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Joined: Jan 2004
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I have a late 80's 52" kawai (just bought)and am starting to get acclimated to its rather large sound. I have a couple questions regarding the tone and the heavy kawai action.

First, I know first hand from playing acoustic guitar that an all solid wood guitar sounds different after it's played in. I know that it's reasonable to expect a piano to sound different over time, but I wonder just how much of change is possible.

I like the sound of my Kawai and I'm not sure if new hammers were installed before I purchased it because everything looks to be hardly used. I know that if the hammers are new, that the sound will brighten after a while.

But, concentrating on the soundboard and assuming that the hammers are original (16 years old), what kind of tone change can I expect from this piano over time and much play? After 16 years, I don't know how much of the 'new' sound is gone and 'played in' sound is pretty much established. I'd like to think that the more I play it (like a solid wood acoustic), the more the soundboard will develop tone. Since this model is 'pretty much' the high-line Kawai upright, I'm assuming the original soundboard was of decent quality and that I have a good starting point to develop the tone over time.

Second, the action on the Kawai is a little on the heavy side. Certainly heavier than a Yamaha grand, for example. I'm getting used to it...it's kind of useful for classical, actually. But, assuming that everything is in proper working order and no unnecessary friction is evident, what options do I have to loosen the action a little bit, if any? Thanks in advance.

Joined: Sep 2004
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It's interesting that you posted this. Having just bought a late 80's Kawai grand a week ago, I am wondering about some of the same things. I like the way my piano sounds now and am hoping what I'm hearing IS the "played in" sound, as you say. I don't want it to change at all, or very little, if possible. I had a Charles Walter, and it was bright like the sun. Voicing helped some, but it was bright when I bought it and too much voicing would make the tone of the CW too dead. Listening to the Kawai is like a relief.

Concerning the heavy action, from what I've been reading lately, this is a typical Kawai characteristic. I have to say it may take some getting used to, but one thing I've learned is to keep my fingers closer to the keys and play from the forearm rather than the fingers. By this, I mean, use a sort of pulling motion when playing groups of notes rather than trying to play each note individually with the focus on each finger. This is a poor explanation, but my playing has gotten more efficient and the action actually feels lighter. I think it may be that I'm not using as much energy driving the keys into the keybed, which you shouldn't do anyway I think. Don't know for sure.

I didn't make this pulling thing up, by the way but got it from a 1955 book on piano playing by Abby Whitesides. It talks about playing with the whole body rather than at each of the fingers. The premise of this is that great playing comes from the core of the body out, not from the fingers in.

Annnnyway, I guess I got off track. Hopefully, someone can answer some of these questions, though.

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It is quite common that people who have just purchased a piano, first notice all kinds of things - but later, ironically, to much lesser of an extent.

Or actually "not at all".

"Getting used to..." is part of the equation for most players - in addition to not noticing the very small, indecimal changes from day to day - being the other.

You both have a very good piano and should enjoy it for what it is !

Not what it was or will be.!!

Which - by the way - applies to other things in life as well - physical bodies included.....ahem...ahem laugh

norbert


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