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#607413 - 02/28/04 02:21 AM How to add Power?
Roundabout Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 43
Loc: Nebraska
Thanks in advance! I am looking at a used 7+ foot asian grand that is relatively new. I like the sound of the instrument, but feel that is it going to need quite a bit more power (volume to be exact) to completely satisfy my needs.

If I purchase it, I will be employing a very well known tech in town to work on the piano to overhaul/adjust it to bring the piano up to spec. What specifically should I ask him to do to add more power? I need specifics so I don't look like I don't know what I'm doing. The tone is fine and I don't want to change it dramatically.

Finally, how much time should it take a competent technician to do this kind of work, and what should I expect to pay for this kind of effort? Again, the piano is relatively new (less than one year old).

Thanks again. I love this website!

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#607414 - 02/28/04 11:28 AM Re: How to add Power?
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22274
Loc: Oakland
If you want to look like you know what you are doing, ask the very well known tech to look at the piano now, before you buy it.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#607415 - 02/28/04 11:49 AM Re: How to add Power?
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
Roundabout,

I would not suggest purchasing wth the hope that someone can add more power later. Maybe you can add power, maybe you can't. Power that we can manipulate is mostly a matter of the mechanical efficiency of the action regulation, getting excessive friction out of the action and parts alignment (string-to-hammer mating, etc). IOW when everything is "right" you have the max power available.

To some extent it can be a matter of voicing, but with todays hard-packed hammers they tend to leave the factory with hammers about as loud as they are going to get. Usually voicing is to alter tonal balance, not add power. However since it is a used piano I suppose it's possible it may have lost power through "over voicing", but only a personal inspection can say.

Now if the regulation and prep leaves something to be desired (not uncommon) you may well get a bit more power out of it by having someone work it over. The change may be a little or a lot, depending.

But there is a built-in limit to how much power you are going to get from a particular model piano. I have heard several comments from good pianists that power is just where some of the less expensive Asian pianos are lacking. (No problem with Yamaha or Kawai however) My experience so far agrees. I tend to think of them as more "European" in nature and not particularly powerful compared to say, Mason & Hamlin, Steinway, or Charles Walter.

Unfortunately it probably won't help to tell a tech what to do. Each piano will be different. If he is experienced in these things he will know what to do. If not experienced, it's going to end up being his "learning experience" and you don't want that. Better to seek out the tech who knows how to get real tweaky with a piano action and can tell YOU what needs to be done to get more power.

Regards,

Rick Clark
_________________________
Rick Clark

Piano tuner-technician

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#607416 - 02/29/04 08:37 AM Re: How to add Power?
Roundabout Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 43
Loc: Nebraska
 Quote:
Originally posted by Rick Clark:
Roundabout,

I would not suggest purchasing wth the hope that someone can add more power later. Maybe you can add power, maybe you can't. Power that we can manipulate is mostly a matter of the mechanical efficiency of the action regulation, getting excessive friction out of the action and parts alignment (string-to-hammer mating, etc). IOW when everything is "right" you have the max power available.

To some extent it can be a matter of voicing, but with todays hard-packed hammers they tend to leave the factory with hammers about as loud as they are going to get. Usually voicing is to alter tonal balance, not add power. However since it is a used piano I suppose it's possible it may have lost power through "over voicing", but only a personal inspection can say.

Now if the regulation and prep leaves something to be desired (not uncommon) you may well get a bit more power out of it by having someone work it over. The change may be a little or a lot, depending.

But there is a built-in limit to how much power you are going to get from a particular model piano. I have heard several comments from good pianists that power is just where some of the less expensive Asian pianos are lacking. (No problem with Yamaha or Kawai however) My experience so far agrees. I tend to think of them as more "European" in nature and not particularly powerful compared to say, Mason & Hamlin, Steinway, or Charles Walter.

Unfortunately it probably won't help to tell a tech what to do. Each piano will be different. If he is experienced in these things he will know what to do. If not experienced, it's going to end up being his "learning experience" and you don't want that. Better to seek out the tech who knows how to get real tweaky with a piano action and can tell YOU what needs to be done to get more power.

Regards,

Rick Clark [/b]
Thanks for the valuable input Rick.

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#607417 - 03/03/04 10:32 PM Re: How to add Power?
fixinpianos Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 56
I recently asked several of my fellow PTG members this same question because I have a piano that I am rebuilding that I need more volume out of... I like the sound just need it to be louder... not brighter, but louder. Here's what I ended up doing and it worked great. After practicing on several of the low bass notes to get the exact sound I wanted I did the following. Make a mixture of acetone and plastic keytops. Allow the keytops to completely disolve. Then what your tech will try to do is make the inner felt harder. This is done by turning your action up on it's end and applying the right amount of the acetone/keytop mixture to the sides of the hammers around the core of the hammerfelt. Do this to every hammer then turn the action on the other end and repeat the process.

By hardening the core of the hammer you get more volume but do not change the sound of the note. It takes alot of practice to get just the right amount of the mixture on the hammers, but it works.

I would have to say that this is alot of work for a piano that's so new... I would rather look for a different piano that has the sound you are looking for right off the bat, instead of trying to alter the sound of a piano after you buy it. What happens if it never get to the point at which you like it? You are stuck with a piano that you don't like and most likely because you have tried so hard to alter the sound, no one else will like it either.

I only did this procedure to provide a temporary fix while hammers are being ordered. I couldn't tell you the long term effect/affect of this method and would not suggest it as a perminant fix.

Good luck.

Brandon
_________________________
Selling my piano on pianoworld. Ad # BB4020713. Kawai Console 2yo $2200.

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#607418 - 03/05/04 10:16 AM Re: How to add Power?
Manitou Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 1044
Loc: Colorado
The bulk of my "complete overhauls" on pianos are made on new pianos.

If I work on a grand, I usually spend 8 hours reworking the action (string level ect...) And if the hammers are determined to be performing under par (excess fuzz, poor shape, extra hard or soft...) then I add reshaping and voicing to this job, possibly resulting in 14 hours of work (still need to tune).

New pianos just like old ones, can significantly benefit from this kind of preparation and attention to detail. You are simply taking the given factory standards and enhancing them all, closer to that piano's potential for playability and music making.

P.s, concerning your Yamaha, kep in mind we can only manipulate within that piano's inherent design. . . there are limtations.

Manitou - Pianist - Technician
_________________________
Manitou - Pianist - Technician

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