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Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
#1125450 09/12/03 01:31 AM
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Del,

Ah yes "Fandrich & Sons"; it certainly could have said that. Sorry about that.

Seeing Mike Parke's post, I'm sorry I said it was cheap to do. As I previously posted, I *meant* that it *could* be relatively cheap in the context of mass manufacture.

But doing it by hand on an existing prebuilt action would undoubtedly be a "bear".

But it's a great invention and I really hope one day everyone uses it and pays you guys a royalty on each piano.

Regards,

Rick Clark


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Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
#1125451 09/12/03 01:48 AM
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The curved keyboard is an idea fraught with key leverage and action geometry problems. Better in theory than in practice.
I don't understand why this would be any different than other pianos that have great variations in key length, like Bluethner grands and most concert grands. The story I read was that Dohnanyi used the Clutsam with great success for a while, but that it was disorienting to switch from one to another. The psychological problems are much worse than the mechanical. This has been the case with a lot of innovations.


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Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
#1125452 09/12/03 05:53 AM
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Pianoloverus: Wapin's website is at www.wapin.com (but for some reason it's not coming for me up right now). The PTG Pianotech Archive has some information but it may be somewhat dated. You can find it by doing an archive search for "Wapin Bridge" .

Del:

Laminated soundboards: What are potential performance improvements (besides enhanced tuning stability) that a laminated soundboard could provide over a traditional soundboard?

Alternative Finishes: Has there has been any work done to develop a soundboard film or coating that is a better water vapor barrier than varnish to improve tuning stability? (One might suspect it could produce some undesirable effects too.)

This is an interesting thread. Thanks everyone.

JP


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Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
#1125453 09/12/03 10:49 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by BDB:
Quote
The curved keyboard is an idea fraught with key leverage and action geometry problems. Better in theory than in practice.
I don't understand why this would be any different than other pianos that have great variations in key length, like Bluethner grands and most concert grands. The story I read was that Dohnanyi used the Clutsam with great success for a while, but that it was disorienting to switch from one to another. The psychological problems are much worse than the mechanical. This has been the case with a lot of innovations.
Briefly, longer keys have more flex in them. This is especially noticable in some Steinway D keys made in the 1950s on that used (I think) Pratt-Read keysets. Some of these pianos had keys in the long bass that were flexible enough that they could easily be bottomed out before the hammer would start to move.

Treble keys really need to be shorter to keep the mass down and the reciprical mass reasonably low.

In the keyset described each key is of a different length. The balance point has to be curved to match that varying length.

This is a feature that is not going to be showing up in the average piano any time soon.

Del


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Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
#1125454 09/12/03 10:56 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by JPM:
Del:

(1) Laminated soundboards: What are potential performance improvements (besides enhanced tuning stability) that a laminated soundboard could provide over a traditional soundboard?

(2) Alternative Finishes: Has there has been any work done to develop a soundboard film or coating that is a better water vapor barrier than varnish to improve tuning stability? (One might suspect it could produce some undesirable effects too.)

This is an interesting thread. Thanks everyone.

JP
(1) The stiffness characteristics are more controllable and predictable. In general, a properly designed and constructed laminated soundboard can (does) yield an improved and more stable upper tenor and treble. The differences through the bass and tenor are less noticable. At least they weren't in the pianos I built using laminated soundboard panels.

(2) Yes. But the only finish material that is an effective vapor barrier is epoxy. And then only in coating thicknesses that add so much mass and stiffness to the panel as to render it unusable as a soundboard. (My work was done in the late 1980s. There may be some new finish material that would yield different results, but I doubt it.)

Del


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Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
#1125455 09/12/03 01:12 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Del:
Quote
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
[b] Why doesn't someone try to improve the sustain in the "kiler octave"? If I've heard correctly, the causes of this problem are understood and may even be fixable?

It is understood and it is fixable. But only at the factory level or with the installation of a new soundboard.

Del [/b]
So why don't some(or all) manufacturers do this??

Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
#1125456 09/12/03 01:20 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
Quote
Originally posted by Del:
[b]
Quote
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
[b] Why doesn't someone try to improve the sustain in the "kiler octave"? If I've heard correctly, the causes of this problem are understood and may even be fixable?

It is understood and it is fixable. But only at the factory level or with the installation of a new soundboard.

Del [/b]
So why don't some(or all) manufacturers do this?? [/b]
Several do, actually. At least they've improved it a great deal.

Del


Delwin D Fandrich
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Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
#1125457 09/12/03 06:39 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Del:
Quote
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
[b]
Quote
Originally posted by Del:
[b] </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by pianoloverus:
<strong> Why doesn't someone try to improve the sustain in the "kiler octave"? If I've heard correctly, the causes of this problem are understood and may even be fixable?

It is understood and it is fixable. But only at the factory level or with the installation of a new soundboard.

Del [/b]
So why don't some(or all) manufacturers do this?? [/b]
Several do, actually. At least they've improved it a great deal.

Del </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Can you say which manufacturers do this sustain improvement?

Also(and sorry if this is a silly question)is there some ideal sustain? For example, I imagine if a piano had infinite sustain(like an organ) it might sound poor(but I've never tried to play Chopin on an organ). Yet I've sometimes thought that pianos would sound better if all the notes starting around the C above middle C had a sustain typical of the notes around one octave below them.

Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
#1125458 09/13/03 12:10 AM
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Back to the soundboard issue:

Wasn't there some experimentation with carbon fiber? Did is prove to be inadequate, or too costly?


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Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
#1125459 09/13/03 12:35 AM
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Here are a few ideas that may have some merit, but I have no idea if any of them have been the subject of experiments and discarded:

1) More use of composites in place of wooden action parts. They are stronger, lighter, and far more dimensionally stable than wood. I'm not talking about ABS (Kawai whipens), but carbon/epoxy tubular, 2-axis weave formed, or 3-axis weave materials that can be machined.

2) Electronically regulated actions to provide a more precise delivery of the hammers for a given keying effort. Some user defined options would be possible.

3) Non rusting strings and single crystal strings that do not stretch out of shape.

4) Electronic monitoring of pitch. Perhaps something like a small diode above a key that comes on if tuning adjustment is required (both absolute and relative pitch between adjacent notes or octaves could be factored in).

5) Actions with many fewer parts. It is hard to believe that some clever group of engineers cannot redesign actions to eliminate half of the 55 or so parts in a (grand) action.

6) Use of polyethylene glycol (PEG). Woodworkers have for years soaked pieces of wood in PEG as a way of displacing water trapped in the cellular structure. When dry, PEG is a wax-like material that completely prevents reabsorbtion of water. It would probably not be appropriate for soundboards, bridges, and pin blocks, but for many other wooden parts it would greatly improve stability.

7) Use of evaporative type metal coatings (applied in a vacuum) using a material like aluminum to seal the soundboard

As I said, these are just ideas.

Robert in Dallas

Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
#1125460 09/13/03 03:39 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
Why doesn't someone try to improve the sustain in the "kiler octave"? If I've heard correctly, the causes of this problem are understood and may even be fixable?

It is understood and it is fixable. But only at the factory level or with the installation of a new soundboard.

Del [/qb][/QUOTE]So why don't some(or all) manufacturers do this?? [/qb][/QUOTE]Several do, actually. At least they've improved it a great deal.

Del [/qb][/QUOTE]Can you say which manufacturers do this sustain improvement?

Also(and sorry if this is a silly question)is there some ideal sustain? For example, I imagine if a piano had infinite sustain(like an organ) it might sound poor(but I've never tried to play Chopin on an organ). Yet I've sometimes thought that pianos would sound better if all the notes starting around the C above middle C had a sustain typical of the notes around one octave below them. [/QB][/QUOTE]


Not specifically, no. This is basically a soundboard design issue. In general those pianos whose soundboards depend primarily on a crowned rib to form system crown will hold their sustain level for a longer period of time.

Also a factor are issues of rim shape and size, rim mass, soundboard thickness, etc.

You'll just have to try a few and listen to them. It's also a good idea (if you can) to try a few that are ten years old and are located in climates similar to your own.

The sustain levels you desire are probably not available from the acoustic piano (assuming I'm understanding you). There are things that can be done to improved the sustain time in the upper third of the piano but there are practical limits to just how much efficiency we can get. For example we might be able to go from a three second sustain on a given not to, perhaps, five or six with fine-tuning a design. It is probably not physically possible to go up to eight or nine without sacrificing a substantial amount of power.

Del


Delwin D Fandrich
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ddfandrich@gmail.com
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Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
#1125461 09/13/03 10:33 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Jolly:
Back to the soundboard issue:

Wasn't there some experimentation with carbon fiber? Did is prove to be inadequate, or too costly?
The biggest problem with alternate materials is getting them to sound like wood soundboards. The difficulty is mostly in the treble.

Yes, some of these materials are more expensive but I expect this to change as we continue to run out of old-growth spruce. To continue to produce pianos at the current rate the soundboard material of choice is going to have to change.

Del


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
#1125462 09/13/03 10:49 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by pianomanrsn:
Here are a few ideas that may have some merit, but I have no idea if any of them have been the subject of experiments and discarded:

1) More use of composites in place of wooden action parts. They are stronger, lighter, and far more dimensionally stable than wood. I'm not talking about ABS (Kawai whipens), but carbon/epoxy tubular, 2-axis weave formed, or 3-axis weave materials that can be machined.

2) Electronically regulated actions to provide a more precise delivery of the hammers for a given keying effort. Some user defined options would be possible.

3) Non rusting strings and single crystal strings that do not stretch out of shape.

4) Electronic monitoring of pitch. Perhaps something like a small diode above a key that comes on if tuning adjustment is required (both absolute and relative pitch between adjacent notes or octaves could be factored in).

5) Actions with many fewer parts. It is hard to believe that some clever group of engineers cannot redesign actions to eliminate half of the 55 or so parts in a (grand) action.

6) Use of polyethylene glycol (PEG). Woodworkers have for years soaked pieces of wood in PEG as a way of displacing water trapped in the cellular structure. When dry, PEG is a wax-like material that completely prevents reabsorbtion of water. It would probably not be appropriate for soundboards, bridges, and pin blocks, but for many other wooden parts it would greatly improve stability.

7) Use of evaporative type metal coatings (applied in a vacuum) using a material like aluminum to seal the soundboard

As I said, these are just ideas.

Robert in Dallas
1) I'd be happy to see more actions made out of the same material Kawai uses. It's certainly a major step in the right direction.

You really don't want action parts to be too stiff, by the way. There must be some minimum amount of compliance in the system or you will destroy your fingers, hands and arms.

2) If you're just talking about changing the touch weight of the action, this is supposed to be one of the features of the so-called "magnetic" action. To do much more than this might get frightfully expensive.

3) You're beyond me on this one.

4) Check with QRS. There is a system of some questionable promise being worked on that will do what you describe. It's being touted as the world's first self-tuning piano technology.

5) Several have already been patented. Check the USPO search engine for Darrell's version.

6) I'd much prefer simple, plastic action parts.

7) If the idea is to stabilize the soundboard simply laminating the thing out of spruce would probably be as effective and probably cheaper -- though I don't know the costs of the process you describe.

The problem with any of these ideas -- aside from any technological problems, of course -- is getting the piano buying public to go along. It's an awfully traditional and consertive marketplace. But do keep dreaming!

Del


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
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Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
Propianoplayer #2860115 06/18/19 04:38 PM
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I see no reason why KEVLAR could not replace felt ? I have looked on the internet and there does seem to be a KEVLAR felt.
On my own upright I have, after reshaping most of the hammers, either pulled a strip of chamy leather over the felt or on a couple used a 14mm wide KEVLAR braid, The braid when streched norrows down to the 10mm width of the hammer.

Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
Goof #2860186 06/18/19 07:51 PM
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Lighter hammers resist destruction far better than heavy ones. Older pianos had much lighter hammers than what have been used in the last forty years.

I have a patent titled: Fully Tempered Duplex Scale, (FTDS). It solves the noise issues fraught with the previous embodiments and allows for much better high treble notes and blends better at the transition from duplexed notes, (one end of speaking length has undamped pivot termination), to damped terminations at both ends of the speaking length.

My FTDS work also led me to discover how designing scales to minimize the coupling between Longitudinal Mode and Transverse Mode is of tremendous significance to piano tone quality. Many false beats and false sounds are caused by these effects. Not all false beats are caused by loose bridge pins, too blunt string terminations and sloppy stringing.

I also have an advanced upright action configuration that uses a tapered carbon hammershank and extremely light hammers which allows for installation of a counterweight on the catcher to put a positive hammer return gravity force on the hammer. (I change the center of gravity on the hammer butt without introducing excess inertia.) This is a quite easy modification for a factory to make.

Hybrid Wire Scales allow small pianos to sound much fuller, warmer, clean and powerful.

These are all new things since 2003.

I also have my LightHammer Tone regulation protocol that I developed back in the 1979-1984 era.

The real problem in the piano industry is ignorance of how the piano functions as a musical instrument.


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