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It seems really strange to me that grand pianos, which are supposed to be the ultimate/best form of the instrument, do not have the practice pedal since most upright pianos have them.
having the practice pedal on a grand would really solve a lot of problems that piano owners complain about, such as not wanting to disturb the neighbors, sound overwhelming the rooms, etc.

Is there a technical reason why grand pianos do not have the practice pedal? in my opinion, i think the reason is not to disturb the silent/digital piano market, but thats just a guess.

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Gravity.


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I feel like the practice pedal is included as a replacement for a sostenuto pedal and wouldn't even be included on uprights if sostenuto pedals were easier to do. So on uprights practice pedal is easy to implement and sostenuto pedal is hard, and the reverse on grands.

Last edited by Sail26; 06/16/21 03:56 PM.

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Let us presume that you are not talking about an electronic "silent system" but a more traditional "practice pedal" mechanism found in many uprights.

As Jeff says: gravity.

In an upright piano a bar with a band of felt (operated by one of the pedals) drops between the hammers and the strings, so that the hammers hit the felt in front of the strings instead of directly impacting the strings. When the pedal is released, the bar with the felt strip rises up out of the way of the hammers.

In a grand it would be impossible - at reasonable cost, that is - to insert a felt between the hammers and the strings because there would be no way to retract the practice mechanism without involving the action. Remember that in a grand the hammers lie underneath the strings. Moreover, there is not enough distance between the hammers and the strings in a grand to lift the felt strip above the strings and prevent the felt strip from riding on the strings during "normal" play.

Simple mechanics, or, as Jeff said: Gravity.

All that said, I understand that there are some grands with a "silent system" that involves electronically preventing the hammers from hitting the strings while the sound is produced electronically, heard through headphones. I also understand that that technology involves greater expense added to the price of a grand.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by Sail26
I feel like the practice pedal is included as a replacement for a sostenuto pedal and wouldn't even be included on uprights if sostenuto pedals were easier to do. So on uprights practice pedal is easy to implement and sostenuto pedal is hard, and the reverse on grands.

But higher end uprights do have both the sostenuto pedal and the practice pedal.

I don't really think that "Gravity" is a satisfying answer to this, since we have seen lots of technological advancements in the piano industry (use of composite materials and double escapement to name a few) that there is no doubt in my mind that an easy solution exists to implement the practice pedal.

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Originally Posted by BruceD
As Jeff says: gravity.

In an upright piano a bar with a band of felt (operated by one of the pedals) drops between the hammers and the strings, so that the hammers hit the felt in front of the strings instead of directly impacting the strings. When the pedal is released, the mechanism rises up out of the way of the hammers.

In a grand it would be impossible - at reasonable cost, that is - to insert a felt between the hammers and the strings because there would be no way to retract the practice mechanism without involving the action. Moreover, there is not enough distance between the hammers and the strings in a grand to lift the felt strip above the strings and prevent the felt strip from riding on the strings during "normal" play.

Simple mechanics, or, as Jeff said: Gravity.

Regards,

But the mechanism for the practice pedal in a grand does not have to be similar to the one found in an upright.(the use of felt)
I'm not a designer, but for instance, there could be a lever that moves that hammers closer to the string so that the force is reduced. this is just the first thing that came to my mind with the point being that alternate solutions might be possible.

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I will elaborate -

The sound achieved with an upright practice pedal is felt hanging down in front of the hammers. To make this work on a grand piano, you need to suspend the felt so it doesn't hang down since the hammers strike vertically, not horizontally.

This is not that challenging from an engineering perspective - just build the felt into a thin casing of some kind that does not allow for it to droop. BUT, pianos are resonant and the whole case vibrates. If you start introducing extra parts that can vibrate and create noise, you end up compromising the sound of the piano, and are subjecting yourself and your dealer network to a nightmare amount of service calls and potential warranty issues.

So then it becomes a practical issue: if we build this feature into our piano, will we sell more of them to justify the potential problems and R&D costs associated with it? I suspect this has been tossed around in the past, many times, probably with huge manufacturers like Yamaha. I suppose you can guess the outcome to those investigations.

The easiest solution is to let an enterprising individual take the risk, and create a retrofittable design, and let them reap all the reward.

Looks like you're up Nightshade!


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Originally Posted by NightShade
[...] but for instance, there could be a lever that moves that hammers closer to the string so that the force is reduced. this is just the first thing that came to my mind with the point being that alternate solutions might be possible.

Actually, that very feature exists on some models of the Fazioli - with (I believe, but don't quote me) a fourth pedal to operate that mechanism.

Regards,


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This is very close to the "practice pedal":

https://www.steingraeber.de/en/innovationen/sordino/

Demo:

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They also have the "Mozart Rail": https://www.steingraeber.de/en/innovationen/mozart-rail/

Quote
...key depth in the grand pianos is reduced to 8mm, and distance from hammer to string is shortened to 36mm, making softer pppp articulation possible, together with quicker repetition.

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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
This is very close to the "practice pedal":

https://www.steingraeber.de/en/innovationen/sordino/

Demo:
That's very interesting! I wonder if this can be retro fitted to any grand.


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Originally Posted by Jeff Bauer
I will elaborate -

The sound achieved with an upright practice pedal is felt hanging down in front of the hammers. To make this work on a grand piano, you need to suspend the felt so it doesn't hang down since the hammers strike vertically, not horizontally.

This is not that challenging from an engineering perspective - just build the felt into a thin casing of some kind that does not allow for it to droop. BUT, pianos are resonant and the whole case vibrates. If you start introducing extra parts that can vibrate and create noise, you end up compromising the sound of the piano, and are subjecting yourself and your dealer network to a nightmare amount of service calls and potential warranty issues.

So then it becomes a practical issue: if we build this feature into our piano, will we sell more of them to justify the potential problems and R&D costs associated with it? I suspect this has been tossed around in the past, many times, probably with huge manufacturers like Yamaha. I suppose you can guess the outcome to those investigations.

The easiest solution is to let an enterprising individual take the risk, and create a retrofittable design, and let them reap all the reward.

Looks like you're up Nightshade!

To be honest, i still do not find this argument convincing.
Both Kawai and yamaha have standardized the silent grand pianos, which incorporates digital elements with the classical grand piano. this include lots of additional parts (sensors, levers..) that i'm certain can cause lots of warranty and service issues.

Industry giants have exceptional quality control standards. and if they want to implement something, im sure they can do it.
which is why i think the reason we don't see practice pedals is simply not to interfere with sales of digital instruments.

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Originally Posted by NightShade
Industry giants have exceptional quality control standards. and if they want to implement something, im sure they can do it.
I wish they'd decide to have better music desks on their uprights, that's another fly in the ointment, LOL.


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Originally Posted by ebonyk
Originally Posted by NightShade
Industry giants have exceptional quality control standards. and if they want to implement something, im sure they can do it.
I wish they'd decide to have better music desks on their uprights, that's another fly in the ointment, LOL.

Kawai have already improved the music desk in their recent uprights. check out the K-400 and the K-700, which feature a grand piano style music desk.

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I just came across this video which shows a grand piano using felt for the practice pedal in addition to the mozart rail.



This just shows how trivial the problem is if piano manufacturers wanted to implement it.

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Originally Posted by NightShade
Kawai have already improved the music desk in their recent uprights. check out the K-400 and the K-700, which feature a grand piano style music desk.
Yes, and those are fine, albeit more complex, which to me isn't necessary. I prefer one like the Kawai ST-1 and M&H 50. Doesn't seem like it would be that difficult to incorporate into different models. I've always hated the fold down type.


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Originally Posted by NightShade
[...]
Industry giants have exceptional quality control standards. and if they want to implement something, im sure they can do it.
[...]

As has already been pointed out in this thread, the feature you are referring to is available on some pianos.

Regards,


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Nightshade - I wonder if it isn’t more related to market demand. You may be somewhat unusual in your preference for the mute pedal, particularly on grand pianos.
When I was a kid and had an upright with a mute pedal, I never used it. I drove my brother bonkers when I practiced, but I didn’t like how it felt or sounded to play with the mute pedal. I can’t say that I use the sostenuto very much, but I use it more than I would ever use the mute pedal.

When I upgraded a couple months ago to a grand piano, I decided to keep my clavinova. I had practiced a lot with headphones when I had the Clavinova and thought that there would likely be plenty of times that it would come in handy to have a silent piano. But to be very honest, the Clavinova is sitting in the basement, pretty much unused, whereas I play my acoustic piano 1 to 2 hours a day, and my family doesn’t seem to mind at all smile . I suspect I will end up giving the Clavinova to my brother, who has two little girls who may want to learn to play one day.

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I suspect that the a majority of buyers who spend the money to get a grand piano are doing so to hear the full tone of the piano and don't want to distort it with a practice pedal. On the other hand, buyers of uprights include a lot of parents getting a piano for children to practice on and like the idea of giving the household the relief of a practice pedal. And as this thread has pointed out, if someone can afford a grand piano and needs a practice pedal, they are available, but it would appear to be a niche market.


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Square pianos have a strip of leather that is put between the hammers and strings by the soft pedal. So it can be done. A tech who rebuilt one recently said it is a pain to adjust, but possible. Overstrung squares have a bigger tone than baby grands -- the #1 bass string is typically six feet long.

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