Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Kawait a Nice Piano

Double whammy yesterday. Went back to tighten up the gorgeous Yamaha grand, then dropped by the neighbour's house to tune their Kawai. 

You might remember a while back, we abducted a piano action from a (we think) 1969 Kawai upright. It had some broken bridle straps and a broken hammer.

We had to wait a month for the straps to arrive, but Désiré replaced about five of them and carved a new hammer butt for the broken one.

Spot the New Ones?

It was our first ever repair job, which we did for free just to see whether we could. 

Marion broke into a cold sweat over replacing the action. In every upright we've seen so far, the pedals are connected with wooden poles. The Kawai had exactly the same pedals: 

  1. Sustain: which lifts the dampers, so the sound continues after you release the key.
  2. Muffler: Which lowers a strip of felt to soften the sound.
  3. Half-blow: which raises the hammers closer to the strings to make it a little quieter.

The only thing is, unlike any other piano we've seen, the pedals are attached with lengths of black rubber hose. 

Some sort of cat's cradle with liquorish.

The sustain and muffler went in easily, but the half-blow was nowhere near as obvious. Somebody else had taken it out, so putting it back was trial and error. There was a length of wire with two screws attached, but the screws didn't appear to screw onto anything. Turned out, they were just to prevent the wire slipping through the catch.

Bit of a palaver, but got there in the end.

There's certainly never a dull day with pianos. In the very short time we've been doing this, we've seen so many types of piano from all over the world: Dutch, American, Canadian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, French and Russian. 

Really hope to add Rwandan to that soon, but we're having huge problems sourcing steel strings. One of the largest steel suppliers in Kenya told us it would be impossible to find in East Africa. We've tried a French supplier, who hasn't responded, and a Canadian supplier, who doesn't export. The search goes on...

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