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Kawai RX6 heavy action #2746565
06/23/18 03:50 PM
06/23/18 03:50 PM
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Radio.Octave Offline OP
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I have an RX6 that's about 6 years old now. It's always had a fairly heavy action, and I'm not sure if it's gotten worse over time, or it's just that it's finally getting annoying, but let's just say I'm noticing it lately. I recently had the piano tuned, and had the tech checkout the touchweight. It was 65+ grams around the lower end of the keyboard, and I think around 60 higher up. I just did a quick test with coins, and it agrees with what he measured. Even at the C above middle, I'm over 60 grams.

He said what he'd normally do is take the action, make sure there's no binding, excess friction, etc, and then re-weight the keyboard. Since we're talking thousands of dollars, just wondering if I have other options? Maybe something a little less drastic?

To compound the matter, the piano is pretty mellow, so I think it takes more effort anyway to get the sound I'm after. As I play harder, notes get louder, but they don't seem to get much brighter (which is what I want sometimes). I think what I'm saying is, the volume is there, but the change in timbre isn't as obvious.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks! thumb


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2746573
06/23/18 04:21 PM
06/23/18 04:21 PM
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I would ask your tech to diagnose exactly where the friction is. It could be keys or flanges in the action that are tight.
Sometimes just a bit of lube in the right place can cure.
He/she should be able to cure the excess friction on a sample note prior to taking the action and remeasure touch weight in order to demonstrate to you the correct fix and the change in touch weight after the fix.
You will be better informed about what to expect.
as an example: I have had the occasion to cure tight hammer flanges on similar pianos using a water alcohol solution and a hair drier, in house and it took about an hour.

Last edited by Gene Nelson; 06/23/18 04:31 PM.

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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2746575
06/23/18 04:31 PM
06/23/18 04:31 PM
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First thing to do is to get it regulated. If you can no longer play it softly, you are going to play it harder, and it will feel heavier.


Semipro Tech
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2746582
06/23/18 05:08 PM
06/23/18 05:08 PM
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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If one shapes the shoulders and tapers the sides of the hammers the tone will get brighter and the touch will get lighter. Just removing about 0.5 grams from the hammer will reduce the static down-weight by about 2.5 grams. If you can remove more like a gram from each hammer the difference in sound and performance will be dramatic, especially the tone in the treble. Lighter hammers bounce away from the string faster and this reduces the damping of the string during hammer contact time. The action will also repeat much better and soft playing will be easier if the hammer felt is not too dense.

This means removing the hammer flange screw to be able to work on the hammers which means all the traveling and spacing of the hammers to the strings will need to be redone. Also the lighter hammers will require adjustment to the repetition springs.

This much work can cost $2K in my shop. And there may be other details needing attention.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2746583
06/23/18 05:22 PM
06/23/18 05:22 PM
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Radio.Octave Offline OP
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Interesting. So it sounds like there are some other options besides re-weighting the keyboard. There are a few techs I've used in the past, so maybe I'll see what the others say.


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2746603
06/23/18 07:31 PM
06/23/18 07:31 PM
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Radio.Octave,

Although I agree with the above recommendations, you should also know that there is a device called the Touchrail which installs behind the fallboard and has an individual coil spring (adjustable) for each key. You can easily take 10 grams off the touch weight with this. It is much less expensive than re-weighting the keyboard, etc (though I agree with Ed that material should be removed from the hammers, and there usually is plenty of meat available on Kawai's to do this).

I have installed two of these Touchrails and the owners are VERY happy with them. The first one was essentially to decide whether it had merit or not. Needless to say, I was very impressed.

The primary purpose is to give an assist in overcoming the initial static friction and weight in the keystroke. It provides most of its "action" at the beginning of the keystroke and tapers off to nothing as you follow through. It is NOT a panacea to cure all ills in an action, and regulation and weight reduction are very important. However, if those things don't quite cut it for you, this could make all the difference.

Check it out.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2746637
06/24/18 01:21 AM
06/24/18 01:21 AM
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I'm going to be teaching a class on this subject at the PTG convention next month in Lancaster ...

Anyway, the first thing is not to attempt any "diagnostics" that produce numerical values in grams. They will be either pointless or misleading.

First of all, pointless because with a piano of your age and description, the first thing to do is already known: It needs a thorough lubrication (keypins, capstans, knuckles and action centers) and regulation. After needed accumulated routine maintenance is performed, if performance is still unsatisfactory, then some kind of meaningful assessment can be performed.

Misleading because static measurement does not disclose dynamic playing issues. As a result, sacred parameters can be meaningless. For example pianos with downweights less that 48 grams can be unplayable and others with 68 grams or more of downweight can be enjoyable.

In fact the term "touchweight is inherently misleading since weight, as such, may not be the issue at all. There are many other factors affecting perceived touch resistance. I've pretty well gotten away from taking the typical measurements with weights since they are only occasionally useful and there are better means available to make accurate and reliable assessments.

Be suspicious of any attempt to compensate by adding weight to the front side of the key and even other kinds of force like springs. Springs might work to some degree and in some circumstances -- as described above -- but in all cases adding weight or force to the front of the key is from a failure to diagnose or correct the real problem which is upstream from the front side of the key. Removing sources of energy consumption such as friction or mass upstream is more likely to prove worthwhile. In fact, I just took back an action on Thursday that I had discussion with the owner about possibly using the TouchRail. Fortunately, she didn't go for it and instead, I was able to remove the actual problem with the result she is now happy with her piano (Baldwin Howard, not Kawai).

Ed's suggestion to consider removing mass from the hammer is likely to be a better approach. I've developed a way to do this without removing hammers from the action that helps keep the cost of that kind of procedure down to a reasonable level.

Regarding hammers, Kawai is typical of most piano manufacturers in that it simply isn't possible to produce quality hammers in the volume that large manufacturers require. Even if they are lightened, they are simply not capable of first-class tonal color and will always tend toward a constricted dynamic range and lack of tonal color -- even when serviced by the most skilled of voicers. This is not because a manufacturer is trying to "cut corners". It's simply a reality that hammer sets that are banged out of a press every 20 minutes or so are incapable of premium tone because of several reasons.

My area had one of the largest Kawai dealers in the country. I am now doing a lot of Kawai restorations and upgrades with results that leave my customers amazed and delighted. Perhaps one of the best examples is an owner of a new (at the time, 2-year-old) RX-6 who confided that he has "settled" for that instrument instead of getting a Boesendorfer. After having me perform upgrades on the piano, what he said after sitting down and playing it for a couple of minutes was, "now I don't have to get a Boesendorfer!" If you would like to interact with me about the specifics, feel free to send me a PM.


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] #2746726
06/24/18 01:24 PM
06/24/18 01:24 PM
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Lots of good ideas here but if the action is bound up with excessive friction, get the friction in a reasonable range first, then do some regulation before thinking about what to do next.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2746731
06/24/18 01:35 PM
06/24/18 01:35 PM
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If the piano has been played over 6 years time and gotten worse, it is not friction which is the problem.


Semipro Tech
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: BDB] #2746737
06/24/18 02:22 PM
06/24/18 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
If the piano has been played over 6 years time and gotten worse, it is not friction which is the problem.

It's always been pretty heavy, so it's hard to say if it's gotten worse. I was quite a bit brighter when I got it, and was voiced down on several occasions, maybe a bit too much? It just seems like if I want some "bite" to the notes, I have to really pound them.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2746755
06/24/18 04:04 PM
06/24/18 04:04 PM
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You've gotten lots of excellent advice, but I'd like to add one little thing. You may have a gram scale, as many inexpensive digital kitchen scales have resolution to the gram or even tenth of a gram level. If you've got one, pick a white key on your piano that feels pretty typical and is toward the middle of the piano. Hold the sustain pedal down, and start stacking coins on the end of the key until the key slowly goes down. The note will not sound. Weigh the stack of coins. Now, place them back on the same key, in the same place they were before. Again with the sustain pedal depressed, start removing coins until the key is able to slowly come up to or very close to its normal up position. Now weigh that stack of coins. Subtract that weight from the first weight you measured, then divide by two. That's the friction. If it's much over 10, part of your problem may well be excess friction. This whole procedure will take you 10 minutes and costs nothing. It will give you information that is useful.

Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: BDB] #2746757
06/24/18 04:13 PM
06/24/18 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
If the piano has been played over 6 years time and gotten worse, it is not friction which is the problem.

Not sure why you would say this. Why do you think friction should be ruled out?


Keith Akins, RPT
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Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: kpembrook] #2746760
06/24/18 04:21 PM
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Because surfaces become smoother as they rub together. Smoother surfaces have less friction.


Semipro Tech
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: BDB] #2746763
06/24/18 05:06 PM
06/24/18 05:06 PM
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True enough, but maybe the lubrication at the jack/knuckle/rep-lever interface has worn away. Maybe the knuckles are worn or a bit flattened. Maybe dust and dirt have accumulated here and there. Maybe volatilized fats from cooking have caused gummy surfaces. It's hard to know what the issues are without a good evaluation of the action and its state of adjustment. All in all, it seems to me that measuring the friction is so fast and easy, it would be strange not to do it. What if, despite all odds, friction really is a good part of the problem--not addressing the issue would seem like malpractice, so to speak.

Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2746765
06/24/18 05:17 PM
06/24/18 05:17 PM
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Measuring forces in actions is never easy to do! There are so many variables, like when things start moving and for that matter, what constitutes movement, how the forces are applied, etc. Not the least is uniformity in regulation, which is why I recommended starting with that.


Semipro Tech
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Roy123] #2746777
06/24/18 07:19 PM
06/24/18 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Roy123
You've gotten lots of excellent advice, but I'd like to add one little thing. You may have a gram scale, as many inexpensive digital kitchen scales have resolution to the gram or even tenth of a gram level. If you've got one, pick a white key on your piano that feels pretty typical and is toward the middle of the piano. Hold the sustain pedal down, and start stacking coins on the end of the key until the key slowly goes down. The note will not sound. Weigh the stack of coins. Now, place them back on the same key, in the same place they were before. Again with the sustain pedal depressed, start removing coins until the key is able to slowly come up to or very close to its normal up position. Now weigh that stack of coins. Subtract that weight from the first weight you measured, then divide by two. That's the friction. If it's much over 10, part of your problem may well be excess friction. This whole procedure will take you 10 minutes and costs nothing. It will give you information that is useful.


I don't have a scale, but going by a nickel = about 5 g, and a dime = 2.5 g, I get 65g downweight at middle C, and around 37.5 upweight. This is while holding the sus pedal, so I'm assuming without it, the downweight is even more.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: BDB] #2746802
06/24/18 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
Because surfaces become smoother as they rub together. Smoother surfaces have less friction.

True enough as a concept. However, in pianos, friction always increases with age at the capstans and keypins. They become tarnished and grungy. Knuckles always benefit from lubrication. Action centers may or may not need attention. It's a part of my "accumulated routine maintenance" service package protocol. And I always get an improvement in playability.

If you want to measure, it can be done. Otherwise, just notice the improvement after proper lubrication. In the real world friction in pianos goes up, not down with the passage of time.


Keith Akins, RPT
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Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: kpembrook] #2746803
06/24/18 09:27 PM
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You want me to measure because you cannot provide measurements yourself, I guess. As is typical around here.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2746807
06/24/18 09:41 PM
06/24/18 09:41 PM
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From your measurement it is likely that friction is not a significant issue. On the note you measured it shows just under 10G of friction.

So shaping the hammers to reduce weight is the most likely way to improve both the tone and touch and make the action wear longer and the regulation more stable.

My LightHammer Tone regulation procedure involves matching the weight to the leverage. The more leverage, the lighter the hammers must be. As ROY123 has shown in an excellent article published in the PTG Journal, it is the weight of the hammer that is the predominant factor of the inertial properties of the action.

I have found it true that the lower the inertia in an action, the higher the static touch weight needs to be to allow the most ease of dynamic control and sensitivity. A low inertia action can have static touch weight of 70G in the low bass and feel light.

The first tone regulation class I took in 1973 at the PTG Convention was taught by Fred Drasche who was the Head Tone regulator at Steinway NY. His first two sentences were: "The hammer has got to get away from the string" and "The voicer puts the tone in the hammer with the shape".

One of the three classes I will be teaching at next months PTG Convention is LightHammer Tone regulation. I have some new material about how a technician can determine touch quality even if they can't play the piano with facile technique, just by using your fingers to test the feel.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: BDB] #2746822
06/24/18 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
You want me to measure because you cannot provide measurements yourself, I guess. As is typical around here.


That't not what I meant to imply. Sorry if it came across that way. I'm simply saying that if you take any piano several years old and measure the friction and then measure the friction after proper treatment that there will be a measurable improvement. How much will vary.

This is an experiment that would be more difficult to perform:

Measure the friction on a brand new piano and then on that same piano several years later that has not had action service. The friction will be higher later on. I know it's counterintuitive, but it's what my observation is.


Keith Akins, RPT
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Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
Editor Emeritus, Piano Technicians Journal
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: kpembrook] #2746828
06/24/18 11:55 PM
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Again, no numbers, just telling me what to do.

The action service may be the difference, not increased friction. That has been my observation.


Semipro Tech
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2746832
06/25/18 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
From your measurement it is likely that friction is not a significant issue. On the note you measured it shows just under 10G of friction.



Isn't (65-37.5)/2= 13.75?? Not that it makes a huge difference....

But empirical is better than calculation. Actually removing whatever friction that is removable simply clarifies what the actual intrinsic friction is.
But I certainly agree that friction is probably not the major bugaboo in this particular scenario.


Keith Akins, RPT
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Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
Editor Emeritus, Piano Technicians Journal
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2746834
06/25/18 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I have found it true that the lower the inertia in an action, the higher the static touch weight needs to be to allow the most ease of dynamic control and sensitivity. A low inertia action can have static touch weight of 70G in the low bass and feel light..


thumb thumb thumb

William Braid White cites typical downweight as being between 2 and 3 ounces (=52 and 78 grams). And that was from an era that didn't normally use heavy hammers.


Keith Akins, RPT
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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: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2746836
06/25/18 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT

So shaping the hammers to reduce weight is the most likely way to improve both the tone and touch and make the action wear longer and the regulation more stable.

...[snip]...

The first tone regulation class I took in 1973 at the PTG Convention was taught by Fred Drasche who was the Head Tone regulator at Steinway NY. His first two sentences were: "The hammer has got to get away from the string" and "The voicer puts the tone in the hammer with the shape".


As far as tone quality is concerned, hammer mass is indeed a significant variable affecting tone. But it is only one of the variables. Hammer construction also significantly affects piano tone regardless of hammer mass (or, perhaps in interaction with mass). More specifically, hammer resilience is another aspect that has two factors. 1) spring ratio or simply "springiness" and 2) spring stroke -- now negatively manifesting itself in what I call "arthritic" felt. That is, felt that could perhaps have a high spring ratio but it is so rigid that it has little movement. Both of these aspects have much to do with how fast a hammer gets away from the string. They also affect touch effort in that rebound velocity affects energy transfer to the string which therefor also affects total energy needed from the finger.

I've done extensive dissection of hammers and observed these 2 qualities firsthand as well as hearing the tonal difference they make.

Quote
One of the three classes I will be teaching at next months PTG Convention is LightHammer Tone regulation. I have some new material about how a technician can determine touch quality even if they can't play the piano with facile technique, just by using your fingers to test the feel.

Looking forward to taking the class if my schedule allows. smile


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] #2746925
06/25/18 10:56 AM
06/25/18 10:56 AM
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One more thing to consider on this RX-6 is:
If your down/up weight measurements are accurate, then excess friction is relatively minor but still an issue that needs to be addressed.
Also, if you can, take a count of how many lead weights are in the keys.
A typical leading pattern is about 3 to four leads in each key starting at the bass and tapering to zero in the treble.
If there are less, this is a great opportunity to balance your action and make it almost perfectly even by adding key leads in the correct position.
It is not a good idea to automatically assume that the hammer set installed on your piano are too heavy.
One thing to consider about hammer mass is that it contributes directly to the upweight.
Upweight plays a key roll in repetition.
If the tone of your piano remains a bit muted, hammers can be voiced.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: kpembrook] #2746928
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Originally Posted by kpembrook
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
From your measurement it is likely that friction is not a significant issue. On the note you measured it shows just under 10G of friction.



Isn't (65-37.5)/2= 13.75?? Not that it makes a huge difference....

But empirical is better than calculation. Actually removing whatever friction that is removable simply clarifies what the actual intrinsic friction is.
But I certainly agree that friction is probably not the major bugaboo in this particular scenario.

My own typo. Should read 13.5g


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2746944
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Piano probably would benefit from a complete weight/friction reduction and regulation regimen.

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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Gene Nelson] #2747086
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Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
One more thing to consider on this RX-6 is:
If your down/up weight measurements are accurate, then excess friction is relatively minor but still an issue that needs to be addressed.
Also, if you can, take a count of how many lead weights are in the keys.
A typical leading pattern is about 3 to four leads in each key starting at the bass and tapering to zero in the treble.
If there are less, this is a great opportunity to balance your action and make it almost perfectly even by adding key leads in the correct position.
It is not a good idea to automatically assume that the hammer set installed on your piano are too heavy.
One thing to consider about hammer mass is that it contributes directly to the upweight.
Upweight plays a key roll in repetition.
If the tone of your piano remains a bit muted, hammers can be voiced.


Without pulling out the action, from what I can see it looks like 3 weights way down in the deep bass, 2 a little farther up, and 1 weight by middle C. The upper octaves don't have any. So, it seems pretty close to what you said.

I'm also talking to tech support from Kawai, so I'm sure we'll get it all sorted out. I'm actually pretty interested in the Touchrail device, but kind of wish I could try one first to see how it feels.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2747214
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Originally Posted by Radio.Octave

I'm actually pretty interested in the Touchrail device, but kind of wish I could try one first to see how it feels.


I play on a RX 3 at a local church that has a touch rail and it's quite nice. I'm probably going to get one for my GX 5. I think it's dialed in to a down weight of 50 or a little less (baseline is 55g).

Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Stitches] #2748082
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Originally Posted by Stitches
Originally Posted by Radio.Octave

I'm actually pretty interested in the Touchrail device, but kind of wish I could try one first to see how it feels.


I play on a RX 3 at a local church that has a touch rail and it's quite nice. I'm probably going to get one for my GX 5. I think it's dialed in to a down weight of 50 or a little less (baseline is 55g).


Thanks. I'm going to have my tech work with Kawai support to see if they can diagnose. If not, it's nice to know that the Touchrail may be an option.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2748208
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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!

Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: David Boyce] #2748342
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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.



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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: kpembrook] #2748410
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2748420
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749144
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749624
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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.

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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749632
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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
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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?


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749646
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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
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749729
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: kpembrook] #2749732
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Dave B] #2749739
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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
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Dave B] #2749756
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749757
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: BDB] #2749758
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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


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: BDB] #2749761
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749765
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: BDB] #2749783
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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
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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


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2749801
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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.

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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Rickster] #2749876
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: P W Grey] #2749877
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750028
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And voicing BEGINS after the complete regulation with careful shaping of the hammers. Dont expect any overnight "miracles".

Pwg


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: P W Grey] #2750036
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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?


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750052
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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?


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750059
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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
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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


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750070
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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.

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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Gene Nelson] #2750085
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750202
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Seeker] #2750226
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750230
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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
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750269
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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.

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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Rickster] #2750291
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750296
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750367
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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
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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.


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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2750468
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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2756167
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Any resolution to this?

Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: David Boyce] #2756426
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Originally Posted by David Boyce
Any resolution to this?


I think so. I got many opinions online, spoke to a few dealers and also had a couple of techs come out in person. The general advice from most people was to check for regulation issues and excessive friction. One tech came out and regulated/lubed a single key to see how much difference it'd make. I compared to the key next to it, and it really didn't seem much better. There was maybe a very subtle change, but hard to say for sure. The downweight was still the same on the tweaked key.

Another suggestion was to re-weight the keyboard, but most people said this was a bad idea because it'd just add inertia. The second tech who came out looked at the weighting, and thought that the current amount of lead in the keys was not excessive. He thought that whoever weighed it off at the factory kind of left the touch on the heavy side. He thought we could actually get away with adding a bit more lead to the keys without running into inertial problems. However, this is a bigger job and not easily reversible. The tech also measured the action ratio (which was within normal range), and thought there wasn't excessive friction in the action.

Finally, the Stanwood "trick" was suggested, which is where the balance rail punchings are cut in half. If I'm understanding it correctly, the gist of it is, it moves the pivot point slightly rearward, thereby giving more leverage to the player. In effect, the downweight is reduced. Since this is a fairly quick and easy thing to try, we went ahead and did it. Middle C was measuring around 57 grams downweight before, and afterwards, I believe it went to around 52-53 g.

So, the touchweight is lighter for sure, and it almost feels like a different piano. It also feels a little strange, and I'm still not 100% sure I like it, but I think I need to give it some time to adjust. One big advantage of this trick is, it's totally reversible. Not sure if there are any downsides to it. I'm assuming the piano was designed with this in mind, so hopefully I don't run into any issues. Guess I will play it for a bit and see how it goes =)

Last edited by Radio.Octave; 08/07/18 10:00 AM.

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Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2756464
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Thanks for the update, Radio.Octave. The balance rail punchings method is very interesting, and as you say, involves no drastic change to the piano.

Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2757096
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We had similar results to yours on my 1929 Steinert Artist Grand. As I understand it, the half punching solution emulates Steinway's acclerated action.

Here's a picture from a piece by Steinert in Boston of the Steinway acclerated action. The red circle shows the Steinway accelerator.

[Linked Image]

...and the text:
"Steinway’s Accelerated Action is largely reliant upon two design elements: a half-round balance rail bearing, and a special method of weighting the keys.

Accelerating the Action

The rounded pivot piece allows the key to move freely

The balance rail bearing in a Steinway is a rounded, felt-covered piece of maple. It acts as the fulcrum on which the key pivots. Though this might seem like a trivial aspect of the piano, it is in fact one of the most important. No other piano uses a rounded surface; all others are flat.

The Seesaw Effect

The significance of this becomes apparent when you think of it like this: Imagine a seesaw with a lightweight person on one end, and a heavyweight person on the other. The heavyweight person represents your fingers, and the lightweight person the hammer mechanism. If the seesaw were pivoting on a flat surface, there would be no way for the mechanism to easily tip from one point to the other. Yet seesaws pivot on a rounded surface, allowing for the mechanism to tip freely from one end to the other.


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1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Seeker] #2757166
08/09/18 03:51 PM
08/09/18 03:51 PM
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Radio.Octave Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Seeker
We had similar results to yours on my 1929 Steinert Artist Grand. As I understand it, the half punching solution emulates Steinway's acclerated action.

Here's a picture from a piece by Steinert in Boston of the Steinway acclerated action. The red circle shows the Steinway accelerator.

[Linked Image]

...and the text:
"Steinway’s Accelerated Action is largely reliant upon two design elements: a half-round balance rail bearing, and a special method of weighting the keys.

Accelerating the Action

The rounded pivot piece allows the key to move freely

The balance rail bearing in a Steinway is a rounded, felt-covered piece of maple. It acts as the fulcrum on which the key pivots. Though this might seem like a trivial aspect of the piano, it is in fact one of the most important. No other piano uses a rounded surface; all others are flat.

The Seesaw Effect

The significance of this becomes apparent when you think of it like this: Imagine a seesaw with a lightweight person on one end, and a heavyweight person on the other. The heavyweight person represents your fingers, and the lightweight person the hammer mechanism. If the seesaw were pivoting on a flat surface, there would be no way for the mechanism to easily tip from one point to the other. Yet seesaws pivot on a rounded surface, allowing for the mechanism to tip freely from one end to the other.


Hi Seeker,

Yep, I think this is sort of a "poor-man's" way to emulate that aspect of the Steinway action, although probably only roughly. In my case, the punching is still a flat edge (rather than rounded like Steinway), so I'm not sure there's any acceleration enhancement. If we consider the key to be a simple lever resting on a fulcrum (the punching), by slicing it in half, we're essentially moving the fulcrum rearward (away from the player) slightly.

[Linked Image]

We increase Le, and thereby increase the mechanical advantage. The result is a reduced downweight. It's actually a pretty elegant solution to what could be an expensive and complicated piano problem. It's made a very noticeable difference to my piano, but so far, it still feels a little weird. That's the only way I can think of to describe it. I hope this is just because I've gotten use to playing it over 6 years, and now it's suddenly different, so I need to readjust.

Also, there supposedly aren't any downsides to doing this, but I think the key dip should change, correct? Going back to the lever example, by moving the fulcrum rearward, we increased the length of the work arm, and increased the mechanical advantage. I need less force to press down the key, but the key also has to move a slightly larger distance. That's the tradeoff. So in theory, the keydip should have increased a little, right?


http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Mechanics/lever.html
From this perspective it becomes evident that a simple machine may multiply force. That is, a small input force can accomplish a task requiring a large output force. But the constraint is that the small input force must be exerted through a larger distance so that the work input is equal to the work output. You are trading a small force acting through a large distance for a large force acting through a small distance. This is the nature of all the simple machines above as they are shown.


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2757196
08/09/18 06:18 PM
08/09/18 06:18 PM
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Ed A. Hall Offline
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Yes, installing half cut balance rail punchings would increase key dip (assuming all other things are
kept the same). Perhaps the weird feeling is due to the deeper key dip. You might try measuring the key dip and seeing how it differs from ideal 9.5mm-10mm key dip.

Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2757200
08/09/18 06:35 PM
08/09/18 06:35 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 480
Rockville, MD
Seeker Offline
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We're in agreement.

The "fix" is more of a "poor man's rig", but... in my own experience, it DID have a positive effect.

Modeling **all** the intricacies of what happens in a piano action under play is beyond my mathematical abilities.

One other thing I CAN point out. Look at the bottom of the Steinway whippen. It, too, is rounded in a way that this "Renner style" whippen is not.
[Linked Image]

My guess is they rounded the whippen as part of the whole accelerated action thing.

So, yeah, you won't have an accelerated action like Steinways.

As to finally getting used to playing your instrument after years, I seem to recall that your instrument became harder to play over time, and you were no longer happy with it.

I, for one, wish you every happiness with your tweaked action. Play it for a while, maybe a month, and then you'll know, if your experience is anything like mine. You can always have dip and key height adjusted...


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
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1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Ed A. Hall] #2757339
08/10/18 10:01 AM
08/10/18 10:01 AM
Joined: Aug 2008
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Radio.Octave Offline OP
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Radio.Octave  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Ed A. Hall
Yes, installing half cut balance rail punchings would increase key dip (assuming all other things are
kept the same). Perhaps the weird feeling is due to the deeper key dip. You might try measuring the key dip and seeing how it differs from ideal 9.5mm-10mm key dip.


Thanks. Measuring the best I can with a ruler, key dip looks to be about 10mm (maybe slightly less). Not sure how much pressure I should put on the key when measuring? I think I'm in the ballpark, though.


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Seeker] #2757345
08/10/18 10:20 AM
08/10/18 10:20 AM
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Radio.Octave Offline OP
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Radio.Octave  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Seeker
We're in agreement.

The "fix" is more of a "poor man's rig", but... in my own experience, it DID have a positive effect.

Modeling **all** the intricacies of what happens in a piano action under play is beyond my mathematical abilities.

One other thing I CAN point out. Look at the bottom of the Steinway whippen. It, too, is rounded in a way that this "Renner style" whippen is not.


My guess is they rounded the whippen as part of the whole accelerated action thing.

So, yeah, you won't have an accelerated action like Steinways.

As to finally getting used to playing your instrument after years, I seem to recall that your instrument became harder to play over time, and you were no longer happy with it.

I, for one, wish you every happiness with your tweaked action. Play it for a while, maybe a month, and then you'll know, if your experience is anything like mine. You can always have dip and key height adjusted...



Thanks again. It seems to be sounding pretty good at the moment, and it's easier to play for sure. I feel like my fingers can fly over the keys compared to before. The difference in downweight is probably only around 4 grams, which doesn't sound like much, but it's very noticeable.

I also think I may have had a little too much voicing down done in the past, which lead to me working harder to get the sound out of the piano that I wanted. That, combined with the heavy action, made things difficult.

I think I'm liking it now that it's lighter, but I will give it some time. The feeling of "weirdness" will probably go away once I adjust to the new touch. It really does feel like a different piano!


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2757838
08/12/18 10:17 AM
08/12/18 10:17 AM
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P W Grey Offline
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It actually IS a different piano now. The geometry has changed.

One little warning though about this is that you have made ONE change in 6 years that compensates for the slow degrading of about a dozen other points of reference in the action. These other areas also contribute to what you are now feeling. Ideally, this alteration SHOULD be combined with a complete action reconditioning/regulation. The risk is that you will get used to this change and continue to postpone the other work (which will wear at an accelerating rate).

A good regulation may very well take away that "weird" feel you are talking about.

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] #2760201
08/21/18 11:41 PM
08/21/18 11:41 PM
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Radio.Octave Offline OP
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
It actually IS a different piano now. The geometry has changed.

One little warning though about this is that you have made ONE change in 6 years that compensates for the slow degrading of about a dozen other points of reference in the action. These other areas also contribute to what you are now feeling. Ideally, this alteration SHOULD be combined with a complete action reconditioning/regulation. The risk is that you will get used to this change and continue to postpone the other work (which will wear at an accelerating rate).

A good regulation may very well take away that "weird" feel you are talking about.

Pwg


The tech said the regulation looked pretty good as is, but I'm guessing it still could use some tweaking. I'm getting more used to the feel, and I think it's pretty good, but I did notice something else. Some of the action noise is very loud, especially on certain notes. Here's a quick video I made to show it. Can you guys hear the clicking and clunking? I know for sure it was a bit noisy before, but I don't remember it being this bad. I'm going to run this by the tech to see what he thinks. Some notes are worse than others, but the noise is pretty objectionable, IMO.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEoH08i0wuQ&feature=youtu.be


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2760251
08/22/18 06:47 AM
08/22/18 06:47 AM
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P W Grey Offline
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Sounds to me like the combination of hardened/compressed knuckles, hardened/compressed whippen/capstan cloth, etc. Upon release of the key they slap together making noise.

Once again, this is a consequence of playing/wear. Like a car, the more miles you put on it results in gradual change due to wear. YMMV.

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: Radio.Octave] #2760262
08/22/18 09:26 AM
08/22/18 09:26 AM
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Ed Foote Offline
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Originally Posted by Radio.Octave

Some of the action noise is very loud, especially on certain notes.


Greetings,
I would suggest you take a close look at your repetition/knuckle regulation. If an action is allowed to go out of regulation, and played, the lost motion that forms between jack and knuckle allows the jack to "hammer" the knuckle instead of pushing it. This loss of contact will cause a faster compaction of the leather, and upon release from check, the jack, unimpeded by contact with the knuckle, will hit its stop button at full speed. If set so that the jack can be felt to touch the knuckle as it is released, it will often quietened an action, (which call for springs to be set first). If the pinning is loose, everything will be noisier.

And additional point about the "Accelerated" action. The original half-rounds had the holes offset, and were to be installed specifically so that the long side was proximal. This increased the geometry through the key-stroke so that the hammer was accelerated in its approach to the string. These pianos do NOT repeat faster than the non-accelerated ones. The later sets of half-rounds I have received have the holes in the middle, and I can't see a difference in play when they are turned either way.
Regards,

Last edited by Ed Foote; 08/22/18 09:27 AM. Reason: omission
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Ed Foote] #2760309
08/22/18 01:41 PM
08/22/18 01:41 PM
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Radio.Octave Offline OP
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Sounds to me like the combination of hardened/compressed knuckles, hardened/compressed whippen/capstan cloth, etc. Upon release of the key they slap together making noise.

Once again, this is a consequence of playing/wear. Like a car, the more miles you put on it results in gradual change due to wear. YMMV.

Pwg


Originally Posted by Ed Foote
Originally Posted by Radio.Octave

Some of the action noise is very loud, especially on certain notes.


Greetings,
I would suggest you take a close look at your repetition/knuckle regulation. If an action is allowed to go out of regulation, and played, the lost motion that forms between jack and knuckle allows the jack to "hammer" the knuckle instead of pushing it. This loss of contact will cause a faster compaction of the leather, and upon release from check, the jack, unimpeded by contact with the knuckle, will hit its stop button at full speed. If set so that the jack can be felt to touch the knuckle as it is released, it will often quietened an action, (which call for springs to be set first). If the pinning is loose, everything will be noisier.

And additional point about the "Accelerated" action. The original half-rounds had the holes offset, and were to be installed specifically so that the long side was proximal. This increased the geometry through the key-stroke so that the hammer was accelerated in its approach to the string. These pianos do NOT repeat faster than the non-accelerated ones. The later sets of half-rounds I have received have the holes in the middle, and I can't see a difference in play when they are turned either way.
Regards,


Thanks, guys. So it sounds like this is just normal wear and tear, and not due to the punching mod. The tech sent me a similar video from his own piano, and it makes a similar sound. The action was always a little noisy like this, but I didn't notice it being as loud. Can't say for sure, since I can't do an A/B comparison.

Is there really a fix for this then? Regulation, or more like replacing parts?


Kawai RX-6 BLAK
Re: Kawai RX6 heavy action [Re: Radio.Octave] #2760350
08/22/18 05:45 PM
08/22/18 05:45 PM
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P W Grey Offline
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I cannot precisely account for why it would be louder now than before. Though I always maintain that "there is ALWAYS a reason", I can't come up with anything logical (other than the possibility that now that there is less cushion physically under the key, that the noise is "better" telegraphing through the key to to the keyframe, to the keybed and now more amplified).

If it were my piano though I would:

1) Bolster the whippen cushion (if possible) with bushing cloth, or replace it

2) Bolster the knuckles (if showing signs of indentation from jacks and lever), or replace them

3) Needle the knuckles to soften a little

4) Adjust the fore/aft position of the jack (particularly to get a softer spot of the regulating button contacting the "spoon".

5) Shape the hammers to a nice egg shape...really nice and carefully

6) Remove material from the hammer moulding and tails
a) Personally I would also perform a strike weight analysis and even out the strike weight (tapered of course) from 1 to 88

7) Otherwise proceed through a complete action regulation.

But since it ain't my piano...

Pwg


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