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#1911037 - 06/09/12 12:38 PM Pianos for Oompa Loompa's
polyphasicpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
This problem is probably going to sound strange to many people, but I can't possibly be the only person who has it.

So I do quite a bit of my practcing in the practice rooms at a conservatory. In many ways this is a blessing, but it is also kind of a curse as well. It is is a blessing in the sense that I get to practice in an environment free of distracting stimuli, which contains (and I mean no offense to my beloved, yet sometimes ineffectual, DP here) "real" pianos of varying styles, brands, and actions. However, it is this latter point which presents itself also as a curse - specifically on many (but not all) upright pianos (Kawai brands in particular are guilty here).

For you see I have a tendency to sit a bit lower, not Glenn Gould low, but low just the same, and I find that this makes pedaling rather difficult on certain uprights because it places my thigh and calf at a perfect right-angle to one another, diminishing the height at which I can actually raise my foot. By itself I don't think this is much of an issue; however, the problem is compounded by the fact that these pianos are propped upon wheels, lifting the pedal just that-much higher, making the whole processes of pedaling (when it is required in large quantities) quite fatiguing. And I can imagine that a person taller than me (5' 11") would have an even more difficult time with it.

Interestingly enough this problem does not seem to occur on grands or baby grands due to the pedals being located further back, allowing my leg some room to stretch beyond that cumbersome 90 degree angle. But seeing as how grands and baby grands are not always available, I have had to come up with other solutions for avoiding strain. Moving my chair back has not proved a viable remedy because, while it corrects the pedaling issue, it puts my arms at far too large a distance from the keyboard. However, I have found two things that do work, I can sit higher (which I don't like - and I have given an honest effort to doing) or I can, when confronted with these pianos, simply prop my heel up on something (usually a folded piece of newspaper or a book works quite well) that will lift my foot just high enough that the extra height of the wheels are no longer relevant.

So what is the deal with these upright's? Does anyone else have this problem? What novel solutions have you come up with? Is this a design flaw or do they have Oompa Loompas manufacturing these things to fit their own physiologic specifications? Because that is the way it seems. I understand the value of having wheels on a piano since it eliminates much heavy lifting, but you would think the manufacturers would have enough sense to take this extra height into account.

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#1911569 - 06/10/12 06:31 PM Re: Pianos for Oompa Loompa's [Re: polyphasicpianist]
polyphasicpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
Does anyone else have this problem?

I guess I am the only one then.

#1911574 - 06/10/12 06:47 PM Re: Pianos for Oompa Loompa's [Re: polyphasicpianist]
Crisium Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/10/12
Posts: 2
Loc: Banned. Kirch
Can't help you here PPP. Just checked the height of my bench and I would say my elbows are probably 6-8 inches above my hands when I play. Can't say I have really struggled with the position of any pedals...

#1911604 - 06/10/12 08:35 PM Re: Pianos for Oompa Loompa's [Re: polyphasicpianist]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2496
Loc: Virginia, USA
I just came back from a church retreat where there were a couple of pianos (multiple problems with each but it's kind of fun trying to adjust to their problems as you are playing) and they had big wheels on. The pedals seemed to be way up in the way up in the air. But I found I quickly adjusted. Perhaps you just need to sit higher up?
  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3

#1911623 - 06/10/12 09:41 PM Re: Pianos for Oompa Loompa's [Re: polyphasicpianist]
KeysAngler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/10
Posts: 260
Loc: The Fabulous Florida Keys
Just trim off the front platform and you'll be good to go ... and very stylish also

#1911653 - 06/10/12 11:18 PM Re: Pianos for Oompa Loompa's [Re: KeysAngler]
polyphasicpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
Only if they come in suede. I wouldn't want to appear tacky after all.

#1911655 - 06/10/12 11:23 PM Re: Pianos for Oompa Loompa's [Re: polyphasicpianist]
polyphasicpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
OMG! I think i found the soulution. BEATLE BOOTS!

Imagine walking on stage with a pair of these bad boys! Play a bit of Chopin and the ladies will just melt.

#1911736 - 06/11/12 06:56 AM Re: Pianos for Oompa Loompa's [Re: polyphasicpianist]
zrtf90 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 3287
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Not wishing to be a stickler but Beatle boots had Cuban heels. And if newspaper works, Cuban heels will certainly be worth trying.

Western boots still have a raised heel if you have difficulty getting real Beatle boots.

Alternatively, if you carry a bag or case around with you at the conservatory a small block of wood to use as a heel rest might help similar to a guitarists footrest. A wooden pencil case, perhaps?


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