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In search of an upright
#2337965 10/16/14 09:02 AM
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Perhaps this would be better posted in the technician's forum, but I thought I'd try here first.
I'm looking for an upright piano for my studio, budget somewhere in the $5,000-$6,000 range. I particularly want one with an action that might be classified as on the heavy side. Since I need to travel a few hours to shop, I'm wondering if I can narrow my search a bit before I start.
Are there certain brands that one might count on to have a heavier action, or is it really just a matter of playing the individual piano?
If a piano is new, can one assume that after some amount of playing the action will feel lighter, or is the feel of a new piano a reliable indicator of how it will feel after being "broken in"?
I'm trying to be a bit scientific about this and actually measure action downweights and upweights, but I'm not sure how reliable even this measurement really is as far as down the road a bit.

Re: In search of an upright
EP #2337974 10/16/14 09:40 AM
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Hello EP

I don't think the analysis of upweights and downweights will be all that helpful because ultimately you want what feels good to you and that could be different from what you expect it to be. You'll get the best information on dynamic (rather than static) weight from playing.

I'd recommend looking at whatever K series from Kawai you can bring into your budget range. In the recently discontinued series that would probably be a K3 or if you're really fortunate, a K5. In the new series, those designations would have two zeros added - for example K-300. Between seasonal rebates, price increases, level of desperation by the retailer, and model changes, it's hard to get a fix on Kawai street prices, but the actions are on the heavier side, and they are also good and consistent. That's the combination you want. Some heavy actions are just a product of inconsistency while others are just sluggish due to poor design or poor execution of the design.

The only reason I can think of for an action to lighten from use is a loss of hammer mass which results in lighter hammers. But that's something you see in pianos that have had a ton of use. However, I'm no tech and that question is better addressed by a technician.


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Re: In search of an upright
EP #2337981 10/16/14 09:52 AM
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Thanks, turandot, that's helpful.
I guess I was thinking about bushings, etc., relaxing with use, reducing friction over time, but I'm also no technician and can only guess how this might affect action feel.
It makes sense that dynamic weight is more what matters, but if my thinking is correct, static weight and friction would be the factors that would determine the action feel, plus no doubt the fulcrum length also enters into the equation. As you suggest, maybe static weight measurements aren't that helpful.


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