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I know that the V-Pro casting method can make piano harps faster and cheaper than the wet sand casting method. However, how do the harps made by the two casting methods compare in quality?
My understanding is that vacuum molding is only cheaper for higher manufacturing volumes. For low manufacturing volume instruments, wet sand casting is cheaper. Vacuum molding has a higher fixed cost but lower variable cost.
Originally Posted by Almaviva
I know that the V-Pro casting method can make piano harps faster and cheaper than the wet sand casting method. However, how do the harps made by the two casting methods compare in quality?

Quote
The wet sand casting creates a more bell like tone with rounded edges (think Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Bosendorfer, etc) while v-pro plates tend to sound more bright and crisp (think Yamaha, Kawai, etc).10 Mar 2020
source: internet
Is there a way one can tell which method was used by examining the harp?
Originally Posted by SuzyUpright
Is there a way one can tell which method was used by examining the harp?

Im unsure about just by examinating. I do recalled that's a video mentioning the differences:

Wet:
- Handmade (take longer time for the process). Highend piano (S&S, M&H etc)
- found in old(er) piano around / pre 70s
- Warmer tone

V-pro:
- A pouring and vaccum process (a few minutes job). A lot of Asian made piano use this
- New(er) pianos especially after 70s
- Brighter tone

I believe tech forum can answer better.
Of all the factors contributing to the sound of a piano, the plate is by far the least significant. I wouldn't be factoring that into my buying decision at all because you will be assessing the piano as a complete instrument. There is also no A/B comparison available on any pianos to assess the contribution of the plate casting method. The piano is the sum of its parts, and you'll either like it or you won't based on its totality. But to go specifically looking for a plate of either method of manufacture would be folly because you will be mostly hearing all the other decisions that went into the piano. I spend a lot of time on the technicians forum and the amount of interest in the plate casting method is next to nothing - and I've certainly never seen it suggested that players or rebuilders avoid either plate type when evaluating a piano.
Originally Posted by ando
Of all the factors contributing to the sound of a piano, the plate is by far the least significant. I wouldn't be factoring that into my buying decision at all because you will be assessing the piano as a complete instrument. There is also no A/B comparison available on any pianos to assess the contribution of the plate casting method. The piano is the sum of its parts, and you'll either like it or you won't based on its totality. But to go specifically looking for a plate of either method of manufacture would be folly because you will be mostly hearing all the other decisions that went into the piano. I spend a lot of time on the technicians forum and the amount of interest in the plate casting method is next to nothing - and I've certainly never seen it suggested that players or rebuilders avoid either plate type when evaluating a piano.

thumb

My understanding is that there is no qualitative difference.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
My understanding is that vacuum molding is only cheaper for higher manufacturing volumes. For low manufacturing volume instruments, wet sand casting is cheaper. Vacuum molding has a higher fixed cost but lower variable cost.

thumb

Vacuum casting has a higher up-front setup cost, but when allocated across large production runs still results in a lower unit cost. OTOH, wet sand casting is more cost effective in smaller production runs (because v-casting’s setup costs cannot be spread thin enough).
Personally, I don't like wet sand in my piano. The vacuuming method has the advantage of vacuuming up all the wet sand leaving a piano that is dry and clean.

It's interesting that Shigeru Kawai and Yamaha SX series are (relatively) high end pianos that use V casting, because they can make use of the same machinery used to make their mainstream pianos of the same size and shape (GX and CX lines respectively). Fazioli and Bosendorfer can't do that.
Originally Posted by Jojovan
Originally Posted by SuzyUpright
Is there a way one can tell which method was used by examining the harp?

Im unsure about just by examinating. I do recalled that's a video mentioning the differences:

Wet:
- Handmade (take longer time for the process). Highend piano (S&S, M&H etc)
- found in old(er) piano around / pre 70s
- Warmer tone
V-pro:
- A pouring and vaccum process (a few minutes job). A lot of Asian made piano use this
- New(er) pianos especially after 70s
- Brighter tone

I believe tech forum can answer better.
Unless the source of the video is independent of manufacturers in addition to being knowledgeable, this info is not useful. Some of the information I know is incorrect. Plenty of new pianos use wet casting. The tone is not affected by the casting and Yamaha/Kawai should no longer be classified as bright pianos.
I believe, but can’t be sure, the Yamaha CF line and the Kawai Shigerus use the wet sand process because again they produce far fewer of these pianos than they do their CX series or GX series. Estonia uses the wet sand cast harp unlike my C3. It seems that the differences in the soundboard, strings, hammers have more to do with the differences in the sound and playing than does the casting difference. I don’t have tools to measure and understand this but I do still love both the C3 and the Estonia.
Originally Posted by j&j
I believe, but can’t be sure, the Yamaha CF line and the Kawai Shigerus use the wet sand process because again they produce far fewer of these pianos than they do their CX series or GX series. Estonia uses the wet sand cast harp unlike my C3. It seems that the differences in the soundboard, strings, hammers have more to do with the differences in the sound and playing than does the casting difference. I don’t have tools to measure and understand this but I do still love both the C3 and the Estonia.

Makes no sense. V-Cast is a core marketing technology. The CF is the flagship. Yamaha has resources. The only logical reason their top of the line piano doesn't use their proprietary technology is that it can't compete at the highest level. For the CF they can expense it against their immense marketing budget.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Jojovan
Originally Posted by SuzyUpright
Is there a way one can tell which method was used by examining the harp?

Im unsure about just by examinating. I do recalled that's a video mentioning the differences:

Wet:
- Handmade (take longer time for the process). Highend piano (S&S, M&H etc)
- found in old(er) piano around / pre 70s
- Warmer tone
V-pro:
- A pouring and vaccum process (a few minutes job). A lot of Asian made piano use this
- New(er) pianos especially after 70s
- Brighter tone

I believe tech forum can answer better.
Unless the source of the video is independent of manufacturers in addition to being knowledgeable, this info is not useful. Some of the information I know is incorrect. Plenty of new pianos use wet casting. The tone is not affected by the casting and Yamaha/Kawai should no longer be classified as bright pianos.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Jojovan
Originally Posted by SuzyUpright
Is there a way one can tell which method was used by examining the harp?

Im unsure about just by examinating. I do recalled that's a video mentioning the differences:

Wet:
- Handmade (take longer time for the process). Highend piano (S&S, M&H etc)
- found in old(er) piano around / pre 70s
- Warmer tone
V-pro:
- A pouring and vaccum process (a few minutes job). A lot of Asian made piano use this
- New(er) pianos especially after 70s
- Brighter tone

I believe tech forum can answer better.
Unless the source of the video is independent of manufacturers in addition to being knowledgeable, this info is not useful. Some of the information I know is incorrect. Plenty of new pianos use wet casting. The tone is not affected by the casting and Yamaha/Kawai should no longer be classified as bright pianos.


Hi, found it. May not be useful to you who already have the knowledge, perhaps, others may benefit. I would leave it to the expert to assit the OP further.
.
Steve, I am not getting the gist of what you are trying to say. Can you please elaborate a bit more.

I think there is more to it than just two different ways of doing the same thing.

Vacuum castings result in a much more "finished" casting than a wet sanding casting because the vacuum process fills the mold so well. The wet sand casting is much rougher out of the mold and will require more sanding and filling to be sufficiently cosmetic. It is also my understanding that the vacuum castings are slightly denser, and more prone to plate resonances, although wet sand castings can also have such resonances.

Retsacnal says it best, "Vacuum casting has a higher up-front setup cost, but when allocated across large production runs still results in a lower unit cost. OTOH, wet sand casting is more cost effective in smaller production runs (because v-casting’s setup costs cannot be spread thin enough)."
Originally Posted by Jojovan
Hi, found it. May not be useful to you who already have the knowledge, perhaps, others may benefit. I would leave it to the expert to assist the OP further.
.
He owns a piano store and is naturally biased in favor of the pianos sells and against the competition like Yamaha. I listened to the first few minutes and there were many IMO incorrect statements and obvious bias. When a dealer makes an "educational" video one should not assume it's not really an advertisement.

Did I have to check to see if he sells Yamaha or Kawai? Of course not, because he would have never said what he did in the video if that was the case.
Yamaha do say on their website that the CF series use wet sand casted plates, but they don't state a reason why. My hunch is that since the CF series is to be a directly comparable product in build and price to the highest priced European and American pianos, they decided to build these instruments in the same way.

The SX series use V-Pro plates and they aren't voiced with a particularly bright sound. I know they have the Acoustic Resonance Enhancement technology used on the rim so that also changes things a bit, but the inclusion of the V-Pro plate in these models suggests to me that the "brighter sound" does not have anything to do with the plate. In fact the CX series and the old C series can be voiced to be very rounded and mellow as well.

The only way we on this forum would know the difference a V-Pro plate vs a wet-sand casted plate would make is to build a piano with exactly the same specifications except for the plate manufacturing process, voice them to the same specifications, and then analyse the sound with the highest level computer software in an anechoic chamber. I could be wrong but I suspect Yamaha have done this, since they do things like this quite often in their R and D department. Maybe a wet sand casted plate does actually give a greater range of colour or sustain that makes a connoisseur's difference.
Originally Posted by WilliamTruitt
Vacuum castings result in a much more "finished" casting than a wet sanding casting because the vacuum process fills the mold so well. The wet sand casting is much rougher out of the mold and will require more sanding and filling to be sufficiently cosmetic. It is also my understanding that the vacuum castings are slightly denser, and more prone to plate resonances, although wet sand castings can also have such resonances.

This is also my understanding.

Jojovan - I wouldn’t put too much stock in what you copied and pasted as a direct causal relationship.
Originally Posted by WilliamTruitt
Steve, I am not getting the gist of what you are trying to say. Can you please elaborate a bit more.

I think there is more to it than just two different ways of doing the same thing.

Vacuum castings result in a much more "finished" casting than a wet sanding casting because the vacuum process fills the mold so well. The wet sand casting is much rougher out of the mold and will require more sanding and filling to be sufficiently cosmetic. It is also my understanding that the vacuum castings are slightly denser, and more prone to plate resonances, although wet sand castings can also have such resonances.

Retsacnal says it best, "Vacuum casting has a higher up-front setup cost, but when allocated across large production runs still results in a lower unit cost. OTOH, wet sand casting is more cost effective in smaller production runs (because v-casting’s setup costs cannot be spread thin enough)."

In Yamaha marketing, they tout the V process. Their CF grands, which get redesigned regularly at great cost do not use this technology, never did.
Considering the marketing potential of claiming their concert grand uses the same technology as their regular pianos, and their huge marketing budget and their regular highly expensive redesigns and retooling of this piano, the cost of tooling for a V plate in the CF is insignificant and the only reason I can think of is at the very highest of levels of performance, the V process has to be lacking. They spend a fortune retooling this piano every few years, they give many away for free at high visibility venues. They could easily make a V plate on this piano but don't. The cost argument falls very flat and is not believable to me.
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
In Yamaha marketing, they tout the V process. Their CF grands, which get redesigned regularly at great cost do not use this technology, never did.
Considering the marketing potential of claiming their concert grand uses the same technology as their regular pianos, and their huge marketing budget and their regular highly expensive redesigns and retooling of this piano, the cost of tooling for a V plate in the CF is insignificant and the only reason I can think of is at the very highest of levels of performance, the V process has to be lacking. They spend a fortune retooling this piano every few years, they give many away for free at high visibility venues. They could easily make a V plate on this piano but don't. The cost argument falls very flat and is not believable to me.
You're missing the salient facts here, Steve. The V-pro method is employed when they have a high volume run of plates to cast. It is expensive to set up a run, but once you do, you can pump out a large volume at a time, with the cost spread across these units. The CF is a low production piano line. They don't use the V-pro method because they don't pump out a thousand of these plates at a time, so they can't amortise costs over many units. You're looking for hidden reasons, but it's already a known fact that this is how it works. Yamaha makes very high quality grand pianos - they are one of the few piano manufacturers with enough sales volume to actually make the V-pro method work for them. Other smaller makers aren't doing it because it doesn't work for their production volume. Yamahas aren't beset with terrible resonances. So I'd say the idea that the vacuum method is inferior is a non-starter. It's an industrial/production calculation. I have no doubt that if they suddenly had cause to make 10,000 CFX grands, they be setting up a V-pro run immediately.
Originally Posted by Almaviva
I know that the V-Pro casting method can make piano harps faster and cheaper than the wet sand casting method. However, how do the harps made by the two casting methods compare in quality?

There is also the No-Bake method.

Steinway say, Thanks to STEINWAY’S advancements and innovations in technology and process, our improved cast-iron plate is one of the reasons why the pianos we build today sound and play better — and last longer — than those built just a decade ago.

STEINWAY & SONS now owns and operates its own foundry solely to produce the elemental, integral cast-iron plate to our exacting specifications.Our foundry forges the bell-quality plate with a new No-Bake Process implemented just five years ago, which permits a single-use high-strength mold that creates more precise and consistent casting.


Does anyone know what are the pros and cons of No-Bake plates, compared with wet sand and vacuum?
Most modern pianos made over he last 150 years have improperly shaped V-bars.

I have reshaped 100's of V-bars in my 50 years as a piano technician/rebuilder.

There are times when makers case harden V-bars. This is bad for tone and string endurance, and can make shaping the V-bar to a proper V shape impossible without causing even quicker string failure than the more rounded profile engenders.

Most Yamaha V-bars I have tried to shape resist cutting like they are case hardened, but don't feel to the file exactly the same as case hardening presents.

Steinway has at times case hardened their V-bars and may be doing so at the present time. Usually it is done so slightly as to be easily removed when shaping the V-bar to a true V-shape. (Although it does ruin ones metal file.)

I suspect this is because the V-process methods produces quicker cooling which reduces the percentage of the graphite form of carbon in the metal. Slow cooling of molten carbon steel produces the highest amount of carbon in the graphite form. This makes the alloy softer and with increased natural lubricity.

High self lubricity at the V-bar string termination point allows the string to self machine and work harden the exact spot the string is touching the V-bar so as to maximize the pivot termination principle of the plate, and minimize abrasion and work hardening of the string, (otherwise known as metal fatigue).

My understanding is the V-process makes for more uniform castings which reduces the amount of custom fitting to build a piano around it.

The foundation of a great piano is a high quality casting. One that has high self lubricity and high internal damping of vibration. The V-process plates I have examined that I knew were V-process had harder metal. I suspect it is possible to use V-process and get slow cooling like the wet sand method usually produces. But I know too little about the subject to prove it.

What I do know is harder plates allow strings to couple more longitudinal mode energy to transverse modes which makes for a more "noisy" tone. And I know that hard string termination points do much the same thing regarding L-modes as well as wear out the wire.

Poorly positioned tuning, hitch and agraffes also contribute to poor tuning stability and clarity of tone. So drilling the casting must be precisely done.

Every piano inspection by a professional should assess the profile and hardness of the V-bar. There is no excuse for manufacturers to still be botching this critical specification. I first published the proper specs for V-bars in the late 1970's. I have seen recent Kawai pianos that seem to meet my V-bar specifications, I hope they make all their pianos that way and that every other maker moves to adopt the practice. To do otherwise is gross negligence to their customers.

Many rebuilders have adopted the proper V-bar specifications. They have met the test of time. Now it is time for manufacturers to step up to the standard.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
He owns a piano store and is naturally biased in favor of the pianos sells and against the competition like Yamaha. I listened to the first few minutes and there were many IMO incorrect statements and obvious bias. When a dealer makes an "educational" video one should not assume it's not really an advertisement.

Did I have to check to see if he sells Yamaha or Kawai? Of course not, because he would have never said what he did in the video if that was the case.
He primarily sells used/rebuilt instruments - and currently has Kawais and Yamahas in stock. Every time I've visited his store there were late model Yamahas and Kawais on the floor - as well as several other brands including Steinway, Mason and Hamlin, Baldwin, Knabe, Pramberger, Young Chang, Weber, Petrof, Charles Walter, Bluthner, Hailun and others. Diverse inventory. smile
Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
In Yamaha marketing, they tout the V process. Their CF grands, which get redesigned regularly at great cost do not use this technology, never did.
Considering the marketing potential of claiming their concert grand uses the same technology as their regular pianos, and their huge marketing budget and their regular highly expensive redesigns and retooling of this piano, the cost of tooling for a V plate in the CF is insignificant and the only reason I can think of is at the very highest of levels of performance, the V process has to be lacking. They spend a fortune retooling this piano every few years, they give many away for free at high visibility venues. They could easily make a V plate on this piano but don't. The cost argument falls very flat and is not believable to me.
You're missing the salient facts here, Steve. The V-pro method is employed when they have a high volume run of plates to cast. It is expensive to set up a run, but once you do, you can pump out a large volume at a time, with the cost spread across these units. The CF is a low production piano line. They don't use the V-pro method because they don't pump out a thousand of these plates at a time, so they can't amortise costs over many units. You're looking for hidden reasons, but it's already a known fact that this is how it works. Yamaha makes very high quality grand pianos - they are one of the few piano manufacturers with enough sales volume to actually make the V-pro method work for them. Other smaller makers aren't doing it because it doesn't work for their production volume. Yamahas aren't beset with terrible resonances. So I'd say the idea that the vacuum method is inferior is a non-starter. It's an industrial/production calculation. I have no doubt that if they suddenly had cause to make 10,000 CFX grands, they be setting up a V-pro run immediately.

The CX line can use V-pro because they are made in high volume. The SX line can as well because they are almost exactly the same design with different woods and hammers. The CF pianos are a different design requiring a different plate.

Shigeru Kawai also use V casting for the same reason.

Steve has rubbished Yamaha pianos on account of the V casting before. He also told us a story about how they used cheap synthetic material in the hammers instead of wool, which I think turned out not to be true. He has an axe to grind against Yamaha.
The low cost Chinese made Hailun pianos use wet sand casting, so it's not restricted to high end pianos.
Originally Posted by Jojovan
Quote
The wet sand casting creates a more bell like tone with rounded edges (think Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Bosendorfer, etc) while v-pro plates tend to sound more bright and crisp (think Yamaha, Kawai, etc).10 Mar 2020


source: internet

Well that narrows the source down to a known reliable source.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
The low cost Chinese made Hailun pianos use wet sand casting, so it's not restricted to high end pianos.
Good point !!
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow
My understanding is the V-process makes for more uniform castings which reduces the amount of custom fitting to build a piano around it.
That's what I've read, i.e. that wet sand plates are less consistent in size/dimension so that more of the wooden case must be custom made, whereas V-process plates are more consistent in size so that more of the manufacture of the wooden case can be automated.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by Jojovan
Quote
The wet sand casting creates a more bell like tone with rounded edges (think Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Bosendorfer, etc) while v-pro plates tend to sound more bright and crisp (think Yamaha, Kawai, etc).10 Mar 2020


source: internet

Well that narrows the source down to a known reliable source.

I would think that if the plate did have an effect on the sound, it would only be certain parts of the keyboard. Perhaps those notes with frequencies close to the resonating frequency of the plate. I doubt the plate could make every note brighter from A0 to C8.
I think this article from the PIano Buyer should answer all the questions in this debate:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/sales-talk/

The video about the two methods posted in this thread is from a dealer who competes with Yamaha and Kawai and is IMO full of bias and misinformation.
At the end of the day, you still have a cast iron plate with either method, with good compression strength but brittle and prone to cracking and a PITA to fix.

Anyone heard of making a welded steel plate? Just wondering.
Originally Posted by TBell
At the end of the day, you still have a cast iron plate with either method, with good compression strength but brittle and prone to cracking and a PITA to fix.

Anyone heard of making a welded steel plate? Just wondering.

Yes - Dave Rubenstein uses a CNC water jet cut welded steel plate: http://www.pianosrubenstein.com/r371.html

Paul.
Originally Posted by TBell
At the end of the day, you still have a cast iron plate with either method, with good compression strength but brittle and prone to cracking and a PITA to fix.
It is very rare for a plate to crack. Definitely not "prone".
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think this article from the PIano Buyer should answer all the questions in this debate:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/sales-talk/

The video about the two methods posted in this thread is from a dealer who competes with Yamaha and Kawai and is IMO full of bias and misinformation.


Did you check the dealer’s website? He has both Yamaha and Kawai grands for sale. Go back and read Carey’s post after you said this dealer must be biased the first time. Carey has shopped there more than once; I just looked on the store website.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think this article from the PIano Buyer should answer all the questions in this debate:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/sales-talk/

This article needs updating to include Steinway's No-Bake method.

Originally Posted by Withindale
There is also the No-Bake method.

Steinway say, Thanks to STEINWAY’S advancements and innovations in technology and process, our improved cast-iron plate is one of the reasons why the pianos we build today sound and play better — and last longer — than those built just a decade ago.

STEINWAY & SONS now owns and operates its own foundry solely to produce the elemental, integral cast-iron plate to our exacting specifications.Our foundry forges the bell-quality plate with a new No-Bake Process implemented just five years ago, which permits a single-use high-strength mold that creates more precise and consistent casting.


Does anyone know what are the pros and cons of No-Bake plates, compared with wet sand and vacuum?
I would guess that the plate probably doesn't make that much difference to the sound. The idea that wet sand cast plates produce a better sound seems to be speculation with no real evidence to substantiate it. And if manufacturers or dealers promote this it's probably just part of their marketing strategy and not necessarily true.

If wet sand cast plates were really so much better, I seriously doubt Yamaha would use them in their SX pianos or Kawai in their Shigeru Kawai pianos. Manufacturers have, after all, a lot to gain by producing a better sounding piano than the competition.
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think this article from the PIano Buyer should answer all the questions in this debate:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/sales-talk/

The video about the two methods posted in this thread is from a dealer who competes with Yamaha and Kawai and is IMO full of bias and misinformation.


Did you check the dealer’s website? He has both Yamaha and Kawai grands for sale. Go back and read Carey’s post after you said this dealer must be biased the first time. Carey has shopped there more than once; I just looked on the store website.
Then I stand corrected about his not selling Yamaha and Kawai. Obviously, I didn't see Carey's post. It's pretty shocking that a dealer would say negative things about pianos he sells, so I think it was perfectly reasonable for me to assume he didn't sell them. If you read the PB article you'll see that much of his information on the video is not correct according to the article.
Once when I was at a Yamaha dealer he told me that Kawai pianos require $5000 per year in maintenance costs and that they have "inferior" plastic parts. When I was at the Kawai dealer, they were keen to point out that at a recent piano competition, not one of the pianists chose to perform on the Yamaha. Another Yamaha dealer was keen to discourage me from purchasing Hailun by telling me stories about broken hammer shanks in Chinese pianos and only being able to sell it for $3000.

Many piano dealers love to rubbish the competition, so this story about v cast plates having inferior sound could simply have its origin in piano dealers/manufacturers trying to discourage people from purchasing competing Asian pianos.
There probably is no greater expert on piano manufacturing than Del Fandrich (at least one who comments in public on these topics). Here are some comments taken from the 2012 thread linked below.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-have-bought-a-steinway.html#Post1850871


These support the position that there is no qualitative difference between vacuum casting and wet sand casting, including the comparison of a model that has used both plate types (emphasis added):

Originally Posted by Del
I would say the same thing if I were, for example, a Walter dealer. The Walter grands ”disclaimer: I designed both of them” use sand-cast frames. They are good frames and the two grands are among the best of their size in the world today. Still, they would sound the same if the frames were vacuum-cast. And I would still think they were among the best pianos of their size available today. I would hope to have the courage of conviction to speak the truth in either case.

Look, this argument comes up from time to time. But those claims simply cannot be backed up with either test results or with experiential proof. I've worked with foundries that produce both types of castings under the same roof. I can walk over to a sand-cast frame and rap on it and then walk over to a vacuum-cast frame and rap on it. The decay rate is approximately the same (within the variations that are inherent to two different sizes of frame). I watch them drill and machine the things; they machine no differently.

So, when I read stuff like that I have to weigh it off against what I can actually touch and handle and work with in factories. ...

It simply is not a real-world issue. It is only an issue in the imagination of somebody making up misleading promotional copy in an attempt to make the instruments he/she makes or sells appear somehow better to the unsuspecting customer than their competitor's instrument.

Originally Posted by Del
To quote from the referenced work (The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buying a Piano):
Quote
Controversy rages back and forth between the adherents of the two manufacturing processes, with advantages to each.

Sales personnel selling pianos with wet-sand cast plates may tell you that V-Pro plates produce metallic overtones. Those selling a product with V-Pro plates may tell you that vacuum-cast plates are more precise and consistent. Yet, in a comparison of a particular model of piano that has had both types of plates installed, we have not been able to tell the difference. We have heard brands that use the wet-sand cast method exclusively but some somewhat metallic, but we've also heard instruments with vacuum-cast plates that don't. We recommend listening to the tone of the pianos you are comparing and coming to your own conclusion.

That pretty much sums up my experience with the two types of casting processes.

These support the notion that the choice between the two methods is purely an economic decision, or cost consideration, and also covers why a manufacturer might choose not to use vacuum casting on larger models when then do use it for shorter ones (again, emphasis added):

Originally Posted by Del
Originally Posted by Entheo
Originally Posted by Del
... since the earliest days of V-process castings I've just not found the structural or audible differences claimed by some. Nor have I found that they machine or drill differently.

... the only thing I know of for sure that is true about them is the cost factor; it is far more costly to set up a V-process casting line. Hence it is used only for frames intended to be cast in volume. Once the casting line is build, though, the pattern work itself is less costly. A single-shrink wood or plastic pattern can be used almost indefinitely on a V-process line whereas double-shrink patterns are more common on green sand lines. Green sand is quite abrasive and wood or plastic patterns do not last long without needing serious maintenance.

... it comes down to an economic decision based on expected sales/production. there must be a break point at which it becomes viable to go v-cast, and small volume producers like M&H never get to that point. and if smaller piano manufacturers are outsourcing their plate production the foundries that produce in relatively small numbers per model/brand can do it cost effectively with sand casting and not v-cast.

It does. Finishing a sand-cast plate is a time consuming process. If this is done in an area where workers are paid reasonably well it can be extremely expensive to detail and finish a plate. In an area where workers are paid very little the cost of finishing and detailing a sand-cast plate will, obviously, be much lower and the cost of a nicely finished sand-cast frame can still be competitive with that of the vacuum-processed frame.

These things are not constants. If labor rates go up the cost advantages of the vacuum process become more significant. Still, even large manufacturers have a hard time justifying the expense of tooling up to cast the frames of their large pianos on a vacuum-process line. I don't know of any manufacturer making vacuum-processed frames for their 7' and larger pianos.


This discussion is from 2012, so the 7ft "tipping point" in decision making may have changed (I don't know).


TLDR: Just focus on this quote from the Idiot's Guide to Buying a Piano that Del thought was significant enough to quote:
Quote
We recommend listening to the tone of the pianos you are comparing and coming to your own conclusion.
If V cast plates really were noticeable inferior, Kawai and Yamaha would have long ago switched to a different process, or found a way to eliminate its shortcomings. They're not going to say, "V cast plates produce an inferior piano, but save us a bit of money! Win!"
Originally Posted by Sonepica
The CX line can use V-pro because they are made in high volume. The SX line can as well because they are almost exactly the same design with different woods and hammers. The CF pianos are a different design requiring a different plate.

Shigeru Kawai also use V casting for the same reason.

Steve has rubbished Yamaha pianos on account of the V casting before. He also told us a story about how they used cheap synthetic material in the hammers instead of wool, which I think turned out not to be true. He has an axe to grind against Yamaha.

He most certainly does. You know what he's going to type on any given thread before you even read it.
What type of casting is used for the plates in Boston pianos (which are made by Kawai)? I would guess V-process. (Does Kawai even have a wet sand casting foundry?
The foundry where NY Steinway plates are cast:

https://www.npr.org/2013/11/09/243988349/in-the-heat-of-the-foundry-steinway-piano-hearts-are-made
I wonder whether the idea that sand cast plates are superior to vacuum cast plates originated with Steinway a few decades ago as they found themselves in fierce competition with the much more affordably priced Yamahas.
In the 1970's when CBS owned Steinway, quality suffered much while Yamaha quality improved. I don't think the perception of superior plates would have mattered.
sonepica, The plate has a profound influence on piano tone. How well it is configured to allow for the strings to pivot at the termination points and how well it damps Longitudinal mode issues.
The Piano Buyer article about plates omits much significant material, such as the influence the cooling rate of the iron alloy in determining the crystal form the carbon takes. The slower it cools, the more the carbon forms as a flat sheet like graphite. The faster the same alloy cools, the more the carbon in it is cubic like diamond.

The "diamond" form is very abrasive to the strings at the termination point as one tunes them.

This is why Yamaha/s, (and other makes with hard V-bars), tuned often such as in recording studios or concert halls start shedding treble strings after about ten years.
If sand cast plates are objectively superior to vacuum cast, why do Yamaha and Kawai continue to use an inferior design? Even if they were less expensive to produce, the savings would not be worth it if it resulted in a piano that was inferior to their competitors.
Yamaha spent a huge amount of money over the last twenty years doing research and development which ultimately lead to the CX and SX series. Their goal was to produce world class pianos. Why did they not switch to using sand cast, or at least make changes to the V cast method, if it is so critical?
- First, is no one going to correct the terminology? It is not a 'Harp.' It is the iron frame, or iron plate. PLEASE! A harp is a music instrument, not an iron casting.
- Next, there is no difference in tone, as other have said. The statements have been made already - in volume production, it is more efficient to use V-pro casting.
- Kawai uses V-pro in almost all models. The small volume production models - primarily the concert pianos - use wet sand casting because of low volume, and because the V-pro foundry cannot handle that large of a casting.
- I suspect Ed McMorrow has not actually visited a V-pro foundry. There is no reason for the cooling process to be different - I have seen wet sand castings get pulled out of the sand in 20 minutes after the iron is poured! In V-pro the frames spend a minimum of 1 hour in the sand, and can be left longer if the foundry is large enough. Also, I have seen PLENTY of Steinway pianos in music schools which break treble strings (in some cases needing re-stringing and capo bar shaping every year or two!) The factors for string breaking has nothing to do with the casting method, but with other factors. This argument about the carbon is based on speculation, not fact.
- Wet sand casting causes a 'skin effect' in the plate because of the flash cooling from the evaporation of water when pouring the iron. V-pro plates do not have this effect.
- You can easily tell the difference by feeling the underside of the plate through the holes. Wet sand is much more coarse and rough, V-pro is slightly rough and textured, not nearly as rough and 'sandy' feeling.
Originally Posted by KawaiDon
- Kawai uses V-pro in almost all models. The small volume production models - primarily the concert pianos - use wet sand casting because of low volume, and because the V-pro foundry cannot handle that large of a casting.

Don, is wet sand casting used in ALL of the Shigeru Kawai models? If not, which SK models DO use wet sand casting?

Also, what about the EX concert grand? Not the SK-EX, just the EX model?
Originally Posted by Almaviva
Originally Posted by KawaiDon
- Kawai uses V-pro in almost all models. The small volume production models - primarily the concert pianos - use wet sand casting because of low volume, and because the V-pro foundry cannot handle that large of a casting.

Don, is wet sand casting used in ALL of the Shigeru Kawai models? If not, which SK models DO use wet sand casting?

Also, what about the EX concert grand? Not the SK-EX, just the EX model?

The Shigeru Kawais all the way up to SK7 would use vacuum casting, as the frame would be produced using the same machinery that produces the frames for the corresponding GX piano. Presumably the concert grands including SK-EX and EX would use wet sand as they are low volume pianos.
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Wet sand casting causes a 'skin effect' in the plate because of the flash cooling from the evaporation of water when pouring the iron. V-pro plates do not have this effect.

I'm not a metallurgist, but I would expect wet sand casts would cool faster because the sand is wet, as noted above. Maybe Ed has a reference for the carbon crystal benefits of cooling of wet sand castings that are claimed to cool more slowly? Otherwise I would view it as hearsay.
Well I for one am pretty happy with my S7X. Even though it's V cast plate gives it a bright and tinny sound.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Well I for one am pretty happy with my S7X. Even though it's V cast plate gives it a bright and tinny sound.
That's good to hear. Are you finding it is breaking in nicely the more you play it? How is the bass crispness coming along?
Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Well I for one am pretty happy with my S7X. Even though it's V cast plate gives it a bright and tinny sound.
That's good to hear. Are you finding it is breaking in nicely the more you play it? How is the bass crispness coming along?

I don't have much to update on this so far. I think it needs 1-2 years. The single string C# is still much nicer than the notes around it, so there's plenty more wearing in to be done in the bass. But the whole piano will gain power and brilliance as the hammers harden. When you play octaves in the bass, it's a pretty amazing bass.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Well I for one am pretty happy with my S7X. Even though it's V cast plate gives it a bright and tinny sound.
That's good to hear. Are you finding it is breaking in nicely the more you play it? How is the bass crispness coming along?

I don't have much to update on this so far. I think it needs 1-2 years. The single string C# is still much nicer than the notes around it, so there's plenty more wearing in to be done in the bass. But the whole piano will gain power and brilliance as the hammers harden. When you play octaves in the bass, it's a pretty amazing bass.
What a great feeling to know that a piano that already sounds great is going to get better and better. The only thing to keep in mind is that you need to make sure you're sharing your repertoire across many different keys!
It’s a matter of supply and demand. Wet sand caste plates is a slower process. The start up fees are considerably less for wet sand than with VPro cast but takes too long to be used on high demand plates used by high production piano models. The startup costs for VPro casting is much more expensive and it’s not profitable to use it for a few hundred pianos per year.

We need to remember the bottom line is critical to stay in business.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
In Yamaha marketing, they tout the V process. Their CF grands, which get redesigned regularly at great cost do not use this technology, never did.
Considering the marketing potential of claiming their concert grand uses the same technology as their regular pianos, and their huge marketing budget and their regular highly expensive redesigns and retooling of this piano, the cost of tooling for a V plate in the CF is insignificant and the only reason I can think of is at the very highest of levels of performance, the V process has to be lacking. They spend a fortune retooling this piano every few years, they give many away for free at high visibility venues. They could easily make a V plate on this piano but don't. The cost argument falls very flat and is not believable to me.
You're missing the salient facts here, Steve. The V-pro method is employed when they have a high volume run of plates to cast. It is expensive to set up a run, but once you do, you can pump out a large volume at a time, with the cost spread across these units. The CF is a low production piano line. They don't use the V-pro method because they don't pump out a thousand of these plates at a time, so they can't amortise costs over many units. You're looking for hidden reasons, but it's already a known fact that this is how it works. Yamaha makes very high quality grand pianos - they are one of the few piano manufacturers with enough sales volume to actually make the V-pro method work for them. Other smaller makers aren't doing it because it doesn't work for their production volume. Yamahas aren't beset with terrible resonances. So I'd say the idea that the vacuum method is inferior is a non-starter. It's an industrial/production calculation. I have no doubt that if they suddenly had cause to make 10,000 CFX grands, they be setting up a V-pro run immediately.

The CX line can use V-pro because they are made in high volume. The SX line can as well because they are almost exactly the same design with different woods and hammers. The CF pianos are a different design requiring a different plate.

Shigeru Kawai also use V casting for the same reason.

Steve has rubbished Yamaha pianos on account of the V casting before. He also told us a story about how they used cheap synthetic material in the hammers instead of wool, which I think turned out not to be true. He has an axe to grind against Yamaha.

A lot of suppositions here. I've worked manufacturing hammers and am on agreeable terms with felt suppliers and do have some industry inside info. They and many other manufacturers are using artificial fibres in hammers.

I understand the argument why the CF uses sand cast, but it makes no sense for a market oriented company on a flagship product with a flagship procedure.

As Ed also notes, there are differences with plates. It mattered enough to Steinway that they used to make their own plates. I work with Carnegie Hall level performance artists preparing pianos and am very aware of minor differences preventing a piano from reaching the top and even if V pro can reach 99% of sand cast, the target players of the CF can tell the difference., even if you or I can't.

Ad hominen attacks usually means you can't defend your opinion or argument, so you attack the person not the argument. I know how people get attached to brands and defend their choice but all that matters is what you think of your choice. To dismiss a senior concert technician with ad hominen attacks on their expertise where you have absolutely none, belongs on Twitter, not here where we can all learn from each other.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
The Piano Buyer article about plates omits much significant material, such as the influence the cooling rate of the iron alloy in determining the crystal form the carbon takes. The slower it cools, the more the carbon forms as a flat sheet like graphite. The faster the same alloy cools, the more the carbon in it is cubic like diamond.

The "diamond" form is very abrasive to the strings at the termination point as one tunes them.

Retired physicist here. Also, did thesis work for a materials science professor in grad school. The iron-carbon phase diagram is very complicated, but I'm not aware of any hard diamond-like phase of carbon or iron-carbon that forms in cast iron as it cools. The carbon either remains dissolved in the iron, or some of it forms into iron carbide (orthorhombic, not cubic structure) or graphite. I don't think that anyone should be concerned that there are diamond-like abrasive particles in the cast iron frame of a piano because the piano manufacturer chose one casting technique over another.
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I work with Carnegie Hall level performance artists preparing pianos and am very aware of minor differences preventing a piano from reaching the top and even if V pro can reach 99% of sand cast, the target players of the CF can tell the difference., even if you or I can't.

Nonsense. The difference in sound imparted by the casting method of the plate certainly is less than the variability in sound quality between two randomly chosen Steinways of the same model.

Thus, if you are talking about a 1% difference in some hypothetical quantitatve measure of quality, or the differences detected by a virtuoso that you or I could not detect, you could only make that distinction if you had two otherwise identical pianos, one with V-process plate and one with wet sand cast plate. No such comparison is even possible.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by Jojovan
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The wet sand casting creates a more bell like tone with rounded edges (think Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Bosendorfer, etc) while v-pro plates tend to sound more bright and crisp (think Yamaha, Kawai, etc).10 Mar 2020


source: internet

Well that narrows the source down to a known reliable source.

I would think that if the plate did have an effect on the sound, it would only be certain parts of the keyboard. Perhaps those notes with frequencies close to the resonating frequency of the plate. I doubt the plate could make every note brighter from A0 to C8.

Yes. If plate resonance is the concern, the resonance frenquencies could be determined empirically, and we would be having an objective discussion based on known facts.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Quote
I work with Carnegie Hall level performance artists preparing pianos and am very aware of minor differences preventing a piano from reaching the top and even if V pro can reach 99% of sand cast, the target players of the CF can tell the difference., even if you or I can't.

Nonsense. The difference in sound imparted by the casting method of the plate certainly is less than the variability in sound quality between two randomly chosen Steinways of the same model.

Thus, if you are talking about a 1% difference in some hypothetical quantitatve measure of quality, or the differences detected by a virtuoso that you or I could not detect, you could only make that distinction if you had two otherwise identical pianos, one with V-process plate and one with wet sand cast plate. No such comparison is even possible.

Perhaps if you use your real name, qualifications and experience, you can be more than another internet expert. As of now, it seems you have no experience to make any such statements.
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
In Yamaha marketing, they tout the V process. Their CF grands, which get redesigned regularly at great cost do not use this technology, never did.
Considering the marketing potential of claiming their concert grand uses the same technology as their regular pianos, and their huge marketing budget and their regular highly expensive redesigns and retooling of this piano, the cost of tooling for a V plate in the CF is insignificant and the only reason I can think of is at the very highest of levels of performance, the V process has to be lacking. They spend a fortune retooling this piano every few years, they give many away for free at high visibility venues. They could easily make a V plate on this piano but don't. The cost argument falls very flat and is not believable to me.
You're missing the salient facts here, Steve. The V-pro method is employed when they have a high volume run of plates to cast. It is expensive to set up a run, but once you do, you can pump out a large volume at a time, with the cost spread across these units. The CF is a low production piano line. They don't use the V-pro method because they don't pump out a thousand of these plates at a time, so they can't amortise costs over many units. You're looking for hidden reasons, but it's already a known fact that this is how it works. Yamaha makes very high quality grand pianos - they are one of the few piano manufacturers with enough sales volume to actually make the V-pro method work for them. Other smaller makers aren't doing it because it doesn't work for their production volume. Yamahas aren't beset with terrible resonances. So I'd say the idea that the vacuum method is inferior is a non-starter. It's an industrial/production calculation. I have no doubt that if they suddenly had cause to make 10,000 CFX grands, they be setting up a V-pro run immediately.

The CX line can use V-pro because they are made in high volume. The SX line can as well because they are almost exactly the same design with different woods and hammers. The CF pianos are a different design requiring a different plate.

Shigeru Kawai also use V casting for the same reason.

Steve has rubbished Yamaha pianos on account of the V casting before. He also told us a story about how they used cheap synthetic material in the hammers instead of wool, which I think turned out not to be true. He has an axe to grind against Yamaha.

A lot of suppositions here. I've worked manufacturing hammers and am on agreeable terms with felt suppliers and do have some industry inside info. They and many other manufacturers are using artificial fibres in hammers.

I understand the argument why the CF uses sand cast, but it makes no sense for a market oriented company on a flagship product with a flagship procedure.

As Ed also notes, there are differences with plates. It mattered enough to Steinway that they used to make their own plates. I work with Carnegie Hall level performance artists preparing pianos and am very aware of minor differences preventing a piano from reaching the top and even if V pro can reach 99% of sand cast, the target players of the CF can tell the difference., even if you or I can't.

Ad hominen attacks usually means you can't defend your opinion or argument, so you attack the person not the argument. I know how people get attached to brands and defend their choice but all that matters is what you think of your choice. To dismiss a senior concert technician with ad hominen attacks on their expertise where you have absolutely none, belongs on Twitter, not here where we can all learn from each other.

Steve, good job throwing in a speech about ad hominen attacks despite the fact that the post of mine you quoted doesn't contain any ad hominen attacks. (Although, I have heard that Steve steals candy from children)

Clearly, the problem here is not that I'm particularly attached to Yamaha, but rather that you have an axe to grind against them:
- Your claim that V cast plates are inferior and are chosen by Yamaha to cut costs is hotly disputed by many other posters here
- Your claim that Yamaha use inferior synthetic hammers to cut costs has never been substantiated
- Shigeru Kawai also use V cast but you don't seem to despise them
- Steve, no one can tell a 1% difference. Not that there is any evidence that there is a 1% difference in the first place.

Your claim that Yamaha uses inferior processes and materials to cut costs is only something we can all learn from if it is actually true.
Originally Posted by Sammy111
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
The Piano Buyer article about plates omits much significant material, such as the influence the cooling rate of the iron alloy in determining the crystal form the carbon takes. The slower it cools, the more the carbon forms as a flat sheet like graphite. The faster the same alloy cools, the more the carbon in it is cubic like diamond.

The "diamond" form is very abrasive to the strings at the termination point as one tunes them.

Retired physicist here. Also, did thesis work for a materials science professor in grad school. The iron-carbon phase diagram is very complicated, but I'm not aware of any hard diamond-like phase of carbon or iron-carbon that forms in cast iron as it cools. The carbon either remains dissolved in the iron, or some of it forms into iron carbide (orthorhombic, not cubic structure) or graphite. I don't think that anyone should be concerned that there are diamond-like abrasive particles in the cast iron frame of a piano because the piano manufacturer chose one casting technique over another.
Microscopic diamond hard shards sharp enough to cut steel in our pianos. Images of skin peeling off our flesh if we were to touch our V-plates. You would think they should at least come with warning stickers.
Ah, the ad hominem you referred to above. I raised a point about scientific method, not about pianos. If you compare two different pianos that sound different, you don't get to cherry pick to which difference(s) you will decide to attribute the differences. You need a procedure for establishing a given difference as the cause of the overall difference.

If prepping a piano with v-pro plate like an SK-7 and prepping a similar sized Steinway could actually get to a point where you or I could not hear a difference, but a concert artist could, consider that such a tiny difference could be caused by any number of differences between the pianos. Given the impact of differences in hammer felt, scale design, wood used for the soundboard, case design, and model to model variability, your claim would actually more be evidence that plate casting method is irrelevant than that it mattered.
I'm still curious if Boston pianos (made by Kawai) have V-Pro plates. I suspect that they do, but that is not mentioned by Steinway dealers when presenting a marketing narrative to a customer.
Wet sand casting versus V-pro. Expensive speaker cables versus coat hangers. I think they fall under the same category of comparisons. Can you really hear the difference? In regards to the latter comparison apparently coat hangers are more preferable to those hundreds of dollars speaker cables.

Expensive speaker cables versus coat hangers.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Ah, the ad hominem you referred to above. I raised a point about scientific method, not about pianos. If you compare two different pianos that sound different, you don't get to cherry pick to which difference(s) you will decide to attribute the differences. You need a procedure for establishing a given difference as the cause of the overall difference.

If prepping a piano with v-pro plate like an SK-7 and prepping a similar sized Steinway could actually get to a point where you or I could not hear a difference, but a concert artist could, consider that such a tiny difference could be caused by any number of differences between the pianos. Given the impact of differences in hammer felt, scale design, wood used for the soundboard, case design, and model to model variability, your claim would actually more be evidence that plate casting method is irrelevant than that it mattered.

Don't follow. Not my argument anyway. My question, and it's a good one is this. A flagship manufacturer who makes their flagship piano with their non flagship technology does so for a reason, and the only logical reason is performance. They are the only ones who have the resources and desire for these experiments. The ad hominem was not aimed at you, but someone else who called me out by name ans attributed my opinions to emotions not experience. If there truly is a difference in cost with V and sand, it can't be great. A plate pattern is a plate pattern and Yamaha regularly redesigns and retools their CF at enormous costs. Even if it added 5K to the piano, it would not affect sales at that level. For a concert piano to be successful, a manufacturer has to focus on performance and performance only. A successful piano is not going to be made by a manufacturer ignoring a flagship technology to save money. Instead, as they do, they use separate materials, designs, factory and workers just for these pianos. They actually spare no expense, so the argument that they use sand because the V costs so much money doesn't stand scrutiny. There are no tier 1 pianos where the manufacturer uses cost savings over best in class. Since this piano is made in a separate factory with higher quality components by specially skilled workers one can assume they use sand plates because of performance. If they use it to save money, then the question would be, where else do they save money on this piano over using best in class. I don't know and can't know the differences these technologies make. I would at a minimum need to make at least 10 pianos with the only difference being the plate and place them in a selection room and see if one technology statistically is chosen more than the other. The only company I know that could do that would be Yamaha, and my contention on their flagship piano they use the best technology to get the best results and don't believe that they chose to save a few 100 or a few 1000 per piano and took 2nd best or ignored their own proprietary flagship promoted technology. If you and other think that Yamaha chose to save money on their flagship piano, what does that say about Yamaha? The Yamaha I know would do everything possible to make the best possible piano for the best pianists regardless of cost. It's their flagship. No serous company would choose cost savings over performance for this use, and any company that did is not a tier one.
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Ah, the ad hominem you referred to above. I raised a point about scientific method, not about pianos. If you compare two different pianos that sound different, you don't get to cherry pick to which difference(s) you will decide to attribute the differences. You need a procedure for establishing a given difference as the cause of the overall difference.

If prepping a piano with v-pro plate like an SK-7 and prepping a similar sized Steinway could actually get to a point where you or I could not hear a difference, but a concert artist could, consider that such a tiny difference could be caused by any number of differences between the pianos. Given the impact of differences in hammer felt, scale design, wood used for the soundboard, case design, and model to model variability, your claim would actually more be evidence that plate casting method is irrelevant than that it mattered.

Don't follow. Not my argument anyway. My question, and it's a good one is this. A flagship manufacturer who makes their flagship piano with their non flagship technology does so for a reason, and the only logical reason is performance. They are the only ones who have the resources and desire for these experiments. The ad hominem was not aimed at you, but someone else who called me out by name ans attributed my opinions to emotions not experience. If there truly is a difference in cost with V and sand, it can't be great. A plate pattern is a plate pattern and Yamaha regularly redesigns and retools their CF at enormous costs. Even if it added 5K to the piano, it would not affect sales at that level. For a concert piano to be successful, a manufacturer has to focus on performance and performance only. A successful piano is not going to be made by a manufacturer ignoring a flagship technology to save money. Instead, as they do, they use separate materials, designs, factory and workers just for these pianos. They actually spare no expense, so the argument that they use sand because the V costs so much money doesn't stand scrutiny. There are no tier 1 pianos where the manufacturer uses cost savings over best in class. Since this piano is made in a separate factory with higher quality components by specially skilled workers one can assume they use sand plates because of performance. If they use it to save money, then the question would be, where else do they save money on this piano over using best in class. I don't know and can't know the differences these technologies make. I would at a minimum need to make at least 10 pianos with the only difference being the plate and place them in a selection room and see if one technology statistically is chosen more than the other. The only company I know that could do that would be Yamaha, and my contention on their flagship piano they use the best technology to get the best results and don't believe that they chose to save a few 100 or a few 1000 per piano and took 2nd best or ignored their own proprietary flagship promoted technology. If you and other think that Yamaha chose to save money on their flagship piano, what does that say about Yamaha? The Yamaha I know would do everything possible to make the best possible piano for the best pianists regardless of cost. It's their flagship. No serous company would choose cost savings over performance for this use, and any company that did is not a tier one.

Steve, no one is claiming that V cast is superior to sand cast, such that one would expect high end pianos to switch to using V cast irrespective of the high cost for low volume pianos. We're just disputing your claim that there is any real evidence that V cast is inferior.
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
If there truly is a difference in cost with V and sand, it can't be great. A plate pattern is a plate pattern and Yamaha regularly redesigns and retools their CF at enormous costs. Even if it added 5K to the piano, it would not affect sales at that level

Not that this is the same thing, but I work for a footwear manufacturer. A full set of sized tooling for a footwear outsole can run into the 10s of thousands of dollars (or more). It would not surprise me to learn that the cost of a single tool for a piano plate is approaching 6 digits.
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Don't follow. Not my argument anyway.
It certainly does follow logically from your argument, whether or not you are willing to apply logical reasoning to your argument. Unless you have two otherwise identical pianos except for the plate casting method, you are measuring the aggregate difference between the two pianos when both are hypothetically prepped so that any residual tonal difference can only be heard by a concert artist. All differences between them are on the table as the cause of any differences unless and until some are ruled out, or one or more differences are identified conclusively as the cause. This is a not really disputable, and is a general point about hypothesis testing through experimental design, not a point about pianos.

Quote
My question, and it's a good one is this. A flagship manufacturer who makes their flagship piano with their non flagship technology does so for a reason, and the only logical reason is performance.

No, it is not the only possible reason. It already has been answered upthread. The cost of V-pro and wet sand are inverted when low volume pianos like 9' grands are compared to higher volume pianos.

I don't think you would dispute that a Kawai SK-7 is a premium piano. It has already been pointed out that the SK-7 uses a v-pro plate.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
I'm still curious if Boston pianos (made by Kawai) have V-Pro plates. I suspect that they do, but that is not mentioned by Steinway dealers when presenting a marketing narrative to a customer.
The specs for the GP-193 say vacuum cast.
Boston GP 193 Specs
Almaviva, here is an article from Steinway:


"STEINWAY’S STATE-OF-THE-ART PLATE FACTORY

This article originally appeared in THE MUSIC TRADES in November of 2015.

Piano maker invests millions in Ohio plate foundry with plans to supply global production.

In 1999, Steinway & Sons faced a critical manufacturing dilemma. The O.S. Kelly Company of Springfield, Ohio, its sole supplier of piano plates, had just lot key customers including Baldwin, Aeolian, and Wurlitzer and was on the brink of bankruptcy. A tough choice confronted management: abandon its sand cast iron plate, a key component that had distinguished Steinway pianos for almost 150 years, and find a new source of supply overseas; or get into the plate manufacturing business by purchasing O.S. Kelly.

“It was a very tricky decision at the time,” recalls Andrew Horbachevsky, vice president of manufacturing, Steinway & Sons. “With so many of the parts that go into our instruments, we have deep sources of supply, but our sand cast piano plate is so specialized and difficult to make. We couldn’t find any foundries capable of meeting our specifications so we opted to buy O.S. Kelly to protect this key source of supply.”

Piano experts will debate the merits of sand cast piano plates, like those produced by Steinway at the O.S. Kelly factory, verses V-Pro plates, which are commonplace with high-volume Asian producers. “It would have been easy for us to just go to China and get a cheaper V-Pro plate,” offers Horbachevsky. “But our sand caste plate is different, a slower production process that we feel yields a better sound. It’s a critical component.” He adds, “Our cast-iron frame, also called the plate or harp, is responsible for sustaining the massive tension of the strings, which by some measures must support tensions of up to 40,000 pounds. There is no margin for error when you are dealing with this type of tension.”

Ten years after acquiring O.S. Kelly, Steinway again faced a serious impasse. The factory and its team of 50 employees were producing quality plates for both the New York and Hamburg Steinway factories. However, aging equipment and rising costs forced management to again make an important choice: plan for the future and commit millions in capital expenditures or close down the plant and find an offshore plate supplier.

In 2010, management again sided with O.S. Kelly and pledged a commitment to invest in a multi-million dollar capital campaign to modernize the aging factory. The investments, initiated in 2012, are just now coming to a close with the completion of a new 25,000- square-foot factory, state-of-the-art CNC machining center, and high-tech recycling systems that will not only make O.S. Kelly a more environmentally friendly facility but lower operating costs as well.

“Night and day” is an apt description of the new O.S. Kelly facility versus the 19th century shop it replaces. Poorly lit areas with sand-covered floors have been replaced by new brightly lit rooms where operators load molds with a special mix of sand and binders. These molds then move by rail to the casting area where operators fill them with a molten mix of iron that can weigh up to 400lbs if it’s a plate for a Steinway concert grand piano. A new high-tech recycling system now eliminates the need for carting hundreds of thousands of pounds of sand used in creating molds to landfill sites each year. Sand now goes through a heat system where it’s recycled to be used again in creating new molds.

The new systems in place at the O.S. Kelly factory are decidedly different from anything a visitor would see at either of the Steinway factories in New York or Hamburg. Steinway is about woodworking and handcraftsmanship, while O.S. Kelly is all about metallurgy and metal working. “We’re very proud that we have a manufacturing and engineering team that can not only visualize complex systems like this, but make them a reality,” continued Horbachevsky.

Horbachevsky and his Springfield, Ohio-based engineering team are especially proud of their new “school-bus”- sized CNC machining center—which can take a 400 lb. concert grand plate, flip it over, and with 48 computer-controlled tools, drill all the holes for hitch pins, agraffes, and tuning pins—and at the same time, deburr all the sound holes. It’s a proprietary machine with a price tag well north of $1 million that, according to Horbachevsky, “will not only bring a new level of precision but also allow us to expand production and take on additional work.” The plate that emerges from this machine is then ready for the painstaking finishing process that includes a powder coating and sanding followed by two rounds of paint and a final matte satin finish.

Springfield, Ohio at one time was the piano plate capital of the world with nearly one thousand workers producing 250,000 plates per year at O.S. Kelly and the now defunct Wickham Piano Plate company. Although volumes at O.S. Kelly today are much lower, the factory is busy supplying thousands of plates to Steinway’s factories in the U.S. and Hamburg as well as a few other domestic and foreign-based piano manufacturers. Horbachevsky sums up, “The precision we use today would never allow us to return to the volumes of the past, but we now have the capability to not only produce the finest plate in the world, but to expand production as well.”
"

Link to the article:
https://www.steinway-ohio.com/news/in-store-news/steinways-state-of-the-art-plate-factory
Originally Posted by Hakki
Piano experts will debate the merits of sand cast piano plates, like those produced by Steinway at the O.S. Kelly factory, verses V-Pro plates, which are commonplace with high-volume Asian producers. “It would have been easy for us to just go to China and get a cheaper V-Pro plate,” offers Horbachevsky. “But our sand caste plate is different, a slower production process that we feel yields a better sound. It’s a critical component.”

Well it's not surprising that Steinway would like to express to the public it's opinion that it's manufacturing methods yield a product which is superior to the "cheap" products produced by its Asian competitors.
It appears that the "V-Pro" or "V-Process" also uses sand just like the "sand casting" technique does. The V-Process just uses some vacuum together with thin plastic films in order to densify the sand in the mold in preparation for casting. Overall the two techniques seem very similar in most respects, and the only apparent difference in the resulting cast iron products should be a slightly rougher surface for those produced by sand casting. Don't see what all the fuss is about or why there should be a noticeable difference in sound quality in the metal piano frames cast by the two different techniques. Seems that the issue should be small potatoes compared to all of the other factors affecting the sound in a piano (e.g, sound board properties, bridge properties, properties and tensions of the strings, etc.)
Originally Posted by Almaviva
Don, is wet sand casting used in ALL of the Shigeru Kawai models? If not, which SK models DO use wet sand casting?

Also, what about the EX concert grand? Not the SK-EX, just the EX model?

The Kawai EX and Shigeru SKEX both use wet sand casting, because of the size and the low production volume.
All other Shigeru Kawai pianos use normal V-pro plates for the primary purpose of accuracy and consistency.
Originally Posted by KawaiDon
The Kawai EX and Shigeru SKEX both use wet sand casting, because of the size and the low production volume.
All other Shigeru Kawai pianos use normal V-pro plates for the primary purpose of accuracy and consistency.

I guess the one conclusion we can draw from all this is that top tier pianos get wet sand casting.

Odds are that signifies that wet cast is equal or better then V-Pro.

Good night, sleep well.

Learux.
Don is correct I have never visited a V-process foundry. I have visited a wet sand foundry.

I do have extensive experience machining and filing piano castings, probably more than any other technician since I pioneered reshaping V-bars to a true V-shape around 1977. Feeling how cutting tools interacts with a material give insight no book "learnin" can give.

Don is either ignorant or eliding the significance and variability of the practice of the post casting case hardening methods often applied to the V-bar feature by some piano makers. A very slight difference in case hardening level has a profound affect on tone, tunability and string longevity. This is a powerful indicator that metal hardness of the plate is very significant. It is a significant reason some pianos sound so much worse than others in the same production run.

I have studied the material science regarding this issue and have as a regular visitor to my shop the recently retired chief material scientist of the Boeing company. I have discussed the issues of the metals used in pianos at great length and nothing I have said here is outside the science. My friend has taken samples to the Boeing test lab to help me.

I also suggest to you all that you investigate the significance of longitudinal modes and how the nature of the plate metal and termination points affect their ability to be propagated and coupled to the "normal" transverse modes.

I also urge you to consider how the abrasive nature of a string bearing point affects the behavior and durability of piano wire. Consider that the bulk of the strength in piano wire is in the skin. Just nick the surface of piano wire and slightly bend it at that point a few times and it will break. It is important that the deformation the termination point imposes on the wire does not reduce the break point to the elastic limit of the undeformed wire.

It may well be possible to make a V-process plate that performs as well or even superior to a wet sand cast plate.

But so far my experience with plates that are V-process is they have tone and string durability issues. The same thing can be said about wet sand plates that have highly case hardened U-shaped V-bars.

You can also feel the problem in the way the strings render when tuning. They "stick" to the V-bar and even "ping" when they finally move when tuning.

Folks, I gotta tell you most all piano made or being made have less than ideal string terminations on the plate. The problems extends to agraffe string hole shape as well. In my view this is gross negligence. I have been practicing and preaching this for decades, anybody listening? Anybody care? Or is piano making one big idiotic artsy fartsy fraud.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Or is piano making one big idiotic artsy fartsy fraud.

I'm not sure that Yamaha and Kawai owners are experiencing a problem with frequent breaking of treble strings. Are you sure you're not getting carried away?
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Or is piano making one big idiotic artsy fartsy fraud.

I'm not sure that Yamaha and Kawai owners are experiencing a problem with frequent breaking of treble strings. Are you sure you're not getting carried away?


Actually, restringing the treble on KGX models is quite common and until now never understood why. Thanks, Ed
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Or is piano making one big idiotic artsy fartsy fraud.

I'm not sure that Yamaha and Kawai owners are experiencing a problem with frequent breaking of treble strings. Are you sure you're not getting carried away?


Actually, restringing the treble on KGX models is quite common and until now never understood why. Thanks, Ed

Yamaha pianos have been around since 1887, Kawai since 1927. Surprising that they have never noticed this problem.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Or is piano making one big idiotic artsy fartsy fraud.

I'm not sure that Yamaha and Kawai owners are experiencing a problem with frequent breaking of treble strings. Are you sure you're not getting carried away?


Actually, restringing the treble on KGX models is quite common and until now never understood why. Thanks, Ed

Yamaha pianos have been around since 1887, Kawai since 1927. Surprising that they have never noticed this problem.


Technically, they haven't been doing v-pro that long, but I get your point!

I wonder if Bostons are shredding treble strings too. wink ha


Lots of confirmation bias going on here.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Or is piano making one big idiotic artsy fartsy fraud.

I'm not sure that Yamaha and Kawai owners are experiencing a problem with frequent breaking of treble strings. Are you sure you're not getting carried away?


Actually, restringing the treble on KGX models is quite common and until now never understood why. Thanks, Ed

Yamaha pianos have been around since 1887, Kawai since 1927. Surprising that they have never noticed this problem.

I'm sure Kawai is aware and made corrections. I specifically
refereed to the kg series grand pianos. Broken treble strings is common and I've restrung the treble on several. So have many others. I know it's easy being an internet expert, but both Ed and myself have extensive extensive many decades real workd experience. You have none and perhaps you should learn in stead of mock in ignorance
Originally Posted by TBell
Anyone heard of making a welded steel plate? Just wondering.

Del Fandrich has posted about Baldwin using steel plates in prototypes.

IIRC, he said steel works fine, and companies continue to use iron largely due to tradition. I'm not gonna bother to dig up the threads (I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong (or even if I'm not)).

BTW, the 19 Foot Piano in New Zealand has a steel plate (if I'm not mistaken).
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
I'm sure Kawai is aware and made corrections. I specifically
refereed to the kg series grand pianos. Broken treble strings is common and I've restrung the treble on several. So have many others. I know it's easy being an internet expert, but both Ed and myself have extensive extensive many decades real workd experience. You have none and perhaps you should learn in stead of mock in ignorance

The claims that V pro plates produce inferior tone and require more frequent restringing are not easily provable, and really just hunch and conjecture. Also, there are many other experts (including some we have heard from in this thread) who do not agree with these claims. As pianos age, they need restringing anyway to maintain their best tone.

Pretty sure it's very common for people to restring a Steinway.
Originally Posted by Del
It simply is not a real-world issue. It is only an issue in the imagination of somebody making up misleading promotional copy in an attempt to make the instruments he/she makes or sells appear somehow better to the unsuspecting customer than their competitor's instrument.

IOW, FUD.
Quote
I'm sure Kawai is aware and made corrections. I specifically
refereed to the kg series grand pianos.

The KG series was discontinued in 1990.
Steinway claims that pianos designed with v-process plates can produce world class tone.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
I'm sure Kawai is aware and made corrections. I specifically
refereed to the kg series grand pianos. Broken treble strings is common and I've restrung the treble on several. So have many others. I know it's easy being an internet expert, but both Ed and myself have extensive extensive many decades real workd experience. You have none and perhaps you should learn in stead of mock in ignorance

The claims that V pro plates produce inferior tone and require more frequent restringing are not easily provable, and really just hunch and conjecture. Also, there are many other experts (including some we have heard from in this thread) who do not agree with these claims. As pianos age, they need restringing anyway to maintain their best tone.

Pretty sure it's very common for people to restring a Steinway.

I've never made tgat claim. I don't know. You are scanning and not comprehending. Ed said the capo bar had errors and that could be because v pro required different techniques that were discovered over production runs. Again, last time. Yamaha spends unbelievable amounts of money redesigning and regularly retooling their cf. They built a special factory use higher grade materials and their best workers. No expense is spared to produce a piano at this level. The logical conclusion is they chose sand because it can perform at these levels and the PR talking points about v pro being too expensive for the best of the best spare no expense piano doesn't add up. It's Yamaha that chosw it for their best piano. Id assume rhey did the needed experiments and drew this conclusion. To undone like that conclusion, but you can only repeat other anonymous people's opinion fron the internet. You have no standing one way or the other to offer any kind if opinion that matters. Repeating words from anonymous people doesn't make you wise. Ignoring words of experienced people representing a century of experience also doesn't make you an expert. We learn from others
No, that’s not the logical conclusion. There is no compelling qualitative reason to choose one method over the other, but there are compelling economic reasons to choose one over the other in differing circumstances. KawaiDon has explained that Kawai essentially makes the same choices for the same sized models as Yamaha does. The logical conclusion is that Yamaha does the same. The notion that Yamaha is obliged to use V-pro when it’s not cost effective because of a “spare no expense for quality” rationale, when the added expense would add nothing qualitatively, is illogical.

KawaiDon is not anonymous. Del Fandrich is not anonymous. They are industry stalwarts.
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
No, that’s not the logical conclusion. There is no compelling qualitative reason to choose one method over the other, but there are compelling economic reasons to choose one over the other in differing circumstances. KawaiDon has explained that Kawai essentially makes the same choices for the same sized models as Yamaha does. The logical conclusion is that Yamaha does the same. The notion that Yamaha is obliged to use V-pro when it’s not cost effective because of a “spare no expense for quality” rationale, when the added expense would add nothing qualitatively, is illogical.

KawaiDon is not anonymous. Del Fandrich is not anonymous. They are industry stalwarts.

There is a reason. It's a flagship proprietary technology. You speak with great certainty which is confusing because no one, myself included can say for certainty. Only Yamaha can and they speak through their product choice. Only their flagship product doesn't use their flagship technology. That's all i need to know about it.
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
No, that’s not the logical conclusion. There is no compelling qualitative reason to choose one method over the other, but there are compelling economic reasons to choose one over the other in differing circumstances. KawaiDon has explained that Kawai essentially makes the same choices for the same sized models as Yamaha does. The logical conclusion is that Yamaha does the same. The notion that Yamaha is obliged to use V-pro when it’s not cost effective because of a “spare no expense for quality” rationale, when the added expense would add nothing qualitatively, is illogical.

KawaiDon is not anonymous. Del Fandrich is not anonymous. They are industry stalwarts.

There is a reason. It's a flagship proprietary technology. You speak with great certainty which is confusing because no one, myself included can say for certainty. Only Yamaha can and they speak through their product choice. Only their flagship product doesn't use their flagship technology. That's all i need to know about it.

Steve, as Retsacnal and many others have pointed out, there is another explanation for why low volume high end pianos might use wet sand casting, other than because it produces a superior tone. You're not even engaging with this argument, you're just pretending not to have heard it.

Does anyone know if the frame on the CF6 is a different size/shape from that on the C6X, explaining why they couldn't use their existing V casting machinery like they did for the S6X?
If there's no difference with a major component like thr plate, then maybe there's no difference in the rim and we can say the wood makes no difference either just like the iron makes no difference. Either these things matter or not. Every rebuilder and manufacturer touts the difference in their approach, materials and construction. Every detail matters except for this iron plate. Males no difference. Any old plate will give the same performance, any old wood will sound the same and to prove it a manufacturer just needs to make a believable declaration. Yet me lifetime of experience shows every little detail makes a difference and saying two complete different technologies on the largest piece of a piano makes non difference, the cheap one is as good aa the expensive one makes no sense. It's like talking with a cult when it comes to Yamaha. Good for them. They're a good company
Whether the plate makes a difference and whether the rim makes a difference are two different questions. And even if V cast sounds different, that doesn't necessarily mean it sounds worse.

And if sand cast plates are so much better why don't Yamaha and Kawai switch to using them on their entire line? It's obviously economically possible, since the much less expensive Hailun use sand cast on their whole line.
According to the below engineering site, v pro os suitable for low volumes and the patterns are less costly

https://www.engineersedge.com/manufacturing/sand_casting_vacuum_molding_vprocess_10236.htm
More frequent tuning of a piano with a hard/abrasive V-bar is when the treble "early" treble breakage occurs. If you only get the piano tuned once a year, the breakage problem manifests slower: same for playing frequency.

Funny how the pianos with this early string breakage issue don't break strings in the agraffe section. Agraffes are made from brass which is usually softer than the softer grey irons.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
More frequent tuning of a piano with a hard/abrasive V-bar is when the treble "early" treble breakage occurs. If you only get the piano tuned once a year, the breakage problem manifests slower: same for playing frequency.

Funny how the pianos with this early string breakage issue don't break strings in the agraffe section. Agraffes are made from brass which is usually softer than the softer grey irons.

I explained this not long ago elsewhere. It is not "funny" at all; it is simply because the foreshortening of the scale means that the tension relative to the size and strength of the wire is greater in the treble than any other area of the piano.

You can break a paper clip by bending it back and forth with your fingers. It has little to do with how hard or abrasive your fingers are.
From: https://www.essexpianos.com/pianos/boston

Quote
Whether dazzling an audience, woodshedding in the practice room, or exploring the joy of music at home, the Steinway-designed Boston brings world-class tone and responsiveness within reach.

I guess the tonal defects of a Kawai-made vacuum mold plate disappear when the plate is installed in a Boston piano.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
From: https://www.essexpianos.com/pianos/boston

Quote
Whether dazzling an audience, woodshedding in the practice room, or exploring the joy of music at home, the Steinway-designed Boston brings world-class tone and responsiveness within reach.

I guess the tonal defects of a Kawai-made vacuum mold plate disappear when the plate is installed in a Boston piano.
Yes, wondrous indeed. grin
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
According to the below engineering site, v pro os suitable for low volumes and the patterns are less costly

https://www.engineersedge.com/manufacturing/sand_casting_vacuum_molding_vprocess_10236.htm

Context is everything. For example, it doesn't just say "suitable for low volumes." It actually says it's "only suitable for low to medium production volumes," which it goes on to quantify as "10 to 15000 pieces a year." This implies that it's limited in capacity. The problem is that those numbers--in the piano industry--would actually represent high production. So, "high" and "low" production in the piano industry is not the same as industry in general. But, frankly, I suspect Yamaha's production numbers are an order of magnitude higher, meaning they are likely producing more using the method than your link implies they can.

Secondly, it does not say that patterns are less costly. It says they wear out slower. Piano production tends to be relatively low, especially in concert grands, so pattern wear is probably not even on the radar.


Anyway, I can't believe I'm wasting time on this, but I poked around the Yamaha website a bit. I can't see anywhere that they make claims about v-pro other than "stronger, lighter, more durable", "visually more appealing", and that "critical dimensions are produced more accurately than before." Those are production benefits. Not qualitative. One place says v-pro is "worthy of the grandest grand piano," but that essentially means "as good as," not "the absolute best and only way." Yamaha is obviously willing to trade those production benefits for something else re. concert grands. Perhaps ease of incorporating those frequent changes you keep mentioning. Perhaps to produce in truly low volume. For all we know, their foundry's production line may simply not have the capacity to do 9 feet. What we do know is that it doesn't matter, because the finished plate is qualitatively equivalent, regardless of the method used to produce it.

All that to say, Yamaha hasn't planted its flag on v-pro as a make or break, only-the-best-will-do sort of technology. That's your characterization of their perspective, not their own.

The notion that it's proprietary is also wrong. Their website says they were the first to use it, but others obviously do too. "Flagship" means "the best or most important thing owned or produced by a particular organization." V-pro is just a manufacturing technique in their toolbox. "Yamaha" is not synonymous with "v-pro." And not using v-pro on a large, low-production piece is not tantamount to a confession that the other technique is better. That's another mischaracterization.


I mentioned confirmation bias above. Evidence rejection relates to it as well. It's clear that you're emotionally attached to your perspective. But Yamaha does not fit into the box you're trying to build around them.
This is from Steinway Europe site:

"STABILITY AND BALANCE – THE IRON PLATE

The Kelly Foundry in Springfield (Ohio, USA) produces the cast-iron plates for Steinway New York and Hamburg. They are produced by a traditional moulding process using synthetic sand. The cast-iron plate stabilizes the overall structure of the grand piano and absorbs tension from the strings.

The iron plate itself is the only part of the grand piano that does not resonate. Its weight and the high carbon content of the grey cast iron prevents the strings from losing vibration energy. Steinway craftsmen work on the iron plate with a drill and milling machine and then sand and bronze it by hand. The final step in this phase is painting the incorporated Steinway & Sons lettering by hand."


Link to page:
https://eu.steinway.com/en/a-legend/manufactory/iron-plate/
The French magazine Diapason enlisted French pianists Michel Dalberto and Valentin Cotton to compare 6 uprights. Michel Dalberto is a professional concert pianist and Bechstein artist.

The Boston UP-132 with vacuum mold plate dusted 5 European made uprights with wet sand plates, including being found to have superior tonal properties.

https://www.artist-pianos.com/boston-vs-handmade/
BDB, I am well aware of break point and elastic limits in various portions of many scales. Hard V-bars show great string breakage starting immediately on the notes in the compass above the agraffes. The general increase in BP and elastic limit that occurs as one moves up into the treble of most piano scales is not that abrupt at the break between V-bar and agraffes.

In fact the first few V-bar notes are often at less BP than the last few agraffe notes.

Paper clips are not high carbon steel. Your analogy is senseless.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
BDB, I am well aware of break point and elastic limits in various portions of many scales. Hard V-bars show great string breakage starting immediately on the notes in the compass above the agraffes. The general increase in BP and elastic limit that occurs as one moves up into the treble of most piano scales is not that abrupt at the break between V-bar and agraffes.

In fact the first few V-bar notes are often at less BP than the last few agraffe notes.

Paper clips are not high carbon steel. Your analogy is senseless.

Even if Ed and Steve are right that V cast plates have a higher probability of treble string breakage when tuned extremely frequently, it doesn't seem to be an issue for most Yamaha and Kawai owners and wouldn't think it needs to affect a purchasing decision.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
BDB, I am well aware of break point and elastic limits in various portions of many scales. Hard V-bars show great string breakage starting immediately on the notes in the compass above the agraffes. The general increase in BP and elastic limit that occurs as one moves up into the treble of most piano scales is not that abrupt at the break between V-bar and agraffes.

The transition between agraffes and capo bars is usually much lower than the area where significant breakage occurs. I usually see breakage in sizes smaller than 15, and the transition is usually 16 or 16-1/2.

Quote
In fact the first few V-bar notes are often at less BP than the last few agraffe notes.

Give some examples! Show the math! If that happens so often, and you know this to be the case, you should have those figures right at hand.

Quote
Paper clips are not high carbon steel. Your analogy is senseless.

Paper clips are usually made of steel. I do not know whether the carbon content is greater or less than that of music wire, and I doubt that you do, either. Nor do I think you know what properties the carbon content changes. I suspect that one could anneal music wire, which would not change the carbon content, and bend it back and forth in one's hands and it would break just like a paper clip.
I don't own a piano with a v-pro plate, but what I notice when I read about the purported inferiority of v-pro plates is that everyone in the business of selling pianos with wet sand plates has a different explanation of why v-pro plates are inferior.
There may be an analogy here with laminated soundboards. While early laminated soundboards were poor quality, these days it's not clear that they produce an inferior tone, and they even have some advantages with regard to longevity and tuning stability. But few high end manufacturers would risk the bad press of a laminated board, and it remains obligatory to advertise that your piano has a "solid spruce" soundboard.
Yamaha uses sand casting in their CF4 (6'3" - 191 cm) and CF6 (7' - 212 cm) grand pianos, and V-Pro frame in their S7X (7'6" - 227 cm) grand piano.

Here is Yamaha's statement for the metal frame used in CF series grand pianos:

"Metal Frame

The frames are individually hand molded and sand cast to enhance the strength and stability of the pianos. This contributes to the outstanding tonal character and sustain of the series. The CF6 and CF4 feature an open pin block design which improves both the attack and sustain of the notes."


Link to the relevant Yamaha webpage:
https://europe.yamaha.com/en/produc...nos/cf_series/features.html#product-tabs
Originally Posted by Hakki
Yamaha uses sand casting in their CF4 (6'3" - 191 cm) and CF6 (7' - 212 cm) grand pianos, and V-Pro frame in their S7X (7'6" - 227 cm) grand piano.

Here is Yamaha's statement for the metal frame used in CF series grand pianos:

"Metal Frame

The frames are individually hand molded and sand cast to enhance the strength and stability of the pianos. This contributes to the outstanding tonal character and sustain of the series. The CF6 and CF4 feature an open pin block design which improves both the attack and sustain of the notes."


Link to the relevant Yamaha webpage:
https://europe.yamaha.com/en/produc...nos/cf_series/features.html#product-tabs

This quote came up in the last thread on this topic as well. It's just marketing copy, and does not necessarily mean that sand cast plates have better tone or more sustain.

When I was shopping for a piano, I was initially concerned that the Yamaha SX/CX pianos had poor sustain in the treble. So I compared against a Bosendorfer 214VC which was right next to them. The Bosendorfer was extremely crisp in the high treble, with almost no sustain. The Hailun 218 I played had exceptional sustain in the high treble, at about one fifth the cost of the Bosendorfer. The point is, even a very expensive piano using a sand cast frame can have very low sustain in the high treble. So we shouldn't be too quick to assume that sand cast plates lead to "outstanding sustain".

It wasn't just me who thought the Hailun had outstanding sustain, a piano tech working on another piano nearby commented on this while I was playing. The dealer thought the laminated soundboard might have been responsible, as the grain on the outer layers points at a different angle and allows the vibrations to move in all directions instead of just along the grain of the core. Wouldn't it be ironic if a laminated soundboard led to better sustain than the high end brands?
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Hakki
Yamaha uses sand casting in their CF4 (6'3" - 191 cm) and CF6 (7' - 212 cm) grand pianos, and V-Pro frame in their S7X (7'6" - 227 cm) grand piano.

Here is Yamaha's statement for the metal frame used in CF series grand pianos:

"Metal Frame

The frames are individually hand molded and sand cast to enhance the strength and stability of the pianos. This contributes to the outstanding tonal character and sustain of the series. The CF6 and CF4 feature an open pin block design which improves both the attack and sustain of the notes."


Link to the relevant Yamaha webpage:
https://europe.yamaha.com/en/produc...nos/cf_series/features.html#product-tabs

This quote came up in the last thread on this topic as well. It's just marketing copy, and does not necessarily mean that sand cast plates have better tone or more sustain.

I believe Yamaha.
Originally Posted by Hakki
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Hakki
Yamaha uses sand casting in their CF4 (6'3" - 191 cm) and CF6 (7' - 212 cm) grand pianos, and V-Pro frame in their S7X (7'6" - 227 cm) grand piano.

Here is Yamaha's statement for the metal frame used in CF series grand pianos:

"Metal Frame

The frames are individually hand molded and sand cast to enhance the strength and stability of the pianos. This contributes to the outstanding tonal character and sustain of the series. The CF6 and CF4 feature an open pin block design which improves both the attack and sustain of the notes."


Link to the relevant Yamaha webpage:
https://europe.yamaha.com/en/produc...nos/cf_series/features.html#product-tabs

This quote came up in the last thread on this topic as well. It's just marketing copy, and does not necessarily mean that sand cast plates have better tone or more sustain.

I believe Yamaha.

It's interesting that if you go to the part of their website for the CX line of pianos, they point out that they use a V-pro plate for inferior tone and less sustain.

In their promotional booklet Yamaha claim that their pianos aren't their best anymore after 10 years. They make this claim in the context of trying to encourage people to buy a new Yamaha instead of a used one. Perhaps Hakki also believes therefore that Yamaha pianos are only good for 10 years.
Originally Posted by Hakki
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Hakki
Yamaha uses sand casting in their CF4 (6'3" - 191 cm) and CF6 (7' - 212 cm) grand pianos, and V-Pro frame in their S7X (7'6" - 227 cm) grand piano.

Here is Yamaha's statement for the metal frame used in CF series grand pianos:

"Metal Frame

The frames are individually hand molded and sand cast to enhance the strength and stability of the pianos. This contributes to the outstanding tonal character and sustain of the series. The CF6 and CF4 feature an open pin block design which improves both the attack and sustain of the notes."


Link to the relevant Yamaha webpage:
https://europe.yamaha.com/en/produc...nos/cf_series/features.html#product-tabs

This quote came up in the last thread on this topic as well. It's just marketing copy, and does not necessarily mean that sand cast plates have better tone or more sustain.

I believe Yamaha.
The Yamaha quote says almost nothing. First of all, it's inconceivable that anyone thinks a V pro plate is not strong enough so the first sentence means nothing. The second sentence does not say that wet sand casting is superior to V pro in terms of the tone produced or the sustain.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
It wasn't just me who thought the Hailun had outstanding sustain, a piano tech working on another piano nearby commented on this while I was playing.

This is obviously because of the processing of the wood in the rim. wink
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
BDB, I am well aware of break point and elastic limits in various portions of many scales. Hard V-bars show great string breakage starting immediately on the notes in the compass above the agraffes. The general increase in BP and elastic limit that occurs as one moves up into the treble of most piano scales is not that abrupt at the break between V-bar and agraffes.

In fact the first few V-bar notes are often at less BP than the last few agraffe notes.

Paper clips are not high carbon steel. Your analogy is senseless.

Even if Ed and Steve are right that V cast plates have a higher probability of treble string breakage when tuned extremely frequently, it doesn't seem to be an issue for most Yamaha and Kawai owners and wouldn't think it needs to affect a purchasing decision.

That's not what Ed is saying. The condition he describes can happen with any hardened plate, regardless of the manufacturer. I've encountered it too often in Kawai KGx pianos, long discontinued and not all of them but too many. It's not a by-product of V process, but a by-product of case hardening

Furthermore, I've never stated V plates don't sound good. There's enough crap sounding wet sand cast pianos and enough great sounding v pro to disprove this. My statement is at the very top of the top there is almost a certainty of a difference and I contend Yamaha knows this and uses sand on only these pianos as sand or v pro will have an insignificant difference on other pianos, and my evidence is that's exactly what they do and I'm not sure v pro costs more and if it did the marketing benefits to Yamaha would be worth it.
Marketing is about making you believe that you should pay more for something that doesn't really cost much more to produce than the competing product. "High end" audio cables (especially digital cables) are an example of this. Top tier piano manufacturers also market on their exclusiveness and artisanal qualities. Something that sounds hand made, like a sand cast plate, carries a lot of marketing value, but makes no difference in actual physical properties that could affect the sound in any way that a double-blind test could reveal. There's way more variability in all of the other sound making portions of a piano that would make it impossible to tell the difference between how any different type of plate casting techniques could affect it.
Originally Posted by pyropaul
Marketing is about making you believe that you should pay more for something that doesn't really cost much more to produce than the competing product. "High end" audio cables (especially digital cables) are an example of this. Top tier piano manufacturers also market on their exclusiveness and artisanal qualities. Something that sounds hand made, like a sand cast plate, carries a lot of marketing value, but makes no difference in actual physical properties that could affect the sound in any way that a double-blind test could reveal. There's way more variability in all of the other sound making portions of a piano that would make it impossible to tell the difference between how any different type of plate casting techniques could affect it.
That's exactly what it is. Tradition is a hard thing to break especially when some of those traditions are propagated by the stalwarts of everything Steinway. I don't think Yamaha wanted to leave anything to chance when they designed their flagship piano including giving competitors or anyone the opportunity to say anything negative about the CFX grand. So it made a lot of sense for Yamaha to go the "traditional" route in designing a flagship piano both from an economical standpoint as well as a marketing standpoint. It has nothing to do with what virtuoso pianists think- most of whom don't even know how a piano works, but if you tell them it was built like a Steinway, they know what that means.
Interesting observations, pyropaul.

I can’t remember how many times I heard arguments back in the 80s about whether a Trans Am was just a Firebird with plastic cladding and a big bird decal on the hood, or a true upgrade, and, for that matter, whether a Firebird was just a rebadged Camaro. And it didn’t help that various features and options could further blur the lines on these and other models.

Sometimes there are significant differences between models, features and options, and sometimes not so much.

Each consumer needs to find the combination of these, and price, that suits them.


I like the advice above about auditioning the pianos (that fit the shopper’s search criteria), and picking the one most preferred (regardless of manufacturing processes (or where it was made, for that matter)).
For $75k, one might get a Steinway S or a Shigeru Kawai SK7.

Originally Posted by Hakki
Yamaha uses sand casting in their CF4 (6'3" - 191 cm) and CF6 (7' - 212 cm) grand pianos, and V-Pro frame in their S7X (7'6" - 227 cm) grand piano.

Here is Yamaha's statement for the metal frame used in CF series grand pianos:

"Metal Frame

The frames are individually hand molded and sand cast to enhance the strength and stability of the pianos. This contributes to the outstanding tonal character and sustain of the series. The CF6 and CF4 feature an open pin block design which improves both the attack and sustain of the notes."


Link to the relevant Yamaha webpage:
https://europe.yamaha.com/en/produc...nos/cf_series/features.html#product-tabs

V-pro plates are sand cast. The process is more automated. V-pro casting produces a more consistent plate that more closely conforms to specified geometry. Wet sand plates require more work by hand. The statement does not articulate to what the enhanced strength and stability is being compared when rated as greater. Is it greater strength and stability than wet sand plates without as much attention given by hand or greayer than v-pro plates? The text provides ZERO indication of which, so it conveys no information about whether v-pro plates are inferior to or the the equal of wet sand plates.
This is what Yamaha is saying about V-Pro frames:

"Expertise in frame making shines through in robust quality.

The frame in a modern piano must be able to withstand a total string tension in excess of twenty tons; not only does the frame work together with the wooden body to support the string tension, but it has a profound effect on the instrument’s sound. Yamaha makes its own frames, relying on a method of casting referred to as the “vacuum process,” developed over many years to create some of the best piano frames in the world. During this time we have built up a storehouse of knowledge on factors such as the manner in which controlling the temperature and composition of casting, and even the coating used on the frame itself, affects the acoustic characteristics of the piano. This is a major reason that Yamaha is able to ensure reliable quality when crafting our pianos."


Link to the relevant Yamaha webpage:
https://europe.yamaha.com/en/produc...nos/cx_series/features.html#product-tabs
Relying on advertising for information is not likely to give you all sides of a discussion.
This is what Kawai says about V-pro plate:

"V-pro Plate
The plate is the acoustically-neutral iron superstructure of the piano over which the strings are tensioned. All GL Series plates are molded using the Vacuum Mold Process (V-Pro) with “Crossbone Design.” The result is a plate that is strong, stable and beautiful."


Link to relevant Kawai webpage:
https://www.kawai-global.com/product/gl-10/
Here is what Estonia Pianos is saying about their plates:

"Our iron plates come from Finland, and are made the old-fashioned, European way.

In order to qarantee the right quality, they are sand-cast, seasoned, and only the best plates pass the final selection. We have one year of iron plates in our inventory, and only the best would be selected. It takes modern machinery to make even the rough surfaces and prepare for our mirror-like polish finishes,, at which our craftsmen show their experience. We continue to test them, to make sure that they do not interfere with the piano sound but are there to support the structure. Shiny, smooth, and even, they have received a lot of praise at international music trade shows, and are considered among the best from Europe."


Link to relevant Estonia Pianos webpage:
http://www.estoniapiano.com/craftsmanship.html
Here is what Boston Pianos is saying about their Vacuum cast plate:

"Every single piece of the piano vibrates while being played —except the plate, which is dedicated to a single function: ensuring total stability. Thanks to STEINWAY & SONS’ design expertise, based on its long history of research and innovation, this cast iron plate can withstand the nearly 20 tons of string tension created by the 220-plus individual strings."


Link to relevant Boston Pianos webpage:
https://www.bostonpianos.com/pianos/boston/grand#b0127775-30e7-4b13-a014-46266c6a3c27
Here is the info for sand cast plates used in Essex grand pianos

"Designed by STEINWAY & SONS, the plate is cast from gray iron and over engineered to provide strength to support 20 tons of string tension. Long-fiber cast iron creates a very dense plate, which does not absorb energy and yields a fuller tone."

Link to relevant webpage:
https://www.bostonpianos.com/pianos/essex/grand/egp-155#82118b76-7607-41b9-9894-e0cc9aad510e
Quote
Yamaha makes its own frames, relying on a method of casting referred to as the “vacuum process,” developed over many years to create some of the best piano frames in the world. During this time we have built up a storehouse of knowledge on factors such as the manner in which controlling the temperature and composition of casting, and even the coating used on the frame itself, affects the acoustic characteristics of the piano.

I think the bold text has content that applies whether negative pressure (vacuum) or wetting the sand is used to hold the molded sand in place.

When molten iron comes in contact with water in wet sand, tiny steam explosions will take place, causing small deformations in the sand. This leads to a less precise casting, requiring more manual work to finish the plate and more manual work in fabricating wooden case parts.

This creates a tradeoff of fixed cost of tooling to automate case fabrication vs variable cost of manual work with a less precise plate.

I have never heard an argument vy a piano dealer that wet sand plates produced today are superior to those produced 100 years ago despite a vast accumulation of knowledge in materials and metallurgy over the time period. If piano tone was as sensitive to plate fabrication as claimed by some, it seems unlikely that 100 year old plates could compete with either v-pro or wet sand plates made today, but that is not the argument being made-- maybe vecause it would validate v-pro plates, or maybe because it..does..not..matter.
Originally Posted by Hakki
Here is the info for sand cast plates used in Essex grand pianos

"Designed by STEINWAY & SONS, the plate is cast from gray iron and over engineered to provide strength to support 20 tons of string tension. Long-fiber cast iron creates a very dense plate, which does not absorb energy and yields a fuller tone."

Link to relevant webpage:
https://www.bostonpianos.com/pianos/essex/grand/egp-155#82118b76-7607-41b9-9894-e0cc9aad510e

Does it say that v-pro plates are not overengineered using long-fiber cast grey iron? Be careful not to read more into the text than the literal interpretation. My take is that Essex pianos use cheaper labor to control cost instead of the automation used for Boston pianos, which are a higher line of Steinway product.
All cast iron plates are vastly over engineered for the modest stress they're under. David Rubenstein uses a CNC water jet cut welded steel plate (probably because it's easier to make than a large casting). If a plate really made any difference (it doesn't) then something far more exotic would have been developed rather than the cheapest crudest casting material: cast iron.

It would be interesting to have a plate made out of Invar, for example, as this wouldn't change dimension with temperature. But since no-one has ever done this, it obviously is not important. Marketing people speak in hushed tones about old World craftsmanship - the only reason they used sand cast plates in the first place is that's the only technology that was available for such a large piece. Since it worked well enough, it's still in use today. Manufacturers could easily make forged iron plates - but they don't because it's not worth the expense for such a component that really has no impact on the sound of a piano - and - before anyone says "what about the V bar" - that's a finishing detail, not a fundamental aspect of the fabrication technology.
Being mindful of my place here as a very new member and with great respect to those contributing to this discussion, it seems as if this issue is one in which an agreement to disagree is the only conceivable outcome. There have been strong arguments and conclusions by very knowledgeable individuals on both "sides" of the issue.

As I have been following this discussion (which I really have no opinion on), the only thing I'm convinced of is that this will be a topic of debate for a very, very long time! smile
KS
You’re right—- but you’ll find out there is seldom ‘to agree to disagree’ around here
Originally Posted by dogperson
agree to disagree

I don't agree to that!
Well, then, you can disagree to agree!
Sonepica you have one of the very best models Yamaha manufacturer.I would not bother at all about how the iron plate is made.It is a Performance grade semi concert grand.You are one of those who can own such a piano!

.How lucky (blessed) you are! Please do not waste time and energy on this totally unnecessary detail! Yamaha makes great pianos and EVERYONE knows that.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Don is correct I have never visited a V-process foundry. I have visited a wet sand foundry.

I do have extensive experience machining and filing piano castings, probably more than any other technician since I pioneered reshaping V-bars to a true V-shape around 1977. Feeling how cutting tools interacts with a material give insight no book "learnin" can give.

Don is either ignorant or eliding the significance and variability of the practice of the post casting case hardening methods often applied to the V-bar feature by some piano makers. A very slight difference in case hardening level has a profound affect on tone, tunability and string longevity. This is a powerful indicator that metal hardness of the plate is very significant. It is a significant reason some pianos sound so much worse than others in the same production run.

I have studied the material science regarding this issue and have as a regular visitor to my shop the recently retired chief material scientist of the Boeing company. I have discussed the issues of the metals used in pianos at great length and nothing I have said here is outside the science. My friend has taken samples to the Boeing test lab to help me.

I also suggest to you all that you investigate the significance of longitudinal modes and how the nature of the plate metal and termination points affect their ability to be propagated and coupled to the "normal" transverse modes.

I also urge you to consider how the abrasive nature of a string bearing point affects the behavior and durability of piano wire. Consider that the bulk of the strength in piano wire is in the skin. Just nick the surface of piano wire and slightly bend it at that point a few times and it will break. It is important that the deformation the termination point imposes on the wire does not reduce the break point to the elastic limit of the undeformed wire.

It may well be possible to make a V-process plate that performs as well or even superior to a wet sand cast plate.

But so far my experience with plates that are V-process is they have tone and string durability issues. The same thing can be said about wet sand plates that have highly case hardened U-shaped V-bars.

You can also feel the problem in the way the strings render when tuning. They "stick" to the V-bar and even "ping" when they finally move when tuning.

Folks, I gotta tell you most all piano made or being made have less than ideal string terminations on the plate. The problems extends to agraffe string hole shape as well. In my view this is gross negligence. I have been practicing and preaching this for decades, anybody listening? Anybody care? Or is piano making one big idiotic artsy fartsy fraud.

I don't want to put word's into Ed's mouth, and Ed, please correct me if what I am saying is incorrect. Having said that, it strikes me that Ed is saying the the V-pro frames are inferior because of the metal at the v-bar is often too hard and not lubricious enough. If that is the case, then such frames could be improved by having, for example, a brass insert at the apex of the v-bar, where the bar contacts the strings. The insert could be accurately shaped before insertion into the plate and therefore could potentially provide a superior and consistent contact area. ...just a passing thought.
Quote
...before anyone says "what about the V bar" - that's a finishing detail, not a fundamental aspect of the fabrication technology.
Actually, I'd love to hear the scientific basis for a hardened capo d'astro bar contributing to string breakage. I would expect hardened metal to be harder to work with during the finishing stage of plate fabrication, but once a smooth surface was obtained, I would expect a harder metal to maintain the smoothness of the surface better and longer than a less hardened metal.

Moreover, case hardening is a process applied after casting. It could be used with either wet sand plates or v-pro plates. If it is known to contribute to string breakage, why wouldn't Yamaha and Kawai drop the process?

Is a scientific explanation or empirical data available to justify or validate the string breakage claim?
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Is a scientific explanation or empirical data available to justify or validate the string breakage claim?

Well I've had my Yamaha S7X about 3 months or so, and already all of the treble strings above C6 have snapped clean off! It doesn't bother me that much as I don't really use that part of the piano anyway. The bass strings are intact, which is the main thing.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Is a scientific explanation or empirical data available to justify or validate the string breakage claim?

Well I've had my Yamaha S7X about 3 months or so, and already all of the treble strings above C6 have snapped clean off! It doesn't bother me that much as I don't really use that part of the piano anyway. The bass strings are intact, which is the main thing.

I still can’t tell when you’re kidding.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Or is piano making one big idiotic artsy fartsy fraud.

I'm not sure that Yamaha and Kawai owners are experiencing a problem with frequent breaking of treble strings. Are you sure you're not getting carried away?
From what I have heard this is completely false.,And yes I am sure Sonepica is joking about strings snapping in the upper treble.
BDB, If paper clips are using high carbon steel, they are wasting a lot of money.

And yes, it is the annealing process that determines much about the form carbon takes in an iron alloy.

The pianos with hard V-bars show the fastest deterioration if they are tuned often. It is the tuning more than the playing that fatigues the wire. You can remove a wire that has been in service on a hard capo for a few years and see with a microscope that the flat spot at the V-bar is scraped away as well at the normal area of slight crushing from round being bent across the V-bar produces.

You can do the BP numbers on your O, (I seem to remember you have an O and M&H AA at home), across the agraffe to capo break.
45 years of experience shaping V-bars to a true V-shape is what I have. Probably something like 1,000 or more pianos. No problems with treble string buzzes, breakage or treble tone with any of them, ever. No one has ever sued me for damaging their piano by shaping the V-bar. Sometimes I have even been paid by manufacturers to shape the V-bar of a new piano to solve a warranty claim.

I still service the first grand I reshaped the V-bar on. It has never broken a string or exhibited a string buzz in all the time I have taken care of it and it is played several times a week in the church where it resides. That is 45 years of continual use.

Piano wire is very brittle and stiff. If you deform the outer round surface of piano wire a weakness is created. Putting very hard, brittle and stiff piano wire against a very hard and stiff termination point is going to result in the wire taking the punishment because it bends over the termination point and is moved across it during tuning repeatedly. This deforms the wire.

Agraffes are much softer than piano wire. So why when one gets to the V-bar does it all of a sudden have to be harder than the string? (Agraffe string holes also need to be chamfered to allow for full pivot termination. Then agraffe string buzzes would become extinct unless the bearing is too little.)

Unhardened grey iron shaped at the V-bar to be a true V-shape which produces a 1mm wide termination point is what I have been establishing at the V-bar for these 45 years. The string self-machines a groove for the string to sit very comfortable in with support around about 1/3 of the circumference. This allows the string to pivot at the termination when vibrating and minimizes internal bending. This makes for clearer, more sustained tone because the losses from internal friction are reduced to the minimum possible.

The self machining of the string groove by the piano wire of unhardened grey iron produces a extremely shallow surface of harder metal at the V-bar surface around the piano wire with minimal deforming of the wires skin. In other words the soft V-bar gets work hardened ever so slightly by the hard steel piano wire.

It ain't rocket science and most piano makers have been absurdly negligent regarding string terminations. All you piano owners should be inquiring about the conditions of the string terminations on any piano you are considering to purchase.
So, you would consider this to be a general problem, and not specific to v-pro plates?
I have the tension figures for my Mason & Hamlin. The tension on the plain wire strings are about 165 to 175 pounds force for all of them, except in the top octave where they drop off somewhat. These figures are not entirely exact due to the difficulty of measuring, but they are fairly close. They also vary from note to note, due to the fact that wire only comes in discrete increments of 0.001". However, that is enough to show that the percentage of breaking strength is lowest in the lower register where the strings are thickest, because the tension remains roughly the same, and the wire gets thicker which means it has a greater breaking strength. So strings are more likely to break the higher the note. Anyone who has actually done rescaling would be able to show that.

But I should not have to prove someone else's baseless claims.
Originally Posted by Hakki
For $75k, one might get a Steinway S or a Shigeru Kawai SK7.

You mean a Kawai Shigeru SK5?
Why do you compare a Steinway piano to a Shigeru anyway? For what reason? What is it you want to say Hakki?
SK7 actually with about a 20% discount from SMP.

I was referring to the discussion on economic affects of different manufacturing processes used. That is, it might not be the reason for why a piano manufacturer chooses to use one casting method over the other.

Sorry, maybe I should have been clearer.
If you really want investigate whether sand cast plates produce more sustain or superior tone, you can compare the S6 or CF6 (sand cast) against the CX6 or SX6 (V cast). These pianos are all made by the same manufacturer and are similar pianos in many respects. Of course, even if you prefer a CF6 over an SX6, that doesn't necessarily mean that the plate is the cause, as there are other differences between these pianos. But, if instead you feel that the SX6 compares pretty well against the CF6 or older S6, you might reach the conclusion that the plate doesn't matter too much.
Originally Posted by BDB
I have the tension figures for my Mason & Hamlin. The tension on the plain wire strings are about 165 to 175 pounds force for all of them, except in the top octave where they drop off somewhat. These figures are not entirely exact due to the difficulty of measuring, but they are fairly close. They also vary from note to note, due to the fact that wire only comes in discrete increments of 0.001". However, that is enough to show that the percentage of breaking strength is lowest in the lower register where the strings are thickest, because the tension remains roughly the same, and the wire gets thicker which means it has a greater breaking strength. So strings are more likely to break the higher the note. Anyone who has actually done rescaling would be able to show that.

But I should not have to prove someone else's baseless claims.

What you say is true. I scale restringing by prioritizing breaking point and it's a challenge in the capo area as I'm often at the 70% range or higher whereas low tenor is a challenge keeping above 45%. I think Ed is more concerned with v bar shape and hardness and with the high % of bp and too hard v bar or too high an angle, you are likely to see string breakage
I still have seen no evidence that the hardness issue Ed has raised is specific to v-pro plates (both v-pro and wet sand plates can be case hardened) or that Yamaha, Kawai, or Boston pianos break strings more often than other pianos. In fact, among new pianos, the reputation of Yamaha and Kawai pianos is that they are more reliable, not less reliable than other makes. Is there any actual data someone can point us to that suggests that strings on v-pro plates don't last as long as on other piano makes?
Originally Posted by Sonepica
If you really want investigate whether sand cast plates produce more sustain or superior tone, you can compare the S6 or CF6 (sand cast) against the CX6 or SX6 (V cast). These pianos are all made by the same manufacturer and are similar pianos in many respects. Of course, even if you prefer a CF6 over an SX6, that doesn't necessarily mean that the plate is the cause, as there are other differences between these pianos. But, if instead you feel that the SX6 compares pretty well against the CF6 or older S6, you might reach the conclusion that the plate doesn't matter too much.

This is a good point. Although there are some important differences in the design of the three pianos, four if you count the old S6 (and I don't know what kind of plate it used), they are all of a very similar fundamental design. However, the differences in the hammers, soundboard, and rims all contribute to a vastly different piano. That said, you could still do a test with a computer analysis to test how long the C6 lasts on each piano and how it decays. You could also do it via the pluck test that piano tuners sometimes use to test the potential of a piano.

I suspect that Yamaha already know the answer to these questions, so perhaps all we'd have to do is ask them.. They, after all, build pianos with both types of plate, at different price points, and they know why they do it. There's no way they'd choose one method simply so that they could sell a piano for more money. Building a premium, hand built piano is expensive and so the profit margins are quite slim, especially when you consider that concert grand pianos end up mostly in institutional and concert hall settings, and not private homes, and institutions pay less for the instruments.

As for breaking strings, institutional pianos of all makes suffer string breakage all the time. I've seen many different types of pianos with the treble section shot to shreds after 5 to 10 years. There are many factors which can influence that and the capo bar may be one of them, but equally the hammers wear down, the metal fatigues from constant battering and tuning, and often the students are practicing big flashy pieces with lots of repeated notes. Think even about the finale of Rachmaninoff 3 with all those repeated notes? I've heard students practicing that for hours at a time (I've been that student!) because we like to get things right ten times in a row. Or consider Gaspard De La Nuit or Islamey, or even that nasty little arpeggio passage in the opening of the Tchaikovsky concerto? When you start practicing that on a piano over and over again, any piano, eventually the piano will fail.

I know that in the UK the institutions will put Yamaha C3s (C3X now) into the piano practice rooms instead of Steinway. Why? Do they think a C3X is a higher quality piano than a Steinway A or B? No, they don't, nobody is pretending that and that's why Yamaha make the CF4. But what they've found is that Yamaha pianos stand up to heavy use over a long period of time. It's not that the Hamburg Steinways we used didn't stand up to heavy use but the more expensive a piano, the more expensive it is to maintain. The Yamahas just went on and on and on, and then after about 10 years the pianos were sold on to students for a low price, and the students would be free to use them as is or have new hammers, treble strings, and felts put on them as required. One teacher I know bought her 1990 Yamaha C3 in about 2005, and it had been in a practice room all that time. It was only this year that she had the strings and hammers replaced. So while there may be certain technicians who see failure in Yamaha instruments on a fairly routine basis, there seem to be at least as many that don't fail.....
And here is that pianist's Yamaha C3 from c.1990, BEFORE the hammers were put on. The piano is already about 30 years old in this video and has the original hammers and strings:

All the Yamaha's that I have tested the V-bar for hardness resist cutting mightily, and there seems to be no getting through the surface like many, (but not all) Steinway pianos when I reshape the metal at the V-bar.

I have not tested the V-bars of any Yamaha's from the last decade.

I have tested V-bars on some Kawai grands from the late 1970's and early 1980's and some
had very hard V-bars.

Same for some Aeolian era Mason & Hamlin.

I think is might be possible to produce a V-process plate that had the soft form of grey iron. And as ROY 123 points out fitting a brass alloy V-bar into the casting is always possible, as is mounting upside down agraffes like Chickering and other makers have done in the past at the capo d'astro bar.

As to the plate having no acoustic significance; that beggars the mind. There is an old saying among some piano rebuilders that the real heart of a piano is the casting, not the soundboard.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
All the Yamaha's that I have tested the V-bar for hardness resist cutting mightily, and there seems to be no getting through the surface like many, (but not all) Steinway pianos when I reshape the metal at the V-bar.

I have not tested the V-bars of any Yamaha's from the last decade.

I have tested V-bars on some Kawai grands from the late 1970's and early 1980's and some
had very hard V-bars.

Same for some Aeolian era Mason & Hamlin.

I think is might be possible to produce a V-process plate that had the soft form of grey iron. And as ROY 123 points out fitting a brass alloy V-bar into the casting is always possible, as is mounting upside down agraffes like Chickering and other makers have done in the past at the capo d'astro bar.

As to the plate having no acoustic significance; that beggars the mind. There is an old saying among some piano rebuilders that the real heart of a piano is the casting, not the soundboard.

So the frame is now the most important part of all? More important than the soundboard, rim, hammers and strings? So, if I find an exceptional piano, I could take out the frame and combine it with cheap wood and hammers and it would still be an exceptional piano? And this is true because of an "old saying" among "some" rebuilders?
From the many disagreements on the technicians forum I would say the soundboard is both the mind and the heart of the piano.The main thing I think when you have a piano is the tone,and the touch.(how the piano responds) If you love the way your piano plays then nothing else matters.
I have never heard of snapping treble strings in either of these Japanese pianos.They are as tough as nails.

So if the heart is happy and you have not lost your piano legs,
(I apologize to the OP of that thread),what is there to worry about?
I have seen broken strings on a number of different makes of piano. If they are played a lot by pianists who insist on playing loudly (rather than making their audience shut up and listen) and who do not keep their pianos tuned, regulated, and voiced, it happens from metal fatigue. The way the string moves at the capo bar is quite violent, as it whips rapidly from one direction to the other. You can see this if you fasten a slinky at each end and give it a pull and let go. Worn hammers will make that even more violent, since the motion of the string takes on the shape of the hammer, so that if you have a hammer that is squared off from wear, rather than rounded, that whipping is even more extreme. It will also have a harsher sound, which is why as hammers get worn, the piano gets brighter, and simply reshaping the hammers makes a big difference towards restoring the original sound.

This video shows reasonably well how a string moves. Just ignore the commentary and watch the endpoints of the string, and keep in mind that a plucked string is not the same as a string excited by a piano hammer, although it is somewhat similar to a worn hammer with a flat strike point.

There is a lot of conjecture and possibly one person’s anecdotal observations in this thread. It just seems like there’s not much science in the interpretation of these observations to back them up. Makes an interesting read but where’s the science in it? Where’s the empirical evidence? How many strings have broken on how many pianos, which pianos, and under what conditions? What are the measured sonic differences between a v-pro plate and sand casted. Can you prove through measurement that there is an actual difference and can you prove that the human ear can actually hear such a difference?

In science it’s called not using the scientific method. In layman’s terms it’s called talking out of ones ass.
Originally Posted by Jethro
There is a lot of conjecture and possibly one person’s anecdotal observations in this thread. It just seems like there’s not much science in the interpretation of these observations to back them up. Makes an interesting read but where’s the science in it? Where’s the empirical evidence? How many strings have broken on how many pianos, which pianos, and under what conditions? What are the measured sonic differences between a v-pro plate and sand casted. Can you prove through measurement that there is an actual difference and can you prove that the human ear can actually hear such a difference?

In science it’s called not using the scientific method. In layman’s terms it’s called talking out of ones ass.

I’m just wonder how piano makers decide which casting method to use when designing their pianos? Maybe the available workspace and trained staff play more in the decision than does scientific evidence that one method is better than another.
In the end of the video I posted above, about the European launch of their CF series, Yamaha speaker says to the audience that, it took 19 years to develop the CF series.
Quote
In layman’s terms it’s called talking out of ones ass.

Actually, it's simply having an opinion. Describing it this way seems unnecessarily inflammatory.

PW is not a peer reviewed journal, and the scientific method isn't required to support anyone's thoughts and opinions. If that were the threshold for "publication" here, we'd lose the vast majority of content, most of which is simply based on people's experience and anecdotal observations.
I should point out to those here who are ignoring it or unaware, that research has shown longitudinal wave energy has a significant effect on piano tone.

This research has also shown that longitudinal wave energy is very "leaky and sneaky".

The influence of the damping character of the casting on longitudinal mode has to be significant because of how longitudinal modes behave.

So I ask of those posters who deny what I am saying: How much experience do you have examining, and shaping V-bars? How much experience do you have examining how hard a casting is? How much experience do you have studying longitudinal waves in piano strings? How much experience do you have looking at worn piano strings under microscopes? And finally: why do you think I would lie to you?
Originally Posted by j&j
I’m just wonder how piano makers decide which casting method to use when designing their pianos? Maybe the available workspace and trained staff play more in the decision than does scientific evidence that one method is better than another.

J&J, you've hit a couple of relevant issues that I don't think have been discussed yet: staff and capacity.

I spent a decade or so in manufacturing after college, and then continued to support some manufacturing clients long-term over the years. A lot of that had to do with automating and modernizing production lines, which is how I would characterize a shift to vacuum casting.

In the large, the decision is going to be based on things far less glamorous than we like to talk about here, but some of which has been discussed above. The company is going to do ROI analysis on the decision--and since the finished product would be virtually identical (as described above by Del Fandrich and The Idiot's Guide)--go with the most cost effective. If the company didn't previously do vacuum casting, they'll factor in the cost of equipping their facility to do it, which would include training and potentially retaining a savvier staff (if v-pro requires it). If they're already equipped to do both, then they'll consider the equipment's capacity (e.g. maybe 9' is too long), and also their ongoing utilization of the two methods as well as their overall capacity (e.g. maybe the v-pro line is already maxed out, or vice versa), whether or not they anticipate producing enough to justify v-pro's additional setup costs, etc.

With a "new" technology there are upfront installation costs (a factory can't do v-pro without v-pro equipment), but in ongoing manufacturing there are also "setup" costs when you shut down a line and change it to produce something else, which could also impact the decision. For example, Yamaha obviously has the capacity to do v-pro. But assuming their production lines are running at or near capacity, shutting a production line down to reconfigure to produce one or two 9ft plates, and then retool to go back to a large volume model might be too disruptive (costly). In that case, it might be easier to just sand cast the plate. OTOH, if the v-pro equipment is optimized to just slide in whatever mold is desired, casting any and all sizes on demand, then it just becomes a question of whether or not you've got a 9ft v-pro mold available (assuming it can do that size--remember, the assembly lines are going to be optimized for what's done all day, every day).

Anyway, the above is only the 30,000 foot view of "manufacturing."


And, as Joe pointed out above, it could simply be a marketing call anyway. The easiest way to deflect the FUD (e.g. "show me one top-tier manufacturer who doesn't sand cast"), is to sand cast. The resulting part is essentially equivalent, and then these low-volume models won't disrupt the more profitable mass production. Sort of a home run from a bottom-line perspective.
We had a metallurgist deny your claim that there are diamond-like structures in steel. It is actually difficult to deny any of your claims, because they are so vague and you offer no evidence for them other than what you say. For instance, you talk about "research," but you do not say who did that research, or what it says. You offer no explanation of how the casting "has to be significant." Provide some explanation, and maybe your ideas will get some traction.
Retsacnal: Your argument is excellent until you get to the part about "virtually identical".

The behavior of the metal, and how the string termination features are designed, affect how longitudinal waves are coupled to each other, the transverse waves, and to the air. The behavior of the metal also affects how durable the wire will be in service.

If a company has engineering that ignores or misunderstands this, tone issues, string longevity issues, and extraneous noise issues will pop up.

BDB: Do you really think pianos should not be played with as full a dynamic range as the human physic allows? Isn't that part of their appeal? A dynamic range from whisper soft to as full as can be generated without distortion is not desired?

I have many, many pianos that have stood the test of maximal dynamic utility with no penalty to longevity. In fact my LightHammer Tone Regulation results in pianos that have far more durable and stable actions. And providing string terminations that maximize the pivot termination effect and don't crush and abrade the wire at the termination point also result in pianos that essentially don't break strings over decades of use.

I am an old man who has been doing what I advocate here for a long time. Funny how there are no reports of failure from my customers and competitors in my market seeing how I have worked the same market all my life.
You are not answering questions. You only cite yourself. Those are characteristics of a quack.
I must of hit a sore spot on you. Why do you take my experience as a personal insult? Your attitude does nothing to forward our profession.

I have the pianos to prove what I am talking about. That is reality. Written evidence can never be that real.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Retsacnal: Your argument is excellent until you get to the part about "virtually identical".

The behavior of the metal, and how the string termination features are designed, affect how longitudinal waves are coupled to each other, the transverse waves, and to the air. The behavior of the metal also affects how durable the wire will be in service.

If a company has engineering that ignores or misunderstands this, tone issues, string longevity issues, and extraneous noise issues will pop up.


I thought about that, but wanted to focus on the v-pro vs. sand cast decision (there are a number of sub-topics in this thread). If I understand correctly, case hardening can be applied to either type of casting, so not necessarily a factor in the choice between the two. Also, as you've pointed out, these issues aren't on the manufacturer's radar anyway, so they wouldn't factor into their decision processes. That may or may not be unfortunate, but it doesn't seem to be part of their calculus.
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Quote
In layman’s terms it’s called talking out of ones ass.

Actually, it's simply having an opinion. Describing it this way seems unnecessarily inflammatory.

PW is not a peer reviewed journal, and the scientific method isn't required to support anyone's thoughts and opinions. If that were the threshold for "publication" here, we'd lose the vast majority of content, most of which is simply based on people's experience and anecdotal observations.
There's nothing wrong with having an opinion or making observations, or having theories or hypothesis- that's how good science begins. But you have to test these theories before you state them as fact.

Many tarot card readers have been in the been in the business for a long time. They've held seminars. Written books. Made hundreds of readings. They are so called experts in their field. But unless they have real empirical evidence and a firm methodology to back up what they say, there's always a good chance that someone's going to call them out as quacks.

You back up what you say with some solid research and there's a good chance that people will take you seriously.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I should point out to those here who are ignoring it or unaware, that research has shown longitudinal wave energy has a significant effect on piano tone.

This research has also shown that longitudinal wave energy is very "leaky and sneaky".

The influence of the damping character of the casting on longitudinal mode has to be significant because of how longitudinal modes behave.

So I ask of those posters who deny what I am saying: How much experience do you have examining, and shaping V-bars? How much experience do you have examining how hard a casting is? How much experience do you have studying longitudinal waves in piano strings? How much experience do you have looking at worn piano strings under microscopes? And finally: why do you think I would lie to you?

Ed, you are bringing up interesting ideas. My guess, and only a guess, is that differences between the 2 casting methods and their effect on damping longitudinal modes, for example, relate mostly to places where the strings contact the frame, where differences in surface hardness and lubricity are likely be the main contributor to the effects you describe. I think it's important to distinguish between surface effects and the bulk characteristics of the castings, specifically damping factor and Young's modulus. I suspect those 2 parameters of the bulk material probably don't vary that much between casting methods, and aren't strong contributors to tone differences. The stiffness of the various parts of the plate can easily be adjusted by changing the bracing and cross-sectional areas of various parts of the plate, so the desired stiffness can be obtained irrespective of which casting process is used. I'm not convinced that the bulk damping factor is incredibly important. I suspect the damping factor that results from the 2 casting methods is quite similar, and can be altered by the choice of the particular cast iron used, and perhaps the cooling rate. Also, the damping factor of the plate may well be less of a contributor than the damping of the wooden frame, the damping of the soundboard, the damping caused by the hammers staying in contact with the string after the initial strike, the damping of the strings' terminations, etc.. I do recall Del Frandrich reporting on successful prototype pianos that had steel plates that had been water-jet cut with welded on portions as required. That suggests to me that, if frames are properly designed for a given material, that good results can be obtained from a wide variety of material. Of course, one still has the issue of surface hardness and lubricity to deal with, which I don't want to downplay.
Originally Posted by Roy123
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I should point out to those here who are ignoring it or unaware, that research has shown longitudinal wave energy has a significant effect on piano tone.

This research has also shown that longitudinal wave energy is very "leaky and sneaky".

The influence of the damping character of the casting on longitudinal mode has to be significant because of how longitudinal modes behave.

So I ask of those posters who deny what I am saying: How much experience do you have examining, and shaping V-bars? How much experience do you have examining how hard a casting is? How much experience do you have studying longitudinal waves in piano strings? How much experience do you have looking at worn piano strings under microscopes? And finally: why do you think I would lie to you?

Ed, you are bringing up interesting ideas. My guess, and only a guess, is that differences between the 2 casting methods and their effect on damping longitudinal modes, for example, relate mostly to places where the strings contact the frame, where differences in surface hardness and lubricity are likely be the main contributor to the effects you describe. I think it's important to distinguish between surface effects and the bulk characteristics of the castings, specifically damping factor and Young's modulus. I suspect those 2 parameters of the bulk material probably don't vary that much between casting methods, and aren't strong contributors to tone differences. The stiffness of the various parts of the plate can easily be adjusted by changing the bracing and cross-sectional areas of various parts of the plate, so the desired stiffness can be obtained irrespective of which casting process is used. I'm not convinced that the bulk damping factor is incredibly important. I suspect the damping factor that results from the 2 casting methods is quite similar, and can be altered by the choice of the particular cast iron used, and perhaps the cooling rate. Also, the damping factor of the plate may well be less of a contributor than the damping of the wooden frame, the damping of the soundboard, the damping caused by the hammers staying in contact with the string after the initial strike, the damping of the strings' terminations, etc.. I do recall Del Frandrich reporting on successful prototype pianos that had steel plates that had been water-jet cut with welded on portions as required. That suggests to me that, if frames are properly designed for a given material, that good results can be obtained from a wide variety of material. Of course, one still has the issue of surface hardness and lubricity to deal with, which I don't want to downplay.
Yes the next step for such hard work is a study, but if all you've got to show for yourself is "pianos", well sorry but that's not going to cut it.
And if the "pianos" are hundreds of miles away, and the claim includes things that would take decades to prove, there is not much chance of verification.
Quote
So I ask of those posters who deny what I am saying: How much experience do you have examining, and shaping V-bars? How much experience do you have examining how hard a casting is? How much experience do you have studying longitudinal waves in piano strings? How much experience do you have looking at worn piano strings under microscopes? And finally: why do you think I would lie to you?
Ed, the problem is that you continue to miss the point. We believe you that some plates are case hardened. Your work with some that are harder than others corroborates that. But the claim that case hardened plates are inferior is unsubstantiated. It is your opinion. You may be correct. But you still have presented no evidence that pianos with case-hardened plates have a faster rate of string breakage, all else equal.

You conceded that the strings "soft machine" a capo d'astro bar that was not case hardened, i.e. wear slight grooves into the capo d'astro bar. This may preserve the strings some by having the force of tuning and tension act on the softer capo d'astro bar instead of on the strings. But it also creates wear on the capo d'astro bar, changing its shape, which it seems to me could introduce subtle changes to the speaking length of the strings that run across the capo d'astro bar. Tuning to pitch would compensate for this, but it would alter the tension on the strings (potentially introducing more wear on the pin block in the treble area), alter the scale design, and alter resonance frequencies, i.e. introducing subtle changes in tone. The soft machining of the strings into the plate also will create metal dust. This will increase friction on the string sliding on the capo d'astro bar when tuning, also likely to be undesirable.

But any such claims also need to be substantiated or falsified.

Here is a famous advertising story about capo d'astro bars and that illuminates how pianos are marketed.

https://johndrake.typepad.com/advertising/2016/04/finding-the-capo-dastro-bar-1.html

I am not surprised that you found an Aeolian era Mason & Hamlin to have a hardened plate. They clearly were concerned with plate stability.

I think it is unlikely that the iron casting methods available in 1825, when Alpheus Babcock was granted a patent for his invention of a full cast iron plate, would coincidentally lead to the optimal cast iron plate. There has been almost 200 years of advancement in metallurgy since then, and it is indisputable that various piano manufacturers have experimented with technologies developed since then.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Quote
So I ask of those posters who deny what I am saying: How much experience do you have examining, and shaping V-bars? How much experience do you have examining how hard a casting is? How much experience do you have studying longitudinal waves in piano strings? How much experience do you have looking at worn piano strings under microscopes? And finally: why do you think I would lie to you?
Ed, the problem is that you continue to miss the point. We believe you that some plates are case hardened. Your work with some that are harder than others corroborates that. But the claim that case hardened plates are inferior is unsubstantiated. It is your opinion. You may be correct. But you still have presented no evidence that pianos with case-hardened plates have a faster rate of string breakage, all else equal.

You conceded that the strings "soft machine" a capo d'astro bar that was not case hardened, i.e. wear slight grooves into the capo d'astro bar. This may preserve the strings some by having the force of tuning and tension act on the softer capo d'astro bar instead of on the strings. But it also creates wear on the capo d'astro bar, changing its shape, which it seems to me could introduce subtle changes to the speaking length of the strings that run across the capo d'astro bar. Tuning to pitch would compensate for this, but it would alter the tension on the strings (potentially introducing more wear on the pin block in the treble area), alter the scale design, and alter resonance frequencies, i.e. introducing subtle changes in tone. The soft machining of the strings into the plate also will create metal dust. This will increase friction on the string sliding on the capo d'astro bar when tuning, also likely to be undesirable.

But any such claims also need to be substantiated or falsified.

Here is a famous advertising story about capo d'astro bars and that illuminates how pianos are marketed.

https://johndrake.typepad.com/advertising/2016/04/finding-the-capo-dastro-bar-1.html

I am not surprised that you found an Aeolian era Mason & Hamlin to have a hardened plate. They clearly were concerned with plate stability.

I think it is unlikely that the iron casting methods available in 1825, when Alpheus Babcock was granted a patent for his invention of a full cast iron plate, would coincidentally lead to the optimal cast iron plate. There has been almost 200 years of advancement in metallurgy since then, and it is indisputable that various piano manufacturers have experimented with technologies developed since then.

There is a big problem in the portion of your argument that I bolded. If what you say were true, the brass agraffes would be utter disasters. However, they're not, which means that the slight groove that the strings wear in the metal of the agraffes and in the less hard capo bars is simply not a problem. Now, in order for that to be the case, presumably the shape of the agraffes and shape of the capo would have to be appropriate to the task. I would add further that the string resting on a knife edge of sorts would surely be undesirable, so the small groove caused by the pressure and slight movement of the string on the agraffe or capo may be just the ticket.
Again back to Retsacnal’s point. Why would Yamaha choose to use wet sand casting on their CF series pianos? Because it is profitable to do so. Why does Yamaha use VPro Casting on all their other pianos? Because it is profitable. I know there are additional component differences between the CF series and the SX series. There is even more component differentiation between the CF and CX line. Determining exactly which component brings the greatest improvement in sound and feel is like figuring out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Acoustic pianos are exceptionally complicated analog machines.
Originally Posted by j&j
Again back to Retsacnal’s point. Why would Yamaha choose to use wet sand casting on their CF series pianos?

Because Yamaha says this for the plates used on their CF series:

”The frames are individually hand molded and sand cast to enhance the strength and stability of the pianos. This contributes to the outstanding tonal character and sustain of the series.”
However, that is not a comparison. It is just advertising hype.
Originally Posted by BDB
However, that is not a comparison. It is just advertising hype.

I already explained this to Hakki and he just ignored me.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by BDB
However, that is not a comparison. It is just advertising hype.

I already explained this to Hakki and he just ignored me.

Unless you two have inside information that this is just an advertising lie and not true, I will continue to ignore your opinions.

I trust and believe what Yamaha says. They are a very reputable company.
Whilst Yamaha is a business, I can't think that the reason they use wet sand cast plates on their CF series is because it's more profitable to do so. I would think since the vast majority of pianos they build use V-Pro plates, it would be more profitable for them to use V-Pro plates in the premium line and sell them for the current retail price.

Yamaha will tell you themselves that the CF series pianos represent the best piano they can build at the moment, and that they are constantly looking for ways to make each CF piano better than the previous one. Obviously at that level of piano making, better is subjective because one pianist likes one sound and another likes a different sound. I can only think that the reason Yamaha use wet sand cast plates for the top line and V-pro plates for everything else is that they have discovered that is what is required for producing the best possible tone that they can in a high-end piano.
Thanks JF. I wouldn’t have said it any better.

Yamaha has dedicated their best staff to develop the CF series. They say it took 19 years. Of course the reason they choose to use those plates in their CF line might not be just for advertising purposes.

It is sad to see people from nowhere dispraise all the hard work those employees have put day and night through their lives to develop their flagship pianos.
Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
Whilst Yamaha is a business, I can't think that the reason they use wet sand cast plates on their CF series is because it's more profitable to do so. I would think since the vast majority of pianos they build use V-Pro plates, it would be more profitable for them to use V-Pro plates in the premium line and sell them for the current retail price.

Yamaha will tell you themselves that the CF series pianos represent the best piano they can build at the moment, and that they are constantly looking for ways to make each CF piano better than the previous one. Obviously at that level of piano making, better is subjective because one pianist likes one sound and another likes a different sound. I can only think that the reason Yamaha use wet sand cast plates for the top line and V-pro plates for everything else is that they have discovered that is what is required for producing the best possible tone that they can in a high-end piano.

Perhaps Yamaha should get Hailun to manufacture wet sand cast plates for them at the Hailun factory, just like the ones Hailun uses in their much cheaper pianos. Then the whole Yamaha range could have that "high end" tone!

I doubt Yamaha have conclusively demonstrated that wet sand cast produces a better tone, and "better" is highly subjective anyway. If they didn't do it for economic or manufacturing scale reasons, they probably just did it because that's what Steinway and other brands are using and it was safest just to copy them. It was, after all, their goal to try to compete with these more prestigious brands.
Originally Posted by Hakki
It is sad to see people from nowhere dispraise all the hard work those employees have put day and night through their lives to develop their flagship pianos.

It's sad to see Hakki (not sure where he's from, perhaps nowhere) dispraise all the hard work Kawai employees put into developing the Shigeru Kawai with it's inferior V cast plate.
Compared to the accumulated expertise of companies like Yamaha and Kawai or Steinway, most of us here are often from nowhere, including me of course.
It's so funny reading the arguments here about what sort of tech goes into high end pianos. At the end of the day, all pianos are laughably low technology, largely unchanged for 150 years or so. Today's marketing focuses on this "artisanal" aspect, but it's just marketing. Cast iron is the cheapest and lowest tech way to make a plate - even V-pro. They use this because the plate is over engineered and there's no point in making it better than it is because it makes no sonic difference. As for the piano frame, again, super low technology wood, that has tolerances loose enough it can be built by hand. In fact, all of the components are pretty low-tech except maybe the hammers. But notice all the zillion adjustments required in the action? That's because they're manufactured to very slack tolerances which have to be adjusted for. Same for all aspects of a piano's tone. Think of the stringing mechanism - steel pins whacked into a slightly small hole. It works well enough to keep tuners in a job! M&H tried to improve with the screw stringer, but it was overkill and not needed, given all the other adjustments required.

It's amazing all these low-tech components can come together to make a great sounding and functional instrument - but that's because of the skill of all the twiddlers and adjusters, not because there's some magic cutting-edge technology used in the manufacture of a piano.
Why not all of us just leave this low tech forum.
Originally Posted by Hakki
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by BDB
However, that is not a comparison. It is just advertising hype.

I already explained this to Hakki and he just ignored me.

Unless you two have inside information that this is just an advertising lie and not true, I will continue to ignore your opinions.

I trust and believe what Yamaha says. They are a very reputable company.

I cannot say anything about Sonepica, but I did not say it was a lie. Hype is not necessarily a lie, it is just boosting their products. Show me where they say that sand casting is better than vacuum casting. As far as I can see, it does not say anything about that anywhere in their ads.

Yamaha is a good company that makes fine pianos. They use both methods. They do not claim one method makes better castings than the other.

I just believe that the choice of method is mainly economics. I suppose if you go back far enough, you can find pianos the were made with sand cast plates and the same model is now made with vacuum cast plates. I suspect that was the case with the 1953 U3 that I tuned years ago, and I can assure you that there was nothing about it that would distinguish it from modern U3s which undoubtedly have vacuum cast plates.
Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
Whilst Yamaha is a business, I can't think that the reason they use wet sand cast plates on their CF series is because it's more profitable to do so. I would think since the vast majority of pianos they build use V-Pro plates, it would be more profitable for them to use V-Pro plates in the premium line and sell them for the current retail price.

Yamaha will tell you themselves that the CF series pianos represent the best piano they can build at the moment, and that they are constantly looking for ways to make each CF piano better than the previous one. Obviously at that level of piano making, better is subjective because one pianist likes one sound and another likes a different sound. I can only think that the reason Yamaha use wet sand cast plates for the top line and V-pro plates for everything else is that they have discovered that is what is required for producing the best possible tone that they can in a high-end piano.

If Yamaha changed over to VPlate for their CF series and kept the same price, they would likely lose the prestige that comes with a wet sand cast plate and lose a good chunk of the premier market. It would affect the bottom line. The sand cast plate is needed for that price point. If Yamaha had to produce as many CF pianos as CX and GC pianos, it might be necessary to move to VPro just to meet demand.
Every successful business has to turn a profit or they very quickly go out of business.
This is from Yamaha U series page:

"Yamaha was the first company to use an advanced Vacuum Shield Mold casting technology called V-Pro to create a stronger, lighter, more durable frame. Every U Series piano features a full-perimeter frame built to our exacting specifications at our Iwata Forge in Japan."
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Hakki
It is sad to see people from nowhere dispraise all the hard work those employees have put day and night through their lives to develop their flagship pianos.

It's sad to see Hakki (not sure where he's from, perhaps nowhere) dispraise all the hard work Kawai employees put into developing the Shigeru Kawai with it's inferior V cast plate.
You beat me to it.

The same employees who stand over steam jets to individually shape each strip of wood that goes into the rims before they're glued.

The same employees they fly up to half way across the world to your home to make sure you have the finest instrument in the world well over a year after you had purchased it.

The same pianos that use decades prepped and dried select "Ezo" spruce that was collected at a time when Shigeru Kawai was still alive. (Yes while Yamaha was manufacturing decades after decades of home stereo equipments that wood was being carefully dried and prepped to this day in preparation for their use in the finest pianos available)

The same piano that copied the bridge design of a Hamburg Steinway because they thought that was the finest design available.

The same pianos that use hard boxwood caps over the treble strings, cold pressed hammers, and concert grade agraffes- just because.

Yet in all of their quest to build the finest piano available out of Japan and utilized man labor to fanatical levels in the process they had no problem incorporating a V-pro plate in all their Shigeru pianos up to the SK-7. The only time they decided to use sand casted plate was in their concert grands when they felt it made no economic sense to retool their factories to manufacture a V-pro plate for a 9 foot grand so they built these plates the old fashioned way as Don Mannino stressed early in this thread.

It's clear the artisans at Kawai so no difference in sonic quality between a V-pro plate and sand casted plate. (Yes this is not a science, just a subjective opinion).

I trust the artisans who build the the Shigeru Kawai, and I trust Kawai.
I both trust and believe Kawai and Yamaha. Both are very reputable companies.
I just don't think what they say is just for advertising purposes.

Kawai believes in ABS-Carbon action, Yamaha does not.
Kawai makes its actions a bit heavier and Yamaha a bit lighter.

I both respect the decisions of the designers at both company.
They strive for to make their best piano in their own approaches.

I just find it sad to easily dispraise these reputable companies.
Originally Posted by BDB
However, that is not a comparison. It is just advertising hype.
Of course. That was pointed out to the poster several times when he previously quoted that same phrase.
So it boils down that both Kawai and Yamaha actually know that using wet sand or V-pro is not relevant and does not cause a substantial change on their tone, sustain, whatever...

They know this, but yet, they think the buyers do not know what they know.

So they are both using it as an advertising trick to their advantage.

Is this it?

Are these companies joking with the public?
Originally Posted by pyropaul
It's so funny reading the arguments here about what sort of tech goes into high end pianos. At the end of the day, all pianos are laughably low technology, largely unchanged for 150 years or so. Today's marketing focuses on this "artisanal" aspect, but it's just marketing. Cast iron is the cheapest and lowest tech way to make a plate - even V-pro. They use this because the plate is over engineered and there's no point in making it better than it is because it makes no sonic difference. As for the piano frame, again, super low technology wood, that has tolerances loose enough it can be built by hand. In fact, all of the components are pretty low-tech except maybe the hammers. But notice all the zillion adjustments required in the action? That's because they're manufactured to very slack tolerances which have to be adjusted for. Same for all aspects of a piano's tone. Think of the stringing mechanism - steel pins whacked into a slightly small hole. It works well enough to keep tuners in a job! M&H tried to improve with the screw stringer, but it was overkill and not needed, given all the other adjustments required.

It's amazing all these low-tech components can come together to make a great sounding and functional instrument - but that's because of the skill of all the twiddlers and adjusters, not because there's some magic cutting-edge technology used in the manufacture of a piano.
Exactly. My understanding is the plate is supposed a big strong heavy inert inorganic object that holds everything together but does not introduce any sonic resonances of its own. It's obviously an important part of the piano but it was introduced way back in 1825 by Alpheus Babcock in Boston with Steinway soon after adapting the design in their own pianos. It was not rocket science back then, and it's not rocket science now.
Originally Posted by Roy123
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Quote
So I ask of those posters who deny what I am saying: How much experience do you have examining, and shaping V-bars? How much experience do you have examining how hard a casting is? How much experience do you have studying longitudinal waves in piano strings? How much experience do you have looking at worn piano strings under microscopes? And finally: why do you think I would lie to you?
Ed, the problem is that you continue to miss the point. We believe you that some plates are case hardened. Your work with some that are harder than others corroborates that. But the claim that case hardened plates are inferior is unsubstantiated. It is your opinion. You may be correct. But you still have presented no evidence that pianos with case-hardened plates have a faster rate of string breakage, all else equal.

You conceded that the strings "soft machine" a capo d'astro bar that was not case hardened, i.e. wear slight grooves into the capo d'astro bar. This may preserve the strings some by having the force of tuning and tension act on the softer capo d'astro bar instead of on the strings. But it also creates wear on the capo d'astro bar, changing its shape, which it seems to me could introduce subtle changes to the speaking length of the strings that run across the capo d'astro bar. Tuning to pitch would compensate for this, but it would alter the tension on the strings (potentially introducing more wear on the pin block in the treble area), alter the scale design, and alter resonance frequencies, i.e. introducing subtle changes in tone. The soft machining of the strings into the plate also will create metal dust. This will increase friction on the string sliding on the capo d'astro bar when tuning, also likely to be undesirable.

But any such claims also need to be substantiated or falsified.

Here is a famous advertising story about capo d'astro bars and that illuminates how pianos are marketed.

https://johndrake.typepad.com/advertising/2016/04/finding-the-capo-dastro-bar-1.html

I am not surprised that you found an Aeolian era Mason & Hamlin to have a hardened plate. They clearly were concerned with plate stability.

I think it is unlikely that the iron casting methods available in 1825, when Alpheus Babcock was granted a patent for his invention of a full cast iron plate, would coincidentally lead to the optimal cast iron plate. There has been almost 200 years of advancement in metallurgy since then, and it is indisputable that various piano manufacturers have experimented with technologies developed since then.

There is a big problem in the portion of your argument that I bolded. If what you say were true, the brass agraffes would be utter disasters. However, they're not, which means that the slight groove that the strings wear in the metal of the agraffes and in the less hard capo bars is simply not a problem. Now, in order for that to be the case, presumably the shape of the agraffes and shape of the capo would have to be appropriate to the task. I would add further that the string resting on a knife edge of sorts would surely be undesirable, so the small groove caused by the pressure and slight movement of the string on the agraffe or capo may be just the ticket.

Yes. My point was that any theory needs to be substantiated or falsified with experimental outcome data, not that I had a better theory than Ed. I'm sure any theory I come up with is far less well motivated than any that Ed has.
Originally Posted by Hakki
I both trust and believe Kawai and Yamaha. Both are very reputable companies.
I just don't think what they say is just for advertising purposes.

Kawai believes in ABS-Carbon action, Yamaha does not.
Kawai makes its actions a bit heavier and Yamaha a bit lighter.

I both respect the decisions of the designers at both company.
They strive for to make their best piano in their own approaches.

I just find it sad to easily dispraise these reputable companies.
Hakki I don't think anyone's dispraising anybody. Sometimes economic decisions have to be made by any company and when those economic decisions have no bearing on quality of services or products those decisions are easier to make. It's even easier to make when you can make a profit off of it like Yamaha made by going the traditional route by incorporating a sand cast plate in their top tier piano. It looks good on marketing material. Kawai apparently doesn't care about that stuff. Just build the piano with whatever is available if a V-pro plate is just as good- fine. We use that. We'll let the piano speak for itself but why use a sand cast plate on an SK-7 when we already have a V-pro plate that produces the same result. It's a waste of resources. These are for-profit companies. They still have shareholders they have to answer to.
Originally Posted by Jethro
Exactly. My understanding is the plate is supposed a big strong heavy inert inorganic object that holds everything together but does not introduce any sonic resonances of its own. It's obviously an important part of the piano but it was introduced way back in 1825 by Alpheus Babcock in Boston with Steinway soon after adapting the design in their own pianos. It was not rocket science back then, and it's not rocket science now.

Chickering was the first company to license the patented plate and use it in pianos.
Originally Posted by Hakki
So it boils down that both Kawai and Yamaha actually know that using wet sand or V-pro is not relevant and does not cause a substantial change on their tone, sustain, whatever...

They know this, but yet, they think the buyers do not know what they know.

So they are both using it as an advertising trick to their advantage.

Is this it?

Are these companies joking with the public?

It generally is people whose livelihood depends on the sale of pianos with wet sand plates who make claims about properties of vacuum-cast plates in comparison to wet sand cast plates.
I just can't make the comments you do.

Because I just don't know and do not want to speculate on a subject that I don't have first hand information.

What if they actually tried both type of plates and made their decision accordingly? Do we surely know that they did or did not?

At least I don't know. That is why I just quoted what they say. But those quotes were dispraised.

Maybe I am a bit naive.
Originally Posted by Hakki
Thanks JF. I wouldn’t have said it any better.

Yamaha has dedicated their best staff to develop the CF series. They say it took 19 years. Of course the reason they choose to use those plates in their CF line might not be just for advertising purposes.

It is sad to see people from nowhere dispraise all the hard work those employees have put day and night through their lives to develop their flagship pianos.
I find Sonepica's suggestion that Yamaha probably uses sand casted plates on the CF line simply because Steinways uses them interesting.It must have been a daunting decision to make these concert grands.Who did they have to compete with? Well Steinways of course!

Regarding "people from nowhere"I do wonder where Hakki comes?
Originally Posted by Hakki
Compared to the accumulated expertise of companies like Yamaha and Kawai or Steinway, most of us here are often from nowhere, including me of course.
Originally Posted by Hakki
Because I just don't know and do not want to speculate on a subject that I don't have first hand information.

Drawing conclusions from marketing pieces is speculation.

I actually have zero opinion on whether v-cast or wet sand cast plates can be superior to the other if fabricated to the highest pianistic standard.

As a piano consumer, I find it unhelpful when people trying to sell a particular brand of piano raise a regular drumbeat of purportedly negative properties of their competitors. If you cannot sell your own product just by calling out its own virtues, I tend to assume that means it does not have enough of them for the product to distinguish itself from competitors by its own virtues.
One of the problems people are having is that what is "better" is not necessarily the same thing. Sand cast plates may be "better" because they are more economical for small runs of castings, while vacuum cast plates may be "better" economically for large runs. Two standards which depend only on economics, not on whether they impart any better performance of the piano. Nothing in Yamaha's literature implies that the method of casting the plate makes any difference to the performance of the piano. It only says that they are cast in two different manners.
BDB; what causes false beats in plain piano strings?
V-cast plates are sand cast plates. They use negative pressure with dry sand to hold the sand in place. Wet sand cast plates are sand cast plates. They use wet sand to hold the sand in place.

Had Steinway or Bechstein developed vacuum casting, I expect we would be having a very different discussion right now.
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Whilst Yamaha is a business, I can't think that the reason they use wet sand cast plates on their CF series is because it's more profitable to do so. I would think since the vast majority of pianos they build use V-Pro plates, it would be more profitable for them to use V-Pro plates in the premium line and sell them for the current retail price.
The point of v-cast plates is that they are more consistent so that some of the manufacture of the outer case can be automated. This involves a fixed cost for the tooling needed to cut the case parts. The fixed cost for piano A with v-cast plate does not eliminate the fixed cost for piano B with v-cast plates. There needs to be enough volume of production for the tooling cost for the outer case to be paid back through savings in variable cost custom work.

Wet sand cast plates are less consistent in shape and require more manual, custom work when fabricating the outer case.
Causes are not something that concerns me. I just deal with them as best I can. Again, "better" or "best" are not hard and fast terms. An expensive solution on a cheap piano or for a poor client is not a good way of dealing with them.

I am sure you have some theories about the causes. I do not want to hear them.
Also, the vacuum chambers Y and K use may not be large enough for a plate for a 9' piano, and they don't make enough 9' pianos to justify a larger vacuum chamber, which may be more cumbersome for smaller plates.

Y and K know the precise reason. None of us do.
Robbie Gennet has some videos of him trying out Yamahas premium piano range, including the S7X, S5X, CF6 and CFX. He actually liked the S7X the best out of all of them (see his thoughts on the S7X at the end of the video at 3m20s, and also his response to a question about this in the comments section). If the CF line have tonal superiority due to their wet sand cast frames, it was not something he noticed in a side by side comparison.



Of course, I can also mention the review of the S7X by James Pavel Shawcross. Now I know some of you here will disparage his expertise by saying he is not a serious pianist, nor piano technician; however, he has played a lot of high end pianos and thought carefully about their tonal characteristics. He considered the Yamaha S7X to be one of his favourites, despite its V cast frame.

Wait, I just realised something really concerning - Robbie Gennet is playing *JAZZ* music on that piano! But that piano is only suitable for early classical music!
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Of course, I can also mention the review of the S7X by James Pavel Shawcross. Now I know some of you here will disparage his expertise by saying he is not a serious pianist, nor piano technician; however, he has played a lot of high end pianos and thought carefully about their tonal characteristics. He considered the Yamaha S7X to be one of his favourites, despite its V cast frame.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FSCZCqWe-Y
The opinions of one or two people are no more than that. In the case of JPS I think it matters greatly that he is not an advanced pianist or piano tech since those are two of the biggest indicators of knowledge. It matters little that he has played a lot of pianos and "thought carefully"(how would anyone know that and how can someone with little knowledge do that?).
I’m sure Yamaha has noted, debated, and agonized over why Kawai can use VPro plates in all their Shigerus except for the concert grand. Plus, Yamaha changed the S series sand cast plate to a VPro plate while introducing the special rim that for now is only found on the SX series so now so you can’t really compare the differences between the two different series to hear the difference.
IMHO
Del’s post, which has been ignored by many, is that the method of casting doesn’t matter. That’s enough for me.
Originally Posted by dogperson
IMHO
Del’s post, which has been ignored by many, is that the method of casting doesn’t matter. That’s enough for me.

Agreed. Del is far more experienced than I am, so that sounds about right. It makes sense. If one method was proved to be a significant improvement over the other, every piano maker would move to use the better method.
I strongly suggest that anyone purchasing a piano ask the seller or have tested the V-bar for hardness regardless of the plate casting methods used. And the profile of the V-bar should be examined and best results have been proven over time to require the V-bar to be a definite V-shape, (most V-bars are more U-shaped), with a 1mm string contact width at the apex of the V.

It is all about not crushing the wire, or subjecting it to abrasion during tuning, and allowing for full freedom for the pivot termination principle to function.

Soft grey iron is the most self-lubricious. Harder forms of grey iron are more abrasive. Ask any machinist who works with iron castings. All iron castings have a hard skin on them so the V-bar must be made oversize during the casting process and machined down to final specs.

When I published my text for piano technicians titled: The Educated Piano; Steinway purchased seven copies. I ran into Michael Mohr, (who works for them and is Franz Mohr's son) at a PTG convention shortly after my book came out. Michael told me after he read my blurb on V-bars he went and looked up all the different specs Steinway has had over the years about V-bars. Michael said, "He found one that described my specs exactly the same way." I told him, I know, I have found a few old Steinway's that were at that spec.
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Michael told me after he read my blurb on V-bars he went and looked up all the different specs Steinway has had over the years about V-bars. Michael said, "He found one that described my specs exactly the same way." I told him, I know, I have found a few old Steinway's that were at that spec.
Well, that would explain why there is no data showing Yamaha and Kawai pianos breaking strings more often than Steinways. Apparently Steinway has been using the wrong v-bar spec for many decades as well.
And they are far from alone on this.
In other words, pianos with v-pro plates do not shed strings more frequently than other pianos made in recent decades.

Here is an unclassified report of a study by the Australian military that found no measurable difference in hardness whether negative pressure was applied (two different levels of vacuum were tested) or the casting was done at atmospheric pressure.

https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a623833.pdf

Thus, if plates are being made of a harder material today than 150 years ago, it certainly seems to be intentional, realizing whatever detriments and benefits the harder plate achieves.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Of course, I can also mention the review of the S7X by James Pavel Shawcross. Now I know some of you here will disparage his expertise by saying he is not a serious pianist, nor piano technician; however, he has played a lot of high end pianos and thought carefully about their tonal characteristics. He considered the Yamaha S7X to be one of his favourites, despite its V cast frame.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FSCZCqWe-Y
The opinions of one or two people are no more than that. In the case of JPS I think it matters greatly that he is not an advanced pianist or piano tech since those are two of the biggest indicators of knowledge. It matters little that he has played a lot of pianos and "thought carefully"(how would anyone know that and how can someone with little knowledge do that?).

Well then whose opinion should we value, pianoloverus? What about yours? Have you noticed a difference between pianos with different types of plates?

Before I purchased the Yamaha S7X, I went to the Fazioli dealer. Now a Fazioli would have been almost double the cost of the S7X, but if it was a far superior piano, I would have considered it. I played the 278 for a while. It was fine, but was just like an ordinary piano. Nothing about it struck me as especially beautiful. Then the dealer informed me that he had the 228 upstairs, so I followed him up the stairs to try it. The main thing I noticed about it was that it didn't have the sharp "attack" character of the Yamaha, but had a smoother, rounder sound. Of course, I can't say how much the plate had to do with the different characteristics of the piano. But after about 15 seconds of playing the Fazioli 228 I knew it was not worth the extra AU80k-100k to me. It was different. Not necessarily better unless you happen to prefer its particular characteristics. It was a lot more expensive.

As for the idea that wet sand cast plates produce better sustain, the Bosendorfers and Faziolis I played all had very little sustain in the high treble. Probably no better than that on the Yamahas. The only wet sand cast piano I played where I noticed superior sustain in the treble was the cheap Hailun 218.
You made your choice and you are happy with it. That is all that matters.

But why are you trying to convince other people?

Some people just prefer to buy a Bosendorfer or a Fazioli or a Steinway even it is twice the price of an S7X. They just think its worth it. And that is their choice.
Just let it go.
Originally Posted by Hakki
You made your choice and you are happy with it. That is all that matters.

But why are you trying to convince other people?

Some people just prefer to buy a Bosendorfer or a Fazioli or a Steinway even it is twice the price of an S7X. They just think its worth it. And that is their choice.
Just let it go.

Hakki, you seem confused about the purpose of a forum.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Of course, I can also mention the review of the S7X by James Pavel Shawcross. Now I know some of you here will disparage his expertise by saying he is not a serious pianist, nor piano technician; however, he has played a lot of high end pianos and thought carefully about their tonal characteristics. He considered the Yamaha S7X to be one of his favourites, despite its V cast frame.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FSCZCqWe-Y
The opinions of one or two people are no more than that. In the case of JPS I think it matters greatly that he is not an advanced pianist or piano tech since those are two of the biggest indicators of knowledge. It matters little that he has played a lot of pianos and "thought carefully"(how would anyone know that and how can someone with little knowledge do that?).

Well then whose opinion should we value, pianoloverus? What about yours? Have you noticed a difference between pianos with different types of plates?

Before I purchased the Yamaha S7X, I went to the Fazioli dealer. Now a Fazioli would have been almost double the cost of the S7X, but if it was a far superior piano, I would have considered it. I played the 278 for a while. It was fine, but was just like an ordinary piano. Nothing about it struck me as especially beautiful. Then the dealer informed me that he had the 228 upstairs, so I followed him up the stairs to try it. The main thing I noticed about it was that it didn't have the sharp "attack" character of the Yamaha, but had a smoother, rounder sound. Of course, I can't say how much the plate had to do with the different characteristics of the piano. But after about 15 seconds of playing the Fazioli 228 I knew it was not worth the extra AU80k-100k to me. It was different. Not necessarily better unless you happen to prefer its particular characteristics. It was a lot more expensive.

As for the idea that wet sand cast plates produce better sustain, the Bosendorfers and Faziolis I played all had very little sustain in the high treble. Probably no better than that on the Yamahas. The only wet sand cast piano I played where I noticed superior sustain in the treble was the cheap Hailun 218.
You're missing the point again. Any one or two people's opinions do not mean that much because the sample size is so small, and this is especially the case when they are neither excellent pianists nor excellent techs. I think the two people whose video reviews of the S7X you posted fall in this "neither" category.

Not sure why you posted your review of Fazioli and Boesendorfer, but there are many very great pianists whose opinion about the quality of those pianos is diametrically opposed to yours.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Of course, I can also mention the review of the S7X by James Pavel Shawcross. Now I know some of you here will disparage his expertise by saying he is not a serious pianist, nor piano technician; however, he has played a lot of high end pianos and thought carefully about their tonal characteristics. He considered the Yamaha S7X to be one of his favourites, despite its V cast frame.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FSCZCqWe-Y
The opinions of one or two people are no more than that. In the case of JPS I think it matters greatly that he is not an advanced pianist or piano tech since those are two of the biggest indicators of knowledge. It matters little that he has played a lot of pianos and "thought carefully"(how would anyone know that and how can someone with little knowledge do that?).

Well then whose opinion should we value, pianoloverus? What about yours? Have you noticed a difference between pianos with different types of plates?

Before I purchased the Yamaha S7X, I went to the Fazioli dealer. Now a Fazioli would have been almost double the cost of the S7X, but if it was a far superior piano, I would have considered it. I played the 278 for a while. It was fine, but was just like an ordinary piano. Nothing about it struck me as especially beautiful. Then the dealer informed me that he had the 228 upstairs, so I followed him up the stairs to try it. The main thing I noticed about it was that it didn't have the sharp "attack" character of the Yamaha, but had a smoother, rounder sound. Of course, I can't say how much the plate had to do with the different characteristics of the piano. But after about 15 seconds of playing the Fazioli 228 I knew it was not worth the extra AU80k-100k to me. It was different. Not necessarily better unless you happen to prefer its particular characteristics. It was a lot more expensive.

As for the idea that wet sand cast plates produce better sustain, the Bosendorfers and Faziolis I played all had very little sustain in the high treble. Probably no better than that on the Yamahas. The only wet sand cast piano I played where I noticed superior sustain in the treble was the cheap Hailun 218.
You're missing the point again. Any one or two people's opinions do not mean that much because the sample size is so small, and this is especially the case when they are neither excellent pianists nor excellent techs. I think the two people whose video reviews of the S7X you posted fall in this "neither" category.

Not sure why you posted your review of Fazioli and Boesendorfer, but there are many very great pianists whose opinion about the quality of those pianos is diametrically opposed to yours.

Well what about all the techs at Kawai who chose to use a V cast plate for their premier Shigeru Kawai pianos? Do they fall into your "neither" category as well? The fact that there are people who do not seem to agree that a wet sand cast plate produces a superior tone, sheds doubt on whether anyone can objectively claim that it absolutely does.
And some people are spending their USD 75k for a Steinway S (5'1") piano instead of buying a much bigger Shigeru Kawai for the same money.
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Quote
In layman’s terms it’s called talking out of ones ass.

Actually, it's simply having an opinion. Describing it this way seems unnecessarily inflammatory.

PW is not a peer reviewed journal, and the scientific method isn't required to support anyone's thoughts and opinions. If that were the threshold for "publication" here, we'd lose the vast majority of content, most of which is simply based on people's experience and anecdotal observations.
There's nothing wrong with having an opinion or making observations, or having theories or hypothesis- that's how good science begins. But you have to test these theories before you state them as fact.

Many tarot card readers have been in the been in the business for a long time. They've held seminars. Written books. Made hundreds of readings. They are so called experts in their field. But unless they have real empirical evidence and a firm methodology to back up what they say, there's always a good chance that someone's going to call them out as quacks.

You back up what you say with some solid research and there's a good chance that people will take you seriously.


You missed the point. I wasn't talking about "good science" or disagreeing. I was talking about the insult you added after making your otherwise valid points. Forgive me ... I sometimes forget that we don't all maintain the same level of decorum.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Well what about all the techs at Kawai who chose to use a V cast plate for their premier Shigeru Kawai pianos? Do they fall into your "neither" category as well? The fact that there are people who do not seem to agree that a wet sand cast plate produces a superior tone, sheds doubt on whether anyone can objectively claim that it absolutely does.
My earlier post very clearly states that a good tech would not be in the "neither" category. I haven't expressed a single opinion on wet sand cast vs. v cast so your second sentence has nothing to do with my comment you replied to.
Originally Posted by Hakki
And some people are spending their USD 75k for a Steinway S (5'1") piano instead of buying a much bigger Shigeru Kawai for the same money.

Preferring a Steinway over an SK or the other way around are absolutely legitimate preferences. Their actions are very different. Their tonal qualities are different. This is not a thread about whether spending X amount on a Steinway, Kawai, or Yamaha will fetch a better piano. Re-reading the thread title, it concerns whether a better plate can be made with wet sand casting than with vacuum casting.

This thread clarified for me that there does not seem to be any reason for me to avoid pianos with a v-cast plate if I otherwise like the piano.
Originally Posted by Hakki
And some people are spending their USD 75k for a Steinway S (5'1") piano instead of buying a much bigger Shigeru Kawai for the same money.

It's a bit like someone who buys a Mercedes golf cart instead of a Toyota sedan.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by Hakki
And some people are spending their USD 75k for a Steinway S (5'1") piano instead of buying a much bigger Shigeru Kawai for the same money.
Preferring a Steinway over an SK or the other way around are absolutely legitimate preferences. Their actions are very different. Their tonal qualities are different.
Hakki's point was that a very short Steinway(not just "a Steinway) costs the same as a very long Shigeru(probably the 7'6" model). One had better love the Steinway tone an awful lot to justify spending 75K on such a short Steinway that because of its length will have major compromises compared to the much longer and very high quality Shigeru.
That would be my preference. I also think it was articulated before that about half of NY Steinways are bought by non-pianists who want the Steinway name on the fallboard of their piano as their requirement. For such buyers, the 5'1" piano would be a cheaper way of getting that, and they would not care if a 5'1" piano had inferior sound to a much longer Kawai, Yamaha, or Mason & Hamlin of similar cost.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
That would be my preference. I also think it was articulated before that about half of NY Steinways are bought by non-pianists who want the Steinway name on the fallboard of their piano as their requirement. For such buyers, the 5'1" piano would be a cheaper way of getting that, and they would not care if a 5'1" piano had inferior sound to a much longer Kawai, Yamaha, or Mason & Hamlin of similar cost.

Yes. I always found it funny how Steinway marketed their Boston pianos as a way people who couldn't stomach the high Steinway prices could nonetheless "join the Steinway family".
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Roy123
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I should point out to those here who are ignoring it or unaware, that research has shown longitudinal wave energy has a significant effect on piano tone.

This research has also shown that longitudinal wave energy is very "leaky and sneaky".

The influence of the damping character of the casting on longitudinal mode has to be significant because of how longitudinal modes behave.

So I ask of those posters who deny what I am saying: How much experience do you have examining, and shaping V-bars? How much experience do you have examining how hard a casting is? How much experience do you have studying longitudinal waves in piano strings? How much experience do you have looking at worn piano strings under microscopes? And finally: why do you think I would lie to you?

Ed, you are bringing up interesting ideas. My guess, and only a guess, is that differences between the 2 casting methods and their effect on damping longitudinal modes, for example, relate mostly to places where the strings contact the frame, where differences in surface hardness and lubricity are likely be the main contributor to the effects you describe. I think it's important to distinguish between surface effects and the bulk characteristics of the castings, specifically damping factor and Young's modulus. I suspect those 2 parameters of the bulk material probably don't vary that much between casting methods, and aren't strong contributors to tone differences. The stiffness of the various parts of the plate can easily be adjusted by changing the bracing and cross-sectional areas of various parts of the plate, so the desired stiffness can be obtained irrespective of which casting process is used. I'm not convinced that the bulk damping factor is incredibly important. I suspect the damping factor that results from the 2 casting methods is quite similar, and can be altered by the choice of the particular cast iron used, and perhaps the cooling rate. Also, the damping factor of the plate may well be less of a contributor than the damping of the wooden frame, the damping of the soundboard, the damping caused by the hammers staying in contact with the string after the initial strike, the damping of the strings' terminations, etc.. I do recall Del Frandrich reporting on successful prototype pianos that had steel plates that had been water-jet cut with welded on portions as required. That suggests to me that, if frames are properly designed for a given material, that good results can be obtained from a wide variety of material. Of course, one still has the issue of surface hardness and lubricity to deal with, which I don't want to downplay.
Yes the next step for such hard work is a study, but if all you've got to show for yourself is "pianos", well sorry but that's not going to cut it.


Cut it how? With whom?

Let me address this from two perspectives (and for a specific reason).

The first perspective is "scientist." A lot of your criticism above resonates with me. As someone who's "day job" efforts are peer reviewed, I can't just dole out unsubstantiated assertions. I have to rigorously support my observations and conclusions. And from that perspective, sometimes Ed's claims cause me to raise an eyebrow.

The second perspective is as someone who's actually played one of his pianos. Apparently most folks here have not. You can read the thoughts I shared in the moment here:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2751134/return-and-report.html

Ed had turned a relatively mundane and unremarkable baby grand into quite a delightful piano.

Now, based on some other valid comments above, people could reasonably say that I'm just one guy, and I'm not a concert pianist, and I'm not a concert technician. But Ed had brought the piano to demo his theories and techniques, in two classes that he was leading at the conference. I attended both (hybrid wire scaling and his tempered duplex work if memory serves), and he had the rapt attention of his peers (working technicians at the PTG's national convention) for two or three hours (I forget if the sessions were 60 or 90 minutes). So, you can say they're his peers, but they clearly held him in very high esteem. And, BTW, Ed's sessions were full. And people lined up to check out his piano and ask questions.

I also attended one of David Andersen's sessions, and Ed did too. People may recall that David passed away recently (RiP), but that he's basically a rock star technician. Well, David solicited Ed's input multiple times. It was clear that David respected Ed's opinion.

So, while it may seem like Ed sometimes claims he can work magic on pianos, I can say from an experiential point of view that it seems to be true. And I can attest that he is also well-regarded amongst his peers.

Anyway, why both perspectives? Because we can't relegate other people into a breadbox of our own defining, and then deem them "unworthy" if they don't fit into it. My own two perspectives are diametrically opposed, but life is not one-size-fits-all and people are complex. Everyone's experience and perspectives are different. Frankly, it's pretty narrow minded to insist everyone else live life on our terms.

FWIW, Ed's "pianos" show pretty well. The "science" of piano building is pretty old and unimpressive. But piano building is as much art as it is science. And I think there's even room for a little magic.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
That would be my preference. I also think it was articulated before that about half of NY Steinways are bought by non-pianists who want the Steinway name on the fallboard of their piano as their requirement. For such buyers, the 5'1" piano would be a cheaper way of getting that, and they would not care if a 5'1" piano had inferior sound to a much longer Kawai, Yamaha, or Mason & Hamlin of similar cost.

Yes. I always found it funny how Steinway marketed their Boston pianos as a way people who couldn't stomach the high Steinway prices could nonetheless "join the Steinway family".

I don't think non-pianists buy Boston pianos so that they can display the Boston name in their living room. Boston is actually a joint venture of Steinway and Kawai to compete with Yamaha. Kawai gets enhanced market share and Steinway profits on top of it by selling the pianos at a higher mark-up than a similar Kawai.

I suspect the main differences between, say a Boston UP-132 and Kawai K-500 are the action and soundboard, while the plates, cases and strings are the same, but just idle speculation.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by Jethro
the plate ... was introduced way back in 1825 by Alpheus Babcock in Boston with Steinway soon after adapting the design in their own pianos. It was not rocket science back then, and it's not rocket science now.

Chickering was the first company to license the patented plate and use it in pianos.

grin ha

Steinway was still in Germany in 1825. He didn't even found his first eponymous piano company there until 1835 (which still exists by the way: Grotrian-Steinweg).
He didn't emigrate to the U.S. until 1850, and started his Anglicized eponymous company (S&S) in 1853.

(All that to say...)

... Steinway didn't adapt the design soon after it was patented. wink
You know, a Yamaha S7X kind of wallops the ear drums if you play it loud with the lid open. It's fine with the lid closed of course, although the sound quality is reduced. Perhaps it's a good thing I didn't get a concert grand.
All the Boston scale I have seen are markedly different than all the Kawai scales I have seen. My understanding is many of the Boston scales were designed by Susan Kenagy.
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by Jethro
the plate ... was introduced way back in 1825 by Alpheus Babcock in Boston with Steinway soon after adapting the design in their own pianos. It was not rocket science back then, and it's not rocket science now.

Chickering was the first company to license the patented plate and use it in pianos.

grin ha

Steinway was still in Germany in 1825. He didn't even found his first eponymous piano company there until 1835 (which still exists by the way: Grotrian-Steinweg).
He didn't emigrate to the U.S. until 1850, and started his Anglicized eponymous company (S&S) in 1853.

(All that to say...)

... Steinway didn't adapt the design soon after it was patented. wink

I have read that once pianos with iron plates became available, Liszt's preferred pianos were Bosendorfer and Chickering. Steinway only became a leading brand after they developed the overstrung plate, at least that is my understanding.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
All the Boston scale I have seen are markedly different than all the Kawai scales I have seen. My understanding is many of the Boston scales were designed by Susan Kenagy.

This video is a marketing piece, but it corroborates her substantial contribution to the design of Boston pianos.

Out of curiosity, how doe Boston compare to Steinway? I understand they have a design which is similar in some ways to Steinways, but I'm not sure how similar. Are they almost as good at a much more reasonable price, or are they substantially lacking?
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Out of curiosity, how doe Boston compare to Steinway? I understand they have a design which is similar in some ways to Steinways, but I'm not sure how similar. Are they almost as good at a much more reasonable price, or are they substantially lacking?

All Steinways have No-Bake castings made in their own foundry, Bostons do not. No-Bake has fewer limitations than V-Pro for plate design.
Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Out of curiosity, how doe Boston compare to Steinway? I understand they have a design which is similar in some ways to Steinways, but I'm not sure how similar. Are they almost as good at a much more reasonable price, or are they substantially lacking?

All Steinways have No-Bake castings made in their own foundry, Bostons do not. No-Bake has fewer limitations than V-Pro for plate design.

Steinway did not have a foundry for many years. They only recently bought one.

What limitations does V-Pro have?
Some Bostons scales are better than others. I believe a good portion of all piano scale success variability can be explained by the lack of understanding of how longitudinal modes are propagated and coupled; and designing the structure to better control them.

Not all of it of course, but I know of no past or present scale designer who had/has a longitudinal mode behavior model to employ in piano design work
I imagine that the Kawai made UP-132 upright is a more reliable piano than the Steinway K-52 upright given the tuning stability problems that I understand have plagued the K-52, at least the NY ones. I'm not sure about the Hamburg ones. It is difficult to achieve good tone when a piano won't stay in tune. Steinway purportedly has improved the pinblock for the current version, at least that's my understanding.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
I imagine that the Kawai made UP-132 upright is a more reliable piano than the Steinway K-52 upright given the tuning stability problems that I understand have plagued the K-52, at least the NY ones. I'm not sure about the Hamburg ones. It is difficult to achieve good tone when a piano won't stay in tune. Steinway purportedly has improved the pinblock for the current version, at least that's my understanding.
According to the Piano Buyer, that problem is mostly a thing of the past:
"Technicians have always liked the performance of Steinway verticals, but used to complain that the studio models in particular were among the most difficult pianos to tune and would unexpectedly jump out of tune. In recent years, Steinway has made small design changes to alleviate this problem. The pianos are now mechanically more normal to tune and are stable, but an excess of false beats (tonal irregularities) still make the pianos at times difficult to tune."
Originally Posted by BDB
Originally Posted by Withindale
All Steinways have No-Bake castings made in their own foundry, Bostons do not. No-Bake has fewer limitations than V-Pro for plate design.

Steinway did not have a foundry for many years. They only recently bought one.

What limitations does V-Pro have?

Yes, Steinway bought the foundry they had used since 1938 and installed a a new casting plant.

The articles I looked at indicated piano plates are at the top end of V-pro capacity (100-400 lbs). Single mould processes will cast more complex shapes than V-process. This might matter to a plate designer intent on eliminating an unwanted resonance.
Here is an excerpt from an article about the casting plant:

“It was a very tricky decision at the time,” recalls Andrew Horbachevsky, vice president of manufacturing, Steinway & Sons. “With so many of the parts that go into our instruments, we have deep sources of supply, but our sand cast piano plate is so specialized and difficult to make. We couldn’t find any foundries capable of meeting our specifications so we opted to buy O.S. Kelly to protect this key source of supply.”
The treble tone issues of post WW2 Steinway vertical pianos are because the design has no room for error in the height of the V-bar. If it is the slightest bit too low, this results in inadequate string bearing at the V-bar to provide for a solid string termination. Also the lower treble speaking lengths are on the short side and this exacerbates the tendency for false beats to arise.

There are other contributing issues as well but they fall into workmanship/production errors rather than design errors.
Nice to see everyone’s still at it wink. I still a lot of blah blah blah…. blah blah and no science.

Me, I’ve spent the last couple of days on white sand beaches trying to soak some rays and catch some snapper.
Originally Posted by Hakki
And some people are spending their USD 75k for a Steinway S (5'1") piano instead of buying a much bigger Shigeru Kawai for the same money.
And many choose a Yamaha C7 over a Steinway.

The C7 is perhaps the most famous piano of all time and for sure the most recorded and sought after by music studios. If the C7 had such a fundamental flaw in its design- a vpro plate why do so many of these professionals want to record on it or have one in their studios?

Many people choose Steinways for the name. Nothing wrong with that, but when you take away the status symbol many of the pros would still request for the Yamaha.
We have a proffesional musician who is a member of PW who also thinks the S7X is a great instrument.The S7X is a newer. model I presume? I hope Dave will.not mind me sharing this.


http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/3094078/re-yamaha-s7x#Post3094078
Originally Posted by tre corda
We have a proffesional musician who is a member of PW who also thinks the S7X is a great instrument.The S7X is a newer. model I presume? I hope Dave will.not mind me sharing this.


http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/3094078/re-yamaha-s7x#Post3094078

The C7X is the newer model of the C7. The S7X is a more "premium" version of the C7X with artificially treated rims for a warmer sound. It is a very nice piano. Like the C7, it's a powerful piano. But it's also delicate and beautiful. I'm not sure how it compares to a Steinway C as I haven't often played one. I think the Steinway C is a bit more of a "vanilla" piano sound, whereas the S7X is a bit more in the direction of the bosendorfer sound.
"A piano for the entire piano repertoire"says this musician.




This seems a clearer recording of an SX piano.At least we hear some of this mid treble in this Schumann piece.
Jethro, can you bring some science to the topic? What experience do you have with piano castings?
Or are you pouring some now at the beach?
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Jethro, can you bring some science to the topic? What experience do you have with piano castings?
Or are you pouring some now at the beach?

Anyone at the beach, watching sand castles get washed away by the waves, would realise that making piano frames out of wet sand is a terrible idea.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
I imagine that the Kawai made UP-132 upright is a more reliable piano than the Steinway K-52 upright given the tuning stability problems that I understand have plagued the K-52, at least the NY ones. I'm not sure about the Hamburg ones. It is difficult to achieve good tone when a piano won't stay in tune. Steinway purportedly has improved the pinblock for the current version, at least that's my understanding.
According to the Piano Buyer, that problem is mostly a thing of the past:
"Technicians have always liked the performance of Steinway verticals, but used to complain that the studio models in particular were among the most difficult pianos to tune and would unexpectedly jump out of tune. In recent years, Steinway has made small design changes to alleviate this problem. The pianos are now mechanically more normal to tune and are stable, but an excess of false beats (tonal irregularities) still make the pianos at times difficult to tune."

The text I put in bold does not inspire confidence. They screwed up and the fix did not fully address the issue? It's a $40.8K piano.

Honestly, I think the Boston UP-132 has tone closer to a NY Steinway grand than the Steinway Model K upright, tuning issues aside. I would be happier with any of the top uprights with v-cast plates (Boston UP-132PE, Yamaha YUS-5, Kawai K-500, K-800) than a Steinway Model K, at least the K's I've played, which admittedly does not include the newest rendition. I've played a half a dozen of them, however, and have never been impressed.
I do not like the Steinway K52 either.I have played two of the new pianos.The sustain in the treble was not impressive.Thank goodness because I would never pay that price.🙄 I am not sure what my next piano will be.Perhaps a CX2(that I would be that lucky)
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Jethro, can you bring some science to the topic? What experience do you have with piano castings?
Or are you pouring some now at the beach?

Don't hold your breath. "Scientist" is just one of many Mittyesque flights of fancy.
Perhaps we should conclude this thread by agreeing that Sonepica was right about everything.

See you guys at the next wet sand vs V pro casting thread!
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Hakki
And some people are spending their USD 75k for a Steinway S (5'1") piano instead of buying a much bigger Shigeru Kawai for the same money.
And many choose a Yamaha C7 over a Steinway.

The C7 is perhaps the most famous piano of all time and for sure the most recorded and sought after by music studios. If the C7 had such a fundamental flaw in its design- a vpro plate why do so many of these professionals want to record on it or have one in their studios?

Many people choose Steinways for the name. Nothing wrong with that, but when you take away the status symbol many of the pros would still request for the Yamaha.
The C7 is only popular in non classical recording venues. It is certainly not the most famous piano unless one is speaking about non classical music. It is rarely used for classical recordings or classical performances. The CFX is quite popular in classical performances and competitions.

I do however agree with your reasoning that if the C7's plate was a fundamental flaw it probably wouldn't be so popular for non classical performances.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
I imagine that the Kawai made UP-132 upright is a more reliable piano than the Steinway K-52 upright given the tuning stability problems that I understand have plagued the K-52, at least the NY ones. I'm not sure about the Hamburg ones. It is difficult to achieve good tone when a piano won't stay in tune. Steinway purportedly has improved the pinblock for the current version, at least that's my understanding.
According to the Piano Buyer, that problem is mostly a thing of the past:
"Technicians have always liked the performance of Steinway verticals, but used to complain that the studio models in particular were among the most difficult pianos to tune and would unexpectedly jump out of tune. In recent years, Steinway has made small design changes to alleviate this problem. The pianos are now mechanically more normal to tune and are stable, but an excess of false beats (tonal irregularities) still make the pianos at times difficult to tune."
The text I put in bold does not inspire confidence. They screwed up and the fix did not fully address the issue? It's a $40.8K piano.
Your post I commented on only mentioned tuning stability on the K52. That problem has been rectified. Your post indicated you were unaware of the changes to the K52 and were speaking of older issues that have been addressed.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Jethro, can you bring some science to the topic? What experience do you have with piano castings?
Or are you pouring some now at the beach?

Anyone at the beach, watching sand castles get washed away by the waves, would realise that making piano frames out of wet sand is a terrible idea.
I have trouble just getting the sand out between my toes grin
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Perhaps we should conclude this thread by agreeing that Sonepica was right about everything.

See you guys at the next wet sand vs V pro casting thread!
You've got a believer!
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Jethro, can you bring some science to the topic? What experience do you have with piano castings?
Or are you pouring some now at the beach?
Sure! How about taking brand new pianos strings wrap them around their termination points on a V-pro plate and a sand casted plate and put several tons of tension on them until they break. The hypothesis being that the ones wrapped around the V-pro plate should theoretically break sooner or more often given the abrasive nature of the surface. Repeat the process until you have enough controlled and random trials to show their is indeed a statistical significance to what you are theorizing. It's that simple. Without such trials you are going by only what you think you are seeing and not what might actually be happening. Ie. you might just be talking out of your ass and someone as educated and respected as you shouldn't be doing that.
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Hakki
And some people are spending their USD 75k for a Steinway S (5'1") piano instead of buying a much bigger Shigeru Kawai for the same money.
And many choose a Yamaha C7 over a Steinway.

The C7 is perhaps the most famous piano of all time and for sure the most recorded and sought after by music studios. If the C7 had such a fundamental flaw in its design- a vpro plate why do so many of these professionals want to record on it or have one in their studios?

Many people choose Steinways for the name. Nothing wrong with that, but when you take away the status symbol many of the pros would still request for the Yamaha.

Here are some comparison recordings:

https://studios301.com/steinway-vs-yamaha-piano-recordings/
Anyone looking to do some research on the piano can get some funding through the PTG. At the very least this should allow one to purchase a few piano strings perhaps.

Money for science.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
I imagine that the Kawai made UP-132 upright is a more reliable piano than the Steinway K-52 upright given the tuning stability problems that I understand have plagued the K-52, at least the NY ones. I'm not sure about the Hamburg ones. It is difficult to achieve good tone when a piano won't stay in tune. Steinway purportedly has improved the pinblock for the current version, at least that's my understanding.
According to the Piano Buyer, that problem is mostly a thing of the past:
"Technicians have always liked the performance of Steinway verticals, but used to complain that the studio models in particular were among the most difficult pianos to tune and would unexpectedly jump out of tune. In recent years, Steinway has made small design changes to alleviate this problem. The pianos are now mechanically more normal to tune and are stable, but an excess of false beats (tonal irregularities) still make the pianos at times difficult to tune."
The text I put in bold does not inspire confidence. They screwed up and the fix did not fully address the issue? It's a $40.8K piano.
Your post I commented on only mentioned tuning stability on the K52. That problem has been rectified. Your post indicated you were unaware of the changes to the K52 and were speaking of older issues that have been addressed.
False beats also cause tuning issues because they muddy the water when listening for beats to set equal tempered intervals, and cause issues setting unisons. My original post suggested there was an attempt to address the issues. I incorrectly thought the tuning stability was a pin block issue, but Ed pointed out it was in incorrectly engineered v-bar on the plate, and that the speaking length of some treble stribgs was too short. Changing the design or fabrication of the plate was a chance to address both issues.

All that aside, I've never played a K-52 that was satisfactory. I believe the most recent was a 2005 model. None were Hamburg versions. Ny point was that Steinway designed two full-sized uprights, K52 and Boston UP-132 and the one with V-cast plate has been the better sounding piano.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Of course, I can also mention the review of the S7X by James Pavel Shawcross. Now I know some of you here will disparage his expertise by saying he is not a serious pianist, nor piano technician; however, he has played a lot of high end pianos and thought carefully about their tonal characteristics. He considered the Yamaha S7X to be one of his favourites, despite its V cast frame.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FSCZCqWe-Y
The opinions of one or two people are no more than that. In the case of JPS I think it matters greatly that he is not an advanced pianist or piano tech since those are two of the biggest indicators of knowledge. It matters little that he has played a lot of pianos and "thought carefully"(how would anyone know that and how can someone with little knowledge do that?).

You guys are way too hard on James Pavel Shawcross. Keep in mind that this kid is only 20 or 21 years old. His knowledge of some piano minutiae (e.g., the names of exotic wood veneers used on piano rims, historical details of some piano companies, etc.) is a little lacking, and his pronunciation of some German piano company names is hilarious, but his basic knowledge of the piano is quite good. As for the charge that "he is not a serious pianist", keep in mind that he has been playing the piano ever since he was 5 years old, and that he is continuing his musical studies (including piano) at Eastern Tennessee State University. (His recording studio is in Nashville.)

In summary - ease up on the kid, guys! smile
Originally Posted by Almaviva
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Of course, I can also mention the review of the S7X by James Pavel Shawcross. Now I know some of you here will disparage his expertise by saying he is not a serious pianist, nor piano technician; however, he has played a lot of high end pianos and thought carefully about their tonal characteristics. He considered the Yamaha S7X to be one of his favourites, despite its V cast frame.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FSCZCqWe-Y
The opinions of one or two people are no more than that. In the case of JPS I think it matters greatly that he is not an advanced pianist or piano tech since those are two of the biggest indicators of knowledge. It matters little that he has played a lot of pianos and "thought carefully"(how would anyone know that and how can someone with little knowledge do that?).

You guys are way too hard on James Pavel Shawcross. Keep in mind that this kid is only 20 or 21 years old. His knowledge of some piano minutiae (e.g., the names of exotic wood veneers used on piano rims, historical details of some piano companies, etc.) is a little lacking, and his pronunciation of some German piano company names is hilarious, but his basic knowledge of the piano is quite good. As for the charge that "he is not a serious pianist", keep in mind that he has been playing the piano ever since he was 5 years old, and that he is continuing his musical studies (including piano) at Eastern Tennessee State University. (His recording studio is in Nashville.)

In summary - ease up on the kid, guys! smile
Sorry, but playing the piano since he was five does not make him a good pianist. Based on his playing leveI, I doubt very much he is a piano major at college. He is a not just a young person but he is a young person who is offering his opinion on pianos on countless YouTube videos. Considering his knowledge level I find that pretentious, although my guess is he's made some money from the videos.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Almaviva
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Of course, I can also mention the review of the S7X by James Pavel Shawcross. Now I know some of you here will disparage his expertise by saying he is not a serious pianist, nor piano technician; however, he has played a lot of high end pianos and thought carefully about their tonal characteristics. He considered the Yamaha S7X to be one of his favourites, despite its V cast frame.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FSCZCqWe-Y
The opinions of one or two people are no more than that. In the case of JPS I think it matters greatly that he is not an advanced pianist or piano tech since those are two of the biggest indicators of knowledge. It matters little that he has played a lot of pianos and "thought carefully"(how would anyone know that and how can someone with little knowledge do that?).

You guys are way too hard on James Pavel Shawcross. Keep in mind that this kid is only 20 or 21 years old. His knowledge of some piano minutiae (e.g., the names of exotic wood veneers used on piano rims, historical details of some piano companies, etc.) is a little lacking, and his pronunciation of some German piano company names is hilarious, but his basic knowledge of the piano is quite good. As for the charge that "he is not a serious pianist", keep in mind that he has been playing the piano ever since he was 5 years old, and that he is continuing his musical studies (including piano) at Eastern Tennessee State University. (His recording studio is in Nashville.)

In summary - ease up on the kid, guys! smile
Sorry, but playing the piano since he was five does not make him a good pianist. Based on his playing leveI, I doubt very much he is a piano major at college. He is a not just a young person but he is a young person who is offering his opinion on pianos on countless YouTube videos. Considering his knowledge level I find that pretentious, although my guess is he's made some money from the videos.

It's not clear that you need to be an expert pianist, or an expert piano tech, in order to evaluate the *sound* of different pianos. You just need a pair of ears and to pay careful attention. Plenty of HiFi enthusiasts are not musicians themselves.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Almaviva
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The opinions of one or two people are no more than that. In the case of JPS I think it matters greatly that he is not an advanced pianist or piano tech since those are two of the biggest indicators of knowledge. It matters little that he has played a lot of pianos and "thought carefully"(how would anyone know that and how can someone with little knowledge do that?).

You guys are way too hard on James Pavel Shawcross. Keep in mind that this kid is only 20 or 21 years old. His knowledge of some piano minutiae (e.g., the names of exotic wood veneers used on piano rims, historical details of some piano companies, etc.) is a little lacking, and his pronunciation of some German piano company names is hilarious, but his basic knowledge of the piano is quite good. As for the charge that "he is not a serious pianist", keep in mind that he has been playing the piano ever since he was 5 years old, and that he is continuing his musical studies (including piano) at Eastern Tennessee State University. (His recording studio is in Nashville.)

In summary - ease up on the kid, guys! smile
Sorry, but playing the piano since he was five does not make him a good pianist. Based on his playing leveI, I doubt very much he is a piano major at college. He is a not just a young person but he is a young person who is offering his opinion on pianos on countless YouTube videos. Considering his knowledge level I find that pretentious, although my guess is he's made some money from the videos.
It's not clear that you need to be an expert pianist, or an expert piano tech, in order to evaluate the *sound* of different pianos. You just need a pair of ears and to pay careful attention. Plenty of HiFi enthusiasts are not musicians themselves.
I don't think the analogy is so good. A HiFi enthusiast just has to press "play" to listen, and being an enthusiast doesn't mean a more advanced musician would agree with the enthusiasts' evaluations.

While anyone can press the piano's keys and listen to the tone that way, part of the piano's tone one is evaluating is a result of the pianist's skill. Without musical knowledge I don't think just paying attention when you listen will necessarily produce a high level understanding of tone because one may not know what to listen for, and that knowledge is best gained by playing at an advanced level or technical training as a tech. IOW one needs not just a pair of ears but a knowledgeable and trained pair of ears. Evaluating a piano's touch is not something that a less than advanced pianist can do at a high level because they can't test the piano with technically demanding pieces.

In the case of JPS I think things are much simpler, and one only has to listen to what he says to realize he's no expert. While being an expert pianist or expert tech is probably not be an absolute requirement, I would, in general, value their opinions much more than someone not in that category.
A piano's tone must be evaluated by how it evolves over time after a key is pressed. People lacking musical or piano tech training will miss this vital point, and will compare tonal timbre, saying things like piano A sounds richer/brighter/warmer/etc. than piano B. And the tone cannot be disentangled from the responsiveness of the action to produce the desired dynamic and tonal properties.
Just remember— JPS is getting paid for what he posts.
Some of his statements are naive but I quite enjoy listening to him trying out pianos which may be unavailable to me.I think he is quite capable of playing well enough for his piano demonstrations but he often plays movie music or choruses which do not really demonstrate the capabilities of the instruments.However there really are far worse pianists than himself who demonstrate pianos.He is capable!

Regarding JPS, none of it can be taken as professional technical advice, nor can anything I say here, but I don’t think there’s any need to be bitchy about him. He’s a young piano enthusiast and that’s what we need more of even if he gets some things wrong. Who doesn’t get things wrong?
Originally Posted by tre corda
Some of his statements are naive but I quite enjoy listening to him trying out pianos which may be unavailable to me.I think he is quite capable of playing well enough for his piano demonstrations but he often plays movie music or choruses which do not really demonstrate the capabilities of the instruments.However there really are far worse pianists than himself who demonstrate pianos.He is capable!

I was actually defending him by posting that video.As I said I do sometimes watch his demonstrations.
Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
Regarding JPS, none of it can be taken as professional technical advice, nor can anything I say here, but I don’t think there’s any need to be bitchy about him. He’s a young piano enthusiast and that’s what we need more of even if he gets some things wrong. Who doesn’t get things wrong?
There's a big difference between a young piano enthusiast and someone who has made probably 50+ YT reviews for which he apparently gets paid although he is lacking in piano skills and piano tech knowledge.
Originally Posted by tre corda
Originally Posted by tre corda
Some of his statements are naive but I quite enjoy listening to him trying out pianos which may be unavailable to me.I think he is quite capable of playing well enough for his piano demonstrations but he often plays movie music or choruses which do not really demonstrate the capabilities of the instruments.However there really are far worse pianists than himself who demonstrate pianos.He is capable!

I was actually defending him by posting that video.As I said I do sometimes watch his demonstrations.


Yes I understood that much
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
Regarding JPS, none of it can be taken as professional technical advice, nor can anything I say here, but I don’t think there’s any need to be bitchy about him. He’s a young piano enthusiast and that’s what we need more of even if he gets some things wrong. Who doesn’t get things wrong?
There's a big difference between a young piano enthusiast and someone who has made probably 50+ YT reviews for which he apparently gets paid although he is lacking in piano skills and piano tech knowledge.

His father is actually behind the channel anyway, he’s the camera and sound guy and tries to make all the connections with shops and makers. All the makers know what he’s about.
I'm not a big fan of JPS. At the same time, I can acknowledge that his tenacity has taken him pretty far. I don't care for the hammy gesticulation, or the "here's what I learned just before the camera turned on" production style, but that's YouTube. I also assume he retains what he learns and has probably learned a lot about the pianos he's featured, and the piano in general. As far as exposure to lots of pianos goes, I've been surprised myself that because I've had four pianos in the house for the last few months, my own sense of touch and sound (voicing, tone and tune) has become much more nuanced. So, given all the pianos that JPS has been exposed to, I would imagine he's refined his senses all the more. He might even play a little better than I do too. wink

Anyway, he's clearly growing as a college student. It's interesting to hear him share what he's learning and to credit his professor too.

This isn't the usual JPS video. Thanks for sharing it. thumb
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
Regarding JPS, none of it can be taken as professional technical advice, nor can anything I say here, but I don’t think there’s any need to be bitchy about him. He’s a young piano enthusiast and that’s what we need more of even if he gets some things wrong. Who doesn’t get things wrong?
There's a big difference between a young piano enthusiast and someone who has made probably 50+ YT reviews for which he apparently gets paid although he is lacking in piano skills and piano tech knowledge.


A lesson that many people never learn is that life isn't a meritocracy. The people with the best knowledge, or most skill, are seldom the ones that "make it". In many ways life is more of a popularity contest, or up to who-you-know. At least traditionally. But sometimes it's just down to who's willing to hustle.

Does JPS "deserve" to do what he does? Who knows? Who cares? No one has to watch. And anyone who feels more "worthy" can easily set up their own YouTube channel. The barrier to entry is low. In fact, in the modern world, where anyone with a cell phone can produce video content, without the need to be "discovered", "signed", or promoted by power brokers, this pop culture stuff is closer to a meritocracy than it's ever been!

Maybe the better answer to "does he deserve [whatever]?" is "are people watching?"
Is he even still doing it? Last I saw he had started making videos about "America's backroads".
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Jethro, can you bring some science to the topic? What experience do you have with piano castings?
Or are you pouring some now at the beach?
Sure! How about taking brand new pianos strings wrap them around their termination points on a V-pro plate and a sand casted plate and put several tons of tension on them until they break. The hypothesis being that the ones wrapped around the V-pro plate should theoretically break sooner or more often given the abrasive nature of the surface. Repeat the process until you have enough controlled and random trials to show their is indeed a statistical significance to what you are theorizing. It's that simple. Without such trials you are going by only what you think you are seeing and not what might actually be happening. Ie. you might just be talking out of your ass and someone as educated and respected as you shouldn't be doing that.

A hypothesis is a proposed explanation (e.g. "if this then that"). "Theoretically," essentially means "maybe it will, maybe it won't." So, you ought not include the word "theoretically" in a hypothesis ( e.g. not "if this then theoretically that"). That's actually exactly the distinction that a well-defined experiment ought to be concretely determining.

Although it's poorly constructed, you word choice belies your bias and contempt, as does ending by repeating your earlier insult. A bonafide scientist should be unbiased, and dispassionate.

Frankly, the hasty "experiment" doesn't even indicate that you truly grasp the issue under discussion, let alone test for it. You're throwing around buzz words like "random" and "controlled," but you don't seem to account for those characteristics.

You're welcome to revise and resubmit. wink

(On a tangential note, )

Those who repeatedly accuse others of talking out of their anal orifice,
should be sure that they're not doing the same. thumb
James is obviously sincere in his love of music and the piano.He has been interested almost all of his life.I am always amazed at the number of many people who are delighted with him.One elderly woman I know just loves his piano delmmonstrations.As for making money with his interest why not? I would rather watch him than someone playing dreadfully with the sustain pedal constantly depressed



http://aloveofmusic.com/
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Is he even still doing it? Last I saw he had started making videos about "America's backroads".


He’s posted two piano videos in the last two weeks,
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Perhaps we should conclude this thread by agreeing that Sonepica was right about everything.

See you guys at the next wet sand vs V pro casting thread!
Of course you are the winner Sonepica, who would doubt that!😉
I hope that someone is declared a winner after 284 posts.
Reminds me of the chorus of a Carly Simon song from 1972...
Originally Posted by tre corda
James is obviously sincere in his love of music and the piano.He has been interested almost all of his life.I am always amazed at the number of many people who are delighted with him.One elderly woman I know just loves his piano delmmonstrations.As for making money with his interest why not? I would rather watch him than someone playing dreadfully with the sustain pedal constantly depressed



http://aloveofmusic.com/
I’m beginning to warm up to him. I can never dislike someone with a passion for the piano and just wants to share his ideas. Very enthusiastic in his videos. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says but some of his videos can be entertaining.
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Jethro, can you bring some science to the topic? What experience do you have with piano castings?
Or are you pouring some now at the beach?
Sure! How about taking brand new pianos strings wrap them around their termination points on a V-pro plate and a sand casted plate and put several tons of tension on them until they break. The hypothesis being that the ones wrapped around the V-pro plate should theoretically break sooner or more often given the abrasive nature of the surface. Repeat the process until you have enough controlled and random trials to show their is indeed a statistical significance to what you are theorizing. It's that simple. Without such trials you are going by only what you think you are seeing and not what might actually be happening. Ie. you might just be talking out of your ass and someone as educated and respected as you shouldn't be doing that.

A hypothesis is a proposed explanation (e.g. "if this then that"). "Theoretically," essentially means "maybe it will, maybe it won't." So, you ought not include the word "theoretically" in a hypothesis ( e.g. not "if this then theoretically that"). That's actually exactly the distinction that a well-defined experiment ought to be concretely determining.

Although it's poorly constructed, you word choice belies your bias and contempt, as does ending by repeating your earlier insult. A bonafide scientist should be unbiased, and dispassionate.

Frankly, the hasty "experiment" doesn't even indicate that you truly grasp the issue under discussion, let alone test for it. You're throwing around buzz words like "random" and "controlled," but you don't seem to account for those characteristics.

You're welcome to revise and resubmit. wink

(On a tangential note, )

Those who repeatedly accuse others of talking out of their anal orifice,
should be sure that they're not doing the same. thumb
Blah blah blah ….. blah blah.
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Reminds me of the chorus of a Carly Simon song from 1972...

The one with Mick Jagger on backing vocals? This whole forum is going that way!
Perhaps you do better experimental work in the sandbox. I do mine at the wave table of life where I test hypotheses against reality. "Random" is to be eliminated as much as possible.

After nearly 50 years of inspecting and reshaping V-bars; my hand has a very good feel for what the plate metal is like. Many of these pianos I have reshaped V-bars on I have been maintaining for this whole time too. No problems with string buzzes/noises or breakage. In fact I have had a total of three strings break out of the many thousands I have installed over my career and one of those was a wound string.

My hypotheses are all within the bounds of known material science and vibratory modes behavior. I employ Occam's razor.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Perhaps you do better experimental work in the sandbox. I do mine at the wave table of life where I test hypotheses against reality. "Random" is to be eliminated as much as possible.

After nearly 50 years of inspecting and reshaping V-bars; my hand has a very good feel for what the plate metal is like. Many of these pianos I have reshaped V-bars on I have been maintaining for this whole time too. No problems with string buzzes/noises or breakage. In fact I have had a total of three strings break out of the many thousands I have installed over my career and one of those was a wound string.

My hypotheses are all within the bounds of known material science and vibratory modes behavior. I employ Occam's razor.

And somehow you think that your experience differs from others who do not worry about the stuff you worry about.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Perhaps you do better experimental work in the sandbox. I do mine at the wave table of life where I test hypotheses against reality. "Random" is to be eliminated as much as possible.

After nearly 50 years of inspecting and reshaping V-bars; my hand has a very good feel for what the plate metal is like. Many of these pianos I have reshaped V-bars on I have been maintaining for this whole time too. No problems with string buzzes/noises or breakage. In fact I have had a total of three strings break out of the many thousands I have installed over my career and one of those was a wound string.

My hypotheses are all within the bounds of known material science and vibratory modes behavior. I employ Occam's razor.
There is very little differentiating on how you draw your conclusions compared to how members of the flat earth society draw theirs.

This is not to say that what you are concluding may not be true. It is interesting and may be useful to the manufacturing of pianos, but you have to test it first before you claim it be fact. Everything makes sense to the flat earthers because their conclusions seem so obvious but science says otherwise.

The fundamental concept behind Occam's razor is that of two competing theories, the simpler explanation of an entity is to be preferred. I'm not a piano rebuilder but it would seem to me that the reason why piano strings break is simply because they have been fatigued beyond their breaking point either due to corrosion or overuse. Your proposition that strings break because molecular sized razors of diamond hardness are cutting into them is hardly the simpler explanation of the two.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Perhaps you do better experimental work in the sandbox. I do mine at the wave table of life where I test hypotheses against reality. "Random" is to be eliminated as much as possible.

After nearly 50 years of inspecting and reshaping V-bars; my hand has a very good feel for what the plate metal is like. Many of these pianos I have reshaped V-bars on I have been maintaining for this whole time too. No problems with string buzzes/noises or breakage. In fact I have had a total of three strings break out of the many thousands I have installed over my career and one of those was a wound string.

My hypotheses are all within the bounds of known material science and vibratory modes behavior. I employ Occam's razor.

I've never had a string break in a piano I've owned. Should I expect them to if the V-bar was not shaped to your specifications?
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Almaviva
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Of course, I can also mention the review of the S7X by James Pavel Shawcross. Now I know some of you here will disparage his expertise by saying he is not a serious pianist, nor piano technician; however, he has played a lot of high end pianos and thought carefully about their tonal characteristics. He considered the Yamaha S7X to be one of his favourites, despite its V cast frame.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FSCZCqWe-Y
The opinions of one or two people are no more than that. In the case of JPS I think it matters greatly that he is not an advanced pianist or piano tech since those are two of the biggest indicators of knowledge. It matters little that he has played a lot of pianos and "thought carefully"(how would anyone know that and how can someone with little knowledge do that?).

You guys are way too hard on James Pavel Shawcross. Keep in mind that this kid is only 20 or 21 years old. His knowledge of some piano minutiae (e.g., the names of exotic wood veneers used on piano rims, historical details of some piano companies, etc.) is a little lacking, and his pronunciation of some German piano company names is hilarious, but his basic knowledge of the piano is quite good. As for the charge that "he is not a serious pianist", keep in mind that he has been playing the piano ever since he was 5 years old, and that he is continuing his musical studies (including piano) at Eastern Tennessee State University. (His recording studio is in Nashville.)

In summary - ease up on the kid, guys! smile
Sorry, but playing the piano since he was five does not make him a good pianist. Based on his playing leveI, I doubt very much he is a piano major at college. He is a not just a young person but he is a young person who is offering his opinion on pianos on countless YouTube videos. Considering his knowledge level I find that pretentious, although my guess is he's made some money from the videos.

I don't use his videos myself, but if he's found a way to make a living as a musician, more power to him.
Originally Posted by Jethro
Your proposition that strings break because molecular sized razors of diamond hardness are cutting into them is hardly the simpler explanation of the two.

No? It seems a simple explanation to me. Whether it is true or not I have no idea. I am not a materials scientist. I suspect you are not either.
Originally Posted by David-G
Originally Posted by Jethro
Your proposition that strings break because molecular sized razors of diamond hardness are cutting into them is hardly the simpler explanation of the two.

No? It seems a simple explanation to me. Whether it is true or not I have no idea. I am not a materials scientist. I suspect you are not either.
There's a difference between simple and simpler. In my line of work I deal with the human body and we are also dealing with solid materials such as dense connective that experiences "creep" such as ligaments or tendons that overstretch and eventually can rupture or deform permanently when placed under long term mechanical stress.

Unless any piano builder or rebuilder wants to correct me but the most simple explanation of why some piano strings break is due to long-term exposure to high levels of stress that are still below the yield strength of the metal. They are simply overstretched over time from being hit repeatedly by the hammers and being stretched from repeated stress from from numerous tunings over time. I would think the yield strength is compromised if the metal had also been exposed to the elements and became corroded over time. Another contribution may be manufacturing defects. The common factor in all of this is that the tensile strength of the string had been exceeded not because something is cutting through them.

This is the simpler explanation of why strings break, not because of abrasive elements that form in the construction of a V-pro plate- which if it was true we, we would see strings breaking more often in V-pro plate pianos over sand casted plate pianos and as far as I know, no one can validate this observation. Or has there been an abundance of piano owners coming into the shop with V-pro plated pianos complaining of broken strings?
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Jethro, can you bring some science to the topic? What experience do you have with piano castings?
Or are you pouring some now at the beach?
Sure! How about taking brand new pianos strings wrap them around their termination points on a V-pro plate and a sand casted plate and put several tons of tension on them until they break. The hypothesis being that the ones wrapped around the V-pro plate should theoretically break sooner or more often given the abrasive nature of the surface. Repeat the process until you have enough controlled and random trials to show their is indeed a statistical significance to what you are theorizing. It's that simple. Without such trials you are going by only what you think you are seeing and not what might actually be happening. Ie. you might just be talking out of your ass and someone as educated and respected as you shouldn't be doing that.

A hypothesis is a proposed explanation (e.g. "if this then that"). "Theoretically," essentially means "maybe it will, maybe it won't." So, you ought not include the word "theoretically" in a hypothesis ( e.g. not "if this then theoretically that"). That's actually exactly the distinction that a well-defined experiment ought to be concretely determining.

Although it's poorly constructed, you word choice belies your bias and contempt, as does ending by repeating your earlier insult. A bonafide scientist should be unbiased, and dispassionate.

Frankly, the hasty "experiment" doesn't even indicate that you truly grasp the issue under discussion, let alone test for it. You're throwing around buzz words like "random" and "controlled," but you don't seem to account for those characteristics.

You're welcome to revise and resubmit. wink

(On a tangential note, )

Those who repeatedly accuse others of talking out of their anal orifice,
should be sure that they're not doing the same. thumb

Blah blah blah ….. blah blah.


EXACTLY !! thumb
Who does not like a Gershwin tune?
Originally Posted by Jethro
The most simple explanation of why some piano strings break is due to long-term exposure to high levels of stress that are still below the yield strength of the metal. They are simply overstretched over time from being hit repeatedly by the hammers and being stretched from repeated stress from from numerous tunings over time. I would think the yield strength is compromised if the metal had also been exposed to the elements and became corroded over time. Another contribution may be manufacturing defects. The common factor in all of this is that the tensile strength of the string had been exceeded not because something is cutting through them.

This is the simpler explanation of why strings break, not because of abrasive elements that form in the construction of a V-pro plate- which if it was true we, we would see strings breaking more often in V-pro plate pianos over sand casted plate pianos and as far as I know, no one can validate this observation. Or has there been an abundance of piano owners coming into the shop with V-pro plated pianos complaining of broken strings?

Corrosion aside, Jethro, where does this theory predict strings will break? At contact points (tuning pin, v-bar, bridge pins, hitch pin) or at random points in between?
Originally Posted by Jethro
it would seem to me that the reason why piano strings break is simply because they have been fatigued beyond their breaking point either due to corrosion or overuse. Your proposition that strings break because molecular sized razors of diamond hardness are cutting into them is hardly the simpler explanation of the two.

Ironically, your experiment above doesn't test for either of these.

But, you seem like a pretty smart guy, Jethro. I'm sure if you really work at it you could probably put together a reasonable experiment. thumb
Strings that break from fatigue break at the capo bar usually. They go flat as the string stretches out, and then they pop.

If you look at the video of string vibration that I posted earlier in this topic, you can see that the maximum flexing is at the endpoints of the speaking length. The strongest flex will be closest to the hammer.

Breakage from corrosion is usually at the tuning pin, and loosening the string first lessens the chance of that happening. If the coils are bad, that can cause fatigue, too, especially on upright bass strings where the coil goes so low that the string is bent over it going up to the v-bar.

Strings break at other points, sometimes from defects in the string, sometimes from damage, sometimes from age, sometimes for no discernible cause, but these are rare.
Originally Posted by Jethro
the most simple explanation of why some piano strings break

In your opinion.


Originally Posted by Jethro
strings break ... due to long-term exposure to high levels of stress that are still below the yield strength of the metal. They are simply overstretched over time from being hit repeatedly by the hammers and being stretched from repeated stress from from numerous tunings over time. I would think the yield strength is compromised if the metal had also been exposed to the elements and became corroded over time. Another contribution may be manufacturing defects. The common factor in all of this is that the tensile strength of the string had been exceeded not because something is cutting through them.

It's possible for all your conjecture to be true, and you could still divide the pianos into two groups for comparison (v-pro and non-v-pro), maybe a 1000 of each selected at random, each treated equally (same frequency of tuning, same stable climate, etc), and track string breakage. It might reveal that strings break "faster" or more frequently on v-pro plates, or it might not. But that's the issue. Not whether they break at all on one and not the other.


Originally Posted by Jethro
if it was true we, we would see strings breaking more often in V-pro plate pianos over sand casted plate pianos and as far as I know, no one can validate this observation.

Yes, exactly. It might be true. It might not be. It may happen ten days faster. Maybe ten years faster. But you can't know absolutely without doing the proper research.

And to this I would expect you to say, "yes, that's what I've been saying. You can't claim it's true without the [proper] research." But...neither can you claim the theory is not true without doing the research.


Ed hasn't proven it. He suspects it based on his professional experience.
You haven't disproven it. You just rest resolutely on your non-technician opinion.


Originally Posted by Jethro
Unless any piano builder or rebuilder wants to correct me

Any? Any rebuilder but the rebuilder you're squabbling with?


For me, that's the real odd thing here. As you pointed out above, you're not a piano technician. As far as I know you're not experiencing excessive string breakage. You don't have a dog in this fight.

So why are you so adamant about being "right"?
Does it really matter anyway?

When I bought my U3 it was probably already 13 years old. A used U3 is not an expensive or premium piano. In 20 years of playing it, including Rach concertos, I had one broken treble string and one broken bass string. They each cost me about AU$150 to fix. Perhaps if I had bought an upright with a wet sand cast plate I would have had only one broken bass string and no broken treble string. Or perhaps not. I doubt the piano wire used in the treble is expensive, and if you really wanted to you could probably learn to replace broken strings yourself.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Does it really matter anyway?

WHAT? mad cursing



Just kidding. I would say, "no," but some people just always have to be "right," whether it's what repertoire is acceptable for which model, or something as esoteric as the abrasiveness of various iron casting methods. wink
Of course, if there were this diamond-like material lurking in hardened steel, you know where you would be most likely to find it. That is right, in piano wire! So the diamonds in the piano wire will dull the diamonds in the v-bar, and they would both end up smoother and less likely to damage one another.

But that is just me, not some upstart newcomer with only 45 years of experience.
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Originally Posted by Jethro
the most simple explanation of why some piano strings break

In your opinion.


Originally Posted by Jethro
strings break ... due to long-term exposure to high levels of stress that are still below the yield strength of the metal. They are simply overstretched over time from being hit repeatedly by the hammers and being stretched from repeated stress from from numerous tunings over time. I would think the yield strength is compromised if the metal had also been exposed to the elements and became corroded over time. Another contribution may be manufacturing defects. The common factor in all of this is that the tensile strength of the string had been exceeded not because something is cutting through them.

It's possible for all your conjecture to be true, and you could still divide the pianos into two groups for comparison (v-pro and non-v-pro), maybe a 1000 of each selected at random, each treated equally (same frequency of tuning, same stable climate, etc), and track string breakage. It might reveal that strings break "faster" or more frequently on v-pro plates, or it might not. But that's the issue. Not whether they break at all on one and not the other.


Originally Posted by Jethro
if it was true we, we would see strings breaking more often in V-pro plate pianos over sand casted plate pianos and as far as I know, no one can validate this observation.

Yes, exactly. It might be true. It might not be. It may happen ten days faster. Maybe ten years faster. But you can't know absolutely without doing the proper research.

And to this I would expect you to say, "yes, that's what I've been saying. You can't claim it's true without the [proper] research." But...neither can you claim the theory is not true without doing the research.


Ed hasn't proven it. He suspects it based on his professional experience.
You haven't disproven it. You just rest resolutely on your non-technician opinion.


Originally Posted by Jethro
Unless any piano builder or rebuilder wants to correct me

Any? Any rebuilder but the rebuilder you're squabbling with?


For me, that's the real odd thing here. As you pointed out above, you're not a piano technician. As far as I know you're not experiencing excessive string breakage. You don't have a dog in this fight.

So why are you so adamant about being "right"?
In my busy life I could give a rats ass if I'm right or wrong about anything. I'm just enjoying a pleasant conversation here. Why are you so obsessed about this? If you look at all the posts that feature you and I it's always about you trying to prove me wrong and failing spectacularly in the process and I'm not even trying to prove myself right. That's what's so sad my friend. What we have here are several people (some highly respected in the piano industry) disagreeing with Ed on how he reaches his conclusions not necessarily what his conclusions are. In fact many times in this thread I've said he might be right I just think he needs to test his ideas scientifically before stating them as fact. I offer alternative hypothesis that might explain why strings break, some of them may just be my opinion, an idea, a question maybe? They were never stated as being a fact or being right.
Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by Jethro
The most simple explanation of why some piano strings break is due to long-term exposure to high levels of stress that are still below the yield strength of the metal. They are simply overstretched over time from being hit repeatedly by the hammers and being stretched from repeated stress from from numerous tunings over time. I would think the yield strength is compromised if the metal had also been exposed to the elements and became corroded over time. Another contribution may be manufacturing defects. The common factor in all of this is that the tensile strength of the string had been exceeded not because something is cutting through them.

This is the simpler explanation of why strings break, not because of abrasive elements that form in the construction of a V-pro plate- which if it was true we, we would see strings breaking more often in V-pro plate pianos over sand casted plate pianos and as far as I know, no one can validate this observation. Or has there been an abundance of piano owners coming into the shop with V-pro plated pianos complaining of broken strings?

Corrosion aside, Jethro, where does this theory predict strings will break? At contact points (tuning pin, v-bar, bridge pins, hitch pin) or at random points in between?
BDB explained it well enough, interestingly in the human there are analogous structures where we see dense connective tissue fail. Usually at insertion points, bony prominences, anatomical pulleys or anywhere there is a change in force vectors. Creep works in dense connective tissue such as ligaments and tendons much the same way it works in metals. We use the same terminology as material scientists when we describe tissue failure.
the process for making piano wire draws the high carbon steel rod through diamond steel like dies with quenching in an oil bath after applying heat every few sizes to anneal it as it is reduced to the desired diameters in the drawing process. The annealing reduces the "diamond" like carbon in the wire to a level that allows for just enough flexibility. (I use the term "diamond like" to avoid getting into martensitic and austenitic metal phases explanations.).

So if you want to make a piano that will wear out the strings when you tune it, you will place the wire against a diamond like material which is capable of cutting into the wire, not just changing its shape.

Yamaha pianos in recording studios that get tuned often usually start to shed treble wire after about ten years. Other makes with hard V-bars will do the same and this can include some Steinway's with sand cast plates that have case hardened V-bars.

BDB my experience is with shaping many V-bars. Have you ever reshaped a V-bar to a true V-shape?
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Yamaha pianos in recording studios that get tuned often usually start to shed treble wire after about ten years.

If this is such a big issue, then why haven't Yamaha and Kawai (and other manufacturers) taken any action on this? Also, if it's only pianos that get tuned several times a week that are a problem, private owners are unlikely to encounter this issue.
Originally Posted by David-G
Originally Posted by Jethro
Your proposition that strings break because molecular sized razors of diamond hardness are cutting into them is hardly the simpler explanation of the two.

No? It seems a simple explanation to me. Whether it is true or not I have no idea. I am not a materials scientist. I suspect you are not either.

The research of the Australian military reported in an article that I posted above found no measurable difference in hardness between castings with wet sand at atmospheric pressure and castings with dry sand at pressure reduced by a vacuum chamber.

Wouldn't that falsify the theory of diamond crystals in the v-cast plates?
I am amazed that a thread on iron casting, on a piano forum, now runs to 11 pages.
But the issue of hard castings at the V-bar also makes treble tone more harsh, so even if you don't get your piano tuned like a performance instrument, it affects sound quality.
My understanding of hardness in iron casting is the significant variable is cooling rate. The slower it cools, the more graphite form the carbon becomes.

I imagine it would be possible to V-pro a plate, and have it cool as slow as a sand cast one resulting in an equality of hardness between the two methods.

All I really know is the plates that I have been told are V-pro feel harder to the file when I attempt to shape the V-bar than sand cast plates.

I also know how important proper string terminations that maximize the pivot termination are to clear, rich dynamic, sustaining tone because I have solved tonal problems in capo bars by removing the existing strings, reshaping the V-bar to a true V-shape and putting the same strings back in the piano with the end result of buzzing, pinched tone corrected.

That is a form of scientific proof.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
But the issue of hard castings at the V-bar also makes treble tone more harsh

Surely this is your subjective judgement? Even if the two casting methods produce tonal differences in the treble, surely whether it was better or worse would depend on what kind of tone one wanted in the treble?
Quote
My understanding of hardness in iron casting is the significant variable is cooling rate. The slower it cools, the more graphite form the carbon becomes.

I imagine it would be possible to V-pro a plate, and have it cool as slow as a sand cast one resulting in an equality of hardness between the two methods.

My belief is that the notion that wet sand plates cool more slowly is a myth perpetuated by piano dealers. I believe that the water content in wet sand would cause a wet sand casting to cool more rapidly than castings in dry sand in a vacuum chamber. When molten iron comes in content with wet sand, the water will be converted to steam, and the phase shift will absorb heat from the molten iron.
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by David-G
[quote=Jethro]Your proposition that strings break because molecular sized razors of diamond hardness are cutting into them is hardly the simpler explanation of the two.

No? It seems a simple explanation to me. Whether it is true or not I have no idea. I am not a materials scientist. I suspect you are not either.
There's a difference between simple and simpler. In my line of work I deal with the human body and we are also dealing with solid materials such as dense connective that experiences "creep" such as ligaments or tendons that overstretch and eventually can rupture or deform permanently when placed under long term.....quite/Jethro

Are you talking about chiropractic science Jethro?
Originally Posted by Jethro
I'm just enjoying a pleasant conversation here.
Originally Posted by Jethro
I just think he needs to test his ideas scientifically before stating them as fact.

No, what you've done is said that Ed is "talking out of his ass." Not once, but twice. You've made other belittling comments too. That's not "pleasant conversation." It's overtly insulting, and condescending.

I suppose that my evil genius and powers of mind control have overcome you, and compelled you to be so unpleasant!

Ok, I'll play along: the next time you hear the name "Rumpelstiltskin," I want to you to drop what you're doing, turn three cartwheels, then dance the tango with an imaginary partner. Afterwards, close your eyes for ten seconds, wake up, and have no recollection of what you've just done!

If that transpires, then I'll accept responsibility. Otherwise, your antisocial antics are on you.


Anyway, I'm trying to be positive. Like I said above, I think if you really put your mind to it that you could probably understand all this. thumb
Has there ever been an episode on shark tank regarding human bug spray? If not, someone really needs to invent some.
Originally Posted by tre corda
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by David-G
[quote=Jethro]Your proposition that strings break because molecular sized razors of diamond hardness are cutting into them is hardly the simpler explanation of the two.

No? It seems a simple explanation to me. Whether it is true or not I have no idea. I am not a materials scientist. I suspect you are not either.
There's a difference between simple and simpler. In my line of work I deal with the human body and we are also dealing with solid materials such as dense connective that experiences "creep" such as ligaments or tendons that overstretch and eventually can rupture or deform permanently when placed under long term.....quite/Jethro

Are you talking about chiropractic science Jethro?
Does science and chiropractic belong in the same sentence? Ok I kid, I Kid!
Originally Posted by Jethro
Has there ever been an episode on shark tank regarding human bug spray? If not, someone really needs to invent some.

As far as I know, all bug spray is made for humans. I mean, non-human animals wouldn't have the required opposable thumbs or know how to use it anyway.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by David-G
Originally Posted by Jethro
Your proposition that strings break because molecular sized razors of diamond hardness are cutting into them is hardly the simpler explanation of the two.

No? It seems a simple explanation to me. Whether it is true or not I have no idea. I am not a materials scientist. I suspect you are not either.

The research of the Australian military reported in an article that I posted above found no measurable difference in hardness between castings with wet sand at atmospheric pressure and castings with dry sand at pressure reduced by a vacuum chamber.

Wouldn't that falsify the theory of diamond crystals in the v-cast plates?
That’s interesting. I must have missed that. Why hasn’t anyone taken an electron microscope to the metal to see if such crystals exist?
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Jethro
Has there ever been an episode on shark tank regarding human bug spray? If not, someone really needs to invent some.

As far as I know, all bug spray is made for humans. I mean, non-human animals wouldn't have the required opposable thumbs or know how to use it anyway.
Good point wink. But I’m trying to find some that actually wards off humans.
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Jethro
Has there ever been an episode on shark tank regarding human bug spray? If not, someone really needs to invent some.

As far as I know, all bug spray is made for humans. I mean, non-human animals wouldn't have the required opposable thumbs or know how to use it anyway.
Good point wink. But I’m trying to find some that actually wards off humans.

Bugs are more clever than you might have thought.
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Jethro
Has there ever been an episode on shark tank regarding human bug spray? If not, someone really needs to invent some.

As far as I know, all bug spray is made for humans. I mean, non-human animals wouldn't have the required opposable thumbs or know how to use it anyway.
Good point wink. But I’m trying to find some that actually wards off humans.

Pepper spray?

Might be less problematic to just try being friendlier. You know, kill ‘em with kindness. Or catch more flies with honey than vinegar. But people who always have to be the “smartest” guy in the room, tend to rub others the wrong way.


Rumpelstiltskin
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Yamaha pianos in recording studios that get tuned often usually start to shed treble wire after about ten years.

If this is such a big issue, then why haven't Yamaha and Kawai (and other manufacturers) taken any action on this? Also, if it's only pianos that get tuned several times a week that are a problem, private owners are unlikely to encounter this issue.
There are many explanations of why one may observe anecdotally why piano strings fail more often in V-pro casted plates over casted plates- if one was to actually observe this to be the case. A simple explanation would be given the fact that there are more V-pro cast pianos in use there are more strings can be observed to break but the ratio between sand casted versus v-pro casted string breaks is actually the same. Another simple explanation could be that given that v-pro plated pianos tend to be cheaper they may be housed in less than ideal climate controlled environments than typically the more expensive high end sand casted pianos allowing for corrosion to set in lowering the yield strength of the metal strings in these pianos. Another explanation may be that Ed is right but given that this is not a widely accepted explanation and can lead to inflammatory statements from certain salesmen trying to outsell their competition, he really needs to test his theory before stating it as fact where all factors are controlled including the ones I just mentioned above.
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by tre corda
Are you talking about chiropractic science Jethro?
Does science and chiropractic belong in the same sentence? Ok I kid, I Kid!

Good grief. Now you’re making fun of chiropractors...?

I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s self deprecation! thumb
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Jethro
Has there ever been an episode on shark tank regarding human bug spray? If not, someone really needs to invent some.

As far as I know, all bug spray is made for humans. I mean, non-human animals wouldn't have the required opposable thumbs or know how to use it anyway.
Good point wink. But I’m trying to find some that actually wards off humans.

Pepper spray?

Might be less problematic to just try being friendlier. You know, kill ‘em with kindness. Or catch more flies with honey than vinegar. But people who always have to be the “smartest” guy in the room, tend to rub others the wrong way.


Rumpelstiltskin
I always try to kill people with kindness but it doesn’t appear to be working on the “smartest” guy in the room who always needs to be right by obsessively trying to prove the “kindest” guy in the room wrong. wink
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by tre corda
Are you talking about chiropractic science Jethro?
Does science and chiropractic belong in the same sentence? Ok I kid, I Kid!

Good grief. Now you’re making fun of chiropractors...?

I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s self deprecation! thumb
Ha, I’ve assumed many roles in my life and I’m pretty sure chiropractor is not one of them.
Originally Posted by BDB
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Jethro
Has there ever been an episode on shark tank regarding human bug spray? If not, someone really needs to invent some.

As far as I know, all bug spray is made for humans. I mean, non-human animals wouldn't have the required opposable thumbs or know how to use it anyway.
Good point wink. But I’m trying to find some that actually wards off humans.

Bugs are more clever than you might have thought.
Something straight out of the movie Aliens.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
But the issue of hard castings at the V-bar also makes treble tone more harsh, so even if you don't get your piano tuned like a performance instrument, it affects sound quality.
But then again, why is the C7 the most popular piano on the planet?
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by tre corda
Are you talking about chiropractic science Jethro?
Does science and chiropractic belong in the same sentence? Ok I kid, I Kid!

Good grief. Now you’re making fun of chiropractors...?

I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s self deprecation! thumb
Ha, I’ve assumed many roles in my life and I’m pretty sure chiropractor is not one of them.

So...you are making fun of chiropractors?

I guess that leaves physical therapist.
Originally Posted by BDB
They should rename that, ‘Retsacnal’s Theme”.
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
But the issue of hard castings at the V-bar also makes treble tone more harsh, so even if you don't get your piano tuned like a performance instrument, it affects sound quality.
But then again, why is the C7 the most popular piano on the planet?

People find the harsh tone in the treble useful for annoying neighbors and the constant string breakage appeals to the DIY crowd and makes people feel cool that they are breaking strings like that guy in Shine.
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
But the issue of hard castings at the V-bar also makes treble tone more harsh, so even if you don't get your piano tuned like a performance instrument, it affects sound quality.
But then again, why is the C7 the most popular piano on the planet?

People find the harsh tone in the treble useful for annoying neighbors and the constant string breakage appeals to the DIY crowd and makes people feel cool that they are breaking strings like that guy in Shine.
Which also shows you why you need to be careful with those Rachmaninov concertos wink unlike that guy in Shine.
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by BDB
They should rename that, ‘Renatscal’s Theme”.

I’d love to have a Gershwin tune named after me. Of course, Gershwin would be smart enough to spell it right. thumb
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
But the issue of hard castings at the V-bar also makes treble tone more harsh, so even if you don't get your piano tuned like a performance instrument, it affects sound quality.
But then again, why is the C7 the most popular piano on the planet?

People find the harsh tone in the treble useful for annoying neighbors and the constant string breakage appeals to the DIY crowd and makes people feel cool that they are breaking strings like that guy in Shine.
Which also shows you why you need to be careful with those Rachmaninov concertos wink unlike that guy in Shine.

Fortunately, my piano is only suitable for early classical so there is very little chance of string breakage.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Quote
My understanding of hardness in iron casting is the significant variable is cooling rate. The slower it cools, the more graphite form the carbon becomes.

I imagine it would be possible to V-pro a plate, and have it cool as slow as a sand cast one resulting in an equality of hardness between the two methods.

My belief is that the notion that wet sand plates cool more slowly is a myth perpetuated by piano dealers. I believe that the water content in wet sand would cause a wet sand casting to cool more rapidly than castings in dry sand in a vacuum chamber. When molten iron comes in content with wet sand, the water will be converted to steam, and the phase shift will absorb heat from the molten iron.

My knowledge is more of steel casting than iron but I believe the difference in cooling times is primarily due to production process i.e. the vacuum cast frames can, for the same strength, be lighter in construction and more accurately cast with fewer internal stresses that have to be resolved before removing from the mold. These factors all enable the frame to be more quickly removed from the mold and cooled if desired - and as time is money, it probably is desired.

Interestingly you can after unmolding subsequently heat treat and slow cool cast items, from either process, to increase ductility of the iron which if anyone ever takes that extra step might give softer V bars. At another increase in expenditure of course.
Originally Posted by gwing
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Quote
My understanding of hardness in iron casting is the significant variable is cooling rate. The slower it cools, the more graphite form the carbon becomes.

I imagine it would be possible to V-pro a plate, and have it cool as slow as a sand cast one resulting in an equality of hardness between the two methods.

My belief is that the notion that wet sand plates cool more slowly is a myth perpetuated by piano dealers. I believe that the water content in wet sand would cause a wet sand casting to cool more rapidly than castings in dry sand in a vacuum chamber. When molten iron comes in content with wet sand, the water will be converted to steam, and the phase shift will absorb heat from the molten iron.

My knowledge is more of steel casting than iron but I believe the difference in cooling times is primarily due to production process i.e. the vacuum cast frames can, for the same strength, be lighter in construction and more accurately cast with fewer internal stresses that have to be resolved before removing from the mold. These factors all enable the frame to be more quickly removed from the mold and cooled if desired - and as time is money, it probably is desired.

Interestingly you can after unmolding subsequently heat treat and slow cool cast items, from either process, to increase ductility of the iron which if anyone ever takes that extra step might give softer V bars. At another increase in expenditure of course.
And I think that is one area where a sand casted plate may have an advantage over the V-pro acoustically speaking. A good plate to my understanding is able to take the tons of pressure placed upon it by the string tension and at the same time ideally does not add any unwanted resonances of its own. Though lighter in weight the V-pro is just as strong to take the tons of pressure placed upon it but not hefty enough to eliminate all unwanted resonances. Heavy is good if you to dampen unwanted frequencies. This is my opinion only but there might not be any truth to it so I’m wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this.
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by gwing
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Quote
My understanding of hardness in iron casting is the significant variable is cooling rate. The slower it cools, the more graphite form the carbon becomes.

I imagine it would be possible to V-pro a plate, and have it cool as slow as a sand cast one resulting in an equality of hardness between the two methods.

My belief is that the notion that wet sand plates cool more slowly is a myth perpetuated by piano dealers. I believe that the water content in wet sand would cause a wet sand casting to cool more rapidly than castings in dry sand in a vacuum chamber. When molten iron comes in content with wet sand, the water will be converted to steam, and the phase shift will absorb heat from the molten iron.

My knowledge is more of steel casting than iron but I believe the difference in cooling times is primarily due to production process i.e. the vacuum cast frames can, for the same strength, be lighter in construction and more accurately cast with fewer internal stresses that have to be resolved before removing from the mold. These factors all enable the frame to be more quickly removed from the mold and cooled if desired - and as time is money, it probably is desired.

Interestingly you can after unmolding subsequently heat treat and slow cool cast items, from either process, to increase ductility of the iron which if anyone ever takes that extra step might give softer V bars. At another increase in expenditure of course.
And I think that is one area where a sand casted plate may have an advantage over the V-pro acoustically speaking. A good plate to my understanding is able to take the tons of pressure placed upon it by the string tension and at the same time ideally does not add any unwanted resonances of its own. Though lighter in weight the V-pro is just as strong to take the tons of pressure placed upon it but not hefty enough to eliminate all unwanted resonances. Heavy is good if you to dampen unwanted frequencies. This is my opinion only but there might not be any truth to it so I’m wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this.

Possibly, depending on the manufacturing compromises, it is not black and white. If a V-pro plate is cast to the same strength as a sand plate it will be lighter. However there is nothing stopping you casting a V-pro plate to the same weight as the sand plates which would be substantially stronger and (presumably) just as good acoustically. And between those two extremes the V-pro plate might have an infinite number of compromises depending on just how much money you want to put into the overengineering beyond the necessary strength. But this is all speculation anyway, nobody has demonstrated properly, as far as I'm aware, that a sandcast plate actually has sonic advantages over a V-pro.
If the string terminations on the plate are not optimized for full freedom of the pivot termination principle; yes your strings are more likely to break. If you don't play with a great dynamic range the risk is diminished, but the tone is still of lesser quality.
I believe Kawai has tested and verified what my specifications and data reveal about V-bar shape. The newest Kawai's I have seen had V-bars shaped to a precise V shape. I don't know if they are doing it on all of their pianos.
Originally Posted by Jethro
And I think that is one area where a sand casted plate may have an advantage over the V-pro acoustically speaking. A good plate to my understanding is able to take the tons of pressure placed upon it by the string tension and at the same time ideally does not add any unwanted resonances of its own. Though lighter in weight the V-pro is just as strong to take the tons of pressure placed upon it but not hefty enough to eliminate all unwanted resonances. Heavy is good if you to dampen unwanted frequencies. This is my opinion only but there might not be any truth to it so I’m wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this.

Makes sense, but you'd first have to know at what weight resonance is an issue. If, for example, there is no discernable difference after a plate surpasses 150 lbs., then having extra weight would not help. Also, is plate resonance necessarily a bad thing? What does it actually do to the sound? How does the resonance interact with the rest of the piano? I think it's tough isolating the tone of a piano to one structural element when the sound is produced by a synergy of the whole. The fact there are pianos with both casting methods that sound excellent should prove that both work.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
But the issue of hard castings at the V-bar also makes treble tone more harsh, so even if you don't get your piano tuned like a performance instrument, it affects sound quality.
Lots of things affect sound quality. Listening to the sound made by a piano is the best way to evaluate it.
Quote
I also know how important proper string terminations that maximize the pivot termination are to clear, rich dynamic, sustaining tone because I have solved tonal problems in capo bars by removing the existing strings, reshaping the V-bar to a true V-shape and putting the same strings back in the piano with the end result of buzzing, pinched tone corrected.

That is a form of scientific proof.
It demonstrates that the shape of the v-bar matters. One could even suggest that a harder casting would do a better job of maintaining the shape of the v-bar.

But I have no reason to doubt that there is an optimal shape and hardness for a v-bar.

I also don't doubt that some plates may be designed to be harder. The greater geometric accuracy of vacuum casting may allow thinner plates to be made and these may require a harder material to have the required strength not to bend under string tension. Such a plate may reduce the manufacturing cost and even shipping cost (lighter weight) of a piano. Yamaha and Kawai may even use plates designed that way in some pianos.

But I am skeptical that this is an inherent property of v-cast plates or generalizable to all pianos with v-cast plates. There is too much information available that says otherwise for me to believe that assessment.
Originally Posted by BDB
I have seen broken strings on a number of different makes of piano. If they are played a lot by pianists who insist on playing loudly (rather than making their audience shut up and listen) and who do not keep their pianos tuned, regulated, and voiced, it happens from metal fatigue. The way the string moves at the capo bar is quite violent, as it whips rapidly from one direction to the other. You can see this if you fasten a slinky at each end and give it a pull and let go. Worn hammers will make that even more violent, since the motion of the string takes on the shape of the hammer, so that if you have a hammer that is squared off from wear, rather than rounded, that whipping is even more extreme. It will also have a harsher sound, which is why as hammers get worn, the piano gets brighter, and simply reshaping the hammers makes a big difference towards restoring the original sound.

This video shows reasonably well how a string moves. Just ignore the commentary and watch the endpoints of the string, and keep in mind that a plucked string is not the same as a string excited by a piano hammer, although it is somewhat similar to a worn hammer with a flat strike point.

Originally Posted by BDB
I have seen broken strings on a number of different makes of piano. If they are played a lot by pianists who insist on playing loudly (rather than making their audience shut up and listen) and who do not keep their pianos tuned, regulated, and voiced, it happens from metal fatigue. The way the string moves at the capo bar is quite violent, as it whips rapidly from one direction to the other. You can see this if you fasten a slinky at each end and give it a pull and let go. Worn hammers will make that even more violent, since the motion of the string takes on the shape of the hammer, so that if you have a hammer that is squared off from wear, rather than rounded, that whipping is even more extreme. It will also have a harsher sound, which is why as hammers get worn, the piano gets brighter, and simply reshaping the hammers makes a big difference towards restoring the original sound.

This video shows reasonably well how a string moves. Just ignore the commentary and watch the endpoints of the string, and keep in mind that a plucked string is not the same as a string excited by a piano hammer, although it is somewhat similar to a worn hammer with a flat strike point.



A question for Ed. It would be great to have slow motion close up videos of the motion of strings at a V-bar and a U-bar, but would you a go at describing what the dynamics of the "violent" contact between string and metal would be in each case?
Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by BDB
I have seen broken strings on a number of different makes of piano. If they are played a lot by pianists who insist on playing loudly (rather than making their audience shut up and listen) and who do not keep their pianos tuned, regulated, and voiced, it happens from metal fatigue. The way the string moves at the capo bar is quite violent, as it whips rapidly from one direction to the other. You can see this if you fasten a slinky at each end and give it a pull and let go. Worn hammers will make that even more violent, since the motion of the string takes on the shape of the hammer, so that if you have a hammer that is squared off from wear, rather than rounded, that whipping is even more extreme. It will also have a harsher sound, which is why as hammers get worn, the piano gets brighter, and simply reshaping the hammers makes a big difference towards restoring the original sound.

This video shows reasonably well how a string moves. Just ignore the commentary and watch the endpoints of the string, and keep in mind that a plucked string is not the same as a string excited by a piano hammer, although it is somewhat similar to a worn hammer with a flat strike point.



A question for Ed. It would be great to have slow motion close up videos of the motion of strings at a V-bar and a U-bar, but would you a go at describing what the dynamics of the "violent" contact between string and metal would be in each case?

I would suggest that the contact on a V bar would only be 'violent' if contact between string an V bar breaks or is made, otherwise the string would be stationary at the contact point (apart from stretching). For contact with the V bar to be lost either the string would need to be lifted off the vbar by the string motion or alternatively the Vbar angle would have to be more shallow than the deflection angle of the string so that contact with the Vbar sides is made. Maybe one or both of those two thing happen but the mechanics of that seem unlikely - I'd love to see a video of the actual motion.
Re. topics like the plate's mass (and v-pro allowing tolerances to by cut), sympathetic vibration, cooling rates, etc, there's actually a lot of interesting stuff already posted in the thread I linked above, and others.

TLDR for those who don't want to search out the threads -- IIRC -- is that all plates are over built to some extent. Hypothetically, if wet sand cast plates are overbuilt by a factor of 3, then v-pro may be overbuilt by a factor of 1 or 2, but overbuilt nonetheless. Also, as noted above, they can be overbuilt to the same extent as a wet sand cast plate anyway, and largely are. Wet sand cast plates should not be assumed to be the "exact" mass necessary to do the job.
Originally Posted by gwing
I would suggest that the contact on a V bar would only be 'violent' if contact between string an V bar breaks or is made, otherwise the string would be stationary at the contact point (apart from stretching). For contact with the V bar to be lost either the string would need to be lifted off the vbar by the string motion or alternatively the Vbar angle would have to be more shallow than the deflection angle of the string so that contact with the Vbar sides is made. Maybe one or both of those two thing happen but the mechanics of that seem unlikely - I'd love to see a video of the actual motion.

Well, I hope Ed will have something to say about what is going on. Something must be to justify all that filing.

I see an idealised V-bar as a point contact. Your description certainly conforms with that.

A U-bar will have an arc of contact with the string, and the length of the arc will vary with the vibration of the string. If we could see the vibrations at the bar, we might be surprised at how complex they are.
Originally Posted by Withindale
A U-bar will have an arc of contact with the string, and the length of the arc will vary with the vibration of the string. If we could see the vibrations at the bar, we might be surprised at how complex they are.

I've wondered about this same thing (tiny changes in string length, and how perceptible they are). I recall the same thought in an old thread about bridge pin diameter. The larger the diameter or wider the curve, the more the impact I would assume. Although I wonder if broader contact and less "angular" points of contact might offer other benefits, like tension crossing more easily (for tuning and stability). But I'm only theorizing.
If my memory is accurate, the straight strung Chickering 33B I owned 35 years ago used agraffes for all strings.
In high speed video of struck piano strings the amplitude very near the terminations is nearly zero to the eye. Nothing "wild" to see there, after all piano wire is very stiff.

My proof for V-bar shape is from taking a piano that had string buzz issues at the V-bar. Carefully removing the strings. Reshaping the U-bar to a V-shape with a 1mm string contact point. Installing the original strings back, and tuning and spacing everything back up.

Buzzes were gone.

Also seeing some old Steinway's and M&H pianos with a true V-shaped V-bar and no string buzzes or breakage in spite of practice room use.

Same issue with agraffes except the work of removing the existing strings, shaping string holes and reinstalling the same strings is too high and risky. In those case replacing the string must be done at the same time for serviceability guarantee.
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Buzzes were gone

What more to say? It works.

I suppose physicists might look at wave reflection. They might say a true V-shape approximates to a single point of reflection as opposed to many where the string is in contact with the U-bar. Multiple reflections that interfere with each producing buzzes.

As a schoolboy I went to hear Sir Laurence Bragg give a Christmas lecture at the Royal Institution on dislocations in metals (where lines of atoms break). As these were not easy to see he devised a bubble raft as a model. All the bubbles were the same size and floated in neat rows covering the surface of the liquid. There were a few dislocations and these would move from one row to the next.



As you can see theses dislocations move around like tadpoles. Once they congregate in a metal it can deform and break. One can imagine that happening over time in strings at U-bars - to many tadpoles swimming in all directions!
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