Broken-in by eighty-eight rubber fingers in the pounding room

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 13, 2015 8:57 PM GMT
    What were you thinking? It's all part of the Steinway piano-making process, of course. A trip to the rim-conditioning room is also a must, it seems.

    The Steinway Way

    Nothing enters the Steinway factory in Astoria, Queens, looking anything like a piano. The wood, for example, is just lumber, before it is shaped into the rim of the instrument. Assembling the pianos takes months, with a lot of waiting between steps so that the wood can be conditioned properly.

    Near the end of the process, each piano is wheeled into the ‘‘pounding room,’’ where 88 rubber fingers play the instrument for hours, breaking in the piano and exposing any problems or weaknesses.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/04/29/magazine/steinway-pianos.html
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 14, 2015 12:22 AM GMT
    When you buy a new Steinway you receive several publications, one a history of the company. The pounding room is mentioned.

    One purpose is to break-in the keyboard action (which is mostly wood), prior to regulating. The other is to bed & shape the woolen felt hammers, prior to voicing.

    When a piano is thoroughly "tuned" it involves not only the strings, which sets the pitch, but also regulating & voicing, which are somewhat interrelated. Regulating ensures each key action is smooth & responsive, the finger pressure differences imperceptible between adjacent keys, and the hammer strike pressure equal across the octaves.

    Voicing primarily involves the felt hammers to control the instrument's tone. Soft felt will create a more mellow, and even muffled tone, while hard felt will make the tone more bright and even harsh. Most disconcerting is when the hammers in a single piano are mismatched, creating an uneven tonal sound.

    As a piano ages and is played regularly, the felts most typical will harden, while the string imprints may deepen too much. Therefore a technician may sand the hammer faces to lessen the imprints, and will penetrate the felt with a multiple needle tool. It's not unlike tenderizing meat. An overly soft felt may be brushed with a special glue to harden it.

    I know all this because I had bought a new Steinway Grand (a larger Model L, not a "baby"), my wife had her own Steinway upright when we married, and I grew up with pianos always in my life. So I witnessed piano tuning a great deal and learned about some of this "art". Since any musician will tell you it's important to know about the workings and methods of caring for your instrument.
  • Antarktis

    Posts: 213

    Sep 14, 2015 12:21 PM GMT
    The Steinway company sounds like bath house. a highly efficient one.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 14, 2015 1:36 PM GMT
    Antarktis saidThe Steinway company sounds like bath house. a highly efficient one.

    And sweet sounds have been known to come from both. icon_wink.gif

    (I can't believe I just wrote that. Shame, Robert! icon_redface.gif )

    Although I will admit, being broken-in by 88 fingers in a pounding room does have some bathhouse overtones.

    (I didn't write that, either)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 15, 2015 12:35 AM GMT
    Have always had music in the house growing up. Our family prefers the Bluthner brand of piano. icon_cool.gif
    I think the Steinways have better name recognition amoungst the nouveau riche masses nowadays unfortunately.
    Don't get me wrong Steinway is a phenomenal instrument. Their craftsmanship is still amazing. But it seems they are mostly used as a decoration piece by many.
    Just last weekend was at a house warming party. There was an exquisite Steinway in the sitting room. I mean gorgeous!
    Nothing but a piece of furniture as far as the owner was concerned.icon_rolleyes.gif