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#3140945 07/27/21 01:17 PM
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peterws Offline OP
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Do we need 'em? I managed very well many tears ago on the Yamaha HE keyboard of the CLP820. (Models higher up that range had graded hammers, and I remeber at the time, not liking them!)
It was easier on the left hand . . . .I rather miss that now since my LH isn't so good.

Thoughts?


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No.

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But I see the point of it as the digital piano is then a more complete simulation of an acoustic piano.

At least some acoustic piano somewhere.

But this has been discussed before. Some even say that some digital pianos go too far in the weight difference.

And acoustic piano manufacturers try to minimize the difference.

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There are lots of things more important in enjoying a keyboard than "graded hammers".

It's an accident of acoustic-piano physics and mechanics. If "emulating an acoustic piano" is high on your list of desiderata, "graded hammers" is important.

If general playability (as opposed to "perfect emulation") is what you're looking for, "graded hammers" is way down on the list. IMHO, of course.


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peterws Offline OP
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Do acoustic uprights exhibit heavier keys at the bottom end of the keyscale?


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Originally Posted by peterws
Do acoustic uprights exhibit heavier keys at the bottom end of the keyscale?


Yes they do, absolutely. I think the term "need" is hard to justify and leaves a lot of room for personal preference. But I think nearly all acoustic pianos have heavier static and dynamic keyweight at the bass end than at the treble. So to the extent digitals try to replicate it, it doesn't really matter if it's "intentional" or not in the design of an acoustic, it simply is, and therefore is something that can be replicated for more realism.


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Originally Posted by peterws
Do acoustic uprights exhibit heavier keys at the bottom end of the keyscale?

Well, the strings and the hammers that excite them are bigger at the lower end of the scale, on uprights, as well as grand pianos, so it stands to reason that the hammers are heavier and require more energy (and key weight) to put them in motion.

Personally, having never played on an acoustic piano of any kind, it wouldn't bother me one bit if all keys were of apparently the same weight (on a digital piano).


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Question: what exactly are "graded hammers"? I have a follow-up question that depends on the answer.


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If you look closely at some images recently posted by Gombessa, starting from looking at the left, then middle, then right, you can see less weight (looks light 1 small black metal piece with screws on top) towards the left, more (2) in the middle and more (3) to the right.

Having said this ..... i dunno for sure what, exactly, constitutes “graded weight”, and i recall Gombessa mentioned “weighted damper” 😐

Originally Posted by Gombessa
Hi James,

From your video, this looks like the damper back action from the NV-10S:


And there's the same back action from my NV-10:
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

The NV-10's damper weights seem to be graded to four discrete zones, whereas the NV-10S's has individual per-key linear grading?


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You can keep your graded hammers, key noise, damper noise, key delay, maybe even the undamped higher keys sympathetic resonance.

Inharmonicity maybe. wink


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Originally Posted by drewr
If you look closely at some images recently posted by Gombessa, starting from looking at the left, then middle, then right, you can see less weight (looks light 1 small black metal piece with screws on top) towards the left, more (2) in the middle and more (3) to the right.

Having said this ..... i dunno for sure what, exactly, constitutes “graded weight”, and i recall Gombessa mentioned “weighted damper” 😐

Yep, my pictures here are of the NV-10's special damper mechanism, not the hammers. But the concept is exactly the same. Hammers are "weight-graded" because in an acoustic piano, the bass hammers are larger and heavier than the treble hammers, so digital pianos make the weights on the bass end heavier.

On the Novus series, Kawai grades the weighting of the damper mechanism, to simulate the fact that on an acoustic, the bass dampers are also larger/heavier than the treble dampers (in order to dampen the larger, copper-wound bass strings).


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What is the weight difference between the lowest and highest key of an AP? Not too long ago I remember reading something around 10g, i.e. the counterweights added to the keys make them not so different. I may be mistaken though.


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Different AP's have different gradings. The pianist has to adjust. A pianist can just as easily adjust to balanced weight hammers.

If you practice on a DP and play or perform on an AP, graded weight hammers provide a better translation of practice sessions on the DP to performance on the AP, all else equal.

If you don't care about translation of practice sessions to an AP, graded weight hammers on a DP don't provide much, if any benefit.


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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Different AP's have different gradings. The pianist has to adjust. A pianist can just as easily adjust to balanced weight hammers.
.

True enough. My left thumb feels it though, and has done for some years now. I'd like it to last a tad longer until DIY Thumb Repair Kits become available. . . .


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Comparing between my upright acoustic and a Yamaha P-45: On the acoustic, I can distinctly feel the difference and weight as I move downward on a Hanon exercise. I can feel the stress and effort I need to put in to maintain the tempo and dynamic. No digital I have played so far has been able to reproduce that faithfully, Maybe the P515 to a large extent, but nothing else, and still not enough.

I'd say a well executed GH is necessary if one wants to be able to own and play an acoustic as their end game/final destination.

Last edited by mmatthew; 07/28/21 08:35 AM.

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Originally Posted by EVC2017
What is the weight difference between the lowest and highest key of an AP? Not too long ago I remember reading something around 10g, i.e. the counterweights added to the keys make them not so different. I may be mistaken though.


I humbly suggest that if you have not already tried there, mosey over to the Tuner’s forum and browse/skim through the first several pages. It won’t take long to see that there are enough variables - beginning with the range across various brands of hammers one must acquire to have a good chance to properly maintain/tune a given AP, and ending with the the range of techniques brought to bear by a given qualified AP Tech/Tuner - that the answer to your question is like so many related questions - it’s not always exact but falls within somewhat of a known range .... like down-weight “ static” is somewhere in a range of 45-60 .... and moving weight “inertial” is somewhere in a lower range roughly 45-55 percent of the former, and up-weight “return” determined by a formula using these and other variables .... etc.


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Originally Posted by drewr
I humbly suggest that if you have not already tried there, mosey over to the Tuner’s forum and browse/skim through the first several pages. It won’t take long to see that there are enough variables - beginning with the range across various brands of hammers one must acquire to have a good chance to properly maintain/tune a given AP, and ending with the the range of techniques brought to bear by a given qualified AP Tech/Tuner - that the answer to your question is like so many related questions - it’s not always exact but falls within somewhat of a known range .... like down-weight “ static” is somewhere in a range of 45-60 .... and moving weight “inertial” is somewhere in a lower range roughly 45-55 percent of the former, and up-weight “return” determined by a formula using these and other variables .... etc.

Drew, it was more a matter of curiosity than anything else.

The range you mentioned above, 45-60, is this the absolute (static) weights of the keys (C8 and A0 respectively) or the difference (i.e., A0 45 to 60g heavier than C8)?


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The range i mentioned 45-60 was taken from a recent thread ( page 1 of 5) in the Tuner’s forum, OP - U3piano, who was looking for advice on lightening the action on a VPC1.... he copied this to the DP forum too. There are over 700 pages of archived threads in that Tuner’s forum..... ive read a handful so far 🙂 U3’s thread includes some mention of the need to consider the weights in the bass range versus treble due to graded weighting at factory.

“ ..... But first you have to measure downweight and upweight, downweight is a least amount of weight that will cause key to go at least halfway down (on grand piano it is down to just before escapement but digital piano will behave differently), and upweight is the max weight that a key is still able to lift to its resting position. After you carefully place a weight on a key you should tap slightly under the keyboard to break static friction in action, if there is too much static friction measurements will not be reliable. Acoustic pianos should have downweight of 45-60g and upweight at least 20-30g, difference between downweight and upweight should be 20-30g (sliding friction 10-20g), In digital pianos there is not much friction usually so your difference may be 0-10g only.....”


While i’ve seen many threads over many months in the DP forum that at times suggest 45-60, at other times there is debate where some say there are actions up to 70-90. In a way, this makes some sense if you follow the line that manufacturers design DPs to mimic APs which are not generic so ..... maybe Kawai mimics lighter action APs, Roland & Yamaha mimic heavier actions, etc.

Key Weights thread.

Last edited by drewr; 07/28/21 07:34 PM.

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My teacher says that upright pianos have heavier actions than the grand pianos and the weights between individual models differs as well.

Playing my DP, he said that it felt more like a grand piano action, being lighter, as opposed to a typical upright action, which is rather heavier.


I can't afford an acoustic piano therefore I have a digital piano; And I appreciate it. I have to.
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Graded hammers are a selling point, not much more.

First, the action of the vast majority of electric keyboards are already very light when compared to a 'real' keyboard action, so making some of the top keys even lighter is on the level of having a remote control for your car's radio. Bragging rights, but not much more.

The weighted aspect looks great on paper when you start adding up the plus and minuses, but in reality, you won't notice it ... and even if you do, it's not a big deal.

I think I've covered all bases. smile


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