Excerpt from “The Piano Book”
By Larry Fine
Stanwood Touch Designs for the grand piano
Pianists agree that piano actions vary widely in their characteristic feel and in the way they respond.
Of course, regulation of the action and tone of the instrument have a significant effect on what the pianist experiences. But there exist more basic underlying elements in piano action design that no amount of regulation or voicing can change.
This fact is most pronounced in pianos with unusually heavy action that “play like a truck”.
Research and study of piano actions carried out by David C. Stanwood has shed a whole new light on the subject of piano action design and led to the development of Stanwood precision touch design for the grand piano action. (Stanwood Co., RFD 340, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568; (508) 693-1583).
Stanwood’s system has been known to improve even some of the finest pianos, so if your piano plays like a truck, the transformation is likely to be miraculous.
The Stanwood Touch Design System is installed in the piano by modifying the pianos action parts. It is available in a variety of stock or custom touch designs.
Each touch design is a special recipe which specifies for each note the exact proportions of hammer weight, hammer leverage, key balancing weight, and frictional resistance.
Once calibrated to these rigid specifications, the piano takes on the expected characteristic feel, with an extremely consistent response from note to note.
Touch designs are chosen based on tonal projection needs and desired characteristic feel.
The higher hammer weight designs have a firmer feel with
more powerful tonal projection, as required in concert halls.
The lighter hammer weight designs have a lighter feel and give a lower tonal projection appropriate for smaller rooms and studios.
Stanwood says the advantages of his precision touch design include reducing, or in some cases stopping, repetitive stress injury due to inordinate physical stress; increasing the value of the piano; facilitating the purchase and sale of pianos; and generally improving pianistic ability and expression.
Stanwood is currently licensing, and training technicians around the country to install his touch designs, which have received strong endorsements from concert artists and technicians.
– Larry Fine