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Most modern pianos made over he last 150 years have improperly shaped V-bars.

I have reshaped 100's of V-bars in my 50 years as a piano technician/rebuilder.

There are times when makers case harden V-bars. This is bad for tone and string endurance, and can make shaping the V-bar to a proper V shape impossible without causing even quicker string failure than the more rounded profile engenders.

Most Yamaha V-bars I have tried to shape resist cutting like they are case hardened, but don't feel to the file exactly the same as case hardening presents.

Steinway has at times case hardened their V-bars and may be doing so at the present time. Usually it is done so slightly as to be easily removed when shaping the V-bar to a true V-shape. (Although it does ruin ones metal file.)

I suspect this is because the V-process methods produces quicker cooling which reduces the percentage of the graphite form of carbon in the metal. Slow cooling of molten carbon steel produces the highest amount of carbon in the graphite form. This makes the alloy softer and with increased natural lubricity.

High self lubricity at the V-bar string termination point allows the string to self machine and work harden the exact spot the string is touching the V-bar so as to maximize the pivot termination principle of the plate, and minimize abrasion and work hardening of the string, (otherwise known as metal fatigue).

My understanding is the V-process makes for more uniform castings which reduces the amount of custom fitting to build a piano around it.

The foundation of a great piano is a high quality casting. One that has high self lubricity and high internal damping of vibration. The V-process plates I have examined that I knew were V-process had harder metal. I suspect it is possible to use V-process and get slow cooling like the wet sand method usually produces. But I know too little about the subject to prove it.

What I do know is harder plates allow strings to couple more longitudinal mode energy to transverse modes which makes for a more "noisy" tone. And I know that hard string termination points do much the same thing regarding L-modes as well as wear out the wire.

Poorly positioned tuning, hitch and agraffes also contribute to poor tuning stability and clarity of tone. So drilling the casting must be precisely done.

Every piano inspection by a professional should assess the profile and hardness of the V-bar. There is no excuse for manufacturers to still be botching this critical specification. I first published the proper specs for V-bars in the late 1970's. I have seen recent Kawai pianos that seem to meet my V-bar specifications, I hope they make all their pianos that way and that every other maker moves to adopt the practice. To do otherwise is gross negligence to their customers.

Many rebuilders have adopted the proper V-bar specifications. They have met the test of time. Now it is time for manufacturers to step up to the standard.


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
He owns a piano store and is naturally biased in favor of the pianos sells and against the competition like Yamaha. I listened to the first few minutes and there were many IMO incorrect statements and obvious bias. When a dealer makes an "educational" video one should not assume it's not really an advertisement.

Did I have to check to see if he sells Yamaha or Kawai? Of course not, because he would have never said what he did in the video if that was the case.
He primarily sells used/rebuilt instruments - and currently has Kawais and Yamahas in stock. Every time I've visited his store there were late model Yamahas and Kawais on the floor - as well as several other brands including Steinway, Mason and Hamlin, Baldwin, Knabe, Pramberger, Young Chang, Weber, Petrof, Charles Walter, Bluthner, Hailun and others. Diverse inventory. smile


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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
In Yamaha marketing, they tout the V process. Their CF grands, which get redesigned regularly at great cost do not use this technology, never did.
Considering the marketing potential of claiming their concert grand uses the same technology as their regular pianos, and their huge marketing budget and their regular highly expensive redesigns and retooling of this piano, the cost of tooling for a V plate in the CF is insignificant and the only reason I can think of is at the very highest of levels of performance, the V process has to be lacking. They spend a fortune retooling this piano every few years, they give many away for free at high visibility venues. They could easily make a V plate on this piano but don't. The cost argument falls very flat and is not believable to me.
You're missing the salient facts here, Steve. The V-pro method is employed when they have a high volume run of plates to cast. It is expensive to set up a run, but once you do, you can pump out a large volume at a time, with the cost spread across these units. The CF is a low production piano line. They don't use the V-pro method because they don't pump out a thousand of these plates at a time, so they can't amortise costs over many units. You're looking for hidden reasons, but it's already a known fact that this is how it works. Yamaha makes very high quality grand pianos - they are one of the few piano manufacturers with enough sales volume to actually make the V-pro method work for them. Other smaller makers aren't doing it because it doesn't work for their production volume. Yamahas aren't beset with terrible resonances. So I'd say the idea that the vacuum method is inferior is a non-starter. It's an industrial/production calculation. I have no doubt that if they suddenly had cause to make 10,000 CFX grands, they be setting up a V-pro run immediately.

The CX line can use V-pro because they are made in high volume. The SX line can as well because they are almost exactly the same design with different woods and hammers. The CF pianos are a different design requiring a different plate.

Shigeru Kawai also use V casting for the same reason.

Steve has rubbished Yamaha pianos on account of the V casting before. He also told us a story about how they used cheap synthetic material in the hammers instead of wool, which I think turned out not to be true. He has an axe to grind against Yamaha.

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The low cost Chinese made Hailun pianos use wet sand casting, so it's not restricted to high end pianos.

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Originally Posted by Jojovan
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The wet sand casting creates a more bell like tone with rounded edges (think Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Bosendorfer, etc) while v-pro plates tend to sound more bright and crisp (think Yamaha, Kawai, etc).10 Mar 2020


source: internet

Well that narrows the source down to a known reliable source.


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Originally Posted by Sonepica
The low cost Chinese made Hailun pianos use wet sand casting, so it's not restricted to high end pianos.
Good point !!


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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow
My understanding is the V-process makes for more uniform castings which reduces the amount of custom fitting to build a piano around it.
That's what I've read, i.e. that wet sand plates are less consistent in size/dimension so that more of the wooden case must be custom made, whereas V-process plates are more consistent in size so that more of the manufacture of the wooden case can be automated.


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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by Jojovan
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The wet sand casting creates a more bell like tone with rounded edges (think Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Bosendorfer, etc) while v-pro plates tend to sound more bright and crisp (think Yamaha, Kawai, etc).10 Mar 2020


source: internet

Well that narrows the source down to a known reliable source.

I would think that if the plate did have an effect on the sound, it would only be certain parts of the keyboard. Perhaps those notes with frequencies close to the resonating frequency of the plate. I doubt the plate could make every note brighter from A0 to C8.

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I think this article from the PIano Buyer should answer all the questions in this debate:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/sales-talk/

The video about the two methods posted in this thread is from a dealer who competes with Yamaha and Kawai and is IMO full of bias and misinformation.

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At the end of the day, you still have a cast iron plate with either method, with good compression strength but brittle and prone to cracking and a PITA to fix.

Anyone heard of making a welded steel plate? Just wondering.

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Originally Posted by TBell
At the end of the day, you still have a cast iron plate with either method, with good compression strength but brittle and prone to cracking and a PITA to fix.

Anyone heard of making a welded steel plate? Just wondering.

Yes - Dave Rubenstein uses a CNC water jet cut welded steel plate: http://www.pianosrubenstein.com/r371.html

Paul.

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Originally Posted by TBell
At the end of the day, you still have a cast iron plate with either method, with good compression strength but brittle and prone to cracking and a PITA to fix.
It is very rare for a plate to crack. Definitely not "prone".

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think this article from the PIano Buyer should answer all the questions in this debate:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/sales-talk/

The video about the two methods posted in this thread is from a dealer who competes with Yamaha and Kawai and is IMO full of bias and misinformation.


Did you check the dealer’s website? He has both Yamaha and Kawai grands for sale. Go back and read Carey’s post after you said this dealer must be biased the first time. Carey has shopped there more than once; I just looked on the store website.


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think this article from the PIano Buyer should answer all the questions in this debate:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/sales-talk/

This article needs updating to include Steinway's No-Bake method.

Originally Posted by Withindale
There is also the No-Bake method.

Steinway say, Thanks to STEINWAY’S advancements and innovations in technology and process, our improved cast-iron plate is one of the reasons why the pianos we build today sound and play better — and last longer — than those built just a decade ago.

STEINWAY & SONS now owns and operates its own foundry solely to produce the elemental, integral cast-iron plate to our exacting specifications.Our foundry forges the bell-quality plate with a new No-Bake Process implemented just five years ago, which permits a single-use high-strength mold that creates more precise and consistent casting.


Does anyone know what are the pros and cons of No-Bake plates, compared with wet sand and vacuum?


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I would guess that the plate probably doesn't make that much difference to the sound. The idea that wet sand cast plates produce a better sound seems to be speculation with no real evidence to substantiate it. And if manufacturers or dealers promote this it's probably just part of their marketing strategy and not necessarily true.

If wet sand cast plates were really so much better, I seriously doubt Yamaha would use them in their SX pianos or Kawai in their Shigeru Kawai pianos. Manufacturers have, after all, a lot to gain by producing a better sounding piano than the competition.

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think this article from the PIano Buyer should answer all the questions in this debate:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/sales-talk/

The video about the two methods posted in this thread is from a dealer who competes with Yamaha and Kawai and is IMO full of bias and misinformation.


Did you check the dealer’s website? He has both Yamaha and Kawai grands for sale. Go back and read Carey’s post after you said this dealer must be biased the first time. Carey has shopped there more than once; I just looked on the store website.
Then I stand corrected about his not selling Yamaha and Kawai. Obviously, I didn't see Carey's post. It's pretty shocking that a dealer would say negative things about pianos he sells, so I think it was perfectly reasonable for me to assume he didn't sell them. If you read the PB article you'll see that much of his information on the video is not correct according to the article.

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Once when I was at a Yamaha dealer he told me that Kawai pianos require $5000 per year in maintenance costs and that they have "inferior" plastic parts. When I was at the Kawai dealer, they were keen to point out that at a recent piano competition, not one of the pianists chose to perform on the Yamaha. Another Yamaha dealer was keen to discourage me from purchasing Hailun by telling me stories about broken hammer shanks in Chinese pianos and only being able to sell it for $3000.

Many piano dealers love to rubbish the competition, so this story about v cast plates having inferior sound could simply have its origin in piano dealers/manufacturers trying to discourage people from purchasing competing Asian pianos.

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There probably is no greater expert on piano manufacturing than Del Fandrich (at least one who comments in public on these topics). Here are some comments taken from the 2012 thread linked below.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-have-bought-a-steinway.html#Post1850871


These support the position that there is no qualitative difference between vacuum casting and wet sand casting, including the comparison of a model that has used both plate types (emphasis added):

Originally Posted by Del
I would say the same thing if I were, for example, a Walter dealer. The Walter grands ”disclaimer: I designed both of them” use sand-cast frames. They are good frames and the two grands are among the best of their size in the world today. Still, they would sound the same if the frames were vacuum-cast. And I would still think they were among the best pianos of their size available today. I would hope to have the courage of conviction to speak the truth in either case.

Look, this argument comes up from time to time. But those claims simply cannot be backed up with either test results or with experiential proof. I've worked with foundries that produce both types of castings under the same roof. I can walk over to a sand-cast frame and rap on it and then walk over to a vacuum-cast frame and rap on it. The decay rate is approximately the same (within the variations that are inherent to two different sizes of frame). I watch them drill and machine the things; they machine no differently.

So, when I read stuff like that I have to weigh it off against what I can actually touch and handle and work with in factories. ...

It simply is not a real-world issue. It is only an issue in the imagination of somebody making up misleading promotional copy in an attempt to make the instruments he/she makes or sells appear somehow better to the unsuspecting customer than their competitor's instrument.

Originally Posted by Del
To quote from the referenced work (The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buying a Piano):
Quote
Controversy rages back and forth between the adherents of the two manufacturing processes, with advantages to each.

Sales personnel selling pianos with wet-sand cast plates may tell you that V-Pro plates produce metallic overtones. Those selling a product with V-Pro plates may tell you that vacuum-cast plates are more precise and consistent. Yet, in a comparison of a particular model of piano that has had both types of plates installed, we have not been able to tell the difference. We have heard brands that use the wet-sand cast method exclusively but some somewhat metallic, but we've also heard instruments with vacuum-cast plates that don't. We recommend listening to the tone of the pianos you are comparing and coming to your own conclusion.

That pretty much sums up my experience with the two types of casting processes.

These support the notion that the choice between the two methods is purely an economic decision, or cost consideration, and also covers why a manufacturer might choose not to use vacuum casting on larger models when then do use it for shorter ones (again, emphasis added):

Originally Posted by Del
Originally Posted by Entheo
Originally Posted by Del
... since the earliest days of V-process castings I've just not found the structural or audible differences claimed by some. Nor have I found that they machine or drill differently.

... the only thing I know of for sure that is true about them is the cost factor; it is far more costly to set up a V-process casting line. Hence it is used only for frames intended to be cast in volume. Once the casting line is build, though, the pattern work itself is less costly. A single-shrink wood or plastic pattern can be used almost indefinitely on a V-process line whereas double-shrink patterns are more common on green sand lines. Green sand is quite abrasive and wood or plastic patterns do not last long without needing serious maintenance.

... it comes down to an economic decision based on expected sales/production. there must be a break point at which it becomes viable to go v-cast, and small volume producers like M&H never get to that point. and if smaller piano manufacturers are outsourcing their plate production the foundries that produce in relatively small numbers per model/brand can do it cost effectively with sand casting and not v-cast.

It does. Finishing a sand-cast plate is a time consuming process. If this is done in an area where workers are paid reasonably well it can be extremely expensive to detail and finish a plate. In an area where workers are paid very little the cost of finishing and detailing a sand-cast plate will, obviously, be much lower and the cost of a nicely finished sand-cast frame can still be competitive with that of the vacuum-processed frame.

These things are not constants. If labor rates go up the cost advantages of the vacuum process become more significant. Still, even large manufacturers have a hard time justifying the expense of tooling up to cast the frames of their large pianos on a vacuum-process line. I don't know of any manufacturer making vacuum-processed frames for their 7' and larger pianos.


This discussion is from 2012, so the 7ft "tipping point" in decision making may have changed (I don't know).


TLDR: Just focus on this quote from the Idiot's Guide to Buying a Piano that Del thought was significant enough to quote:
Quote
We recommend listening to the tone of the pianos you are comparing and coming to your own conclusion.


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If V cast plates really were noticeable inferior, Kawai and Yamaha would have long ago switched to a different process, or found a way to eliminate its shortcomings. They're not going to say, "V cast plates produce an inferior piano, but save us a bit of money! Win!"

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Originally Posted by Sonepica
The CX line can use V-pro because they are made in high volume. The SX line can as well because they are almost exactly the same design with different woods and hammers. The CF pianos are a different design requiring a different plate.

Shigeru Kawai also use V casting for the same reason.

Steve has rubbished Yamaha pianos on account of the V casting before. He also told us a story about how they used cheap synthetic material in the hammers instead of wool, which I think turned out not to be true. He has an axe to grind against Yamaha.

He most certainly does. You know what he's going to type on any given thread before you even read it.

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