About chinese piano hammerheads...

Posted by: PianoEST

About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/03/12 06:34 PM

Hello guys!
I'm really intrested in hammer heads from china. I'm going to restore an old Swedish upright pianette. Haven't done yet a full "must to do" list but certainly I'm going to put on new strings, adjust and fix all the mechanics, and then it comes to hammer-heads. Yes, I know, professional piano-technicians don't think twice and have already ordered Renner, Abel, etc..., but I don't feel such a huge responsibility, because it's my own piano, and I got it quite cheap. After couple of hours googling I managed to find only one direct seller directly in China, but unfortunately minimum order is 10 sets of hammerheads. It's a bit too much for one piano:). Price is between 30-50$ for one set, witch is 10 times cheaper than others. In my opinion, they can't be worse than old worn out historycal hammers in my piano. I believe most of Chinese pianos are using same hammerheads, and as far as I have tested, they are all much greater than common old soviet pianos in my country.
Thats shortly a reason why I want to hear your opinions about chinese piano parts.
Unfortunately I did't find any dealer in Europe who sells them and it seems a little bit odd - there's tons of chinese pianos, tuning hammers but not piano parts separately. If anybody knows a place where I can find these hammerheads, please let me know.
Thank You!
PianoEST
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/03/12 06:58 PM

Does it occur to you that there may be a reason why no one wants to handle those parts?
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/03/12 07:02 PM

I agree with Keith.
Posted by: Olek

Re: About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/03/12 07:31 PM

I would try Detoa, if the cost matters.

But, are you a technician ? changing hammers without being trained to do so , may give strange results.

Posted by: PianoEST

Re: About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/03/12 07:34 PM

Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Does it occur to you that there may be a reason why no one wants to handle those parts?


Well, I'm shure, there's plenty of reasons - as I told it's almost impossible to purchase them, although you were meaning a quality aspect. Therefore I want more proof and reviews from persons who have been in touch with these. Do you have some impressions to share?
Posted by: PianoEST

Re: About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/03/12 07:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Kamin
I would try Detoa, if the cost matters.

But, are you a technician ? changing hammers without being trained to do so , may give strange results.


Thank you for a hint. And yes I'm a Piano craftsmans student and I know how to remove and replace hammers....
Posted by: Olek

Re: About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/03/12 07:49 PM

There are the Chinese OEM parts used on Yamaha grey market pianos, (and Kawai) but those are certainly not the cheapest ones. The hammers are yet not very good tonally speaking.

Then there are the cheap hammers as find on entry level pianos made in China, those ones are sometime impossible to voice, they go from rock hard to soft as cotton without intermediate situation.

You could ask to some Japanese tuners/technicians that have videos on Youtube. Some of them use parts that come from China. I dont know where they buy them... (Yamaha Japan does not want to sell them original Yamaha parts, generally, so they are obliged to use that solution)

Most of tyhe "grey market Yamahas they repair are sold to China those days, one of them told me it was even difficult for the Japanese tech to buy for himself a decent second hand U1 today)

Posted by: Withindale

Re: About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/03/12 07:49 PM

Why not ask for a sample to test?
Posted by: Olek

Re: About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/03/12 07:59 PM

Hello ! I am sometime surprised with the cost of vertical hammers, when sold by the factory.

One one of the best German makers, buying heads yet glued on selected shanks is cheaper than buying the same parts from Abel.

Detoa may have something accepteable for you I guess, but in the standard sizes of their pianos, I am unsure they have small models.

You need the heads and the shanks if you want to do a good job plus some training. gluing on the old shanks is feasible, but less easy in the end.

Even ABel have some extra from overproduction regularly, then you can buy a hammer set plus shanks plus butts plus flanges for a price around the cost of a hammer set.
Why not asking them I seem to receive such an offer recently (it may be finished now but who knows)

Best wishes.
Posted by: Del

Re: About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/03/12 09:23 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoEST
I'm really intrested in hammer heads from china. I'm going to restore an old Swedish upright pianette. Haven't done yet a full "must to do" list but certainly I'm going to put on new strings, adjust and fix all the mechanics, and then it comes to hammer-heads. Yes, I know, professional piano-technicians don't think twice and have already ordered Renner, Abel, etc..., but I don't feel such a huge responsibility, because it's my own piano, and I got it quite cheap. After couple of hours googling I managed to find only one direct seller directly in China, but unfortunately minimum order is 10 sets of hammerheads. It's a bit too much for one piano:). Price is between 30-50$ for one set, witch is 10 times cheaper than others. In my opinion, they can't be worse than old worn out historycal hammers in my piano. I believe most of Chinese pianos are using same hammerheads, and as far as I have tested, they are all much greater than common old soviet pianos in my country.
Thats shortly a reason why I want to hear your opinions about chinese piano parts.
Unfortunately I did't find any dealer in Europe who sells them and it seems a little bit odd - there's tons of chinese pianos, tuning hammers but not piano parts separately. If anybody knows a place where I can find these hammerheads, please let me know.

There are, indeed, many reasons why Chinese hammermakers have not been marketing their hammers to anyone outside of China. One being that until fairly recently the growth of the internal Chinese market insured that they could sell just about everything they could make to various small internal piano makers. (The major Chinese pianomakers all make their own hammers and that is not likely to change.) This, of course, is always the easiest way to market one’s production. It is not necessary to advertise and promote the product. Nor is it necessary to develop the mechanisms necessary to ship to an international market and handle the accompanying language and commerce barriers – such as billing and collecting -- inherent in such a venture. Remember that it is still fairly difficult to use otherwise internationally accepted credit cards in China. (I stay here for periods of three weeks at a time and my hotel bill is paid in cash.)

As well, asking about the performance characteristics of “Chinese-made hammers” is like asking about the performance characteristics of “European-made cars.” Which hammers made by which manufacturer? At the recent Shanghai Music Show I stopped by three different displays showing “Chinese-made” piano hammers. Well, they were all supposed to be piano hammers; some of them were almost decent, others shouldn’t be allowed anywhere close to a piano. The domestic piano market has leveled off some so if these hammermakers want to thrive they are going to have to enter the international market. There is no internal replacement market yet. There are hundreds of thousands of relatively new pianos in China but few used pianos of an age that require replacement hammers. Hence the scramble for aftermarket sales. Right now they are looking internally for that market but sooner or later they will have to look internationally. Some, perhaps most, won’t make it; their product simply isn’t good enough. Others might.

ddf
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/03/12 10:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Del
There is no internal replacement market yet. There are hundreds of thousands of relatively new pianos in China but few used pianos of an age that require replacement hammers. Hence the scramble for aftermarket sales. Right now they are looking internally for that market but sooner or later they will have to look internationally. Some, perhaps most, won’t make it; their product simply isn’t good enough. Others might.

ddf


Another issue related to China and some other asian countries is that there may never be a replacement market because of the cultural aversion to buying anything "used". This is one reason why used Japanese pianos wind up elsewhere as "grey market" instruments and Japanese used cars are purchased by Russians and taken back to to western (european) Russia -- the Japanese don't want 'em. A Chinese piano technician colleague tells me the same orientation exists in China. This came up in a discussion about rebuilding pianos in China. His response: "no market".
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/03/12 11:23 PM

Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Originally Posted By: Del
There is no internal replacement market yet. There are hundreds of thousands of relatively new pianos in China but few used pianos of an age that require replacement hammers. Hence the scramble for aftermarket sales. Right now they are looking internally for that market but sooner or later they will have to look internationally. Some, perhaps most, won’t make it; their product simply isn’t good enough. Others might.

ddf



Another issue related to China and some other asian countries is that there may never be a replacement market because of the cultural aversion to buying anything "used". This is one reason why used Japanese pianos wind up elsewhere as "grey market" instruments and Japanese used cars are purchased by Russians and taken back to to western (european) Russia -- the Japanese don't want 'em. A Chinese piano technician colleague tells me the same orientation exists in China. This came up in a discussion about rebuilding pianos in China. His response: "no market".


The problem also exists here. Several dealers, whom I won't mention, have complained to me about Asian customers.
Posted by: ando

Re: About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/03/12 11:31 PM

God help us if a country with 1.5 billion people can't bring itself to reuse things....
Posted by: mariotto

Re: About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/04/12 09:49 AM

Detoa doesnt sell heads, they only produce action parts. You can buy cheap heads from Meyne in Germany. I never tried them, but german techs dont recommend them. They are supposed to be from Asia. You can ask them. If you register like a tech-dealer at their shop you will get better prices. I understand a concept everything is better than old soviet heads, but when you think at all the job you have to invest, 100 eur diference doesnt seem much, because with cheap heads you invest even more time and probably get bad result. I install Abels at old Petrofs for instance and get very decent results. The heads with shanks and but can ce bought for 160 eur.



Posted by: PianoEST

Re: About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/04/12 11:01 AM

Thank you all! Lot's of new thoughts and ideas now. First of all, I'm gonna list up operations to do and then I have a clue how much this thing gonna cost me.
Posted by: rysowers

Re: About chinese piano hammerheads... - 12/04/12 12:56 PM

You might check with the hammer supply companies and see if they have any "seconds" - sets with some sort of cosmetic defect that wouldn't be detrimental to the tone, but that they wouldn't normally sell. Also you might find a supplier with a set of hammers that were pre bored at the wrong angles. If you could get them inexpensively, you could plug and re-bore them.