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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Gene Nelson] #2750085
07/07/18 06:51 PM
07/07/18 06:51 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 612
Radio.Octave Offline OP
500 Post Club Member
Radio.Octave  Offline OP
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Posts: 612
Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
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.


Good to know, thanks! Now I guess I just wait until I can get the tech to come out. We'll see how it goes.


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750202
07/08/18 09:59 AM
07/08/18 09:59 AM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 469
Rockville, MD
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I have a few questions/remarks concerning these points.

Originally Posted by PWG
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.


I agree that pianos are in a constant cycle of change. Sometimes they are improving, as in "playing in" a new set of hammers, a brand new keyboard. Sometimes they are degrading, as in hammers hardening to the point of unpleasantness after lots of playing.

Thinking about this post I couldn't, at first understand, whey the piano had grown harder to play to the OP's perception. If hammers harden over repeated use, the effort to get louder sounds is reduced. As the keys are played, the bushings wear and there should be less friction (or so I believe) going up and down the pins in the action frame. Kawai actions are not know for getting verdigris. Wouldn't the action be EASIER to play assuming there was still adequate after-touch?

Originally Posted by OP
OP 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.
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.


Regarding the C3 vs the RX2, I wonder if it is not weight and friction that are at issue, but the difference in the way that Yamahas "speak" vs Kawai. I've played my share of wonderful pianos by both makers, and they are very different. The Yamaha action feels a bit firmer to me, not in the weight required to make a key go down, but how it feels when the key hits the bottom. Kawai feels more "velvety" to me, as if the bushings fit the pins somewhat more tightly.

"...it had fairly significant voicing done in the first couple years..." could explain why the piano STILL feels harder to play. While the hammers would ordinarily brighten up a lot with playing (with the action feeling easier to play as a consequence), voicing them DOWN, which I assume is what happened, would make the piano feel heavier unless a lot of felt was removed in the voicing process.

All this, dear friends, is why finding a good piano technician, someone who really understands the interplay of so many variables, is so important.

It will be interesting to read what the OP's tech recommends upon inspection.

Good day to all.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Seeker] #2750226
07/08/18 12:50 PM
07/08/18 12:50 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 612
Radio.Octave Offline OP
500 Post Club Member
Radio.Octave  Offline OP
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Posts: 612
Thanks, Andrew. I am definitely going to ask about the voicing when the tech comes. On my piano, it seems difficult to get brightness when I want it. For example, I can play notes harder and harder, and they get louder, but not much brighter. I feel like I practically have to pound the keyboard to get that brightness out of notes.


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750230
07/08/18 01:27 PM
07/08/18 01:27 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 11,984
Georgia, USA
Rickster Online content
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In my view, hammer voicing is a specialty skill that many good piano tuners/technicians might not have. You asked earlier if a mellow voicing can be reversed and made brighter. It can to an extent. It is typically easier and more common to voice a harsh, bright tone down to be more mellow using voicing needles or even liquid/chemical solutions. A hammer most certainly can be over-voiced and more or less killed/ruined. Hence, this is why you need someone highly experienced in the area of hammer voicing.

A mellow sounding tone can be made brighter by someone who knows how...

Reading through your thread, the voicing issue might have some psychological correlation to your sense of the action being too heavy. But I'm just speculating.

Good luck.

Rick


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750266
07/08/18 05:53 PM
07/08/18 05:53 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,714
Seattle, WA USA
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Seattle, WA USA
If the hammers still produce some "Bite" when played hard, shaping the hammers to reduce weight and make them more pointed in shape is the most likely route to improve brightness and reduce playing effort. The inertia of the hammer has a dramatic effect on tone and touch response. Lighter hammers rebound from the string quicker and this reduces the hammer/string contact time which means less damping. Lighter hammers also complete escapement quicker and this improves control and response.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750269
07/08/18 06:05 PM
07/08/18 06:05 PM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,454
New Hampshire
P
P W Grey Online content
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Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
Thanks, Andrew. I am definitely going to ask about the voicing when the tech comes. On my piano, it seems difficult to get brightness when I want it. For example, I can play notes harder and harder, and they get louder, but not much brighter. I feel like I practically have to pound the keyboard to get that brightness out of notes.



Stuff has been done to this piano early in its life we don't know about.

Also, there is nothing in a piano that "gets better" with age and wear. It's downhill all the way, requiring consistent "chair lifts" to keep things in top shape. Same with your car. Anything in your car that gets "better" with time and wear? Not mine.

Pwg

Last edited by P W Grey; 07/08/18 06:05 PM.

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: Rickster] #2750291
07/08/18 09:09 PM
07/08/18 09:09 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 612
Radio.Octave Offline OP
500 Post Club Member
Radio.Octave  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Rickster
In my view, hammer voicing is a specialty skill that many good piano tuners/technicians might not have. You asked earlier if a mellow voicing can be reversed and made brighter. It can to an extent. It is typically easier and more common to voice a harsh, bright tone down to be more mellow using voicing needles or even liquid/chemical solutions. A hammer most certainly can be over-voiced and more or less killed/ruined. Hence, this is why you need someone highly experienced in the area of hammer voicing.

A mellow sounding tone can be made brighter by someone who knows how...

Reading through your thread, the voicing issue might have some psychological correlation to your sense of the action being too heavy. But I'm just speculating.

Good luck.

Rick


Yeah, I do think the mellowness may be one factor that makes it "feel" heavier than it really is.


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750296
07/08/18 10:01 PM
07/08/18 10:01 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 612
Radio.Octave Offline OP
500 Post Club Member
Radio.Octave  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 612
Then again, I do like the tone now. I just played for a while and the sound is mostly great, but it just feels like a workout.


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750367
07/09/18 09:20 AM
07/09/18 09:20 AM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,426
Southwestern Ontario
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It seems to me that the ‘feel’ of the action of one piano relative to another could be tested somewhat objectively, at least for the interested individual, by practicing each piano for an hour or so while wearing hearing protection that reduces the sound by at least 30db in the 100Hz to 4kHz range. Downweight, dynamic inertial effects, key repetition rates all become obvious.

I practice using four different sound levels on my M&H BB, depending on the work required - ear protection, lid fully down, lid on half stick, and lid fully up. Each setup obviously changes the amount of effort required to produce the same sound in my ears. I do not change my technique or effort as I do not expect or want to achieve the same sound levels.

I go to my tech’s shop regularly and play many different grands (most recently M&H A, Ibach with double-overstrung bass, C2, Kawai KG2, S&S A2 all on the same day) when they are completely rebuilt and I find that, while each piano has a very unique sound (btw, he uses Ronsen, Abel and NY S&S hammers) he adjusts the geometry and regulates the action so that they all ‘feel’ very similar and are easy to play and control.

Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: P W Grey] #2750456
07/09/18 03:50 PM
07/09/18 03:50 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 469
Rockville, MD
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Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 469
Rockville, MD
Originally Posted by P W Grey
Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
Thanks, Andrew. I am definitely going to ask about the voicing when the tech comes. On my piano, it seems difficult to get brightness when I want it. For example, I can play notes harder and harder, and they get louder, but not much brighter. I feel like I practically have to pound the keyboard to get that brightness out of notes.



Stuff has been done to this piano early in its life we don't know about.

Also, there is nothing in a piano that "gets better" with age and wear. It's downhill all the way, requiring consistent "chair lifts" to keep things in top shape. Same with your car. Anything in your car that gets "better" with time and wear? Not mine.

Pwg

Respectfully disagree though I take your point. If a piano has been prepped to the point where everything is optimal, indeed, it's all downhill from there. So... no argument from me.

But, I can relate numerous occasions on which a tech has told me that "the hammers need to be played in for a while. If I voice them up now, it'll be too bright later". I've played pianos at major venues where I was told that a piano was "...relatively new, and they were still working to get the tone just right...". There are also the times when I've been told, "you need to play the action in for a month or so, THEN we'll re-regulate it".

Isn't this congruent with what Shigeru-Kawai does? They sell a piano that is "store ready"; they send a tech out some time later to make adjustments. Most things will have degraded - to your point - regulation adjustments, tuning, and voicing. But I bet that not every voicing is DOWN for every client. Some may want things adjusted UP.

Beyond that, as usual, I am d'accord with your points.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750468
07/09/18 06:18 PM
07/09/18 06:18 PM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,454
New Hampshire
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P W Grey Online content
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👍

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
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