SOUTH BAY CHAPTER

No Meeting in July

Our June meeting featured Orange County PTG RPT Randy Woltz, previewing his national convention class, "How to Hot Rod Your Piano." He demonstrated the reasonably short process of converting your standard living room piano into a performance piano with a faster and lighter touch. Randy noted, “Always under-promise and over-deliver (just say you'll improve it).”

On Randy’s first successful ‘hot-rodding” he added wippen springs, moved capstans, removed some key weight, lacquered hammers.

☻Are hammers above rest cushions? Regulation must be in good shape before evaluating whether to modify anything.
☻Isolate parts one by one (key, wippen, jacks, hammer flange, action centers, dip, quality, key leading) to decide where to focus your efforts.
☻Thoroughly clean, lube (watch and listen for friction), ease if necessary. Use a steam pot or iron to downsize a bushing, use a caul to keep shape.
☻Check down-weight. If it's too heavy and you don't want to modify weighting or geometry, sell the touch-rail system to the customer.
☻Otherwise, a quick geometry fix can be to shift capstans (WNG has a cool tool for drilling out the capstans). Remove capstans, fill holes, sketch a line just forward of previous holes, punch a starter hole with a nail, drill new hole, replace capstans. Cannot be done with a hand drill. This is a three-hour job.
☻Cutting the balance rail punchings in half was another suggestion. Place the half punchings on action side (away from the pianist) of balance pins, add drop of glue under each key, carefully replace keys and press onto balance rail. Check key height and dip after this change.
☻Remove leads and replace (maybe one less).
☻Adding a wippen spring is very complicated and time intensive, so just change a sample key first to get an idea of the benefits before doing the entire set.
☻Randy surprised us by telling us he uses spray lacquer from woodworking store (not hardware store) to harden hammers, and applies an extra spray in top octave as needed. Lightly sand hammers after it has dried two days to get rid of the surface crust.
☻The goal (for Randy) is a 48 gram down weight in the center of the keyboard.
☻With uprights, the spring's the thing! Hammer return springs (should just gently push the hammer), jack springs, damper springs (make sure they're not too strong, or move spoon for later lift). Note: on bi-chord dampers (double-wedges), dampers should lift higher. Moving capstans forward (towards pianist) reduces key down weight. Some regulation adjustments will be necessary after shifting capstans.

Note: Look at Journals from February 2015 & June 2012 for upright touch weight adjustments.

Thank you, Randy, for packing so much valuable information into such a short class.

Due to the national convention, there will not be a chapter meeting in July. Please check the August Newsletter for information regarding a potential social gathering in August. Enjoy your summer!

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