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#2040861 - 02/28/13 03:38 PM Action interchange
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2481
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Just wondering if any of you doing institution work have had success in switching out actions on grands between pianos of the same make/model?

The reason I ask is that I'm was going to be taking an action for some work to my shop from a Hailun HG 178 wich is coming from a music school a couple hundred miles away. The owner there suggested to take her own 178's action from her nearby house and substitute it in the class piano so there is no down time for students.

Well I said typically this won't work well and isn't really done, but on further investigation I found out that Hailun had begun a manufacturing/design/fitting process a few years back in which this was taken into consideration and they claim that they are one of the only makes in which this can be done with reasonably good success. I did the switch and with the exception of putting a business card spacer under one corner of the action, it works flawlessly.

Would you say this is unusual or have any of you had luck with other makes in this regards?
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2040870 - 02/28/13 03:56 PM Re: Action interchange [Re: Emmery]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1460
Loc: Michigan
I'd say it's quite unusual. Never would happen with a Steinway, for sure. Nor, for that matter, any make that is more "hand-built" for whatever that term may mean.
Keith Akins, RPT
Editor, Piano Technicians Journal
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

#2040886 - 02/28/13 04:15 PM Re: Action interchange [Re: Emmery]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2481
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
I'm not sure if "hand built" would necessarily be the limiting factor. Consider that the only requirements would be exact duplication of the build, precise repeatable location of parts, straight lines/planes, and a stability of materials to remain that way. Proper application of jigs and fixtres, CNC machinery holding tight tolerances, and other precise manufacture techniques are not outside the envelope of significant human interaction. Could this interchangeability be a new/added measuring stick on the quality of a build?
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

#2040888 - 02/28/13 04:19 PM Re: Action interchange [Re: Emmery]
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1307
Loc: Québec, Canada
I get to to do a lot work for a Hailun dealer. He has two 178s on the floor right now. I will try to exchange the actions and see what happens.

But to answer your last question, I would say it would certainly look good for a manufacturer to be able to say say that their actions are interchangeable.

Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician


#2040893 - 02/28/13 04:34 PM Re: Action interchange [Re: Emmery]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2481
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
This is the only referance I have found on the net in regards to this interchangeability....


"...Over the years, much of Chen's technical efforts have gone into maximizing the precision and stability of the pianos and parts his company makes. This is evidenced by the substantial investment in computer-controlled machinery used for precision cutting; the design of keys, keybeds, and other parts to resist warping; and the fact that grand piano actions are actually interchangeable between instruments of the same model (this requires an unusually high level of precision)..."
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

#2040913 - 02/28/13 04:58 PM Re: Action interchange [Re: Emmery]
Steve Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/07
Posts: 700
Loc: Zichron Yaacov, Israel

Here's something interesting:
Last year, I had 3 Mason A's of similar vintage. Someone wanted
piano a with action b (b had ivory) and wouldn't ya know, they
just swapped and both pianos were good to go.
International sales of vintage Piano and restoration.
Exclusive Live Performance Player Systems Dealer


#2040916 - 02/28/13 05:08 PM Re: Action interchange [Re: Emmery]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4263
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

Interesting revelations Emmery thanks for posting. Indeed having a grand action and keyboard with standardized dimensions is of great benefit. The fact that one can be changed out for another is something I have never been able to do with other maker’s actions and keyboards.

Very handy for institutional work as you mention. For that matter the institutional technician could have an extra action similar to a courtesy car.

Take one home and work on it without the pressure of timeline for return.
Dan Silverwood
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

#2040950 - 02/28/13 06:06 PM Re: Action interchange [Re: Emmery]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1473
Loc: Tennessee
Until recently, I had a 1914 model 0 and a burned 1922 model 0. The unburned action went into the other piano with only a 3/16 spacer glued to the bass side of the keyframe. Both actions fit the same piano with no problems, otherwise.

#2041001 - 02/28/13 07:51 PM Re: Action interchange [Re: Emmery]
Bob Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 4011
I was able to switch out actions on 2 Baldwin SF in the 90's.


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