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#1125460 - 09/13/03 03:39 PM Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5372
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
Why doesn't someone try to improve the sustain in the "kiler octave"? If I've heard correctly, the causes of this problem are understood and may even be fixable?

[/b]
It is understood and it is fixable. But only at the factory level or with the installation of a new soundboard.

Del [/qb][/QUOTE]So why don't some(or all) manufacturers do this?? [/qb][/QUOTE]Several do, actually. At least they've improved it a great deal.

Del [/qb][/QUOTE]Can you say which manufacturers do this sustain improvement?

Also(and sorry if this is a silly question)is there some ideal sustain? For example, I imagine if a piano had infinite sustain(like an organ) it might sound poor(but I've never tried to play Chopin on an organ). Yet I've sometimes thought that pianos would sound better if all the notes starting around the C above middle C had a sustain typical of the notes around one octave below them. [/QB][/QUOTE]


Not specifically, no. This is basically a soundboard design issue. In general those pianos whose soundboards depend primarily on a crowned rib to form system crown will hold their sustain level for a longer period of time.

Also a factor are issues of rim shape and size, rim mass, soundboard thickness, etc.

You'll just have to try a few and listen to them. It's also a good idea (if you can) to try a few that are ten years old and are located in climates similar to your own.

The sustain levels you desire are probably not available from the acoustic piano (assuming I'm understanding you). There are things that can be done to improved the sustain time in the upper third of the piano but there are practical limits to just how much efficiency we can get. For example we might be able to go from a three second sustain on a given not to, perhaps, five or six with fine-tuning a design. It is probably not physically possible to go up to eight or nine without sacrificing a substantial amount of power.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1125461 - 09/13/03 10:33 PM Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5372
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jolly:
Back to the soundboard issue:

Wasn't there some experimentation with carbon fiber? Did is prove to be inadequate, or too costly? [/b]
The biggest problem with alternate materials is getting them to sound like wood soundboards. The difficulty is mostly in the treble.

Yes, some of these materials are more expensive but I expect this to change as we continue to run out of old-growth spruce. To continue to produce pianos at the current rate the soundboard material of choice is going to have to change.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1125462 - 09/13/03 10:49 PM Re: Piano Designs: Innovations and Improvements
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5372
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianomanrsn:
Here are a few ideas that may have some merit, but I have no idea if any of them have been the subject of experiments and discarded:

1) More use of composites in place of wooden action parts. They are stronger, lighter, and far more dimensionally stable than wood. I'm not talking about ABS (Kawai whipens), but carbon/epoxy tubular, 2-axis weave formed, or 3-axis weave materials that can be machined.

2) Electronically regulated actions to provide a more precise delivery of the hammers for a given keying effort. Some user defined options would be possible.

3) Non rusting strings and single crystal strings that do not stretch out of shape.

4) Electronic monitoring of pitch. Perhaps something like a small diode above a key that comes on if tuning adjustment is required (both absolute and relative pitch between adjacent notes or octaves could be factored in).

5) Actions with many fewer parts. It is hard to believe that some clever group of engineers cannot redesign actions to eliminate half of the 55 or so parts in a (grand) action.

6) Use of polyethylene glycol (PEG). Woodworkers have for years soaked pieces of wood in PEG as a way of displacing water trapped in the cellular structure. When dry, PEG is a wax-like material that completely prevents reabsorbtion of water. It would probably not be appropriate for soundboards, bridges, and pin blocks, but for many other wooden parts it would greatly improve stability.

7) Use of evaporative type metal coatings (applied in a vacuum) using a material like aluminum to seal the soundboard

As I said, these are just ideas.

Robert in Dallas [/b]
1) I'd be happy to see more actions made out of the same material Kawai uses. It's certainly a major step in the right direction.

You really don't want action parts to be too stiff, by the way. There must be some minimum amount of compliance in the system or you will destroy your fingers, hands and arms.

2) If you're just talking about changing the touch weight of the action, this is supposed to be one of the features of the so-called "magnetic" action. To do much more than this might get frightfully expensive.

3) You're beyond me on this one.

4) Check with QRS. There is a system of some questionable promise being worked on that will do what you describe. It's being touted as the world's first self-tuning piano technology.

5) Several have already been patented. Check the USPO search engine for Darrell's version.

6) I'd much prefer simple, plastic action parts.

7) If the idea is to stabilize the soundboard simply laminating the thing out of spruce would probably be as effective and probably cheaper -- though I don't know the costs of the process you describe.

The problem with any of these ideas -- aside from any technological problems, of course -- is getting the piano buying public to go along. It's an awfully traditional and consertive marketplace. But do keep dreaming!

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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