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#153853 - 04/08/08 02:04 PM technical measures of touch performance
Bachfan39 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 82
Loc: Vancouver, BC
The touch and technical performance of a piano action is very important to me. I have sensitive finger joints, and as a result I think I need to have a "light action", one which is responsive and "quick" without requiring as much muscular force.

Can anyone comment about what type of technical measurements have been done regarding the mechanical performance of piano actions?
For example, measurements of maximum repetition rate?
Do all piano actions require the exact same amount of energy, work, or force to depress the key? There's stuff on the kawaii site I think, saying that their action has the best performance, but who knows what the evidence is exactly, between different piano brands or actions?

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#153854 - 04/08/08 02:25 PM Re: technical measures of touch performance
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3707
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
I have not seen any definitive studies of what your looking for. Every piano will perform a bit different, even within the same models. What you need is an action with the least amount of inertia.

Has Kawai put every brand of piano on some machine and tested them? If they did were those pianos in optimum condition?
I don't think they have but I'm sure they have tested their own product and many do.

Kawais do have nice actions as do many manufactures.


Some actions do need less energy, work, or force to depress the keys. It has to do with friction and design and well as careful weighting of the keys for each individual piano.
Many mass produces weight the keys in a set pattern, wood density and hammer weight may be diffrent so the results are not uniform.
Some even weight they key before adjusting the friction and then the results are also inconsistent.
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#153855 - 04/08/08 02:47 PM Re: technical measures of touch performance
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3707
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
If you find a piano that has the tone you like.
The action can be adjusted weight wise, if that's your need.
Or look for a brand that is more into a custom type of manufacturing.

It is not uncommon to find a keyboard that has a weight difference of 8 grams or more between neighboring notes. It is possible to have an action weighted within 2 grams which is less noticeable when playing. Most players can not discern between 2 grams.

Keyboards with less lead in the keys and are in the proper specs of key weight, will feel better than keys adjusted with lots of lead just to make it work. That brings us back to inertia and displacing mass.
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#153856 - 04/08/08 08:04 PM Re: technical measures of touch performance
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
The following should give you a good idea what is going on.

http://www.pianofinders.com/educational/touchweight.htm

I also have rather weak hands and I prefer a lighter touch weight. It is my choise but I would not buy a piano that was not already playable for me and I would suggest you do the same. Yamaha is lighter than Kawai from what I have seen. Play everything you can get your hands on and don't let anyone talk you into buying anything you don't like (I have to keep telling myself that as well).


ps. I even carry 10 nickles taped together with a few extra in my pocket when I visit piano dealers to get an idea of what I like/need (50 grams or less for me). I was recently told by one dealer that the much older Steinways had/have a TW of as much as 60 grams.
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#153857 - 04/08/08 09:15 PM Re: technical measures of touch performance
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3707
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Stevester,

Great info.
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#153858 - 04/08/08 09:36 PM Re: technical measures of touch performance
ftp Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Philadelphia
Stevester,

Thanks. I assembled my nickels and dimes and took the touchweight test. Now in addition to variations in humidity I can think about why each key isn't exactly the same. \:\)

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#153859 - 04/08/08 11:09 PM Re: technical measures of touch performance
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 852
Loc: San Francisco
Always remember to put your foot on the accelerator pedal before applying the nickels and dimes...

You might want to isolate the 'up' weight as an indication of 'feel'....
Generally speaking, if the up weight is over 25 grammes you won't have any problem with excessive 'down' weight...
But there are re-builders out there with much more of this info for you....
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#153860 - 04/08/08 11:58 PM Re: technical measures of touch performance
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 2031
Loc: Belgium
Bachfan39,

What has been mostly discussed above - touchweight/friction - in only part of the equation.

Although important, as it should fall within reasonable limits and be even across the keyboard - what is more important as to how an action feels is when INERTIA comes into play: the DYNAMIC PROPERTIES of an action mechanism.

See FAQ link below (especially the comments from Del - post 5 and subsequent):

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/35/16.html

schwammerl.

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