Tag Archives: youtube

Stanwood Piano Touch Weight Metrology

Stanwood Piano Touch Weight Metrology

Stanwood Piano Touch Weight Metrology™ [sc_embed_player volume=”50″ preload= “true” autoplay=true loops=”true” fileurl=”http://masterpianotuner.com/audio/_metrology.mp3″]

Watch this video on YouTube.

I was fortunate as a young man to be accepted into the North Bennet Street School (NBSS) Boston MA, Piano Technology Program by Bill Garlick the Piano Technology Program Director (department head) then at North Bennet. As all the good gifts we enjoy in this life I spent the following seemingly brief semesters among many talented young piano technology students at the North Bennet Street School which also included a then young David Stanwood, friend, colleague, and classmate that same year at North Bennet, technology program for piano. Stanwood is now also a long time North Bennet Street School Alumni.

Mr Stanwood, over many years, has placed a great deal of time and effort into his craft career and love for pianos.

This is about Stanwood Inovation Inc, Piano Touch Weight Metrology, a wonderful video presentation.

Mr Stanwood starts out by saying

My name is David Stanwood, President of Stanwood Piano Innovations.

Our shop is on Martha’s Vineyard, in the town of West Tisbury.
I’ve always had a passion for pianos, always loved pianos.

David Stanwood’s passion for pianos lead him to question why even on some of the worlds best instruments the feel of the keyboard was sometimes inconsistent from note to note.
While training to be a piano technician at Boston’s North Bennet Street School Mr. Stanwood asked what could be done to improve pianos who’s actions didn’t feel right.

And the answer was, well-a – that’s not that easy.
So there really wasn’t an answer. That drove me to experiment and discover.

The science of weights and measures is called Metrology.
Mr Stanwood’s quest lead him to develop a fundamental system and methodology for balancing piano action, something he called “the new touch weight Metrology.”

What was missing in pianos, was a metrology which explains the balance of piano actions in a whole way.

Unlike a violinist who can carry his or her whole instrument on tour, the concert pianist must travel from hall to hall, playing on a variety of instruments, often with inconsistent playing action.

The equality of the mechanism of the piano can either act to support the pianist or it can act as a barrier to their art, and my quest has been to discover now what is the mystery in that mechanic of that keyboard what happens between the musical thought and the finger where it touches the key and the sound that comes out.
There’s a lot of stuff that goes on in this mechanism and that really shouldn’t be an issue for the pianist, they should have a thought and should be able to think it and express it in sound.

The piano keyboard is a system of stepped weights. The hammers at the bass end are larger and heavier than the hammers at the treble end. The pianist expects the keys to feel consistent along the length of the keyboard much as we expect each of the steps in a stair case to be of the same depth and height.


Now a Pianist has the task not only to walk up and down the staircase but they have to dance up and down their stair case and do it artistically and do all these fancy things.

The action for each of a pianos 88 keys acts in a series of movements much like a catapult, where the press of a key begins a rapid series of increasingly magnified movements through the key stick, the repetition or whippen, and the shank eventually catapulting the felt tipped hammer into the string. Engineers refer to this set of connected mechanisms as a folded beam.

Now here we have the analogy of the piano action which pivots, the main pivot is on the balance of the key, the finger goes down a little bit and the hammer goes up a lot. We have the same analogy the same pivot point, this goes down a little and that goes up a lot.

Using one gram blocks to illustrate the balance beam analogy Mr Stanwood first weighs the hammer and shank mechanism a measurement called the strike weight.

..and ten grams out on the end, this would be the measurement of the weight of the hammer, and the way we would measure this in the piano would be taking the part off and actually tipping it and there we have ten point two grams(10.2).

The process of weighing each component of each of the 88 key mechanisms continues with the whippen also known as the repetition.
It is followed by the key stick which is weighed by balancing it at it’s pivot point. This measurement is called the front weight.

We’ve measured the strike weight and that’s the weight out here – o k. We’ve measured the whippen radius weight. We’ve measured how far it is by measuring the ratio, playing the ten gram weight and seeing how it translates. We’ve measured the front weight by tipping the key on the scale, that would be this weight, o k. We’ve measured the balance weight by measuring up weight and down weight and averaging it by mid-point, that would be this weight.
We have an equation here that has one two three four five six variables. We’ve measured everything except one and thats how far out and thats the ratio.

Mr Stanwood’s equation of balance is written as

balance weight + front weight = whippin weight x the key ratio + the strike weight x the strike ratio.

For the key mechanism measured here the formula would be

38 grams + 27.1 grams = 18 grams x .5 + 10.2 grams x 5.5

The primary use of the equation of balance is to fine tune and perfect the front weight, the variable that makes the key invisible to the player.
All of the data collected in the weighing of each of the 88 keys is then entered into the computer. The data is then analyzed to determine whether individual components should be made lighter by trimming or made heavier
by having weights strategically placed to achieve balance.

Now we’re gonna look at the Jordan Hall Piano, (at the computer) This is a Hamburg Steinway D
It’s a Jordan Hall, and this is the weight of the strike weight as from the factory (looking at the computer) and you can see that there’s a big bump, it gets very low here,
This is the ratio that we calculated using the equation of balance.
The next major component is the lead weight, that’s what you have to throw when you play the key and that can be measured by measuring the front weight where you tipped the key on the scale, erst the measurement of the front weight.

We added what’s called a whippen support spring so we use a combination of the lead weight and the spring and you can see that the effect is that we can use much less lead. So now we have a keyboard where the inertial weights (the stepped weights) are very uniform from step to step, no surprises.

The ultimate goal in the piano action is to really make the mechanism disappear, and have the hammers in your fingers – I mean that would be the ultimate goal, just not even think about the fact that there’s five thousand parts in between you and your performance.
You can just feel like you are right to it.
Connected to the hammer, that’s what we’re after here.

For more information



Watch this video on YouTube.


Piano Florida State University Piano Technology

Piano Technology at

Florida State Univerity FSU

This is a terrific series about Piano Technology at Florida State University ( F S U ) a comprehensive public University containing it’s own College of Music in Tallahassee Florida U S A.

Anne Garee is the current Program Director, Piano Technology Department Head College of Music Florida State University Tallahassee Florida U S A . http://music.fsu.edu/garee.htm

The following Florida State University Piano Technology thread was started December 2006 to February 2008.

FSU Piano Technology Program Director Anne Garee begins by saying –

This piano was on its side for many years waiting patiently for it’s moment and the moment was fall semester 2006.

Anne felt it was a good candidate and very interesting journey. It had served in the College of Music actually since it was purchased in 1954.

Each project is totally unique and presents its own specific challenges which makes it a very interesting journey.

(Anne continuing)

My mother was a pianist and a professional musician. She was a theory professor at Oberlin Conservatory before she married my physicist father.

My father the physicist, my mother the musician is actually a synthesis of what I do now. It is really the unique combination that we bring to piano technology and was fortunate to have these two forces in my life. they were so supportive in choices we made in career path because obviously you don’t grow up to be a piano technician. Those of us in this field typically come to it by accident and sort of fall into it.

In the field there is a real shortage of training opportunities. Typically people get their information in a very patchwork fashion, um, a bit like here and a bit there and it was always my dream to provide some, a cottified way to accelerate peoples training so that they didn’t have the circuitous route than most of us have taken and because of the comprehensive nature of our music school and the breadth of the program material it was an ideal setting for a program such as this.

Jennifer Roberts

(Jennifer Roberts is a graduate student in the Florida State University FSU College of Music, Piano Technology program) said

I heard about the program when I was studying in Canada. I did my primary training at the University of Western Ontario and we were all looking for options after we left, we either worked in our own business or we worked for somebody else and I heard about this program down here as being really structured and intensive training program.

Amy Porter

(Amy Porter isa Graduate Student at the Florida State university (FSU) College of Music, Piano Technology) continues saying

It’s very much like a job. We are graduate assistants here in the College of Music and so we have (both Jenifer and myself) um, look after about fifty pianos, each year, each semester, we run through our list of instruments, um, some are in practice rooms, some are in faculty studios, halls, um, we have our own assignments that we look after and as well as tuning a harpsicord on a weekly basis.

Jennifer said

One thing that I found particularly challenging on this piano was the fact ,uh, that it had a lot of problems straight from the factory, so when it came to us it had a lot of geometrical flaws, and in that sense it’s been a great piano to learn the restoration process.

(alternating), Amy said

We brought it in the shop and got to play on it. It was terribly out of tune it was very heavy (the touch was very heavy.)


The first thing we noticed was that the action was extremely heavy. It was hard to play. If you think of a teeter-totter you know – the hammers on one end and the keys on the other and, you know, you want a certain relationship between these two in order for it to perform properly, it’s going to be, i f you have to much weight on one side it’s going to be not pleasant to push on the other.

The pin block

The pin block is quite a thick piece of wood at the front of the grand piano and it is what the tuning pins are embedded into. It is the secure anchor.

The strings were rusty and quite decrepit.

The bridge needed some restoration, the soundboard was pretty ugly, the plate needed refinishing.

One thing that we spent a lot of time on was the lettering of the plate. It’s a part that some people just use a marker to paint them we actually decided to use some black lacquer and a paint brush and do it the old fashion way.

Anne finishes up saying-

The ultimate goal is of course that they are confident that they can go anywhere.

The world needs wonderful piano technicians, The piano is a cornerstone instrument. There are not enough people doing it well.


There are a lot of opportunities hat have come other from the contacts I have made through this program. I would like to be able to work in a University to have the access to talented faculty members and to be able to work with students.


The program has really taken me to a different level of technical ability and I’m hoping that will open a few more doors, more opportunities to practice my craft.


As often as I can I like to play and keep my fingers moving and remember why I’m restoring pianos in the first place.







Veritune…a better way…

This is a terrific series presented from Chicago land by Drwoodwind

Part six (six of six) is a video usng the Verituner to tune a piano in the confines of a practice room somewhere in Chicagoland

Drwoodwind starts tuning the treble and says

next time I do one of these (Mason & Hamilton) I want to over pull the treble a little bit more than I did last time

looks like just this first section

Looks like I really missed the overpull up here even more than when I gave it the first pass

thats better…

you have to taper way at the top…

on the first pass

there’s a correlation to jump you know to the next…

looks like I beat an hour…55 minutes or so

(plays chords)

You could always go over it again, some voicing, or check out some of the action problems

buzzing etc

(plays a song)

end of this series

Watch this video on YouTube.


Veritune…a better way…

This is a terrific series presented by Dr Woodwind from Chicago land

Part five (five of six)is a video using the verituner to tune a piano in the confines of a practice room some  where in Chicago land Part five begins tuning the middle section of the piano.

Then Dr Woodwind says

now that we’ve got the middle section

lets go ahead and get the bass strings (begins the bass)

I go ahead and force a ‘recalc’ if I hit something new and I know a lot of people just like to go ahead and do the bass strings.

(some chords at the end of tuning the base)

Then up to the treble

Drwoodwind mutters….

if your still with me

Watch this video on YouTube.
VERITUNE ...A BETTER WAY... Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 6 reviews
5 1