February Meeting: (2nd Tuesday)
Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Time: 7:00 - Meeting
7:30 - Presentation
Location: Kawai America
2055 E. University, Dominguez Hills 90220

In January we joined LA chapter at the Colburn School for an excellent presentation from Steingraeber & Sons. Production Manager Alexander Kerstan gave us an all inclusive look at what goes into making their high quality handcrafted pianos and showcased some very impressive innovations they have developed:

- The Sordino function has reinvented an older feature, enabling the piano to play with reduced vibration. When activated, a very thin felt slides in between the hammers and the strings, giving the player a much greater range of expression.

- The Mozart rail allows for an adjustable key dip, reducible down to 8mm, which simultaneously brings the hammers closer to the strings reducing strike down to 36 mm. This makes it possible to bring the piano back to a time when dip was shallower; and the result is the ability to play ppppianissimo super soft and allows for a faster repetition. When demonstrated by some very talented students, the effect was astounding. It was as if the piano was whispering - the notes were played as evenly and as soft as possible - and the piano did not miss one note. Key dip has gradually increased over the 300 years since Cristofori, and this function enables the piano to not get in the way of itself, a useful element when performing many pieces.

- Also featured on the concert grand is a transducer. PianoDisc is the brain that empowers the piano with the ability to become even louder, as well as the rest of the suite of functions that this optical system offers. Steingräeber has designed options for adaptive control of these functions for individuals who have limited range of motion. There is a hydraulic unit that can be activated with a tube the player blows air into to activate . There are also options that have redesigned trapwork to make the pedals more accessible for the player. Steingräeber will work with the client to develop the adaptive setup that works for them.

The net effect of these innovations is that the player is empowered with an unprecedented range of dynamic control over the instrument.

Other points of interest were the "dancing sand" test for a fully active soundboard which small shop rebuilders can also use. Black sand is poured onto the soundboard before it is installed, and the bridge is tapped with a hammer. All areas of the soundboard should make the sand 'jump' and if it is not observed in any areas that area is sanded to be thinner, until the jump occurs.

In vertical pianos, the use of magnets in place of jack-return/repetition springs is something made possible by the fairly recent development of super small, super strong magnets such as the ones in cell phone speakers. The magnets allow for incredibly fast repetition, equivalent to the function you would find in a grand piano action . Another notable element is the choice of wool for hammer felt, not from open stock, but from a specific breed of sheep grazing in a specific pasture. Colder temperatures and longer time in the forms ensure longer fibers and greater resilience and tonality in the hammer, which has a diamond shape to it, increasing the lifetime of the strike point. The crown of the hammer does not wear flat as easily as a rounded hammer design.

Our thanks to Steingräeber & Sons. Bravo, Alexander Kerstan! A special thank you to Kayoko Forrest for bringing this wonderful event together and to Neema Pazaargad & the Colburn School for opening your doors to us and hosting this awesome event.

On the near horizon is another great piano tech event. The Pomona Valley SoCal Seminar will be held March 30 and 31 at the Hampton Inn & Suites Riverside Corona East - a jam packed weekend of technical training featuring classes from Del Fandrich, Randy Morton, Randi Potter, Paul Rea, David Rubenstein, Bill Shull, and Bruce Stevens. Complete with banquet dinner and concert with Danny Holt, plus more for the nominal fee of $145! Register today at You won't want to miss it!

This month the South Bay Chapter will meet at Kawai America for a presentation by Michael Cahn entitled, "First Time Service- a Comprehensive Guide. " This class will break down all of the things that are prudent to do at the first meeting of a new client & piano. There will be a re-enactment of the entire visit, with Lisa Weller playing the role of our client. Be advised - tools and supplies will be given out! This meeting will be beneficial for all, especially our newer members, and is open to all PTG members who wish to attend. Join us on Tuesday, February 12th at 7:00 pm. There will be pie.