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"Tight" action on new piano #2175461 11/01/13 03:48 PM
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Sortsol Offline OP
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Hi All,

This appears to be a great forum with lots of friendly people and great advice.

Anyhow, we just became the proud owners of a brand new Kawai RX-1. We bought it new for $16k. After reading the forum, it appears we should have bought a rx-2, but I guess we're stuck with the rx-1 and as long as I never play a rx-2, I probably won't know the difference and won't care. Plus, I don't know if they had any anyway, they were getting low on inventory.

Anyway, my wife and daughter both play pretty well. They have both commented the keys feel tight. I played it and it feels fine to me, but I'm also no expert pianist. So, I'm not sure what she is saying by tight and she had a hard time explaining it. My question is do these actions loosen up over time or is it going to stay how it is forever. I'm sure they'll get used to it and probably learn to like it if it stays that way. I guess I was just wondering. We love the piano and compared to our 40 y.o. wurlitzer spinnet, it's amazing.

Thanks much!!

Mike

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Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175466 11/01/13 03:55 PM
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Hi Mike - Welcome to Piano World!

The action of a Kawai is a bit heavier that what is found on other pianos, and certainly different than an aged Wurlitzer spinet! All new actions, including the composite action of the Kawais, need some time to break in. After all, it is a machine. "Tight" is not the usual word, but "stiff" is. It just needs some time to "play in."

I hope all of you will enjoy your new piano!


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175467 11/01/13 03:59 PM
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Hi Mike, and welcome to Piano World!

Here are my thoughts… first of all, congratulations on your new Kawai RX1! Kawai makes a great piano! Secondly, I think what you all are experiencing is a firm action vs. a sluggish/tight action. Kawai is known for having a firm (medium heavy?) action. And, compared to your old spinet, the action on the Kawai probably does feel tight.

If the action were too tight, it would be sluggish with sticky, slow returning keys. I honestly do not think you have an issue with the action on the Kawai.

At least that is my .02.

I’m no expert either, but there are lots of them here; and, maybe some will chime in with more info.

Best regards,

Rick


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Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2175468 11/01/13 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Hi Mike - Welcome to Piano World!

The action of a Kawai is a bit heavier that what is found on other pianos, and certainly different than an aged Wurlitzer spinet! All new actions, including the composite action of the Kawais, need some time to break in. After all, it is a machine. "Tight" is not the usual word, but "stiff" is. It just needs some time to "play in."

I hope all of you will enjoy your new piano!


Thanks Marty. I guess I won't spend too much time worrying about it.

Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Rickster] #2175473 11/01/13 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Hi Mike, and welcome to Piano World!

Here are my thoughts… first of all, congratulations on your new Kawai RX1! Kawai makes a great piano! Secondly, I think what you all are experiencing is a firm action vs. a sluggish/tight action. Kawai is known for having a firm (medium heavy?) action. And, compared to your old spinet, the action on the Kawai probably does feel tight.

If the action were too tight, it would be sluggish with sticky, slow returning keys. I honestly do not think you have an issue with the action on the Kawai.

At least that is my .02.

I’m no expert either, but there are lots of them here; and, maybe some will chime in with more info.

Best regards,

Rick


Thanks Rick, as corrected by Marty, I guess stiff is a better word. It's definitely not tight in the sense that the keys don't return correctly. It has a very fast return. My bad on the verbiage.

Mike

Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175488 11/01/13 04:27 PM
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Many new pianos can benefit from regulation. Perhaps your tech could evaluate and see. Maybe some keys need easing. It's better to get an in person assessment before concluding that nothing can be done.

Sophia

Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175497 11/01/13 04:35 PM
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If you really want the RX2, call your dealer. You wouldn't be the first to swap one out for a larger piano.


David



Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: sophial] #2175510 11/01/13 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by sophial
Many new pianos can benefit from regulation. Perhaps your tech could evaluate and see. Maybe some keys need easing. It's better to get an in person assessment before concluding that nothing can be done.

Sophia


It's had 4 hours of regulation. Personally, I think it's fine. Plays beautifully. I think it's just what she's used to. I'm sure it will work itself out.

Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: supersport] #2175513 11/01/13 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by supersport
If you really want the RX2, call your dealer. You wouldn't be the first to swap one out for a larger piano.


Good call. I actually talked to the dealer. They only have 2 other rx-1's and an rx-6. I think I'm stuck (but, I'm a good with the rx-1. The rx-2 would have been a bit of a tighter fit anyway.)

Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: supersport] #2175545 11/01/13 06:59 PM
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Now this is one great suggestion but the RX1 is ok to. I believe the RX series has been replaced by the GX series so you might be able to do a deal. I would surely see because the larger RX2 will matter over time.

Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175553 11/01/13 07:14 PM
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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And now - Back to the important part of the thread:

Congratulations on your new piano!


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175554 11/01/13 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Sortsol

It's had 4 hours of regulation. Personally, I think it's fine. Plays beautifully. I think it's just what she's used to. I'm sure it will work itself out.


What does the technician you hired to do the regulation say about it?

I do agree with the others regarding a marked difference in the feel of the action between this piano and a spinet.

I also agree with sophial...


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Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175564 11/01/13 07:37 PM
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Hi Sortsol and congrats on the new piano !

Did the regulation include lubrication of the action ? If so, it's probably just a matter of getting used to the new touch. The first lubrication on my new piano reduced the downweight by a few grams, so the touch felt "easier to play" right away.

Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175575 11/01/13 08:15 PM
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Yes congratulations on your new piano.

Pictures are nice when you get a chance.


David



Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175578 11/01/13 08:27 PM
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All serviceable pianos get lighter, brighter, and looser with use. A new piano that will break in well is one that feels a little firm and sounds a little dark. As the hammers pack down from striking the strings the feel of the action will seem lighter because the tone is brighter. Even though the touch resistance is most likely very similar to when it was new.

A new piano, (or new hammers) that sounds brilliant right from the start will probably turn into a "tin can" over time


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Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175583 11/01/13 08:38 PM
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Congrats on your piano!

Regarding your thoughts about the RX2 - it's a great piano, yes. But that shouldn't let anyone enjoy what they have less. Besides, extra space is great!

My thoughts about the action: that's a huge transition from the piano everyone was used to. I'd say with that big of a transition, just the sheer difference is going to stand out until you're used to it.


Pianist and Piano Teacher
Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175596 11/01/13 09:21 PM
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Personally, I prefer a slightly heavy action to a light one, particularly in a smaller grand. I find it easier to shape dynamics (pianissimo to fortissimo), always problematic on a smaller grand, when the action isn't too light. My biggest struggles with dynamics were with a Story and Clark upright--one touch too heavy would take it straight to ff.


Anne'sson
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Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175602 11/01/13 09:37 PM
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Congratulations on your new piano...how wonderful! Pictures are in order and it's fun to post them here. You'll get lots of ooohhhss and aaaahhsss! The action of a new piano often feels a little stiff at first. With practice, it does settle in, plus, with time and practice your hands (or your wife and daughter's)get accustomed to the new piano. It took a few weeks for me to get used to my C3 and I thought the Kawai pianos I played had a slightly tighter/heavier action than Yamaha. The one thing that your family will really come to love, is the upgrade in the sound!


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Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175714 11/02/13 12:14 AM
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Thanks everybody for all the great information. Sounds like it will loosen up a bit as times goes on. I actually like the feel of it. My wife and daughter love the piano. I also have twin 9 year old boys who have been taking lessons for a couple years who won't stay off it. I've even started playing a bit after not playing much for the last 20 years.

Thanks again,

Mike

Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175781 11/02/13 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Sortsol
Thanks everybody for all the great information. Sounds like it will loosen up a bit as times goes on. I actually like the feel of it. My wife and daughter love the piano. I also have twin 9 year old boys who have been taking lessons for a couple years who won't stay off it. I've even started playing a bit after not playing much for the last 20 years.
Thanks again,
Mike


Greetings,
The piano is a good one. There will be an initial period of breaking in. There will be a gradual change in the action's cushy-ness and its sound, as well as the hands of those playing it. As the sliding surfaces mate, and the cushions and leather compress, the effort required to play the note goes down, and the ability to control it goes down with it. Every piano ever built morphs this way. Some over the first five years (only played at Christmas), some after the first 3 months, (school practice rooms). It depends, mainly, on how much it is played, but even a piano action left under the effect of gravity will gradually sag. This is called going "out of regulation". When it happens, it shows up as loss of control at soft levels of play.

So, expect to spend some money in two years, maybe three. It is just like getting valves in older car engines adjusted after the first 5000 miles. Regulations deteriorate gradually,, so the non-professional usually doesn't recognize what is happening, and there are a lot of people out there that think their technique is failing when in actuality, their actions have gone so far out of adjustment that there is no way to control a trill at pp, or to play a chord with all the notes sounding evenly.

The other important thing about regulation is that it determines the minimum amount of force needed to play a note. A poorly regulated piano will have to be played with more force, just to insure the notes sound. For a young musician, just starting to learn, this is an invisible barrier to learning a sense of touch. A child that learns on a piano that has to be played hard will learn to play hard, since the touch required to make a piano whisper can't be learned or used on a poor regulation.

There are a number of ways an owner can check the state of their pianos' regulation, but that is another topic. I would encourage all piano owners to talk about the condition of their regulation with their tech. Many techs prefer to tune and don't do a lot of this other work, so the tech you want will be one who regulates at least a piano or two a month, and can point you to referrals.

good luck, you have a quality piano, and it will last through many years of heavy service, and probably several regulations!
Regards,

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