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#619242 - 03/04/02 07:53 AM Tighter action possible?
kimdoan2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/04/02
Posts: 41
I have a 1921, 9-foot Baldwin concert grand. The action is way too light. Is it possible to have the action tight up to be a bit firmer? If so, about how much would it cost? (I'm thinking about $60/hour the technician charges).

Thanks,
Kim

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#619243 - 03/04/02 12:02 PM Re: Tighter action possible?
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Yes, the action can be lightened but naturally the tech has to determine the source for the existing tightness. It would be arising from excess friction from the key bushings which then requires an operation called "easing". Changes in the ambient conditions in the room would cause that as well as problems with the action centers.

A more drastic but effective solution would be to change to a lighter weight hammer but that might wind up costing you more than you'd care to spend.

Mark Mandell www.pianosource.com

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#619244 - 03/04/02 12:07 PM Re: Tighter action possible?
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
I apologize for misunderstanding what you'd written as I now see you want a tighter action and my comments were directed at making the action lighter, which is the opposite situation.

Then this might call for installing new hammers because the older ones have become lighter through repeated filings and general long term use. You might also consider the Stanwood touch alteration procedure discussed elsewhere on this forum which can yield good results if done properly.

Mark @pianosource.com

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#619245 - 03/04/02 12:44 PM Re: Tighter action possible?
pointegirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/02
Posts: 65
My daughter has said to me that when she played new Steinways at the dealer's store she had to work harder. It sounded like the new Steinway gives more resistance. Does it have to do with the action that tou were talking about? She has tried many other grands (rebuilt and new) and only new Steinways made her feel that way.

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#619246 - 03/04/02 08:33 PM Re: Tighter action possible?
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Kimdoan2--

I've reconsidered my earlier take on your situation and now think that rebushing the keys may be the correct solution to this problem. By saying this now I'm assuming that by "light" you're implying the keys have too much side play which amounts to saying there is a noticeable lack of firmness to the action. In addition there may also what's called "fore-aft" play where there's a slight forward and backward movement in the keys. In extreme instances this can cause "clunking" sounds.

If this is in fact the case, rebushing and corrcting the fore-aft play would cost about $700(at least that's about what many techs here in L.A. would charge).

Mark @pianosource.com

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#619247 - 03/04/02 08:54 PM Re: Tighter action possible?
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3843
A piano action that old really needs to be fully rebuilt with new parts and felts. Worn parts will cause the action to feel loose as you describe. Partial repairs can help for the time being, but a full action rebuild is the best route.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#619248 - 03/04/02 09:26 PM Re: Tighter action possible?
Chris W1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/26/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Boston
Pointegirl,

What I think your daughter is experiencing is Steinway's softer hammers. When they aren't prepped right, or lacquered, they are too soft and sound the opposite of unprepped hot pressed hammers, found on most everything else. Without a strong sound, compensating with the hands is often attempted, making one feel like the action is heavy, etc. I think it gets into what some people were discussing here recently about psycho accoustics.

Regards,
Chris W
_________________________
Amateur At Large

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#619249 - 03/05/02 01:41 AM Re: Tighter action possible?
Niles Duncan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 513
Loc: Pasadena, CA
The overly light action could be caused by one or more or considering the age of the piano probably all of the following items.

1. Hammers have become too light due to repeated filing and shaping and it's time to dump them.

2. Worn out key bushings.

3. Worn out pinning in the action centers.

4. Dammit there was a fourth item that was in my mind a minute ago but now it's disappeared. A sign that I'm getting old and senile.

At any rate you need a competent tech to evaluate your action. You could be in for anything from $500 to $5000 depending on how thoroughly you want to go into this. Chances are you have a lot of old worn out parts in the action and to do the job in the most thorough manner in order to return the action to the state it was in when new is going to mean replacing lots of parts and involve lots of labor and will be a $4000 to $5000 project.

It's a lot like when the engine in your car is showing serious signs of age and wear and your mechanic says he can do a ring and valve job and keep things going fairly well for a while longer for a medium cost, or he can tear the whole engine down bottom to top and do a complete overhaul and you will have essentially a new engine but it will cost you a bundle more, or you can just take the cheap route and throw a can of STP in every so often and keep limping along. Or you can just dump the thing.

Niles Duncan
Piano rebuilder, Pasadena, CA www.pianosource.com

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#619250 - 03/05/02 08:28 PM Re: Tighter action possible?
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3843
Good analogy, Niles. I always carry oil with me in case I can't sell a proper rebuild.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#619251 - 03/05/02 10:13 PM Re: Tighter action possible?
Niles Duncan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 513
Loc: Pasadena, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bob:
Good analogy, Niles. I always carry oil with me in case I can't sell a proper rebuild.[/b]


Right, Bob. A little oil on the key bushings keeps an action running smooth.

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#619252 - 03/06/02 12:15 PM Re: Tighter action possible?
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Yes, and don't forget that a liberal quantity of oil applied to the action centers will help things even more! \:D

Mark @pianosource.com

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#619253 - 03/06/02 12:53 PM Re: Tighter action possible?
SamLewisPiano.com Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 635
Loc: WHITE BLUFF (Nashville area) T...
Let's oil the tuning pins while we're at it........ \:D :rolleyes:
_________________________
Since 1975; Full-time piano tuner/tech in Nashville;
Lacquer and polyester specialist.

www.SamLewisPiano.com

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#619254 - 03/07/02 12:08 AM Re: Tighter action possible?
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
It worries me to no end to think that non-techs reading this will think we're joking!

Mark @pianosource

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