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#3105460 04/12/21 06:22 PM
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Hi,

Anyone can help me to understand if:

1) the cantilever solution is still used for new baby grand?

2) is it substantially a disadvantage?

3) do you know if it is used in the Kawai baby grands?

Thank you

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The design is used in most small grand pianos. Technicians, designers, and rebuilders discuss/debate this somewhat frequently.

As a pianist, I don’t really care, either way. Either the bass works acceptably well, evenly, and with a good tone on a small piano...or it doesn’t! I prefer to evaluate a well-prepped, finished piano on its performance instead of the parts, technology, or marketing.


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I don't think Kawai uses a cantilevered bridge, Guido. Here are some photos of the front and back of the bridge from my Kawai GL10.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
The design is used in most small grand pianos. Technicians, designers, and rebuilders discuss/debate this somewhat frequently.

As a pianist, I don’t really care, either way. Either the bass works acceptably well, evenly, and with a good tone on a small piano...or it doesn’t! I prefer to evaluate a well-prepped, finished piano on its performance instead of the parts, technology, or marketing.

Hi, Terminaldegree,

I am a prospective owner of Kawai GL-30, my first and likely the only piano of my life. I am in my late sixties, up to now I owned a digital piano (a Yamaha Cvp 307) and I am trying to learn as much as possible from this forum. I agree with you about the ultimate importance of the quality of the sound, however, I am also fascinated by yhe incredible technology on which pianos are built.

To understand what determine a quality of a piano looks interesting to me.

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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
As a pianist, I don’t really care, either way. Either the bass works acceptably well, evenly, and with a good tone on a small piano...or it doesn’t! I prefer to evaluate a well-prepped, finished piano on its performance instead of the parts, technology, or marketing.

Yes.

Originally Posted by Guido, Roma - Italy
To understand what determine a quality of a piano looks interesting to me.

Absolutly understood, but if at all possible, you should guard against letting this be part of your decision. Same way with speakers. Really cool technology is very tempting, but ideally you should make buying decisions blindfolded. (Said the owner of a pair of electrostatic speakers.)

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I'm fairly confident that Kawai does use a cantilevered bridge in most of their models. It is an almost ubiquitous design element in small grands. It would be a very short list of exceptions to this design element.

Emery Wang, the angles of your photos suggest it is cantilevered, but at those angles, the plate obscures what would be clear evidence. Looking straight down will show with certainty.

I just looked at a 5'11" Kawai GX-2, for example, and it has a cantilevered bridge. It's not just very small pianos that use this.


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I believe Weber/Young Chang's small grands would be on the short list of short pianos that have a direct connect bass bridge. To make this design work, they also had to employ a floating soundboard. Del Fandrich created these designs and has worked with many other companies.

He is likely familiar with makes that use this correctly, the design advantages (ideal circumstances) as well as some of the practical trade-offs in real world examples if you are looking for an expert on the subject.


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Thanks Sam. I may be looking for the wrong thing. Would the profile of a cantilevered bridge look like an upside down L? If the Weber is cantilevered, I can say that my friend's 4' 11" Weber baby grand has a much stronger bass than the Kawai. Don't know if the bridge has anything to do with it, it might be the floating soundboard. Whatever Del did, his design makes for a pretty impressive bass on a small piano.


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Quote
if at all possible, you should guard against letting this be part of your decision. ... Really cool technology is very tempting, but ideally you should make buying decisions blindfolded. (Said the owner of a pair of electrostatic speakers.)

I take your point, it reminds me the same advice given by most people here in this forum, however, I also read in this forum that

1) the sound of any piano will likely change in the following two years (for new pianos);

2) my personal taste in terms of sound will likely change in the future;

3) the sound of the same piano in different locations will change;

4) the sound of the same piano in the same location will change depending on the placement and on the furniture in the room (diagonal, in the corner, parallel to the wall, with bookshelves, carpet, curtains, wood floor, tile floor, etc.);

5) the sound of the same piano will sound differently depending on how it is prepped.

6) last but not least, all the above will be more difficult to evaluate for a non professional musician.

Therefore ... once I stretched my initial budget I decided to make a conservative choice:

1) the best and more robust touch (the keyboard can change but not so much depending on how it is prepped);

2) the reliability of the brand;

3) best price for the same size.

This is why I choose almost blindfolded a Kawai GL-30 ... nonetheless, I appreciate to know the weaknesses and strengths of the piano I am going to get. Actually, if I could, I would like to participate to a course on pianos building.

I read that the cantilever allows longer strings but at the same time it is less efficient in the trasmission of energy to the soundboard. Is this true? Did I understood correctly the criticism on the cantilever?

Last edited by Guido, Roma - Italy; 04/13/21 03:59 PM.
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Here is a photo that will help illustrate. On the left is the bass bridge with a moderate cantilever...the top of the bridge is not directly over the base of the bridge where it is attached to the soundboard. Some cantilevers are larger (more offset) than this. Some, like this, are cantilevered only at one end...as the bridge curve sweeps back, it the cantilever reduces until the strings are eventually directly over the connection to the soundboard (would require an overhead shot to see this clearly).

The treble bridge on the right is tapered at the bottom, but is an example of a direct connect bridge. Frequently, piano designers will shift and shape the tapering to follow some optimal line, while also shaping the bridge pin pattern at the top to further clean up the string scaling. This process is a milder form of the design principle that calls for the cantilever.

[Linked Image]

In Del's design, the bass bridge is directly connected, not cantilevered. Direct connection is a more energy efficient transfer of vibrations. Because it is on a small piano, the cost of having a direct connect bass bridge is placing it in too stiff of an area (soundboard moves more freely as you approach the center of the board, less freely as you approach the rim where it is glued down). Del's solution to this is to have a "floating soundboard", or specifically an area in the bass where the soundboard is cut away from the rim and not glued down. This floating soundboard (and a lot of other calculations) will then allow the bass bridge to vibrate more freely.

Floating soundboards are virtually absent in production grand pianos from any other makers I know of. However, floating soundboards in upright pianos are made in a variety of brands. I don't know the history of this design element, but I've seen it in marketing of a few upright pianos for at least 16 years.


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Emery Wang #3105821 04/13/21 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
I don't think Kawai uses a cantilevered bridge, Guido. Here are some photos of the front and back of the bridge from my Kawai GL10.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

Beautiful photos Emery!

Still liking your GL-10? Did you choose this size for space constraints?

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Originally Posted by Guido, Roma - Italy
I read that the cantilever allows longer strings but at the same time it is less efficient in the trasmission of energy to the soundboard. Is this true? Did I understood correctly the criticism on the cantilever?
This is the tradeoff between the 2 types of bridge designs. However, the nature of design is compromise, and with so many choices, it is difficult to analyze any one variable. Frequently a maker will have both types of bridge designs within their lineup, switching from cantilever in smaller grands to direct connect in larger grands once the improvement of bridge placement overtakes the benefit of longer strings...it's a continuum.

The floating soundboard seems to be the key ingredient to make direct connect bridges perform as intended on smaller grands. I'm not aware of the sound design or reliability tradeoffs that may accompany this change, but I assume there are some. I will be curious if more makers will follow suit.


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Thanks Guido. I really like the GL10, except I prefer a stronger bass that a larger piano gives. However, the sound is well balanced on the GL10. It was my first grand and I knew I wanted a Kawai, so I simply bought the entry model. At the time I didn't know anything about grands, and how size affected the bass response. I have since replaced it with a 6' 4" Petrof, but the GL10 is at my friend's house so I still get to play it now and then. Had I gotten a GL30, I may not have needed to replace it.

Good luck with your piano. I really like Kawais and they are at the top of my preferred piano list.

Last edited by Emery Wang; 04/13/21 04:32 PM.

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Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
Floating soundboards are virtually absent in production grand pianos from any other makers I know of.

My August Förster 215 has a floating soundboard.


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I am interested in this topic because my 1878 Bluthner has a cantilevered bass bridge.

Back in 2008 there was an extensive thread on cantilevered bass bridges, which contained a substantial discourse on the subject by Del. This is the link.

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Originally Posted by AaronSF
My August Förster 215 has a floating soundboard.

Do you feel the floating board makes it sound different than other pianos its size Aaron? In particular, I wonder if it enhances the bass.


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Hi all,

Sam did a wonderful job of explaining the "cantilevered bass bridge". I can tell you with confidence that every small Kawai grand I have seen uses this design.


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Evidently my cantilevered bridge didn't slap me on the back of my head, else I would have recognized it.


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Sam,

What make of piano is in your picture? I ask because I don't recall seeing the end of a treble bridge being undercut like that. Usually it's the opposite, the end of the bridge flares out at the bottom to help avoid the end of bridge syndrome.


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Hello Bill,

The photo was of a Bösendorfer, I believe a 214VC. I'd have to defer to their design team about what other adaptations they made to the soundboard and bridges to accomplish their goals. It certainly works well on that instrument.

For the purposes of this post, I was only referring to the left and right side tapers.


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