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Piano brands and their touch (action)
#2349972 11/14/14 07:45 AM
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I've made a few references to this in other threads but I thought it'd be worth starting it's own thread.

I recognize that different pianos have different touches and feels (light vs heavy)... but there has to be some commonalities in regards to particular brands generally being on the heavy side vs light side.

These are the particular upright pianos I'm curious about. (feel free to add more)

Tend to be light or heavier?

Kawai
Boston
Young Chang
Baldwin
Yamaha
Samick
Hallet, Davis & Co

Last edited by DeadPoets; 11/14/14 07:46 AM.
Re: Piano brands and their touch (action)
DeadPoets #2349974 11/14/14 08:01 AM
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Each piano is different - it's not really a brand thing. Yamaha is probably the most consistent of those in the list, but each maker on the list can be anywhere in the normal range of touch weight - and sometimes outside the norms.



Re: Piano brands and their touch (action)
DeadPoets #2350107 11/14/14 01:22 PM
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Different models from the same company have completely different actions. There's no way to organize that based on brand name.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Piano brands and their touch (action)
DeadPoets #2350158 11/14/14 03:14 PM
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Greetings,
"Touch" is a broad term. On a given action, softening the hammers will make the "touch" heavier, and brightening the sound makes the "touch" lighter. These changes are not one of weight, but perception.

"Touch" mainly refers to the brain's calculation inre effort vs response. Since our ears are more sensitive to the higher frequencies, a given effort on the brighter sounding piano feels like it produces more sound. Conversely, a piano with extremely soft hammers will feel like it needs more effort to produce the same perceived pressure levels in our ears, because the absence of high partials makes it sound like less sound.

In terms of weight, most grand pianos, at middle C, require between 45 and 55 grams to depress the key, without dampers. A 45 gram piano with dead hammers may feel like it has a heavier touch than a 50 gram piano with brassy hammers.
hope that helps.
Regards,

Re: Piano brands and their touch (action)
DeadPoets #2350160 11/14/14 03:19 PM
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I will add, the sense of touch can be very dependent on the regulation of the action. A piano with clumsy adjustment in the escapement and/or too much spring, will produce a difficult "touch",since under very soft play, there is noticeable interference right at the point of let-off, just before the key stops its downward movement. This is often felt as a hard bump that has to be surpassed to play the note. Nobody thinks that is a nice "touch", and many have commented on how much lighter the action felt after regulation addressed this, which didn't change the weight or density of the hammer. Like I said, "touch" is a broad subject.
Regards,

Re: Piano brands and their touch (action)
DeadPoets #2350189 11/14/14 04:32 PM
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A good tech can regulate every piano to most people's liking.

A great tech can regulate a piano to everyone's exact requirement.

Touch can be adjusted as much as steak can be cooked differently.
[well almost... wink..]

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 11/14/14 04:33 PM.

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Re: Piano brands and their touch (action)
Ed Foote #2350192 11/14/14 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed Foote
I will add, the sense of touch can be very dependent on the regulation of the action. A piano with clumsy adjustment in the escapement and/or too much spring, will produce a difficult "touch",since under very soft play, there is noticeable interference right at the point of let-off, just before the key stops its downward movement. This is often felt as a hard bump that has to be surpassed to play the note.

Greetings Ed,

If a hard bump indicates too much spring in a grand action, what would indicate too little? In other words how can a pianist tell when the springs are about right?


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
Re: Piano brands and their touch (action)
Withindale #2350277 11/14/14 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by Ed Foote
I will add, the sense of touch can be very dependent on the regulation of the action. A piano with clumsy adjustment in the escapement and/or too much spring, will produce a difficult "touch",since under very soft play, there is noticeable interference right at the point of let-off, just before the key stops its downward movement. This is often felt as a hard bump that has to be surpassed to play the note.

Greetings Ed,

If a hard bump indicates too much spring in a grand action, what would indicate too little? In other words how can a pianist tell when the springs are about right?


Greetings,
By sight and feel. If the spring is too weak, the key return speed will suffer, as well as dependable repetition. I play a note firmly enough to check the hammer and then release the key slowly enough so that the check lets go of the hammer while the key is still mostly down. This will let you feel a kick in the key if there is too much spring. If you watch the hammer and it doesn't move up, or moves up very slowly, as you let the key come up, there is too little spring. The right amount for me is when the hammer moves as fast as possible without being able to feel it. If the venue demands insurance,( stage), I do let it rise fast enough to feel but not enough to kick.

The spring's function is to speed the return of the key, (and in butterfly arrangements, to return the jack). In fast repetition, the hammer doesn't fall between repeated notes, but, rather, acts as the anchor against which the spring presses to push the whippen down, which allows the jack to reset under the knuckle. The difference in key up=speed between a spring that kicks and one that lifts the hammer as fast as an audience can get to its feet is virtually indiscernible. However, there is a reason to control the spring: The softer I can set the spring, the less resistance the escapement produces. This reduces that "bump" and makes ppp playing a lot more comfortable and secure ( while allowing drop to be set at the same distance from the string as let-off, if everything is pinned well).
Regards,

Re: Piano brands and their touch (action)
DeadPoets #2350728 11/15/14 07:44 PM
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Thank you so much, Ed, for that lucid explanation.


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm

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