Hey there, I was looking at buying a new upright and I thought it might be best to crowdsource some of my initial experiences and assumptions to see if I can converge on a better set of search parameters.
I live in a major metro area on the US East Coast. We have multiple dealers in the area. I am looking to spend ~$15k USD.
I was very interested in checking out the new Mason/Hamlin "Artist" series of their uprights.
Mainly for the value-proposition of a WNG action in a price that is competitive with a U1 / K300.
It seemed to me -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- that a WNG action will be more consistent over time, as well impervious to humidity. I thought that meant that "sticky keys" from high humidity, or loose action from low humidity would be mitigated through the Carbon Fiber / Fibreglass design. And that the keys would still regulated longer.
I asked a local Mason/Hamlin dealer if they had any floor models, and was told that they have terminated their relationship with MH because of repeated Quality Control issues with their pianos. Apparently, on multiple occasions, they had to "send back" the pianos that they were allocated. The salesperson went on to say that there was a common occurrence of the felt glue becoming undone on the hammer, but that that wasn't the only problem with those pianos.
Finally, the dealer said that he thought the CF action was an "interesting experiment", but one that wasn't really panning out. He also said that the benefits of the WNG were mostly marketing speak, and that it was a cost-cutting measure rather than a "true" technological innovation. He also implied that the actions themselves were injection-molded these days, rather than CNC'd....
I explained that my reasoning for wanting a WNG action was because I didn't want to be so precious and obsessive with regulating the RH of the environment that the piano will live in. So, I'd like to ~reduce~ the number of things that could be affected by humidity, and yet, still retain the acoustic nature of the instrument. He countered by mentioning that everything else (pin block, etc) would still be affected by humidity. I demurred on that point; mainly because the idea was to _reduce_ the number of things affected by humidity, not to make the whole piano impervious.
I realize "the truth" is probably somewhere between "cost-cutting measure that compromises the integrity of the instrument" on one hand, and, "best thing since sliced bread" on the other.
I'd like to ask the general collective wisdom and experience of this forum:1. What is the real story behind the WNG action here ?
I have read all the threads on this forum with regard to WNG and CF actions. Is there any new information since then? I am inclined to believe that the WNG action is actually an innovation, rather than a cost-cutting strategy; but, it would be interesting to get a sense of that in real-world, less-than-ideal scenarios.2. Are my concerns / assumptions about humidity and action behavior legitimate ?
It's possible my entire premise is faulty; it would be nice to know so I can adjust accordingly.
I'd like to find an acoustic upright that is more reliable and consistent, rather than finicky and temperamental. Something that sounds good, but I dont have to be so precious and obsessive over environmental RH. 3. Does such an acoustic piano exist ?
Finally, I'd like to ask more generally about the occurrence of Quality Control issues in pianos. 4. Do dealers conduct a "last mile" QC on the piano before putting it on the floor ? 5. And if they do, what is the % of pianos that get returned ? How does that break out based on brand ?
It would be interesting to know that, I think.