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bevan Offline OP
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Hi All
I have several Bluthner patent pianos to restore including hammer head replacement. Abel's Bluthner Patent hammers are heavier than the originals so I may also need to re-weight the keys, hence if anyone can piint me towards some guidance here that would be much appreciated.
Bevan

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Greetings,
I would advise against weighting keys to compensate for heavier than original hammers in this particular piano. The patent action isn't made to feel like a modern one, and hammers can be had that are closer to the original.
regards,

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I agree with Ed above. Find a way to get hammers that can be shaped to match the originals in weight and felt density.


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Blüthner has not made the patent action in about a hundred years. Nobody knows exactly what the hammers originally weighed, nor what the action originally felt like. What is the point of trying to be "authentic"? Will people pay more for the pianos if the hammers weigh a fraction of a gram more or less? You have to decide how much time and money you want to put into these pianos.


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Four thirds is a fraction. I think someone would notice.

In other words, the setup of the action gives some clues to what was there originally, and needing to add a bunch of weight to the fronts of the keys indicates that the change in hammer weight is not trivial.


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Best bet is to contact Blüthner themselves. Since there are so many patent grands in the UK, the London showroom ends up commissioning many restorations of this action, and Piano Restorations Ltd carry out the work, so you could contact them directly. I know that they take weight off the hammers in these restorations. They aren't going for an "authentic" feel in the way of trying to recreate the 1920s, but they're aiming to get the piano to function so that the action is light and the repetition functions properly.

www.bluthner.co.uk, and I don't know the web address for Piano Restorations Ltd but you can find them easily through Facebook, Instagram, etc.


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That lovely old Bluthner action has some odd set up details. Like zero set off for instance. Great action if you like them light. I have restored several of varying sizes over the years. Most of them had the original hammers on. Abel made a set or two for me from original patterns. There's lots to take care of, for instance the way the hammers are centred.
Lovely old pianos and can be fabulous when done.
Nick


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I only have only one Patent action under my belt, an 1872.
The action was light, nimble, subtle, and positive.
The hammers were very light and soft, hammer #1 weighing just over 7 grams.
Ray Negron pressed me a set of Bacon felt hammers in his spinet cauls.
They fell right into the original weight curve and the Bacon felt softness was ideal.
I think that too heavy of a hammer would really cripple these actions.

Alternatively, someone here has had a set of original Bluthner hammers recovered by Desfougeres.
He expressed clear satisfaction, and I would think that this too would stay within mass limits.


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Originally Posted by N W
That lovely old Bluthner action has some odd set up details. Like zero set off for instance. Great action if you like them light. I have restored several of varying sizes over the years. Most of them had the original hammers on. Abel made a set or two for me from original patterns. There's lots to take care of, for instance the way the hammers are centred.
Lovely old pianos and can be fabulous when done.
Nick

They are EXTREMELY light when done properly aren't they! I rather like that about them. Many pianists and technicians say that these actions don't repeat properly but if the touch weight is kept light then the repetition is no problem at all. I practiced Rachmaninoff 3 on one and the last movement was no problem.

I know a few pianists who are used to the heavier modern actions and they say that when they play a Blüthner patent, their solution is to sit a bit higher and to keep their hands more out of the keyboard, because the repetition point is higher up the key travel.


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Lots of organists seem to like them for the light action.
I love them for the sound too, clarity and delicacy, real musicality.
Nick


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Originally Posted by Craig Hair
Alternatively, someone here has had a set of original Bluthner hammers recovered by Desfougeres.
He expressed clear satisfaction, and I would think that this too would stay within mass limits.

That was me.

Interesting thread, thank you all.

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Originally Posted by N W
Lots of organists seem to like them for the light action.
I love them for the sound too, clarity and delicacy, real musicality.
Nick

Yes you can get an extremely well controlled pianissimo on it probably because there's always that feeling of being in touch with the jack, or at least in touch with it for much longer than on a double escapement action.


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