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Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: Miguel Rey] #2329119 09/19/14 08:08 PM
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OTOH, most of us at least semi-sophisticated and educated reader shed the occasionally excessive hyperbole exhibited by some dealer members (not just E.McM.) without having to demand a grand-jury inquest. Let's face it, piano's actions don't injure pianists, pianist's actions do.

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Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: KurtZ] #2329136 09/19/14 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by KurtZ
OTOH, most of us at least semi-sophisticated and educated reader shed the occasionally excessive hyperbole exhibited by some dealer members (not just E.McM.) without having to demand a grand-jury inquest. Let's face it, piano's actions don't injure pianists, pianist's actions do.

+5 grin


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Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2329144 09/19/14 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted by KurtZ
OTOH, most of us at least semi-sophisticated and educated reader shed the occasionally excessive hyperbole exhibited by some dealer members (not just E.McM.) without having to demand a grand-jury inquest. Let's face it, piano's actions don't injure pianists, pianist's actions do.

+5 grin

Is that grams or ounces?

ddf


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Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: Del] #2329148 09/19/14 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Del
Is that grams or ounces?

Resonance


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: chernobieff] #2329151 09/19/14 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by chernobieff
...unless real data is submitted from (anybody), I don't see the validity ...


Hi Chris, Some people are more quantitative, some people are more qualitative/intuitive. Its a Myers Briggs thing. You can have validity (or not) with either camp.

Best wishes-


phacke

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J. S. Bach, Toccata (G minor) BWV 915
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Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: chernobieff] #2329173 09/20/14 12:34 AM
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Chris,
Static touch-weight measurements will tell you nothing about how a piano feels. I am sure you have experienced at least two actions that have nearly equal touch-weight values that don't feel at all similar. So I don't need to prove something you, (or any other experienced technician) has already experienced.

LightHammer Tone Regulation is a system that develops the tone and touch concurrently. It uses a "feedback loop" to derive the weight of the hammers appropriate for the particular leverage of a specific action by monitoring the response of the unleaded keys. If the density of the hammer felt is similar to what Steinway NY typically uses-great tone response and control are derived.

The general principle of hand-fit construction is to make the components somewhat too large and then trim them down to where the proper relationships are established. The exact dimensions are not as important as the relationships. If all actions had the exact same leverage, you could just use a chart of hammer weight graduated for the entire compass. As long as the felt spring rates were proper-a system like that would work.

Some of these fitting protocols look a lot like feedback loops. Aftertouch is a feedback loop. Balancing the beat rate ratios of the intervals and octaves across the inharmonic soundscape of the pianos strings is a feedback loop. Setting down-bearing to not exceed the crown of an individual soundboard is another.

The "feel" of how you can control the dynamics of an action is something anyone who attempts to tone regulate a piano must learn to understand.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
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Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2329177 09/20/14 01:01 AM
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Could you explain what is feeding back in any of the instances you use the term "feedback loop"?


Semipro Tech
Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2329179 09/20/14 01:42 AM
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"Static touch-weight measurements will tell you nothing about how a piano feels."

Maybe true once, but technology has surpassed that now, Static and Dynamic measuremnents can be taken and used for consistent results.

You may actually enjoy it!

Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: KurtZ] #2329215 09/20/14 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by KurtZ
OTOH, most of us at least semi-sophisticated and educated reader shed the occasionally excessive hyperbole exhibited by some dealer members (not just E.McM.) without having to demand a grand-jury inquest. Let's face it, piano's actions don't injure pianists, pianist's actions do.

Kurt





I hear that occasionally, but do not believe it. Of course, poor technique can lead to injury, but even the best technique on a piano whose action has too much inertia and too much friction will lead to the pianist having to apply unreasonable amounts of force to the keys. That can lead to overuse injuries, especially tendonitis.

Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: chernobieff] #2329218 09/20/14 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by chernobieff


Axiom #2
You can have heavy hammers and a light action.




I don't believe that one bit. Here's why. A pianist has to play notes with varying repetitive or sequential rates. For example, it's not unusual to play notes sequentially at a rate of 8 notes per second for fast passages. That limits the amount of time the pianist's finger has to depress each note and then get the finger off it. When playing at that speed, you can't use your forearm to depress the keys--it must be done by the fingers. Moment of inertia and rate of angular acceleration determines the force required to depress the key. It's simple physics--no way to get around it.

Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: BDB] #2329250 09/20/14 10:27 AM
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Sorry to take the topic sideways. But I will answer.

In tempering the piano we don't care what the absolute beat rates of the intervals are, we care about the relative rates with one another. So the "feedback loop" is to balance one beat rate against the others to achieve the proper relationship.

For action regulating, we are limited by how deep a key can move by human physical limits, and we want the escapement to be controllable across the dynamic range, so we don't care what the actual blow distance is, we set the hammer blow to whatever dimension allows the others to work properly.

So the feedback is between the variables.

In bellying a board. No two soundboard will belly up exactly to the same shape, and no two will have identical crown, so by setting the string bearing to not exceed crown, you are deriving the bearing dimensions relative to the board in question.


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According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
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Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: Miguel Rey] #2329252 09/20/14 10:29 AM
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There's another point to be made here, regarding power and light strike weights. Having spent a good 2 days at Ed Mc's shop at the end of a week of hiking on the Olympic Peninsular, having had the opportunity to put his instruments through my wringer, these instruments are living proof that there are several ways to create the impression of power.

Approach # One...the late 20th century dogma of elevated strike weights:

Here elevated strike weights, low leverages, less resilient hammers are employed and spoken of as, physically, the only way to achieve power. Power of this sort is achieved, partially, by the level of physical discomfort the sound, in particular, the discomfort the attack, creates in a listener. The attack bites the ear at volume. It is a level of physical discomfort that many pianists use as a barometer to know how far out in the hall their sound is traveling at volume. At speed, the volume and tone is difficult for all but the most technically wizzy pianists to control, especially at speed.

Two...the lighter hammer approach:

Here, reduced strike weights, higher, strike point/termination precision and shaping,resilient cold pressed hammers are used. The result, counter-inuitively, is ready access to the entire dynamic spectrum, at speed. Counter-intuitively, these can be extremely powerful instruments. One needs to experience this for one's self...the access to the entire dynamic spectrum is striking. The difference between the two approaches is that the power in the light strike weight scenario does not rely on physical discomfort to create either the actuality or the perception of power. It is power that fills a hall on a visceral level...right in the gut. And,it is power that does not cause one to reflexively recoil.

In addition, and this is quite interesting in playing around with Ed's instruments....I was in the showroom, a room set off physically from the rest of the 3000sf-ish shop. I was messing with the high treble of a Baldwin L...one of Ed's rebuilds, light hammer/Fully Tempered Duplex scale. Ed was out of the show room in the far end of the shop trying to work (while we jawboned at great and enjoyable length)...he hears the high treble clarity, ie clear discernible sustained pitch of the entire high treble, out of the showroom around the corner and down the shop...comes into the showroom and asks me to go out into the shop and heard what he just heard. Like a Piccolo projecting right through an entire orchestra, the pitch, repeat the high treble pitch, which is usually pitch flavored wooden knocks right up at the keyboard was, physically removed from the instrument, out the door and around the corner, clear as a bell.

The conversation of relative power has so much more to it than raw amplitude. Physically and pshyco-acoustically the elevated strike weight model which has been presented as the monolithic dogma of piano tone, though only of the late 20th century, is simply inadequate the describe the totallity of the actual and percieved tonal effects.

Jim Ialeggio

Last edited by jim ialeggio; 09/20/14 10:34 AM.

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Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: chernobieff] #2329253 09/20/14 10:33 AM
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I have never met a pianist who used anything other than their senses to judge how an action feels. We technicians must be capable of the same in order to serve them. Plus we must also understand how to develop the tone and the touch together.

That is what proper use of my LightHammer Tone Regulation produces.

I have attended every PTG class and read every article on touch analysis-none of them save mine also include tone. It is the missing "four letter word" in all the treatises.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
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Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: chernobieff] #2329271 09/20/14 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by chernobieff
Axiom #2
You can have heavy hammers and a light action.

Why?

Because focusing on one element of the design is the problem with the light hammer idea. Actually, I think its rather gimmicky.

Only if static downweight is your only measurement criteria. Beyond that inertia comes into play. Accelerating a massive object from a rest position takes force. Accelerating an object with more mass from a rest position takes more force.

Unless, of course, you change the overall action ratio to compensate. This has been done but it carries a performance cost all its own. When I started in this business most grand actions functioned with a key travel of ≈ 9.5 mm; I recently worked on an action in a relatively new “short” grand that required just under 11.0 mm to function even with minimal aftertouch. I don’t have DW & UW figures for this action, but it didn’t feel overly “heavy.” But It didn’t feel all that “light,” either. The hammers through the mono-chord section weighed between 12-½ and 13 g. The C-88 hammer weighed about 5.9 g. And this by themselves, not including the shank. I didn’t weigh any of the other hammers—I might have the opportunity at a future date—but it’s a safe assumption that they are also fairly heavy. To compensate the manufacturer had traded key travel for DW.

Reducing hammer mass from today’s inflated norms to more appropriate levels is far from gimmicky. This piano would sound a lot better—and the action could be set up to play a lot more pleasantly with a lot less key travel—with hammers ranging from < 8 gr (bass) to < 3.5 gr (treble). Even hammers progressing from 9 gr to 3.5 gr would have been a marked improvement. And these target hammer weights are achievable even in a production setting. (Although it would take a change in hammermaking philosophy.)

ddf


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Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: Roy123] #2329283 09/20/14 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Roy123
Originally Posted by KurtZ
OTOH, most of us at least semi-sophisticated and educated reader shed the occasionally excessive hyperbole exhibited by some dealer members (not just E.McM.) without having to demand a grand-jury inquest. Let's face it, piano's actions don't injure pianists, pianist's actions do.

Kurt





I hear that occasionally, but do not believe it. Of course, poor technique can lead to injury, but even the best technique on a piano whose action has too much inertia and too much friction will lead to the pianist having to apply unreasonable amounts of force to the keys. That can lead to overuse injuries, especially tendonitis.


It's a fair point but pedantically it's still the action of the pianist, compensating for a poorly adjusted piano that injures him. It also calls into question why the poor bugger HAS to keep playing after the wrist or elbow or whatever starts to hurt. I stand by my statement. More pianist's injure themselves (like I did with that stupid boogie-woogie left hand) than are injured by their piano. Besides, it was a cute play on words, eh?

Kurt


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Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: jim ialeggio] #2329292 09/20/14 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jim ialeggio
At speed, the volume and tone is difficult for all but the most technically wizzy pianists to control, especially at speed.



Jim Ialeggio


I definitely agree with this. At speed, the high-inertia action requires so much force that the pianist has to struggle just to make a sound that is relatively even throughout the passage he is playing--never mind the more subtle aspects of performance. I have played some otherwise divine very expensive grands (brand names omitted) whose action inertias were disturbingly high. On slow passages, the sound was sublime, and the high inertias were not too troublesome, but on fast passages they were not pleasant to play, IMO.

Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: Roy123] #2329303 09/20/14 01:39 PM
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Both of my axioms stated above were both the samething but from a different perspective. I was illustrating how vague the terms Light and Heavy are.
In the last post Roy says:
"high-inertia action requires so much force that the pianist has to struggle...
How much inertia were you complaining about, and what inertia did you change it to, to be happy?

These generic terms do us no good, to relate to each other, what exactly is being talked about.

Del has caught on to this, and has shared some numbers to relate to. I would call that hammer weight heavy as compared to the average size hammers I use.

What I am saying about the light hammer protocol, as mysteriously described by Ed so far, is you really do not know what he is talking about. After all of Eds work has been done, and the pianist is dancing the jig with excitement, lets pull it out and analyse why.
Thats not really asking too much. Unless you simply do not want to share.
Simple action geometry can be measured for the edification of fellow technicians with more scientific minds. Just because you have a specific procedure or the fact that pianists go by feel, has nothing to do with providing real data. Del did. So can any tech who studies actions. So can Ed.
Here is an example:
[Linked Image]

In the picture it shows that the action was ultra light from the Chickering factory. It already is a low inertia action, and the extra expense of a radical procedure like dramatically cutting hammers or removing all of the weights would have been unnecessary.

The original question of this thread was asking about a comparison between vintage actions and new actions. Which is better?

Modern technology can help bridge the gap between pianist and technician and offer a real way for both to communicate, in order to obtain what the pianist is after.

That will be a grand delight.

Last edited by chernobieff; 09/20/14 02:17 PM.
Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: chernobieff] #2329324 09/20/14 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by chernobieff
In the picture it shows that the action was ultra light from the Chickering factory. It already is a low inertia action, and the extra expense of a radical procedure like dramatically cutting hammers or removing all of the weights would have been unnecessary.


This is exactly the point!

Nothing of what Ed or Del is saying is "new". Rather, as your well designed Chickering action is quantifying, Chickering, from the factory, designed and implemented an action, which relative to anything you can buy at a showroom today, is low inertia. Those of us who are creating and enjoying these actions are simply re-rembering a key concept and design approach that was goosed early in the 20th Century.

I think you'd need to check some of your measurements on the ITF sheet, because the 17.5 knuckle, is not correct, at least not in any original Chickering action I have seen. The knuckle is more like 16mm. Steinway, from the turn of the century, when their actions were more as Ed and Del are describing were 15.5mm. These actions exhibited less dip and a higher leverage than you are showing on your sheet. Taking these measurements is fraught with error, and must be approached with nitpicking precision. In any case the knuckle discrepancy has a huge difference on overall leverage

But, in general, your Chickering doesn't need any lessening of the inertia because it is already low inertia...sounds like you really like playing it too.

You are right in trying to get some relative quantities, regarding what Ed is saying, because its difficult to know what low inertia means in a relative sense. But having talked at length with Ed about this, I understand his reticence in providing target #'s. He comes at this from a holistic sense of dynamic tone and touch...he comes at it from the pianist's "Why", ie what gives my fingers, as a pianist intuitive control over the tone and touch of an instrument. We are all used to skipping the "why" and going right to the "how"..."tell me the recipe". As one can see from your incorrect reading of your Chickering's knuckle and thus overall leverage, #'s can be a real difficult and misleading nut to crack, configured in 3 dimensions.

Along these lines, I used to do my action setups in Autocad, but I'm doing it empirically now, because the translation from the geometry to the empirical can sometimes be very clumsy, especially in a rebuilder's one-off. To some degree the empirical is much faster and doesn't get confused with mismatching, un-intentionally misleading, mistaken geometries. I know, becasue I've screwed 'em up with the numbers alone.

There must be come way to communicate the "why" in at least a somewhat quantifiable way...without losing the path and going straight for a mindless "how". I'm thinkin' about this, because there needs to be a better way to communicate why/how to achieve and explain to those who would really enjoy these actions, what's going on, and why/how to get there.

Jim Ialeggio


Last edited by jim ialeggio; 09/20/14 03:19 PM.

Jim Ialeggio
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advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA
Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: jim ialeggio] #2329343 09/20/14 04:00 PM
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17.5 was correct. I've seen Chickerings with 18 (TSF-10) The knuckle core was angled 'inwards' so I replaced with 17 figuring 17.5 was bad craftsmanship. Good Eye!
Seen a lot of strange things from Chickering over the years. Still can't get over the upright action completely made out of Wire.

Found the chart too.
Easy to explain Visually to a pianist how uneven that touch was.
[Linked Image]


Re: Question about Actions (touch & feel ) New Vs Vintage [Re: Miguel Rey] #2329348 09/20/14 04:22 PM
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I assumed we were talking about Grands. Is this a grand? If so what year and model?

Keep in mind the ITF's model is only accurate on grands, and on grands only within fairly specific geometric limitations. It is not going to yield anything useful on an upright action.

Jim Ialeggio


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