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What is a low tension scale design? #2848147
05/14/19 05:41 PM
05/14/19 05:41 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 25,612
New York City
pianoloverus Online content OP
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pianoloverus  Online Content OP
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1. What does low tension mean? Are the strings under less tension as in strung less tightly? If so, why doesn't this affect the pitch?

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a low tension scale design?

3. Which makes can be described as low tension, high tension, or somewhere in between?

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Re: What is a low tension scale design? [Re: pianoloverus] #2848264
05/15/19 01:11 AM
05/15/19 01:11 AM
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Posts: 298
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Skjalg Offline
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Last edited by Skjalg; 05/15/19 01:11 AM.
Re: What is a low tension scale design? [Re: Skjalg] #2848266
05/15/19 01:17 AM
05/15/19 01:17 AM
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 496
Chernobieff Piano Online content
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Chernobieff Piano  Online Content
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Originally Posted by Skjalg


First, that article is poorly written. Jumps all over the place. And it's not by Steinway, but a dealer (Billings).
-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: What is a low tension scale design? [Re: pianoloverus] #2848274
05/15/19 02:29 AM
05/15/19 02:29 AM
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This is my *NON AUTHORITATIVE* opinion, based on my research in this matter via past discussions about this topic on Pianoworld and other sources.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
1. What does low tension mean? Are the strings under less tension as in strung less tightly? If so, why doesn't this affect the pitch?


Low tension means the tenor strings are pulled to less tightly than some other scale designs. In order to maintain proper pitch at less tension, thinner strings are used. Think about tuning a guitar string. You can raise the A string (5th string) to the same pitch as the E (6th string) simply by putting more tension on it. Because A string is thicker, more tension is needed to get to the same pitch as the thinner E string.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a low tension scale design?


There are no apparent advantages or disadvantages of low tension scale. It is one of the many choices made by piano scale designer.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus

3. Which makes can be described as low tension, high tension, or somewhere in between?


Low Tension Scale Design is a marketing term invented by Steinway to differentiate their Boston line of pianos from other pianos made in Japan. Steinway designed the Boston line and contracted out the manufacturing to Kawai. Steinway themselves do not describe *ANY* of Steinway pianos as being "low tension". It then begs the question: is low tension scale deign really better, since it's not being used in the "best pianos in the world".

Early in the Boston piano history, this marketing term was pushed very hard by Steinway salespeople. It's not so emphasized these days, since it has become apparent to the world that the low tension scale really doesn't matter. However, some sales people still follow the old marketing material (like the website mentioned by another forum member) and push the "benefits" of low tension scale design.

As far as I can tell, *all* the supposed unique features of a Boston do not make a large difference. I personally find Boston pianos to sound similar to Kawais, but much more expensive. I can definitely buy a larger, better sounding Kawai at the same price as a Boston.

Pianos should be evaluated by the buyer's preference in tone, touch, and their brand preference. As "The Piano Book" tries to explain in detail, a list of features is not a good indicator of quality of a piano.

Last edited by redfish1901; 05/15/19 02:38 AM.
Re: What is a low tension scale design? [Re: Chernobieff Piano] #2848285
05/15/19 03:32 AM
05/15/19 03:32 AM
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Posts: 298
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Skjalg Offline
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Skjalg  Offline
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Norway
Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
Originally Posted by Skjalg


First, that article is poorly written. Jumps all over the place. And it's not by Steinway, but a dealer (Billings).
-chris


I agree with you, but when I wrote: "..Steinway look on...", I meant that it reflected a marketing view in favour of Steinway, Boston and Essex; and as such not objective. It is obvious from the web page, that it is not an official set of Steinway statements.

Re: What is a low tension scale design? [Re: pianoloverus] #2848298
05/15/19 04:53 AM
05/15/19 04:53 AM
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willpianist Offline
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I always though that the world best pianos are low tension design, I probably read the marketing materials by Steinway. I wonder which of the high end brands use high tension design?

Re: What is a low tension scale design? [Re: pianoloverus] #2848428
05/15/19 10:12 AM
05/15/19 10:12 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,620
Georgia, USA
Rickster Online content
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Rickster  Online Content
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Originally Posted by willpianist
I wonder which of the high end brands use high tension design?

I was told by a very well known and respected piano tech/engineer, member of PW and former Baldwin employee (Del Fandrich) that Baldwin used the high-tension scale for many years, at least on their upright pianos because that is what we were discussing.

Also, not sure this has anything to do with the high-tension scale, but my Baldwin R has the size of the piano string/music wire stamped in small numbers on the plate near the tuning pins for every note (88).

Rick


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