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#142824 - 01/26/07 09:42 PM how much difference in different Renner actions?
brazospiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/06
Posts: 307
Loc: College Station, TX
I have a question. It seems like everyone and their brothers are using Renner actions now in their pianos. I also here things like "ours uses the top of the line blue Renner action" and "ours uses Renner Adel hammers."

I saw a rebuilt piano with Renner actions. How much difference is there in the Renner line and does this affect play much, or more longevity such as for voicing, etc.?

Also, what is price difference in different Renner lines?
_________________________
Wade

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#142825 - 01/26/07 10:58 PM Re: how much difference in different Renner actions?
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Abel is a different hammer manufacturer from Renner. Most hammer makers produce different types. They have to be matched to the rest of the piano, like tires to a particular car; a 185x15 R70 isn't going to work for every car.

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
www.shusterpiano.com
www.facebook.com/shusterpiano
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Registered Piano Technician
Dampp-Chaser Certified Installer
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#142826 - 01/26/07 11:04 PM Re: how much difference in different Renner actions?
brazospiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/06
Posts: 307
Loc: College Station, TX
So is there much difference between the Renner and the Renner blue line?
_________________________
Wade

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#142827 - 01/27/07 10:51 AM Re: how much difference in different Renner actions?
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1703
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
Brazopiano,
Renner is a maker of action parts and hammers. The company views these separately.
A piano can have a "full Renner action" without having a Renner hammer, and may have the premium Renner Blue hammers, and a totally different action manufacturer.
It is the use of the repetition, flange, shank, under-lever socket, damper head, rail...and whether the parts were assembled at the Renner factory in Stuttgart, Germany that dictate if it is a " Full Renner action", a “Renner action”, an action using only some Renner parts, or not a Renner action at all (Renner “style” action).

There is a difference between the hammers that Renner is producing in terms of the quality and cost.
The quality of the wood used for the core, the hammer felt and the process of manufacturing can all be different (this is NOT the case by the way with the moving parts of the action but only in regards to the hammers).
There are even differences between hammers that cost the same, such as the premium Renner Blue, not in terms of quality, but in terms of the Renner's response to the requirements of different manufacturers.
They can make the same hammer softer or harder depending on what the manufacturer is asking for.

There is a great confusion among consumers on the subject, and this is often fueled by misleading remarks, comments and claims made by manufacturers, distributors and salespeople.
I would venture to say that Renner is the most misused brand name in the industry.
Many of the claims made in regard to the use of Renner parts are false, perhaps because of the prestige and track record reliability connected to the Renner name (most high end manufacturers DO use full Renner actions in their pianos).

Where things can be misleading?
Here are some examples:

1. A company is using Full Renner actions on their concert grands, or even on only some of their concert grands or promotional models presented at trade shows.
They now may advertise that their pianos have "Renner actions" although the vast majority of their pianos, and all of those that will be sold to private homes are using actions made by another manufacturer. Often, these parts are Chinese knock offs of Renner actions.

2. A manufacturer may buy Renner parts but assembles these at its own factory.
The salesperson will often refer to it as a "Renner action" similar to what is found on most high-end manufacturers. This, however, is misleading since the assembly of the parts is not done at the Renner factory, but by the manufacturer. In this case, one is not getting the known quality of Renner’s work, but the quality of the piano manufacturer in term of the action's assembly. This quality of work may be excellent, or not so good (depending on the manufacturer)...the point is that it is not the known quality of Renner.

3. Similar to number two, but the company is buying only SOME of the parts used for the action from Renner, and some come from a different source.
For examples the Repetition may come from Renner, but the underlever and damper heads from somewhere else. The assembly, of course, is done at the manufacturer facility itself. This is nto considered a “Renner action” at all by Renner.

4. Some companies may buy some Renner parts, and mix and match these parts with other "knock offs" parts made by another manufacturer, usually in China.
For example, a company may buy some repetitions form Renner, and some from another maker. They then mix them together.
Whether there are possible quality differences right now, or to what degree these may affect the pianos performance now and in the future, is not the point.
But many a salespeople, whether knowing that this is the case or not, call these actions "Renner actions".
The assembly again, is done of course at the manufacturer and not at Renner.


In any case, there is definitely confusion out there.
This confusion was/is hurting consumers, and Renner have also taken notice that this may hurt their reputation.
Parts of poor quality, identical in appearance to Renner parts, may find their way to manufacturers, whether the workers assembling these parts are aware of it or not. The factory workers may send defective parts back and truly think that Renner is producing parts of lower quality, without knowing that the executives of the company ordered these boxed parts from an entirely different source in order to save a considerable amount of money.

Also, should pianos that have Renner "knock off" parts may exhibit problems in the future, Renner reputation may be hurt, although the company never produced these parts and have no responsibility for them. The customer, who believes that these ARE Renner actions (as he was told by the salesperson) will vent his anger on the company. Things may even get worse once the customer gets the word that Renner is not willing to stand behind the parts they did not produce…
While some customers may be upset at the manufacturer or dealer that led them to believe that they have Renner actions when they really don't, others may think that Renner is trying to get "off the hook" and refuse to believe that they were cheated.
If a company is “mixing” parts they should be willing to stand behind the action as a part of the piano without the recourse of going back to Renner, since no one may have an idea at this point who made which parts anymore…

Of course, if the salesperson is level with the customer and tells him or her that these may not be (or aren’t) Renner parts, then there is no problem now, and there will be no problem in the future, should any failures occur.
But often it seems that sales people don't know, or don’t want to know the truth since it is more convenient to use the Renner name.
Sometimes there is a misconception among consumers thinking that since Renner produced parts for some companies in the past it is still the case today. It may be much more convenient for the salesperson, company representative or even the company executive themselves to let this false assumption stand rather then admit that the parts are now made by a Chinese manufacturer and have little known long term quality or track record.


The GOOD NEWS, however, is that Renner is now aware of this issue and is taking steps, as we speak to address it.
Within a few months there will be a system in place that will greatly reduce the confusion, at least in regards to the use Renner of parts.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#142828 - 01/27/07 11:02 AM Re: how much difference in different Renner actions?
ftp Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Philadelphia
Great post Ori, thanks. While a bit off topic it reminds of juice drinks and "organic" brands that can be misleading in terms of what really goes into the product.

My favorite is when brands tout "Renner-like" actions. I suppose that could mean just about anything based on your post. Will be interesting to see how Renner addresses the problem.

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#142829 - 01/27/07 12:46 PM Re: how much difference in different Renner actions?
Casalborgone Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 1046
Loc: San Francisco Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by brazospiano:
I have a question. It seems like everyone and their brothers are using Renner actions now in their pianos. I also here things like "ours uses the top of the line blue Renner action" and "ours uses Renner Adel hammers."
[/b]
Renner is simply a supplier of actions and action parts.

You would do best not to confuse a brand-name identification ("Renner") with any particular quality characteristic. Renner actions and action parts are of different designs. How any particular Renner action or action part works depends on how well it is designed, installed and prepared; none of these characteristics can be determined by any brand-name descriptor.

I realize that most of us are well-trained by the ad biz to make buying decisions based on brand-name identification. This is great for the companies who sell brand-names, but it does not necessarily do anything for the consumer who is looking for quality of performance in a piano.

Renner parts and actions, like those of any other manufacturer, can be of higher or lower performance quality. Ultimately, the quality of performance of any action or action part depends on the quality of the work at the factory, dealer, or technician's workshop.
_________________________
Mike
Registered Piano Technician
Member Piano Technicians Guild
Not currently working in the piano trade.

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#142830 - 01/27/07 02:29 PM Re: how much difference in different Renner actions?
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3327
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Renner parts are of a good quality. Renner actions, made in Stuttgart, will have good quality parts and generally good workmanship. The action design may or may not be something you like. Meaning that the manufacturer may have a poor action design that is executed well by Renner using good parts.
As for buying a piano that has renner parts in it, you can feel confidant that those parts are of a good quality. Design and workmanship may be terrible.
The design and execution of the design are far more important than where the parts come from, although ideally, you want the best of all three.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#142831 - 01/27/07 02:55 PM Re: how much difference in different Renner actions?
Kristina Richards Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/06
Posts: 26
Loc: Seattle
Cy, Ori, Keith -great posts, this is a thread I will bookmark.

If in doubt one should have the action taken out and see that it indeed says Renner, on the action rail. Alongside the hammers at each end the hammer maker should be noted. "Renner", "Abel" "Yahama" "Japan", etc. Does someone else know how the quality grades are identifiable? I have only seen Renner Blues and Abels.

________________________________
Casalborne wrote:" You would do best not to confuse a brand-name identification ("Renner") with any particular quality characteristic. Renner actions and action parts are of different designs. How any particular Renner action or action part works depends on how well it is designed, installed and prepared; none of these characteristics can be determined by any brand-name descriptor.
________________________________________________
To my view, a consumer will do best to consider the Renner name along with the piano maker using them, not relying on one or the other, as Casal says.

Each piano manufacturer submits their own proprietary designs to Renner.
This affects the geometry within the action. There are so many relationships and distances to set in order to maximize performance. Keystick length, hammer flange length, etc. A technician could list them all, but there are many and they are all important.

This means that there can be quite a variance between the "touch" you will find on different pianos that do indeed have Full Renner actions, and that touch may or may not suit your needs.

It is also the piano manufacturer who checks the Renner actions through and installs them in their instruments.

So - what is a consumer to do? Well, as much research as possible, as much play as possible, and then consider both the excellent reputation of Renner as well as the standard of quality and craftsmanship the piano maker has set.


I will note, while Renner is one of a select few action makers that operate with such excellent skill, there are also a select few among the top piano makers whose master craftsmen will take the action apart or have it sent unassembled altogether and return individual whippins to Renner that do not meet their standard. In this case, Ori is right that you cannot count on Renner's reputation for the assembly, though you can still apply it to the materials and craftsmanship in constructing each individual piece. Here, the assmebly must be judged according to the confidence the maker merits, seperate from Renner.
_________________________
Classical Grands
www.classicalgrands.com

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#142832 - 01/27/07 05:57 PM Re: how much difference in different Renner actions?
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1703
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kristina Richards:


If in doubt one should have the action taken out and see that it indeed says Renner, on the action rail.


[/b]
Kristina,
Apparently, some people in the piano industry have figured that buying stickers with the name Renner stamped on them is much cheaper than actually paying for an action made by Renner.
For this reason, Renner is about to go through a considerable expense with the intent of making it much harder to abuse their name.

As it is now, having a shiny sticker saying Renner on the action of a piano is no guarantee that this indeed is a Renner action.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#142833 - 01/27/07 06:43 PM Re: how much difference in different Renner actions?
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1703
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
 Quote:
Originally posted by Casalborgone:
 Quote:
Originally posted by brazospiano:
I have a question. It seems like everyone and their brothers are using Renner actions now in their pianos. I also here things like "ours uses the top of the line blue Renner action" and "ours uses Renner Adel hammers."
[/b]
Renner is simply a supplier of actions and action parts...


I realize that most of us are well-trained by the ad biz to make buying decisions based on brand-name identification. This is great for the companies who sell brand-names, but it does not necessarily do anything for the consumer who is looking for quality of performance in a piano.

[/b]
Cy,
Renner didn't get its reputation by fluffy marketing campaigns aimed at people who know little about piano mechanics.

The fact is that Renner, albeit being the most expensive production action manufacturer in the industry is the action chosen by the vast majority of high-end performance pianos.
These companies have other choices, often much less expensive than Renner, and the people making the decisions in these companies are some of the most knowledgeable in the industry.

You can assume with confidence that before they sign these big fat checks to Renner they have looked around, and that they made the coherent decision to pay more and use Renner because they believe that this will bring the best results and performance to their instruments whether now, or over the long run.

I'm not saying that there aren't other excellent action manufacturers supplying parts for pianos, but only point to the fact that Renner is the action of choice for most high performance pianos, in spite of the higher cost, and that this choice was made by people who know pianos very well.

Renner gained great reputation for its parts and their durability.
The selection of the woods, the drying and processing, the knowledge of which section of the plank to use in the manufacturing of different parts, can all make a difference.
The experience to know which parts and suppliers to use (from metal to busing cloth), and/or the willingness to pay more for them may also be of value to a customer in the shape of a better performing action over time.

Action manufacturing, with its thousands of small moving parts, is definitely another field where knowledge, experience and commitment can make a difference, especially over the long run.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#142834 - 01/27/07 06:55 PM Re: how much difference in different Renner actions?
Kristina Richards Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/06
Posts: 26
Loc: Seattle
 Quote:
Ori:
Kristina,
Apparently, some people in the piano industry have figured that buying stickers with the name Renner stamped on them is much cheaper than actually paying for an action made by Renner.
For this reason, Renner is about to go through a considerable expense with the intent of making it much harder to abuse their name.

As it is now, having a shiny sticker saying Renner on the action of a piano is no guarantee that this indeed is a Renner action.
Thanks, Ori. I should have been more cautious with my advice. I have seen the same goes for soundboard decals, I should have realized it would for action decals.

I hope you will keep us posted on the process Renner is implementing to identify their work more readily - my guess is you will be the one to know first!

What about the maker's ink-stamp on the hammers? Do knock off companies fake that, too?
_________________________
Classical Grands
www.classicalgrands.com

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#142835 - 01/27/07 08:12 PM Re: how much difference in different Renner actions?
Ron Overs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/14/05
Posts: 110
Loc: Sydney Australia
Renner gained great reputation for its parts and their durability.
The selection of the woods, the drying and processing, the knowledge of which section of the plank to use in the manufacturing of different parts, can all make a difference.[/b]

Indeed it can, and for that reputation to be maintained over the longer term it requires that standards of workmanship are maintained. It doesn't automatically follow that a standard will be maintained in the future just because it was in the past. For the quality to continue, it requires that subsequent generations maintain the same commitment to work standards as for those who have gone before.

Experience tells us that a continuation of work standards cannot be guaranteed. Certainly it is possible, but we must remain forever vigilant.

There seems to be an assumption in the air that just because parts come from another manufacturer other than Renner, that they must automatically be inferior. I believe there is no justification for any assumptions to be made, either for or against. Regarding country of origin, I realise that it does influence perceptions and market success, but I give no weight to it when making a purchasing decision.

Ron Overs
_________________________
ARPT, Australasian Piano Tuners and Technicians Association.
Grand Piano manufacturers.
Sydney, Australia
web: http://overspianos.com.au

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#142836 - 01/27/07 11:59 PM Re: how much difference in different Renner actions?
brazospiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/06
Posts: 307
Loc: College Station, TX
Thanks Ori and everyone for all the information. This has helped me understand better a lot of the confusion going on there on the marketing end.

Thanks!
_________________________
Wade

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#142837 - 01/28/07 11:09 AM Re: how much difference in different Renner actions?
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14051
Loc: Louisiana
Aside from brand consciousness, why are folks so worried about whether an action is a Renner, or not?

A well-executed domestic action can be every bit as good as an action made of Renner parts...maybe better.

How many Renner parts are in a Yamaha action?
_________________________
www.coffee-room.com

Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#142838 - 01/28/07 11:11 AM Re: how much difference in different Renner actions?
George K Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/20/04
Posts: 999
Loc: The Midwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jolly:

How many Renner parts are in a Yamaha action? [/b]
Or a Kawai? \:D
_________________________

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#142839 - 01/29/07 09:41 AM Re: how much difference in different Renner actions?
byebye Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/03
Posts: 1426
Play a Korean piano that isn't a new one in a showroom. Tell me how the action feels. Switching to Renner had to be a major improvement.

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