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#2273429 - 05/09/14 07:50 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
OK - back to the question.

Piano lids seem to be designed, at least to me, to be opened and closed. I think that's why they have hinges. The designers have even devised a method of opening the lid to various positions. Seems to be rather proven technology to me.

When I am in purely practice mode, the front lid is open and the music rack is up. That is it's usual status. I have built a pinblock cover, out of felt, which only covers the front of the frame/pins and extends to just past the opening of the front lid. It is not a full string cover, but it does keep dust, pencils, and the occasional paperclip from falling between the tuning pegs.

Preparing for performance, I open the piano up and remove the music desk. Then I can work on the subtleties of balance and tonal color.

When the piano is not in use, those few hours per day, it is closed and is always closed at night.

When company is expected, the piano is fully open, music desk in place, and preset with the score to something truly gorgeous on display. I remain on guard, with a Taser, to keep guests away from the piano when they are equipped with potables.

Prior to the passing of my dog, she always snoozed under the piano when I practiced.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2273459 - 05/09/14 09:12 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: Minnesota Marty]
BrianDX Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 383
Loc: Lewes DE
Boy Marty your parties sure sound like more fun than mine frown

Seriously though, I think your points are very valid. Right now our plan is to keep the front lid open most of the time (Unless the cats do something really nasty), close it completely when we are not at home overnight or longer, and open it up once in a while for fun or when guests are over.
_________________________
2013 Yamaha C2X "Utsukushi kuro no piano"

Current Goal: "Teach my fingers to play what I feel"
Groucho Marx: "Now we're getting somewhere"

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#2273542 - 05/10/14 04:53 AM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
wouter79 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3459
Similar to Marty here. But I practice with lid closed, and only when in final stage I open the lid. As said above, it does change the sound a lot. But it also gets a lot louder which is for me the main reason to keep it mostly closed.
_________________________

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#2273571 - 05/10/14 07:54 AM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Karl Watson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 289
Friends:

Have to say that "in the best of all possible worlds," Marty's schedule of openings and closings represent an ideal to which I would ascribe. I esp. like that bit about a partial cover over the tuning pins.

However, most practising, performing musicians/pianists of my acquaintance keep their pianos fully closed with the music desk placed out on top, often cushioned by some kind-of felt. Yes, the tone is quieter. But who can stand all that volume on a daily basis ?

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

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#2273578 - 05/10/14 08:30 AM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3508
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
It's interesting that so few manufacturers have implemented the system that Hailun uses, which makes the lid very easy to open and close and much safer. It's got some sort of hydraulic piston in it and you can lift it up and down with a couple of fingers. I think more people would close their lid if the lid was not so difficult to operate.

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#2273580 - 05/10/14 08:51 AM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi Ando,

Like the slow-close fallboard, I would bet that we'll be seeing more and more pianos with the lid assist feature hitting the market. It's a great invention.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2273588 - 05/10/14 09:25 AM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
LarryShone Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 770
Loc: Darlington, UK
Neither would any dog I've ever had!
_________________________
If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

Yamaha PSR225-I NEED A PIANO wink

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#2273624 - 05/10/14 11:46 AM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2419
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
I don't find it a problem to open the piano to play and to close it when I'm done, and I'm becoming rather a little old lady with weak skinny arms.

I also remove and replace a cover every time, which ends up covered with cat hair since one of my long haired boys views the piano as his lounge and lookout.

Although the discussion of the hinges wearing out brings to mind the possibility that the floor might wear out from excessive vacuuming. I may use this in future to explain my relaxed housekeeping.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2273641 - 05/10/14 12:42 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
I never walk on my floors 'cause I don't want to wear 'em out.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2273664 - 05/10/14 01:32 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
Carbonblob Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/13
Posts: 260
Loc: Los Angeles, Ca.
Hey BrianDX,

my tech is here now. as i mentioned before, he's worked(s) for major piano companies. He categorized this as an "old wive's tale". He stated in the old days the wood may not have had the benefit of cross-lamination (which I mentioned in my first post) but also voids in the gluing process could leave pockets of air and cause warpage and yes, he's seen warped lids in old pianos, only.

That's not to say it can't happen. Wood is a living product and is always on the move, to some degree. I would think humidity more than stress points would be the main issue concerning warpage.

Someone else mentioned the Hailun lid lift. I tried one of those out. Man, it's slicker than snot on a doorknob. I'm sure the patent is keeping other pain companies from copying at the moment but I suspect this lift will catch on. It's very well constructed from what I could see.

Hope this helped.....blob
_________________________
KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1

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#2273688 - 05/10/14 02:26 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: Carbonblob]
BrianDX Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 383
Loc: Lewes DE
Very much so! Thanks Carbonblob smile
_________________________
2013 Yamaha C2X "Utsukushi kuro no piano"

Current Goal: "Teach my fingers to play what I feel"
Groucho Marx: "Now we're getting somewhere"

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#2273690 - 05/10/14 02:30 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
BrianDX Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 383
Loc: Lewes DE
One other thing I've been meaning to ask; Not sure if Carbonblob's tech is still there. What is an acceptable range of relative humidity in the piano room?
_________________________
2013 Yamaha C2X "Utsukushi kuro no piano"

Current Goal: "Teach my fingers to play what I feel"
Groucho Marx: "Now we're getting somewhere"

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#2273692 - 05/10/14 02:41 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
Carbonblob Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/13
Posts: 260
Loc: Los Angeles, Ca.
Hey BrianDX,

He's still here. I'll ask when he's done tuning. I think if you do a search here, there's a lot posted on the best range. If I recall, the real challenge is getting the right hygrometer and they usually suggest having 2 to get an average.

I think if you click on the damp-chase ad they have a chart showing the best range. I think something like 45% is best? I'll ask.

btw......I don't know how these techs can sit for hours tuning at such a high awareness! I'm exhausted just listening. It takes a great deal of patience, that's for sure. He loves to play Chopin, which I insist he plays for me....lol (Last time he played the Fantasy Impromptu....wow).
_________________________
KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1

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#2273703 - 05/10/14 03:18 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
Carbonblob Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/13
Posts: 260
Loc: Los Angeles, Ca.
Hey Brian,

He said 42% is the best range. He said my damp chase is helping the bottom of the piano but there's little it will do for the topside. Since I'm so close to the ocean, I have a string cover and quilted cover to combat the humidity and salt air. He told me the damp chase and string cover is the best combo for my environment. I lamented that I can't see the innards, which he replied; you'll be thanking yourself ten years from now when the inside looks like new! I hope your environment is much more stable than mine. You might be able to humidify your room which would be ideal. Gotta run.....ft
_________________________
KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1

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#2273722 - 05/10/14 04:25 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
A443 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/12
Posts: 865
Loc: Vienna-Houston-Tokyo
42.5% is not necessarily the best goal; the RH should be set based on your location and how your room fluctuates. Know your room throughout the seasons and pick a number that creates the most stability for your piano. For my area/apartment in the US, it's c.50%.
_________________________
Klavierbaukünstler

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#2273733 - 05/10/14 04:56 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
It is interesting that when you take the advice of physicians, veterinarians, botanists, and piano builders, it seems the optimal range for People, Plants, Pets, and Pianos is ~40-50%. However, tropical plants, such as orchids, can be tricky.

Seasonal stability is the most important goal.

Brian, what type of climate zone are you located in?
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2273744 - 05/10/14 05:28 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: Minnesota Marty]
BrianDX Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 383
Loc: Lewes DE
We are six miles from the ocean (Southern Delaware), however our house is new and has a state of the art climate control system (so we were told!) for both heating and cooling.

We have had the hygrometer in the piano room for about a week. The readings have ranged from a low of 45% to a high of 55%. However, we are in the transitional period between heating and cooling so I'll be interested in how the air conditioner performs in this regard.


Edited by BrianDX (05/10/14 06:11 PM)
_________________________
2013 Yamaha C2X "Utsukushi kuro no piano"

Current Goal: "Teach my fingers to play what I feel"
Groucho Marx: "Now we're getting somewhere"

Top
#2273749 - 05/10/14 05:46 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
I think you mean the 'hygrometer' if it is a device for measuring RH. The humidistat is the controller for a humidifier. It's almost as bad as lay, laid, and lain.

(help me, please help me)

Your current RH range is excellent. Keep an eye on it as summer erupts. Do you have a humidifier in the HVAC system for the winter?
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2273756 - 05/10/14 06:13 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
BrianDX Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 383
Loc: Lewes DE
Yep. Already fixed in my post smile

Our HVAC system does have a humidifier for the winter, and I'm thinking that the humidity levels never got too low (Of course I never measured it).
_________________________
2013 Yamaha C2X "Utsukushi kuro no piano"

Current Goal: "Teach my fingers to play what I feel"
Groucho Marx: "Now we're getting somewhere"

Top
#2273758 - 05/10/14 06:19 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Brian, you seem to be all set. Keep monitoring the RH and make any adjustments to the HVAC as necessary.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2273767 - 05/10/14 07:16 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
Carbonblob Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/13
Posts: 260
Loc: Los Angeles, Ca.
BrianDX,

I agree with Marty and others, just keep the humidity from wildly swinging and it should be fine, especially with your new HVAC system. I sometimes play the piano with the sliding door open to the patio (I know everyone just fainted when they read that). My tech told me the piano was one cycle off, so that's not bad!

I decided I wasn't going to get stressed about certain aspects of maintaining a piano. I like hearing the outdoors and I wasn't going to chase around closing doors and being a piano cop. Some on this forum already think it's too late and I might have already made a cover to cover my cover!
_________________________
KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1

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#2274009 - 05/11/14 12:41 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5176
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Annitenth
Originally Posted By: PhilipInChina
Why would you want to leave the lid up unless you are playing?

I keep mine up all the time because it is awfully heavy for me to handle …

… and that is a completely ridiculous situation. Nearly all “modern” piano lids are too heavy for most people to handle without a grunt or two.

That piano makers can get by with treating their potential customers (and then owners) with such contempt is beyond me. It was not always such. For several centuries—you know, back in the old days when they did yet know what they could get by with—piano makers made piano lids that could be raised and lowered by mere humans without any assistance from the gods. And then along came polyester.

A flat, non-warping surface is required underneath high-polish polyester finishes. And the obvious material of choice was something with the ubiquitous name, MDF (medium density fiberboard). Wood fibers mixed with an adhesive resin and baked until finished. The stuff comes out flat, reasonably stable and it’s cheap. Cheap to buy and cheap to work with. The only problem is that it is also, despite the “medium” in the name, some very heavy stuff. But, so what, it’s only a piano lid and who cares if the average mortal can’t lift the thing. By the time the hapless buyer figures out just how awkward and difficult it is to lift the damn thing we’ll have the sale, their check will have cleared the bank and it’s hardly a warrantee issue, is it? And doesn’t that flat, shiny surface look pretty?

It doesn’t have to be this way. Fiberboard comes in three broadly defined types.
—&#8194;Low-density fiberboard (LDF) weighs in at between 500 and 640 kg/m3 (&#8776;31 to 40 lbs/ft3) with the average being around 560 kg/m3, or &#8776;35 lb/ft3.)
—&#8194;Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) weighs between 640 and 800 kb/m3 (&#8776;40 to 50 lbs/ft3) with the average being around 720 kg/m3, or &#8776;45 lbs/ft3.
—&#8194;High-density fiberboard (HDF) weighs between 800 and 1,000 kg/m3 (&#8776;50 to 62 lbs/ft3) with the average being around 900 kb/m3, or 56 lbs/ft3.
Depending on who is doing the rating and precisely what it is being rated—one manufacturer’s MDF might be another companies HDF—there is some overlap in defining the exact density of these materials.

By comparison, the weight of “poplar”—poplar being a generic name applied to several relatively lightweight hardwoods—is generally between 500 kg/m3 (&#8776; 31 lbs/ft3) and 600 kg/m3 (&#8776; 38 lbs/ft3). Since poplar was used as a core material for piano lids for several centuries it is what we’d kind of grown used to. By comparison the typical MDF lid feels quite heavy. And if the piano maker happened to get a batch of MDF having a density more closely resembling HDF those lids can get even heavier.

Sadly, this is not an unusual occurrence. Many piano makers do not know exactly what they are really buying or what they are really getting and the weight of grand piano lids can vary considerably between batches. The weight of the lids fitted to typical 150 cm (4’ 11”) grands weighs around 27 to 32 kg (60 to 70 lbs). But if the panel stock is on the heavy side this can go higher. Sometimes much higher. At a NAMM show a couple of years back I encountered a woman trying to lift the lid of a common 157 cm (5’ 2”) grand. I stopped and asked if she could use some help but she said, “No, I want to see if I can do this myself.” And, with some difficulty, she did get it up. But she also told me, “I would never have a piano with a lid this heavy in my store! I’d be embarrassed and ashamed to demonstrate it to my customers.”

This does not have to be. Piano lids can be engineered and constructed to be much lighter than they are today. Notice that the density range listed for poplar is almost exactly the same as the density range for LDF. A little engineering will have to be done to accommodate fasteners, etc., but the results would be much more user-friendly piano lids. There is no rational excuse for any piano lid being so heavy average humans have to struggle to lift them.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#2274014 - 05/11/14 12:49 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
phantomFive Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1151
Loc: California
Also worth mentioning that some pianos have hydraulic lid systems and only take a single pinky finger to raise or lower. It's impressive.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2274025 - 05/11/14 01:25 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: ando]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5176
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: ando
It's interesting that so few manufacturers have implemented the system that Hailun uses, which makes the lid very easy to open and close and much safer. It's got some sort of hydraulic piston in it and you can lift it up and down with a couple of fingers. I think more people would close their lid if the lid was not so difficult to operate.

Yes, it does work. And it works quite nicely. But…it’s also one more thing that can (and ultimately will) fail and/or create servicing problems. And the only reason they may end up like the “soft-fall” key cover is that manufacturers can’t/won’t be bothered to put a little effort into designing and building lids the don’t require the body strength of Atlas to lift them.

For several hundred years piano makers were able to make pianos with keycovers that were light weight and properly counterbalanced. They required little effort to raise and lower them. And, if they slipped out of one’s hand, they would not drop and break fingers. And then came along MDF and the weight of keycovers doubled. The solution? Rather than put some effort into building a proper keycover the soft-fall mechanism was introduced. Yes, it works but it can also be troublesome. They cannot be serviced; only replaced. And we are already reaching the point where some of the early versions are deteriorating and exact replacements are not available.

A “soft-fall” mechanism will be the same for grand lids. They work. No question about that. But, like the soft-fall mechanism for keycovers, they should not be necessary. Design lethargy reigns.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#2274027 - 05/11/14 01:27 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: phantomFive]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3508
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
Also worth mentioning that some pianos have hydraulic lid systems and only take a single pinky finger to raise or lower. It's impressive.


So worth mentioning that I mentioned it earlier on this very page. wink

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#2274029 - 05/11/14 01:28 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: Del]
Dara Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/18/09
Posts: 1028
Loc: west coast island, canada
Originally Posted By: Del

That piano makers can get by with treating their potential customers (and then owners) with such contempt is beyond me. It was not always such. For several centuries—you know, back in the old days when they did yet know what they could get by with—piano makers made piano lids that could be raised and lowered by mere humans without any assistance from the gods. And then along came polyester.

A flat, non-warping surface is required underneath high-polish polyester finishes. And the obvious material of choice was something with the ubiquitous name, MDF (medium density fiberboard). Wood fibers mixed with an adhesive resin and baked until finished. The stuff comes out flat, reasonably stable and it’s cheap. Cheap to buy and cheap to work with. The only problem is that it is also, despite the “medium” in the name, some very heavy stuff. But, so what, it’s only a piano lid and who cares if the average mortal can’t lift the thing. By the time the hapless buyer figures out just how awkward and difficult it is to lift the damn thing we’ll have the sale, their check will have cleared the bank and it’s hardly a warrantee issue, is it? And doesn’t that flat, shiny surface look pretty?

This does not have to be. Piano lids can be engineered and constructed to be much lighter than they are today. Notice that the density range listed for poplar is almost exactly the same as the density range for LDF. A little engineering will have to be done to accommodate fasteners, etc., but the results would be much more user-friendly piano lids. There is no rational excuse for any piano lid being so heavy average humans have to struggle to lift them. ddf


I'd much rather to have my piano lid made out of poplar or some other local wood, than the MDF that it came with.
I'm curious Del if 'alder' would suffice. It grows in abundance here in this region (Pacific NW), especially after clearcuts of native species.

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#2274036 - 05/11/14 01:56 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3446
Loc: US
Gotta say-- "props" to Steinway and Charles Walter for using real wood in their lids. I have NO trouble raising and lowering the lid of my piano as many times as I want. I've raised and lowered lids on D's by myself as well-- no sweat!

Sophia

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#2274052 - 05/11/14 02:28 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: BrianDX]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2419
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
meh--I think of it as encouragement to maintain some upper body strength!
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2274204 - 05/11/14 07:27 PM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: ando]
phantomFive Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1151
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: ando
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
Also worth mentioning that some pianos have hydraulic lid systems and only take a single pinky finger to raise or lower. It's impressive.


So worth mentioning that I mentioned it earlier on this very page. wink
You're a time traveler. I didn't realize......
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2274474 - 05/12/14 12:04 AM Re: Question about Grand Piano lid positions [Re: Dara]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5176
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Dara
I'd much rather to have my piano lid made out of poplar or some other local wood, than the MDF that it came with.
I'm curious Del if 'alder' would suffice. It grows in abundance here in this region (Pacific NW), especially after clearcuts of native species.

At an average of just under 480 kg/m3 (30 lbs/ft3) it is even better than many of the species that make up the so-called "poplar" group. When dried and aged properly it is quite stable. It is used as a core material in much of the lumber-core plywood made in the NW.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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Yesterday at 11:43 PM
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