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Hello all. I just bought a used Kimball Viennese Classic. After playing several new and used bigger Yamahas, a few Kawais and even a 9’ Steinway, I have to say, I’m really impressed at the sound that this piano makes. The bass is truly glorious, every note is pure with all the right overtones, forcing me to now learn Rachmaninoff concerto #2 (well, maybe just the first page or two, even then I have to modify since I can only reach a 9th). The biggest challenge for me is going from a very light touch on my Kawai upright for 40years to the slower and heavier Schwander action. It does need regulating still so I’m sure this will help. Maybe there ARE good used pianos out there that aren’t Yamaha. And for less than a third of the price! I might even consider a complete action replacement to make it play as well as it sounds. I’d still be into it for far less than I would have payed for a few used G5’s I looked at. Anyway, greeting to everyone!

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Congrats 😊 It’s great to hear of someone buying a piano they really enjoy. Best wishes for many hours of wonderful music

You may not need an action rebuild but just some good regulation. Talk to a good tech and

Last edited by dogperson; 11/21/21 10:19 AM.

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Hello, and welcome to Piano World!

Congratulations on your Kimball Viennese grand! I owned a Kimball Viennese grand in the 5'8" model for a while, and I too was really impressed with the tone and touch. I played a Kimball Viennese 6'7" grand, and was even more impressed, and made an offer, but the seller didn't accept my offer and I was not willing to pay their asking price due to some other, cosmetic issues with the piano.

So, I can understand your enthusiasm regarding the Kimball Viennese 6'7" grand piano! smile

And, I do believe a good piano tech can service your action to feel better, much better with some regulation and action lube in the right places. Also, the one I owned held a tuning like a rock. It had a laminated soundboard, which contributed to the tuning stability.

Congratulations again, and post pictures when you can! smile

Rick


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I have reworked several of these over the years and they can perform quite well when set up correctly.

Things that usually need attention are:

Reshaping V-bar to a true V-shape, (this involves removing the treble strings and dampers to allow the work).

The actions are sometimes too low from the string plane for proper action geometry.

The treble strike point often needs to curve slightly from a straight line so this means removing and regluing many of the hammers.

The trapwork is flimsy and poorly dimensioned for proper geometry and excess sliding friction is created between contact surfaces.

The key bushings are often quite sloppy.


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I’d like to say that it plays quite nicely and evenly but I do mis a note or two here and there, esp when trying to play quietly. Mostly my finger weakness, but there is def more friction on this piano. The tuner took a very quick look at the action and showed my how it needed regulation by looking at the hammer drop height when pressing too slowly to strike the string. They all looked pretty uneven. The key bushings are good- very little fore/aft and side play. As far as the treble strike point, is that for mellowing out the tinny sound on the last 20 keys or so? I am searching for the right local tech to go through this as neither the tuner or the mover gives me much confidence. I am completely ignorant about actions since this is my first grand. Had many a Mercedes in pieces over the years but apples and oranges as the say… If I can’t find a local expert, is shipping an action a bad idea? I am also willing to do any of work myself but not at the expense of screwing it up.

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Hi Ben
If you will post where you live, you might get some good suggestions.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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I’m in the Sacramento area. And I want to clarify my comment about the the tuner and movers. Both seem to be perfectly capable technicians. I just feel like it could really benefit from the experience of a master, maybe even an old-world craftsman.

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Originally Posted by benz-tech
I’m in the Sacramento area. And I want to clarify my comment about the the tuner and movers. Both seem to be perfectly capable technicians. I just feel like it could really benefit from the experience of a master, maybe even an old-world craftsman.

A highly experienced and skilled piano tech member here, BDB is in Oakland CA. I know that is about an hour and a half from Sacramento, but BDB does tuning and service work for many high-profile celebrity/artists in the area. Not sure how far he is willing to travel, but he is an option for you. Just one suggestion. I'm sure there are others...

Good luck!

Rick


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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by benz-tech
I’m in the Sacramento area. And I want to clarify my comment about the the tuner and movers. Both seem to be perfectly capable technicians. I just feel like it could really benefit from the experience of a master, maybe even an old-world craftsman.

A highly experienced and skilled piano tech member here, BDB is in Oakland CA. I know that is about an hour and a half from Sacramento, but BDB does tuning and service work for many high-profile celebrity/artists in the area. Not sure how far he is willing to travel, but he is an option for you. Just one suggestion. I'm sure there are others...

Good luck!

Rick

The link to BDB’s profile is below. Click on ‘private message’ to send a private message.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/users/3725/bdb.html

If he can’t help you, perhaps he can make a recommendation. If not, you can search PTG.org by zip code

Please do not do this yourself


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Try to contact Mr Dale Fox. He is in Sacramento and a master tuner, technician. He also has a shop rebuilding restoring pianos.
Enjoy your Kimball.


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Congratulations on your really nice Kimball Viennese. Certainly a good piano technician can get the keyboard properly regulated. You can also get used to a somewhat “heavier action” by building your hand and finger strength. Start with easier repertoire and work your way up slowly. The great thing about this is you will be more comfortable and confident playing a different piano in your travels.

Please do share some pictures whenever you have time.


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I found a guy that has come highly recommended, seems familiar with this piano, and he was excited to see the project- this is what I was looking for. I feel like that is nearly as important as knowledge and skill. Then we talked about old 911’s and 914/6’s and bonded. I’ll get some before and after sound clips but I’ll have to figure how to post pics and vids. Although an Iphone makes it sound a little harsh. It does need to be voiced down a bit along with the regulation. The work is scheduled for Dec 3rd. I can’t wait!

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Originally Posted by benz-tech
I found a guy that has come highly recommended, seems familiar with this piano, and he was excited to see the project- this is what I was looking for. I feel like that is nearly as important as knowledge and skill. Then we talked about old 911’s and 914/6’s and bonded. I’ll get some before and after sound clips but I’ll have to figure how to post pics and vids. Although an Iphone makes it sound a little harsh. It does need to be voiced down a bit along with the regulation. The work is scheduled for Dec 3rd. I can’t wait!

Congratulations again!

I really enjoyed the 5'8" Kimball Viennese grand I owned for a while. Loved the looks of those big, round Bosendorfer like sound holes in the plate. I actually liked the sound of the piano too! smile

All the best!

Rick


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Originally Posted by benz-tech
I found a guy that has come highly recommended, seems familiar with this piano, and he was excited to see the project- this is what I was looking for. I feel like that is nearly as important as knowledge and skill. Then we talked about old 911’s and 914/6’s and bonded. I’ll get some before and after sound clips but I’ll have to figure how to post pics and vids. Although an Iphone makes it sound a little harsh. It does need to be voiced down a bit along with the regulation. The work is scheduled for Dec 3rd. I can’t wait!

Nice, really nice. Just in time for Christmas repertoire 🎄🎊.
Too bad but I couldn’t find a Porsche emoji.


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I would like some clarification. Not sure what you mean by trapwork. And what would be accomplished by moving the treble hammers and re-shaping the v-bar? The tuner is coming on the
23rd to regulate and voice. And I would like to prep him for what to look for. I am already getting used to the heavier action. I’m hoping to get some more pianissimo out of it because it is a very powerful piano.
On a side note, there is a Kimball 6750 earlier version on Craigslist in Tracy CA. It does’t look to be in as good shape as mine from the pics, but the owner is only asking $3,000 for it. No affiliation with the seller.

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Trap work is everything that’s controlled by the foot pedals.

Treble strike point relates to the fact that the hammer needs to strike the string at a specific point for optimal performance, and it’s most notable in the treble because the treble strings are shortest (i.e. a small error is more readily apparent in the treble).

A tech is probably not going to rehang hammers at an initial tuning appointment (or reshape the v-bar).


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Thank you for the clarification

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Here's something that can greatly reduce friction. I Don't know how old this piano is, but if it's older the knuckles might be flattened.
The knuckle is the part on the hammer assembly that the jack pushes up on, sending the hammer to the string. As the jack makes contact with the knuckle, which is kind of a small roll of leather and felt, it slides forward (towards the player) as well. It's a very common source of friction. If you push the keys down very slowly and you hear a creaking sound, kind of like a cellar door opening in a horror movie, that could well be the sound of the jack dragging on the knuckle.

Ideally, the knuckles should be replaced eventually because they flatten and develop grooves (they're supposed to be round). Some techs bolster them by running yarn or thick thread through to restore the rounded shape. Some try pinching them with pliers, but I'm not sure that really lasts.
My method of quickly improving the feel and getting rid of the friction is to dust them with PTFE powder. It's only takes about 10 minutes with the action partly out and held on the lap. I've found it makes a big difference in feel.

It's true that some techs dislike powder lubricant, and some say the Teflon might be a health hazard and linger in the environment. Some don't like the mess. However, it might be worth asking a local tech about. There are other lubes that can be applied to the jack, but I prefer the PTFE, which is super-slippery. I try to be neat and vacuum up any mess. But even if it does end up in the action, it doesn't have any deleterious effect.

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Originally Posted by Scott Cole, RPT
My method of quickly improving the feel and getting rid of the friction is to dust them with PTFE powder. It's only takes about 10 minutes with the action partly out and held on the lap. I've found it makes a big difference in feel.

It's true that some techs dislike powder lubricant, and some say the Teflon might be a health hazard and linger in the environment. Some don't like the mess. However, it might be worth asking a local tech about. There are other lubes that can be applied to the jack, but I prefer the PTFE, which is super-slippery. I try to be neat and vacuum up any mess. But even if it does end up in the action, it doesn't have any deleterious effect.

Been doing it for years, Scott. Works great! In fact, I take an extra felt hammer head, usually from the mid treble area in size, and stick the hammer head in the container of Powdered Teflon and then burnish the Teflon into knuckles with the felt hammer head. I also use the Powdered Teflon on the felt above the cap stands, for just a tad more smoothness/slickness. Works great, and you can really tell a difference afterward. I learned the hammer head Teflon burnishing application technique from another tech on the Piano Technician's forum.

I use Protek PLC on all the flange hinges, and key bushings, and apply it with a hypodermic syringe, with the sharp point blunted. If I happen to remove the keys, I'll use the Powdered Teflon on the key bushings. If I pull the action, I'll use the Protek on the damper guide bushings and back action flanges.

As for the hammer shank knuckles on my Yamaha C7, they are getting a little flat spot on the bottom. Will need to address that at some point. I've also read that you can take a voicing needle and unflatten the knuckle a bit. But I think new knuckles would be best, since that material is leather...

Thanks for posting your thoughts on the Powdered Teflon! As for the toxicity of it, I try to be very careful or wear a mask when working with it.

All the best!

Rick


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Rick,
Of course, if I have time or are doing a regulation, I'll take the stack off and dust the wipe heels as well. Just that much more friction banished...

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