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I posted in the technician forum about the heavy touch weight of my piano and to ask if it could be adjusted to play lighter. The key touch weight averages 65/70 grams with C4 the heaviest at 85grams.
But here I would like to ask a question with regard my playing. I find my wrists and fingers becoming tired and I find it very difficult to increase my speed consistently once a piece is well known. Do you think a piano with heavy touch weight makes it’s more difficult to increase one’s speed and more importantly will it improve over time. I find my fingers start to stumble and I am wondering will I always be fighting the inertia of heavy keys. I spend a lot of time learning a piece slowly so the muscle memory is there and watching and adjusting my hand and arm positions before increasing tempo but at a certain point it all seems to fall apart. I find a lot of tension occurring in my hands which builds up the longer I play during a practice session. I focus on relaxing the hand but at this stage I am wondering are the heavy keys making my hand tense because of the strain. Does anyone here play on a piano with heavy keys and what has your experience been like. There seems to be different opinions about finger strength and heavy keys with some pianists saying they hinder development. Are there particular makes, uprights, which are known for a lighter playing experience?

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Were I your tech, here's what I would do after walking in.

Dismantle piano and remove action.
Hold action upside down and swing it so the hammers swing freely.
Note the slowest ones, lube with protek and free them up manually.
Continue till all hammers are quite free.

Next with action still out, the key bushings.
Lift them up at front of key 1/2" (while lightly holding down back at capstan) and let drop to test for tightness at the center rail, ease as needed.
Put a few 0.001"s slack in front rail bushings.

Next liberal application of protek at hammer springs, damper springs, whippen and jack flange centers.

Then reassemble piano and compare new lighter downweights to your list, plan from there.

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Yes I think an overly heavy touch can hinder development and sensitivity, and lead to injuries. There is a mid range of weight that is good and the outer extremes of the mid range can start to feel too heavy or too light. Too heavy can cause terrible fatigue and can cause some terrible issues. Playing on a particularly heavy action does not necessarily make it easier to play lighter actions. Some Kawai pianos were made with terrible actions back in the 80s but I think they’re good now


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Originally Posted by An Old Square
Were I your tech, here's what I would do after walking in.

Dismantle piano and remove action.
Hold action upside down and swing it so the hammers swing freely.
Note the slowest ones, lube with protek and free them up manually.
Continue till all hammers are quite free.

Next with action still out, the key bushings.
Lift them up at front of key 1/2" (while lightly holding down back at capstan) and let drop to test for tightness at the center rail, ease as needed.
Put a few 0.001"s slack in front rail bushings.

Next liberal application of protek at hammer springs, damper springs, whippen and jack flange centers.

Then reassemble piano and compare new lighter downweights to your list, plan from there.

This is an excellent regimen for lubricating the action and getting rid of some excess friction. I'd bet it would make a difference in the feel of the action, and likely a very noticeable difference.

Also, I'm not sure how new the piano is, but I'm thinking that a lot of playing will also help loosen up the action a bit.

I've played heavy actions and very light actions. My preference is somewhere in-between. smile

Good luck!

Rick


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What Old Square said. Maybe work some PTFE Powder into the key bushings too.

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Originally Posted by TBell
PTFE Powder into the key bushings too.

Were I in the biz of designing and manufacturing front and center rail pins for pianos, I'd coat them all in a heavy layer of molybdenum disulfide burnished to the sub micron level.

I'd be damned impressed if some piano company paid attention to this post.

Probably not huh?

smile

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Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
Yes I think an overly heavy touch can hinder development and sensitivity, and lead to injuries. There is a mid range of weight that is good and the outer extremes of the mid range can start to feel too heavy or too light. Too heavy can cause terrible fatigue and can cause some terrible issues. Playing on a particularly heavy action does not necessarily make it easier to play lighter actions. Some Kawai pianos were made with terrible actions back in the 80s but I think they’re good now
Thank you for this Joseph. I have been battling the touch weight for over a year now, indeed ever since I got the piano. Although it is discouraging to hear that there may be an issue with the piano it is encouraging to hear that the tension and tiredness I experience in my hands may be more to do with long playing on heavy action and not my technique, which has always been commended in the past.

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Thank you for all the replies and suggestions. The next time I chat with the technician I’ll show him the comments regarding lubrication and easing of the bushings and see if would be something he could do. As I mentioned in the reply to Joseph the touch has been something that has bothered me since I bought the piano but I initially assumed that it was just me making the adjustment from a Kawai CA97 digital back to an acoustic. It was reading these forums that made me realize that there might be something else going on. I play pretty much every day for about 2 hours and I have had it over a year and if anything it seems to have gotten worse rather than better. I did have C4 adjusted once because it was sticking and at the time I was trying to play a piece with a lot of mordents around C4 and I’d been struggling. Thanks again.

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Don't overthink it. Consider 5-years old prodigies playing almost virtuosic stuff with their tiny fingers. You just need to learn to use your arm weight for playing.

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I have been installing teflon heat shrink sleeves to front rail pins since the late 1970's. Works really well. One nice thing is the sleeve wear away more than the bushing so when keys get sloppy, re-sleeve affected pins.

To the OP. Find a technician who understands how to regulate well. 85G down weight is wrong.


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Originally Posted by An Old Square
Originally Posted by TBell
PTFE Powder into the key bushings too.

Were I in the biz of designing and manufacturing front and center rail pins for pianos, I'd coat them all in a heavy layer of molybdenum disulfide burnished to the sub micron level.

I'd be damned impressed if some piano company paid attention to this post.

Probably not huh?

smile

Hi Old Square. I put tungsten disulfide on my keypins, which is similar to the molybdenum. Do you think the powder being impregnated into the felt bushings acts the same as burnishing it into the pins? In my experience, however, I didn't find tungsten to be slicker than PTFE, it's just black and more messy.


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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I have been installing teflon heat shrink sleeves to front rail pins since the late 1970's. Works really well. One nice thing is the sleeve wear away more than the bushing so when keys get sloppy, re-sleeve affected pins.

To the OP. Find a technician who understands how to regulate well. 85G down weight is wrong.

Thanks Ed. I also asked about it on the tech forum and received some useful information. https://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthr...ch-weight-of-65-85grams.html#Post3185852

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Originally Posted by ADIRL
The key touch weight averages 65/70 grams with C4 the heaviest at 85grams.
Merely reading this pains me. 50-55g from treble to bass would make life much easier on you.

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Hi Emery. I followed your journey regarding your GL-10 from this previous thread I'm impressed with the fact you took on the job yourself! My touch seems to be considerably heavier than yours and I was wondering. I see that in the end you sold the GL-10? Is this because you could never get the touch within an acceptable range for you or something else? My main bother is the tension and tiredness I feel building up in my hands as I play especially if it is a baroque piece involving a lot of mordents and fast trills.

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Im in the process of buying a new piano and I tried a few gl10s and both has super stiff and heavy actions. The same was true of competing Yamaha model, the gb1k. However the same mellenium iii action on the gl30 felt way lighter. And then i tried two gl40s next to each other, both had a nice light action but one felt quite slugish. All of these pianos were new. I dont know if its a quality issue or what? It is making me think twice about considering Kawai Pianos in the GL range.


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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Originally Posted by An Old Square
Originally Posted by TBell
PTFE Powder into the key bushings too.

Were I in the biz of designing and manufacturing front and center rail pins for pianos, I'd coat them all in a heavy layer of molybdenum disulfide burnished to the sub micron level.

I'd be damned impressed if some piano company paid attention to this post.

Probably not huh?

smile

Hi Old Square. I put tungsten disulfide on my keypins, which is similar to the molybdenum. Do you think the powder being impregnated into the felt bushings acts the same as burnishing it into the pins? In my experience, however, I didn't find tungsten to be slicker than PTFE, it's just black and more messy.


PTFE is orders of magnitude slicker than either tungdisulf or molydisulf. It is not however mechanically robust at al, abrasion and wear wise, compared to metal based lubes.

I wasn't so much promoting applying metal-based lubes over PTFE as I was opining how nice pins with a permanent layer of molydisulf would be.

I do however apply several layers of molydisulf (McLube) to all old keypins after polishing during restorations, let dry between applications, proceed.

Er, I did, I'm retired, gotta keep remembering that verb tense thing, lol.

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Originally Posted by drvenom
Im in the process of buying a new piano and I tried a few gl10s and both has super stiff and heavy actions. The same was true of competing Yamaha model, the gb1k. However the same mellenium iii action on the gl30 felt way lighter. And then i tried two gl40s next to each other, both had a nice light action but one felt quite slugish. All of these pianos were new. I dont know if its a quality issue or what? It is making me think twice about considering Kawai Pianos in the GL range.

There's a correlation between brightness and perceived touch weight. Also, some pianos are regulated better than others, and it makes a difference in the feel and performance. A lot of times on a new piano, these are pretty easy adjustments to make, and only take an hour or two of the techs time (sometimes less) to correct, as the organic materials in the action adjust to humidity, or parts break in from playing time.

The M3 action isn't the same animal on all models and sizes; you keep repeating that. For one, the length of the key sticks vary on the models, depending on how big the piano is-- and that changes how things feel to the player.


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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Originally Posted by drvenom
Im in the process of buying a new piano and I tried a few gl10s and both has super stiff and heavy actions. The same was true of competing Yamaha model, the gb1k. However the same mellenium iii action on the gl30 felt way lighter. And then i tried two gl40s next to each other, both had a nice light action but one felt quite slugish. All of these pianos were new. I dont know if its a quality issue or what? It is making me think twice about considering Kawai Pianos in the GL range.

There's a correlation between brightness and perceived touch weight. Also, some pianos are regulated better than others, and it makes a difference in the feel and performance. A lot of times on a new piano, these are pretty easy adjustments to make, and only take an hour or two of the techs time (sometimes less) to correct, as the organic materials in the action adjust to humidity, or parts break in from playing time.

The M3 action isn't the same animal on all models and sizes; you keep repeating that. For one, the length of the key sticks vary on the models, depending on how big the piano is-- and that changes how things feel to the player.

I mentioned it a few times because I don’t know about the subject and the kawai dealers I’ve talked to have said that the pianos ive tried are to spec and carefully setup by kawai. They just repeat that when I mention the inconsistencies ive noticed. I thank you for explaining things to me, i just learned something new today.

So let me pick your brain a little since you sound knowledgeable in this field. Im looking at a satin gl40 and a gloss gl40. I prefer the gloss gl40 but the action on it feels way of compared to the nicer action on the satin color. They are new from a kawai dealer. I shouldnt worry about getting the gloss one since these are simple things to adjust, is that correct?


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Hi ADIRL. What kind of Kawai do you have? Is it an upright or grand? Sorry if I missed that.

My GL10's action ended up being pretty good so no, I did not sell it due to stiff action. I just wanted a larger piano with better bass response. I don't think there is anything inherent in GL10s that should make the actions heavy. In my case, the key bushings needed easing and the hammer blow distance decreased. That and some lubrication got it feeling pretty good. That being said, the main culprit in a heavy feeling action should be inertia. However, I don't think a modern M3 action should have serious inertia issues. Is yours an M3 action as well?


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Originally Posted by An Old Square
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Originally Posted by An Old Square
Originally Posted by TBell
PTFE Powder into the key bushings too.

Were I in the biz of designing and manufacturing front and center rail pins for pianos, I'd coat them all in a heavy layer of molybdenum disulfide burnished to the sub micron level.

I'd be damned impressed if some piano company paid attention to this post.

Probably not huh?

smile

Hi Old Square. I put tungsten disulfide on my keypins, which is similar to the molybdenum. Do you think the powder being impregnated into the felt bushings acts the same as burnishing it into the pins? In my experience, however, I didn't find tungsten to be slicker than PTFE, it's just black and more messy.


PTFE is orders of magnitude slicker than either tungdisulf or molydisulf. It is not however mechanically robust at al, abrasion and wear wise, compared to metal based lubes.

I wasn't so much promoting applying metal-based lubes over PTFE as I was opining how nice pins with a permanent layer of molydisulf would be.

I do however apply several layers of molydisulf (McLube) to all old keypins after polishing during restorations, let dry between applications, proceed.

Er, I did, I'm retired, gotta keep remembering that verb tense thing, lol.

Actually, tungsten disulfide, which is a rather remarkable material, has a lower coefficient of friction than PTFE and so does molybdenum disulfide--.03, .04, .025, respectively. The advantage of tungsten disulfide is that it can form molecularly thin layers with tremendous wear resistance. Industrially, it is applied by high-pressue, high-velocity air at room temperature. It doesn't stick to itself, hence its extreme thinness. I haven't tried it, but perhaps a very clean, degreased front-rail pin, or the like, could be coated by rubbing it with a cloth that has been dusted with WS2. If correctly coated, the metal part will acquire a blue-grey color.

Last edited by Roy123; 01/18/22 05:28 PM.
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