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Question:

My newly purchased Steinway Model A (1912) - rebuilt in 1996 and refurbished in 2021

It has new Renner Blue Pt Hammers and Shanks as well as other things.
The Whippens have not been changed since not sure when.
Don't know what brand they were.

But
I am seriously considering changing the Whippen's to the Steinway Model A RENNER's

I am not asking if this is a good choice - I know it is.

I am trying to find out what EFFECT and PROS this will have on the TONE & TOUCH on my Piano?

thanks
Brdwyguy


1961-1964: Lester or Emerson Upright
1969-1992: Westbrook Spinet
1991-2021: Schomacker Model A (1912) "Schoowie"
2021-Present: Steinway Model A (1912) "Amalia"

To Listen to my Music is to know me. To know me all you need do is listen to my music.
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What's the problem with the current whippens?

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asked to update the piano to make it the sound & play the very best it can.
the tech suggested installing Renner Whippens & Weighting


1961-1964: Lester or Emerson Upright
1969-1992: Westbrook Spinet
1991-2021: Schomacker Model A (1912) "Schoowie"
2021-Present: Steinway Model A (1912) "Amalia"

To Listen to my Music is to know me. To know me all you need do is listen to my music.
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Greetings,
The whippens show less wear than shanks or knuckles, and I have seen 50 year old whippens perform well in industrial use of practice rooms. If they were original, perhaps a case can be made to replace for a variety of reasons, however, if they are only 25 years old I think your money could be spent in a lot better places. Something has to be wrong with them to justify replacement since if they are worn out, the hammers and dampers are also.

The most critical part of the whippen, as far as performance goes, is the amount of friction in the repetition pinning and spring contact. This will determine the spring strength, which will directly impact the repetition speed. Every set of Renner whippens I used had to have all these centers re-pinned after several years, so expect that cost to be incurred. It is also normal that the capstan felt and jack-stop felt will compact, so you will need a complete regulation after a few hundred hours of play, so be ready for that expense.

If the whippens you have in there are Tokiwa, or Abel, or factory, I think your money would get you a lot more bang for the buck by having a tech re-pin them, polish springs, lube the grub, and re-install. For less than the cost of new whippens and the attendant maintenance costs, you could also get your hammer line re-pinned. Having seen the improvement WNG whippens make over wooden parts, I personally would not consider using anything but them, as the pinning doesn't change and they are dimensionally stable in all sorts of weather changes. I love tradition as much as any, but when it comes to actual performance, I can't find anything that wooden parts do better, and many shortcomings with the felt bushed action.

Changing whippens will not affect the tone of your piano, and will only affect the touch if the geometry is simply wrong.
regards,

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Ed Foote

THANK YOU for responding to my original Question
THAT is what I needed to know!

Decided not to change to Renner Whippens - may wait for 5 - 10yrs

I have grown to the touch since purchasing.
It's become very fluid with the right piano piece wink

thanks again


1961-1964: Lester or Emerson Upright
1969-1992: Westbrook Spinet
1991-2021: Schomacker Model A (1912) "Schoowie"
2021-Present: Steinway Model A (1912) "Amalia"

To Listen to my Music is to know me. To know me all you need do is listen to my music.
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What wears out on Steinway wippens are the springs. They can be replaced without replacing the wippens.


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Update - The whippens are over 100yrs old - they are the original ones from 1912 Steinway!
If I do change:

Option 1 - Renner Whippens to go with the Renner Hammers and Flanges
Option 2 - Steinway & Sons Whippens


1961-1964: Lester or Emerson Upright
1969-1992: Westbrook Spinet
1991-2021: Schomacker Model A (1912) "Schoowie"
2021-Present: Steinway Model A (1912) "Amalia"

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My wife's 100 year old Steinway A which I rebuilt about 30 years ago has the original whippens in it. She plays a couple of hours at least every day for all those 30 years and they still work fine.

I could reduce action return noise slightly by replacing them or the cloths. But she never complains so, why bother?

I would bet your action could be made much better by careful hammer shaping to reduce the mass of the hammers, perfecting the hammer pinning so it is firm but free and identical on each side of the flange. And precise hammer/string, spacing/phasing.


Far more bang for the buck there.


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"New" does not automatically or necessarily equate to "better". It often simply equates to "different". Good advice given.

Edit: Ed, the reason your wife doesn't complain is because she knows you're strung out as it is and she loves you so much that she doesn't want to increase your work load. LOL! Am I right?

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Last edited by P W Grey; 03/29/22 10:02 AM.

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There is another choice: WN&G

I haven’t used them myself, but reports are that they’re very high performance. And competitive in cost.

I’m not sure how they would be with existing wood shanks. Anyone know?

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Originally Posted by Scott Cole, RPT
There is another choice: WN&G

I haven’t used them myself, but reports are that they’re very high performance. And competitive in cost.

I’m not sure how they would be with existing wood shanks. Anyone know?

They are all that I use, now. Much larger differences can come from various hammer shanks, but for the most part, whippens are whippens. You will have a choice of rest felt height and heel sizes. you can even get the heels un attached so you can center them not he capstans yourself.
Regards,

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Sorry Peter, My wife holds me to a high standard. I have tried to interest her in a fresher rebuild from time to time, but she loves her Steinway A3. The case is looking pretty beat now.


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A3...NO WONDER! fantastic piano!

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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I would bet your action could be made much better by careful hammer shaping to reduce the mass of the hammers, perfecting the hammer pinning so it is firm but free and identical on each side of the flange. And precise hammer/string, spacing/phasing.


Far more bang for the buck there.

It's interesting you mention these things. When I got my grand last year (from a well known and regarded rebuilder in the UK), it became apparent especially when trying to play pp that the touch wasn't even. I got a concert tech in to regulate the action 6 months after I got the piano and he showed me how the hammer pins were just so variable. It was a real eye opener watching him go through all 88 of these and get them even. Made me wonder how many rebuilt pianos there are out there with these issues.

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Quite a few.

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Originally Posted by Aritempor
I got a concert tech in to regulate the action 6 months after I got the piano and he showed me how the hammer pins were just so variable. It was a real eye opener watching him go through all 88 of these and get them even. Made me wonder how many rebuilt pianos there are out there with these issues.

Greetings,
Virtually all of them that use wooden parts have this issue. It is the nature of non-stable materials. A regulation loses its evenness as the friction becomes uneven, and that happens with felt bushings with even moderate use.
Regards,

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The problem is not limited to rebuilt pianos: all new pianos will need attention to the hammer center in particular. Wood piano parts makers are not spending the proper attention to densifying the felt like some did in the old days.


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I appreciate that this is a non stable part and how quickly it becomes an issue is likely dependent on a few variables but my tech was pretty adamant that the piano hadn't been prepped by the seller properly and felt it (the pins) should have been a warranty issue. In any case I just took it as part of the expense of keeping the piano in good playing order but it would be great to get some feedback from techs on here as to how often to get this kind of fine tuning checked.

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UPDATE:

Went to my Tech's workshop and watched what needed to be done to my action
We both decided the whippens needed to be changed or will need to be very soon.
We did a Down Weight/Up Weight/ and Dip measurements


My tech called today to order Renner Whippens (Arizona)
There is a waiting list and will not be available until Jan of 2023!

So:
I will be installing NY Steinway into my Model A II - they were the original whippens from 1912
The Hammers/Flanges/Knuckles look pretty new (1996 rebuild)

The Whippens that he had in Stock (NY Steinway from Steinway) and will be installed
immediately, with work being completed in about a week or two.

WOW!

Last edited by brdwyguy; 03/30/22 08:21 PM.

1961-1964: Lester or Emerson Upright
1969-1992: Westbrook Spinet
1991-2021: Schomacker Model A (1912) "Schoowie"
2021-Present: Steinway Model A (1912) "Amalia"

To Listen to my Music is to know me. To know me all you need do is listen to my music.
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my tech took out one of the whippens currently in my piano and I compared the spring action to a new Renner Sample and a NY Steinway whippen ----- I could feel the difference, the old whippen spring action seemed noticibly sluggish & slower.

Last edited by brdwyguy; 03/30/22 08:27 PM.

1961-1964: Lester or Emerson Upright
1969-1992: Westbrook Spinet
1991-2021: Schomacker Model A (1912) "Schoowie"
2021-Present: Steinway Model A (1912) "Amalia"

To Listen to my Music is to know me. To know me all you need do is listen to my music.
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