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Posted By: Radio.Octave Touchrail system? - 06/25/18 01:47 AM
Any Kawai (or other brands, too) owners try this?
http://pitchlock.com/touch-rail/

I have a Kawai RX6, and like most Kawais I've played, the action seems fairly heavy. I'm not sure if it's gotten worse in the 6 years I've had it, or I'm just finally getting tired of it, but I'm thinking of making some changes. I've seen some positive comments made about this system, but was looking for some more input. I did a quick test using nickels as weights, and the downweight at middle C (with the sus pedal held down) is around 65 grams!
Posted By: Rich Galassini Re: Touchrail system? - 06/29/18 11:59 AM
The touchrail can be helpful. It is important to remember that the touchrail is only a quick solution that helps to lessen a symptom. It really does not correct anything technically.

Have you shared your thoughts with your piano technician? What was their response? I ask this because there are many ways to change the way the action feels and after 6 years the answer might just be a bench regulation. In addition, there are adjustments and procedures that can be done to actually cure your issues. This could be normal settling in of an action with a friction issue, which is not uncommon.

I am interested in your technician's thoughts.
Posted By: S. Phillips Re: Touchrail system? - 06/29/18 12:17 PM
65 grams is too heavy if you have measured correctly. My bet is that it just has not been serviced and regulated. All new pianos need regulating very soon after you purchase them This is an anomaly for most owners but the new cloth and felt pack down the MOST when an action is new.

If this is not corrected then the impression that the action is just heavy gets cemented into the owner's impression of the piano's performance. I can bet you that if you have not had a thorough cleaning, friction correction and regulation done that this will easily be the fix. All this must be done before considering other measures.
Posted By: Radio.Octave Re: Touchrail system? - 06/29/18 06:26 PM
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
The touchrail can be helpful. It is important to remember that the touchrail is only a quick solution that helps to lessen a symptom. It really does not correct anything technically.

Have you shared your thoughts with your piano technician? What was their response? I ask this because there are many ways to change the way the action feels and after 6 years the answer might just be a bench regulation. In addition, there are adjustments and procedures that can be done to actually cure your issues. This could be normal settling in of an action with a friction issue, which is not uncommon.

I am interested in your technician's thoughts.


Thanks, Rich. I got a hold of Kawai tech support, and they offered to work with my tech to see if the problem is correctable. I guess I will wait and see what happens. I'll post updates. The piano has had voicing and tuning since I've had it, with maybe a few tweaks to other things, but never a full regulation.
Posted By: P W Grey Re: Touchrail system? - 06/29/18 06:45 PM
Example:

I have a client who uses me and primarily one other tech. Long story short, when I proposed this device to him he said: "So and so (his other tech) would NEVER go for that!" I told him that the beauty of it is that if you REALLY don't like it then you just take it off...nothing permanent has been done (like re-leading keys), and you're only out the cost of it. He said to go ahead and do it.

He loves it. Made just the right difference for him. His other tech never noticed.

As I have said before though, it is not intended to replace action reconditioning and regulation. Those things need to be done first.

Pwg
Posted By: Radio.Octave Re: Touchrail system? - 06/30/18 09:16 PM
Originally Posted by P W Grey
Example:

I have a client who uses me and primarily one other tech. Long story short, when I proposed this device to him he said: "So and so (his other tech) would NEVER go for that!" I told him that the beauty of it is that if you REALLY don't like it then you just take it off...nothing permanent has been done (like re-leading keys), and you're only out the cost of it. He said to go ahead and do it.

He loves it. Made just the right difference for him. His other tech never noticed.

As I have said before though, it is not intended to replace action reconditioning and regulation. Those things need to be done first.

Pwg


Good to know. It sounds like evaluation of the action, and regulation, should be first steps. Then, if that's not enough, there is always this Touchrail to try. I'm not sure that regulation alone can take me from such a heavy touchweight down to something I'd prefer, but guess I will see.
Posted By: P W Grey Re: Touchrail system? - 06/30/18 11:09 PM
Regulation AND evaluation of current weight/geometry/friction that currently exists.

Has anyone mentioned damper timing?

Pwg
Posted By: asb37 Re: Touchrail system? - 07/02/18 12:00 AM
I had one designed for my piano. I ended up not liking it, and removed it.

First, you need to determine the cause of the high down weights you are measuring. Evaluate for friction. If it is not high friction, then typically the action leverage is inappropriate for the weight of the hammers. Your options in that case are to increase the leverage of the action, decrease the weight of the hammers, or add more lead weights to the keys.

In my case, my piano's action ratio was much too low for the weight of hammers used. It came like that from the factory. Many keys had a downweight over 60g. The keys were already adequately leaded, so adding more would not have helped. I did not want to remove weight from the hammers as this would alter the tone, and the hammers were actually average weight for a grand piano. So I tried the touchrail, but didn't like how it felt. It was easier to get the key in motion, but after that it still felt heavy to me.

I was considering having the capstans moved to alter the action ratio (which is a big project). However, in the end I was simply able to install split balance rail punchings, which in effect modifies the action ratio. I split the punchings using a razor blade and glued them to the bottom of the keys. David Stanwood is the one that told me of this method, and I followed the instructions in an article he published. It is described here:

http://www.stanwoodpiano.com/December2014.pdf

I am very happy with the results. Most of the keys measure <50g now. And it probably saved me $1000-1500 I would have spent moving the capstans.

If you'd like to know more about touchweight, this is a good resource (I also have the book - Pianos Inside Out - which is excellent):

http://www.pianosinsideout.com/PracticalTouch_HighRes.pdf
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT Re: Touchrail system? - 07/02/18 12:09 AM
If you have a skilled technician shape the hammers to taper them on the sides more and remove some wood from the tails and felt from the shoulders. A gram of material can be removed. This will lower your static touch weight to around 60G and feel significantly lighter. The repetition springs will probable need to be regulated a little weaker, but the rise time of the hammer can be set quicker than they were because the inertia of the hammer is significantly reduced which will also help with the repetition feel.

Reducing hammer mass is far, far preferable to adding front key weights or spring assists or other modifications.
Posted By: P W Grey Re: Touchrail system? - 07/02/18 06:32 PM
Originally Posted by P W Grey
Regulation AND evaluation of current weight/geometry/friction that currently exists.

Has anyone mentioned damper timing?

Pwg


Radio.Octave,

When, in the hammer travel, do the keys pick up the dampers in general? 1/3...1/2 point, or something else? If they happen to be picking them up VERY early in the stroke this can contribute much to the feeling of heaviness.

Pwg
Posted By: Sanfrancisco Re: Touchrail system? - 07/02/18 08:09 PM
Re: Touchrail system? [Re: Radio.Octave] #2748623 07/02/18 12:00 AM
asb37
I had one designed for my piano. I ended up not liking it, and removed it.

First, you need to determine the cause of the high down weights you are measuring. Evaluate for friction. If it is not high friction, then typically the action leverage is inappropriate for the weight of the hammers. Your options in that case are to increase the leverage of the action, decrease the weight of the hammers, or add more lead weights to the keys.

In my case, my piano's action ratio was much too low for the weight of hammers used. It came like that from the factory. Many keys had a downweight over 60g. The keys were already adequately leaded, so adding more would not have helped. I did not want to remove weight from the hammers as this would alter the tone, and the hammers were actually average weight for a grand piano. So I tried the touchrail, but didn't like how it felt. It was easier to get the key in motion, but after that it still felt heavy to me.

I was considering having the capstans moved to alter the action ratio (which is a big project). However, in the end I was simply able to install split balance rail punchings, which in effect modifies the action ratio. I split the punchings using a razor blade and glued them to the bottom of the keys. David Stanwood is the one that told me of this method, and I followed the instructions in an article he published. It is described here:

http://www.stanwoodpiano.com/December2014.pdf


asb37, Great post. Stanwood's revelation and your story exemplifies why I love working on my piano. Did the split punchings change the key dip (increase?) in any noticeable way?
Posted By: Radio.Octave Re: Touchrail system? - 07/02/18 08:48 PM
Originally Posted by asb37
I had one designed for my piano. I ended up not liking it, and removed it.

First, you need to determine the cause of the high down weights you are measuring. Evaluate for friction. If it is not high friction, then typically the action leverage is inappropriate for the weight of the hammers. Your options in that case are to increase the leverage of the action, decrease the weight of the hammers, or add more lead weights to the keys.

In my case, my piano's action ratio was much too low for the weight of hammers used. It came like that from the factory. Many keys had a downweight over 60g. The keys were already adequately leaded, so adding more would not have helped. I did not want to remove weight from the hammers as this would alter the tone, and the hammers were actually average weight for a grand piano. So I tried the touchrail, but didn't like how it felt. It was easier to get the key in motion, but after that it still felt heavy to me.

I was considering having the capstans moved to alter the action ratio (which is a big project). However, in the end I was simply able to install split balance rail punchings, which in effect modifies the action ratio. I split the punchings using a razor blade and glued them to the bottom of the keys. David Stanwood is the one that told me of this method, and I followed the instructions in an article he published. It is described here:

http://www.stanwoodpiano.com/December2014.pdf

I am very happy with the results. Most of the keys measure <50g now. And it probably saved me $1000-1500 I would have spent moving the capstans.

If you'd like to know more about touchweight, this is a good resource (I also have the book - Pianos Inside Out - which is excellent):

http://www.pianosinsideout.com/PracticalTouch_HighRes.pdf


Thanks for the info. I will look into that. I think somewhere in the 50g range would be better. Many of my keys now also have a downweight over 60g.
Posted By: Radio.Octave Re: Touchrail system? - 07/02/18 08:53 PM
Originally Posted by P W Grey
Originally Posted by P W Grey
Regulation AND evaluation of current weight/geometry/friction that currently exists.

Has anyone mentioned damper timing?

Pwg


Radio.Octave,

When, in the hammer travel, do the keys pick up the dampers in general? 1/3...1/2 point, or something else? If they happen to be picking them up VERY early in the stroke this can contribute much to the feeling of heaviness.

Pwg


Looks like they start lifting when the hammer is almost halfway to the strings.
Posted By: P W Grey Re: Touchrail system? - 07/02/18 10:50 PM
Good there then.

Pwg
Posted By: asb37 Re: Touchrail system? - 07/03/18 12:02 AM
It
Originally Posted by Sanfrancisco
Re: Touchrail system? [Re: Radio.Octave] #2748623 07/02/18 12:00 AM
asb37
asb37, Great post. Stanwood's revelation and your story exemplifies why I love working on my piano. Did the split punchings change the key dip (increase?) in any noticeable way?


The split punchings do modify the action leverage, so there will be some change in the amount of key dip needed to get the hammer to travel a given distance. However, the change in key dip was not very noticeable to me. I had to reregulate the entire action after the punchings were installed anyway (the new punchings changed the key height - so I had to relevel the keys). After regulation the key dip is about 10mm, which is pretty standard.
Posted By: JGV Re: Touchrail system? - 01/30/20 03:38 PM
I have a Mason & Hamlin CC which I bought in 2018. I thought the action was too heavy. I didn’t want to have my technician drill lead weights into the keys because that also affects the repetition. My technician suggested this product. Greatest product ever! It lowered the key weight to about 42 grams which is how I like it. I adjusted each key myself which took a few hours. But in the end, my action is light and there was zero change to the repetition. I even called Scott Jones, the owner, to tell him what a fabulous product he has. I highly recommend this product if your Key weight is too heavy. Though I will also say that before installing this a good technician should go through the piano and try and lower the friction of the keys first. Then if it’s still not enough this product will do the trick.
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