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almo82 Offline OP
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My three Year Old Kawai Grand has lately developed a strange issue: Occasionally, I can hear a sound like cracking wood. I have managed to trace this to the Sustento pedal - I have been struggling lately with several passages where I use the sustenuto heavily, and the effect is only heard (ararely) when those passages are played: Just pressing the sustenuto as a test, even repeatedly and with force does NOT recreate the problem : It only occurs when I'm actually playing the specific passages - perhaps I need to press in a very specific way to recreate this.

I'm concerned that I may be damaging the instrument. I have had my tuner (a Kawai-certified specialist) check this but nothing was found - in particular, no signs of any damage to the woodwork were found.

Ideas or suggestions would be most welcome.


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Are you talking about the middle (sostenuto) pedal or the left (damper) pedal?

There is no reason to press either of these pedals forcefully.


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Originally Posted by almo82
My three Year Old Kawai Grand has lately developed a strange issue: Occasionally, I can hear a sound like cracking wood. I have managed to trace this to the Sustento pedal - I have been struggling lately with several passages where I use the sustenuto heavily, and the effect is only heard (ararely) when those passages are played: Just pressing the sustenuto as a test, even repeatedly and with force does NOT recreate the problem : It only occurs when I'm actually playing the specific passages - perhaps I need to press in a very specific way to recreate this.

I'm concerned that I may be damaging the instrument. I have had my tuner (a Kawai-certified specialist) check this but nothing was found - in particular, no signs of any damage to the woodwork were found.

Ideas or suggestions would be most welcome.

Did you play the specific passages for your tuner? I would continue to narrow it down to the specific notes and foot position on the pedal when you hear or feel the problem. Perhaps slightly changing your pedal use and foot position might be the solution.


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You might also consider posting this in the tuner/tech forum.


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I think the sostenuto pedal is the least used of all the piano pedals so piano technicians aren’t often called out to fix them.


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Thanks for the inputs. @BDB yes - I am thinking of the middle people: You are absolutely right, btw; there is no reason to press forcefully. However, there is a need to do it quickly and accurately, and that tends to generate more force.

I haven't actually tried playing to the tuner - may not be a bad idea actually. However, I've spent an hour playing the problematic passages, and have noted the following:

1. I can only make it happen with the Left leg.
2. It does not seem to be connected to specific notes.
3, The Sustenuto pedal goes a bit "deeper" than the Una corda and damper. The piano may have always been like this - I don't know.
4. I am hitting that pedal very hard in these particular passages : I've noticed I'm using my body weight to "anchor" the piano bench :I'm sure that generates more force., but again, hitting the pedal hard as a test, does not generate the effect.

all this leads me to suspect the support struts - but can see no evidence of any wood damage anywhere. If true, I would also expect that the Damper and UC pedal would have the same effect if hit equally hard.


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Has your tuner tightened the Lyre mount bolts. There is a lot of 'crunchy' stuff in the lyre.


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The most likely causes would be the ends of the pedal rod moving slightly and rubbing (or an intermediate bushing, but not all pianos have one), the pedal moving side to side and rubbing, the lyre or lyre braces loose, or a joint in the lyre not quite tight.

Since the piano is still under warranty, ask the dealer if it could be escalated, but KawaiDon will probably have advice for you.


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If it has a polyester finish any areas where the finish rubs against something else can quickly produce sticking, clicking, squeaking type sounds. Possibly even the uprights on the pedal lyre could be doing it. Wedge a book tightly underneath the pedal lyre and then try playing. If no change then that's not it.

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Are you talking about the Shigeru Kawai which is mentioned in your profile? If so that would be very unusual I am sure.I have never heard of older Kawai grands having sostenuto pedal problems either.I can understand your frustration with this problem and hope for a solution soon.


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Does it happen if you play with your shoes removed?


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Originally Posted by almo82
[...]
4. I am hitting that pedal very hard in these particular passages : I've noticed I'm using my body weight to "anchor" the piano bench :I'm sure that generates more force., but again, hitting the pedal hard as a test, does not generate the effect.

[...]

I don't understand why you feel you have to hit the sostenuto "very hard" when playing repertoire that requires its use. It needs to be used precisely at the right moment, but hitting it hard doesn't seem to be a necessary technique.

Regards,


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Thanks for the inputs everyone.

I plan to have my tuner over again, as I suspect the problem has gotten worse. I will play the specificic passages and we'll see if anything turns up. Afterwards, I may try using the warranty as BDB suggests.

Later today, I will also try putting some bucks under the Pedals (as PWGRAY suggested) - would be interesting to see if that makes a difference. I will report the findings.

EDMcMorrowRPT: yes, when practicing at home, I am usually barefoot - not sure why that would make a difference, though.

BRUCED: you're absolutely right, there's no particular reason to use force on any pedal: but when you are doing it quickly, and switching the Foot between pedals, it sometimes comes off hard without intending to (Unfortunately, I am one of those pianists with only two feet). I suppose I could try to get around this by changing technique ; However, Piano Pedals are designed to be kicked, aren't they?


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Originally Posted by almo82
However, Piano Pedals are designed to be kicked, aren't they?


Just because they are a control operated by the foot doesn't mean they are a football, I think some degree of mechanical sympathy in their operation is expected.

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Update: I've tried PWGRAY'S suggestion of putting books under the pedals: It has improved the situation, but has not eliminated it completely.

That tends to support the struts theory, I would think.


Shigeru Kawai SK2
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Just an update on this story: Putting Books under the lyre - helped a little - which convinced me the problem is lyre motion. So I called in my Tuner, who confirmed it. we managed to identify tha the problem occurs only if the pedal is hit a certain way. We also managed to recreate the problem with the other pedals.

So this issue is now awaiting confirmation from Kawai, that it will be resolved under warranty. Will keep you posted.

Thanks for your inputs everyone.


Shigeru Kawai SK2
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PianoWorld Member/Lurker since 1999

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