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#2021832 - 01/26/13 07:30 PM Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright
Bojan Babic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/09
Posts: 325
Loc: Vojvodina, Serbia
A customer of mine has 2 years old K5, with 3 broken bass strings in last 20 days. Always the different string. The piano is played by 14 years old boy, so I don"t think that he abuses the piano. Does any of you have similar problem with that model, or it is an isolated case here? The K5 looks like a very good instrument to me, everything else is ok with it.
_________________________
Bojan Babic
piano technician and tuner
Sid, Vojvodina, Serbia
_____________________________
bojanbabic@yahoo.com
www.klaviri.blogspot.com

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#2021856 - 01/26/13 08:15 PM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Any time a string is breaking especially that often, it is more often abuse than not. 14 years old? So what? They can break them as good as anyone else can.. It is like a drummer breaking drum sticks. For some people it is fun to see how many they can break.

A K5 is a nice piano.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2021862 - 01/26/13 08:34 PM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
It is probably another case of "pedal to the metal and keep pounding those bass notes". Check the archives - much has been written on this.
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Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2021903 - 01/26/13 10:23 PM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Supply]
RestorerPhil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 212
Loc: Georgia, USA
Yep!
Pedal down, repeated rythmic pounding of the bass.

In my area certain flavors of gospel piano players use the style and break strings like crazy. The worst I ever saw was a little old lady church pianist. Every church she played for - same thing.

It isn't the piano's fault. It's the operator.
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Lavender Piano Services
Established 1977
Tuning, Concert Maintenance,
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#2021912 - 01/26/13 11:10 PM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Supply]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2038
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: Supply
It is probably another case of "pedal to the metal and keep pounding those bass notes". Check the archives - much has been written on this.
Yup! Pedal to the metal - 'Love it. 'Bet that's exactly what's happening. Search for- Shout House Pianos -, or that "Sandy Eggo" fella.
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David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
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#2021917 - 01/26/13 11:48 PM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Maybe this time, it's David's fault!? smile
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2021927 - 01/27/13 12:20 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
It pains me to witness gratuitous damage to a good well built piano.

Even if strings were beginning to rust, (again, not the fault of the piano). String breaking isn't normal.

Education is the answer. Tell him and parents what is causing it - that's Is your duty.

Who is paying for the repairs?

He will be short on pocket money for a good few weeks.

Problem is, he wasn't to know. Nobody normally warns against this problem and some of the strings that haven't yet broken may have been severely weakened. (in my experienced, in a good piano like this one, weakened strings, when returned to normal use still have enough strength left to give normal service.

Bit of a quandary. Eh?


Edited by rxd (01/27/13 12:25 AM)
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2022022 - 01/27/13 07:24 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: rxd]
RestorerPhil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 212
Loc: Georgia, USA
The most weakened strings are the lonely remnant strings of the bichords - the unisons with only one string left standing. These strings take the full brunt of the blows delivered after the partner string is gone. They fail next, so warn the parents of this likelihood.

I have had a few situations where this was happening repeatedly, so much so that I would go ahead and replace both stings on the spot with the best choice of universals. (I carry two of most sizes of both the coarse core and the finer core universals with me in a separate string box. After all, the piano is being beaten to death, a drum kit is flailing away three feet from the piano, so what do they care, obviously, if the replacement strings are universals or exact replacements?

Yep, my van is pretty full: Piano cradle, action cradle, string box, voicing box, stinging tool box. Oh well, I digress, but, if I am offered room and board, I travel equipped enough to almost do a minor rebuild right there at the house.
Just kidding! grin
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Lavender Piano Services
Established 1977
Tuning, Concert Maintenance,
Rebuilding & Restoration

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#2022041 - 01/27/13 08:35 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7212
Loc: France
both strings are changed usually at last on a good piano.

In a truck I would have drill press and compressed air

I made all sort of repairs on site, changing hmmers and shanks (drilling on site), keyboards bushings, new string set.

Mostly on usual maintenance job I need to add a large pinning job, and alittle keyboard repair.

With enough experienc we know beforehand which tools and parts we will need. What misses the most is a good table often.


For some reason, people call me to come sometime far, while I know there are competent techs locally.

Probable communication problems betyween tech and piano owner may lend to that situation.

There is one colleague of mine who works all around the country at a high level. (very expensive, also !)


Edited by Olek (01/27/13 08:38 AM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2022099 - 01/27/13 10:24 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
I have been successful at guilting students ( and faculty) out of breaking strings at one of the London conservatories by leaving broken strings for a week before repair and, much as I deplore signs, I have put some up explaining how unnecessary it is to break strings in creating a huge sound. Other students have pencilled names of known string breakers and another student put up their own sign asking who the idiot was who broke a string. Yet another student crossed out 'idiot' and wrote in "wanker" which is a British term of abuse meaning the person the term is directed at was only interested in their own selfish pleasure.

That particular sign has since been taken down but it has been most effective.



Edited by rxd (01/27/13 10:27 AM)
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2022109 - 01/27/13 10:36 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2038
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT
Maybe this time, it's David's fault!? smile
Naw. These aren't wire cutters in my hand. They're a special type of ... uh, ... key easing pliers. Yea, that it. They're key easing pliers. Ahm innocent again. whistle
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
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#2022115 - 01/27/13 10:53 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7212
Loc: France
That remind of me asking the pianist not to play the piano because it have been tuned !

(some of them find it funny, just before the rehearsal)

Good fight against string breakers RXD ! congratulations !


Edited by Olek (01/27/13 10:53 AM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2022130 - 01/27/13 11:15 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
An intelligent musician knows never to touch another musicians instrument. The same applies to a piano once it has been set up for a specific artist. An intelligent musician respects this too. The piano has become another musicians instrument.


Edited by rxd (01/27/13 11:18 AM)
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2022141 - 01/27/13 11:35 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7212
Loc: France
Sure most musicians know that at last intuitively.

I used to say that to the pianist who was supposed to play for the concert (if I knew him enough )


Another one is that the piano need to rest 24 hours because it was just tuned wink


Edited by Olek (01/27/13 11:37 AM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2022536 - 01/28/13 12:17 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Olek]
Steven Bolstridge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/13/05
Posts: 197
Loc: Fitzgerald ,GA
We know that many pianists break strings, but it does seem that sometimes there are other factors. One of my large churches had a Kawai RX2 donated to them in 2005. Within five months the first bass string broke, with more to follow. The previous piano, a Mason Hamlin grand, had been played on by the same pianist for years without any string breakage. Also her 1960 something Baldwin grand at home had no breakage.

After the ninth string, Kawai generously offered to pay for a replacement bass set from Mapes. These have been in place for 5 years now with with two broken strings in the last year. If she breaks them I will come, but all strings, or pianos, are not equal.
_________________________
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#2022612 - 01/28/13 03:50 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
I have observed that some makes are more susceptible to breaking strings under heavy use. It also makes a difference to the pianists perception of balance between the hands whether a grand lid is up or down.

How big was the M&H? A smaller piano will not produce the bass that a larger piano will and any attempt to reproduce what a first class larger piano was giving is doomed.

Different styles of music produce different string breaking patterns.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2022613 - 01/28/13 03:51 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1067
Loc: PA
This is an interesting discussion re the evils of string breaking. There is a contrary view, however.

I knew a really great pianist/teacher who used to say:
"If you are afraid of breaking your piano, do you know what that means? It means you need a different piano!"

I'm not taking sides here. But, there is a viewpoint that pianos are meant to be used for the expression of the artist. The artist should not feel restrained in what he can do, or try to do, by the limitations of instrument. If the instrument is limiting the artist, then the instrument is worthless.

This isn't necessarily MY view. But, it is a view that I've encountered and I thought it deserved to be mentioned.

My flame suit is on and I'm running for cover. smile
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#2022636 - 01/28/13 05:05 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
You are entirely right, Joe. I hear it from the composition faculty continually.

I just spent a few hours yesterday resetting bent damper wires and other anuses on a £95,000 concert grand after a composition student recital. The piano had been rendered unplayable for the following recital of serious piano music. The cleaners had to clean up paint that was splashed on the floor. Fortunately none of it got into the piano. Free artistic expression or just being wankers?, (persons only interested in self indulgence, see my earlier posts).

When I was a young trumpet player, many's the time I could have thrown that trumpet against a wall. Free expression or childish temper?

I am always wary of authoritative statements from our more vulgar pundits. There are better qualified pianists who can teach you how to create a large sound on a piano that will mask the sound of a symphony orchestra without doing any damage. There arent many of them but they are there.

A pianist broke a keystick on a grand. He came to me and admitted it showing me where a modern composer had written " violently" and " hammered" on the music. I asked him what does he do when it says " con amore"? You don't have to take poison in order to make an effective morendo. Any competent pianist can make a violent sound on a halfway decemt piano without damaging it.

I have many ideas for making pianos idiot proof. Each one of them would make it less of a musical instrument.

I do see your point but I have another hundred examples.

Bit of a quandary, eh?

What do you or the wise man you quote suggest we do??? I really would like an answer where everybody wins.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2022719 - 01/28/13 09:26 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: rxd]
Steven Bolstridge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/13/05
Posts: 197
Loc: Fitzgerald ,GA
Originally Posted By: rxd
How big was the M&H? A smaller piano will not produce the bass that a larger piano will and any attempt to reproduce what a first class larger piano was giving is doomed.


Both church pianos are 5'10". The M&H is 1968 model and puts out less overall sound than the Kawai. Her home Baldwin is around 6'4"
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piano tuner/technician

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#2022751 - 01/28/13 10:28 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
pianolive Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 325
Loc: Europe
My experience with stringbreaking pianists is that it takes a certain touch to do that, a special touch technique. They can breake a string at any time they want to. I have seen it done only by classical pianists on different concert grands, Bösendorfer, Steinway, Yamaha. I think it is just a bad habit.
The cure from rxd sounds great

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#2022785 - 01/28/13 11:33 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1067
Loc: PA
Hello rxd,

I simply mention that this is a viewpoint that many hold.

We aren't talking about someone splashing paint on a piano.

I'll give you a contrary experience of mine.

There is one pianist that I tune for that is probably the most physically powerful person I have ever met. I will sometimes joke with him the "just one of your fingers is stronger than my entire body! I wouldn't want to get you mad at me."

The guy tried several different brands of pianos that would basically begin to fall apart after a while. He eventually went to a Steinway, and though there is usually extra maintenance with each visit, the piano seems to be holding together.

I seem to recall stories about Liszt and pianos disintegrating under his hands. Was Liszt incompetent?

There may be things that could be tried in this case... maybe softening the hammers, SLIGHTLY reducing the blow distance, etc.

But ultimately, it may just be that this particular pianist and this particular piano are not a match. Maybe they could try trading it in on a different piano if this issue cannot be satisfactorily resolved.

I would hate to see a student develop some sort of phobia about playing his own piano.
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#2022802 - 01/28/13 12:05 PM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7212
Loc: France
Usually pianist that knows how to play very strong are not afraid to do so, but they will only at concert time.

An adequate voicing helps if they tend to play too strong at home because they dont do so for tone reasons, .more to have more sensations under the fingers (in my opinion)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2022812 - 01/28/13 12:30 PM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Joe, I can support all your arguments and match all your anecdotes supporting either side of the argument.

The F Liszt arguments keep coming up. Great composer. I have no idea of the tone quality he produced from a piano. Have you?.

I have worked with and heard live the greats of the piano world as part of my job It pains me to hear other well known pianists choking the piano sound with falty technique. A pianist doesn't have to be afraid of breaking strings with good teaching as many on this forum will testify.

You and me both, Joe. You devils advocate, you.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2022839 - 01/28/13 01:16 PM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1067
Loc: PA
My point is simply that there are various, legitimate viewpoints.

I have no doubt that you could list anecdotes supporting your view as well. Nor am I trying to be disrespectful. But if the piano cannot keep up with the pianist, is it necessarily the pianist's fault? Maybe yes; maybe no.

There really is room for legitimate, respectful differences of opinion. It's just that with the current discussion and another recent discussion on this forum re string breakage, I thought that the another view should at least be heard.

Btw, I don't think the devil would want me as his advocate... he has enough problems smile wink
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#2022844 - 01/28/13 01:33 PM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1901
Loc: Philadelphia area
I have a percussionist friend who can hit a drum head with a stick and it sounds like a gun firing. If I tried to do that, the stick would probably go right through the drum head.

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#2022877 - 01/28/13 02:38 PM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Dave B]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Dave B
I have a percussionist friend who can hit a drum head with a stick and it sounds like a gun firing. If I tried to do that, the stick would probably go right through the drum head.


I was tuning a piano for a concert. The tuning was just a check over. On the first single bass string I heard an almighty crack. I looked for a broken string but no, the drummer had been watching my timing and timed his rimshot to exactly my hitting the low E I looked up and saw his big beaming smile.

Joe. The best preventative is well shaped hammers. Concert pianos at risk have the top two sections restrung. Mapes make a wire that has a higher breaking point but tone is developed at a percentage of breaking strain so tone suffers just a bit but on a practice piano?? They may just start hitting harder to counteract this we shall see. Raising the hammerline often results on more tone. It helps up to a point. Softer hammers makes em hit harder so is ineffective. Let me see now. My colleagues at the Conservatoires meet often and compare notes. Generations of us have gone into this thoroughly. Playing with the lid down distorts the tone weakening the treble and making the tenor and bass boomy so pianists over compensate. This leads to broken strings so playing with the lid open helps those pianists who are listening to themselves and thats not many. Ever hear two tromonists playing a duet? They compensate for the room. Few pianists do. I hear it continually. Tell me about it.

Every September we get a fresh influx there's always a string breaker among them. There's nothing wrong with good modern new pianos. Some start to break strings earlier than others. I know hundreds of pianists so I'm not guessing. Our finest teachers know. they're the people I listen too.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2022883 - 01/28/13 02:44 PM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21285
Loc: Oakland
What drives me crazy is Arturo Sandoval playing higher and higher notes on his trumpet, and then a mighty "crack" from the drummer as he hits the highest one. Just like breaking a string!
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Semipro Tech

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#2023117 - 01/28/13 10:18 PM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1067
Loc: PA
Rxd,

I also love Berra-isms, btw smile

There are readers of this thread that are not as knowledgeable as you. You know that there are different views on this and you have defended your view wonderfully. But, some less-informed readers may not be aware that there are credible people that hold a different view.
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#2023148 - 01/28/13 11:45 PM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Joe, I do so agree. I just got thru sayin that I interact with such people almost daily. As long as they pay for their damage, I have no problem. Pianos in public places are strange, it always seems nobody really owns them.

Would you let them destroy your piano?

I said 'your' piano???

We had a foreign student here who was paying full fees. He had a habit of damaging pianos for all the usual reasons. I reported the damage but he was protected. ( full fees, rich family). The family bought the conservatoire a new piano. I don't know anybody more aggressively protective of a piano now, even though he could buy us 10 more.

People grow up.

What do we do with DIYers on this forum who are damaging pianos?
.......We educate them.

What do we do with less-informed people who may be on this forum?..Well,.I hope we don't patronise them. Let's not, eh? Freedom of expression?

A. S. Neil of summerhlll school fame believed in raising children with total freedom. He only had one object he kept in a locked room. Guess what? And how do I know this? There's a whole philosophy there.

We have a piano here that is set aside for experimental music. I never service it but I keep an eye on it and it's users and how they develop.

I do thank you for opening this up. None of this is personal, I'm just railing at the world, exactly like our freedom of expression people. I hope nobody got hurt.

I also just had an idea I could put into practice. Thank you.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2023168 - 01/29/13 12:47 AM Re: Frequently breaking bass strings on Kawai K5 upright [Re: Bojan Babic]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1067
Loc: PA
It's not personal on my part either smile

No, I would not let someone destroy my piano.
I'm too busy "destroying" it myself lol. (You may think I'm joking, I'm not), Fortunately, I get an very good price on parts and labor is free. smile wink

I once had a teacher that had a policy that if you broke a string on the studio piano, that qualified you for a free lesson. The point was to not be intimidated by the piano, not to encourage vandalism.

Apparently, hard playing is not the only problem. Some students have the opposite problem: They are too afraid of damaging the piano to get anywhere.

To get back to the original post, I hate to think of that kid developing some sort of complex about playing hard. As you know, there are some exercises that are meant to be played with great strength... not to project... not for tone, but for the actual development of physical strength and endurance, like weight lifting for an athlete. If this particular piano cannot be made to keep up with him, then the sooner this is recognized the better. Just my 2 cents smile
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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