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#1180722 - 04/15/09 08:23 AM Interesting rebuilding solution
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9138
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Hello All,

I recently worked with a school that wanted to rebuild a Steinway grand in their auditorium. We recommended a complete rebuild including belly, action, finish, etc. - we are installing a Renner action and NYC hammers (my personal favorite choice).

Here is the interesting part - during the process they got a quote from an S&S dealer that recommended replacing the entire key frame because otherwise the piano could not accomodate the "new accelerated action" design that they must install.

I should state that the piano in no way, shape, or form needed a new key frame. The only reason quoted was so it could accomodate that little curved piece of felt that replaced the little flat piece of felt at the center rail bushing. Interestingly, a new key set was NOT quoted. I would think that reweighing the keys would also be necessary if one were to do this work.

The music director quickly saw this as what it was - a way to make the restoration as close as possible to the price of a new piano. I believe they really just wanted to sell him a new piano, which he did not want in the first place.

I wonder if anyone else has encountered this wrinkle from a Steinway dealer? Also, has anyone here ever replaced the keyframe and keysticks simply to accomodate the "accelerated action"?


Edited by Rich Galassini (04/15/09 08:25 AM)
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#1180738 - 04/15/09 08:47 AM Re: Interesting rebuilding solution [Re: Rich Galassini]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Had a Steinway dealer's salesman mention that a Victorian D that they rebuilt could not have an accelerated action (nor a diaphragmatic soundboard) retrofitted because it was not originally designed for it. Steinway would not supply the parts. But somehow it was OK that they had a local foundry vacuum cast a new plate, with an added strut, as an improvement over the original broken plate. I wiped my feet very well when I left the place. There was a barnyard odor on my shoes…
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#1180857 - 04/15/09 11:43 AM Re: Interesting rebuilding solution [Re: UnrightTooner]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21286
Loc: Oakland
I worked on an old Steinway recently where someone had notched the bottom of the keys so that they would work like the accelerated action. I was dubious of the value of this. If they had done other, more important work, I would not have been working on the action.
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#1180960 - 04/15/09 02:31 PM Re: Interesting rebuilding solution [Re: BDB]
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
I worked for a Steinway dealer year ago that did in the neighborhood of 50+ rebuilds a year out of one location. We never attempted to "accellerate" an older action. We did update older damper levers with sockets and screws. We did reset angled capstans for modern whippens, but never messed with balance rail bushings and key-weighting.
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#1180994 - 04/15/09 03:27 PM Re: Interesting rebuilding solution [Re: Marty Flinn]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5175
Loc: Olympia, Washington
I often wonder if the dealers recommending retrofitting the "accelerated action" feature really understand just what it is they are talking about.

The roller balance block has a relatively insignificant affect—if there is any at all—on the feel or motion of the key. And if they are not planning to relocate the keyleads toward the balance pin they have rather missed the point.

I have never retro-fitted this feature into an earlier piano. What would be the point? I have, however, removed the roller balance block and installed regular felt balance rail punchings to provide the space to glue a 5 mm maple strip to the bottom of those old Pratt-Read keys and stiffen them up some. These keys have so much flex in them that action power—especially in the bass and low tenor—is seriously compromised.

ddf
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#1181087 - 04/15/09 06:19 PM Re: Interesting rebuilding solution [Re: Del]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
From my many conversations with my bellyman /builder David Rubenstein,I would think that Steinway's advantage in supplying a new keyset with the new key(accelerated action)frame is because they already have them somewhat assembled with both the front and balance rail pins already drilled and set for the keyset by Kluge. Now salvaging the keyset and building a new keyframe doesn't make any sense to me in that they would have to perfectly align the precut keyset(original keys) to the NEW keyframe which is impossible in that the keyset pin holes are originally drilled at the same time as in the keyframe.
To keep the existing keys means that you would have to notch them to fit them on the accelerated key frame. Steinway is not gonna jump thru all these hoops. They are gonna do whatever route is easiest and more practical. These are the issues between making a new piano vrs. restoring an existing piano. Now new and different problems arise in that with the new keyframe and keyset there may be problems with the strikeline or the cavity dimensions. I'm sure Steinway will wing it. It almost sounds like I know what I'm talking about. grin


Edited by pianobroker (04/15/09 07:06 PM)
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#1181101 - 04/15/09 07:00 PM Re: Interesting rebuilding solution [Re: pianobroker]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
My understanding is that the "accelerated action" idea originally had to do with the key leading scheme. They used more leads closer to the balance rail. Steinway has since abandoned that practice, and just calls the half-round rollers the "accelerated action". We have had this discussion before... What accelerates?

I think that the effect is to move the pivot point back slightly, similar to clipping off the front half of a balance rail punching. This would increase leverage at the front of the key and decrease the key ratio. It would make the key press down easier for a given hammer weight. Doing this would actually "de-accelerate" the speed of the back of the key slightly, wouldn't it? The effect of a lower key ratio would be that the back half of the key wouldn't travel as quickly.

I agree that it is a small difference either way. Del's suggestion of reinforcing the key makes more sense to me.
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Cincinnati, Ohio
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#1181113 - 04/15/09 07:32 PM Re: Interesting rebuilding solution [Re: RoyP]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Like others here that made comments.

I'd rather have a stiff key than an accelerated action.
We are rebuilding a "D" right now and the keys were quite flexible. The new key frame is fitter like the rest of the pianos made in the world, including Hamburg Steinway. I'm using a regular quality balance rail punching.
The original key frame was accelerated.

New key vs old key



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