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#1962447 - 09/22/12 08:12 AM measure of touch weight on my upright
chopin_r_us Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 958
Loc: UK
My upright requires 80 grams for the key to go down, 45 grams before it starts to rise and 25 grams it will rise to the top on G 1 1/2 octaves above middle C. Can you smart folks diagnose anything by that? Many thanks.

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#1962511 - 09/22/12 10:34 AM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
michelleyh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/08
Posts: 58
Loc: Malaysia
Are you a piano technician yourself? How long your piano has not been regulated?
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Michelle YH Toe, LLCM
Piano Technician, CSPT
Piano Teacher
Accompanist
www.facebook.com/MichelleYHToe

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#1962526 - 09/22/12 11:11 AM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
Zeno Wood Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 451
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Can't diagnose much except that it's heavy. Are you measuring with the dampers engaged? If so, stomp on the damper pedal and re-measure.
_________________________
Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College

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#1962569 - 09/22/12 12:28 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: Zeno Wood]
chopin_r_us Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 958
Loc: UK
Interesting - stomping on the pedal has no effect. Same numbers.

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#1962593 - 09/22/12 01:30 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
Zeno Wood Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 451
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Just to be sure, when I say stomp, I mean depress the pedal and keep it down whilst you make your measurements. (notice my adroit use of "whilst"?)
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Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College

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#1962595 - 09/22/12 01:38 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3348
Well, if the touch feels heavy, friction could be a problem, it may be poorly regulated, or it could have an inertia problem, or a combination of the three. Without more info, it's not really possible to guess beyond that.
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M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
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#1962596 - 09/22/12 01:38 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: Zeno Wood]
chopin_r_us Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 958
Loc: UK
Yeh, I stomped and held whilst. smile

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#1962607 - 09/22/12 02:24 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1952
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: chopin_r_us
My upright requires 80 grams for the key to go down, 45 grams before it starts to rise and 25 grams it will rise to the top on G 1 1/2 octaves above middle C. Can you smart folks diagnose anything by that? Many thanks.

Is this a guessing game or a cry for help?
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1962610 - 09/22/12 02:31 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: Withindale]
chopin_r_us Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 958
Loc: UK
A cry for help! I read somewhere these measurements say something. I've since heard just the right technician is visiting soon. Still, ideas on a postcard...

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#1962621 - 09/22/12 03:02 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1952
Loc: Suffolk, England
More information would help the experts.

Make, age and condition of piano? How you made measurements? Heavy to play, all keys or some? Still as heavy with the pedal down? Etc.

Some of my bass keys are a bit heavy with the pedal up. Need to look at the dampers.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1962623 - 09/22/12 03:04 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7881
Loc: France
it is mostly friction, as inertia on a vertical is low.
in fact on a vertical the keys are wighted to ADD weight, the opposite of a grand.

it can be that the piano is not regulated, or used, wear can add friction. also if the piano is not vertical, the hammers at rest are adding a little weight.

You did not say which height the piano is, what brand, what age.

your tech will certainly point where the heaviness have its source.
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It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1962631 - 09/22/12 03:21 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: Olek]
chopin_r_us Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 958
Loc: UK
It's the same ol' 1892 Pleyel Pianino I keep posting about. Bloody heavy action for Chopin's favourite make eh? Heavy to play every key with or without pedal.

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#1962651 - 09/22/12 03:51 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7881
Loc: France
Ah but a pianino out of regulation or with worn parts can be heavy.

It should not usually the touch is just a little "square", but the keys have a so small leverage all the wear, particularely the cushion that locates the rest position of the jack under the butt, will be felt a lot.

lot of friction points too, the letoff system, the keyboard pins and cloths, the butt leathers and under cloth... the damper mechanism..

Your question could not be answered, dimensions differ also depending of the model, and are not really referenced for what I know.

the butt is not rounded . the distance between jack top and hammer center is the first source for heaviness there, in my opinion (can be a little helped with regulation but only a little)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1962652 - 09/22/12 03:55 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2407
Loc: Olympia, WA
You say it takes 40 grams for it to start to rise. Then, I assume, the hammer stops when it reaches let-off, and then you have to add 40 more grams to get it to move through let off? I'm trying to figure out what you are describing. Maybe post a video of how you are measuring.

How far down does the key go down with the 40 grams?

I agree with Kamin. If it feels heavy, friction is often the culprit. Most of this will be from the centerpins on the hammers. Keybushings are also a common source of friction in actions. Another usual source of heavy touch on uprights is damper springs that are set very strong combined with early lift with the key. One more idea: Soft hammers can also create the illusion of a heavy touch. It makes the pianist exert more effort to get a forte tone.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1962661 - 09/22/12 04:21 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
chopin_r_us Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 958
Loc: UK
Ryan, the key goes all the way down with 80 grams weight. Then if I take weight away and only leave 45 grams the key begins to raise. If I take more away and leave only 25 grams the key raises all the way up.

Thanks Kamin, I'll see what I can see about those areas.

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#1962679 - 09/22/12 05:01 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2407
Loc: Olympia, WA
Thanks chopin_r_us!

Usually we measure touchweight with the damper pedal depressed and only to the point of let-off. So if your down weight is only 45grams, that is actually a little on the light side. 25 grams of upweight is also pretty good and in the normal range.

Subtracting the upweight from the downweight and dividing by 2 will give you the amount of friction. If your downweight is 45, and your upweight is 25 your friction will be about 10 - which is on the low side.

However, given the above information, it surprises me that the action feels heavy.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1962703 - 09/22/12 05:56 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
Chris Leslie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 678
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia
The likely cause of friction in your pianino is with the sliders that activate the escape. They get dirty and sticky with age. I think they may be glued to a cam on your hammer butts. Replace them with new fine leather, or because you may never find the right leather, bushing felt will do and it has less friction but will wear quicker. Also, clean and polish the sliding surface. If you do this, and all else is OK, then your instrument should have a nice silky smooth touch.
Did we talk about this once before?


Edited by Chris Leslie (09/22/12 05:57 PM)
_________________________
Chris Leslie
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au

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#1962858 - 09/22/12 10:39 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
michelleyh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/08
Posts: 58
Loc: Malaysia
check the pinning!! the center pins might be too rusty!! perhaps the key bushings are tight too.. has it been raining a lot?
_________________________
Michelle YH Toe, LLCM
Piano Technician, CSPT
Piano Teacher
Accompanist
www.facebook.com/MichelleYHToe

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#1962866 - 09/22/12 10:50 PM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7881
Loc: France
hi Michelle that is an old historic piano, and the answers have been given some time ago yet by Chris and myself, without the OP understanding them probably.

friction exacerbates with speed. high ratio actions can be difficult to play while weighting normally.

Working on those old actions one need precision and understanding of causes, not always easy to find the adequate person for the customer.
As Chris noticed finding good materials may be a problem today, even bushing cloth BTW...
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1962937 - 09/23/12 01:13 AM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
chopin_r_us Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 958
Loc: UK
Chris, As a test on one octave I've replaced the leather on the hammer butts and painted and polished with Superslide any other parts coming under friction. Maybe I should look into bushing felt.

Michelle, key bushings and center pins are fine.

Ryan I would have thought downweight is how much required for the key to go down (80 grams) rather than stay down (45).

Kamin, fortunately my tech is one of the top restorers in the country. He'll be more used to grands though. I'm guessing it's the butt covering. The original butt covering seems something special. I'm sure you've seen plenty of Pianino butts?

Here's the pre-releathered butt. It's the red stuff (the green was added some 50 years ago - I removed it):


When I replaced it with goat skin I was pleased I didn't make any it worse (I'm not a tech) but also it's no better.

Here's what I've done so far butts and cams:




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#1962953 - 09/23/12 01:59 AM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7881
Loc: France
You should have show us first ! you did the nap the good direction I suppose. How thick is your rest cushion (you did not put any ?)

We are left with a too thin cushion, too large hammer travel distance etc. Is "heavyness" during letoff, at the beginning of stroke, or within acceleration (that last is normal for a pianino, but it is what makes playing them a little controllable)

45 grs is normal as probably 80 - the heavyness is then due to the too large key dip, lack of clear stopping of the keys, backcheck wire under stress, etc.

The butts where leather originally, even if red colored. those leather qualities we dont have today. I dont see "plenty" just some of them and rarely, in fact.

Nice leather on the hammers (?) how do that tones ?

if you feel the key mortise rubbing strong when you push sideways on the key while lowering it, bushings and pins have to be done.





Edited by Kamin (09/23/12 02:17 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1962957 - 09/23/12 02:31 AM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
Chris Leslie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 678
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Chopin, the green part probably should be there. It is called a butt pad and is a normal part of hammer butts and holds the jack in the right position under the butt. Without it, the jack will be have to drag against the butt at letoff time and cause a heavy feel. If it is too thick then the jack will slip out prematurely and decrease power. Somebody may have replaced the original butt pads some time ago - they are very tasty to some insects! I see that you have covered the butt with material all the way where the butt pad should be. I am not sure if that is correct for this instrument.

Having new material covering the jack cams does not necessarily mean that it will slide well. I suggest that you try other materials and see what works best. Experiment with materials out of the piano. Try without any material as well, i.e. bare wood.

Heaviness is also caused by the dampers being adjusted so that they operate too soon. The principle is the same on modern pianos. There should be a lost-motion gap of 4 to 5 mm between the doughnut at the bottom end of the damper wire and the lifter on the whippen so that the lifter engages the doughnut about half way though the key dip. This is adjusted by loosening the damper wire so that is can rotate, and then rotating enough times to create the correct gap. Each time you rotate you may have to lift it out of the whippen by flexing it.


Edited by Chris Leslie (09/23/12 03:18 AM)
_________________________
Chris Leslie
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au

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#1962964 - 09/23/12 03:31 AM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
chopin_r_us Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 958
Loc: UK
Thanks guys I really appreciate the time you are taking. I am determined to get this piano to a touch Chopin would have been happy with - and that's light!

Chris, I'm sure more or less every upright has that 'pad'. Pleyel invented a cam system instead. If you ask me it's just another place for friction - that's why many years ago a tech added the green felt.


Kamin, I'm reading your post carefully.

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#1962967 - 09/23/12 03:45 AM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
chopin_r_us Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 958
Loc: UK
Kamin, If you mean this I left them on:



The nap - yes. I consulted the guy (also a restorer) who supplied it to me.

The touch is heavy from the top all the way down but I don't sense it being that stiff. It feels like you're moving quite a large weight.

"Nice leather on the hammers (?) how do that tones ?" I'm not sure what that means. The hammers are felt. Would they be leather in Chopin's day?

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#1962970 - 09/23/12 03:51 AM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7881
Loc: France
no
no the green cushion , too much drag withot it .
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1962971 - 09/23/12 03:54 AM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: Olek]
chopin_r_us Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 958
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Kamin
no
no the green cushion , too much drag withot it .
That's really a surprise. I am 100% sure that's not original.

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#1962973 - 09/23/12 03:57 AM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21660
Loc: Oakland
I think Chris is correct about the butt felt. Without it, you probably get more friction from the jack moving against the leather as the button presses on the letoff cam. You could put a piece in and compare the touch before and after. But I also think the entire project is putting lipstick on a pig.
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#1962974 - 09/23/12 04:02 AM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: BDB]
chopin_r_us Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 958
Loc: UK
Ah, but one of Chopin's favourite pigs! The cam should do the job and I'm assuming Pleyel knew what they were doing. I take your point BDB but the octave I've worked on (and removed the cushions) seems no worse than the other octaves with them. The cam sure looks like a crazy idea though.

Kamin, I'd assumed France is littered with Pianinos. Are you sure they have cushions? When taken off I'm sure I can tell nothing was there originally.

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#1962980 - 09/23/12 04:45 AM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
chopin_r_us Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 958
Loc: UK
Thanks again for helping me think this through. I realize now that from the very inception of key descent it's heavy - you feel you're starting to move quite a load. Even though on my modern quality upright, with hammers about as heavily felted, there is far less yet I can't help thinking it's a hammer problem. If the end-of-the-key to pivot pin key length is too short (which I think it may be) then would that explain it? Was my Pianino designed for small leather hammers but the design then got over burdened with bigger felt ones? There's plenty of stress indicated on the butt flanges to think that.

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#1962981 - 09/23/12 04:47 AM Re: measure of touch weight on my upright [Re: chopin_r_us]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7881
Loc: France
The cam only works at letoff moment, for me, so the parts have yet some speed,

You make me have doubt, but the cam is just another mean to letoff, and the cushion avoid noise. I will try to be sure.

Think also about orientation of force at rest and during stroke.

How much hammer travel do you have ?
Take care of the nap..
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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