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Originally Posted by Walkman
I bought an upright Petrof 125 cm (used, 40 years old) which my tuner tuned and regulated, however it had all the problems that you described. Uneven feel on the keys, hard to play pp, hammer bobbling and heavy touch.
I did address all of this problems with regulation.
For the heaviness: My Petrof lifted the dampers instantly after the key was pressed. This makes the action heavier. The dampers should be lifting up when the key is pressed halfway through. Regulating the dampers will solve the problem. To test it out, just press the damper pedal halfway (observe the dampers to be lifted halfway, not fully). If the action becomes lighter and you are content with it, then regulating the dampers will solve the problem. Damper lifting timing consistency is also very crucial for evenness of the touch.
For PP: adjust the let off closer to the strings, regulate them evenly.
For the overall even feel: All dampers should be regulated the same, let off should be regulated the same, key height should be exactly the same, key travel should be exactly the same and key dip should be all exactly the same. This will give you the evenness, unless key weights/hammer weights or spring resistances are messed up.
Key dip is also important for general velocity. Mine had 11-12mm which was too much and making it 10.5 mm made a huge difference.

As for bobbling, I could not yet help it. The problem with bobbling is, that there is a slight resistance on the feel of the key at the point when the jack gets out of the hammer butt. You stop pressing further because of that and it results in the hammer butt hitting back on the unescaped jack and hammer hitting the string again.
What might help is making this resistance unnoticeable by lubricating, which I had not really tried. I have yet to find a solution for mine.

These are interesting things for me to check out and bring up with the technician, thanks!


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Quick update in case anyone is interested...

TL;DR - Acoustic panels noticeably affected the perception of the heaviness of the action (didn't feel as heavy)

For context, the piano is in a room that's about 15 x 20 ft (4 x 6 m) with a porcelin tile floor, some rugs, and some furniture. The piano has been about 4" away from the wall since I got it. My technician appointment is still a ways out so no regulation etc has been done yet.

Yesterday I moved the piano away from the wall about 8 inches and put two "broadband absorbers" between it and the wall. Each panel is 24" x 48" x 5.5" (61 cm x 122 cm x 14 cm) so there's some clearance between the piano and the acoustic panels. The panel material is dense, 4" thick rock wool insulation with a wood frame and wrapped with acoustic fabric.

The sound output is more controlled as expected, and the tone quality hasn't been negatively affected. But the surprising thing is that the action doesn't feel nearly as heavy as it did before these minor room adjustments. It's also made it easier to identify the regulation issues that are still present. I don't doubt that psychoacoustics have played at least some role in perceiving the action as being heavy.

Without the panels the sound output was more significant than I realized, so my attempts at pp/p dynamics sounded more like p/mf due to the louder volume, room reflections, etc. It would make sense that my attempts to play even quieter would start to hit the mechanical limits of the action.

Anyway, I thought it was pretty interesting. I still plan on putting up some more panels and maybe a diffuser so we'll see how that affects things.
Still getting that regulation though cool


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That' great. I just made three large acoustic panels with the Rockwool safe-n-sound but have yet to put them up.

FYI, they work best when there is space between the panel and the wall.

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Originally Posted by TBell
That' great. I just made three large acoustic panels with the Rockwool safe-n-sound but have yet to put them up.

FYI, they work best when there is space between the panel and the wall.

Nice you should put them up! You're right about the gap, I remember learning that somewhere. I made the panels with the frame on the back and the fabric stretched around the front. This gives it about 1.5" space from the back of the panel to the back of the frame. I also have some solid door stopper things screwed to the frame back, one in each corner. This makes the panel-to-wall space 4" without the frame hugging the wall, so reflections are absorbed from both sides of the panel (in theory). For wall mounting I just use eye hooks with wire stretched between them and I hang them on heavy duty picture frame hooks.

I'll probably stick with 2" thick panels on the walls in this room though, the 4" ones might be overkill.


Current family:
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Well, mididev. I was going to say a few things, but you're doing such a fine job of working out the issues without me, I probably should keep my yap shut. But I can't resist 100%. At least you've kept your temper, so far, and the talk has enjoyed a pleasant and collegial tone. That truly speaks to me. What does it say? It says, your piano will start talking like you do--- give it a few more weeks. When we say that the action adapts itself to the way you play, this is a big part of it.

It's kind of a new piano classic, to find out what your new friend really sounds like once you get it home. They always sound louder--- unless you live in a piano showroom. At least the Kawai's have plenty of voice. And the acoustic treatment you give the room (not forgetting where you place it in the room) really does make a big difference.

If you can afford to have it tuned and tweaked more for the first two years, you're going to have a happier time with it for the rest of the years. What the other writers have been talking about, the felts breaking in, the action smoothing out as the moving parts get to know each other better, your tech learning what you're looking for, the instrument and the room mating (since they're both part of the sound). Too many little things to really say them all. Oh--- the perceived heaviness of the action, failure-to-strike, double strike. I had some of that, right at first. I loved the firm action; I found that it helped me have greater control--- I could just play, didn't have to 'play on tiptoe' all the time. I don't know where those mis-struck keys got to; it doesn't happen anymore. Apparently the piano has trained me to touch it the way it likes.

If you are still finding it too loud in a few months, it can be important for the sake of your hearing, to address the excess. Drapes or blinds (or shutters), carpets, bookshelves, artworks (framed but not glass-covered), etc. Try another location, see if that's better. What I do now, is that, while I'm doing those technical studies and warm-ups that pianists are so notorious for, I put in foam earplugs. You can hear quite well with 30 dB knocked off the top. When I start actually working on the real stuff, out the plugs come. I have learned that if I open some of the windows and interior doors, it can let an appreciable amount of audio volume out. And, I have talked to all the neighbors, asking them to let me know if the piano is disturbing them. We can always fix these things. What a surprise, no complaints.

Best of love to you and your new piano!


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Quote
Many say modern verticals don't play as well as those of 100 years ago. They might be right.
As the owner of a 1914 full size upright, I will say that I have played a number of new uprights, some even that were very expensive, with actions that I thought were disappointing. I nonetheless don't think this characterization of comparisons of 100-yr old upright actions and new upright actions can be generalized.

But I do think that the very best uprights of 100-110 years ago (such as A.B. Chase or Mason & Hamlin), if in good condition and properly tuned, regulated, and voiced, will give any upright on the market today a good run for its money.

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Clef - thanks for the kind message! I appreciate you sharing your personal experiences and insight. It helps keep my expectations grounded in reality and highlights the ever-present need for a little more patience in my life whistle

I actually just had it tuned today so it's sounding really good. The appointment was just for the tuning, but my technician spent a little extra time and ended up sorting out most of the issues I was having. The action feels much more consistent now. I'm grateful I was able to properly explain the problems to her. I couldn't have done that without everyone's help here so thanks again to everyone who shared, truly!

In summary, the abnormal heaviness I was experiencing seemed to be caused by a combination of:
  • Room acoustics
  • Minor regulation problems
  • Minor voicing issues


Current family:
Kawai K-500
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@mididev
how is it going lately? I've ordered a K-500 AURES, and am very interested in hearing about the general action being too heavy or not, as the piano breaks in and gets minor regulation.

Do you still have a full regulation scheduled?


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Mididev, thanks; I have loved this thread for its friendliness and good information, and nice, collegial attitudes. Also, because of what you have shared about the earliest days of your new piano. They're almost like kids; they change so much every day. It doesn't let up, either. I don't mean that your piano won't stabilize; it will; we may not know it's heading right for The Space based on our first days, but it knows and the people who made it know. Start here, and you get to there.

They're like very young kids, too, in that we don't get to ignore them for very long. They need to feel our hands every day, and we need to let them into our minds every day. It can become a little hard to say just where all this interaction and growth is really taking place. But that is ok; it will take care of itself. Easy times, times when you have to sweat to get the music to come out right; who would have thought this is what joy and happiness would look like.

There is a whole industry based on making this possible. The genes that code for musical ability have been conserved for some very good reason.

And with that, maybe I will just stop short and think about that situation for a bit.

Thanks for the thread! Hope you write some more about the story.


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Originally Posted by DWW
@mididev
how is it going lately? I've ordered a K-500 AURES, and am very interested in hearing about the general action being too heavy or not, as the piano breaks in and gets minor regulation.

Do you still have a full regulation scheduled?

I am not the OP, but posted earlier in this thread on the difference in touch heaviness between a K300 and a K500 (both ~1.5 year-old, and bought from a respected dealer). The K500 was substantially heavier from the start and still is today (it is being played by an advanced player for ~2 hours a day). It is not too heavy for that player, but it is for me.

If the K500 wasn't too heavy for you when you bought it, I wouldn't worry. Many people like a heavier action, specifically that of the K500. Having said that, I wouldn't count on it 'breaking in' and becoming lighter anytime soon, or on minor regulation making it lighter. As far as I am aware, the level of heaviness is determined by the mass of the action parts and hammers, which, together with the geometry of the action, determine inertia. Likewise for down- and up weight. These are more or less fixed, unless you make serious changes to the action such as adding or moving lead weights, filing hammers etc. One variable source of heaviness is the tightness of metal action pins in felt bushings, which can lead to too much friction, even in a new piano. It might be that this improves over time by 'breaking in'. But a new piano should be regulated well from the start, so this shouldn't occur, or should be fixed by the dealer if it does occur.

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Mididev - Congratulations on your new Kawai K500!
New acoustic pianos can and do require settling in time to adjust to your home and to your playing. Also, as you play it, your fingers and hands will grow stronger such that a slightly heavier action will feel comfortable after the technician checks the regulation and fixes any troublesome keys.

This is all pretty normal with a new piano. Best Wishes on your piano adventure.


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Originally Posted by pianogabe
I am not the OP, but posted earlier in this thread on the difference in touch heaviness between a K300 and a K500 (both ~1.5 year-old, and bought from a respected dealer). The K500 was substantially heavier from the start and still is today (it is being played by an advanced player for ~2 hours a day). It is not too heavy for that player, but it is for me.

If the K500 wasn't too heavy for you when you bought it, I wouldn't worry. Many people like a heavier action, specifically that of the K500. Having said that, I wouldn't count on it 'breaking in' and becoming lighter anytime soon, or on minor regulation making it lighter. As far as I am aware, the level of heaviness is determined by the mass of the action parts and hammers, which, together with the geometry of the action, determine inertia. Likewise for down- and up weight. These are more or less fixed, unless you make serious changes to the action such as adding or moving lead weights, filing hammers etc. One variable source of heaviness is the tightness of metal action pins in felt bushings, which can lead to too much friction, even in a new piano. It might be that this improves over time by 'breaking in'. But a new piano should be regulated well from the start, so this shouldn't occur, or should be fixed by the dealer if it does occur.

Thanks for the info. I am coming from CA79 DP experience only, so all the acoustics seemed heavy to me. K500 was definitely heavier than K300, but I assumed that I would get used to it. I am trying to be confident and positive assuming I will get used to the "real" action, even if its a bit on the heavy side, and ideally it will somehow improve my technique. Whether thats true or not we'll see lol... crazy


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went back to the shop and played them all for a bit.
The action was noticeably heavier as you went up the series. K200 < K300 < K400 < K500. So must have something to with the string length?

In regards to AURES, over here the only options are 300 and 500. The 300 had much lighter action, very similar to my CA79 DP which was real nice... But oh man I absolutely preferred the sound of the K500. beautiful, powerful, and VERY loud lol. Wonder how thats going to be in a 11'x13' bedroom grin

I keep reading that people say you will adapt to the heavier (or lighter) action of your new piano as you play with it and grow with it. So here's to learning how to play on the heavier K500 action cool

EDIT: in 2 months when it gets here lol


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I wouldn't have thought string length would necessarily correlate with action weight, but I'm no expert. The brochure shows the K500 is 2" deeper than the K200 - perhaps this depth translates into different key lengths and this creates a different action feel?

I have a feeling your new K500 is going to seem loud in your bedroom. Just don't take to playing with the soft pedal always held down as a way of dealing with the volume and avoiding having to adapt to the action. This is how I use my K500 and I'm sure it's very naughty. wink

Congratulations on your purchase. By stepping up to the 500, you've got the duplex scale, the Neotex key surface, longer bass strings, bigger soundboard and most importantly the brass fallboard logo. This comes with a protective film stuck on it which you'll get to peel off! thumb


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Ben_NZ thanks mate for the comments here and posts elsewhere in other threads on the K-500; has all been very helpful.
yeah its probably going to be loud in that 11x13 room when I actually play acoustically, but I mostly play with headphones, lots of practice.

yes very much looking forward to receiving and getting used to this powerful beautiful instrument, thanks much smile


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Originally Posted by DWW
went back to the shop and played them all for a bit.
The action was noticeably heavier as you went up the series. K200 < K300 < K400 < K500. So must have something to with the string length?

I wonder about the cause of the difference in heaviness in touch between a K300 and K500 too (I only tried the K200 once, and the K400 never, so can't say for those). The K500 does have longer keys than the K300. This adds mass and thus inertia to the system, all other things being equal. But I read somewhere that key mass does not add a lot to the overall inertia, compared to hammer mass. So it may be that in addition the hammers of the K500 are heavier. This would also be consistent with the louder sound, although hammer mass is probably not the only factor determining loudness. The action components are never in contact with the string and your finger at the same time, so the string can't influence touch directly.

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Hi...

I've had my K500 for about a year and 1/2 and sometimes I think the action is really heavy, then some days I think it's just right...?
My piano teacher has a 1930's Mason & Hamlin A and when I start in on it I notice it's REALLY HEAVY compared to my K500 and it
takes me a few minutes to adjust to it.

One thing I enjoy when going to a piano store is not just trying out new pianos for their sound quality but to feel their actions. Some are about
the same as mine and some are much lighter. IF I had a choice, guessin' I'd like my K500 to have a lighter action than it does but it
is what it is. Not sure if it's worth the effort and $ to have it lightened up.

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P.S....

"Estranged lover" of a Boston GP-178.
What is that situation? Did you not care for it after a bit of time or did you replace with the K500?

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got my K500 AURES2 in already, about a month early.

action is waaaay better than the floor K500 model I had played. on that floor model I was even having issues with chords having notes not being simultaneous and being slightly arpeggiated, which was scary... but thats not happening with mine here, which is a huge relief.

action its still heavier than the CA79 I had, absolutely, but I'm already noticing me advancing of getting used to it. its been 2 full days of practicing waaaaay too much.

I will say it does not sound as nice as the K500 floor model, but that may be due to the room set up I've got it in, close up against the wall, new piano from the factory needs regulation, etc, who knows. Journey is just beginning...


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For those still interested in this topic: earlier in this thread I mentioned that a (1,5 years old) K500 that I sometimes play is substantially heavier than my own K300 (same age). It still is heavier, *but* yesterday I played the K500 and it was clearly lighter than 'normal'. I noticed that humidity was 40% while it normally is around 60% (very cold day yesterday). My own K300 also becomes heavier around 60%, which is why I keep humidity below 55% with a dehumidifier.

So if your K500 (or K300 for that matter) is too heavy for you this is something to consider. 60% is not abnormal, but perhaps in a new Kawai (at least some of them) the bushings become significantly tighter around that value. Solution could be to keep humidity lower, or to have the action regulated.

Last edited by pianogabe; 12/26/21 02:23 AM.
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