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#27785 - 02/08/09 11:25 AM Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Andy_piano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 11
Last week I was looking a pianos and the salesman told me to try the "quiet play test"--how quietly can you play the piano without the hammers failing to hit the strings. It was a great way to show the strength of the action of the Shigeru Kawai. Using this test, the Shigeru Kawai beat out even several high end European pianos.

I then tried my own test: the "trill test". I tried to play difficult trills and judged how easily I could play them. Again the Shigeru Kawai beat out the competition.

(Maybe some of you have specific action tests of your own that you could share with me.)

Am I getting seduced by the action of the Shigeru Kawai? Can this also be achieved in other quality pianos? Which ones are your particular 'action' favorites?

I have focused on new pianos (for better or worse). My search is narrowing to Mason AA, Steinway A or B (the B only if I get an unexpected bonus at work) and Shigeru Kawai SK-3.

I have tried Bechstein 190, Kawai RX series, Yamaha C series, Sauter, Estonia 190 and Schmimmel, but probably need to give some of these a second chance.

Thanks.

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#27786 - 02/08/09 11:35 AM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Doogs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 127
Loc: Rockaway Beach New York
The test for me is how quickly I can repeat notes alternating hands. Very few pianos, even high end, pass this test.

I think action is harder to get right than tone.

One which got it right was a Mason AA.

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#27787 - 02/08/09 12:23 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3303
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
I also very much enjoyed the action on the Shigeru Kawais I have played, and I agree that they beat out several of the high end European pianos. I feel the same way about the Yamaha S Class actions beating out several of the high end European pianos.
This is with the assumption that all of these pianos are regulated to the same standard.

It is impossible to separate the effect of the tonal responsiveness on a piano from the feel of its action. This is a real passion and obsession at PianoCraft, and I can tell you that even after analyzing the actions on hundreds of pianos, customizing these actions, and improving the tonal responsiveness of these pianos through traditional ways ( voicing, string leveling etc ) and non traditional ways ( changing hammer weight, changing sound board impedance ), without careful analysis, we can still think a piano that responds incorrectly has an action problem when in fact it has a belly system/hammer problem and vice versa. We do always figure out where the problems are, but it can be tricky.

Adding to the difficulty is the level of
technique and musical control of the pianist.
Many pianists have a technique that is not functioning with real purpose, precision and control for a variety of reasons.
Often,they don't even know it. So, the piano action and/or tonal response may be dysfunctional in a manner that just happens to suit the dysfunctional technique of the pianist. This is of course fine, and actually preferable if the pianist has no intention or interest in developing a healthy precise and controlled technique. However, if the pianist does not currently have a properly developed technique, and does have the intention of developing one, the right thing to do may be to go with a piano that does not exactly fit their current level of playing. This is one of the primary reasons I encourage people who do not have well developed techniques to bring along someone that does, especially if they are their teacher.

OK, sorry for the tangent, let me try to address your question.

"Am I getting seduced by the action of the Shigeru Kawai? Can this also be achieved in other quality pianos? Which ones are your particular 'action' favorites?

I have focused on new pianos (for better or worse). My search is narrowing to Mason AA, Steinway A or B (the B only if I get an unexpected bonus at work) and Shigeru Kawai SK-3. "

The right Mason AA, Steinway A, or B can give you a level of control comparable to what you are feeling on the Shigeru Kawai, but they will have to be expertly prepared by the dealer in order to match the excellent factory prep of the Shigeru. In my opinion, the right Mason & Hamlin
AA, Steinway A and B can all exceed the tonal performance of the Shigeru and match the action performance, but, and this is a huge but, the Masons and Steinways will need the extensive recommended work ( at a minimum ) to achieve this.
I would also recommend you consider the Mason BB. We find the Estonia 190, with sufficient prep, can be very responsive and refined. The other European pianos that can achieve what you are looking for may be beyond your expressed budget ( you mention a Steinway B would be a stretch ) but Steingraebers, Faziolis, and Hamburg Steinways all can be extraordinary. The right rebuilt Steinway or Mason & Hamlin can also achieve what you are looking for, but you mention you are focusing on new.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#27788 - 02/08/09 04:58 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 2012
Loc: Belgium
Keith,

Interesting comments.
If I may some additional questions.

For the many famous brands you mentioned you say "they can give you a level of control comparable to what you are feeling on the Shigeru Kawai, but they will have to be expertly prepared by the dealer in order to match the excellent factory prep of the Shigeru."

Q1. If you talk about the Shigeru excellent factory prep, does this mean as it is delivered from the factory or do you mean after the the Shigeru has gone through the hands of the Shigeru 'Master Technician' once a piano is delivered to a customer?

Q2. Do you describe the excellence of the Shigeru action solely to the factory preparation or is the design of it also a decisive factor? I ask this because of some specific brands you mentioned. E.g. Steingraeber, a small number niche market manufacturer known for it's dedication and craftmanship. I would be hard for me to believe Steingraeber would try to safe on factory preparation?

Q3. What the others need in terms of "expert preparation" do you estimate a huge amount of time needing to be spent on it?
I remember two threads from forum member 'wadslee' who initially hesitated between a Shigeru SK-2 and an Estonia 190 and finally chose for the Estonia. The time he describes Rick Badassin put in the preparation was enormous though:
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/24709.html#000000

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/24709.html#000000

Thank you in advance.

schwammerl.

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#27789 - 02/08/09 07:47 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3303
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
"Q1. If you talk about the Shigeru excellent factory prep, does this mean as it is delivered from the factory or do you mean after the the Shigeru has gone through the hands of the Shigeru 'Master Technician' once a piano is delivered to a customer?"

The Shigeru Kawais whose actions impressed me all had the curious coincidence of having Don Manino ( KawaiDon) hovering around them. I am not a Shigeru Kawai dealer, so I don't personally know how they arrive from the factory, but I am quite confidant that they get a lot of expert factory attention. This expert factory attention does not preclude expert and thorough dealer prep and expertand thorough follow up service, but since, in my experience, there are very very few dealers supplying this, it is nice to know that at least the piano started its life right.

" Q2. Do you describe the excellence of the Shigeru action solely to the factory preparation or is the design of it also a decisive factor? "

It is the combination of design and prep. The European pianos that I don't feel are as responsive do not lack for quality materials or factory prep. They have a design approach that does not agree with my preferance. Others like them a lot. If you do like them, they are well made and will last.

"Q3. What the others need in terms of "expert preparation" do you estimate a huge amount of time needing to be spent on it?
I remember two threads from forum member 'wadslee' who initially hesitated between a Shigeru SK-2 and an Estonia 190 and finally chose for the Estonia. The time he describes Rick Badassin put in the preparation was enormous though:"

What the others need is what I consider to be basic, but, yes, it takes a lot of time and expertise. Rick Baldassin's approach is a right approach, and it only seems heroic because he is one of only a handful of dealers who actually can and will work over a new piano like this. Just about everything he is described as doing is basic prep work as recommended by just about every manufacturer from Young Chang to Yamaha to Steingraeber.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#27790 - 02/08/09 09:47 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
gutenberg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/07
Posts: 376
Loc: Wichita, Kansas
Keith, this subject is so important and yet so elusive. You start out acknowledging that tonal responsiveness influences one's perception of the feel of the action and I kind of understand that in theory.

But then you seem to also acknowledge there are objective considerations here and some pianos (really a very few, and expensive) are inherently better than others in their action designs.

So there is an objective standard here, apart from tonal responsiveness, that appears more related to expense? There are pianos that, with a lot of prep work, can be brought up to Shigeru K. actions (i.e. M&H and S&S). But Shigeru's have inherent action designs comparable to the most expensive (i.e. Fazioli)? Am I interpreting you correctly?

If so, then the most important question to me is maintenance of the action. If there are inherent qualities to action designs, apart from tonal responsiveness, is it reasonable to expect that a good tech (even one who has not worked on a particular brand (i.e. Shigeru) can be expected to keep it regulated as intended by Shigeru?

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#27791 - 02/08/09 10:51 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3303
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Hi Gutenberg,

Yes, a lot of this is quite elusive. Especially the connection between sound and touch.

The connection between sound and touch is a chicken and egg thing. Which comes first? In my experience, when a piano's tonal responsiveness is working right, it trumps the action. In other words, great tonal responsiveness + good action > good tonal repsonsiveness + great action. Of course, there will be moments in repertoire where no matter how good the sound is, if the action simply does not repeat fast enough, you can't do it. These moments are the exception though and not the rule. And as much as it would be nice for this all to be simple to describe in words, it never is. Even in the area of repetition, the tonal responsiveness of the piano influences the pianist's speed.

"So there is an objective standard here, apart from tonal responsiveness, that appears more related to expense? There are pianos that, with a lot of prep work, can be brought up to Shigeru K. actions (i.e. M&H and S&S). But Shigeru's have inherent action designs comparable to the most expensive (i.e. Fazioli)? Am I interpreting you correctly?"

A piano's performance is not entirely related to its expense. I make this point repeatedly. Usually, more expensive pianos have better fit and finish, prettier cases, more expensive materials etc, but they don't necessarily perform better. They may also last longer with more reliability, but maybe not as well.
There are very affordable pianos that have terrific designs, and adequate materials and good enough workmanship that outperform very expensive pianos that have "the best" workmanship and materials. This is a design issue. This is also something that is obviously my opinion. Who is to say that what I like in piano sound and performance is right ( other than my clients, hopefully )
I will say that the more expensive pianos generally are more stable in terms of tuning and regulation. And of course, these are important elements of performance, but not the entire picture.

"If so, then the most important question to me is maintenance of the action. If there are inherent qualities to action designs, apart from tonal responsiveness, is it reasonable to expect that a good tech (even one who has not worked on a particular brand (i.e. Shigeru) can be expected to keep it regulated as intended by Shigeru? "

A good technician should be able to keep a Shigeru Kawai, or any other good quality piano in good shape if the client pays for regular and proper maintenance. However, I would suggest that you reevaluate what you describe as your most important question. It only relates to one part of a much bigger picture.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#27792 - 02/08/09 11:11 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
KawaiDon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/02
Posts: 1222
Loc: Orange County, CA
I did not see anything in Andy's posts about how he felt about the tone of the Shigeru Kawai pianos he played. The action is one aspect of the decision making process, and an important one, but the tone needs to be of the character one enjoys as well.

I do agree that any well designed piano can be prepared to a very high degree, as the Shigeru Kawai actions are, but that does not mean that the equally well prepared pianos will perform in the same way, or feel the same. It has been demonstrated very convincingly that the Shigeru Kawai action does repeat faster than any other action made. Also, the action design has been optimized for control in the softest playing. The rigidity and low mass of the Carbon Fiber / ABS parts also allows the actions to allow the pianos to produce the strongest fortissimo tone.

It is not easy to design an action to do all of these things well. While Kawai's action developments don't mean other fine piano actions are not perfectly adequate for most pianists, it does mean that one who truly enjoys the response of the actions will very likely not be satisfied with other actions, even when optimized. As the Greeks said, "A luxury, once tasted, becomes a necessity."
_________________________
Don Mannino, MPA
Kawai America

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#27793 - 02/08/09 11:48 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
AZIPOD Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/08
Posts: 44
Loc: Earth
Doesn't the RX-Series have the exact same action of the Shigerus? If so, wouldn't the RX feel just as good if they are properly prepped?
_________________________

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#27794 - 02/08/09 11:51 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
KawaiDon,

This is the first time I have ever heard you give a blatant sales pitch.

I must admit, I am somewhat disappointed.

As a pianist, I do not feel that I have not sampled great vintages. Do not relegate other pianos to "most pianists."

I shall be blunt: As a pianist, I consider the Millennium III action to be superb. BUT, the tonal structure is not evident in either the Shigerus, or the pulp Kawais, as it is in other fine, or not so fine, pianos.

A well constructed and regulated action will respond well, no mater what the literature you throw at it.

I have tasted the best and played the best. I would not favor a Kawai product based on its action. That is mechanics, it is not voice.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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#27795 - 02/09/09 01:23 AM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
 Quote:
A well constructed and regulated action will respond well, no mater what the literature you throw at it.

I have tasted the best and played the best. I would not favor a ......product based on its action. That is mechanics, it is not voice.
And it's exactly the 'voice' that gives an instrument its soul.

While touch and sound *are* interconnected,even the finest regulated action does not give a piano that something special Marty just described above.

I have never seen anything but an ideal complementation between touch and sound, they are both necessary ingredients of an ideal instrument.

As such they are not mutually exclusive but if there was only one to be had, sound can live easier on its own still having 'soul' - as opposed the other way around.....

Norbert
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#27796 - 02/09/09 01:41 AM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Jethro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/07
Posts: 235
Azipod, as an RX-2 owner myself I have always assumed that if I were able to kidnap one of few Kawai's master craftsmen in the world, he would be able to regulate and prep my RX2's Millenium III action to the level of a SK- but that's the big IF and a big part of why I've always assumed part of the price difference existed between an SK and an RX Kawai. The other part being higher grade materials in the SK.

But as I think KawaiDon is correctly pointing out, there are limits for the ability of any master technician to further improve upon an action if he has already reached the ceiling technical limits the said action. That being said it is feasible for someone to say that one action can be "superior" to another action, when equally prepped to their highest degree, if one action's design is proven to be technically and inherently superior. Whether the Millenium III action achieves superior repetition and "pound for pound" power against all other actions is open for debate and study.

What I do know is that many pianists prefer the action (feedback, repetition, speed etc..) of asian- more accurately Japanese built pianos over their European and American cousins. This may becoming more common than people realize. As an admittedly intermediate budding non-professional pianist, as with others here, I also prefer the Millenium III action over a few of the Renner actions (other than a specific Steinway B that I had the privilege to play in a Boston conservatory) I have tried. I recently auditioned the Estonia brand piano and found the RX-2 action to be in my opinion, superior to the Renner action of the Estonias- to the point where the action could be a limiting factor in more technically challenging pieces. (Superior professional pianists I'm certain would be able to compensate for this, but may prefer not to especially on stage. I was able to adjust my playing to compensate as well to some degree) I described the action as somewhat "springy". Initially I thought this may be due to poor prep, but the dealer was a reputable one and the action was identical on his 168 and 190. What I'm finding out is that unlike the Millenium III action, not all Renner actions are designed identical (ie using the same parts.) So when Estonia says "Genuine Renner Action", you have to take that with a grain of salt. It doesn't necessarily mean you will be getting the same Renner action found on that Steinway B. (Someone correct me if I am wrong)

I agree with a lot of the statements that Keith Kerman makes in this thread. Far too many times it is assumed that more expensive pianos and brands mean better performance. That's just not true (and that doesn't apply only to Steinways btw who also build masterpiece pianos). IMHO in some ways I think Larry Fine's rating book may have unintentionally contributed to this fallacy. Admittedly having not read this book, I've at least read how it is interpreted at times on these forums. Sometimes it appears more a buyer's guide with price listings rather than an actual rating guide- with the more expensive pianos listed first. As I understand it a lot of the ratings is based on the input the author gathers from piano technicians, many of whom belong to this piano forum and whom he actively seeks their input. The problem with this is that there is immediate bias and the ratings become based more on opinion rather than vigorous review. Piano technicians (with Keith it appears being an exception) are not immune to the effect price may have on perceived quality, and there are other factors such as brand exposure that play a big part here.

I have a background in medical research and the experimental design that goes along with that. The only way to create a more valid and reliable rating guide would be to investigate pianos in a way similar to the way Consumer Reports (which yes, is not perfect and often outdated) rates products. In terms of tone and touch ratings, there should be a double-blind study with number of professional pianists (the higher the sample size the better) as well as an audience. Control as many variables as possible and see which pianos they prefer in terms of sound and touch. As for reliability and build quality. That's easy. Utilize a mechanized approach and let a machine (I know they exist) bang away at the piano and see which one holds its tune longer and which one holds up in general. You could even add other variables such as humidity and temperature. If not following approach such as this I would question the validity of any such "ratings" guide.

Sorry I went off on that tangent...

Keith Kernan- one last thing. What do you mean by "tonal responsiveness". If you mean "tone" as in voice characteristics, I believe that's subjective and as we all know influenced by taste.

If tonal responsiveness refers to the ability of the pianist to conjure specific tonal changes by adjusting playing technique that's an ongoing controversial subject. I'm of the camp that believes you cannot affect the tone of a piano based upon how you strike the key, but you can affect phrasing, power and speed. I've never heard or seen for that matter through video, any of the great virtuosos Rubenstein, Richter, Hess, Horowitz (all of whom had vastly different playing technique) change the tone of a piano through their playing styles and none of them have ever spoken of their ability to do so.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you in that you mean a piano with a poor action will never be able to take advantage of the full dynamic and tonal range that a piano has to offer- and you refer to this as tonal response.
_________________________
Kawai RX-2

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#27797 - 02/09/09 01:58 AM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Jethro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/07
Posts: 235
Norbert,

I think it is the music on the printed page that gives the instrument its "soul". The piano is but a tool the pianist performs upon to interpret the composer's intentions.

I appreciate more the tonal complexities and voicing the composer was able to achieve on the written page rather than the tonal nuances of the instrument.

Chopin wrote music that brought out the best that the piano instrument's broad dynamic range and polyphony had to offer. His Pleyel piano was no match for some of the lowest quality pianos in existence today yet his music are no less masterpieces on his "inferior" instrument as they are on today's highly regarded instruments.

I think really is all about the music.
_________________________
Kawai RX-2

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#27798 - 02/09/09 10:55 AM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3303
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jethro:

What do you mean by "tonal responsiveness". If you mean "tone" as in voice characteristics, I believe that's subjective and as we all know influenced by taste.

If tonal responsiveness refers to the ability of the pianist to conjure specific tonal changes by adjusting playing technique that's an ongoing controversial subject. I'm of the camp that believes you cannot affect the tone of a piano based upon how you strike the key, but you can affect phrasing, power and speed.
[/b]
By tonal responsiveness, I don't mean the inherant out of context subjective quality of the sound. There are pianos that have a ravishing tone, but do not have a responsive tone. What I mean is what can be done with the tone. A tonally responsive piano, for instance, allows the player to play softly and expressively. This is of course controlled by the action, BUT, if you had the exact same action, set up identically in every way, in a less tonally responsive piano, you might not be able to play it as softly, even with the exact same touch, or, even with an adjusted touch.

A tonally responsive piano creates a more differentiated sound at different volume levels. There are pianos that when played mezzo forte sound only louder than when they are played mezzo piano, rather than louder with a distinctly different color. This would be a piano that I would consider to be less tonally responsive. There are other pianos that within the range of what might be called mezzo forte, one can illicit several different colors. This would be in my opinion a more tonally responsive piano.
Again, the exact same action will feel like a more sensitive and controllable action in the piano that is more tonally responsive than in the one that is not.
And this is the major area of where sound influences the perception of touch. I hope this clarifies my previous posts.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#27799 - 02/09/09 11:58 AM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
why don't the Kawai dealers in Kansas carry Shigerus? i am going out to day to find one.. it's so far away.

i live in the boondocks.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, ├Ľun (apple in Estonian)

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#27800 - 02/09/09 12:40 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
wadslee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/08
Posts: 64
Loc: Utah
 Quote:
What I'm finding out is that unlike the Millenium III action, not all Renner actions are designed identical (ie using the same parts.) So when Estonia says "Genuine Renner Action", you have to take that with a grain of salt. It doesn't necessarily mean you will be getting the same Renner action found on that Steinway B. (Someone correct me if I am wrong)
Steinway (New York) does not use Renner actions. Estonia does. The difference in Renner actions, amongst the manufacturers that use it, is more an issue of specifications (exact dimensions, etc, rather than grades of quality.
_________________________
Estonia L190 - 6789 'Hidden Beauty'
Roland HP-203

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#27801 - 02/09/09 11:18 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
gutenberg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/07
Posts: 376
Loc: Wichita, Kansas
 Quote:
Originally posted by apple*:
why don't the Kawai dealers in Kansas carry Shigerus? i am going out to day to find one.. it's so far away.

i live in the boondocks. [/b]
Hey, Apple, me too. Piano Siberia.

Keith, thank you for your usual insightfulness. I am on the same page concerning tonal responsiveness, which is why I put a lot of weight on being able to maintain the action regulation to what it is capable of. Dynamics and color are of course so important.

Not to shortchange the bigger picture you refer to which I take to be the tonal characteristic itself and the piano's ability to produce color. Which I guess all goes into the scale design, which all goes into making up the greater sum of the parts.Am I on the road to the bigger picture?

But I fear when its time to get my grand I will not know how to judge whether I have truly found a great action design, even though the pianos have been prepped to work their magic on me in the showroom. I will not know whether I have found an action that may be easier to maintain to its highest level.

I accept the fact that I may lose the piano's tonal characteristic to some degree, unless I retain the tech who prepped the piano to the nines (Perri's misadventures).But I hope that with the right action design I can better maintain what it is capable of.

Have I broken the egg AND killed the chicken?

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#27802 - 02/10/09 12:24 AM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
koiloco Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/16/08
Posts: 622
Loc: California
 Quote:
Originally posted by AZIPOD:
Doesn't the RX-Series have the exact same action of the Shigerus? If so, wouldn't the RX feel just as good if they are properly prepped? [/b]
yes, same exact action but on the SK, it's regulated and tweaked to the max. Could the same perfection be achieved on the RX's ? i think so. I will give a report on this soon after my RX-5 action is fully regulated and worked on.

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#27803 - 02/10/09 12:41 AM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
 Quote:
Norbert,

I think it is the music on the printed page that gives the instrument its "soul". The piano is but a tool the pianist performs upon to interpret the composer's intentions.

I appreciate more the tonal complexities and voicing the composer was able to achieve on the written page rather than the tonal nuances of the instrument.

Chopin wrote music that brought out the best that the piano instrument's broad dynamic range and polyphony had to offer. His Pleyel piano was no match for some of the lowest quality pianos in existence today yet his music are no less masterpieces on his "inferior" instrument as they are on today's highly regarded instruments.

I think really is all about the music.
This is absolutely true and a priceless comment.

In fact it's not even the 'printed page' but the inspiration by a God above which is the origin and bearer of *soul*.

That's why we earthlings shouldn't get too excited about shuffling our lowly cards down here arguing about 'pianos'....

Norbert \:D
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#27804 - 02/10/09 12:09 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
gutenberg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/07
Posts: 376
Loc: Wichita, Kansas
Norbert, that works for Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart, and all those fortunate souls who can experience a symphony or sonata in their minds. For the rest of us unfortunate earthbound souls, the deck is not stacked in our favor. We need every crutch we can get.

Jethro, I hear what you say, but lets not forget that one of the glories of music is its recreative process. Without us, Chopin would suffer. (Of course, with some of us amateurs he suffers anyway).

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#27805 - 02/11/09 12:15 AM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Horwinkle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 1011
 Quote:
Originally posted by gutenberg:
Norbert, that works for Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart, and all those fortunate souls who can experience a symphony or sonata in their minds. For the rest of us unfortunate earthbound souls, the deck is not stacked in our favor. We need every crutch we can get.

Jethro, I hear what you say, but lets not forget that one of the glories of music is its recreative process. Without us, Chopin would suffer. (Of course, with some of us amateurs he suffers anyway). [/b]
I agree. I was going to post that, but you beat me too it ... and said it well.

I think the performer's view differs from the (passive) listener's view. A performer (and perhaps an informed listener) can appreciate what Jethro and Norbert have said. But the uninitiated listener cannot.

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#27806 - 02/11/09 12:32 AM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Diaphragmatic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 422
 Quote:
Originally posted by KawaiDon:
It has been demonstrated very convincingly that the Shigeru Kawai action does repeat faster than any other action made. Also, the action design has been optimized for control in the softest playing. The rigidity and low mass of the Carbon Fiber / ABS parts also allows the actions to allow the pianos to produce the strongest fortissimo tone.
[/b]
Kindly show this objective and "very convincing.." demonstrations that proves "Shigeru Kawai action do repeat faster than any other action made." and is the "..softest playing" aka most dynamic action ever produced. I do not want to start a war but WOW that is some kind of an acclaim.

(Whooow, I would love to see the fireworks fly if I said a similar statement about the NY improved accelerated action in a Steinway model "D")

Edit: I mustn't get emotions involved \:\)
_________________________
Musically Yours,
Jonathan Hunt

Sales Professional:
Steinway, Boston, Essex, Kohler & Campbell

The Music Gallery
Clearwater, Fl.

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#27807 - 02/11/09 01:46 AM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Diaphragmatic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 422
 Quote:
Originally posted by wadslee:
 Quote:
What I'm finding out is that unlike the Millenium III action, not all Renner actions are designed identical (ie using the same parts.) So when Estonia says "Genuine Renner Action", you have to take that with a grain of salt. It doesn't necessarily mean you will be getting the same Renner action found on that Steinway B. (Someone correct me if I am wrong)
Steinway (New York) does not use Renner actions. Estonia does. The difference in Renner actions, amongst the manufacturers that use it, is more an issue of specifications (exact dimensions, etc, rather than grades of quality. [/b]
Renner is an OEM company. They will build parts for a manufacturer to said manufactures specifications and quality level.

Not all Renner parts are created equal. The quality of the woods, felts, glues etc.. all vary depending on what the piano company requires and requests.

I sell a $10,000 6 foot Kohler grand with a "Renner" action in it.

Do you think this action is of the same quality level as the very high end European brands who use Renner parts? Definitely not,.Some of those actions could cost as much as the entire piano does.

Selling Renner parts, many times, is just selling the "sizzle" to a customer.
_________________________
Musically Yours,
Jonathan Hunt

Sales Professional:
Steinway, Boston, Essex, Kohler & Campbell

The Music Gallery
Clearwater, Fl.

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#27808 - 02/11/09 08:39 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
KawaiDon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/02
Posts: 1222
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Diaphragmatic:
Kindly show this objective and "very convincing.." demonstrations that proves "Shigeru Kawai action do repeat faster than any other action made." [/QB]
We have slow motion films showing the Millennium III action repeating reliably in full depth key strokes at 15 repetitions per second. There is no other grand piano action made which can reliably do this. And yes, we have tested all of the best. 12 per second is generally as fast as they get.

Unfortunately I am only allowed to show the slow motion films in seminars, and cannot distribute them. I believe there are some on this forum who have seen them, though, as I have presented my seminar on this action design all over North America since 2004.

Of course, pianists generally can play only 10 -12 repetitions per second or so, so the benefit may not be appreciated. Personally, I see the advantage as a type of performance "headroom." One aspect of this headroom is that the action will still repeat well, even after the regulation has settled away from original specifications.

As for playing softly, if you read what you quoted from my earlier post you will see that I did not claim any kind of superiority, only that the action is optimized for playing at the softest levels. By this I mean that the action has design features which make it easy to play softly. This soft playing control is the most common atribute of the action for which we receive complements.

Action saturation is also a quantifiable parameter, and is measured by showing the hammer speed in relation to the key speed on a chart. All actions have a limit to how much energy they can transfer from the key to the hammer, and this can be measured with the appropriate equipment. The resulting curve of input / output speed is quite revealing, and relates directly to the feeling of responsiveness in the action, as well as the maximum power output. Pretty much all high quality piano actions have a high enough limit to satisfy pianists, but some are definitely higher than others. The Millennium-III action is capable of very high energy transfer - but I do not claim any kind of superiority here, as I have not seen data on the tests of the actions from other brands.

I always accept that some people will not like a piano for reasons of personal taste and preference. Some aspects of action design, though, can be quantified. I apologize if this sounds too much like marketing.
_________________________
Don Mannino, MPA
Kawai America

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#27809 - 02/11/09 10:49 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Diaphragmatic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 422
I'm sure Kawai's tests comparing it's action performance to others is very interesting, however, it's unfortunate the tests were not performed by an unbiased third party.

And I must ask, if this data is conclusive and quantifiable why is it forbiden to "distribute" it anywhere other than your seminars?
_________________________
Musically Yours,
Jonathan Hunt

Sales Professional:
Steinway, Boston, Essex, Kohler & Campbell

The Music Gallery
Clearwater, Fl.

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#27810 - 02/11/09 11:24 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
KawaiDon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/02
Posts: 1222
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Diaphragmatic:
I'm sure Kawai's tests comparing it's action performance to others is very interesting, however, it's unfortunate the tests were not performed by an unbiased third party.

And I must ask, if this data is conclusive and quantifiable why is it forbiden to "distribute" it anywhere other than your seminars? [/b]
Anyone is welcome to do the test! Find a truly unbiased third party to do it, we'll prep one of our actions, and you can get the other company to prep theirs! Sounds like fun.

The films are not distributed because other manufacturers would make use of them without having to put out the effort and spend the money to make them. Come to one of my sessions, and I'll be glad to show them to you, and show you the data on film frame rate so that you can verify the repetition speed for yourself.

On a related topic, in the late 90s Kawai hired an independent third party (A professor in a university material science laboratory) to test ABS materials for strength, stability, and precision as compared to another major company's wood action parts. The denigrators, especially dealers of competing products, still won't accept the results. They continue to proclaim to customers that they should not buy Kawai pianos because of those "plastic" parts.
_________________________
Don Mannino, MPA
Kawai America

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#27811 - 02/11/09 11:58 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Hale KAWAI Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 114
Loc: miami
Jonathan, your comments always seem to be extremely biased towards Steinway and "Steinway designed pianos," understandably. Don simply stated facts, why not attend one of his seminars, I am sure you would learn much. You may know this already, however I worked for Steinway a few years ago in management and was able to spend considerable time in the Steinway factory,I believe a trip to the KAWAI factory would be a real "eye opener," as I am sure you have been to Long Island City, however I dont believe Steinway conducts trips to its OEM suppliers. If you take a quick look at our point of purchase piece on carbon fiber technology you would find facts and stastics from micro textured surfaces for greater control to repetition speed. Something I have never found in printed Steinway materials, just the ambiguous "wood actions provide the greatest sensitivity," with no statistics to back this statement.
_________________________
Hale Thomas Ryan
Marketing and Product Development Manager, Acoustic Division
KAWAI AMERICA

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#27812 - 02/12/09 12:24 AM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Nick Mauel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/05/08
Posts: 783
Loc: Sarasota and Naples, FL
Jonathan,

Aren't you glad to be selling those Bostons built by Kawai? Why argue with the Kawai experts? I would be appreciative if I were you for their advancements which trickle down in some small way even to the 'Steinway designed' and Kawai built Bostons. Sure beats the SMC stuff!
_________________________
Nick's Piano Showroom
Naples, Fort Myers, & Sarasota, FL
New Estonia, Mason & Hamlin, Baldwin, Brodmann & Ritmuller
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www.nickspiano.com

Concert Piano Technician, Dealer, and Pianist

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#27813 - 02/12/09 01:00 AM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
Well, Maybe I should have given the Shigeru a closer look when I got my RX5. Truth is, my budget was already so blown I didn't have the nerve to look at it, or the faith that I would ever be good enough to need it. But this ability to play softly is important. My RX5 has a big, meaty, masculine voice that takes a strong and masterful touch to get the best out of it, and I love it for that. My condo-land neighbors wish I would play more softly, and I do try, but I can only get it down so far before the keys just don't strike reliably.

My technician is the greatest, and has improved certain adjustments that have moved the instrument up the playability index. This new information makes me wonder how far he could go.

Any, the Shigeru--- those legs. Too foofy for my bachelor living room. Be so nice to get all those great elements from RX and Shigeru in a single package.
_________________________
Clef


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#27814 - 02/12/09 07:24 AM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Hale KAWAI Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 114
Loc: miami
Jeff, glad to hear you are enjoying your RX 5! Just for the record we offer the SK line with the straight spade leg upon request.
_________________________
Hale Thomas Ryan
Marketing and Product Development Manager, Acoustic Division
KAWAI AMERICA

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#27815 - 02/12/09 07:33 AM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by Hale KAWAI:
Just for the record we offer the SK line with the straight spade leg upon request. [/b]
That's the best news I heard all day! Those curvaceous legs may serve to differentiate the SK but are the main reason I wouldn't consider upgrading.

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#27816 - 02/12/09 01:09 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
koiloco Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/16/08
Posts: 622
Loc: California
Jeff,
how's your RX-5 treating you ?
Mine is starting to settle in nicely. Want to swap sometimes ? \:\)

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#27817 - 02/12/09 02:41 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action
Horwinkle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 1011
 Quote:
Originally posted by KawaiDon:
We have slow motion films showing the Millennium III action repeating reliably in full depth key strokes at 15 repetitions per second. There is no other grand piano action made which can reliably do this. And yes, we have tested all of the best. 12 per second is generally as fast as they get.[/b]
As a faithful Kawai owner, I petition you to have your engineers work on Millennium III fingers. I'll gladly purchase a set of such fingers, and a Mill III Kawai, too.

Please design the Mill III fingers so they can work as fast as the Mill III action.

Thanks. \:\) \:D

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#2008780 - 01/03/13 11:16 PM Re: Seduction of Shigeru Kawai action [Re: Andy_piano]
Hubert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/09
Posts: 27
Dear Don Mannino, regarding the ABS materials matter, is it possible for your side to provide some data (or other related materials) for the comparison between ABS and wooden parts?? People in my area are very concern about this matter regarding how long the ABS material can last etc....

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