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#2112191 - 07/03/13 12:51 PM Touchy, eh?
Jolly Offline
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It's a no-tone, all-touch question...

Using a Yamaha C3 as our benchmark, which Chinese-produced piano comes closest to that Yamaha feel? Assume a moderate level of prep...

Hailun? Brodman? Cunningham? Somebody else?
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#2112264 - 07/03/13 03:42 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
Konzert Patrick Offline
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Play them all....
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#2112268 - 07/03/13 03:50 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
beethoven986 Offline
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This is an impossible question to answer because there are many variables that determine touch, and they are not even consistent from one piano to the next, even of the same model and manufacturer (especially if that model has been made for decades).
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#2112313 - 07/03/13 04:46 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
Piano*Dad Offline
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I have played lots of C-series pianos. Of course there is some piano to piano variation, often based on maintenance and conditions (church piano, anyone). But they do have a certain Yamaha feel. They are a rather consistent brand. Perhaps the Chinese pianos have not achieved that level of consistency, and that may be part of the issue.

Jolly's question is relevant. He is trying to hold certain things constant with his assumptions. The answer will be someone's opinion, of course. And I don't have one since my experience with Chinese makes is sporadic. I haven't played enough examples of any one brand to be confident in offering a generalization. Playing one Cunningham, for instance, doesn't allow a reasonable person to make a blanket statement. Likewise, playing one dog of a Chinese piano in a church somewhere shouldn't form the basis for a strong opinion either.

But Jolly's question is also fraught. Very few people will have played a large enough sample of Pearl River pianos, or Hailuns, for instance, except perhaps people with .... an interest.

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#2112418 - 07/03/13 08:02 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
bennevis Online   content
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I haven't played many Chinese-made pianos, but I've played on several well-tuned and regulated new Yamaha grands, one after the other, when Yamaha unveiled its complete range of CX grands last year (C1X to C7X).

And none of the Yamaha grands' actions felt exactly the same, though they were all brand new. If I remember correctly, the grand that felt the heaviest/stiffest was the C3X - in that particular line-up.

So the bottom line is, every piano is different - and feels different. And its tone quality can also change one's perception of its touch.

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#2112436 - 07/03/13 08:57 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
Jolly Offline
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Quote:
I have played lots of C-series pianos. Of course there is some piano to piano variation, often based on maintenance and conditions (church piano, anyone). But they do have a certain Yamaha feel. They are a rather consistent brand.

thumb
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#2112439 - 07/03/13 09:12 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
4evrBeginR Offline
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None, period. The action of a Yamaha C3 is one of the best.
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#2112676 - 07/04/13 08:21 AM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: bennevis]
Jolly Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis

So the bottom line is, every piano is different - and feels different. And its tone quality can also change one's perception of its touch.


Well...yes it is. And no, it ain't.

I agree that tone quality can change perception of touch, but piano makers strive for a certain standard. Even though a piano is organic and subject to several thousand minute actions during construction, a Yamaha is a Yamaha, a Kawai is a Kawai, an Estonia is an Estonia.

Speaking in generalities, I know that a Yamaha action will generally feel a little lighter and a bit "crisper"(if one can describe piano actions as crispy smile ) than a Kawai...Even if one has no aural input to buttress one's perceptions.

Likewise, we've long talked about the Yamaha tone (although if you hang a different set of hammers on it, you may be quite surprised, but that's a different thread), or we've talked about the Estonia tone, so we also can come to some conclusions about tonal reproducibility across a certain manufacturer's line...A Bechstein sounds like a Bechstein, a Hailun sounds like a Hailun.

Now, having established a certain set of generalities across a manufacturer's product line, and having selected one representative as a benchmark, is it impossible to compare generalities vs. generalities?

Can one not make the statement, "After playing a half-dozen Wonhunglow pianos, I find their touch to be somewhat similar to a Yamaha C3"?
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#2112679 - 07/04/13 08:40 AM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
bennevis Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Jolly

I agree that tone quality can change perception of touch, but piano makers strive for a certain standard. Even though a piano is organic and subject to several thousand minute actions during construction, a Yamaha is a Yamaha, a Kawai is a Kawai, an Estonia is an Estonia.

Speaking in generalities, I know that a Yamaha action will generally feel a little lighter and a bit "crisper"(if one can describe piano actions as crispy smile ) than a Kawai...Even if one has no aural input to buttress one's perceptions.


Can one not make the statement, "After playing a half-dozen Wonhunglow pianos, I find their touch to be somewhat similar to a Yamaha C3"?


My experience of (grand) pianos is probably quite different to yours, because I don't own an acoustic piano. When I visit piano showrooms, which is on a fairly regular basis, I tend to go from one piano to another, forming my impressions very quickly...and eventually alight on one or two that I really like - on that particular occasion (on another day, I might well have chosen different pianos) - and then spend more time exploring its possibilities, in tone and touch, playing music like Ravel's Ondine which makes huge demands on the instrument in those particular parameters.

Invariably, the most consistent touch is between the same concert grand models, like from one Steinway D to another D, or Fazioli F278 to another F278. Much less so between pianos of the same model below that exalted level, from any manufacturer. Yamaha does seem the most consistent, but even there, I've played a CF-IIIS that felt rather heavy compared to a CFX in the same showroom.

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#2112720 - 07/04/13 10:16 AM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
Mwm Offline
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Originally Posted By: Jolly
It's a no-tone, all-touch question...

Using a Yamaha C3 as our benchmark, which Chinese-produced piano comes closest to that Yamaha feel? Assume a moderate level of prep...

Hailun? Brodman? Cunningham? Somebody else?


My first question to you is, why are you asking?
The sense of touch is intimately related to tone. I practice on a grand at home, and on a Yamaha KX8 when on the road. If I play the KX8 without sound, it feels entirely different than when I choose a grand sound using iGrand. Even changing the sample seems to change the feel.
Also, when I got my new BB to my home, I had the action completely regulated to my specifications, which changed it dramatically from the showroom.

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#2112726 - 07/04/13 10:32 AM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
Jolly Offline
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Then my question to you is, "Why would anyone buy a piano with an action they didn't like?".
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#2113120 - 07/05/13 07:16 AM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
Mwm Offline
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Originally Posted By: Jolly
Then my question to you is, "Why would anyone buy a piano with an action they didn't like?".

First Answer: Understanding how the feel is affected by regulation, knowing the potential adjustments that can be made to the particular action, and knowing the quality of the work done by the tech who will do the regulation means you can buy a piano whose action is not yet at the level you want.

Second Answer: You have to be good enough to know what you want in an action and what can be done to get it. Buying a piano because you like the action without having had much experience on many different pianos may not prove ultimately satisfactory.


Edited by Mwm (07/05/13 07:21 AM)

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#2113157 - 07/05/13 09:26 AM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
Jolly Offline
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Therefore, with the right tech, you would have no problem buying a crated piano?
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#2113174 - 07/05/13 10:01 AM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Many people do. But I'll warrant the reason generally isn't because of extensive research into the skills of technicians and the geometry of the brand's action. Some people have an ingrained notion that "new" means "from the crate."
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#2113191 - 07/05/13 10:49 AM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
Enrico Offline
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Just get a piano using a Renner action and in My opinion you have the superior touch. Assuming a properly regulated action. Yamaha pianos are nice, but lets face it they don't compete in the same price point as the chinese assembled pianos. They are reaching into the more elite pricing unless we talk about the gc1 etc.. pianos which I think we can all agree don't come close to the c or cx pianos anyway.
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#2113218 - 07/05/13 11:53 AM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
Mwm Offline
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Registered: 02/20/13
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Originally Posted By: Jolly
Therefore, with the right tech, you would have no problem buying a crated piano?

Absolutely not!

You said you were asking about touch only, not tone.

In my experience, every high end piano, even of the same make and model, has different tonal characteristics that have nothing to do with the action. Adding a great, well regulated action with superbly voiced hammers can be done to just about any piano, but first, it needs to be able to sing, even with no action in it. Go to a piano tech's shop, take a felt mallet, and tap various strings of a piano with no action in it. You can tell right way what is the quality of the sound.


Edited by Mwm (07/05/13 11:54 AM)

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#2113222 - 07/05/13 12:18 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
rysowers Offline
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The problem with this thread is that there is an assumption that it is possible to separate the touch and the tone on a given piano. As a technician, I can tell you this is not possible. The two are so intimately conjoined that trying to evaluate touch without the feedback of tone is futile.

Tone regulating can radically affect the touch of a piano without touching any action adjustment, other than the hammers. A bright piano that is voiced down will often be perceived as having a heavier touch.

A specific amount of effort applied to a key produces a certain tonal result. A soft hammer will require more effort to achieve a desired volume or brightness level, than a very firm hammer. When tone regulating it is important to communicate with the client so that they know to expect the touch to change as well as the tone. You can't change one without effecting the other.


Edited by rysowers (07/05/13 12:19 PM)
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#2113245 - 07/05/13 12:55 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: rysowers]
Mwm Offline
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Registered: 02/20/13
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Originally Posted By: rysowers
The problem with this thread is that there is an assumption that it is possible to separate the touch and the tone on a given piano. As a technician, I can tell you this is not possible. The two are so intimately conjoined that trying to evaluate touch without the feedback of tone is futile.

Tone regulating can radically affect the touch of a piano without touching any action adjustment, other than the hammers. A bright piano that is voiced down will often be perceived as having a heavier touch.

A specific amount of effort applied to a key produces a certain tonal result. A soft hammer will require more effort to achieve a desired volume or brightness level, than a very firm hammer. When tone regulating it is important to communicate with the client so that they know to expect the touch to change as well as the tone. You can't change one without effecting the other.

I agree entirely with your comments, but, if you start with no crown, no downbearing, and dead strings, no amount of voicing will affect the perceived touch.
I am just taking the point its logical absurdity.


Edited by Mwm (07/05/13 12:57 PM)

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#2113263 - 07/05/13 01:46 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Enrico]
beethoven986 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Enrico
Just get a piano using a Renner action and in My opinion you have the superior touch. Assuming a properly regulated action.


Regulation alone will not ensure superior touch. Neither will having a Renner action. How an action will perform is mostly determined by the geometry and mass of the various components, and if these are not made optimal during the manufacturing or rebuilding of the piano, then action performance will suffer, regardless of how well regulated it is.

Very simply put, assuming two pianos have identical action ratios (distance of hammer travel to distance of key travel), the piano with heavier hammers will feel heavier. Assuming identical strike weight, but different action ratios, the piano with a lower ratio will feel lighter. For example, comparing two pianos on note A49: piano #1 has an AR of 5.52 and a SW of 8.8 grams and piano #2 has an AR of 5.51 and a SW of 10.4 grams. Piano #1 will feel very light and easy to play to most people, whereas piano #2 will feel noticeably heavier (to the point that many would complain of fatigue). Yet, the difference in SW is only 1.6 grams! It is possible to modify both AR and SW post-manufacture, in most grands, to achieve desired feel.

Then, there is regulation... Any quality regulation must start with assessing the condition of the parts and then optimizing friction, before actually regulating the piano.

These preliminary steps entail things such bedding the key frame (ensuring that there are no gaps between the key frame and key bed, which can cause knocking and inefficient power transmission), inspecting parts for loose joints, and felt/leather for wear and compression. Key bushings, let-off buttons, key end felt, and whippen heels can be gently steamed if compressed, or replaced, if badly worn (or of poor quality). Doing so saves time making adjustments during regulation, because the process of regulating is done partly to compensate for this compression/wear.

Correcting excess friction is essential for touch as it affects the consistency of leading the keys at the factory, as well as how much resistance exists during key depression, and how quickly the keys rebound. Equally as important, this prolongs the life of key bushings and various other felts in the action by slowing down wear. Key pins and capstans must be polished and then lubricated with a dry film lube. Knuckles must be lubricated with TFL-50 and Teflon. Felt can be lubricated with Profelt or Teflon. This is not stuff that is done at the factory, and very few dealers (or techs) do this level of work.

Once you have your preliminaries done, you can get to work regulating touch and tone (which cannot be isolated as Ryan has said). Most of these steps are largely standardized, but some tweaking is possible. Regardless of what "specs" are used, the piano will perform poorly if the above steps are not dealt with, first.


FWIW, there is no reason I can think of that (many) Chinese pianos built for the US market today can't be modified to perform as well as a high-performance piano.
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#2113302 - 07/05/13 03:30 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: rysowers]
shaolin95 Offline
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Originally Posted By: rysowers

Tone regulating can radically affect the touch of a piano without touching any action adjustment, other than the hammers. A bright piano that is voiced down will often be perceived as having a heavier touch.

I have to agree with this as my piano was voiced by a Steinway tech and I did notice a bit heavier touch but wow it was well worth it. smile
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#2113443 - 07/05/13 09:13 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
Jolly Offline
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Quote:
FWIW, there is no reason I can think of that (many) Chinese pianos built for the US market today can't be modified to perform as well as a high-performance piano.


Have we lurched into the Truth?
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#2113446 - 07/05/13 09:24 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
BDB Online   content
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For most people, there will never be enough difference between actions to make much of a difference. Actions are so standardized that there is little incentive to make one vastly inferior to another. The standard is above the level of most people's techniques.
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#2113459 - 07/05/13 10:08 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: beethoven986]
Allan W. Offline
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Originally Posted By: beethoven986

Correcting excess friction is essential for touch as it affects the consistency of leading the keys at the factory, as well as how much resistance exists during key depression, and how quickly the keys rebound. Equally as important, this prolongs the life of key bushings and various other felts in the action by slowing down wear. Key pins and capstans must be polished and then lubricated with a dry film lube. Knuckles must be lubricated with TFL-50 and Teflon. Felt can be lubricated with Profelt or Teflon. This is not stuff that is done at the factory, and very few dealers (or techs) do this level of work.


This is exactly what my technician did to a freshly uncrated Young Chang Y175. Lubricating the key pins helped a lot with action feeling too stiff and unresponsive to playing pp or softer. However it still feels a bit heavy -- but we'll see after I wear it a little.

I'm very surprised it's not something that all dealers would do to any fresh piano. It only took less than an hour of work to take out the action, keys, spray lubricant on the key pins, and put some Teflon powder on the knuckles.

Do you recommend any other quick but effective things to do on the action of a new piano? Since it's such an inexpensive piano I can understand that it's not really justifiable to spend 10's of hours of work making the action perfect, but these quick things are nice to do.
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#2113469 - 07/05/13 10:41 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
4evrBeginR Offline
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The point is, quality is related to the amount of time allowed to do something. I don't know how much time it takes to measure a key and put lead in it, but I am pretty sure a worker would be more careful on the action that goes to a $100,000 piano compared to a $50,000 piano compared to $20,000 piano. The lower the cost of the piano, the faster the worker is required to work. If the lead is drilled in the wrong spot, I seriously don't think the worker would throw away the key and start again, not for an entry level grand with street price of $20,000 or less. On my own Chinese piano, 3 keys are completely missing key leads, and is it because those pieces of wood are so well balance off the tree that they don't need it? No, they were missed completely. The keys still work, but look, it's a entry level piano. You didn't pay a lot, so don't expect a lot. I serious don't think I have much of a case in claiming against workmanship defect against the maker since the keys still work, but just not well balanced. And what can you say, it's not as good as what? A much more expensive piano? That argument would never fly as it wasn't a much more expensive piano. Just go into it with the right set of expectations.
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#2113472 - 07/05/13 10:48 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Allan W.]
beethoven986 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Allan W.

This is exactly what my technician did to a freshly uncrated Young Chang Y175. Lubricating the key pins helped a lot with action feeling too stiff and unresponsive to playing pp or softer. However it still feels a bit heavy -- but we'll see after I wear it a little.


If your piano still feels heavy to you, it won't get better by "wearing it in," unfortunately. Before going to more extreme routes, the key bushings and shank/flange action centers should be assessed for proper tightness. It's also possible that the dampers could be timed to raise too early in the key stroke. After eliminating these possibilities, I would probably recommend analyzing the action ratio and hammer mass relationship. If it were determined to not be an ideal relationship, the capstans could be moved or the hammers could possibly be lightened, or both.



Originally Posted By: Allan W.
I'm very surprised it's not something that all dealers would do to any fresh piano. It only took less than an hour of work to take out the action, keys, spray lubricant on the key pins, and put some Teflon powder on the knuckles.


There are two things at work, here. One is the bottom line... pianos at most dealers are lucky just to be tuned, and I'm not even just talking about entry level instruments. The second is having quality techs. Many techs just don't have thorough enough training, or don't care, or used to care but are burnt out.

Originally Posted By: Allan W.
Do you recommend any other quick but effective things to do on the action of a new piano? Since it's such an inexpensive piano I can understand that it's not really justifiable to spend 10's of hours of work making the action perfect, but these quick things are nice to do.


Quick? Probably not... though, I might be tempted to replace your front and balance rail punchings with higher quality Crescendo punchings, made from Wurzen felt, the next time your piano is due for regulation. While it may not seem to make sense for someone to invest lots of time and money into an entry level grand, doing just that could very well delay or even eliminate the need to upgrade in the future. If you ever get a chance, you should play a Fandrich & Sons piano, because they are proof of concept that Chinese pianos can perform at a very high level. Most of the modifications and prep that they do to their pianos could easily be done to yours.
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#2113476 - 07/05/13 10:59 PM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
beethoven986 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Jolly
Quote:
FWIW, there is no reason I can think of that (many) Chinese pianos built for the US market today can't be modified to perform as well as a high-performance piano.


Have we lurched into the Truth?


Lurched? No. This has been my opinion since about 2009. The key word in what you quoted is "modified". The average Chinese piano is still a train-wreck, IMO, without very thorough work by the dealer or post-sale prep by an independent tech. Most, unfortunately, will never get such thorough treatment.
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#2113556 - 07/06/13 04:35 AM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
Jolly Offline
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Seems to me, I remember one guy who did...
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#2113596 - 07/06/13 07:03 AM Re: Touchy, eh? [Re: Jolly]
Rich Galassini Offline
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Originally Posted By: Jolly
It's a no-tone, all-touch question...

Using a Yamaha C3 as our benchmark, which Chinese-produced piano comes closest to that Yamaha feel? Assume a moderate level of prep...

Hailun? Brodman? Cunningham? Somebody else?



Ryan already made a great point that touch and tone are inseparable. He is right, of course. Our perception of the tone of our piano is linked so closely to touch.

As an example, many times the correct fix to a tonal complaint from a pianist is an action adjustment, and visa-versa. Skilled technicians understand this relationship well.

Also, a Cunningham is designed NOT to feel/sound like a Yamaha C3, so that would not make your list, Jolly. smile
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Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Looking for an Android App....
by Ohio_Mark
08/20/14 09:17 AM
Jazz"y" improvisation/cover issues
by kobethuy
08/20/14 02:00 AM
Jazz"y" improvisation/cover issues
by kobethuy
08/20/14 01:33 AM
My Steinway M birth information.
by ciftwood
08/19/14 08:30 PM
Breathy tone
by JoelW
08/19/14 07:59 PM
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