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#1125698 - 08/05/04 07:12 PM optimum key dip?
Craig S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 137
Loc: Wyoming
I am curious about peoples key dip preferences. Do manufacturers have specs on key dip for specific models. If so how could I obtain that info.

I am pretty sure that key dip preference would be and individual thing but the variation may not be that great.

I would be interested in knowing what the key dip is on the piano that you own and the make and model.

Thank you for anyone willing to take the time and effort to measure and post their key dip.

Craig
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Craig

No piano industry association. Amateur interests in playing and technical aspects of piano.

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1125699 - 08/05/04 07:47 PM Re: optimum key dip?
curry Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/02
Posts: 3769
Loc: Hamilton Twp, NJ
Craig, this info is contained in all manufacturers technical service manuals. The spec for dip on paper is just that, a spec. Since many variations can occur in building a handmade piano, or assembly line made piano, the only spec that matters for dip is the one which works to make that piano feel and play at it's optimum.
My Bösendorfer model 214 grand has a keydip measuring 10.2mm. The factory spec is 10.3 or 13/32", but on my instrument 10.2 is what feels right. Keydip for many manufacturers range anywhere from 9.9mm to 10.5mm, some older upright and grand pianos were in the 7/8" range.
When you get into large keydips, you run into a problem called playing into the Grand Canyon effect. This is because Large keydips slow down repetition speed since the fingers must move up and down further on the key.
_________________________
G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358

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#1125700 - 08/05/04 08:00 PM Re: optimum key dip?
Craig S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 137
Loc: Wyoming
Thanks curry. The key dip as close as I can measure on my digital Roland KR577 is aprox. 7/16" possably a shade less. I have noticed when playing some other pianos both digital and accoustic that alot of them seem to have more dip which results in what feels like a slower action. I was wondering if the Roland action was unusually shallow but it doesn't sound to far off from from your piano.

Thanks

Craig
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Craig

No piano industry association. Amateur interests in playing and technical aspects of piano.

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#1125701 - 08/05/04 08:03 PM Re: optimum key dip?
scutch Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 347
Loc: california
The PTG publishes a book called "The Piano Action Handbook". It has dip specs for many makes and models. Most techs will only use this as a reference as the dip can vary from spec slightly for many reasons. You cannot talk about dip without talking about hammer travel as they are directly linked. Jack escapement on uprights and aftertouch on grands also contribute. The wear on a piano action and its parts will contribute. Key dip is something for me that when set - is what the piano requires for proper action function. I can only determine that by regulating some samples to see what fits best. Also, the dip for the sharps can be slightly more than the naturals because the leverage is slightly different. My 1913 Knabe dip spec is 13/32 and I use 3/8. The action is not original however.

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#1125702 - 08/05/04 09:00 PM Re: optimum key dip?
Paulo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/04
Posts: 134
Loc: québec
Scutch said:

"You cannot talk about dip without talking about hammer travel as they are directly linked. Jack escapement on uprights and aftertouch on grands also contribute".

I wish I could be as articulate and concise.


"Also, the dip for the sharps can be slightly more than the naturals because the leverage is slightly different."

Depends on key height, but VERY relevant.

To compare dip on an electronic keyboard and a piano action is like comparing apples and oranges.

Scutch, you make me feel like joining the guild again.
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#1125703 - 08/05/04 11:06 PM Re: optimum key dip?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21287
Loc: Oakland
To make matters worse, manufacturers measure the dip at different points on the key, so the measurements may not be directly comparable.
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Semipro Tech

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#1125704 - 08/05/04 11:30 PM Re: optimum key dip?
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5176
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by Craig S:
I am curious about peoples key dip preferences. Do manufacturers have specs on key dip for specific models. If so how could I obtain that info.

I am pretty sure that key dip preference would be and individual thing but the variation may not be that great.

Craig [/b]
There are two separate questions here. First is the question of preferences and, second, is the question of reality.

I once did a small trial to see what these preferences might be by setting up two otherwise identical pianos but each with a different keydip setting. (We fudged by altering the hammer travel to maintain a constant key aftertouch ratio.) The two keydip measures were 9.5 mm (0.374”) and 10.5 mm (0.413”). We made voicing and tuning as uniform as possible between the two pianos. The pianists were a mix of amateurs and professionals — the amateurs coming from the factory and the professionals being drawn from the music department of a nearby college. Not a worldwide sampling but interesting and informative nonetheless.

The preferences seemed to vary with the type of music being played. In general the piano with the 9.5 mm keydip was judged to be more “responsive” and “articulate.” It was preferred (by most) for music requiring fast repetition and fingering. The piano with the 10.5 mm keydip was strongly disliked by some pianists who felt that their fingers were getting buried between the keys and that they were being slowed down by the extra finger movement required. Several mentioned that they would get tired of playing the piano with the deeper keydip because they had to “work harder” at it. (Key downweight and overall action mass had been matched quite closely so this was probably not a downweight or mass issue.) Others had no problem at all with the 10.5 mm keydip and thought the other action felt “shallow” although most had little trouble adapting to it..

Of those who expressed a strong preference it was mostly for the action with the 9.5 mm keydip. Several who liked this action a lot asked if it could be made with even less deep. They felt they had more precise control over the action with the shallower keydip and thought they would enjoy playing some early keyboard music on the piano.

The individual preferences were heavily influenced by the pianos each pianist played on a daily basis and were used to. One who regularly played on a relatively recent Steinway with an admittedly deep dip of about 11 mm (his preference) strongly disliked the 9.5 mm action, feeling that he had less control than he was used to.

This was hardly an exhaustive trial and it would have been interesting to play around with a much wider sampling of pianists and with different action ratios and action mass configurations but we lacked the time and resources to expand the effort.

In general key dip has been getting deeper over the years as hammers have gotten heavier and action ratios have been made correspondingly higher. This is the only way to keep both static and dynamic key downweight within reasonable limits. When I learned to regulate actions in the mid-60s the loosely accepted standard was 9.5 mm (Steinway was the odd one at 10.0 mm, or 0.394”). Now many pianomakers specify 10.5 mm and some Steinway actions won’t work well at less than 11.0 mm (0.433”). I’m not sure just how much heavier hammers can get and how much longer key travel can go without adversely affecting the fingers and joints of the avid pianist.

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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#1125705 - 08/06/04 05:40 PM Re: optimum key dip?
Craig S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 137
Loc: Wyoming
Thank you all for the replies. That is just the information that I was after.

Craig
_________________________
Craig

No piano industry association. Amateur interests in playing and technical aspects of piano.

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#1125706 - 08/06/04 06:18 PM Re: optimum key dip?
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
The question of dip really becomes one of aftertouch.

Dip as just a spec means nothing. The key should be traveling enough for all of the processes of the action to take place. To set the dip at 9mm but not have enough travel to allow for escapement and aftertouch is meaningless.

Of course as previously mentioned, hammer travel and other measures of regulation come into play at this point.
Regulation is really a "whole picture" sort of adjustment. Each different specification is meaningless on it's own. If hammer strike distance is at 1 3/4 inches, and keydip at .38", but the jack barely escapes, then one of these two measurements will have to likely change.

These specs change in the manufacturing process as Del said, based on other criteria
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