Grand ActionRecently i had the privilege of working on a brand new piano which will remain nameless.  The instrument was adequate but one problem kept cropping up – and that is that the necessary friction was all over the map.  When you play a piano, in the 6000 moving parts, friction accounts for about 15 grams of touch on the instrument on average.  You might think that absence of all friction would be ideal but that is not true.  Some resistance is required.  So what happens if the friction is excessive or absent?  You get a poor playing piano with a VERY inconsistent touch.  On this particular piano, the joint at what is called the flange was completely out of line.  In addition, key bushings were WAY too sloppy.  How does that happen when a piano is brand new?  Simple.  Use green lumber during the manufacturing process.  Wood that has not been dried properly is known as “green”.  If the wood contains too much humidity and has not been thoroughly dried naturally or in a kiln, the wood eventually will dry out and also warp.  In this case, the once fitting joints obviously were not made with properly cured wood.  It is difficult from the consumer’s point of view to determine this.  Reputable companies cure their wood for up to 2 years before manufacturing.  Companies of ill repute simply mill the wood and insert into the piano.  What ensues is a whole raft of issues to deal with later.  My advice? Be REALLY discerning on a new piano with regards to touch.  If it feels ‘sloppy’ or wiggly or tight, there’s a good chance it has substandard parts – ones that are not correctly fitting.  And word to the wise: if the wood isn’t right, there’s a good chance the felt is poor, the design is poor and other materials are also cheaply made.  Buyer beware: you DO get what you pay for.

PS… the picture is one of a grand action.  The red circles are joints – a steel pin surrounded by cloth inserted into wood.