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#631536 01/23/07 05:15 PM
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Hi, All:

I had a Kawaii K50 upright for 4 years, never any problem. Now upgraded and got a brand new RX-5. About 6 weeks after the RX-5 was delivered to my house, a Kawaii suggested local technician came to tune the RX-5, and told me that all the 13 single strings in the bass section basically have no more room to tune, since there is no gap between the string wrap on the pin and the pinblock. All of the 13!! The technician said the piano won't even last for 10 years like this. Of course I am freaked out!!!

The store that sold me the RX-5 went out of biz. So I called Kawaii company in LA. They told me it must be the store who tapped those 13 pins into the pinblock, maybe to get more torque. So Kawaii won't replace it. Instead they will repin them with pins that are 1/3000 - 1/5000 inch larger.

My questions are:

1. Is Kawaii's response plausible?
2. If I let them repin, will that affect the sound quality and life span of the piano?
3. How should I talk to Kawaii about this?

Thanks a lot! Waiting for any input.

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#631537 01/23/07 06:24 PM
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Keep records of everything concerning this piano. If Kawai is willing to pay to have oversized pins and new strings installed you should let them. The dealer is gone so he won't help. After the work is done (wich shouldn't effect the sound quality, life or performance)monitor the pianos tuning needs (frequency) and keep a record of any questions and complaints.
Be nice but don't back down either.


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#631538 01/23/07 08:40 PM
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that is a good plan as well, but the thing is, conceptually there should be a compensation for doing this hard work and monitoring on a brand new piano, it would take out the fun of playing it for me.
basically, if i get a brand new piano, i would want them to give me an brand new exchange, refund, but no workaround. basically it means there is a potential i purchased a lemon, it's got issues.
but of course those are just my thoughts. reality is the above. i think kawai should own to the authorized dealers doings and give you a replacement.

#631539 01/23/07 09:36 PM
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This is a worksmanship defect and should be Kawai's responsibility. Kawai can say that the pins were tapped deeper in the store, but they may have been installed wrong in the factory. Even if the pins were pounded for more torque, that indicates that the piano was not right to begin with. Repinning will not put this piano the way that it should be, because each time you do this, you preclude the possibility of repinning it again later, something you may want to do if the piano needs restringing.


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#631540 01/24/07 01:26 AM
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I heard about this from the service department today. The tuning pins were driven in on this piano without Kawai's approval, most likely by the store technician.

Kawai's are built with a rock maple pinblock, and pinned with 6.9mm tuning pins. This is an undersized 1/0 pin - a very small pin, considering that most American pianos are made with 2/0 pins to start with. The usual remedy for loose pins is to put 7.0mm pins (1/0 size). There is no degredation of the pinblock, and it will not in any way limit the ability to repin the piano later in it's life.

If for some reason the piano were still not right after the repair, then it would be perfectly reasonable to take it to the next level, and consider replacement of the piano. For now, though, replacing the pins should be a permanent and proper repair, and is the best first step.

WillLast - work through the process and allow the company to take care of the piano for you. If you or your piano technician feel that the results are not satisfactory, let our service manager know. No piano company can claim perfection, but Kawai much prefers satisfied customers to upset ones. Your piano will be made right, or it will be replaced.


Don Mannino, MPA
Kawai America
#631541 01/24/07 01:33 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by BDB:
Repinning will not put this piano the way that it should be, because each time you do this, you preclude the possibility of repinning it again later, something you may want to do if the piano needs restringing.
In light of my previous post about the 6.9mm pin size, do you still feel this statement is valid?

Please be aware that it is common practice for piano factories to have over sized tuning pins available. When a problem occurs in the factory, loose tuning pins are commonly replaced with larger ones.


Don Mannino, MPA
Kawai America
#631542 01/24/07 02:17 AM
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Don, I find it interesting that Kawai uses 6.90 mm pins. This is what German pianos used, although more recently the most common size is 7.00 mm

Could 7.00 mm pins in the low bass actually be an improvement, because that is the area where string tension is the highest per string, i.e less flagpoling perhaps?


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#631543 01/24/07 07:23 PM
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Thanks a lot, everyone for your replies.

Don, I am still not fully convinced on the conclusion that this is done by the store, but not a factory defect.

Also, as "Semipro Tech" pointed out - "they may have been installed wrong in the factory. Even if the pins were pounded for more torque, that indicates that the piano was not right to begin with." This makes more sense to me. Remember, store at fault doesn't mean Kawaii isn't. Why did the store do this to begin with?

#631544 01/24/07 09:08 PM
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WillLast- I am an independent tech, and I am the Kawai service/warranty guy for the Nashville area. I know it's tempting in this day and age to believe that big companies are all about nothing but money, but let me say this: I have been working for the local Kawai dealer for close to 20 years, and never once have I seen anything close to what you are describing. While anything of course is possible, I would bet without hesitation that this was NOT done at the factory. As Don said, nobody is perfect, but Kawai has never, in my 20 years working with their warranty department, told me to try to slide something by a customer or do anything that was not right for the piano. That goes for the less expensive vertical pianos as well as high end pianos like your RX5.

I can't officially speak for Kawai USA, but my experience tells me you have nothing to worry about. When Don Mannino says it will be made right, you can take that to the bank.

BTW, I am in my late 50s with a booming business that I can't keep up with. I don't have to polish anybody's boots to gain favor. You have a great piano made by a conscientious company that backs its product. Let them do their work and this will all get put behind you before you know it.
Sam Lewis


Since 1975; Full-time piano tuner/tech in Nashville;
Lacquer and polyester specialist.

www.SamLewisPiano.com
#631545 01/25/07 10:23 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by willlastforawhile:
Thanks a lot, everyone for your replies.

Don, I am still not fully convinced on the conclusion that this is done by the store, but not a factory defect.
(snip . . . )
Why did the store do this to begin with?
Willast,

I agree - that is why I said earlier that no piano maker is perfect. Obviously, the factory did something wrong to cause the tuning pins to become loose. This kind of problem can happen from time to time with any piano company. The earlier technician should have contacted Kawai, and we would have had him/her replace the pins rather than just driving them in deeper.

This is the correct repair, can be done in a few hours, and will set your piano right again.


Don Mannino, MPA
Kawai America
#631546 01/27/07 07:24 PM
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Is there any reason why you couldn't back the pins out, pop the beckets loose, back the pins out some more, reinsert the beckets, check the pin torque and retune? Ive done this re-stringing pianos before and all was well.


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#631547 01/27/07 09:34 PM
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Dave,

It makes sense that someone pounded the pins because they felt loose. The oversized pins would take care of it, but the owner so far hasn't allowed Kawai to have this repair done.


Don Mannino, MPA
Kawai America
#631548 01/27/07 10:00 PM
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Dave, that could be done, but a repair like that weakens the becket. Replacing the pins and strings is a better repair. By the way, Don, I hate those ultraflex sub 1/0 pins. They flex too much in our humid Florida climate and make for difficult tuning. Give me a solid 2/0 pin any day. Less flex.



#631549 01/27/07 10:07 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by KawaiDon:
Dave,

It makes sense that someone pounded the pins because they felt loose. The oversized pins would take care of it, but the owner so far hasn't allowed Kawai to have this repair done.
Don, thanks for your reply. I know Kawai makes an excellent product which makes it hard for me to grasp a new piano needing the pins driven. Possibly they were driven but I sure would like to back a few pins out and stick a torque wrench on them.


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#631550 01/27/07 10:26 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Bob:
Dave, that could be done, but a repair like that weakens the becket. Replacing the pins and strings is a better repair. By the way, Don, I hate those ultraflex sub 1/0 pins. They flex too much in our humid Florida climate and make for difficult tuning. Give me a solid 2/0 pin any day. Less flex.
Bob, thanks for your response. If the pins were within torque spec after backing out, a new set of strings would be best no doubt. The oversize pins might limit future re-stringing though it's a slim chance that would ever occur.


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#631551 02/03/07 09:40 PM
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I would echo comments re. Don Mannino's and Kawai's reputation for making things right with the customer.

If you had a problem with your brand new Mercedes S class they wouldn't just give you a new car unless you allowed them to exhaust all opportunities to repair the problems.

Just as an aside: Did you knowingly buy your new piano from a "going out of business sale?"


Piano Technician, member Piano Technicians Guild.

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