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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2748208
06/30/18 04:45 AM
06/30/18 04:45 AM
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I think this thread illustrates what a complex matter "heaviness" or "lightness" of touch is.

Sometimes piano owners will ask blithely if the technician can adjust the heaviness or lightness, as if there is a simple heavy/light action screw somewhere, to alter the whole thing with a quarter-turn of the screwdriver!

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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: David Boyce] #2748342
06/30/18 03:16 PM
06/30/18 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by David Boyce
I think this thread illustrates what a complex matter "heaviness" or "lightness" of touch is.

Sometimes piano owners will ask blithely if the technician can adjust the heaviness or lightness, as if there is a simple heavy/light action screw somewhere, to alter the whole thing with a quarter-turn of the screwdriver!


This is bang on! One of the problems that has existed because of this is that the piano manufacturing and technical service worlds have tended to take customers analysis at face value.
Customers can be forgiven for not using technical terminology. It's not their job. They are simply reporting their experience with the best words or analogies that are within easy mental grasp.
That being the case, "heavy" and "light" are words we might reasonably expect a non-technical piano user/owner to use.

But within our industry we have equated customer terminology being "true" -- i.e. a correct analysis and have plunged forward to treat any and all issues related to touch resistance (the term I prefer and I'm not sure it really covers the entirety of the category) by throwing weight at the stated problem. Or, less frequently but generally more on target, removing weight.

My assessment of the topic at this point is that we have no valid "general field theory" of piano touch resistance that has been demonstrated in the real world to be applicable in all situations. Different folks have advanced our knowledge in certain ways, or have provided analytical procedures that may be of help in some circumstances but which are useless or worse in others. And taking the good with the not so good, we are the better for it. But we are not "there" yet. I find solutions in the field that are contradictory to anyone's theory at this point--including my own. I don't know how it all fits together, but I'm sure we'll get there.

In the meantime, our analytical thinking on the subject will benefit if we get away from the term "touchweight" entirely and consider other aspects like velocity, (is the action fast or slow?), control, efficiency and effort -- to name a few.

These concepts may help deal with pianos like one I recently serviced where the pianist described the action as "light but heavy" -- and I guess it is. It has a low downweight and return on the weaker side of things. Key weighting is not ridiculous and hammers not wickedly heavy. The pianist agreed that effort to depress the key was low but said he was "tired after 15 minutes of playing". One piece of the puzzle seems to be improperly set wippen assist springs (I presently have them completely disconnected) and lightened the hammers up through ~ note 65 or so but it's going to take more time to get it all figured out. The pianist still hates it.

This topic is one that will be explored at the PTG Convention/Institute in Lancaster in a couple of weeks. I'll be presenting my class "Simple Ways to Adjust Action Touch Resistance -- a Contrarian Approach" and Ed McMorrow, RPT will be presenting "Lighthammer Tone Regulation" -- which also touches on topics in this thread -- as well as two other classes. I hope to attend all of them.



Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
Editor Emeritus, Piano Technicians Journal
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: kpembrook] #2748410
06/30/18 08:54 PM
06/30/18 08:54 PM
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Keith,
I have found some literature on action feel that I believe was written by Joseph Hoffman. I will be using some of it in my LightHammer Tone regulation class.

I too look forward to your presentation. Hope our class times don't conflict. I haven't checked the schedule to see and sometimes they move classes at the last minute.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2748420
06/30/18 10:30 PM
06/30/18 10:30 PM
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kpembrook Online content
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Keith,
I have found some literature on action feel that I believe was written by Joseph Hoffman. I will be using some of it in my LightHammer Tone regulation class.

I too look forward to your presentation. Hope our class times don't conflict. I haven't checked the schedule to see and sometimes they move classes at the last minute.


Interesting. Looking forward to it.

Currently we don't conflict but OTOH... as you say, we're not there with the final schedule, either.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
Editor Emeritus, Piano Technicians Journal
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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749144
07/03/18 10:59 PM
07/03/18 10:59 PM
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Just to add to this....

I played some Shigerus today, and the action seemed nice on those. Still somewhat heavy, but seemed a bit more responsive than mine. I think they tone was a little brighter, too, so that could have been part of it. I tried an SK-3 and an SK-7, and the larger piano appealed to me more, probably because I'm used to a 7-footer. They also had a rebuilt Steinway B, and to me, the Kawais all had a better feel, and honestly, I think they sounded better, too.

I'm still waiting for my tech to speak with tech support at Kawai, but it sounds like my RX6 should be able to be tweaked. I really think part of it is due to the mellowness of the piano leading to a perceptual heaviness. It was pretty bright when I got it, so had quite a bit of voicing down. Maybe tastes change over time, but now I'm kind of wishing I didn't have so much mellowing done.


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749624
07/05/18 11:44 PM
07/05/18 11:44 PM
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I came across this website which is extremely relevant to what I've been experiencing:
http://www.pianofinders.com/educational/touchweight.htm

Using nickels (5g) and dimes (2.5g), I measured down and upweight at five positions on the keyboard. All measurements taken with the sus pedal held down, and I thumped my hand underneath the keys several times. Here's the result:

[Linked Image]

Here's a summary from the website for different scenarios:
For now, it is not necessary to understand where all the friction comes from, but only that there are acceptable and unacceptable amounts, as far as the pianist is concerned. It is normal for a piano to have a certain amount of friction. Usually 20 to 30 grams difference between upweight and downweight readings is considered "normal."

In general, readings can be interpreted as follows: If the difference between upweight and downweight is high (i.e. more than 30g) there is probably excessive friction somewhere in the action: some parts are probably too tightly pinned or something is rubbing. If the difference between upweight and downweight is low (i.e. less than, say, 20) it probably means the friction is low: some parts may be loose or worn, or need repinning.

If downweight and upweight are both high (i.e. downweight over 50 and upweight over 20) it usually indicates there are some heavy parts in the action somewhere, (often the hammers). If downweight and upweight are both low (significantly under 50 and 20, respectively) it usually means the action parts are light: the hammers may have been replaced with new, undersized ones, or may simply have been filed many times. This latter condition is often found on older pianos, along with old, loose, worn pivots, accounting for their  light, effortless feel.


So, according to the info on that website, it would appear that the heaviness is due to parts or hammers. Friction seems within normal amounts. The question is, what they heck do we do about that? It doesn't sound like an easy fix frown

Last edited by Radio.Octave; 07/05/18 11:45 PM.

Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749632
07/06/18 12:39 AM
07/06/18 12:39 AM
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I seem to have missed the part where you got the action regulated.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: BDB] #2749639
07/06/18 01:33 AM
07/06/18 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by BDB
I seem to have missed the part where you got the action regulated.

Did not have that done yet. I'm not sure how regulation will change the weight of all the bits and pieces?


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749646
07/06/18 02:20 AM
07/06/18 02:20 AM
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You can weigh each individual bits and pieces of an automobile, and they should add up to the total weight of the car, but it will not drive very well until they are all put together properly.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: BDB] #2749706
07/06/18 09:42 AM
07/06/18 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by BDB
You can weigh each individual bits and pieces of an automobile, and they should add up to the total weight of the car, but it will not drive very well until they are all put together properly.



Bravo! Well said!!
thumb

It is simply a complete waste of time to put weights on keys until a complete lubrication and regulation has been done. The numbers you will get will be nonsense and will indicate no more than throwing chicken bones to discern the meaning.
Friction seems "OK"? Lubrication should still be done. The friction value doesn't relate to the total downweight but to the percent of wasted effort. Thus small changes in friction can provide a larger change in action feel than one might think.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
Editor Emeritus, Piano Technicians Journal
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749729
07/06/18 11:00 AM
07/06/18 11:00 AM
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These measurements are viewed as starting points rather than end results. Key up-speed is critical to performance. How is that measured and how dose it change at different down stroke velocities and when pushed from different downward angles?

Play the piano for a good hour or so and tell me how your hands feel.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: kpembrook] #2749732
07/06/18 11:03 AM
07/06/18 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by kpembrook
Originally Posted by BDB
You can weigh each individual bits and pieces of an automobile, and they should add up to the total weight of the car, but it will not drive very well until they are all put together properly.



Bravo! Well said!!
thumb

It is simply a complete waste of time to put weights on keys until a complete lubrication and regulation has been done. The numbers you will get will be nonsense and will indicate no more than throwing chicken bones to discern the meaning.
Friction seems "OK"? Lubrication should still be done. The friction value doesn't relate to the total downweight but to the percent of wasted effort. Thus small changes in friction can provide a larger change in action feel than one might think.



Diagnostics is never a waste of time. Putting weights on keys anytime in the process gives clues as to what needs to be done as well as information about the result of what was done.


RPT
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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Dave B] #2749739
07/06/18 11:26 AM
07/06/18 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave B

Play the piano for a good hour or so and tell me how your hands feel.

All Kawai pianos leave my hands feeling strained after an hour of playing, I guess because of their action geometry/ratio. I supposed I'm just more used to the action of a Yamaha, rather than it being something wrong with any particular Kawai action. Funnily enough, I don't find that with the Shigeru pianos - I wonder if it's because they have regulated the action better, reduced the friction more, or the instrument itself responds more to the same touch compared to the GX/RX models. In theory they have the same action, but GX/RX leaves my hands feeling strained after an hour, but SHigeru doesn't.

Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Gene Nelson] #2749752
07/06/18 11:57 AM
07/06/18 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Gene Nelson

Diagnostics is never a waste of time. Putting weights on keys anytime in the process gives clues as to what needs to be done as well as information about the result of what was done.


Bad diagnostics is worse than no diagnostics.


Semipro Tech
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Dave B] #2749756
07/06/18 12:03 PM
07/06/18 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave B
These measurements are viewed as starting points rather than end results. Key up-speed is critical to performance. How is that measured and how dose it change at different down stroke velocities and when pushed from different downward angles?

Play the piano for a good hour or so and tell me how your hands feel.


They get fatigued and a little sore.


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749757
07/06/18 12:07 PM
07/06/18 12:07 PM
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That can happen with any piano or any sort of exercise. If you have not been using any part your body much, exercising it will make them fatigued and a little sore as they build up strength. Avoid acute pain, get rest between exercise sessions, and it will get better eventually.


Semipro Tech
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: BDB] #2749758
07/06/18 12:08 PM
07/06/18 12:08 PM
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Radio.Octave Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BDB
Originally Posted by Gene Nelson

Diagnostics is never a waste of time. Putting weights on keys anytime in the process gives clues as to what needs to be done as well as information about the result of what was done.


Bad diagnostics is worse than no diagnostics.


I thought this was a pretty detailed and informative article. Are they wrong then? What they say makes sense to me. The weight on the keys just confirm what my hands have already been telling me—the action is too dang heavy.

http://www.pianofinders.com/educational/touchweight.htm


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: BDB] #2749761
07/06/18 12:28 PM
07/06/18 12:28 PM
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Radio.Octave Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BDB
That can happen with any piano or any sort of exercise. If you have not been using any part your body much, exercising it will make them fatigued and a little sore as they build up strength. Avoid acute pain, get rest between exercise sessions, and it will get better eventually.



I've had this piano for 6 years, and always thought it was heavy. In the past, I guess I preferred a heavier touch, but it's grown tiresome. In fact, I had an RX-2 that I got rid of because I didn't like the touchweight. Guess I should've bought another brand of piano, but hindsight is 20/20.


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749765
07/06/18 12:45 PM
07/06/18 12:45 PM
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You have two options to deal with this: Trade the piano for something else, or take some steps to make it more towards your own liking. You have chosen a third, useless option, which is to complain about it.


Semipro Tech
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: BDB] #2749783
07/06/18 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
Originally Posted by Gene Nelson

Diagnostics is never a waste of time. Putting weights on keys anytime in the process gives clues as to what needs to be done as well as information about the result of what was done.


Bad diagnostics is worse than no diagnostics.


yeah, the need to be right. I get it.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749789
07/06/18 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
I've had this piano for 6 years, and always thought it was heavy. In the past, I guess I preferred a heavier touch, but it's grown tiresome. In fact, I had an RX-2 that I got rid of because I didn't like the touchweight. Guess I should've bought another brand of piano, but hindsight is 20/20.

I have an older Howard/Kawai 550 (5'10") from 1969 that was rarely played by it's previous owner. It was a one-owner piano. The previous owner said her parents bought the piano for her when she was 16 years old and taking piano lessons. She said the lessons never stuck with her, and although she kept the piano for years as a family heirloom, she finally decided to sell it when she and her husband built a new home. She said she just didn't have room in the new house and ready to sell, with the blessing of her mother, who was still living.

Anyway, long-story short, I was the luck buyer. The action is heavier than the other grand pianos I've owned and currently own. I think that is just the nature of the Kawai grand action. That said, I agree that a good regulation and thorough lubing from top to bottom can make a difference. When I got the piano, I removed the action and lubed every friction point there was. I used either Protech CLP or powdered Teflon. I could tell a difference after the fact. I have given the Howard/Kawai to my 14 year old granddaughter, who was taking piano lessons but lost interest. My son said they still wanted the piano, whenever he can find room for it in his house. I don't think he realizes what a nice gift that piano really is, or he would have made room for it already.

I played it yesterday, and it plays great, and holds a tuning like a rock.

Anyway, RO, I still think there is hope for you RX6. I'd suggest the thorough regulation and lube and see what you think. If it doesn't make a difference, which I believe it will, you can always sell/trade the RX6 for something you like better. Life is too short to keep a piano you don't like...

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749801
07/06/18 03:23 PM
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The thing is overdue for major service.

Pianos are in a constant cycle of degrading. It goes with the territory. If the response has degadef (gradually) 20% from when you bought, that means you are probably working 20% harder to get what you want. If it was heavy then, it would be "heavier" now because of your increased exertion.

Pwg


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Rickster] #2749876
07/06/18 10:44 PM
07/06/18 10:44 PM
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Radio.Octave Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
I've had this piano for 6 years, and always thought it was heavy. In the past, I guess I preferred a heavier touch, but it's grown tiresome. In fact, I had an RX-2 that I got rid of because I didn't like the touchweight. Guess I should've bought another brand of piano, but hindsight is 20/20.

I have an older Howard/Kawai 550 (5'10") from 1969 that was rarely played by it's previous owner. It was a one-owner piano. The previous owner said her parents bought the piano for her when she was 16 years old and taking piano lessons. She said the lessons never stuck with her, and although she kept the piano for years as a family heirloom, she finally decided to sell it when she and her husband built a new home. She said she just didn't have room in the new house and ready to sell, with the blessing of her mother, who was still living.

Anyway, long-story short, I was the luck buyer. The action is heavier than the other grand pianos I've owned and currently own. I think that is just the nature of the Kawai grand action. That said, I agree that a good regulation and thorough lubing from top to bottom can make a difference. When I got the piano, I removed the action and lubed every friction point there was. I used either Protech CLP or powdered Teflon. I could tell a difference after the fact. I have given the Howard/Kawai to my 14 year old granddaughter, who was taking piano lessons but lost interest. My son said they still wanted the piano, whenever he can find room for it in his house. I don't think he realizes what a nice gift that piano really is, or he would have made room for it already.

I played it yesterday, and it plays great, and holds a tuning like a rock.

Anyway, RO, I still think there is hope for you RX6. I'd suggest the thorough regulation and lube and see what you think. If it doesn't make a difference, which I believe it will, you can always sell/trade the RX6 for something you like better. Life is too short to keep a piano you don't like...

Good luck!

Rick


Thanks, Rick. I tried out several brands of pianos this week, and while they were mostly nice, I do still like my RX6 (even compared to Shigerus). I went to a few piano stores mainly to see how the actions felt on other kinds. One dealer sells both Kawai and Yamaha, and it was interesting playing both back to back. I played a C3 which was nice, light and responsive, and then I switched to an RX2, and it was definitely heavier and slower. Probably a bit of an exaggeration, but it almost felt like someone poured syrup into the RX2....just had a sluggish and heavy feel. However, being used to a 7' piano, I don't think the bass in the C3 would cut it for me.

I'm in the process of getting a tech to come out and look at it, so that seems to be the best thing for now. Hopefully, it can be tweaked into submission =) It's possible it needs voiced up a little, too. The mellow tone is nice, but I really have to work hard if I want some bite.


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: P W Grey] #2749877
07/06/18 10:48 PM
07/06/18 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
The thing is overdue for major service.

Pianos are in a constant cycle of degrading. It goes with the territory. If the response has degadef (gradually) 20% from when you bought, that means you are probably working 20% harder to get what you want. If it was heavy then, it would be "heavier" now because of your increased exertion.

Pwg


This could be a big part of it. One dealer I spoke with today said he's observed that Kawai actions get heavier over time. Also, it had fairly significant voicing done in the first couple years I had it, so that could be another culprit. Guess I will wait and see what the tech thinks.


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750028
07/07/18 01:26 PM
07/07/18 01:26 PM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,578
New Hampshire
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P W Grey Offline
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P W Grey  Offline
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P
Joined: Feb 2017
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New Hampshire
And voicing BEGINS after the complete regulation with careful shaping of the hammers. Dont expect any overnight "miracles".

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: P W Grey] #2750036
07/07/18 02:16 PM
07/07/18 02:16 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 624
Radio.Octave Offline OP
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Radio.Octave  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
And voicing BEGINS after the complete regulation with careful shaping of the hammers. Dont expect any overnight "miracles".

Pwg


Once the hammers have been voiced down, is it still possible to go the opposite way?


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750052
07/07/18 04:10 PM
07/07/18 04:10 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 624
Radio.Octave Offline OP
500 Post Club Member
Radio.Octave  Offline OP
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Also, are there any other options for hammers, such as lighter ones? Or does my piano really only work well with the one kind?


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750059
07/07/18 04:52 PM
07/07/18 04:52 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 610
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Ed A. Hall Offline
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Ed A. Hall  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2001
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Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
Also, are there any other options for hammers, such as lighter ones? Or does my piano really only work well with the one kind?


Before going through all the trouble and expense to install new hammers that are lighter weight, find a piano technician who will take the existing hammers and taper them. Tapering the existing hammers will will decrease hammer weight and touchweight. I've had customers with the exact same scenario as you and tapering the hammers yielded excellent results.

Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Ed A. Hall] #2750067
07/07/18 05:44 PM
07/07/18 05:44 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 624
Radio.Octave Offline OP
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Radio.Octave  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 624
Originally Posted by Ed A. Hall
Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
Also, are there any other options for hammers, such as lighter ones? Or does my piano really only work well with the one kind?


Before going through all the trouble and expense to install new hammers that are lighter weight, find a piano technician who will take the existing hammers and taper them. Tapering the existing hammers will will decrease hammer weight and touchweight. I've had customers with the exact same scenario as you and tapering the hammers yielded excellent results.


Thanks. That does sound like an easier and less drastic option.

Also, have any of you heard of this?

... there is a rather inexpensive, completely reversible solution; cutting the balance washers in half, which will immediately and consistently drop the DW 3-5 grams or so. This is a technique developed by David Stanwood a quick and painless way to globally change touchweight


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750070
07/07/18 06:01 PM
07/07/18 06:01 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,191
Old Hangtown California
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Gene Nelson Offline
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Gene Nelson  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,191
Old Hangtown California
Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
Originally Posted by Ed A. Hall
Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
Also, are there any other options for hammers, such as lighter ones? Or does my piano really only work well with the one kind?


Before going through all the trouble and expense to install new hammers that are lighter weight, find a piano technician who will take the existing hammers and taper them. Tapering the existing hammers will will decrease hammer weight and touchweight. I've had customers with the exact same scenario as you and tapering the hammers yielded excellent results.


Thanks. That does sound like an easier and less drastic option.

Also, have any of you heard of this?

... there is a rather inexpensive, completely reversible solution; cutting the balance washers in half, which will immediately and consistently drop the DW 3-5 grams or so. This is a technique developed by David Stanwood a quick and painless way to globally change touchweight

Dont cut them quite in half but it does get results, a little better leverage plus there is a little less wear on the balance rail hole in the key. You can purchase them pre cut as well.
One other option are WNG key capstans. A typical brass key capstan can be up to 8 or more grams while the WNG is about 3 if memory serves. Also, the WNG's are annodized aluminum, very smooth - low friction.

And yes, voicing up hammers after they have been voiced down is relatively easy. I use a dilute solution of plastic key top dissolved in acetone.
Just a drop on the strike point in the string groove can make a big difference.

One other thing I would consider is that 37+ gram upweight you say you have. If you take mass off of the hammer you will get more harmonics tone wise but you will loose that high upweight that really gives a feeling of control and adds to repetition.

Last edited by Gene Nelson; 07/07/18 06:09 PM.

RPT
PTG Member
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