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#1663939 - 04/20/11 11:24 PM David Stanwood Patent (SALA)
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5602
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
You probably already know this, but ...


David Stanwood of West Tisbury receives piano-tuning patent

© By Susan L. Silk
Martha's Vineyard Times
Published: April 20, 2011

A lifetime of loving the piano, four years of research and development and two years of crossing the t's and dotting the i's on the paperwork, and West Tisbury piano innovator David Stanwood now holds a U.S. patent for a mechanism that allows pianists to customize the feel and sound of a piano in a matter of seconds.

David Stanwood holds US Patent number 7,915,509 for his "movable pivot bearing for changing key leverage in stringed keyboard instruments," pictured here.

This patent — # 7,915,509 — is in Mr. Stanwood's words "a movable pivot bearing for changing key leverage in stringed keyboard instruments." The Stanwood adjustable leverage action (SALA) mechanism is installed so that by turning two knobs in the front of the keyboard a pianist may alter the way a piano performs.

Mr. Stanwood explained that in a normal piano there are small discs of felt that sit over pins creating a pivot point and each of the 88-keys rock back and forth. The pin holds the key in place. The SALA mechanism makes the pivot point moveable so that it becomes heavier or lighter as the pianist wishes.

The mechanism allows a pianist to select one of five unique keyboard settings and so customize the settings for a Bach symphony or a Chopin concerto, for example. The SALA mechanism "changes the personal relationship, changes what the piano is to the pianist. It changes the relationship and that has a huge value. It increases the quality of the performance, the joy of playing and the possibilities of the music," Mr. Stanwood said.

"It allows the pianist to be their best in a way that was never possible before. They can actually tune these knobs and find their 'sweet spot' where they really start to kick and feel something special. Quite often before this it was a question of technique which not everybody has. So it really broadens the availability of a perfect instrument," he said.

The mechanism may be retrofitted into existing pianos or built into a piano as it is being originally constructed. To date nine grand pianos have been custom-fit with the mechanism and, Mr. Stanwood said, another five customers are waiting for the installation. Concert halls and private owners of high-end pianos are his customers to date. The mechanism costs $10,000 to install.

Mr. Stanwood installed the first SALA mechanism in a nine-foot Steinway concert piano owned by Brandeis University in Waltham. "We wanted to start somewhere that was not a major conservatory. We wanted to test it someplace small to make sure everything is working. "

Brandeis University PhD student Jared Redmond, age 25, is the first pianist to play a SALA-retrofitted grand piano in a concert setting and first performed with the SALA on September 12, 2010. During a telephone interview with The Times, Mr. Redmond said," From my perspective the most remarkable benefit is that all of a sudden one piano becomes many pianos."


The rest of the article and a picture here...

http://www.mvtimes.com/marthas-vineyard/article.php?id=5292
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#1663940 - 04/20/11 11:29 PM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21658
Loc: Oakland
How could we have ever lived without this for the past 300 years?
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Semipro Tech

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#1663947 - 04/20/11 11:48 PM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: BDB]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1758
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Quote:
The mechanism allows a pianist to select one of five unique keyboard settings and so customize the settings for a Bach symphony..

Bach didn't write any more symphonies than Pythagoras tuned Steinway grands.

Kees

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#1663994 - 04/21/11 02:24 AM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: DoelKees]
Bernhard Stopper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 214
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Quote:
The mechanism allows a pianist to select one of five unique keyboard settings and so customize the settings for a Bach symphony..

Bach didn't write any more symphonies than Pythagoras tuned Steinway grands.

Kees



-> BWV 787-801, Dreistimmige Sinfonien. (Usually a basic part of any serious piano education)



Edited by Bernhard Stopper (04/21/11 02:49 AM)
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#1664016 - 04/21/11 04:37 AM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2041
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Touché, Bernhard.

(That settles it then. Pythagoras must have tuned at least 15 Steinway grands.)
_________________________
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1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
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#1664035 - 04/21/11 07:02 AM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Yawn.
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#1664054 - 04/21/11 08:14 AM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
tds Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/30/06
Posts: 446
Loc: Bastrop, Texas
If the balance rail moves forward or backward and the keys go along for the ride, wouldn't this have implications for checking?

For example, if the backchecks were regulated very closely to check as high as possible, wouldn't the hammer tails drag on the backchecks when the balance rail is moved toward the player? Conversely, if the checking is relatively low, wouldn't the hammers barely check at all when the balance rail is moved away from the player?

Perhaps I'm missing something...
_________________________
Stay tuned.

Tom Seay, Recovering Piano Technician
Bastrop, Texas

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#1664065 - 04/21/11 08:47 AM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
UnrightTooner Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4949
Loc: Bradford County, PA
The pin need not be the pivot. I am guessing that the rail moves, but not the pins.
_________________________
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Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1664074 - 04/21/11 09:10 AM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3271
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Another great idea that no manufacturer will ever use. At $10,000, it is priced way out of reach for most people. It makes Scott Jones' springy thingy look far more attractive for the pianos that play like trucks. It's only a few hundred bucks.

I wonder if the Chinese will manage to produce a cheap knock off version of it and get away with it?
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Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1664113 - 04/21/11 11:24 AM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: UnrightTooner]
tds Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/30/06
Posts: 446
Loc: Bastrop, Texas
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
The pin need not be the pivot. I am guessing that the rail moves, but not the pins.


How can that be, since presumably the pins are installed in the rail? Where else could they be?
_________________________
Stay tuned.

Tom Seay, Recovering Piano Technician
Bastrop, Texas

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#1664122 - 04/21/11 11:42 AM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Bernhard Stopper]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1758
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Bernhard Stopper
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Quote:
The mechanism allows a pianist to select one of five unique keyboard settings and so customize the settings for a Bach symphony..

Bach didn't write any more symphonies than Pythagoras tuned Steinway grands.

Kees

-> BWV 787-801, Dreistimmige Sinfonien. (Usually a basic part of any serious piano education)

Those are not symphonies. I assume you know what a symphony is.

Kees

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#1664124 - 04/21/11 11:44 AM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: tds]
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5602
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Originally Posted By: tds
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
The pin need not be the pivot. I am guessing that the rail moves, but not the pins.


How can that be, since presumably the pins are installed in the rail? Where else could they be?


Details and video here:
Stanwood SALA
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-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


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#1664133 - 04/21/11 11:59 AM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2407
Loc: Olympia, WA
David has been displaying his new device at the annual PTG conferences the past couple of years. It appears to work very well. The ability to change action ratio on the fly is pretty amazing. It will be interesting to see how artists react to it.
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Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1664135 - 04/21/11 12:03 PM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2407
Loc: Olympia, WA
Now the next step is to connect it to a pedal!
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Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1664154 - 04/21/11 12:42 PM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: tds]
UnrightTooner Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4949
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: tds
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
The pin need not be the pivot. I am guessing that the rail moves, but not the pins.


How can that be, since presumably the pins are installed in the rail? Where else could they be?


Looking at the pictures, I am not sure what is being moved. My point is that the pin is a guide, but the punchings are the pivot.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1664167 - 04/21/11 12:57 PM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
Jake Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 581
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Apparently he knows a bit about piano design. For his work on touch weight, he has letters of praise from Garrick Ohlsen and others:

http://www.stanwoodpiano.com/first.htm and

http://www.stanwoodpiano.com/letters.htm

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#1664175 - 04/21/11 01:19 PM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
Emmery Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2437
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
I'm wondering who's resposibility will it be to get the piano dialed in before the concert. Would it be the tech, the pianist, or would a new employment opportunity open as the dedicated "knob guy"?
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#1664182 - 04/21/11 01:41 PM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Emmery]
tds Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/30/06
Posts: 446
Loc: Bastrop, Texas
Originally Posted By: Emmery
I'm wondering who's resposibility will it be to get the piano dialed in before the concert. Would it be the tech, the pianist, or would a new employment opportunity open as the dedicated "knob guy"?


This opens up a veritable minefield of utterly tasteless jokes. Showing uncharacteristic restraint, I've decided not to go there. laugh
_________________________
Stay tuned.

Tom Seay, Recovering Piano Technician
Bastrop, Texas

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#1664205 - 04/21/11 02:10 PM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: UnrightTooner]
tds Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/30/06
Posts: 446
Loc: Bastrop, Texas
Quote:
Looking at the pictures, I am not sure what is being moved. My point is that the pin is a guide, but the punchings are the pivot.


I took a close look at the picture on his website and from what I can tell, the leveling punchings remain around the pin as usual, but the bearing "mound", for lack of a better term, is what moves front to back. It looks like these mounds have a slot in them and seem to be fastened to the rear ends of the brown arms which are attached to the moveable rail.

Pretty ingenious, I'd say! I look forward to seeing this in person.
_________________________
Stay tuned.

Tom Seay, Recovering Piano Technician
Bastrop, Texas

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#1664225 - 04/21/11 02:38 PM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
UnrightTooner Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4949
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Ah, that would be better than what I was suspecting: the balance rail and pin and entire key moving. I was wondering what that could do to blow distance and hence aftertouch when there are divots in the whippen cushion, not to mention problems with dampers! Still with the rail moving and changing the ratio, aftertouch would have to change, too. Right?
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1664273 - 04/21/11 04:04 PM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: UnrightTooner]
tds Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/30/06
Posts: 446
Loc: Bastrop, Texas
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Ah, that would be better than what I was suspecting: the balance rail and pin and entire key moving. I was wondering what that could do to blow distance and hence aftertouch when there are divots in the whippen cushion, not to mention problems with dampers! Still with the rail moving and changing the ratio, aftertouch would have to change, too. Right?


Possibly. However, David claims that none of the regulating parameters change during this process. I will just have to see for myself, I guess. But not for $10,000, I won't! grin
_________________________
Stay tuned.

Tom Seay, Recovering Piano Technician
Bastrop, Texas

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#1664681 - 04/22/11 07:56 AM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
Let me shed some light on all of this, since I was fortunate to work with David for five days, two summers ago, on the second prototype of this system, which we installed in my own Steinway M. By the way, the article is incorrect when it states that the first one was installed in a Steinway D at Brandeis University. The first was installed in David's own Mason A, which he displayed at the MARC PTG Conference for the first time in April of 2009. Anyway, none of the original components of the action move or are altered in any way. The movement of the "pivot point" of the key is facilitated by what David likes to call the "gadget" which is a piece that is created by a CNC router with a slot that sits over the balance pin and its paper punchings. On the "gadget", on either side of the slot that surrounds the pin, is attached a piece of felt cut from a felt balance rail punching. The gadget is then attached to the aluminum mechanism that slides it forward and back under the key by means of it's attachment to the knob apparatus just behind the keyslip on the front of the keyframe. The gadget, and the felt attached to it, are the source of the fulcrum point of the key, and the reason that regulation is not affected is because the system needs to move very little in order to get the desired effect. When the gadget/felt move toward the back of the key, as the knob is turned counterclockwise, the front of the key essentially becomes longer, thereby providing a mechanical advantage and giving a lighter touch. The opposite is true as you turn the knobs clockwise and the "gadget" moves forward. As far as who is responsible for setting the knobs, that will always be the player, since they are looking for their "sweet spot". There is a gauge alongside the knob that shows the five different positions on a scrimshaw indicator. The variation of positions is infinite between the first and last points in the range. As far as comparisons with the touchrail system, I have used both and they really work on such different principles that the results are not comparable. I have had many high level concert pianists play my piano with this modification and all have raved about how well it worked, how easy it was to operate, and how different it made the piano feel with each adjustment. For those of you who are bored with all this, (yawn??), I would suggest a more open mind toward the idea of improving the function of the modern piano. As good as the original design might be, folks like Stanwood, Wapin, Wessel Nickel and Gross, Kawai, Steingraber Phoenix, Stuart Pianos, etcetera, have all proven that you don't need to live in the past in order to enjoy a truly wonderful instrument. It is possible to build on the wonderful fundamentals of the original piano design, while improving on some of the inherent shortcomings, to create a 21st century instrument that exceeds the performance of the traditional design. No one seems to "Yawn" when Del speaks of his design changes and concepts. The same open mindedness that accepts and appreciates his genius and efforts should be afforded to others who devote their lives to the improvement of piano design.


Edited by CC2 and Chopin lover (04/22/11 08:15 AM)
_________________________
Piano Technician/Tuner

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#1664691 - 04/22/11 08:13 AM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
UnrightTooner Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4949
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Here's a PDF of the patent. It makes things much clearer:

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7915509.pdf
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1664714 - 04/22/11 09:28 AM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
Numerian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 1075
Very nicely said, CC2. I have a Stanwood touch design on my piano and I am playing pieces that were out of my reach before it was installed. It's not simply that the reduction of friction allows me to play bravura passages or concert etudes; it's that I can control the tone even in these sort of passages with such ease. I can see why some well-known professionals have this system on their home piano.

With all the fretting about the death of the acoustic piano, we have to recognize that we live in a time when the piano action is being refined to remarkable levels, and the soundboard itself is now undergoing significant changes.

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#1664720 - 04/22/11 09:38 AM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
Thanks Numerian. I have also installed numerous Stanwood Precision Touch Design systems in my own, and other's, pianos, as well as the Wapin bridge system, and I agree that they allow the player to do things, and to enjoy their piano, in ways that were not previously possible. The Stanwood SALA system is just one more way to do that.
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#1664839 - 04/22/11 01:04 PM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
accordeur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1207
Loc: Qubec, Canada
I think that this is a very ingenious invention. I just have a hard time understanding why it costs 10,000$. I could probably sell many of these if the price were lower. The system seems very simple both in parts and installation. Heck, I could probably replicate it for a fraction of the cost. Maybe if it becomes really popular, the price will come down.
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#1664966 - 04/22/11 04:16 PM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: UnrightTooner]
Jim Moy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 292
Loc: Fort Collins - Loveland, CO
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Here's a PDF of the patent. It makes things much clearer:

Quite!
_________________________
Jim Moy, RPT
Moy Piano Service, LLC
Fort Collins and Loveland, Colorado
http://www.moypiano.com

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#1664987 - 04/22/11 04:54 PM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: Piano World]
accordeur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1207
Loc: Qubec, Canada
I should add that I am happy for Mr. Stanwood to have secured the patent for his invention. It IS a new invention. Simple and practical. I would love to install this in one of my customer's pianos.

With this system, we could even find a way to level keys in an easier way.

I've been playing the piano since I was 5 years old. Started my apprenticeship as a technician when I was 19. I am now 45.

I would LOVE to try Mr Stanwood's invention.

For funk, jazz, rock, make the action heavy.

Then, when the ballads and lululabys come, you dial it to your taste.

I think, between that, and 7/8 keys, everyone will find their "touch"

Research and development are certainly a reason for the cost now.

I hope Mr. Stanwood can eventually justify selling kits for a decent price, I will be a customer!

Just my 2 cents


Edited by accordeur (04/22/11 05:07 PM)
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#1708568 - 07/06/11 04:46 PM Re: David Stanwood Patent [Re: CC2 and Chopin lover]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9285
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: CC2 and Chopin lover
Let me shed some light on all of this, since I was fortunate to work with David for five days, two summers ago, on the second prototype of this system, which we installed in my own Steinway M. By the way, the article is incorrect when it states that the first one was installed in a Steinway D at Brandeis University. The first was installed in David's own Mason A, which he displayed at the MARC PTG Conference for the first time in April of 2009. Anyway, none of the original components of the action move or are altered in any way. The movement of the "pivot point" of the key is facilitated by what David likes to call the "gadget" which is a piece that is created by a CNC router with a slot that sits over the balance pin and its paper punchings. On the "gadget", on either side of the slot that surrounds the pin, is attached a piece of felt cut from a felt balance rail punching. The gadget is then attached to the aluminum mechanism that slides it forward and back under the key by means of it's attachment to the knob apparatus just behind the keyslip on the front of the keyframe. The gadget, and the felt attached to it, are the source of the fulcrum point of the key, and the reason that regulation is not affected is because the system needs to move very little in order to get the desired effect. When the gadget/felt move toward the back of the key, as the knob is turned counterclockwise, the front of the key essentially becomes longer, thereby providing a mechanical advantage and giving a lighter touch. The opposite is true as you turn the knobs clockwise and the "gadget" moves forward. As far as who is responsible for setting the knobs, that will always be the player, since they are looking for their "sweet spot". There is a gauge alongside the knob that shows the five different positions on a scrimshaw indicator. The variation of positions is infinite between the first and last points in the range. As far as comparisons with the touchrail system, I have used both and they really work on such different principles that the results are not comparable. I have had many high level concert pianists play my piano with this modification and all have raved about how well it worked, how easy it was to operate, and how different it made the piano feel with each adjustment. For those of you who are bored with all this, (yawn??), I would suggest a more open mind toward the idea of improving the function of the modern piano. As good as the original design might be, folks like Stanwood, Wapin, Wessel Nickel and Gross, Kawai, Steingraber Phoenix, Stuart Pianos, etcetera, have all proven that you don't need to live in the past in order to enjoy a truly wonderful instrument. It is possible to build on the wonderful fundamentals of the original piano design, while improving on some of the inherent shortcomings, to create a 21st century instrument that exceeds the performance of the traditional design. No one seems to "Yawn" when Del speaks of his design changes and concepts. The same open mindedness that accepts and appreciates his genius and efforts should be afforded to others who devote their lives to the improvement of piano design.


I don't know how I missed this!

CC2, beautifully said and I could not state it better. This is absolutely a system that is appreciated by artists, particularly by schools. The result of having one piano with SALA in a performance venue is more like having two or three pianos - at least as far as touch is concerned.

The very first patented SALA system was installed in a Steinway D here at Cunningham Piano Company in April. That piano was immediately delivered to a 9 year old prodigy whose compositions are scheduled to be performed by The Curtis Institute orchestra this coming fall. His teacher, a very well known performer, flipped for the SALA.

Here is this child in performance at 8 years of age, after playing for 9 months:



Here he is after playing 18 months:



Additionally, we recently had a gathering in our restoration facility of some giants in the technical field. They came to look over the installation, to meet and greet, and to discuss all things technical. From left to right:

Joe Cossolini, Art Reblitz partner in crime - you see his hands throughout the Reblitz books.

Kurt Weissman, VP of piano technology here at Cunningham.

David Stanwood, you may have heard the name.

David Andersen, LA dude and great action man

Steve Minkoff, Steinway action expert



For those with interest, we are planning an evening with SALA this coming Fall and it will be here in the Philadelphia area. If you would like more information, please let me know by pm or send me an email.

In my mind the SALA is simple in theory, elegant in design, quite complicated in installation, but truly freeing to an artist and fiscally sensible to a university or music school.

My 2 cents,
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#1709070 - 07/07/11 12:57 PM Re: David Stanwood Patent (SALA) [Re: Piano World]
Roy123 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 1717
Loc: Massachusetts
Who knows if this invention will end up meaning much. One thing is certain, Mr Stanwood is in a self-celebratory mood.

"This is kind of the ultimate invention which draws upon all of my skills. This is the pinnacle of invention — this adjustable leverage action. "

"The light bulbs do not go off without all the dedication, a lot of passion, and trying a variety of options. Then the miracles happen."

"Elegant in design,complex in execution,and simple in function”

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