask for a quote to put the crown on the keys. I suspect it will not be cheap.

I really need to find someone who is familiar with upright Steinways. Open to any reccomendations for a tech in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area (North Carolina).

Thanks


Regulating the keys height and dip is 2-3 hours job, for the first pass (depending how it is at the beginning) but the pins can be cleaned and polihed also, which add a bit of time depending of their condition.

The sides of the keys can be cleaned also at that occasion.
Then at the end of the regulating process , small paper punchings are used to have a coherent pressure and line the hammers in check position. that could be a one hour job or a little more, depending of the precision wanted.

Your instrument is possibly a good take, assuming the hammers are not too much grooved, (if not reshaped) sign of no much use..

A good technician would now how to regulate the action,there are a few regulating dimensions to be respected, sometime a little tweaked because of wear, but nothing really special as on other Steinway verticals or Steinway grands

Last edited by Kamin; 08/03/12 07:32 AM.

Professional of the profession.
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I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#1936786 - 08/03/12 08:09 AM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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Originally Posted by Bokeh

Chris S.: "The cheek blocks look high in the back, indicated by the fact that notes #1 and #88 are not parallel to the top surface of the cheek blocks. That may actually be how the cheek blocks are supposed to align with the keys, but it sure looks misaligned to my eye."

Bokeh: I am pretty sure the cheeks just do that on this one. The slope on the cheeks is such that to level them with 88/1 would take almost 3/4" dip on the back. way more than the gap in question.


Bokeh,

You'll notice I carefully chose the the word "parallel" in my original post, not the word "level". On my Steinway upright, (Model 45, circa 2000), the top surfaces of my cheekblocks are PARALLEL with the top surface of notes #1 and #88.

I've uploaded a photo comparing your treble cheekblock to the treble cheekblock on my Steinway. I've included red lines to show the parallelism that I'm trying to point out. The photo is located here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/O8Hhh8SpZ8gwXb_ADtQ4APuw1gXkje1DOU2j-yOdvaE?feat=directlink

Do you see what I mean? I still think those cheekblocks on your piano are not seated properly, but I wish you the best of luck in figuring it out. If the case parts fit before you took them out, they really shouldn't need to be sanded to go back in. I'd caution you to check several more times before modifying case parts.

Cheers,
Chris S.
Belmont, MA

Last edited by Chris Storch; 08/03/12 08:19 AM.

Chris Storch
Acoustician / Piano Technician
#1936788 - 08/03/12 08:34 AM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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Chris,

First, thanks a bunch for taking the time to look into this. I really appreciate the input. I am trying to learn as much as I can, but only in order to know what to ask and how to deal with a professional tech when I get one involved.

I did not mean to dismiss your observation about the cheeks. I actually meant "parallel" also, so I picked the wrong word. I have added a picture based on your diagram which is interesting. I checked the geometries, and every top on the piano case and cheecks are square and parallel. The only outlier is the angle of the keys. They are sloping downward on the back, relative to the rest of the piano. It is hard to tell on the picture because of the perspective, but the cheeks are parallel to the top of the piano frame (all right angles in my wire frame I drew). That may have given the false impression that the cheeks were not seated right.

This would suggest to me that it could be that it is a regulating issue. Combined with the lack of crown on the keyboard, It may be that the tech who aligned the keys put a weird slope on them. What do you think? (and thanks!)

https://picasaweb.google.com/parksequity/Keyboard#5772421710597769554


#1936791 - 08/03/12 08:45 AM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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Some smaller pianos have a visible slope on the keys, On the same Steinway than yours I seem to recall it may sound a little abnormal, but it is (normal).

Eventually, your keys may be a hair high, but you can check that the bottom of the front of the key may not be too high :

the sharps possibly goes too low vs the white keys

Last edited by Kamin; 08/03/12 08:53 AM.

Professional of the profession.
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I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#1936792 - 08/03/12 08:51 AM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Olek]  
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perhaps I will shave 2 inches from the front piano legs, so that the keys are parallel to the floor.

(Joke!)

#1936801 - 08/03/12 09:14 AM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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Originally Posted by Bokeh


perhaps I will shave 2 inches from the front piano legs, so that the keys are parallel to the floor.

(Joke!)

Hi wink You may be joking but the moment where the keys are really level (as can be seen with a bubble level)differs depending of the model and the brand.
I like to ask that information, it may help to verify if a keyboard is at the intended height, hence angle of attack.

Ofetn, the horizontal is attined a little before the full key dip (on a vertical) I may change the sensations, the hand may have the impression it slips outward of inward.

It may relate with the height of the keybed, and the one of the pianist, too.

PS your white keys does not seem to me too high ...


Last edited by Kamin; 08/03/12 09:16 AM.

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I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#1936812 - 08/03/12 10:03 AM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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Bokeh,

The keys are supposed to slope front to back. They should be taller in the front.

The cheekblocks on my Steinway are thicker (taller) in the front and slope downward to match the slope of the keys. I measured 67 mm at the front, and 65 mm at about the location on the hinge. Therefore the cheekblocks (on my piano anyway) are taller in the front and slope down, front to back, to match the sloping of the keys.

In your photo, you seem to be pointing out the squareness of the cheekblock to the arm. Perhaps you're also pointing out the fact that the top surface of the cheekblock is also parallel to the top surface of the arm. These measurements and dimensions are immaterial.

Your photo:
https://picasaweb.google.com/parksequity/Keyboard#5772421710597769554

My photo:
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ng1MeY6XkLKsnkSoxQCQBfuw1gXkje1DOU2j-yOdvaE?feat=directlink

What matters is if the underside surface of the cheekblock is mated well to the surface of the keybed. It usually slots into place with a wooden dowel, and then gets locked down with a screw from underneath. What I'm trying to get at is that when my Steinway cheekblocks are in properly and fully mated to the keybed, one of the indications that it's in right is that top surface of the cheekblock slopes in the same way that the keys slope. Does yours do that?

I think the other techs who have been posting about putting a crown to the keyboard are slightly misleading you. It won't solve the gap problem that you originally asked about. The crowning on a Steinway keyboard is 1/32 of an inch at the center. It's almost imperceptible, and many techs don't even bother to do it because it's such a nuisance - especially on an upright. But, it is the "official" Steinway protocol, for whatever that's worth. If you have your tech put a crown on your keyboard, you may just barely notice it when you check it with your level. And it's most certainly not going to solve the 3/16 inch gap at the center of the keyboard that you cited in your original post.

Key HEIGHT is another matter. If I'm wrong, and your cheekblocks are properly fitted, and all the case parts are where they should be, that gap between the naturals and the fallboard is too large at the center of the keyboard. It MAY mean the keys have to be raised up to their proper height (it also MAY be a warped fallboard, like you've noticed). Nevertheless, please call your tech. Adjusting key height is a job for a tech. It is ONE step in a full regulation job, and it should be one of the FIRST steps in a regulation job. Adjusting the key height and putting the 1/32 Steinway crown on the keyboard are done at the same time.

Oh, and don't put a new felt strip on the fallboard if you're going to get a tech in to do a key height adjustment. Have the tech do the work, and then if there's still a gap that you don't like after the key height adjustment, THEN replace the felt.

(When your tech arrives, ask him or her if they think your keys are ivory.)

Cheers,
Chris S.
Belmont, MA

Last edited by Chris Storch; 08/03/12 10:20 AM.

Chris Storch
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#1936923 - 08/03/12 02:22 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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Chris

For information please, what is the purpose of a 1/32" crown?


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
#1936973 - 08/03/12 04:02 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Withindale]  
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Ian,

I don't know what the purpose of crowning the keys is exactly. A Steinway-trained technician may have a reason for you.

But I believe that the Steinway tech manuals say that all Steinway pianos should have a 1/32" crown. Key leveling sticks are manufactured and sold with a 1/32" crown to them:
https://www.wessellnickelandgross.com/index.php/tools/misc-tools/key-level-stick.html

Do you want my opinion of the crown to Steinway keys?

Chris S.
Belmont, MA


Chris Storch
Acoustician / Piano Technician
#1936976 - 08/03/12 04:04 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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Phil D Offline
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Phil D  Offline
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My workshop tech teacher told me they crown the keyboards so that they appear flatter. An optical illusion makes a perfectly flat keyboard appear higher at the edges, so they crown them in the middle. I don't know how accurate that is, but he was trained at the Steinway factory in Hamburg.

#1936977 - 08/03/12 04:13 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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Emmery Offline
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My assumption on the practice of keyboard crowning is that it pre compensates for the additional wear and settling that takes place in the central part of the keyboard. After things level out it can be left that way according to some techs.


Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region
#1936989 - 08/03/12 04:38 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Phil D]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Rochester MN
Originally Posted by Phil D
My workshop tech teacher told me they crown the keyboards so that they appear flatter. An optical illusion makes a perfectly flat keyboard appear higher at the edges, so they crown them in the middle. I don't know how accurate that is, but he was trained at the Steinway factory in Hamburg.


It is accurate. If we sit at a perfectly flat and quite wide desk, we perceive it as flat because our brain compensates for our optics. If you draw a series of lines perpendicular to the edge of the desk, ala keys, it will appear to us that the far edges are cupping up and that we are percieving a section of a curve. If the drawn lines do not start at the edge of the desk, but rather from a line drawn parallel to the edge of the desk, we will perceive an interesting illusion. The desk will appear flat and a cupped surface will be perceived concurrently. It is a classic optical illusion.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#1936990 - 08/03/12 04:41 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Phil D]  
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Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#1936993 - 08/03/12 04:43 PM Re: Gap between nameboard felt and key tops--too much? [Re: Bokeh]  
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Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
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