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#2065033 - 04/15/13 02:56 PM New Book - Pianos Inside Out  
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showard Offline
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Have many of you had the chance to see the new book, "Pianos Inside Out" by Mario Igrec. It was recently released and I just got mine in the mail today. It is by far the most complete book that I believe has ever been written on piano technology. The Reblitz book up to this point has been an old standard as a manual on piano tuning and repair. It seems clear that this book will now be the new standard. It covers most of what is in Reblitz and much more and provides much more up to date information. I just wondered if anyone else had gotten a chance to read the book yet. The book is available on Mario's website. We also now carry the book in our online store.


Steve Howard
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Owner of Howard Piano Industries
www.howardpianoindustries.com
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#2065150 - 04/15/13 07:52 PM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: showard]  
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When Arthur Reblitz's book was published in the 1970s it was a "quantum leap" forward in piano technical books, and deservedly became a standard text. It represented a new standard of presentation, and explored many technical matters in depth in a way that had not previously been done in any book. And it was copisuly illustarted with clear photographs.

I believe that "Pianos Inside Out" represents a similar leap forward, for the 21st Century, incorporating all the latest thinking, techniques and materials.


#2065227 - 04/15/13 11:08 PM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: showard]  
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I have seen the excerpts on his website, and it looks to be very thorough. One of these days, I will probably add it to my collection.

#2065263 - 04/16/13 12:09 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: showard]  
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Just ordered it from PianoTech


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#2065441 - 04/16/13 10:26 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: showard]  
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At first I wanted to write that I'm glad to see, at least as far as the excerpts are concerned, that the text uses SI (metric) units, not imperial with metric approximations in brackets. But then I saw that this only applied to a part of the regulation and touch/geometry sections. In fact, I wonder if these were written by (or adapted from) someone else?

A bit sad, this being the 21st century.

Other concepts are also still pretty much Americanised by the look of things, e.g. tool names (Channellock pliers vs. tongue & groove, linesman pliers vs. combination pliers) or pictures (e.g. an upright's hammer rail resting on a felt on the action bracket, rather than the rail being fixed and having a hinged, movable insert - my understanding is that this is found mostly on American uprights, but I'd gladly stand corrected. I've not seen it once on German pianos, but I'm not a pro...)

Edit: I'm not for one moment trying to put this book down. To the contrary, I'll probably buy it at some stage. I just find the inconsistent handling of Imperial vs. metric units a bit strange. (At least Reblitz was consistent in this regard, and I could understand his approach, him being a child of his time and his country.)

Last edited by Mark R.; 04/16/13 10:42 AM. Reason: Given in post.

Autodidact interested in piano technology.
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1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.
#2065452 - 04/16/13 10:49 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: showard]  
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I've been waiting patiently for this book for a while now and will be putting in an order. Not too concerned about metric/imperial metrology issues, although it is a statement about who the book is intended for considering that imperial measurement is only used by the countries in red below...
[Linked Image]

Hopefully we will get some more postings here in regards to some more in depth reviews on this book, maybe pointing out gaps that have been filled in comparison to Reblitz's book.


Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region
#2065478 - 04/16/13 11:25 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: showard]  
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In two days I'll be getting together with the author Mario Igrec. I have been consulting with him about his book for about two years. I am looking forward to seeing the final product.

#2065560 - 04/16/13 01:13 PM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: Supply]  
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I will buy it for sure. Mario is also from Croatia smile

#2065592 - 04/16/13 02:36 PM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: Emmery]  
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Originally Posted by Emmery
Hopefully we will get some more postings here in regards to some more in depth reviews on this book, maybe pointing out gaps that have been filled in comparison to Reblitz's book.


Reblitz was one of the first attempts at a piano technology 101 textbook. It came out of a generation that had very little access to the engineering involved in piano design, piano building and maintenance. So most of the advice is to record what was there and put it back with out messing around with the design "wisdom". There was no attempt at understanding why anything was as it was. No options are presented other than observe current designs and rebuilding is simply a copy of the original design (even if the design or factory implementation was faulty).

Mario's book, a version of which I proofed a couple of years ago, is way way more comprehensive than its ancestor. One of my favorite parts of the book's premise is that while he covers current practices, he does that by thoroughly examining different schools of thought on the practice in question. Reasoning for the different approaches are presented, giving the reader enough info to both follow their own design biases and also to challenge their own biases.

There is enough in there for the student of piano technology, as well as references that an experienced would find interesting and informative.

One of the things that really impressed me about Mario and his approach to the work, was that when he received feedback on the proofs of the original version of the book, he took the feedback, thought about it, questioned the reviewers regarding their feedback, and then completely revised the scope and content of the book. The re-write took I think another 3 yrs or so, and went though several scope permutations. That means the resulting book is very well thought out...much more comprehensive and cohesive than a first or even 2nd draft could ever be.

Jim Ialeggio



Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA
#2065604 - 04/16/13 03:13 PM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: showard]  
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That is impressive, does it incluede the old and more recent scaling choices ?

I am beginning to translate for myself the K.Fenner_J.Grossbach reference book on, mostly design. That one is worth the effort to "read" and is clearly written.
Bases of design, older recipes, their value and evolving...

Exactly what I was looking for..

Greetings.


Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#2065710 - 04/16/13 08:32 PM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: Mark R.]  
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Hi Mark R.

See the relevant page from the Introduction that explains the use of units of measurements in the book. In a few cases I used only one unit, mostly in sentences that compare values in relative terms (e.g., "Each gram of hammer weight affects touchweight by 5-6 g") and when there is a lot of math. Chapter 9, Touch, Geometry, and Playability, is exclusively in SI units. I just couldn't bring myself to calculate in ounces, US or British. Sorry.

Personally, I'd prefer to have used the SI system throughout, but decided to use American measurements as primary because that's my main market. SI units follow in square brackets in almost all cases.

There is another intentional "inconsistency" to mention: I used fractional vs. decimal inches based on how they are typically used in the States. For example, hammer blow may be expressed as 1 7/8", but key dip as 0.400".

So far as the terminology used in the UK, the names of parts and their US equivalents are listed in the Glossary thanks to the generous involvement by Allen Wright, RPT, who is stationed in London; and John Ross, former National Manager of Technical Services at Steinway & Sons London. I also consulted various web sites of which the most useful proved to be the one by Fletcher & Newman's (click “Piano Parts Catalogue,” then “Visual Product Identifier”), and Herbert Shead's The Anatomy of the Piano. I am sure I missed a lot of terms in common use in the UK, such as "combination pliers."

I hope you understand that I couldn't possibly cover or show all design variations, such as the hammer rest rails in verticals (in fact, there are photos that show the type of rail you mention--one is of a Petrof upright on p. 197--though not in the context of adjusting the blow distance). I think the book is sufficiently exhaustive with 761 named figures, some of which contain multiple images.

Mario Igrec, author of Pianos Inside Out

#2065713 - 04/16/13 08:37 PM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: Emmery]  
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Hi Emmery,

I just wanted to clarify that the inch/pound/ounce units I used in the book are American, not Imperial.

#2065830 - 04/17/13 02:49 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: showard]  
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Hi the book seem like a nice recollection of interesting informations and reflexions, it seem to be really clean and easy to read

sources are given, there are good reflexions.

It seem to be a "state of art" certainly with some leaning toward US based procedures, but not only.

Congratulations

I would buy a pdf version if it existed (Not to say I do not prefer real books wink


Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#2065838 - 04/17/13 03:12 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: Mario Igrec]  
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Olek Offline
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Originally Posted by Mario Igrec
Hi Emmery,

I just wanted to clarify that the inch/pound/ounce units I used in the book are American, not Imperial.


I have seen the exerpts on lead in keys. Is not there a mass parameter that imply that the more massive key will create a more springy push on the capstan when the key will bottom (better inertia to send the impact)?

That may be the main effect of the lead, to me; and effect on tone "more" than on touch.

If we push the catapult comparaison to the max the flex of the key must be taken in consideration.

The lead itself is of a lesser importance than it seem :

As stated and demonstrated by Poletti there :

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6GjQDkF_AMQQVI5Z3NhS3F4cGc/edit?usp=sharing

Not to say it is not perceived, but I had once a piano wher neighbours keys did have no lead, then 2 leads (and assist springs). Even knowing it, the main difference was not so apparent. The tone was different, stronger with the lead.



Last edited by Olek; 04/17/13 03:13 AM.

Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#2065843 - 04/17/13 03:36 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: showard]  
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Dear Mario,

Many thanks for your detailed response, and for pointing me to the glossary (which I hadn't looked at yet).

Regarding your answer to Emmery concerning units, I was under the impression that inch, pound and ounce are the same in the US customary and the Imperial systems anyway - respectively 25.4 mm, 0.453592 kg and 28.349523 g. If they aren't, my confusion is now complete.

Anyhow, not wanting to distract from the thread any further... and best wishes for sales of the book.


Autodidact interested in piano technology.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.
#2065931 - 04/17/13 09:48 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: showard]  
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Nice thoughts, Jim. I am very much looking forward to seeing the completed work. Reblitz's book in its time represented a big leap forward from anything that had gone before. I am sure that Mario's book represents an even bigger leap, and of course much further forward.

#2065949 - 04/17/13 10:23 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: Olek]  
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Originally Posted by Olek


Poletti writes:
" Putting lead in the front portion of the key only makes the action heavier under the finger at
most playing speeds as well as more sluggish on return.*
*When we release a key, it is the force of gravity pulling the unbalanced mass within the system
downwards which returns the key. Putting weight in the front of the key slows return in two ways:
(1) It reduces the imbalance, and thereby reduces the force applied by gravity to the entire system
(2) It increases the total mass which must be accelerated."



Greetings,

When we release a key, usually the first force on it is the repetition spring pushing the key back up.
The effect of slowing due to weight isn't much of a factor, since the modern piano action will play faster than
humans can move. If it were excessive, ( greater than say, 40 grams at A1 or 35 grams at C4), the action will slow down.

We can do without the lead, if we can live with little hammers. However, fortepianos don't fill halls, or produce the sustain with their small hammers, light wood cases, and low tension. If we want the power to do what concert pianos do today, we have to have hammers larger than can be played without lead.
Regards,

#2065950 - 04/17/13 10:26 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: showard]  
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In the UK we have a peculiarly split measurement system.

I grew up on imperial measures. But we learned metric too of course. And then in 1971 our currency went decimal. And later there was a move to go metric. Shops had to convert all their weights and measures. The poor old butcher would get flung in jail and left to rot, if he sold you a pound of steak instead on something under half a Kilo.

But the wholesale rush towards metrication was halted, it seems, by a sudden governmental realisation of the huge amount of trade that the UK does with the USA. THe USA has not the slightest interest in metric measures.

So the wholesale rush to metrication stopped in the UK. This has left us with a strange split system. Fuel for the car is priced and sold in Litres (liters) BUT, all the motoring magazines express fuel consumption in MPG (miles per gallon), and all motorway signs are in Miles!

I once saw a sign at a beauty spot that gives the length of a loch (lake) in miles and the width in metres!

When I was teaching traditional darkroom photography I found that students often had little clear idea of weights and measures in either system. I would ask "Do you use metric or imperial" and they would reply "Oh metric", and then I'd ask "What height are you then?" and they'd say "Five foot ten"! And if I asked them to guess the width of the darkroom, they couldn't.

#2065969 - 04/17/13 11:04 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: showard]  
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Mario, congratulations on your photographs.


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
#2065970 - 04/17/13 11:15 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: Mark R.]  
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Hi Mark,

I looked this up a while back. The distance measurements may be the same, but those for volume are not. You can't use US cup and spoon/teaspoon measures for recipes in British cookbooks or vice versa. For example, an Imperial Gallon, as I understand, is approx. 4.5 liters, and the US Gallon is 3.78. There is even a different number of tablespoons or fluid ounces that go into a pint, or a quart, or... Something like 3 per in one system and 4 per in the other. Having grown up in a metric system, all of this is very archaic to me, but I simply want the readers in the two largest markets--US and the rest of the world--to be equally at home.

#2065985 - 04/17/13 11:48 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: showard]  
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Aside from the metric system, there are two other main systems of measurement in use today: the Imperial system of measurement and the USA system of measurement. The two systems are often confused with each other and sometimes one or the other terms are used to collectively refer to both systems (in particular, Europeans often use the term Imperial system to refer to either systems). However, despite similarities between the two, they are different systems. To properly explain their relationship, one needs to consider the history behind them.

The Anglo-Saxons simply adapted the units of measurements used around 1000 B.C. (which are considered to be German in origin), MODIFIED THEM, and renamed them from the English Units or Measurements to Imperial System of Measurement.

Mario is correct; The United States Customary System of weights and measures is derived from the British Imperial System; a traditional system of weights and measures used officially in Great Britain from 1824 until the adoption of the metric system beginning in 1965.

Interesting to note the Imperial system of measurement was mainly invented by Magna Carta.


Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
#2065987 - 04/17/13 12:02 PM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: David Boyce]  
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Originally Posted by David Boyce
I once saw a sign at a beauty spot that gives the length of a loch (lake) in miles and the width in metres!

This is very interesting and it often shows up in an international forum like PW. I shall attempt to translate the above from Scottish (British English?) into American.

I once saw a sign at a scenic overlook that gives the length of a lake in miles and the width in meters!

Even the spelling changes and a beauty spot is a totally different concept.

grin

Why does 'Scottish' have two tees and 'British' has only one?

BTW, I ordered the book.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2065988 - 04/17/13 12:04 PM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: Olek]  
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Hi Olek,

The leads in keys allow you to balance the action statically, i.e. adjust the amount of force (which, since the key is horizontal, is the same as weight) the finger needs to exert to lift the hammer. How much lead is needed to achieve a desirable finger force (45-55 g downweight and 20-30 g upweight) depends on the weight of the hammer and shank assembly, the wippen, the action leverage ratio, and any imbalance in the weight of the two ends of the key itself. The more weight is in the keys, the lighter it is to push down the key slowly. I am sure you know all this, but wanted to state it here for those who may not.

The second effect of the leads is the inertia they introduce. The faster you try to push down the key, the more significant the effect. Pauletti's article appears to deal with that, as does recent research by Darrell Fandrich and John Rhodes. Darrell and John point out that the leads in keys, regardless of their placement (more weight placed closer to the balance rail has less inertia than less weight at the end of the key), have much less significance than the inertia of the hammer assembly. In the book I don't go into calculating inertial forces, but explain its effects and show why placing key leads close to the fulcrum is advantageous, to the extent that key inertia matters by itself. Inertia is not all bad: it tends to even out small variations in finger force, making one's scales, passagework, and arpeggios sound more even. Perhaps that is what Poletti explores in his article (will read it later).

So far as the hammer inertia is concerned, there are two guiding principles:

a) The more massive the hammer, the more inert the system will be and
b) The higher the hammer assembly leverage (the ratio between the distance from the center pin to the molding and from the center pin to the knuckle, roughly speaking), the greater the moment of inertia of that assembly

Empirically, we've known this for a long time: heavy hammers and high-leverage actions play like a truck. You can't play fast repeats pp and it takes extra energy to overcome the added inertia. In general, a lower-ratio action is more suitable for heavy hammers and vice versa. But leverage also affects the key dip, and since the hammer blow distance needs to be within a few mm of the standard of around 47 mm, we don't have much leeway--an action that most pianists would consider modern and desirable has a key dip of around 10 mm and leverage of 5.4-5.8.

There are several devices (wippen assist springs, TouchRail, magnets) that allow reducing the amount of lead in keys, but they don't address the major source of inertia: the hammer and shank. However, from experience, they [i]do[/] make a difference and are worth considering. Another important factor in the management of inertia is how the leverages of the three levers of the piano action (the key, the wippen, and the hammer/shank) are distributed. Traditionally, technicians have lowered the action leverage by moving key capstans, but that doesn't address the leverage of the hammer assembly. It makes more sense to increase the knuckle distance first. This lowers the hammer assembly leverage, reduces the wear, compacting, and building of friction at the knuckle, and substantially reduces the overall action inertia.

The new insights in action inertia are very exciting, and will without doubt further the understanding and control of hammer mass and leverage.

#2065998 - 04/17/13 12:43 PM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: showard]  
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Just ordered the book!



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#2065999 - 04/17/13 12:45 PM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: Mario Igrec]  
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Speaking of weights and measures, I've ordered your book, Mr Igrec: it looks really good. I cited you on the flange center pin adjustment in another thread here, by the way. I hope I got your position on the appropriate degree of friction right!!

Last edited by johnlewisgrant; 04/17/13 12:45 PM.
#2066168 - 04/17/13 06:33 PM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: Mario Igrec]  
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@Mario Igrec:

I do have the A.Reblitz's book since '85 and I will get your book soon. I need all the help I can get!!

Thank you, Mr.Igrec,

-H.W.


"Respond intelligently, even to unintelligent treatment."
-Lao Tzu
#2066242 - 04/17/13 10:11 PM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: johnlewisgrant]  
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Will check that thread later. I will be at the PTG MARC conference the rest of the week. If any of you plan to be there, come by the book signing booth and say hello or stop by my classes.

#2066356 - 04/18/13 03:08 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: Mario Igrec]  
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Olek  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 9,230
France
Originally Posted by Mario Igrec
Will check that thread later. I will be at the PTG MARC conference the rest of the week. If any of you plan to be there, come by the book signing booth and say hello or stop by my classes.


Thanks for you answer, I also will write later.

Wanted to point that the hammer is the part that ask most of our efforts. Pauletti state that the effort to accelerate the shank is what counts, more lead will slow the key on return, but the effort that raise is mostly to breakl inertia, once done all the work is done to raise the hammer, the key mass is of no much importance in itself.

But Poletti talk of rigid elements, and refer mostly to Fortepianas, indeed. His demonstration show that of course the lead cannot "help" us to fasten any heavy loaded action (that was the belief for long that if you add the correct amount of lead the hammer mass is correctly balanced at 50-25 so all is well)


Also for some reason, you are "obliged" to raise the key mass if the hammers are too heavy for a given action, that provide some sort of play ability, may be because it raise the power of the attack.
(I mean if you do not plan to make a total balancing and adaptation of the action or if you do not know that a certain hammer mass correspond to a certain AR, which is/was the case here in some elsewhere reputable shop(s))Hence those "precedent generation" jobs I see regularly.

indeed playing fast and ppp is a challenge then, but I played an extremely heavily loaded keyboard recently, to find that strangely the sensation of inertia provided at the key helps the play-ability.

The source for that is probably more in the better "whip effect" than in any added mass.

Not to say I would recommend that solution (screwed leads up to note 88 on the underside of the keys). plus the balance wear will fasten, mortises, etc.

I see the BW as a diagnostic tool, the leverage within the action is more what gives a good behavior than static balancing, in my opinion.

THe way the leads are installed matters, but more holes in the keys mean more flex despite the lead, in my opinion, so if we want to have more mass around the balance I believe we have to find other solutions that a lot of lead (I also think that a keyboard that have a too strong balancing of the keys by itself is disturbing, if the sensations are not related to a good hammer weight progression. For that, I agree with the idea of D. Stanwood.

As said Ed Foote, as we count on the whippen spring to break the key inertia on return, heigh inertia keys oblige to have too string springs, creating other problems and slowing the return.


Have a good MARC, and good luck for the book, (you do not need luck there, I guess it will do its path because of its value)

BTW you did mention unison with different strings length (which is common even when not visible).

Did you take that in account in the tuning thread , for unison tuning ? (even when tuning the right string first the bridge rock, and notes influence their neighbors)

Greetings






Last edited by Olek; 04/18/13 03:48 AM.

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#2066379 - 04/18/13 05:57 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: showard]  
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 5,178
ando Online content
5000 Post Club Member
ando  Online Content
5000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 5,178
Melbourne, Australia
To those of you who have seen this book and the famous Reblitz book, which one do you think would be a better investment for a novice tech looking to explore the rudiments? Is the terminology and assumed knowledge an issue with either book? Assuming I only want to get one, not both.

#2066391 - 04/18/13 07:03 AM Re: New Book - Pianos Inside Out [Re: ando]  
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 944
jim ialeggio Offline
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jim ialeggio  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 944
shirley, MA
Originally Posted by ando
To those of you who have seen this book and the famous Reblitz book, which one do you think would be a better investment for a novice tech looking to explore the rudiments? Is the terminology and assumed knowledge an issue with either book? Assuming I only want to get one, not both.


By far, Igrec's book.

Jim Ialeggio


Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA
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