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Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175800
11/02/13 07:03 AM
11/02/13 07:03 AM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 14,228
Louisiana
Jolly Offline
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Jolly  Offline
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Louisiana
First things, first...Congratulations on owning a nice piano, much better than 9 out of 10 pianists will ever own in their lifetime. Yes, most folks prefer a RX-2, but the RX-1 is a good piano in its own right and you probably won't notice a lot of difference on the majority of pieces you play.

Just to underline something Mr. Foote wrote...depending on how much, and how hard the piano is played, will be a large factor in how soon it "loosens" up. Since most of your family plays, I suspect this will be sooner, rather than later.

Once again, you have an instrument to be proud of - may you and your family enjoy it for many, many years!


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Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175843
11/02/13 09:45 AM
11/02/13 09:45 AM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 66
O
Orz Offline
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Orz  Offline
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O

Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 66
Some pianos are designed with heavier touch. I’ve played some kawais and yamahas, and they are all on the heavy side. The piano with the heaviest action I’ve played was a Estonia 168 made in 2005. On the other hand, the actions on Steinway B/D, and some bostons I played in a local Steinway dealer felt really light. I think everyone has different preference, but for me the heavier touch makes playing soft much harder…

Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175878
11/02/13 10:55 AM
11/02/13 10:55 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,919
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Supply Offline
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Supply  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,919
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
There is heavy touch, and then there is heavy touch. With this I mean there are different factors which can be the underlying issues.

On some new pianos, the action geometry and the mass of he parts are such that the touch will always be heavy no matter how much "wearing in" and regulation the piano receives. This can be measured by static key downweight (DW) and upweight (UW) measurements. This was and is seen in many lower level Asian pianos.

In another scenario, there is excessive friction which can slow an action down and make it heavy to play. Again, the DW and UW measurements can be used to calculate the friction. Friction can be identified and addressed fairly easily.

A third scenario is the action's inertia. This cannot be determined by static DW and UW measurements. More complex action analysis is required to understand what goes on in the action when it is played at speed. You can have a high inertia action which feels OK when playing softly or slowly, with perfect DW and UW, but when played above mf for a time, it is tiring to play. Many good players even develop injuries form playing on high inertia pianos.

Finally, there can be a combination of any two of the above, or all three. So, if you really want to understand all the details, it can be quite complicated and involved. Not many technicians are well versed in the inertia arena.

But of course moving from an old spinet or console to a grand will always be a huge adjustment, and most of what you perceive is probably just that - finally playing on an instrument which has real potential in terms of dynamic range and control.

Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2175925
11/02/13 01:10 PM
11/02/13 01:10 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 944
shirley, MA
jim ialeggio Offline
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jim ialeggio  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 944
shirley, MA
Originally Posted by Sortsol
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.


Words are tricky items when dealing both with individual perceptive realities, and different peoples personal definitions of words.

Whenever a client uses words to describe a frustration with their instrument, whether I've known the pianist for years, or whether they are a new customer, I do not take any words at face value, but rather "triangulate" to try and figure out what the chosen words mean to this individual at this particular point in time.

I find it highly useful unto necessary to carry out this "triangulation" in the presence of all the players, myself and the piano.

As I look at the OP's post and listen to the words he relays regarding his wife's difficulty in describing her experience, and as I refer to numbers of Kawai grands I've worked on which tended to be high inertia from the word go, I question the literal interpretion of the word stiff...I do not take this word at face value.

Any and all actions or pianos that leave my shop are playing at the top of their game..they don't need some frustrating "break-in" period to be enjoyable. If they are not fun right off the mark...I blew it, and I insist on doing the re-work, at my expense, until they are happy.

In some amount of time depending on the use, a new great new action will need to be regulated again, but on delivery a well designed and fabricated action should feel great, assuming the inertia levels built in to the action suites the player. I find the "stiff" work-it-in" or "get used to it" will frustrate an unhappy player to the point that they will stop playing...and, unfortunately, this happens all the time.

In posting the original question, the OP was trying to make sure his wife was happy, as she is the more accomplished pianist. Please continue to listen to her, and have a tech with open ears and eyes, unaffiliated with the dealer, come, watch her play, listen to her play, play the instrument him/herself, listen to her, and act as a knowledgeable educator and advocate.

Jim Ialeggio



Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA
Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2176061
11/02/13 06:17 PM
11/02/13 06:17 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,546
US
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member
sophial  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,546
US
Jim,

What a great answer! You are my kind of technician! heart

Sophia

Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2176258
11/03/13 05:04 AM
11/03/13 05:04 AM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,365
B
BornInTheUSA Offline
1000 Post Club Member
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Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,365
Funny, I grew up playing a Wurlitzer spinet. The must've made millions of those as they're still hanging around the system. And as a kid, I always loved the feel of a Kawai, the firmer action, especially coming from that Wurlitzer.

Since I was a deprived child and never got the Kawai grand that I wanted, I finally bought one for my family. I didn't want my 5 year old daughter to go through what I did. Anyway, we've had it for 6+ months, been playing it a lot, and a month or so ago I visited a Steinway dealer and then a Yamaha dealer. The first piano I played was a Boston 5'8" or so, and my instant reaction was the action felt so much lighter. And this was a brand new Boston. And I played other Boston's, Steinway's and then Yamaha's again at another dealer. All new pianos and all with noticeably lighter actions than than my Kawai.

I think that's just how Kawai's are. Personally, I like it.




Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2176291
11/03/13 08:10 AM
11/03/13 08:10 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,107
Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
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Rickster  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,107
Georgia, USA
The action on my recently acquired Howard/Kawai (5’10”) is rather firm, but as others have said, I like a firm feeling action. The action on my Yamaha C7 is not light but not heavy either… kind of a mid-range feel, I suppose you could say. The action on my Kimball 5’8” is very similar to action of the C7… not too heavy and not too light (Goldilocks feel, maybe smile ). The action on my Kawai K48A upright is on the lighter side but not too light either… another Goldilocks feel? The action on my Baldwin 243 upright is in the medium range also; as compared to the 243 at my church, which was light as a feather.

I kind of like having a variety of pianos to play… now, I just wish I could actually play a piano. smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: "Tight" action on new piano [Re: Sortsol] #2182779
11/15/13 11:57 AM
11/15/13 11:57 AM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,462
Western Canada
Diane... Offline
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Diane...  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,462
Western Canada
Originally Posted by Sortsol
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.
Mike

Yes, I bought the Rx-1 Kawai baby grand and I can totally agree with what your wife is saying!

To answer your question, the "stiff/heavy" touch WILL go away. My Rx-1 piano was brand new, and with that, it hadn't been worked. Now it's perfect. It did take time. My fingers got stronger, but I can tell you, it will lose that tight/stiff key touch. Took about a year!

Work with a technician. A good tech can loosen the touch up for you quicker. But, in time, your piano will have that perfect touch! Mine does now! So play it lots!

Hope this helps!


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Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher
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