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Has anyone done or know of a video comparison of

The WNG Composit Action vs Renner Action
in a Steinway Piano

Is there an example (video) of a Steinway with the new WNG Composit Action installed?

thanks
brdwyguy


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Ed Foote has done this pretty frequently on the Steinways he maintained in a university setting. You may want to ask him.


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What do you want the video to show... assembly, performance differences,???

And why are you asking -- you have an "A", idle curiosity, what....??


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I wanted to hear the performance differences?

Curiosity and Education?
I am very interested in the piano, it's workings and the current market.
Guess I should have gone into the business instead of Performance & Education

wink
brdwyguy


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I’ve used the WNG shanks (with Natural hammers) in two Steinways—a D and an M. Though a before and after would be uninformative because the old hammers were replaced.

Honestly I’m not sure any comparison would be helpful unless only the shanks were replaced on the same piano with the same hammers and no voicing work was performed and regulation was good with both shanks. Doubtful you’ll find many people who have done that and even less who have bothered to make careful recordings smile

I can say that the Steinways I did sound far better than they ever have. But, again, I replaced the older hammers as well.

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ah, didn't think of that aspect jsilva
but so true

anyone who would replace would be replacing because action needs replacing, so it wouldnt sound good in the 1st place wink

thanks


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Originally Posted by brdwyguy
I wanted to hear the performance differences?
I don't think you can HEAR the performance difference unless(maybe) if the same pianist played the same piece on the same piano that first had one action and then the other. You might be able to feel the difference if you play a piano with WNG or listen to some pianists' remarks on the differences they felt.

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Greetings,
I have built a lot of WNG actions in Steinways. You can't hear the difference, but the pianists all tell me that they can feel an evenness that they consider rare. The big differences in WNG and wooden parts is twofold. First is at the performance level, where their shanks provides a consistency that is not obtainable with 88 wooden sticks, and the consistency of flanges and knuckle placement allow an unequalled evenness of action ratio. I have yet to regulate a wooden action that allows the dip AND aftertouch to come out as consistent as the composite actions do.

The second is the durability of the regulation; the pinning simply doesn't change, which cannot be said for any wooden/felt action. After 38 years at the same university, the WNG actions I used when I began re-rebuilding work I had done 25 years earlier demonstrated none of the seasonal changes I had previously suffered. This not only freed up a lot of regulating budget, but also provided an unchanging action for each piano, allowing their "identities" to remain intact from semester to semester. Felt bushings will not do this, as they begin changing as soon as they go into service.

In short, it is no longer possible to provide maximum "authenticity" and maximum performance in the same action. My professional customers all prefer the latter, while more than a few casual owners are still sold on the idea that "authenticity" is paramount. I make the comparison to other uses of materials where durability and control are important; tennis racquets, golf clubs, skis, etc. Professionals that need maximum performance do not use the traditional wood, for good reason.
regards,

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Ed,

Which version of CF shanks do you find are preferred? Or perhaps a graduated combination?

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I have been using WNG parts in my action rebuilds for about the past 10 years, and most of those pianos have been Steinways. The stability and evenness that Ed details is my consistent experience also. And those are things that my customers notice.

I will add that the modularity of the shanks and whippens are another important feature. The layout of Steinway actions can be all over the place, and the freedom to place a knuckle in a calculated ideal location and also to be able to locate the capstan heel where we want it, are opportunities for refinement in the action setup that we otherwise might not be able to get with traditional parts.

I used wooden parts from Steinway, Renner, Abel, Tokiwa, and others for 3 decades prior. I favor WNG parts, no contest.


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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Ed,

Which version of CF shanks do you find are preferred? Or perhaps a graduated combination?

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

I initially used the original one-sized sets of shanks and found such an improvement, all around, that I stayed with them. I did put a set of the lighter, smaller diameter shanks on a small grand, and with two of those spares, experimented with hanging some hammers on them in the middle of a normal set. I couldn't find a pianist that could tell the difference. I don't know the exact dimensions, and am away from the shop for a bit, but I really don't think it makes a lot of difference with mid to light hammers. Perhaps on a concert grand, with say, a 12 gram A0 hammer as a starting point to my SW curve, it would be advisable to use the larger shanks until the top octave is reached, but I can't say that from any experience, just shade-tree logic....
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The surprising thing I and many others notice is the most significant effect on touch in an action with W,N&G shanks is in the evenness of the soft playing.


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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
The surprising thing I and many others notice is the most significant effect on touch in an action with W,N&G shanks is in the evenness of the soft playing.

Do you attribute that evenness to the shanks only or to the whole composite action? As a player (and a poor one), the evenness of soft playing is quite a fine line to walk and easy to risk a non-sounding note, i.e. hammer not reaching the strings. Without any experimental basis, I suspect the whole action (and particularly the unevenness of friction in wooden/felt actions) is to blame for this. What do you all think about that?

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Originally Posted by Del Vento
Do you attribute that evenness to the shanks only or to the whole composite action? As a player (and a poor one), the evenness of soft playing is quite a fine line to walk and easy to risk a non-sounding note, i.e. hammer not reaching the strings.

Greetings,
The "evenness" at ppp playing is determined by the evenness of escapement resistance and let-off and drop distance. Aftertouch is also a major "feel" to the pianists. The resistance begins when the pianist encounters the point where the jack tender and drop screw hit their stops. The components of this resistance are the jack and rep spring(s), sliding friction of the tender, knuckle, and to a small extent the drop screw against the pad. Inconsistency in these settings arises from spring strength, which is dependent on pinning consistency of the shank and repetition lever as well as sliding friction.


The let-off distance has a great influence as well, as it determines how close to the string the pianist maintains control, and it 'gap' over which the pianist must 'thow' the hammer. If everything else in the resistance is perfect, a larger gap can be more easily dealt with, but that is rarely the case. So it is a combination of resistance and the chore of throwing the hammer that determines evenness. The onset of escapement is determined by when the tender contacts the let-off button and that is dependent on not only the let-off distance by also by how far under the knuckle the jack must be set. There is also the point in which the rep spring is engaged, so drop settings are also in the mix. The friction across the knuckle is also a factor, so there are many things happening at the end of the stroke.

The WNG parts offer not only a more consistent mortise surface than graphite/wood interfaces, but also jack and tender surfaces, which shows up in evenness of spring strength.Repetition pinning is a major influence in the spring consistency and WNG pinning is far more consistent than felt bushing that has seen some use. The overall consistency of the parts also allows a more even relationship between dip and aftertouch without using blow to even things out.

I don't believe the shank material has much influence on ppp evenness, but a great deal of influence on FF or stronger play where flex plays a larger role.
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Originally Posted by Ed Foote
Greetings,
The "evenness" at ppp playing is determined by the evenness of escapement resistance and let-off and drop distance. Aftertouch is also a major "feel" to the pianists. [...etc...]


Thanks Ed, this is great information!

Happy new year everybody!

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I think the increased PP evenness is because the composite material is more consistent and the little "vibrations" of the shanks are all very similar. Whereas in wood parts the wood varies more from note to note.


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Richard Dain claims his 3D printed action and composite shanks enables the hammer to strike the strings in a predictable place. The flange "axles" contributed to that.


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What is different about the D3D hammer shanks and flanges compared to the Wessell, Nickel, and Gross shanks & flanges is that the WNG shank is made of a pultrusion of carbon fiber. This means that all the strength and stiffness of the shank lies in one direction, as in the shank will more strongly resist bending. However, these shanks are very weak in torsion, as in if you twist a hammer on a shank, it does not take much for the carbon fiber tube to break.

In January of 2020, I exchanged several friendly emails with James Bacon, who worked with Richard Dain in designing the new shanks. He told me that the tubes are comprised of carbon fiber braid and unidirectional fabrics in a helical weave. They have been designed to be much stronger under torsional and side loading - in effect the stiffness is unidirectional. To go along with this, the center pins are about 30% greater in diameter. The entire shank is made of a tribopolymer made by Igus (who worked with Dain in creating the design). The material has lubricants imbedded in the the plastic, so there is no need for a cloth bushing as is traditional, or a high tech plastic bushing such as WNG uses. They are also lighter than the WNG shanks.

Like the WNG shanks, they have great humidity stability.

We want a shank to track in as straight a line as is possible on its way to the string. There are tonal deficits which we can hear with loose pinning in traditional wooden shanks that I do not hear from the WNG shanks that I use. Phoenix claims a superbly controlled hammer flight with their design.

Flex plays a role as Ed Foote states. I think also that a lack of torsional stiffness may have a tonal deficit, in that the hammer won't necessarily "want" to track in a straight line without sufficient restraint. Moreover, if the hammer does not strike the the string(s) evenly, then the exit of the hammer will be more chaotic in directional movement.

At that time, they were working on prototypes for whippens with the intent to come to market with them. But that was right before the Covid 19 bomb dropped on the world, so I don't know of their progress since then.


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Originally Posted by Withindale
Richard Dain claims his 3D printed action and composite shanks enables the hammer to strike the strings in a predictable place. The flange "axles" contributed to that.

For me, the hammers seem to strike the strings unpredictably more often than I would like, no matter what parts are in the action!


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Originally Posted by WilliamTruitt
What is different about the D3D hammer shanks and flanges compared to the Wessell, Nickel, and Gross shanks & flanges is that the WNG shank is made of a pultrusion of carbon fiber. This means that all the strength and stiffness of the shank lies in one direction, as in the shank will more strongly resist bending. However, these shanks are very weak in torsion, as in if you twist a hammer on a shank, it does not take much for the carbon fiber tube to break.

In January of 2020, I exchanged several friendly emails with James Bacon, who worked with Richard Dain in designing the new shanks. He told me that the tubes are comprised of carbon fiber braid and unidirectional fabrics in a helical weave. They have been designed to be much stronger under torsional and side loading - in effect the stiffness is unidirectional. To go along with this, the center pins are about 30% greater in diameter. The entire shank is made of a tribopolymer made by Igus (who worked with Dain in creating the design). The material has lubricants imbedded in the the plastic, so there is no need for a cloth bushing as is traditional, or a high tech plastic bushing such as WNG uses. They are also lighter than the WNG shanks.

Like the WNG shanks, they have great humidity stability.

We want a shank to track in as straight a line as is possible on its way to the string. There are tonal deficits which we can hear with loose pinning in traditional wooden shanks that I do not hear from the WNG shanks that I use. Phoenix claims a superbly controlled hammer flight with their design.

Flex plays a role as Ed Foote states. I think also that a lack of torsional stiffness may have a tonal deficit, in that the hammer won't necessarily "want" to track in a straight line without sufficient restraint. Moreover, if the hammer does not strike the the string(s) evenly, then the exit of the hammer will be more chaotic in directional movement.

At that time, they were working on prototypes for whippens with the intent to come to market with them. But that was right before the Covid 19 bomb dropped on the world, so I don't know of their progress since then.

I can't imagine how it would be possible to 3D print a shank that is composed of a carbon fiber braid and unidirectional fabrics in a helical weave. Maybe the end component of the tube that connects to the flanges is 3D printed.

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