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Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
Sparky McBiff #1979887 10/28/12 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Sparky McBiff

Thank you for asking this exact question because I had been thinking about asking the exact same thing.

I am by no means an accomplished player and my Hailun 198 is more than enough for me but I certainly wouldn't be averse to exploring the option of investing in some exceptional hammers if I think it will make a big difference with the piano.

I've come to accept that I will probably never splurge on a +7 ft piano but I am very open into seeing how much better I can make my piano sound, if possible.

I'm not sure what a full set of hammers could set me back but I'm single with no kids (only birds) so I do have the ability to splurge on frivolous things on occasion if I so choose.

I will be following this thread closely.


I wouldn't for a Hailun. The hammers are "cold pressed", much like some of these after market hammers. The Samick 140cm grand I tuned the other day, on the other hand....

Replacing a set of hammers will cost you well over a grand. Probably closer to two grand. Maybe more. It's hard to say because technicians have different pricing formulas.

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Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
beethoven986 #1979892 10/28/12 10:28 PM
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I appreciate the information 986.

I've been told that my 198 has Abel hammers but if the consensus seems to be that any aftermarket hammers wouldn't make much of a difference, certainly not enough to justify the cost, then I'll probably just save my money.

Thanks.

Last edited by Sparky McBiff; 10/28/12 10:29 PM.
Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
beethoven986 #1979896 10/28/12 10:35 PM
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Beethoven986....question, why not a Hailun?

Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
beethoven986 #1979898 10/28/12 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by beethoven986
Originally Posted by Sparky McBiff

Thank you for asking this exact question because I had been thinking about asking the exact same thing.

I am by no means an accomplished player and my Hailun 198 is more than enough for me but I certainly wouldn't be averse to exploring the option of investing in some exceptional hammers if I think it will make a big difference with the piano.

I've come to accept that I will probably never splurge on a +7 ft piano but I am very open into seeing how much better I can make my piano sound, if possible.

I'm not sure what a full set of hammers could set me back but I'm single with no kids (only birds) so I do have the ability to splurge on frivolous things on occasion if I so choose.

I will be following this thread closely.


I wouldn't for a Hailun. The hammers are "cold pressed", much like some of these after market hammers. The Samick 140cm grand I tuned the other day, on the other hand....

Replacing a set of hammers will cost you well over a grand. Probably closer to two grand. Maybe more. It's hard to say because technicians have different pricing formulas.


A set of premium hammers will definitely make a major difference. There's a lot more to it than hot or cold pressing. As I mentioned earlier, this is what I do -- upgrade new pianos for better performance. (Just like upgrading a stock car with better tires, brakes, engine, etc. or a computer with more memory, etc.)

Piano makers have successfully developed the mythology that their piano is best as delivered from the factory -- even to the idea that if all X,000 parts don't have their brand name on the product that the piano is less than what it was.

This is rubbish. For one example, there are not enough premium hammers produced in the world to supply even one significant manufacturer. Low-production-volume, custom or semi-custom components are available for those who wish to enjoy greater performance from their instruments. Someone with technical know-how can implement an upgrade strategy for your particular instrument, goals and budget.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
editor emeritus of Piano Technicians Journal
Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
Sparky McBiff #1979899 10/28/12 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Sparky McBiff
I appreciate the information 986.

I've been told that my 198 has Abel hammers but if the consensus seems to be that any aftermarket hammers wouldn't make much of a difference, certainly not enough to justify the cost, then I'll probably just save my money.Thanks.



That is one of the difficulties with the internet. How can someone sort out which is the correct answer when there are multiple and differing responses?

Consensus may be a false approach. The consensus of people actually doing upgrades is that there is significant merit to be enjoyed. The opinions of people not actually doing that kind of work shouldn't really matter.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
editor emeritus of Piano Technicians Journal
Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
BoseEric #1979900 10/28/12 10:58 PM
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Most pianos can be significantly upgraded without replacing hammers or any other parts by a good enough tech. Often it is not worth doing, but replacing parts is even more expensive.


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Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
Sparky McBiff #1979901 10/28/12 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Sparky McBiff
I appreciate the information 986.

I've been told that my 198 has Abel hammers but if the consensus seems to be that any aftermarket hammers wouldn't make much of a difference, certainly not enough to justify the cost, then I'll probably just save my money.

Thanks.


I couldn't tell you where they're made, but the process is more important than where they're from. Hailun uses the so called "cold pressed" hammer, which is more resilient than your typical mass produced hammer, and thus produces a better tone (at least it should). In this case, I think replacement would be a waste of money; sure, (insert aftermarket hammer here) might be "better", but you won't see the same kind of transformation that you'd see when replacing a set of Yamaha or Renner hammers with the same set.

Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
BDB #1979902 10/28/12 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
Most pianos can be significantly upgraded without replacing hammers or any other parts by a good enough tech. Often it is not worth doing, but replacing parts is even more expensive.


Not at all what I'm talking about. Pianos can indeed be improved by knowledgeable techs. A day of a tech performing TLC on a piano can make a huge improvement. I have done that and continue to do that. I know what kinds of benefits can be realized with that approach.

I also know that you can't turn a mid-grade piano into a premium instrument with TLC tweaking.

The kinds of upgrades I'm speaking about are order-of-magnitude differences that actually take the instrument up to another level of existence. As I quoted earlier, the RX6 owner said "Now I don't have to get a Bosendorfer." I had already done the TLC stuff and he noticed that. The upgrade with high-performance action components, premium high-energy hammers and Wapin bridge modification was something he recognized as taking his piano into a whole different realm of performance.


Keith Akins, RPT
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USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
editor emeritus of Piano Technicians Journal
Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
kpembrook #1979913 10/28/12 11:50 PM
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Let me add to the experience of your client Keith......I have a 1927 M&H RBB Grand Piano that was transformed into an incredible sounding piano by changing to the "Isaac Profundo" Bass Strings, adding the Wapin Bridge Modification, and installing a high-performance set of the Isaac "Classical West" Hammers.

There is no discussion, no theories etc as to what made this remarkable difference...those 3 items, together, are what transformed my M&H into one very fine sounding Grand Piano.

Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
Grandpianoman #1979915 10/28/12 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Grandpianoman
Beethoven986....question, why not a Hailun?


Because I don't think the hammers are bad enough to warrant replacing.

Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
beethoven986 #1979926 10/29/12 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by beethoven986
Originally Posted by Grandpianoman
Beethoven986....question, why not a Hailun?


Because I don't think the hammers are bad enough to warrant replacing.


What I'm talking about is not about replacing "bad" hammers. I'm throwing away good hammers on new pianos -- to the delight of customers who are enjoying the radical improvement.


Keith Akins, RPT
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USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
editor emeritus of Piano Technicians Journal
Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
kpembrook #1979934 10/29/12 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by kpembrook
Originally Posted by beethoven986
Originally Posted by Grandpianoman
Beethoven986....question, why not a Hailun?


Because I don't think the hammers are bad enough to warrant replacing.


What I'm talking about is not about replacing "bad" hammers. I'm throwing away good hammers on new pianos -- to the delight of customers who are enjoying the radical improvement.


Oh, I know; you are talking about replacing "bad" hammers, they just happen to be new wink There are certainly pianos that I'd be inclined to do this on (Kawai, Samick, anything with Renner Blues, and certain Abels, etc). I just don't think the hammers that Hailun uses fall into this category.

Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
BoseEric #1980119 10/29/12 01:40 PM
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I find it interesting that there has not been any kind of consensus suggestion for the specifics of this particular piano. Unfortunately (at least for me) I think many techs experienced with a wide variety of hammers are not participating.

Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
BoseEric #1980124 10/29/12 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by BoseEric
I find it interesting that there has not been any kind of consensus suggestion for the specifics of this particular piano. Unfortunately (at least for me) I think many techs experienced with a wide variety of hammers are not participating.


You haven't given us a specific piano. Also, there aren't an inordinate number of high end hammer choices. You can get Renner Blue Points, Abel Naturals, any of the three Ronsen types, or one of the two Isaac types. The first two are kind of hard out of the box; wouldn't be my preference, but the Ravenscroft folks use the Blue Points and they sound lovely on their pianos, so it can be done. Beyond that, I suggest acquiring samples of the Ronsen and Isaac hammers and testing them on sample notes in the piano and pick the one that matches closest to your taste.

Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
BoseEric #1980145 10/29/12 02:50 PM
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Have a question....how would any type of hammer react differently on a new soundboard as opposed to an old, working soundboard?

Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
Grandpianoman #1980151 10/29/12 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Grandpianoman
Have a question....how would any type of hammer react differently on a new soundboard as opposed to an old, working soundboard?


There are way too many variables, here.

Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
BoseEric #1980173 10/29/12 03:42 PM
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Perhaps a tech can add some info?

What are some of the most important variables?

Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
Grandpianoman #1980177 10/29/12 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Grandpianoman
Perhaps a tech can add some info?

What are some of the most important variables?


I am a tech and I've done full set hammer replacement, and touchweight analysis/correction for that matter, and seen countless before and afters that were done by others.

The mechanical impedance of the soundboard, and the string scale are important. And while the string scale won't change from piano to piano of the same model (or shouldn't), the impedance is variable, especially as the piano ages. How it changes over time will partly be determined by how the board was originally constructed. Generally speaking, lighter, softer hammers for lighter and more flexible boards, and vice versa. Selecting the wrong type of hammer will either make the piano sound strident, or lacking in power. To be sure, this is grossly over simplifying things. One could write a book about this. If you want a more in depth answer, I suggest asking Del.

Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
beethoven986 #1980178 10/29/12 04:05 PM
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Sorry, I did not know you were a tech...thanks for the info.

Can one surmise then, that a well made and designed high-performance hammer would sound good on an old working soundboard as well as a new soundboard?

Keith Atkins experience with his clients new pianos, and my experience with an 80+ year old soundboard would seem to bear this out, no?

Re: Hammer suggestions: modern board
BoseEric #1980187 10/29/12 04:28 PM
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Stringing scales do change from piano to piano of the same model.


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