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I understand that longer pianos have a better bass section, however, I do not understand why this is also true for the treble section. The length of the strings of this latter section should be almost the same for a baby grand, or let's say a GL30 (168 cm max length). If the quality of the strings is the same, what does make better the treble section of a grand (compared to a shorter piano)?

Last edited by Guido, Roma - Italy; 05/28/22 02:16 PM.

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The size of the soundboard, the construction of the soundboard, the bridges and their positioning, the rim construction, the beams under the soundboard, the "scale" used, the weight and density of the hammers, etc. There are so many factors that go into tone production that it is impossible to reduce it to only one or two items.


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Originally Posted by Guido, Roma - Italy
What does make better the treble section of a grand?

Pianos dissipate treble energy too rapidly. Much of it goes through the castors into the floor. You should ask Kawai to provide you with an acoustic isolation kit to resolve this problem. Explain you want to stop at least 80% of this loss.

It is likely Kawai will say they do not know what you are talking about. Tell them to take your request seriously, it will improve their product as well as making your piano sound better.

A PM to KawaiDon, a member of this forum, may be your best line of communication.


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Originally Posted by Guido, Roma - Italy
I understand that longer pianos have a better bass section, however, I do not understand why this is also true for the treble section. The length of the strings of this latter section should be almost the same for a baby grand, or let's say a GL30 (168 cm max length). If the quality of the strings is the same, what does make better the treble section of a grand (compared to a shorter piano)?
From what I've read on this forum, the treble section of longer pianos is not superior to the treble section of shorter pianos of the same quality. Perhaps some techs can verify if this is true.

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Strike point has much influence on treble tone and output. It is very sensitive up there. Most manufacturers design a straight strike line into the piano, however it is not uncommon to need to alter this somewhat in optimizing the sound of a particular instrument (theory, design, and actual practice do not always agree).

There is another aspect too that with all due respect should not be ignored or discounted. That is, does EVERYONE who hears this piano agree that the treble is weak or miserly? Or is it just you who feels this way? When was the last time you had your hearing checked? It is equally NOT UNCOMMON for a hearing deficiency (unknown or unacknowledged by the owner) OR excessive ear wax (or uneven proportioned wax) to alter our hearing capacity such that we think the problem is in the piano when in fact it is the way we are perceiving the piano. I have seen this repeatedly over the years in this business. In fact it just happened with my neighbor last week and it happened to me many years ago.

Determining a problem is very often a process of elimination. So get your hearing checked first so as to eliminate that as a possibility. And don't get offended at this suggestion.

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I agree with the previous posters. However, there are some unknowns: how old is the piano? Which section of the treble— just the last octave, or more? How much has the piano been played in the treble? Any chance it had new hammers installed? Have they ever been filed? (Filing the hammers will change the strike point, which is critical in the last octave.) Were the hammers originally hung at the best position? Is there a lot of false beating? Does the piano have, in general, well leveled strings?

In general, I find that people tend to have very unrealistic expectations of the last octave of their piano for both tuning and tone. Usually the best you can get sounds like clinking coffee mugs. In fact, people often judge a piano tuning by plunking the last two notes on either end-“hey that’s out of tune!” I’ll show them the needle on my Verituner that the sound of the last few notes is a cloud of pitches that can vary wildly .

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Peter is right about hearing. The audiologist opened my eyes to it 6 months ago

He is also right about getting to the root of a problem before advancing solutions. I assumed Guido and Pianoloverus were referring to the top three octaves. Is that so?


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This is Guido’s post from yesterday:

I play now four / five hours a day and I enjoy its sound.
It Is very mellow in the middle section, I also like its bass section, only the last treble octave is not that great.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
This is Guido’s post from yesterday:

I play now four / five hours a day and I enjoy its sound.
It Is very mellow in the middle section, I also like its bass section, only the last treble octave is not that great.


It's still not enough information.

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To my ears the effect of acoustic isolation and hearing on the topmost notes was:

1. No isolation, no aids: a thud
2. Isolation, no aids: a sound
3. Isolation, aids: a musical sound


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Originally Posted by Withindale
To my ears the effect of acoustic isolation and hearing on the topmost notes was:

1. No isolation, no aids: a thud
2. Isolation, no aids: a sound
3. Isolation, aids: a musical sound

What aids? Hearing aids?


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Yes, hearing aids. Edit time expired before I saw the omission.


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[s][/s]Yes, I may have hearing problems, I am 67 year old, however, the technician who tuned for the first time my piano (it is now only one year old) told me that the last octave and the first one are usually the worse in a piano not sophisticated like the GL30 (I Imagine the sound of the GX1 could be better in the last octave).

I almost never play the first and the last octaves, I expected that a cheap piano could not have a great sound in the first octave (everything else equal, the maximum length of the piano Is decisive), I can easily understand this, my question is on the treble section because I do not see why a short piano (168 cm) could not have a great last octave.

Yes, many factors may influence the quality of the sound, therefore, could the last octave be great even in a short piano?

Besides this last octave issue, the GL30 has a beautiful sound and ... excellent playboard!

Last edited by Guido, Roma - Italy; 05/29/22 04:33 PM.

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I have found some small pianos (even spinets) with a great high treble. It's not an every day thing but it happens.

Technically, all pianos are virtually the same scaling from about note 72 up to 88. This according to Bruce Clark at Mason & Hamlin.

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Guido,

Originally Posted by P W Grey
Strike point has much influence on treble tone and output. It is very sensitive up there. Most manufacturers design a straight strike line into the piano, however it is not uncommon to need to alter this somewhat in optimizing the sound of a particular instrument (theory, design, and actual practice do not always agree).

I've seen demonstrations where the technician moved the action just a mm or so forward or backward, and it made a huge difference. I think the relationship you are seeing between piano length and higher treble quality is more about the more longer/expensive pianos having been optimized, since it was worth the effort on the nicer piano. Maybe a little hammer shaping might help? On my old kawai, I pointed out to my technician that my C8 was particularly worse than B7. It turned out only 2/3 strings was being hit, so he adjusted the hammer travel and did a little reshaping, and it made a huge difference. Pianos also have "triplex" scaling (Schimmel), or an extra aliquot (Bluethner), or tunable duplex (Schimmel, Fazioli), which I don't believe the GL-30 have. I've tried short pianos without these "gimmicks", and their trebles sounded great, etc. Bosendorfers and Bechsteins. Maybe their hammer line/strike point was so consistent on the higher end pianos, the technician didn't have to spend the time to meticulously tweak each note?

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Ascending from the bottom notes when you reach around 1K hertz, The period of the string is so quick that the effect of even the slightest amount of excess hammer weight will produce such excessive inertia that the hammer stays on the struck strings so long that it damps significant energy before rebounding.

Average hammer weights have increased over the last 150 years, especially since about the 1970's.

So when you reach the top treble most of the energy the hammer imparts into the piano structure is striking noise. The hammers on the top treble need to be very light to allow for the rapid escape of the hammer from the just struck strings.


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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Ascending from the bottom notes when you reach around 1K hertz, The period of the string is so quick that the effect of even the slightest amount of excess hammer weight will produce such excessive inertia that the hammer stays on the struck strings so long that it damps significant energy before rebounding.

Average hammer weights have increased over the last 150 years, especially since about the 1970's.

So when you reach the top treble most of the energy the hammer imparts into the piano structure is striking noise. The hammers on the top treble need to be very light to allow for the rapid escape of the hammer from the just struck strings.

I'll agree with this. I am rebuilding a square right now and the top hammers are so small that even Abel couldn't duplicate them. So as a last resort, I put some thin rawhide on them and was surprised at the clean tone.
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Thanks to you all, I will ask to the technician to spend more time on the last octave, even though I usually do not use it, I am just curious, because the sound of GL30 is beautiful overall (it seems I play with bells!).

By the way, I live in Rome, since the last tuning was done in November, when should I ask for a new piano tuning?


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Hi Withindale,

which kind of isolation do you suggest? I have some plastic (I believe) cups under the wheels of my piano, I guess you are suggesting something more substantial, do you have any specific suggestion I could by on Amazon or to my piano Sellers?


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Hi Guido,

Cups under the castors and Amazon are not the answer. As Ed says it's a question of energy. May I explain later when I have some time?


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