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#232573 - 05/24/08 05:45 PM My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Barbara G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 495
Loc: N. Texas
My New Steinbuhler Small Keyboard[/b]

After several months of waiting, we got the Steinbuhler, reduced sized keyboard (7/8 of normal sized keys) for our Feurich grand piano. It arrived in February of this year (2008).

We were so eager to get it because it sounded like something that would renew my passion for playing the piano and enable me to play tenths and reach wide chords that my hand could not normally reach due to their size. My husband had learned about Steinbuhler about a year ago when he was searching for a grand piano on the Internet and doing a lot of research on pianos.

Like anyone, we had several questions about the project of replacing a normal keyboard with one having narrow keys. We had bought an amazing tier one, German made, grand piano with a very precision Renner made action and a wonderful keyboard. The original keyboard had very expensive genuine ivory and ebony keys and played with unsurpassed precision and touch. We wondered if the piano would play as wonderfully now. Could I really play complex and large chords better? How long would it take me to adjust? Would the new keyboard be made with the same precision, quality materials, and play ability? Would I lose some of the touch and sound which I loved about my piano? How much would the new keyboard cost after all of the purchase, shipping, and fee from my local tech to install and fine regulate it?

We had bought the piano in May of last year and my husband had called David Steinbuhler in June to order the new keyboard. David told him that he was finishing his orders and then retooling his factory shop with new equipment so that he could make new keyboards quicker. He said that we could have the first keyboard from his new equipment but it would be a few months. He was upgrading his computer guided router equipment. As it turned out, it was the first of January of this year before he was ready to build our keyboard.

(If you only want to know the answers to these questions, then skip to the end of our current story. If you want to know the story of our searching to find a grand piano, then read the full Piano World thread of "Our Adventure to A New Grand with Pictures" HERE Or, read along if you want to know more about last year and this year as we waited for and got our new keyboard.)
_________________________
Master of Music, School Teacher, Church Musician- See "Our Adventure to a New grand" thread... http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/18212.html

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#232574 - 05/24/08 06:28 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Barbara G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 495
Loc: N. Texas
Why Buy a New Keyboard?[/b]
Why did we decide to get a new keyboard? When we married 35 years ago I was finishing my Masters of Music in piano pedagogy at Southern Methodist University, and my husband heard my complaints about my hand size limiting my choice of repetoire and having to adapt to playing large chords by rolling them, which is something many pianists must do. Over the last few years my hands and wrists have begun to hurt from use and my age (which is, if you are wondering, in my fifth decade.) When he read about the small keyboard conversion last year, he told me about it and we decided to look into it. We hoped that it would enable me to play with more comfort and open the door to learn music that was "beyond my reach" in the past (pun intended.)

Soon after we married, we bought A Yamaha U1 console piano like one my college piano professor, Steven Anderson, owned and had told me was similar to the action and touch of the pianos that the Romantic composers had owned and performed on. The Yamaha was the one I wanted.

We moved the ebony studio piano into our tiny one room apartment that was in the graduate school apartment building. When we opened our sofa bed each night, it opened all the way to the piano. We had to crawl over the bed to get to the bathroom or kitchen. I loved my piano and it served me well during the years as I taught private piano lessons and raised our four children.

I became an elementary school teacher after moving to Texas about 22 years ago, and that, in addition to being wife, mother, and the other "hats I wore," crowded out my time and energy to stay connected to being a pianist, except for the occasional opportunity I had playing at church or school and practicing for those few and far between opportunities. During the first 14 years of our marriage, we moved around several times due to my husband's profession. Each time, I had to start over with new piano students and build my reputation as a piano teacher in a new community or city. That, along with being a busy mother, took its toll, and when we moved to Texas, I was burned out. I did not have the energy or desire at that time to start over, yet once again. I had gotten my teaching certification before moving, and wanted to begin my career as an educator, which I did. I have had piano students from time to time over the past 22 years, but would only teach them a while before needing to cut back again.

I had lost my passion for playing the piano as a result of all of this. My husband decided he wanted to do something that would light that spark once again and give me the passion I once had for being a pianist. (If you're interested, you can read of how my husband desired to inspire my love for playing the piano again by buying a grand piano for me and of our shopping adventure searching for the right piano in our earlier "Adventure story." I had not asked for a grand piano or even thought about owning one. I was delighted and surprised when he told me he was going to buy me a grand piano!
_________________________
Master of Music, School Teacher, Church Musician- See "Our Adventure to a New grand" thread... http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/18212.html

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#232575 - 05/24/08 06:47 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Barbara G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 495
Loc: N. Texas
Buying Two Grands[/b]
Before we buy most things, we research the item and compare different brands or kinds. This was a natural process for us, but because a grand piano is such a major object and I knew, or thought I knew this would be a "once in a life time choice," I had a hard time choosing. We ended up choosing an ornate Feurich, a gorgeous instrument that played like a treasure. In the search I had played a Mason and Hamlin, which I liked almost as much.

My husband found that he loved learning about pianos and shopping for one. So in May we got our Feurich ---- but he kept shopping for a walnut Mason to go with my walnut Feurich, unbeknownst to me. His plan was to put the new Steinbuhler keyboard in the piano that I loved the most and also have a grand with the normal size of keyboard for me to have as well. He searched web sites for a walnut Mason as well as newspapers and Craigslist in many cities. Finally after two months he found a walnut Mason A on Craigslist. It was at an estate sale. The problem was that it was 1600 miles away in Boston. It had been completely rebuilt 6 years ago for an elderly couple.

He talked with two technicians in Boston until he was convinced that it was a very good piano. He then negotiated with the estate and widow until they had agreed on an acceptable price. Then he had to arrange pickup and shipping to Texas. After it arrived at the piano dealer's store, he told me about it and took me to see it. The piano dealer was touching up the case and regulating and voicing it to suit m; then it was to be delivered to our house. Wow, it was beautiful! Sort of a "simple elegance" look. It currently sits perpendicular to the Feurich and looks great there. He then arranged for our local RPT to further tune and voice the piano in our home to see just how very nice it could sound and how I liked the touch.


So which piano do I like best? Both the Feurich and Mason are very fine pianos, but the Feurich clearly has a better base section and a more rich treble which I adore. So the plan continued to be for me to get the new keyboard for the Feurich and to have the Mason here for me to practice on when preparing to play for church or school (on a standard sized keyboard) and also for friends to come over and play duets with.
_________________________
Master of Music, School Teacher, Church Musician- See "Our Adventure to a New grand" thread... http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/18212.html

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#232576 - 05/24/08 07:38 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1549
as Paul Harvey would say..and now the rest of the story! how is the narrow keyboard working out?
I know they carry 2 sizes.. Bob

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#232577 - 05/24/08 08:30 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
JonBrom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/07
Posts: 123
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
I am very seriously thinking of getting the reduced scale Steinbuhler keyboard. Please post your experiences asap!

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#232578 - 05/24/08 08:58 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Barbara G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 495
Loc: N. Texas
"The rest of the story" is coming, but in the mean time, to put it briefly, I am very pleased with the Steinbuhler keyboard. Switching to the smaller keys isn't as hard as switching back to normal sized keys. I am currently working on a piano accompaniment for our church choir for in the morning (I'm subbing) and I have to remind myself to stretch my hand to the fullest size when playing octaves. Evenso, it isn't what I would call very difficult and I think I'll be fine. It hasn't been a real problem so far --- as long as I remind myself...
_________________________
Master of Music, School Teacher, Church Musician- See "Our Adventure to a New grand" thread... http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/18212.html

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#232579 - 05/24/08 10:00 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Barbara G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 495
Loc: N. Texas
Research and Decisions about the Keyboard[/b]

We found David Steinbuhler to be such a nice and knowledgeable man and my husband continued to talk to him over the phone and via e mail from time to time. David feels that perfecting and making a smaller keyboard for the many pianists who have smaller hands is a calling by God. For eighteen years he has been working on this project. The project began when a professional pianist friend, Christopher Donison, who had small hands for a man, showed him a 7/8 sized keyboard on his grand piano that he had created. David is a mechanical engineer and plays the piano. His family has owned a textile factory for generations and David designs parts and machines for his factory. Many of the parts are made of wood. He asked David if he could make such keyboards. David spent several years learning how to create a computer program to design and build conversion keyboards. He feels that time after time God has opened many doors, directing him by inspiration and coincidence to meet many piano technicians and piano professionals to help him develop this project. He has often gone to RPT conventions and piano educator conventions to learn and promote his project.

Our keyboard was the 67th keyboard that he made. David has created keyboards for many different brands and models of pianos, both grands and uprights. Today six universities have his keyboards in their pianos and are studying the benefits and testing both the 7/8 size and the 15/16 size keyboards, and promoting their adoption. For instance SMU has several 7/8 sized keyboard pianos and Univ. of N. Texas has some in the 15/16 size. The universities have had masters students write their master's thesis on the testing and benefits of the smaller keyboards. Their research is showing that many pain and fatigue problems which come from piano practice can be solved by using smaller keyboards.
Link To Research

Another very interesting bit of information we learned is that the very famous pianist of the early 20th century, Joseph Hoffman, had small hands. He had Steinway build him 3 concert grands with smaller keyboards. I read that after Hoffman died, Steinway collected up the pianos and destroyed them!!! Imagine that. I guess that Steinway did not want anybody else to have such a piano. Does anybody know more about this story, I would love to have the more complete story.

Let me describe the process of getting a new keyboard. David sent us much literature on the keyboard and a large cardboard sheet with the two sizes of keyboards for us to see and "play on". He also sent research about testing on the size of hands that different people have and which of the different sizes of smaller they prefer, or whether they prefer the normal size. I also went to SMU and tried a Steinway B with the 7/8 size keyboard and really liked it. The research says that hands the size of mine do best with the 7/8 size keyboard, so that is what I ordered. Hand Size Research

Just after Christmas a custom made box came from Steinbuhler. It was for shipping my keyboard and action to Titusville, Pennsylvania, where Steinbuhler has his factory. My husband took the keyboard out of the piano which he found easy after watching techs do it. He then took some measurements and pictures of the piano to help Steinbuhler and then put the keyboard and action into the box and sent it off by Fed Ex ground. David had provided the custom shipping box and box shipping straps to secure it closed. Even though everything was carefully done, I was still a little nervous about sending my beautiful keyboard away in a large cardboard box!!
_________________________
Master of Music, School Teacher, Church Musician- See "Our Adventure to a New grand" thread... http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/18212.html

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#232580 - 05/24/08 10:22 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Barbara G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 495
Loc: N. Texas
Building A New Keyboard[/b]

In a few days David called to say that the keyboard had arrived safely and he would start on the complicated process. He began with a complicated measurement process and then entered the measurements into a computer which designed the keyboard, which is custom sized and designed for each brand and model of piano. My husband and David talked with Julius Feurich in Germany who made our piano 20 years ago. Since the new keyboard is smaller, then it is not as wide, and the blocks on the ends of the keyboard are too small. Called "cheek blocks" or "key blocks" the old ones can be reused by adding matching blocks as extensions on each end, in the correct size, to the old ones. (See the pictures.)

Julius Feurich agreed to make the custom blocks and veneer and finish them to match our current blocks. So David designed what he needed and shipped the old blocks and design to Germany. Julius made the matching new blocks in about a month and shipped them back to Pennsylvania. He did a perfect job! They match perfectly and look beautiful on the piano. On an ebony piano David can finish the blocks to match himself.

David can also sell a new Charles Walter grand to anybody with the smaller keyboard factory installed. He also sells a new upright with the keyboard installed. This can save money as the nice Charles Walters grands are a bargain and they can have the Steinbuhler keyboard factory installed instead of retrofitted. We seriously considered doing this.

We had decided that we wanted to reuse the old Renner action. This saved us $2,500 as Steinbuhler did not have to buy a new one. If one wants, one can have two keyboards, each with an attached action, which can be changed out in a very few minutes. Dr. Carol Leone of SMU even has a 7/8 keyboard and action for her Steinway Model D which she takes out and puts in Steinways in other cities where she is performing. She hires a local tech to do fine adjustments and regulations on the action, before the concert. After the concert, she herself can take out her keyboard and action and put the original action back in. When she gets back home she puts her keyboard and action back into her piano and returns the regulation to the markings set for her personal piano. This takes her about 30 minutes. My husband has reassured me several times that if ever I want to put my original keyboard back in our piano it would be easy to do. Someone (preferably a piano tech instead of my willing husband) would just have to pull out the keyboard and take off 10 small screws and move the action from the new keyboard to the old keyboard.

Each new brand of piano can present design problems which David has to solve. Our piano's keyboard was connected to the piano differently than most pianos and he had to replicate the design. He also had to build two action stack metal rails to replace two on the action which would not fit on the keys which fanned out more than the original keys. He worked on our keyboard for about a month and was ready to ship it back before Julius Feurich finished with his parts. By the middle of February he was ready to ship it back to us. We received two boxes back. One was for the new keyboard with the action stack on it. Another box was for my original keyboard. David had already worked to level the keyboard keys and regulate the action. However, he explained that the keyboard would need more regulation after we had it put in.
_________________________
Master of Music, School Teacher, Church Musician- See "Our Adventure to a New grand" thread... http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/18212.html

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#232581 - 05/24/08 11:12 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
kenny Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 7051
How very fascinating.

Thanks for sharing.

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#232582 - 05/24/08 11:30 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
hotkeys Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 788
Loc: Massapequa, NY
I saw this bulletin on Mario Ajero's YouTube Channel a few months ago. I found it interesting as the customized action is only available for grands; you would have to buy a custom upright piano from David Steinbuhler if you wanted the smaller keyboard.

- Mark
_________________________
...The ultimate joy in music is the joy of playing the piano...

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#232583 - 05/24/08 11:35 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Barbara G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 495
Loc: N. Texas
I do not think that you are correct. He will put his action in other uprights. For instance he has put them in Steinway uprights and other brands for universities to put in practice rooms. U. North Texas wanted them in some low priced Asian uprights.
_________________________
Master of Music, School Teacher, Church Musician- See "Our Adventure to a New grand" thread... http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/18212.html

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#232584 - 05/25/08 12:03 AM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
hotkeys Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 788
Loc: Massapequa, NY
Very interesting....Am I to assume that the information on David Steinbuhler\'s customized keyboards has a misprint?

My information is based on the above website link where he states what is available. I gather the information provided is erroneous if it is true that a technician can install this keyboard in an upright. I also found this page in the website that may be misleading as well. :rolleyes:

- Mark
_________________________
...The ultimate joy in music is the joy of playing the piano...

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#232585 - 05/25/08 12:34 AM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
JonBrom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/07
Posts: 123
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Thanks for the informative posts, Jordang! Keep 'em coming!

And God bless Mr. Steinbuhler!

I'm an engineer and it confounds me that piano keyboards are not available in different scales for different size hands. It is a principle of ergonomic engineering that one adapts the machine to the user, NOT force the user to adapt to the machine!

Other musical instruments are available in smaller scales, why not the piano? I suspect just for the same reason we still use the QWERTY typewriter system, sheer pedagogical inertia! We're taught QWERTY because our teachers were taught QWERTY, even though other far more logical and effective schemes are available.

It would be even easier to fit different scale keyboards to digital pianos, so why don't we have them? Eh, Roland? Yamaha?

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#232586 - 05/25/08 07:21 AM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
doremi Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 1758
Jordang,

Can you please elaborate a little in what ways the narrower keyboard helps you? You said that your reach on a conventional keyboard was one octave and 10th on the narrower 7/8 keyboard. Is it a comfortable 10th or do you have to hang on the edges? What about 1368 chords on the conventional and narrower 7/8 keyboards?

Thanks in advance!

doremi
_________________________
I am 'doremi' because I play scales smile
Had I progressed to playing chords,
I would be 'domisol' shocked

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#232587 - 05/25/08 07:32 AM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1549
what's amazing is how little is "shaved off" each key..they don't look that skinny yet when its over an 88 keyspan it becomes quite a bit judging by the first pic..and closup of the cheek block!

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#232588 - 05/25/08 10:41 AM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Barbara G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 495
Loc: N. Texas
Hotkeys. We will have to talk to David about this. What I know is that to install a keyboard in an upright David must have the piano in his workshop. He can not leave it to a local tech to install it. I also know that he has put them in pianos which are not the brand that he is offering for sale new. But they have been shipped to him and he makes and installs the keyboard himself in the piano.
_________________________
Master of Music, School Teacher, Church Musician- See "Our Adventure to a New grand" thread... http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/18212.html

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#232589 - 05/25/08 03:35 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Barbara G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 495
Loc: N. Texas
Changing Touch weight[/b]

David asked us what touch weight, also called down-weight, I wanted on the keyboard. (Touch weight, down-weight, is changed by how the keys are balanced with weights. It is the amount of force that it takes to push the keys down and complete the movement of the action in the down stroke.) I had already learned a great deal about this as I played on many pianos last year. I had learned that Steinways are usually set up with a heavy weight of around 57 grams. Many European pianos like mine had a 53 gram setting. I had long preferred Yamaha pianos because they are set to a lighter weight of around 48 grams. Many Chinese are set lighter at 40 to 45 grams. Actually this is a little more complicated as pianos are usually set up with the treble weighted less than the bass. My Feurich was weighted at 53 grams in the treble and 51 grams in the bass.

David explained that research tests showed that many people with small hands prefer light weighting. I decided on 48 grams in the trebel and 46 grams in the bass for my new keyboard. This can be changed within some limits on any piano. I learned that most classic piano music was composed and played on European pianos in the 18th and 19th century which had light Viennese actions. Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, etc. preferred these light weighted actions so that they could play repetitions faster. They also believed that these actions allowed more tone control. I also learned, last year, that Horowitz had his Steinways changed to very light weighted actions. By the end of the 19th century most pianos went to the English action and used the heavier weighting which the English and Steinway used. Steinway had invented their own action which had heavy weightings. Students were told that heavier actions would strengthen their fingers and allow them to play louder. I personally don't believe this now. A piano which plays with less force required allows me to play forte with the less force on my lighter weighted keyboard. Why do you think Horowitz put a very light weighting in his Steinways? Could he play with greater tone control? Could he practice longer with less fatigue? Did his old hands need less force?
_________________________
Master of Music, School Teacher, Church Musician- See "Our Adventure to a New grand" thread... http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/18212.html

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#232590 - 05/25/08 06:14 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Barbara G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 495
Loc: N. Texas
Questions Answered[/b]

When we opened the two boxes we were disappointed to see that that UPS had damaged the box in shipping and 5 of the hammers had been broken off the shanks. We called David Steinbuhler and he assured us our local tech could replace the hammer shanks and put the hammers on new Renner shanks. We carefully looked at everything and were amazed at the perfection and complexity of what we looked at. David had told us the keys were made of better wood than the original Kluge keys. He uses solid hard Maple instead of the softer pine which Kluge and most other manufacturers use. Their softer pine is easier to cut and shape but has more flex. The larger the piano is the more this is an issue. For instance concert grands have much longer keys to reach further into the piano, and pine keys can have too much flex in the keys to be as precise in playing as is possible with more stiff wooden keys. This is even more critical on the 7/8th size keyboards as the keys angle out, fan out, more than a normal keyboard. The more rigid maple keys of the Steinbuhler keyboard solve this problem. Steinbuhler makes his keys more rigid on the most curved keys by a design which uses more maple wood in the curved area of the keys.


My husband then got an appointment for our local RPT to come and spend the day fixing the broken Renner hammer shanks and installing and fine regulating the action. This was the first time he, Dale Probst, had worked on a Steinbuhler keyboard, although Dale had met David and seen the keyboard at RPT conventions. So I went to school and taught my second graders, and Dale spent most of the day installing and regulating my new keyboard and tuning the piano. He had to cope with all of my husband's questions. He finally told my husband he usually worked alone and in quiet, so my husband left and went to work. (I think that he collected up more questions at work that day and brought them back home that afternoon.)

After school I rushed home to try out my new keyboard. Dale had just finished, and he and my husband were waiting for me. They were excited to know what I thought. I sat down and started playing the second movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and a Rachmaninov prelude. I could play them immediately. It's true that I had to concentrate and remind myself I was playing a smaller keyboard, but I quickly learned how much to extend my hands for the larger chords. Finally, I could play 10ths and full chords with ease. Within ten minutes I was playing music that had frustrated me in the past. When I play a tenth on the Steinbuhler, I am at the front of the keys, but I'm not hanging off and touching just the tip of them. I can play an inverted I 6/4 chord with an interval of a tenth between the top and bottom key, as well as a I, IV, and others.


My piano sounded as wonderful as it had before. Now I loved it even more! The keyboard played the same as the old keyboard as far as touch precision but David had followed my instructions and weighted the touch weight lighter than the old keyboard. I believe that this allows me to play faster, grander, and with more control and dynamic range. Finally I have a piano which was sized for my smaller hands, an action that is better for me than a Yamaha, and a very beautiful grand piano which sounds better to me than most any piano. Now I can play longer with less hand fatigue and less stress and pain. And I can finally play complex and wider chords without rolling them. I hope to develop a better technique and enjoy playing a larger repertoire of piano music than ever before. I have rediscovered my passion for the piano and have found the joy of "losing myself" in the beautifully and challenging piano music that the great composers have given us.


COST:
The cost of the Steinbuhler keyboard: The keyboard cost $7,500, plus about $300 shipping (cost for two ways.) We paid the tech $660 for installation, regulation and tuning. Steinbuhler paid for the hammer shank replacement and filed a claim with UPS ($240). So our total cost was $8,460.

Here is a picture me playing a tenth on the new keyboard for comparison. It is easy.


Here is a picture of me playing an eighth on a conventional keyboard which is about all that I can play comfortably.
_________________________
Master of Music, School Teacher, Church Musician- See "Our Adventure to a New grand" thread... http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/18212.html

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#232591 - 05/25/08 11:51 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
JonBrom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/07
Posts: 123
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Thanks for your continuing posts. Please keep us informed on your progress with the 7/8 keyboard.

You've inspired me to look into finding a Tier One piano that needs restoration and having the smaller keyboard fitted as part of the process. I also like the idea of a new Charles Walter grand with the Steinbuhler keyboard and action already installed.

I've email David and am making arrangements to visit him sometime this fall. I'd like to try out the 15/16 scale, too.

Funny, but just today I met a young man who had the best piano hands I've ever seen. Long, thin fingers, narrow palm, looked as if he could easily span a 12th! Didn't play the piano and had no interest in music at all.

I have passionately loved music and the piano since I was four-years-old. I can barely span an 8th.

Why does God do this

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#232592 - 05/26/08 12:03 AM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4381
Loc: Jersey Shore

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#232593 - 05/27/08 11:06 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
David Steinbuhler Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/26/08
Posts: 4
Loc: Titusville Pennsylvania
JordanG recently directed me to this thread, which I read with great interest. Let me address the confusion about smaller keyboards for upright pianos. At this point it is not practical for me to offer a retrofit on an upright piano. I am offering new uprights pianos with smaller keyboards. In addition to the imported Chinese upright piano which is showed on my website, you can also purchase a Charles Walters upright with a smaller keyboard.

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#232594 - 05/28/08 08:30 AM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17809
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
What a terrific thread! Thanks, Jordang, for taking the time to write about your adventures in such detail. The pictures were very helpful as well.

p.s. You realize you have a dreamboat of a hubby, don't you? \:\)

p.p.s. Welcome to the forum, David. Your keyboards are amazing.
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#232595 - 05/28/08 09:44 AM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1549
Using Jordang's photo illustration of F# to F#
I can reach F# to G#..would I'd better suited to
the 15/16 model rather than the 7/8? Bob

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#232596 - 05/28/08 10:20 AM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10523
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
This is one of the most intereting threads I've read in some time.

I can see why is is so expensive. It is almost unbelievable that detail work and accuracy necessary for this to work can be executed.

I am really impressed!
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My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#232597 - 05/29/08 07:30 AM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia
I want one I want one I want one!!!!!

What's the story with getting one of these babies in Australia?
_________________________
Piano teacher since August 2008.

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#232598 - 05/29/08 12:57 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
David Steinbuhler Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/26/08
Posts: 4
Loc: Titusville Pennsylvania
To answer Bob Newbie's question on what keyboard size a pianist should use I offer the following suggestions.

First stretch your hand over a ruler and measure your hand span in the same way as pictured in the Hand Gauge below.



Then compare your hand span with the hands and zones in the chart below. The data in the chart was collected at the 2004 MTNA National Convention. A red dot shows the hand span of a female pianist and a blue dot shows the hand span of a male pianist. Below the dots I have created three zones for three keyboard sizes that represent all of my observations of pianists playing many keyboard sizes over the past 10 years. Notice the three keyboard sizes are divided into three overlapping zones allowing for differences in finger thickness and personal preference. But there is no substitute for a pianist actually experiencing the keyboards.


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#232599 - 05/29/08 02:25 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1549
Thanks! Its 8 1/4.. where do I "fit" in ? Bob

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#232600 - 05/29/08 02:54 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Barbara G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 495
Loc: N. Texas
Bob. Your hand size puts you in the top range of the 7/8 and the mid range of the 15/16, as I understand the presentation.. Please consider that your hand size might be only 7 3/4 inches. When I put a ruler up to my computer screen, the picture above is out of scale. 7 3/4 puts you more into the 7/8 range. So you need to use a ruler and then look carefully at the zones of the above picture. Also it is my understanding that finger size has something to do with which you would like the best. Think about how thick your fingers are.

As we wrote about, the Dallas area has universities using both sizes.

Thanks David for contributing. Please tell us about your efforts to make it easier for people in Australia and Europe to get the keyboards.
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#232601 - 05/29/08 06:06 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Innominato Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 802
Loc: London
Jordang, thanks so much for the time and energy you spent in describing all your journey. One has the impression that you lead a happy life with, among other things, a husband that after 30 years marriage is still full of attentions and devotes a lot of energy in your common "projects". Beautiful to read and best wishes and congratulations to both of you!

On the more "technical" side, I'd say that costs in excess of USD 8k for a retrofit will confine this extremely interesting solution to a niche market, particularly in bespoke quality-rebuilds for people with smaller hands. Still, an extremely interesting idea and it surprises that only Charles Walters offers it from the scratch seen with how many personalizations fine pianos can be ordered.
-----------------------------------------------
I have a question for you: do you think that such a keyboard, after allowing for the necessary adjustments, may be beneficial also for people with no particular hand problems?

I am thinking about the following:

1. I can take a 9th, and next years hopefully a 10th. Still, no doctor has ever prescribed that I have to stretch my hands more than perfectly comfortable (situations of partial "discomfort" do happen to me, it certainly does not help the playing).

2. I have, like you, thin fingers; is it fair to assume that a 7/8 keyboard would allow me *greater speed* and *greater ease of playing* even by smaller intervals, whilst the thin fingers would avoid the problem of "overcrowding"? I was astonished at how easily you adapted to the new keyboard, so this 7/8 must fall very "naturally" under the hand of people with thin fingers, right?
Or to put it in a different way: if one has thin fingers, why should the 7/8 keyboard not be beneficial to him even if his hands would allow him to use the standard keyboard?

Food for thought, really... I cannot avoid thinking how would it be to play all the pieces I now know on such a keyboard for ease of learning and speed, irrespective of hands span...

Thanks again. God bless you.
_________________________
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Kemble Conservatoire 335025 Walnut Satin

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#232602 - 05/29/08 06:21 PM Re: My New Steinbuhler small keyboard
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1549
Jordang: I measured in 2 ways..first with a ruler..then I placed my hand on my piano keys
and measured my hand on the keys I can reach a 9th
(no strain)would I be looking at a 15/16 model?

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