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#2219291 - 01/23/14 07:28 AM Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised
LeahG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/02/05
Posts: 168
Here from their website:
"The feel or touch of a Mason & Hamlin piano is responsive to the pianistís most subtle nuances, allowing ultimate control, expression, and the highest level of playability possible. The finest quality keys deftly transmit the dynamics of a pianistís fingers to the tips of the Premium Blue hammersĖfrom the softest pianissimo to the boldest double fortissimo."

If only this were true. Unable to get a good PPP or smooth dynamics without a lot of effort.

If only this were the case! I bought a new AA in 2004 and paid a lot of money for it based to a degree on the reputation of M&H and a pushy salesman. I guess I thought some good regulating would solve it, but the action is medicore and I have been less than happy with the piano, in spite of attempts by techs to regulate it, i am afraid that the inherent makeup of the actions will never be great.

I am now considering perhaps getting a Stanwood system installed or just trying to sell it but will lose quite a bit if I do. The dealer I bought from is in another state and did not prep the piano, and no longer sells M&H.

Any thoughts on trying Stanwood? Thank you.

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#2219315 - 01/23/14 08:33 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
Jon Page Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/09
Posts: 384
Loc: Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
All too often a piano leaves the factory in less than optimal condition. A lot happens between the drawing board and loading dock. A misaligned jig in the building process compromises the final product. If it is done early or multiple times... you get the picture. It doesn't get sent back a space on the assembly line for correction, it gets a compromise... fudged.

I've been applying David Stanwood's weight and balance protocol for over 20 years with great results. If you have someone analyze and match the Hammer Strike Weight and Action Ratio and/or correct an errant Action Ratio, you can improve the touch. The dynamic control will place the music in your fingers and not your hand and arms, pianissisimo will be at your fingertips. An often asked Question when I'm done is, "Why wasn't it like this from the factory?" Or, "I thought it would loosen up with playing". QC (Quality Control) doesn't live up to the PR BS, or is it that PR is the smokescreen for QC. After all, it's a "Famous Brand" someone will buy it. The pianos that come thru with the least compromises get grabbed up by artists and the rest languish on the sales floor until an interior decorator tells a wealthy client (who doesn't play) that they need a grand piano in the corner, the salesman knows exactly the piano for them. There is a touch weight for everyone's style of playing. What pianists don't seem to realize is that it will not 'break-in', they become used to it.

I sometimes tell a piano owner that it's as if you purchased an article of clothing 'off the rack' but what you really desire is a tailer-fit.

So, yes, seek out someone well versed in the mechanics of the action.
_________________________
Regards,

Jon Page
Piano technician/tuner
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
http://www.pianocapecod.com

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#2219318 - 01/23/14 08:40 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 746
Loc: shirley, MA
M&H does in fact make excellent actions. Something is awry here, either with a QC issue in 2004, or the way your piano has been regulated or voiced.

Don't despair...you have a nice piano.

The first thing to do is have a tech who is capable of analyzing the action's inertia spend some time seeing if you have an action function/geometry issue, if it is a regulation issue,or if the hammers they used are simply not the right ones for your musical tastes.

I suspect the hammers and or voicing as the culprit, as these pianos these days are, as far as I can tell, are tonally aimed at the conservatory crowd. Conservatories seem to be looking for brash power...not my tastes and it doesn't sound like your tastes either.

Voicing can help, but those Renner Blue's would be fighting an uphill battle.

In my opinion, you need to start by getting smeone in there who can analyze the entire instrument as a whole, before making rash judgements about how to proceed. If the geometry escaped QC (which is possible in any factory situation) something like the Fandrich/Rhodes Inertial Touch protocol (which is what I mostly use), or the "Light Hammer" protocol(which I also use), or Stanwood (which is not my cup of tea) can set things better than straight. You have numerous excellent options...they all depend on getting the right person to do the diagnosis and design work.

Don't assume its geometry and the action set-up, without having someone with serious design chops look this piano over.

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2219323 - 01/23/14 08:46 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
prout Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 902
Originally Posted By: LeahG
Here from their website:
"The feel or touch of a Mason & Hamlin piano is responsive to the pianistís most subtle nuances, allowing ultimate control, expression, and the highest level of playability possible. The finest quality keys deftly transmit the dynamics of a pianistís fingers to the tips of the Premium Blue hammersĖfrom the softest pianissimo to the boldest double fortissimo."

If only this were true. Unable to get a good PPP or smooth dynamics without a lot of effort.

If only this were the case! I bought a new AA in 2004 and paid a lot of money for it based to a degree on the reputation of M&H and a pushy salesman. I guess I thought some good regulating would solve it, but the action is medicore and I have been less than happy with the piano, in spite of attempts by techs to regulate it, i am afraid that the inherent makeup of the actions will never be great.

I am now considering perhaps getting a Stanwood system installed or just trying to sell it but will lose quite a bit if I do. The dealer I bought from is in another state and did not prep the piano, and no longer sells M&H.

Any thoughts on trying Stanwood? Thank you.


Good morning,

I am sorry to hear you are having issues with your AA. I bought a new BB (2009) with the last of the wood actions. I bought it for the sound, having tried 4 new BBs, some with the new action. I had my tech remove the action, take it to his workshop, fully regulate it, and then reinstall it and do a fine regulation and voicing (hammer mating, damper mating, etc.). The result was and is the ability to play as softly or as loudly as desired without effort, and key repetition speed that I cannot exceed. The cost, given the cost of the piano was worth every cent.

You may have a dud - it does happen - but get a really, really good tech to assess it before you try a major refit.

Good luck.

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#2219337 - 01/23/14 09:11 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
LeahG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/02/05
Posts: 168
thank you all for your thoughts. I have had partial regulations but I will follow advice and try to get the top-notch tech to just do a complete workout.

After spending over $30,000 on a new piano of high prestige, I did expect everything to be in excellent playing order. In retrospect, I would have bought a used piano for $10-$15K less.

It's a bit like buying a new car vs. used: you pay more for the new car expecting everything to be in great condition. The used car you buy at a much lesser price may need some money put into it to get it up to speed.
_________________________

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#2219344 - 01/23/14 09:28 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
Paul678 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 875
As an engineer, I like this kind sort of analysis:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cT5GOcprEY

But does his system really work? What do all the
pros here think of his system?

I mean, every piano player has a different preference
for piano feel and action, so I'm not sure you can
use a one size fits all formula...

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#2219373 - 01/23/14 10:31 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
prout Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 902
Originally Posted By: LeahG
thank you all for your thoughts. I have had partial regulations but I will follow advice and try to get the top-notch tech to just do a complete workout.

After spending over $30,000 on a new piano of high prestige, I did expect everything to be in excellent playing order. In retrospect, I would have bought a used piano for $10-$15K less.

It's a bit like buying a new car vs. used: you pay more for the new car expecting everything to be in great condition. The used car you buy at a much lesser price may need some money put into it to get it up to speed.


When I bought my piano, it had been on the floor 3 years, and had been regulated and voiced for, and used by a major Canadian pianist for several recitals. The action and the voicing was too aggressive for home use, but still very even, which is why I and my tech felt he could fit it to my environment, which he did successfully.

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#2219379 - 01/23/14 10:39 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
Gene Nelson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 1533
Loc: Old Hangtown California
Unable to get a good PPP or smooth dynamics without a lot of effort.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Classic symptoms of an unregulated action.
_________________________
RPT
PTG Member

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#2219387 - 01/23/14 10:50 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2414
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
In my experience, the heavy, hard Renner Blue hammer is unable to be voiced to produce the full complement of desired dynamic/color tone response pianists desire. Especially in a way that remains stable.

My suggestion is to engage a technician who is skilled in the traditional "voice up by shaping and a little lacquer in the treble tone regulation protocol" to replace the hammers with a set from Ronsen.

Be sure to audition examples of their work.

Good luck and thanks for asking!
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2219419 - 01/23/14 11:35 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
tdv Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/13
Posts: 69
Loc: MI
I too would recommend getting a top notch tech who is very experienced in regulating grand pianos and have him really go through the action. Recently a friend of mine, who is that kind of tech, was called in as a last resort for a situation similar to yours. The family had bought a new grand of a very respected brand name. But the more they played it, the unhappier they were with it. They had several typical tuners / techs look at it. (I am not being critical of those tuners / techs. Not everyone can have 45 years experience like my friend has.) Nothing helped. They were ready to get rid of the piano and start over, but called my friend in first. He took the action to his shop and completely went through it, finding the fundamental problems and fixing them. When he explained to me the issues that he found, to me they did not seem like big issues at all; in fact I thought that they were very minor. But when he put the action back in, it was a totally different piano and the owners were thrilled. Pianos are incredibly complex instruments and it does not take big issues to significantly affect the sound or playability of one. Best of luck.
_________________________
1978 Charles Walter piano
1915 5"1' Weber
Seeking truth in all areas of life

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#2219803 - 01/24/14 12:55 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
David C. Stanwood Offline
Junior Member

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

I love playing Mason & Hamlin pianos. I own a lovely model A c1926 with Stanwood customized action. It has a warm milk chocolate tone typical of the classic original Boston made Mason & Hamlins. Part of this comes from the unique design and construction of Mason & Hamlin pianos and part of this is from the quality of the piano hammers themselves. Mine are made more like the hammers of 1926 than present day production made hammers. They were made using the traditional cold press process by the Ronsen Piano Hammer Co. in Boiceville New York, the last remaining custom piano hammer maker in the US. The wool felt on these hammers is soft and supple on the outside for warm mellow pianissimo tone with hard stretched felt on the inside for a bright and beautiful forte tone. All the possible mixes in between these extremes makes a wide palette of tone color available to the pianist.

The hammers used these days on Mason & Hamlin are made by the Renner Co. in Germany and they are pressed with heat. This creates a very dense hammer felt with is hard on the outside and hard on the inside. It takes a lot of needling of the hammer felt and the ear of a well experienced/trained piano technician to bring the full voice out of these kind of hammers. Pianos with this type of hammer may leave the factory nicely voiced but they can become bright again once the have been played on out in the world. The solution is a more aggressive and permanent voicing of the hammer to make the surface of the hammer felt truly soft but not so soft as to diminish the Fortissimo tone. When these hammers are made the hot pressing reduces the resiliency of the wool fibers and this needs to be worked up by deep needling the shoulders of the hammers. All this can be done to your Mason & Hamllin by a truly competent tuner who specializes in voicing pianos and understands what you want out of your piano. It's easier working with hammers that are made more perfectly to start with but it is also possible to draw beautiful tone out of a hard modern hammer. Just make sure you use a voicer who has the skills and is more about listening than talking.

Along with the tone, I love the way my Mason & Hamlin plays. The overall amount of force I need to use is comfortable for my physical capacity and technique. It's really comfortable to play at all dynamic levels. This was achieved when the action was rebuilt by matching the weight of the hammers to the action ratio. Simply put, a heavier hammer with a high action ratio makes a powerful action that requires a lot of strength and force to play. The other extreme is a lighter hammer with low action ratio which makes a light and delicate action. Varying the mix can create any kind of action dynamic and feeling of inertia that the piano player wants. My action is perfectly matched and customized to create the kind of feel I like. The Stanwood method for tuning the dynamic feel, or inertia, of the action was developed 20 years ago as the result of developing the first practical methods for identifying and rating individual hammer weights and ratios in pianos. Lots of experience by lots of piano tuners clearly showed what specific hammer weight/ratio combinations produce which kind of dynamic/inertial feel to the keys. If your Mason & Hamlin piano is surveyed and found to be not ideally suited to your desire/needs the hammer weight/raio levels can be modified to improve the action to your liking.

The Fandrich/Rhodes method similarly strives for a similar result using a proprietary algorithm for designing inertia by calculating an ideal match of hammer weight and ratio.

The other thing I love about my Mason & Hamlin is that each key responds predictably at what ever dynamic level I'm playing at. The keys feel very even from note to note. This is partly due to even voicing of the hammers combined with a feature unique to pianos balanced with the Stanwood method. When the action was rebuilt the weight of each hammer was measured and put up on a graph revealing any unevenness of the hammer weights across the keyboard. Any significant inconsistencies of the hammer weights were smoothed out by adding or subtracting weight to each individual note. This method is not used by even the best piano makers today. You would be surprised to see how inconsistent hammer weights can be in fine pianos. Smoothing out the hammer weights improves the voicing and makes for a smoother dynamic/inertal feel to the keys and helps to make it easier to play pianissimo without dropping notes. These methods have been around for years and many technicians are familiar with technique and use it regularly for producing noticeable improvement to the action.

Another feature on my piano is that the keys are individually balanced using the Stanwood method of tipping the key onto a digital scale and adding or subtracting lead weights in the keys to a specification in order to make a uniform balance from key to key. This is actually more accurate than traditional factory methods and is a valid and widely accepted aftermarket improvement.

The Fandrich/Rhodes system borrows this technique but uses a different algorithm for calculating the specifications.

The friction in my piano is also very consistent from key to key, not too high or not too low and pretty consistent from key to key.

Sorry to be so technical. I hope this helps your understanding of the possibilities for your Mason & Hamlin. Some will tell you that all this work is unnecessary. All the piano needs is a good regulation and voicing. It can and will help but in addition a more fundamental adjustment may bring the results you seek. Thorough inspection and analysis of the action will guide the decisions on what is needed for your individual case.

As for the advertising,... Remember:

Actions speak louder than Words!

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

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#2219972 - 01/24/14 10:19 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
Zeno Wood Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 481
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Hi David,

Thanks for your contribution to the thread! At the risk of hijacking the thread, I wonder if you could expound on a few things you mentioned.

First, which of the various felts offered by Ronsen did you use for your piano? Any thoughts as to their differences, specifically with regards to your 1926 M&H A?

Also, what was your overall action ratio/hammer weight set-up here? Did you make any alterations to this set-up when dealing with sharps and naturals?

Thanks!
_________________________
Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College

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#2220103 - 01/24/14 02:35 PM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
Troy 125 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/13
Posts: 161
Originally Posted By: LeahG
I bought a new AA in 2004 ........ in spite of attempts by techs to regulate it, i am afraid that the inherent makeup of the actions will never be great.
Sorry to hear of your frustrations. I am curious, you have owned this piano for nearly 10 years and sounds like have had multiple techs try to regulate it, what have those techs said when they were finished working on the piano? Did they have further suggestions beyond what you asked them to do?

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#2220500 - 01/25/14 10:37 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
Jon Page Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/09
Posts: 384
Loc: Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
I would venture to say that most manufacturers these days install hammers which are too heavy and consequentially the touch weight is higher than one might hope for or the inertial aspect is higher due to the added lead in the key to counter-weight the heavier hammer.

This is caused by what I think is the misguided thought that a heavier action develops technique better but it mostly adds to repetitive stress. With the higher touch weight, most of your effort goes to just getting the key to move thus robbing you of the fine nuance needed for dynamic control. Once the Hammer Strike Weight is matched to the Action Ratio, dynamic control takes a quantum leap.

One pianist, a Julliard grad, said that she suddenly became a better pianist without the extra practice, all the pieces and passages that she struggled with were now played with ease or with dramatically less stress. This was done while maintaining the same touch weight or mainly the same Balance Weight (BW) of 40 grams. She didn't necessarily want it to play lighter, but she wanted it to play easier.

What I did was to lighten the hammers and graduate their weight along with a spring assist action (the new wippens had a better geometry) and a graduated Front Weight key leading pattern as to the Stanwood protocol. The lighter hammers and spring assist along with the improved Action Ratio allowed me to remove some lead to maintain her desired touch (BW) with a lower inertial impact. (I removed about 3 pounds of lead). What had changed was the Strike Weight Ratio which means that it took less effort to lift the same amount of Hammer Strike Weight. After a few years, her arthritis started to hinder her playing and I was able to lower the BW to 36 grams by increasing the spring tension thus giving her less stress. (An adjustable touch weight action like this takes 45 to 90 minutes to dial in the touch weight you want, however there are limitations on how light one can go due to the inherent friction aspect).

This was done on a 1976, Baldwin L grand. After 15 years, she's still ecstatic about the action.

BTW heavy hammers in the treble kill the tone by lingering on the string a milli-second longer thus dampening the higher partials. You will hear a more melodic and clearer tone in this area.




Edited by Jon Page (01/25/14 10:52 AM)
_________________________
Regards,

Jon Page
Piano technician/tuner
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
http://www.pianocapecod.com

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#2220535 - 01/25/14 11:38 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2414
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Long ago and far away in the mid 1980's I wrote a whole book about how to reduce inertia and develop the tone and control of a piano action. In essence you remove all the front key leads and then shape the hammers in every direction possible except the wearing dimension until the feel becomes responsive.

You do need to start with a hammer that is not anywhere near as dense as most hammers being produced today. The method was based on tone regulating NY Steinway hammers. In essence it uses a feedback loop to balance the hammer weight to the leverage of any particular action. I call it LightHammer Tone Regulation. I think it has a simplicity and elegance because it is the only one to directly link building the tone to developing the feel.
To this day I see no one else describing the tone they will get when they set an action up.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2220593 - 01/25/14 01:30 PM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
Jon Page Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/09
Posts: 384
Loc: Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
I've encountered one S&S which had all the leads removed. The pianist complained about the high touch weight causing fatigue. Releading for a smooth Balance Weight solved her dilemma.


Edited by Jon Page (01/25/14 01:30 PM)
_________________________
Regards,

Jon Page
Piano technician/tuner
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
http://www.pianocapecod.com

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#2220787 - 01/25/14 09:53 PM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: Jon Page]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2414
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I always start with about as heavy a touch as I think the pianist prefers. It is much easier to adjust from that point on to make the feel lighter. Plus actions get lighter from wear so there is room for that as well.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2220918 - 01/26/14 07:39 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: David C. Stanwood]
LeahG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/02/05
Posts: 168
thank you for your reply, David.

Your M&H is from the 1920s....the company has changed many times since and we are talking apples and oranges. I think M&H are selling their pianos a bit on the reputation of their past.

Brand name is so important and can jack up the price in the way a Chinese manufacturer could never do. I have tried to call the one Stanwood certified tech in my state a few times but he has not called back yet. The hammers have never been voiced so I will look into that as well.
_________________________

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#2220919 - 01/26/14 07:45 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: Troy 125]
LeahG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/02/05
Posts: 168
Originally Posted By: Troy 125
Originally Posted By: LeahG
I bought a new AA in 2004 ........ in spite of attempts by techs to regulate it, i am afraid that the inherent makeup of the actions will never be great.
Sorry to hear of your frustrations. I am curious, you have owned this piano for nearly 10 years and sounds like have had multiple techs try to regulate it, what have those techs said when they were finished working on the piano? Did they have further suggestions beyond what you asked them to do?


Troy, I actually bought it in 2007 (I later looked at my invoice, it was not 2004.) One tech spent a few hours working on the action with slight improvements. He was a recent grad of some piano school in Boston and I don't think he was very experienced. I had one other work on it and no suggestions were made. I have been resistant to spending $1,000+, like I stated, after spending so much on this piano to begin with did not feel justified but I am now reaching out to 2 techs, one is Stanwood certified, the other is considered the best in the area w/ 40 years experience including concert grands.
_________________________

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#2220930 - 01/26/14 08:08 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
David C. Stanwood Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 9
Loc: Martha's Vineyard, Massachuset...
What is your location?
_________________________
http://www.stanwoodpiano.com

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#2221003 - 01/26/14 04:27 PM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19642
Loc: New York City
Leah-When you say you can't get a good ppp do you mean that when you try to do this you sometimes play ghost notes(the note makes no sound)? IMO achieving a consistent ppp requires quite a bit of technical ability no matter how good the piano. So unless you can do ppp easily and consistently on other pianos, this could be a technical problem. OTOH you may be a very advanced pianist and this would not apply.

I had difficulty with ghost notes on my Mason BB I got around 2006 or 2007 but after writing a few posts about this I found one piece of technical advice that greatly improved my technique in this area. So I think it was mostly a technical problem on my part although I am advanced enough to have studied Chopin ballades many decades ago ago. My tech did do a very minor adjustment(can't remember what although I mentioned it in a post) on my BB, but I think it was mostly my change in technique which almost immediately improved my ability to play very softly.

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#2221010 - 01/26/14 05:10 PM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: pianoloverus]
prout Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 902
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Leah-When you say you can't get a good ppp do you mean that when you try to do this you sometimes play ghost notes(the note makes no sound)? IMO achieving a consistent ppp requires quite a bit of technical ability no matter how good the piano. So unless you can do ppp easily and consistently on other pianos, this could be a technical problem. OTOH you may be a very advanced pianist and this would not apply.

I had difficulty with ghost notes on my Mason BB I got around 2006 or 2007 but after writing a few posts about this I found one piece of technical advice that greatly improved my technique in this area. So I think it was mostly a technical problem on my part although I am advanced enough to have studied Chopin ballades many decades ago ago. My tech did do a very minor adjustment(can't remember what although I mentioned it in a post) on my BB, but I think it was mostly my change in technique which almost immediately improved my ability to play very softly.

Funny you should say that. When I got my BB delivered, I sat down to play it in the new (not a huge showroom) environment and immediately said to the tech, "It's too loud." He said "You'll just have to learn to play softly." He was right. Almost all the professional pianists who come to play it start off too loud, then quickly adjust for the environment.

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#2221012 - 01/26/14 05:27 PM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: prout]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19642
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Leah-When you say you can't get a good ppp do you mean that when you try to do this you sometimes play ghost notes(the note makes no sound)? IMO achieving a consistent ppp requires quite a bit of technical ability no matter how good the piano. So unless you can do ppp easily and consistently on other pianos, this could be a technical problem. OTOH you may be a very advanced pianist and this would not apply.

I had difficulty with ghost notes on my Mason BB I got around 2006 or 2007 but after writing a few posts about this I found one piece of technical advice that greatly improved my technique in this area. So I think it was mostly a technical problem on my part although I am advanced enough to have studied Chopin ballades many decades ago ago. My tech did do a very minor adjustment(can't remember what although I mentioned it in a post) on my BB, but I think it was mostly my change in technique which almost immediately improved my ability to play very softly.

Funny you should say that. When I got my BB delivered, I sat down to play it in the new (not a huge showroom) environment and immediately said to the tech, "It's too loud." He said "You'll just have to learn to play softly." He was right. Almost all the professional pianists who come to play it start off too loud, then quickly adjust for the environment.
Yes, if the room is smallish or not ideally acoustically suited for the piano, this can make it more difficult to play ppp on, I think, any piano.

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#2221013 - 01/26/14 05:44 PM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: pianoloverus]
prout Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 902
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Leah-When you say you can't get a good ppp do you mean that when you try to do this you sometimes play ghost notes(the note makes no sound)? IMO achieving a consistent ppp requires quite a bit of technical ability no matter how good the piano. So unless you can do ppp easily and consistently on other pianos, this could be a technical problem. OTOH you may be a very advanced pianist and this would not apply.

I had difficulty with ghost notes on my Mason BB I got around 2006 or 2007 but after writing a few posts about this I found one piece of technical advice that greatly improved my technique in this area. So I think it was mostly a technical problem on my part although I am advanced enough to have studied Chopin ballades many decades ago ago. My tech did do a very minor adjustment(can't remember what although I mentioned it in a post) on my BB, but I think it was mostly my change in technique which almost immediately improved my ability to play very softly.

Funny you should say that. When I got my BB delivered, I sat down to play it in the new (not a huge showroom) environment and immediately said to the tech, "It's too loud." He said "You'll just have to learn to play softly." He was right. Almost all the professional pianists who come to play it start off too loud, then quickly adjust for the environment.
Yes, if the room is smallish or not ideally acoustically suited for the piano, this can make it more difficult to play ppp on, I think, any piano.

Absolutely, but with good regulation (and voicing, mostly regulation though), it is possible. My room is 18x18 x8 and we now do recitals in the room without excessive loudness being an issue.

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#2221419 - 01/27/14 12:06 PM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
LeahG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/02/05
Posts: 168
I just got a callback from the Stanwood Tech on my phone, so I will be trying to touch base with him.
_________________________

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#2221423 - 01/27/14 12:10 PM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: pianoloverus]
LeahG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/02/05
Posts: 168
Hard to get a PPP sound, sometimes on a chord one note is not heard. I am an intermediate pianist and have played on other pianos that were able to be controlled with better nuance, so I am comparing my own playing to different pianos.
_________________________

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#2221439 - 01/27/14 12:39 PM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
Karl Watson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 383
Dear LeaH:

Notwithstanding David Stanwood's careful and detailed reply, I can tell you that I played a piano, daily, for some seventeen years for which David installed his action. It was so finely regulated that I could sit down at any given moment and play it with full confidence that it would respect exactly to my touch, and this was without any warm-up.

Until you've played one of the Stanwood actions, you'll never know the incredible evenness and total responsiveness that his method (system) produces.

It's really THAT good.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY
718.273.3798

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#2221441 - 01/27/14 12:41 PM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
Karl Watson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 383
Dear LeahG:

So sorry I misspelled your name.

K

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#2221462 - 01/27/14 01:22 PM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: LeahG]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19642
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: LeahG
Hard to get a PPP sound, sometimes on a chord one note is not heard. I am an intermediate pianist and have played on other pianos that were able to be controlled with better nuance, so I am comparing my own playing to different pianos.
How does the size of the rooms where you could get a ppp compare to the size of the room for your Mason AA?

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#2221765 - 01/28/14 06:33 AM Re: Mason Hamlin Action/Touch Not as Advertised [Re: Karl Watson]
LeahG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/02/05
Posts: 168
Hi Karl.

Is Standwooding a replacement of the action or is it a re-working of current action?
_________________________

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