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#2272563 - 05/07/14 09:44 PM Steinway grand action across models
bolobao Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/27/14
Posts: 7
Novice here - sorry if this is a dumb question or the wrong forum.

I've become fascinated with the mechanics of different actions and am curious about the details of different Steinway models, e.g. D vs B vs. A.

My current understanding (which may be wrong) is that larger models have longer keys, but that all models use the same "Accelerated" action parts. For example: does this mean that [in theory at least] you could pull the action off a Steinway D and mount it successfully on an A, given appropriate re-regulation?

A longer key obviously has a different fulcrum and different mechanical advantage, so how is the touch standardized across models? Is it simply a matter of weighting the keys?

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#2272575 - 05/07/14 10:15 PM Re: Steinway grand action across models [Re: bolobao]
David Jenson Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2202
Loc: Maine
Variations of this general set of questions has been asked before. Piano actions are made specifically for each model and each individual piano. They are not designed to be interchangeable. Steinway is no exception.

Steinway actions are not standardized for touch. They are close by design and regulation, but there will be individual differences.
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David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
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#2272607 - 05/08/14 01:18 AM Re: Steinway grand action across models [Re: bolobao]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21926
Loc: Oakland
If I recall correctly, there are three action stacks for Steinway grands: Model S, M, L and O have 26 bass notes, Model A and B have 20 bass notes with no gap in the tenor for a plate strut, and Model C and C have 20 bass notes with the gap. I do not know if the keyboards are interchangeable for those models. Final fitting would be for the individual piano, and may preclude interchanging actions easily.
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#2272670 - 05/08/14 07:44 AM Re: Steinway grand action across models [Re: bolobao]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
the classes D-C then B and then lower is is often retained when it comes to keyboard dimensions.

And some changes may have happen in the plate design at some point to allow less space between basses and treble at the break. that have changed the spacing at the back of the keys.

(Hamburg models)



Edited by Olek (05/08/14 09:41 AM)
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#2272713 - 05/08/14 09:13 AM Re: Steinway grand action across models [Re: bolobao]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
During the discussions of the recent Cliburn Competition, in the Piano Forum and Pianist corner, there was a question about the pianos available to the competitors for practice, at the homes of their host families. A representative of S&S from DFW Steinway Hall indicated that Steinway provided M's & O's for practice use as they now have identical actions and would equalize the preparations for the contest. It seems to me that the Model-A was also included in the line-up, for the same reasons of the actions and key length, but I'm not 100% sure.

Maybe Bob Snyder could add clarification and further information.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2272930 - 05/08/14 05:12 PM Re: Steinway grand action across models [Re: bolobao]
kpembrook Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1347
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: bolobao
Novice here - sorry if this is a dumb question or the wrong forum.

I've become fascinated with the mechanics of different actions and am curious about the details of different Steinway models, e.g. D vs B vs. A.

My current understanding (which may be wrong) is that larger models have longer keys, but that all models use the same "Accelerated" action parts. For example: does this mean that [in theory at least] you could pull the action off a Steinway D and mount it successfully on an A, given appropriate re-regulation?

A longer key obviously has a different fulcrum and different mechanical advantage, so how is the touch standardized across models? Is it simply a matter of weighting the keys?


The individual action components are interchangeable (or at least, start that way) . That is, you can take a "D" wippen and put it on an "S". You probably could change hammer shanks, too, although with the hammer glued on, it might be at a slightly different distance out the shank, but that's due to S&S's manufacturing irregularity. The hammers are not completely intrchangeable as-is because the bore distance and angle varies from one model to the next. If you were to plug and re-drill, yes, you could move hammers from one piano to another.

If you are considering the action as a whole, no, you can't pop a "D" action into an "S". Nor, can you pull the stack off one piano and screw it onto the keyframe of another model because the sections have different numbers of notes from one model to the other. Even moving the stack between instruments of the same model might prove challenging due to extensive differences in alignment, although theoretically it "could" be done.

The unspoken question would be "Why?" If you are pitching out the components from one piano, why would one want used (worn out?) parts on another piano? In reality, it's not just going to be a "screw on and start playing" scenario but rather will take extensive regulation to actually work, so why not put on new components (and, preferably, modern composite/carbon-fiber)?
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#2273029 - 05/08/14 10:43 PM Re: Steinway grand action across models [Re: Minnesota Marty]
phacke Online   content

Gold Supporter until November 11 2014


Registered: 10/18/12
Posts: 594
Loc: CO, USA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
During the discussions of the recent Cliburn Competition, in the Piano Forum and Pianist corner, there was a question about the pianos available to the competitors for practice, at the homes of their host families. A representative of S&S from DFW Steinway Hall indicated that Steinway provided M's & O's for practice use as they now have identical actions and would equalize the preparations for the contest. It seems to me that the Model-A was also included in the line-up, for the same reasons of the actions and key length, but I'm not 100% sure.

Maybe Bob Snyder could add clarification and further information.


I remember that post you refer to. I recall the intent there was to make sure the key stick lengths were all the same in the pianos they distributed. Maybe (vaguely recall) the S was out because of the shorter key stick lengths.

Regards-
_________________________
phacke

Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
J. S. Bach, Sonata No. 1 in B minor (BWV 1014) duet with violin
F. Chopin, Prelude 28 (15)

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#2273030 - 05/08/14 10:43 PM Re: Steinway grand action across models [Re: bolobao]
bolobao Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/27/14
Posts: 7
I want to thank you all for the extremely informative comments.

I probably shouldn't have mentioned "swapping out" one action for another. I only included this in my post as an example to illustrate my question - I'm certainly not planning to attempt anything like this on a real piano!

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