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#2029962 - 02/09/13 04:02 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: jim ialeggio]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1183
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I am with BDB on the paper clips to increase touch resistance. It is not that much more work to remove a key-lead, (if you have the proper tools) and then the rep springs stay where they are, the action controls at soft playing is better, the key return is quicker, and fortissimo playing is less tiring. Inertia is a bitch!

Yeah...except that the techs who take the advice to add the clips to the shanks are looking for an increase in Strike weight for tonal reasons...mostly. This is part of the "heavy hammers are required for good tone" approach...an approach that I disagree with wholeheartedly. It is an approach which is only just recently beginning to feel a push back back from the larger tech community...as in...there are many ways to shape the tone of a piano.


Greetings,
I never liked the big hammers, either. Best action I ever played had little hammers and a high ratio. Lotta snap in that one. The direction of the last few decades, which have seen wholesale moves towards the big hammers in little pianos is nuts, imho.
However, I just finished putting the Staples "micro" size spring clips on a Steinway M. These weigh .6 grams each, and the action DW went up by 2 1/2 grams. The Renner Blues have a SW in the high medium range, and DW at #40 was already 50 grams. The professor who was getting the piano played it and asked me to up it some. The keyboard, (which was already finely weighed off to + or - 1 gram from key to key), didn't need me removing leads, and I wanted something easily reversible. This was also a way to do this without altering the consistency, so it had a lot of things going for it.
She played it again and absolutely loved it, mentioning that she was going to ask me to voice it down before, but now it sounded and felt perfect. There will always be a market for a wide range of piano response, a wide range of SW, and being able, via the use of the clips, to shift gears so fundamentally in 30 minutes is a valuable approach for any tech.
Regards,

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#2029966 - 02/09/13 04:16 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: Ed Foote]
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3334
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Originally Posted By: Keith D Kerman


As an aside, for those that think the WNG shanks don't change the touch, I suggest you weigh them and compare that weight with wooden shanks. You might be surprised. We were.


Greetings,
The actual weight of the shank on the scale indicates the WNG shanks weigh more, but the distribution is such that the SW is little changed, since the heaviest part of the shank is farthest away from the hammer.
I think this is an easily recovered few tenths of a gram and a small price to pay for the evenness the carbon fiber makes and the stability it produces. For that amount of control, felt bushings would be pinned at four to five times as tight, so changes of touch of such small amounts can be afforded in the overall picture. Getting solid directional stability with only 2 grams pinning resistance opens up a fair allowance for the extra weight. Replace the capstans with the WNG anodized ones and you will be well ahead.
Also, I am noticing what seem to be much more defined string grooves in the hammers of the WNG actions I have put in the practice rooms. It follows if the bushings are so definite that the impact will be, too.


We were surprised that the WNG shanks were heavier. Before we checked, we assumed they would be lighter since the other WNG parts are lighter than standard ( such as the capstans you mention or the whipps ).
Some wooden shanks are lighter than others, so the difference can be larger. And, one can further lighten wooden shanks should they choose.
This is not a make or break issue for carbon fiber shanks vs wooden shanks. The carbon fibre shanks change the sound and feel in a way that not everyone likes.
In an institutional setting, the carbon fiber flange is more important than for home usage, and it is understandable, especially in an institution that choices between performance and maintenance have to be considered carefully.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#2030039 - 02/09/13 07:35 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Airspeed Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/09
Posts: 23
Loc: Washington, D.C.
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

To remove old knuckles I use my small band saw to cut the core nearly flush with shank and then band saw down center of core stopping just before bottom of slot. Use utility knife to remove remaining core and the slot will look just like new.


I swapped out one of the shanks with a new one, and on the old shank I tried a pair of giant sized end-nippers that are sold by some vendor as a "knuckle removal tool". At first I heard a crack, and all that was was the glue - the knuckle came right out. This was also recommended to me by a tech here, and is a technique shown on YouTube.

Whose knuckles, I ask? Renner is willing to sell me a set for $200, International piano Supply has some of most likely questionable origin for $90, vandaking.com (aka Pianoshowcase, seems to be mostly Schaff they are selling) has Tokiwas for about the same price as Renner. If I swap out the shanks with Tokiwas, I get standard sized knuckle with a new shank, if I want smaller knuckles, it would make more sense to keep the old shanks.

(I hope I am not sounding too knuckleheaded... smile )

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#2030055 - 02/09/13 08:08 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: Airspeed]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2189
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I don't like the few times using the end cutters to remove knuckles results in a split shank. My esthetic sensibilities are offended by spot replacement of parts into a consistent original set of parts. And some pianos that are getting knuckle replacement are ones that no shank available today will at all match the originals. So I use the band saw and razor knife.

Adding the shank weight "dulls" the tone slightly because the added inertia is increasing the hammer contact time. Their use may be useful and appropriate for some tech's but again it doesn't fit my esthetic standards. It's just the way I roll.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2030069 - 02/09/13 08:27 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: Airspeed]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3348
Originally Posted By: Airspeed
Whose knuckles, I ask? Renner is willing to sell me a set for $200, International piano Supply has some of most likely questionable origin for $90, vandaking.com (aka Pianoshowcase, seems to be mostly Schaff they are selling) has Tokiwas for about the same price as Renner. If I swap out the shanks with Tokiwas, I get standard sized knuckle with a new shank, if I want smaller knuckles, it would make more sense to keep the old shanks.


Why would you order anything from Vandaking or Int'l Piano Supply? They mark their wares up quite a bit... Tokiwa knuckles should cost considerably less than Renner. You can get knuckles with a wooden core from WNG and they are half the cost of Renner's.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2033986 - 02/15/13 10:30 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: Airspeed]
subcontra Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 29
To further this discussion, I want to hear anyone who didn't like or had people who didn't like the new piano actions report what did or did not work to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the composite action, as I cannot find much information pertaining to the hidden caveats detracting from the desired feel of WNG's new action design e.g. material friction, escapement blocking at desired settings, and noise problems beyond what was discussed in this thread.

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#2034009 - 02/15/13 11:12 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: subcontra]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1183
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: subcontra
To further this discussion, I want to hear anyone who didn't like or had people who didn't like the new piano actions report what did or did not work to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the composite action, as I cannot find much information pertaining to the hidden caveats detracting from the desired feel of WNG's new action design e.g. material friction, escapement blocking at desired settings, and noise problems beyond what was discussed in this thread.


Greetings,
I would like to hear about this, too. The composite actions I have built and placed into professional service are getting rave reviews on sensitivity and response. "escapement blocking at desired settings" is a completely unknown term, so I don't know what that is all about.

I do know that the hard bushings allow a 2 gram friction resistance with orders of magnitude better control of the hammer. And the consistency is so far beyond wood that there is no comparison available.
It is also useless to say the shanks change the sound unless one has tried the same hammer on both. I haven't tried that, but nobody is having any reservations about the sound around here we are getting with them.
Regards,


Edited by Ed Foote (02/15/13 11:16 PM)

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#2034012 - 02/15/13 11:14 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: subcontra]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2189
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I had one rebuilding prospect reject them just because they were not wood. She tried one of my pianos with W,N&G shanks and liked the way it played and sounded but could not bring herself to accept anything but wood. I declined to work for her.

The shank noise is much more consistent from note to note and this helps make the piano sound and feel even. I was reluctant to install a set until I had an opportunity to listen to a piano with them on when it was very quiet and I could focus on the hammer strike sound alone. I did not want to be surprised with a "thwack" that was more unpleasant than wood. I find the carbon "thwack" to be more pleasant that wood but by a barely noticeable difference.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2034271 - 02/16/13 01:38 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1311
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I had one rebuilding prospect reject them just because they were not wood. She tried one of my pianos with W,N&G shanks and liked the way it played and sounded but could not bring herself to accept anything but wood. I declined to work for her.


My stance also. I've switched to composite/carbon-fiber and am not looking back. At this stage, I'm not going to expose myself to the extra work and instability associated with wood.
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2034328 - 02/16/13 04:09 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: Airspeed]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1183
Loc: Tennessee
Greetings,
Some time ago, I asked for any feedback inre the superiority of wood over the carbon fiber, and not a single response was had. Does anybody care to offer a reason for using the wood and felt-bushed parts, other than that is the way it has always been done? Weight was mentioned, but the weight of the whippen, measured at the capstan, is less with the composite parts, and the SW I have been measuring is within .2 grams of the average wooden shank,(Tokiwa, Renner, Steinway). This .2 grams is less than the variability found within any set of wooden parts. It is hard to compare, though, since the carbon fiber shanks are all the same, and the wooden ones from all the suppliers are erratic...
Regards,

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#2034344 - 02/16/13 04:39 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: Ed Foote]
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3334
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Hey Ed,

The flex in a wooden shank is felt by the pianist and the carbon fiber shank's lack of flex changes the timing for the player which changes the way the player controls sound. This is not insignificant as it has a kind of domino effect. I think it also changes the sound of the piano beyond the weight difference between the carbon fiber shank and the wooden shank, but I would concede that it is possible that the change in sound i hear is only from how the different feel is influencing how I am perceiving sound.

I am not saying one is better than the other, although I do have a personal preference for a wooden shank. It is also possible that a preference for how a wooden shank feels and sounds might be just because the pianist is more used to it.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#2034396 - 02/16/13 05:55 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: Airspeed]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1183
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Keith D Kerman

I am not saying one is better than the other, although I do have a personal preference for a wooden shank. It is also possible that a preference for how a wooden shank feels and sounds might be just because the pianist is more used to it.


Greetings,
The pianists who have played the composite actions have unanimously loved it. Every single one of the faculty that has played these actions, and all of the students remark on how controllable they are. There are other comments, too, as in, how consistent they are as the volume is dialed up and down. The micro timing difference between the two is going to be hard to measure, but I will try.

Citing Askenfelt and Jansson in “Five Lectures on the Acoustics of the Piano”, it appears that on a forte blow, there is only 2 milliseconds between the key hitting the bottom and the hammer hitting the string. This is for a wooden shank.
At a pianissimo blow, the hammer hits the string 12 ms before the key hits the bottom.
My logic suggests that there is the least difference in the flex of the shanks at the ppp blow, so there would be no difference detected between the two materials at soft play.
On the forte blow, the elapsed time between keybottom and string contact is only 2 ms. If the carbon fiber shank decreases this by any amount, it would be an indistinguishable difference.

This is a comparison between key bottom and string contact. There are other comparisons which may give us a slightly different perspective, ie, comparing the timing difference between onset of the key’s movement and string contact. Askenfelt didn’t measure this directly, but if we compare the timing differences using the the onset of movement of the repetition, (which is when the key begins to move minus whatever compliance there is in the key, balance rail punching, capstan felt, and knuckle) and the string contact, we see that there is less than 8 ms difference between the two. If the carbon fiber shank cuts this in half, who can tell?

The authors, in regarding these delays inherent in a wooden action had this to say:

Askenfeldt: “One may wonder if the pianist is aware of this variable "delay" between the onset of the note (the hammer strikes the string) and the response in the finger (the key reaches its bottom position). Probably not, even though the delay can reach an order of magnitude (about 20 ms) that it likely affects playing at an artistic level. Presumably, the "bottom feeling" and a compensation for the delay are unconsciously developed during the years of study.”

Given the overall compliance in the action, removing the flex from just the shank would seem to account for a very small percentage of whatever delay there is, and altering it by half, or less, would be indistinguishable between the two. I would be interested in a measurement of dwell time, in which the hammer is on the string, between the two parts, as that could have more effect on tone than the actual composition of the parts.
Regards,

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#2034423 - 02/16/13 06:49 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: Airspeed]
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3334
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Everything you wrote makes good sense, but remember, good pianists can be unbelievably sensitive to the tiniest differences in sound and touch that most would not register.

I am confidant that the differences I hear and feel are real. We have tested it, although certainly not in a rigorous scientific manner. Based on your post, I would also say that I am open to the idea that it might be attributed more to "dwell time" then flex. As you pointed out, wooden hammer shanks from different manufacturers weigh different amounts, and I would add flex different amounts. Both of these factors would contribute to "dwell time", and a more flexible and lighter hammer shank when compared with a carbon fiber shank would increase these differences.

We like the WNG parts and will continue to use them when we think they are right for a particular piano and client. This shank issue is one we go back and forth on.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#2034435 - 02/16/13 07:08 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: Airspeed]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2726
Loc: Atlanta, GA
I've run into significant percentage of people who, having tried the WNG action, dislike the feel even when the technology appeals to them. When side by side a good quality, traditional wood alternative, reactions I've seen are nearly split. To get a unanimous approval would usually take a situation where what is being replaced was old and bad, giving the new parts double the credit.

I like the technology, but I'm not going spend a lot of time arguing with a pianist who, whether from experience or even from ignorance, doesn't like the result.
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bsendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
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#2034446 - 02/16/13 07:31 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: Airspeed]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2189
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Mr. Kerman,
Have you ever had the experience where a highly skilled professional pianist has preferred a piano that is significantly worn and mechanically uneven, over one perfectly even and mechanically sound, because the worn one played better? My findings in cases like this are that the more worn and service needing piano has better dynamic range, tone color and projection. The usual reason it has these characteristics is it has a lower inertia in the hammers and keys.

When I play a properly made action with the carbon shank my pianistic senses are thrilled. There is nothing in the playing or listening experience of a carbon shank piano that is negative to cue a pianist or listener in that something is different.

The dwell time of the hammer on the string is almost entirely determined by the inertia of the hammer assembly in relation to the frequency of the string. Rebounding hammer felt or shank elasticities do not contribute to return of the hammer from the string because the spring rate of the decompressing hammer felt and/or the oscillating shank is many times slower than the strings frequency. Except maybe at the bottom few notes-but down there the fundamental is missing.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2034474 - 02/16/13 08:31 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1183
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

The dwell time of the hammer on the string is almost entirely determined by the inertia of the hammer assembly in relation to the frequency of the string. Rebounding hammer felt or shank elasticities do not contribute to return of the hammer from the string because the spring rate of the decompressing hammer felt and/or the oscillating shank is many times slower than the strings frequency. Except maybe at the bottom few notes-but down there the fundamental is missing.


Hmm.,
Ok, this is a confusing statement to me. I understand that dwell time is directly correlated to the partials produced, and the the partials determine the voice. A harder hammer, that weighs the same as a softer one, will produce a different spectrum of partials. It makes me think that the dwell time of a hard hammer must be less than a soft one. I don't see how that hardness is related to inertia.
To be extreme, a solid wooden hammer will spend less time on the string than a soft felt one that weighs the same amount, judging by the partials produced.
Regards,

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#2034517 - 02/16/13 10:50 PM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: Ed Foote]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2189
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I don't think the dwell time alone produces the difference in frequency distribution amongst the partials. The difference in the partial structure is a function of the damping level of the felt combined with the hammer assembly's inertia and its relation to the period of the string. Hammers are dampers of a sort. Hardness is not related to inertia unless it also increases the hammers mass.

Think of the hammer assembly and the string as pendulums. When you test the swings on a hammer assembly to evaluate center friction, how slowly it oscillates compared to any piano string at pitch.

Primers on piano acoustics that I have read seldom include a term for hammer inertia in the algebraic expressions they use to define hammer string contact time. Benade's text specifically does not if I remember accurately.

The first tone-regulation class I took was taught by Fred Drasche, Chief Tone-regulater at Steinway NY, at the 1972 or 1973 (going on memory here) PTG convention in Portland OR. The first words out of his mouth were "The hammer has got to get away from the string" and "The voicer puts the tone in the hammer with the shape".

Two hammers with equal inertia striking the same string, with the same force, (at different times), with differing spring rates of felt compression and rebound, will change the partial spectrum carried by the string because of damping differences not dwell. Remember the first reflection comes from the agraffe and must pass through the hammer contact point to reach the bridge. That reflection can be reduced by contact damping.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2034681 - 02/17/13 10:28 AM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: Keith D Kerman]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1311
Loc: Michigan
Quote:
The flex in a wooden shank is felt by the pianist and the carbon fiber shank's lack of flex changes the timing


But this is not an accurate description of the difference between wood and CF shanks. CF do flex. If you read the WN&G site, you will see that, in fact, they flex the same as the more rigid of the wooden shanks.

The problem (or benefit if you think) with wood shanks is not that they flex, but that they flex erratically from one note to the next -- and there is no way to accurately determine what that flex will be in the manufacturing process.

So, the difference between the two is not no flex vs. flex but consistent flex vs. erratically variable flex. That means that whatever your pianist was feeling cannot be explained by flex differences between the two.

I wonder . . .
Was the pianist aware of which was which when he played? Or was it a "blind test" where he declared his preference before it was revealed which was which? If the former, then probably what was being revealed was the pianists subconscious belief in the magical properties of wood.
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2034713 - 02/17/13 11:33 AM Re: Tokiwa or Wessell Nickel & Gross shanks? [Re: kpembrook]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1183
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Quote:
The flex in a wooden shank is felt by the pianist and the carbon fiber shank's lack of flex changes the timing


But this is not an accurate description of the difference between wood and CF shanks. CF do flex. If you read the WN&G site, you will see that, in fact, they flex the same as the more rigid of the wooden shanks.

The problem (or benefit if you think) with wood shanks is not that they flex, but that they flex erratically from one note to the next -- and there is no way to accurately determine what that flex will be in the manufacturing process.

So, the difference between the two is not no flex vs. flex but consistent flex vs. erratically variable flex. That means that whatever your pianist was feeling cannot be explained by flex differences between the two.


yea, what he said.

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