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Pooya, here is a discussion that you might find interesting:

https://my.ptg.org/communities/comm...a-b32b-ef78b4ed51cc&tab=digestviewer

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Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
I would look for a non dealer recommended tech who would take an interest in your concerns, take some measurements and let you know what can be done in order to give you the feel you desire as opposed to telling you to adapt.

I agree. The dealer's tech will not remain employed very long if he doesn't keep his allegiance to the dealer first. Perhaps if he was also a medical doctor, his advice is to "adapt" to the piano would be safe, but when your tendonitis prevents you from playing at all, you may wish you had gotten an unbiased opinion of your action. I still think you should check the dimension on the balance hole wood....
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Originally Posted by Ed Foote
I still think you should check the dimension on the balance hole wood....
,

Is the binding William Truitt mentions something one can feel and detect from key to key if one puts one's mind to it?

Do modern pianos have cylindrical or partly conical balance holes?


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Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by Ed Foote
I still think you should check the dimension on the balance hole wood....
,

Is the binding William Truitt mentions something one can feel and detect from key to key if one puts one's mind to it?

Do modern pianos have cylindrical or partly conical balance holes?

Greetings,
The interaction at the bottom of the key's balance hole is complex and often overlooked. Obviously, if we rock a cylinder back and forth on a straight sided rod, the excursion at the top of the cylinder will be greater than the bottom, and the elasticity of the wood in the key will allow this. But, there are limits! 4 mm is the limit for this "cylinder" for properly eased keys,(in my experience). It is not easily discerned for what it is, but the technical community is gradually becoming aware of the liability. 45 years ago, I was taught to ease the balance hole with a taper awl, from the bottom. Now, we have tapered burnishers with flattened sides, that go through the top, easing the hole so that it is very slightly conical, and slightly looser in the sides than the front to back. This slight "oval" emphasis in the easement allows enough freedom for rotation without creating a "pulley=key" problem. It can be overdone, which is not uncommon in the hand-built, factory, actions I have seen. It seems that the production line requirements encourage the workers to get the keys done quickly enough so that the workers overdo this lateral easing.

I have had keys that seemed to bounce freely when dropped on the pin, yet still have 6 mm of wood in the sole. It can be felt, if one develops the touch and recognition, to wit; (being a half-wit, I had to type that twice..), slowly moving the key, without the action on it, up and down through its travel, you may be able to feel a slight sponginess at one end or the other of its travel, right before it stops.

More normal is that pianos with "thick" soles will feel like they take more work than necessary, even on soft or slow play. Since it is simple to measure, (once the action is off the keys), I make sure this is not a factor before I start easing holes or bushings.
regards,

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Ed - just to make sure I'm following, is the "sole plate" the little rectangle of wood on the bottom side of the key bisected by a perpendicular black line as shown in John Harman's diagram here?

John Hartman's Diagram

Also want to confirm that when you write "6mm of wood in the sole" are you referring to 6mm measured thickness?


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I deal with balance hole adjustment routinely, but am I mistaken in thinking that binding at the sole plate will show up when friction is assessed? Pooya's measurement point to 11 grams of friction in the bass and 9 in the midrange. This does not strike me as problematic.


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Originally Posted by Seeker
Ed - just to make sure I'm following, is the "sole plate" the little rectangle of wood on the bottom side of the key bisected by a perpendicular black line as shown in John Harman's diagram here?

Also want to confirm that when you write "6mm of wood in the sole" are you referring to 6mm measured thickness?

Greetings,
Not all pianos use shoes, or sole plates. The incredibly cheap, poor quality, Pratt-Read keys found in 60's era Steinways are a good example of no plate. They just drilled through the key's wood, which is soft pine. When I say "thickness" in regard to the shoe or sole, it is the distance from the bottom of the key to the top of the drilling for the pin. Balance rail holes are usually made by drilling a large hole in the key that doesn't quite reach the bottom and a smaller diameter hole for the pin goes through the bottom of the key. It is the length of this smaller diameter hole that can't exceed 4 mm.

As to friction, I haven't seen it show up, since the major effect of too much sole usually shows up only at the extreme end of the key's travel.

Regards,

Last edited by Ed Foote; 02/23/21 01:39 PM.
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I have found Kawai keys to be notoriously tight at the BR hole. This is fine AS LONG AS what Ed is discussing is not an issue. If it is (as he suspects) it will be a significant factor that needs addressing. I recommend checking it out specifically.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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My daughter faced the challenge of tendonosis as a pianist. It was not clear whether the onset was due to an athletic injury or to her approach to piano technique, but the pain became a serious obstacle to playing. She had the condition diagnosed, and worked with a physiotherapist to address the pain and the ongoing inflammation. She also had the good fortune to find a piano teacher who had worked through issues of tendonitis while studying as a grad student in piano performance, working at that time with an instructor who was a specialist in that area of concern. Progress has been very encouraging.

Pooya, it seems it might be wise to take a multifaceted approach to the issues you are facing. It can be very helpful to work with a teacher, as you get back into playing, who is tuned into the issues that can contribute to wrist pain, and can address the technical issues that could contribute to it.

At the same time, it would be wise to find a local piano technician who is competent in touchweight refinement. You have obviously found an instrument that you love, and have established, as best you can, that the manufacturer and the dealer understand its touchweight to be in the range they consider to be normal. You know that there are technicians and pianists who find what I would consider to be a heavier action to be workable and not a barrier to the health of the playing mechanisms in the body. The technical discussions happening in this thread are helpful to those of us in the trenches that are addressing these issues as part of our day to day technical work, and you also are finding them fascinating. I think this is a good thing.

With good local assistance in issues of playing technique, and with good local assistance in assessing whether changes need to be made to your piano, I think you have a very good chance of finding a very satisfying resolution.


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Originally Posted by Ed Foote
I still think you should check the dimension on the balance hole wood....

Interesting concept! I took the liberty of measuring the thickness of the balance hole on one of the keys in my piano according to the following procedure:

1- take the fallboard off
2- loosely insert a needle inside the balance hole alongside the balance pin so that it hits the bottom of the mortise on its own weight
3- slide a piece of paper on top of the mortise to determine the point on the needle that is flush with the surface of the wood and mark the needle there with a sharpie
4- take the needle out, stack it against the same key, leveling it with the bottom of the key, on top of the punchings, mark again
5- read the distance between the two markings as the approximate thickness of the balance hole

The demonstrative picture is a bit blurry, but the distance reads almost exactly 4mm.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

Last edited by Pooya; 02/24/21 02:26 AM.
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Ed, Gene and Hakki,

I understand your points of view and, although opposing, they all make sense to me.

Part of me tends to believe that the touch of the piano, although heavier than average, is in the normal range. For now I am being extra cautious when practicing and warm up extensively before practicing more demanding pieces as I have found that I could easily injure myself. After doing this I am pain free, but can't help feeling I am tip toeing around the piano.

Another part of me wants to play the devil's advocate. On one hand I appreciate that Kawai makes up to standard pianos, but I also appreciate that variability does exist in any manufacturing process. Moreover I understand that new pianos have sometimes conservative tolerances to allow for adapting the piano to all kinds of climates. For example I witnessed first hand how egregiously tight the balance hole was before easing, as others have mentioned (to the extent that up until the last moment the pin was still inside the hole when pulling the key up it would tightly stick to the balance pin and not even nudge a little when let go). Contrast this to all other measurements that have been up to the spec (well, except the touch weights, but technically Kawai does not publish a spec for that). This leaves me confused because I don't have a sense of what the normal/acceptable range is for the piano's touch, but also leaves me dubious as to whether there are other areas that I have overlooked that could improve the piano's performance. The idea of paying for an independent technician to take a look sounds logical. Thinking about it.

Hakki, thanks for the link. Interesting discussion!

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Pooya, I have an RX-2 with Millenium III action. It is also on the heavy side.

I have injured my right hand fourth finger (ulnar nerve) by extensively practicing Chopin op 25. no.6. Had medical treatment. But it did not recover fully.

Please be very careful with Chopin Etudes on your GX-2.

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Originally Posted by Floyd G
My daughter faced the challenge of tendonosis as a pianist. It was not clear whether the onset was due to an athletic injury or to her approach to piano technique, but the pain became a serious obstacle to playing. She had the condition diagnosed, and worked with a physiotherapist to address the pain and the ongoing inflammation. She also had the good fortune to find a piano teacher who had worked through issues of tendonitis while studying as a grad student in piano performance, working at that time with an instructor who was a specialist in that area of concern. Progress has been very encouraging.

Pooya, it seems it might be wise to take a multifaceted approach to the issues you are facing. It can be very helpful to work with a teacher, as you get back into playing, who is tuned into the issues that can contribute to wrist pain, and can address the technical issues that could contribute to it.

At the same time, it would be wise to find a local piano technician who is competent in touchweight refinement. You have obviously found an instrument that you love, and have established, as best you can, that the manufacturer and the dealer understand its touchweight to be in the range they consider to be normal. You know that there are technicians and pianists who find what I would consider to be a heavier action to be workable and not a barrier to the health of the playing mechanisms in the body. The technical discussions happening in this thread are helpful to those of us in the trenches that are addressing these issues as part of our day to day technical work, and you also are finding them fascinating. I think this is a good thing.

With good local assistance in issues of playing technique, and with good local assistance in assessing whether changes need to be made to your piano, I think you have a very good chance of finding a very satisfying resolution.
Floyd, I am so sorry to hear about the chronic pain that your daughter has experienced, and even though it seems that my condition so far has been a passing situation I do empathize. Tendonitis can be quite a pesky condition. It's great to hear that she is doing better.

Thank you for your words of wisdom. I do think that I could certainly benefit from both a good teacher and a competent technician and I am considering both. However, given the current situation, finding either might be a bit more challenging. Nonetheless, as you mentioned, not only am I learning a lot from the forum, I am also enjoying the conversations and getting to know the community better!

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Pooya,

Good work. What this does not tell you though is the "profile" of that hole, the diameter at the top vs the diameter at the bottom.

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