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#1960938 - 09/19/12 12:28 AM Re: Stanwood Touch Design question [Re: Dktenor]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1392
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Dktenor
I'm the OP. This discussion quickly went beyond my understanding.

Larry Fine, in his Fall 2012 Piano Buyer's Guide (which I read on the web) lists the Stanwood Touch Design under "problem solving".

One of the reasons that my technician was not so keen on this is that (in his words ) it can be used to mask problems with an action. When I mentioned that a piano with Stanwood touch design played very well, his response was - "yes, but for how long?" Is this a valid comment? And if so, would a technician that I bring to inspect a potential purchase be able to opine on whether the Stanwood method applied to the piano I am considering is masking a problem or is in fact an enhancement to an acceptable action?

Thanks
Doug


I think YOU are the one to determine if there is a problem -- since you will be the one playing the piano. If you don't detect a problem with playability, then as far as you are concerned, there is none. Your technician can then advise you about things you can't so easily determine such as tuning stability, condition of parts, general condition of piano, etc.

If you do determine that there is a playability issue, the it becomes your technician's task to understand your experience and diagnose what in the action (or elsewhere) may be causing what you perceive.
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#1960948 - 09/19/12 01:22 AM Re: Stanwood Touch Design question [Re: kpembrook]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2216
Loc: Suffolk, England
As well as following Keith's advice, Doug, I suggest you read between the lines of Ed Foote's post #1953766 on the first page of of this thread. A piano that will benefit from the Stanwood treatment has inconsistencies between the notes due to design, manufacture or wear. You may want to think twice about buying such a piano.

_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1961024 - 09/19/12 08:46 AM Re: Stanwood Touch Design question [Re: Dktenor]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 821
Loc: shirley, MA
Doug,

As well as the above 2 suggestions, remember, that if you do perceive a playability or comfort issue, or are looking for a particular touch you are not getting from your piano, Stanwood's protocol is only one approach amongst a whole host of other approaches...with Stanwood's solution being the more complex (unto anal), while many of the other approaches will be somewhat simpler and often considerably less expensive.

Because the action and belly are so interactive, touch issues and solutions often acquire a complexity which is simply unnecessary. Give the piano a chance, and if it suggests you need to address something, be it touch or tone(remembering that, from a pianistic perspective the two are sometimes really hard to separate), find a tech with the chops to address your complaint directly, rather than determining the solution before you have clearly defined the problem.

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
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#1961025 - 09/19/12 08:49 AM Re: Stanwood Touch Design question [Re: Withindale]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1353
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Withindale
As well as following Keith's advice, Doug, I suggest you read between the lines of Ed Foote's post #1953766 on the first page of of this thread. A piano that will benefit from the Stanwood treatment has inconsistencies between the notes due to design, manufacture or wear. You may want to think twice about buying such a piano.


I hope I wasn't misunderstood. All pianos have inconsistencies, some much more than others, and the "handbuilt" ones are the most erratic of them all. The Stanwood approach is, for me, primarily an approach to achieve evenness. Using something like it, I can create actions that are massive or nimble, it depends on what weight hammer I want to couple with a desired front weight. The system is sound, and used properly, allows a wide variety of actions to be built to a specific result.
Having a Standwood action doesn't indicate a liability. There are a lot of pianos with them that are performing at the very extreme ends of artistic demands.
Regards,

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#1961026 - 09/19/12 08:52 AM Re: Stanwood Touch Design question [Re: Dktenor]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Agreed with that above, I finalized the voicing of an old Steinway A yesterday. That provided THE touch, as noticed the pianist, without it something was yet missing.

nice focused and long ppp, a hammer that is rebounding naturally on the strings for any dynamic range, give yet 50% of the touch quality (even enough to hide somewhat some action design flaws or limits, hopefully)
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#1961047 - 09/19/12 09:47 AM Re: Stanwood Touch Design question [Re: Ed Foote]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2216
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Originally Posted By: Withindale
As well as following Keith's advice, Doug, I suggest you read between the lines of Ed Foote's post #1953766 on the first page of of this thread. A piano that will benefit from the Stanwood treatment has inconsistencies between the notes due to design, manufacture or wear. You may want to think twice about buying such a piano.


I hope I wasn't misunderstood. All pianos have inconsistencies, some much more than others, and the "handbuilt" ones are the most erratic of them all. The Stanwood approach is, for me, primarily an approach to achieve evenness. Using something like it, I can create actions that are massive or nimble, it depends on what weight hammer I want to couple with a desired front weight. The system is sound, and used properly, allows a wide variety of actions to be built to a specific result.


I too hope you were not understood, Ed.

The OP says he is looking to purchase a rebuilt high end grand piano and knows what touch and tone he prefers. It makes sense either to find a piano that already has the evenness you describe or find a rebuilder who can provide it, starting with an unrestored instrument.

What does not make sense, at least to me, is to buy a newly rebuilt piano that then needs further work on its action.


Edited by Withindale (09/20/12 07:45 AM)
Edit Reason: starting point
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1961386 - 09/20/12 02:02 AM Re: Stanwood Touch Design question [Re: Dktenor]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5372
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Dktenor
One of the reasons that my technician was not so keen on this is that (in his words ) it can be used to mask problems with an action. When I mentioned that a piano with Stanwood touch design played very well, his response was - "yes, but for how long?" Is this a valid comment? And if so, would a technician that I bring to inspect a potential purchase be able to opine on whether the Stanwood method applied to the piano I am considering is masking a problem or is in fact an enhancement to an acceptable action?

I'm curious--what, exactly, does your technician expect to change?

I don't use Stanwood's techniques in my own work--I prefer my own method of balancing actions--but from what I understand of his procedure there is nothing that will wear out or change at rates that are any different than normal wear and tear on a mechanical piano action in normal use.

ddf
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Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1961434 - 09/20/12 07:11 AM Re: Stanwood Touch Design question [Re: Dktenor]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
The keyboard being the part we are the less likely top modify (while sometipme moving the capstan may be possible) it is what limits the amount of "optimizations" or personalizations.
The front lever of the key will remain the same unless you order new keys and have the keyframe modified by a specialist.

Then differences in key ratio as small as 1,9:1 to 2.1:1 are enough to change the key dip and the weigh of the hammers, no amount of equalization will modify that. (many keyboards have now a different ratio in bass and treble, also)

Not really interesting to buy a piano with touch problems and expect them to be sorted out, if that is the point.
_________________________
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#1989246 - 11/21/12 06:56 AM Re: Stanwood Touch Design question [Re: Dktenor]
David C. Stanwood Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 9
Loc: Martha's Vineyard, Massachuset...
Dear DKtenor,

I've read your question about Stanwood Touch Design and even though this thread is a little cold I'd like to address your concern. I can offer this specific warning: It is not uncommon for enthusiastic purveyors of pianos to falsely report that an instrument they are representing or selling has a legitimate Stanwood Touch Design. It's easy to check this. If the Touch Design was installed by a licensed Stanwood installer the design will be on file by me. Simply provide me with the Make Model and Serial number and I will confirm wether or not the Design is legitimate or falsely claimed. If it is legitimate I can tell you specifically what was done in terms of customized action balancing and I can provide you with replacement hammer weight specifications if need be.

A distinct advantage of buying or owning instruments with Stanwood Touch Design is that the integrity of balance is maintained when hammers are replaced and the replacement hammers are made to the Precision specifications. With other key balancing systems, when the hammers or action parts are replaced the integrity of balance is diminished if the keys are not re-balanced. With Stanwood Touch Design the key weighting does not have to be changed when parts are replaced.

In regards to the Hornet's nest which was stirred up. It is very interesting and informative for me to read the various responses and if you like I'd be happy prepare a detailed response of my own to help give a "balanced" historical prospective to help in understanding the issues raised. It'll take me some time to prepare a careful and thoughtful response.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

David Stanwood
_________________________
http://www.stanwoodpiano.com

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#1989543 - 11/21/12 06:10 PM Re: Stanwood Touch Design question [Re: Dktenor]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19942
Loc: New York City
I have some more basic questions about the various action modifications discussed so far in this thread. I am speaking as someone who has never played a Stanwood modification or any of the other modifications mentioned. I'm just theorizing.

It seems to me that these modifications are mostly suitable for either extremely advanced pianists or to cure pianos with very serious problems that can't be fixed with basic regulation.

1. Can any but the most advanced pianists(those in say an artist diploma program at a top conservator)even feel the difference between a piano with good regulation/standard touchweight and one with these modifications? Can an advanced pianist, but not one at conservatory level, really benefit from such a precise modification if their piano's touchweight is within the normal range and their piano is well regulated? It seems like one would already have to possess a terrific technique and super professional touch sensitivity to benefit.

2. But even for the most advanced professional pianists, assuming they can't perform on their own piano, what is the advantage of owning one of these super precise actions if they will most likely be performing on pianos without these modifications? I'd guess it could even make things more difficult if the piano they performed on was less precise in feel than their own piano?

Comments appreciated.

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#1989665 - 11/22/12 04:51 AM Re: Stanwood Touch Design question [Re: pianoloverus]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3436
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Can any but the most advanced pianists(those in say an artist diploma program at a top conservator)even feel the difference between a piano with good regulation/standard touchweight and one with these modifications?


A handful of the Steinways at my alma mater were Stanwoodized and I don't think any of the pianists had any idea. One of them was also Wapinized, and no one could tell the difference, either. Advanced pianists don't always notice things.

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Can an advanced pianist, but not one at conservatory level, really benefit from such a precise modification if their piano's touchweight is within the normal range and their piano is well regulated?


It's debatable. Possibly not, but I like to think that professionals and amateurs alike can benefit from all the help they can get. However, most pianos have higher than ideal inertia in their actions. If a given piano has:

1. carefully controlled friction (key pins, capstans, action centers, and knuckles)

2. hammers with the appropriate mass for the given action ratio

3. good regulation

you will likely be happy enough with the piano's performance. If you want to go several steps more refined than that, there are a few different methods of doing so, namely Stanwood or Fandrich/Rhodes' Weightbench system. The Ravenscroft folks have their own proprietary method, too.


Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
But even for the most advanced professional pianists, assuming they can't perform on their own piano, what is the advantage of owning one of these super precise actions if they will most likely be performing on pianos without these modifications? I'd guess it could even make things more difficult if the piano they performed on was less precise in feel than their own piano?


Because they want it. Why do pianists buy Steinways, Schimmels, M&H, etc.? If you're happy with your own instrument, you're more inspired, and thus more productive. Conservatory-trained pianists are used to playing all sorts of instruments in varying stages of disrepair, and can compensate for that within reason. There is a point at which one cannot compensate effectively, and in these situations, it won't matter whether your piano is Stanwoodized or not.
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M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
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#1989677 - 11/22/12 05:35 AM Re: Stanwood Touch Design question [Re: Dktenor]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
if the desired DW on a grand piano is attained with the use of a lot of leads (as I noticed on a few NY Steinway I have encountered) ,
any method that allow to reevaluate the action ratio, at the time of a rebuild, will be appropriate.

Similarely, on an old model mounted with light parts and hammers if the installation of modern parts means that the key dip have to be enlarged a lot , I am unsure the piano is then at its optimum.

Then, once the correct parts are selected, and when they provide adequate geometry and weight, it is not so much more work to check their weight , eventually some peaks will be noticed, but good hammers often have a progressive weight and dont need to be too much worked.

Once fitted, the hammers are also shaved, the tails worked, so a few tenth of grams will be lost at that time also.

Also, there is so much difference between a nicely regulated piano and a basic regulation, the first one allow for touch modifications that can be done to please a given pianist.

Yamaha grands have some sort of "Stanwoodization" from the start, due to the precision of the industrial process.
The inertia of their keys is progressive, there you can try to feel if this is a so huge advantage.
A properly done key weighting provide yet part of the job, if done on a hammer set with evened weight.

But in the end what counts is more the final tone and abilities of the instrument, even if the touch is half of the comfort impression for the pianist, the tone quality is yet the second half.
_________________________
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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#2360836 - 12/12/14 06:05 AM Re: Stanwood Touch Design question [Re: Dktenor]
gynnis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/14
Posts: 284
Loc: Florida, Connecticut
Maybe the point is that both systems allow faster diagnosis and repair of action issues. I imagine both will be fine tuned over time, and personal preferences will be dialed into further versions.
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#2388350 - 02/19/15 04:18 PM Re: Stanwood Touch Design question [Re: Dktenor]
R_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/03/09
Posts: 649
That these "after market" methods exist is some evidence of a "need", or at least a market "want".

In many other products there is an analogue, so called "blue printing", etc.
Worth it for some applications (racing ?), not for others (commuting ?).

What I think David Stanwood has most significantly done is to quantify (put weights, forces, distance measurements on) what has been fairly closely held "trade art" - and published it, with patents on the methodology. By tabulating the measurements on each key the inconsistencies can be identified and brought into line with the others.
Simple enough, but by "tradition" it was done by touch/feel/senses_developed_from_experience.

As to why some manufacturers don't do "all that" at the factory may be a little puzzling.

I know it is an ancient industry, but modern manufacturing philosophy holds that the earlier in a total manufacturing process inconsistencies can be removed the lower the TOTAL costs.
There is no point in making cheap components if they cause a lot of re-work, trouble-shooting, adjustments and needs for high skills at later phases of assembly.

I think this is where Asia is beating out the West, they make their manufacturing process produce consistent parts that FIT together into consistent sub-assemblies which in turn FIT into consistent assemblies to make consistent whole products - WITHOUT the need to "file to fit" along the way. They eliminate the need for high skill, resulting in lower TOTAL costs.

The methodology that David Stanwood describes also allows "new, good, but different" parts to be selected and adjusted to match old pianos, once the old piano has been measured and documented. No magic here.


Edited by R_B (02/19/15 04:32 PM)

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#2388433 - 02/19/15 09:06 PM Re: Stanwood Touch Design question [Re: Dktenor]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2721
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
My LightHammer Tone Regulation protocol uses playing tests to determine the weight of the hammers across the compass. Key leading is minimized and in some case almost no front leading is needed, depending on the action ratio and the customers expectation of tone-color/dynamics-to-key-speed. These tests are feedback loops that informs you of what direction to go.

For a powerful, open treble tone, the hammer mass must be reduced greatly from what all new hammers come like. And to control this open tone, adequate resistance at slow playing must be there to allow for soft control.

The way I describe proper action feel is when playing softly you must be able to keep the key at your finger as it goes down. The key should not take off on you as you start to play it. When playing fast and loud, the key should feel like it moves freely with your finger and doesn't fight back. It should also return from the fully depressed position fast enough to help raise your relaxed finger from the key surface.

Action feel should also have the same fluid damped sensation our joints have so the action feels like it is part of your body.

There is a very strong connection between action inertia and touch quality. As you reduce the inertia in the action, the static touch weight needs to rise to allow for soft playing control. So the standard static touch weight values will not produce consistent action feel.

If your action analysis recipe does not include tonal control-the whole exercise is fated to failure.

I have attended many action analysis presentations where the underlying physics are reasonably well characterized-but no discussion of tonal consequences are part of the analysis. I guess TONE is another of those four letter words!
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