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New Actions

Installing a new action in a piano is a very exacting process. The quality of the new piano hammer is first and foremost. If it is not made properly then the tone is weak and muffled instead of strong with good dynamics. While "voicing" or adjusting the tone is also important, starting with a well made hammer is uppermost. We use new Renner action parts and Renner or Abel Performance hammers. (Also new Steinway parts are available.) These are the best parts available in the world today.

A complete new action involves new hammers, shanks & flanges, whippens, new key bushings, re-felting the key frame (underneath the keys), key tops, sharps, back checks, and so on. A complete new action is considered "rebuilding" as the parts are new instead of "reconditioned". "Reconditioned" shanks and whippens can work well if the reconditioning is very, very extensive. However, the fair market value will not be as high as if the parts are replaced.

If new parts and hammers are installed, our standard procedure is remove the original key weights and completely "weigh-off" the action and add new key weights to achieve standard Steinway specifications. This insures that the new action will not be too heavy or too light. The major problem I have encountered with actions is that the action feels too heavy or too light after new hammers have been installed. We are also addressing "friction control". Once all the friction problems in the new action have been corrected, the weigh-off procedure will assure that proper Steinway down-weight and up-weight can be indeed achieved.

First the action must be perfectly free from unwanted friction.  Then all the original lead weights are removed and the position for new weights determined. Then the old holes are plugged, new ones drilled and new weights installed in the correct locations.

This is our "standard procedure" whenever hammers are replaced or an action regulated and insures superior performance.

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Even a new Steinway can have serious weight problems. We are currently (Dec. 97) correcting a Steinway Model B grand action that is only three years old. This action does not have Teflon in it but because the action is still "ACCELERATED", there is a momentum problem encountered by the owner/player that he insists that we correct. When the owner just barely presses the keys during pianissimo playing the keys feel very heavy but this sensation is reduced on mezzo forte playing. The reason for the heavy feeling is that the accelerated action has an excessive amount of lead weights installed in the keys and consequently it is hard to get the keys to start moving when initially pressed. This is simple physics. It might sound fictitious to some, since Steinway calls this action "Accelerated", however it is none the less true. So by removing all the friction from the action, then removing all the lead weights, plugging the holes with new instrument wood and then adding new lead weights, the "momentum" problem will be removed and the action will actually measure LIGHTER overall as a result. (We are of the opinion that the Steinway action was perfected in the 1920ies and no modifications made in later years were a true improvement.  The failure of the Teflon action as a well known example.)

We can convert your "clicking" and difficult to control TEFLON ACCELERATED ACTION to a new standard Steinway action by installing new whippens, shanks, hammers; removing the straight capstan and relocating it at the correct angle and then re-weighing the action. It is now standard procedure in our shop and we have done it repeatedly. It is expensive to do this but you must realize that a musician should not be held back by the musical instrument. The music presents enough difficulty.

Ivory key tops

We have the capability of replacing your worn ivory or plastic keys with genuine ivory. TThe ivory is first quality new ivory obtained from the auction of ivory trophy material, not affected by the recent ban on imported ivory.

All of our keyboards are fitted to exacting standards and  ivory entirely rubbed and polished by hand so that it appears translucent. The material is hand cut as well. The cost factor is high as the work is exacting and the materials difficult to obtain.

To view how ivory is installed....

  Ivory Pictures

A lot of leg work has been done to find a legitimate source for this genuine ivory.  The value of your instrument would be vastly increased and the basis of your investment....a long term one.

It is very satisfying to finish building a new action and adjusting the tone and touch to the desires of the owner. It takes years of experience to do this successfully and truly make the customer happy. So, it is a great responsibility to take on the rebuilding of a piano action. It is interesting to note that there are more moving parts in a piano action than in an automobile.

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