Archive for the ‘News’ Category

An Interview With Bruce Stevens

Posted on: February 19th, 2016 by admin No Comments

Introduction

My name is Bruce Stevens. I’m from Southern California and I live in the city of Bellflower which is close to Long Beach, California. I’m a piano technician of almost 37 years and have a business that provides in-home service as well as running a shop where I do full restoration of fine pianos. I am the technician for Concordia University in Irvine, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and have assisted the piano technicians at UC Irvine, UCLA, Cal State Long Beach, and Claremont Colleges—basically I will go wherever I’m called by other technicians to help for various reasons, but primarily I do in-home service and major restoration in my shop.

Bruce-Stevens

What is your experience with WNG parts?

When I first heard about WNG, my curiosity was certainly aroused because of what was being said regarding the quality and value of these parts, and because I’m always interested in something that is new and better than what I may be currently using. I was invited to attend the information seminar in Sacramento and decided it would be worth my time to attend. I spent five days learning all about the wide variety of parts available for a technician and the new WNG tools and jigs. When I saw the wonderful tool array and the parts that are available from WNG, I thought, “It’s a no-brainer! With these—the highest quality, most versatile parts on the market today, and the special tools and jigs to make the needed measurements, how could I not commit to taking the plunge in becoming skilled in using the parts and making the investment in the tools available?” I bought the tools right on the spot, ordered parts, and was soon involved in my shop with some hands-on experience. I was counting up the other day how many new sets of parts I’ve used and it’s certainly well over 15 sets of complete action parts and about 15 back action installations. What impresses me today—after all the installations I have made—is the consistency and quality of the product. Oh, one other thing…the capstan that WNG offers…I have probably installed 40 sets since I was first introduced to them. When dealing with touch weight issues, installing these capstans has been one of the best things I have done to deal with part of the problem, and they are so simple to install with the nifty tool WNG has.

What have the universities that you’ve worked at thought about WNG parts?

I don’t think the universities I have worked for knew about the WNG parts. The first action that I did was for UC Irvine and the staff there loved the piano immediately; there was no doubt about it. I had another job with my son at another college in California and they agreed to use the parts. Upon completion of that project, the faculty was amazed and thrilled with the results. Early on, I didn’t have my own experiences to inform the clients of the reasons to use WNG parts, and it was so helpful to have all the valuable information available on the WNG website. It was great being able to direct people to read the reviews from other technicians from other colleges and universities.

Do you have to “convince” or “sell” the parts to your personal customers?

Well, this business of directing the customer in which parts to use can be a touchy subject, but I believe it’s my responsibility to present the best possible parts options to the customer, and if they choose to use an alternate part other than WNG, that’s their business. I’m there to support the customer’s wishes, but I have found that a careful informative and comparative presentation can open their eyes to something new and exciting. I think one of the easiest things to present is the fact that these parts don’t change under variations of humidity. The bushings don’t change—they are stable—and that causes individuals to wake up and go, “Oh, well that makes sense!” Explaining the demonstration that I saw in Sacramento with the sample WNG part put alongside the wooden cloth-bushed ones after going through millions of test blows, and the end result is that he WNG part holds up, is really great. Sure, there’s some wear but it holds up! I know this demonstration test is an extreme case—it’s not a real-life situation, but it proves a point—it proves how stable the material is, and that’s one of the reasons that caused me to have so much confidence in the parts. I could see it, I could hear it explained to me, I could look at the actual parts, and I made my decision. Having this information on the WNG web site is so valuable to be able to refer the customers to.

What I’ve experienced in using these parts for my clients is they all talk about how smooth everything is. It’s so consistent! It’s so even! It’s a smoothness that is unique. Please understand that I am fully aware and experienced in the many other things that go into the equation of what it takes to create a touch and tone that the pianist loves. I think it’s not only the smoothness, but it is the connection that the pianist feels when they play the piano that makes them love the action and touch. One of my regular clients, after I had installed these parts on his Steinway B, had an artist from New York play at soiree at his home and he told me, “Everyone just raved about this piano!” (I told him) “I know what it is, it’s the action—it’s what this material does, it’s magic!”

Now that I have done so many WNG actions, it makes it easier to “convince” or “sell” WNG by referring new customers to play one of my completed pianos. My goal is to always have a piano at my home outfitted with WNG materials and parts where a client can come experience the feel of the action.

What was your impression of the WNG class?

It was SO worthwhile! Bruce and Mark I believe were the instructors–they did an amazing job. I spent almost five full days there and felt like they covered the information in an excellent and complete way. There were several things presented in the weeklong seminar that convinced me of the need to use these parts—one of the most amazing things to me was the ease of burning in a shank. I couldn’t believe it the first time I saw it demonstrated by Bruce Clark—I was so impressed! Gluing a hammer to the composite shank was a big question in my mind, but that was answered and demonstrated how easy and effective it is. Other selling points for me were the rigidity of the shanks, the hard bushings, and the versatility and installation of the whippen heels and knuckles for custom installations. I would recommend anyone to go to those classes. To any technicians I would say, spend the time, invest the time because once you do that, you’ll have the confidence to get right into using those parts.

Did you come out of the class confident that you could install WNG parts?

Yes I did. You know the first job—it can be slow and maybe a bit tough because now you’re going to put what you heard in class into practice, but then you see that what you were told in class actually does work, and so if there’s any intimidation or hesitation it’s gone. One thing that encouraged me right after the class and that’s been helpful for me in the shop ever since is to have a printout of the step-by-step instructions for all the procedures listed on the web site. Since those instructions are in a pdf format, it was easy to print out the many pages. What’s so great about these instructions is that there are also pictures of the process as well, and having these instructions in a binder has made it so easy to refer to every time I set up to build a new damper action or install new back checks. I have also written in some of my own thoughts and instructions, and that’s made some of the process easier.

What do you think about our composite shanks?

The rigidity of that shank is amazing. The transfer of energy is felt by the pianist and when they say, “Oh it just feels amazing” it has to be the shank that’s causing this impression. I also feel that there is a certain clarity of tone that I am getting from my restorations because of this composite shank.

What do you think about the tools WNG offers?

All the tools available, especially for the damper action installation (WNG Damper Installation Kit) are amazing. They are worth every dollar I spent! Every time I use them to set up a new back action I am very appreciative of their quality and ease of use. I also can’t leave out the tools and jigs for installing the WNG backchecks—they’re fantastic! Oh yes, the regulation and pinning tools…I love the way they feel! I would have to say that the attention to detail is what’s so impressive. Their design is well thought-out and as Bruce explained in the class—especially in some of the regulation tools, it’s a feel—he designed these tools because they felt a certain way. And as I use these tools, especially the tool for adjusting the capstan in the damper system, it feels good—the tools just feel great! From your tools to jigs, they all work well as described and I’m very impressed.

What are your thoughts on WNG as a company?

I have high regard and praise for the individuals that are leading and driving this forward-looking and forward-thinking company because change and innovation is hard in any business and industry. But I believe they are going to succeed because this company is offering something to our industry that is really great, it’s not just in words, but it’s also in a product that is now proven to be something special and unique. There’s always competition, but without competitors in the business, we wouldn’t have new products like WNG is supplying. I believe in the future for new actions—thank you WNG!

Thanks again to Bruce Stevens for the interview!

An Interview with Mike Reese

Posted on: December 21st, 2015 by admin No Comments

Introduction

My name is Mike Reese and I work in Birmingham, Alabama. I operate a restoration shop and have been in the piano rebuild / repair / tuning business for 43 years.

When did you start installing Wessell, Nickel & Gross parts?

The last 4 years—it’s been pretty intense—we’ve got a contract with a school in Jackson, Mississippi (Hinds Community College). They called me and said we have eight Steinway pianos we want to restore, and I said ok you got my attention. During my interview for them I saw what the pianos needed, and when I was asked if I was going to use genuine Steinway parts I said, “No, you’ll have to hire someone else for that—I know better!” So I took the first one back to them after I finished the restore and you know, with great skepticism, they sat down to the bench and she said, “Oh this plays

Michael-Reese

just like a Steinway!” and I said, “Well I was hoping for better than that, but I guess I’ll take it.” I’m working on the seventh one for them now and there’s four more to go, and they have been just overjoyed with the results.

What do you think of the materials that Wessell, Nickel & Gross uses?

Oh I love them, just recently I did a Baldwin SD10 for a gentlemen and he actually requested your parts. We did a whole new top stack for it, which was an experience. I bought it unassembled and put it all together myself. I tried to talk him into doing the back action but he thought, “No that’s good enough”, and sure enough, eight weeks after we put the main action in he calls me and says, “You’re right”.

What have the benefits of using WNG composite parts been for you?

Well the biggest advantage to me is I have so many options! I move capstans fairly routinely and being able to choose from various heel lengths and locations—that’s wonderful to me. We do quite a bit of geometry mods, and we automatically replace key pins and capstans with WNG ones.

Does using WNG parts save you time?

Probably after the fact they do, because they stay regulated remarkably well. As far as installing the parts, it takes me about the same amount of time, but I have so much more confidence in the fact that what I put in the piano is going to stay like I put it—the pinning, I don’t have to worry about the pinning.

What do you think about the WNG repetition?

They are beautifully engineered! That’s the magic—that’s what I preached at a recent seminar. Recently I had an experience with a dyed-in-the-wool Steinway artist. He unknowingly sat down to a B that I completely restored using WNG parts. It was obvious he was impressed, but I didn’t expect him to exclaim, “That’s the best B that I have ever played!” I removed the action from the cavity to reveal the secret. He was stunned, but it didn’t stop him from purchasing the instrument. I no longer “try to sell” these parts; I simply install them and explain the extraordinary results afterwards. Those people who harbor contempt prior to investigation are absolutely robbing themselves of a fantastic action.

What do you think about the carbon fiber shanks?

I love ‘em—I haven’t broken one, I can tell you that! Actually, I have an associate that works with me and he has a really bad reach in his hands over [keys] 87 and 88 when he slides an action out. He was pulling one out and he broke the hammer but the shank didn’t break and I thought, “Dear God, that’s strong!”

What problems would you say WNG has solved for you?

Maintenance. These pianos that I’m building for a college in Mississippi—I’d be scared to death putting in standard parts and putting the pianos over there because they have a horrible humidity situation in that building. It’s fun to put a product out there and drive away with a check in your hand and not worry about getting a phone call about something that’s not right.

How would you say WNG parts improved a piano that you’ve worked on?

The control factor is just out the roof. You know, the two words I hear almost all the time when someone sits down is, “Wow, is this responsive!” And then when they start to take it for a test drive, so to speak, and start seeing how softly they can play and how easy they can just kind of paint in a low bass note—you know, barely making it whisper—they’re stunned and say, “Man, there’s just so much control.”

Have you used any WNG tools and if so, which is your favorite?

Yes, the level stick is a thing of beauty. I use that routinely—I love it—lightweight, easy to monogram and put your name on it. I have all of the jigs for locating various things. The back action jigs are marvelous, I mean I love that you can use the guide rail and figure it out—all that’s a great set up.

Thanks again to Michael Reese for the interview!

Douglas Laing and His 1910 Henry Miller Complete with Stickers!

Posted on: December 18th, 2015 by admin No Comments
01 Douglas Laing

Douglas Laing of Magnum Opus Piano Works, Safety Harbor, Florida completed his Bachelors degree in Music History and Musicology at the University of Michigan in 1986 and has had extensive training in Piano Technology. He rebuilt a 1910 Henry Miller upright and of course it had to have stickers. See how he overcame the obstacles.

02-Ferdinand-Pointer

Ferdinand Pointer of The Piano Company, Clearwater, Florida. Ferd has been a piano technician since 1972 and an RPT since 1975.Ferdinand is always the “teacher” and assisted Douglas with this upright.


 

 

03 Old hammers and dampers

This 1910 Henry Miller in original condition, presented rebuilding challenges. [Old hammers and dampers]

04 Dirty key frame

One challenge was cleaning over a century of dirt and grime. [Dirty key frame]

05 Key frame removed

With the key frame removed all the fun begins… [Key frame removed]

06 Using and placing the WNG Vertical Tools

WNG offers upright rental tools which helps installing the new action so much easier. [Using and placing the WNG Vertical Tools]

07 Aligning the action

[Aligning action]

08 Jigs removed and support blocks in place

[Jigs removed and support blocks in place]

09 Getting ready to install dampers

[Getting ready to install dampers]

WNG Vertical Installtion Tools Rental Includes:

  1. V-bar, 72-88 strike gauge
  2. Hammer 5 degree rake angle gauge
  3. Set of 5 hammer tilt gauges
  4. Dowel capstan inserter
  5. Dowel capstan wire bender
  6. Hammer Jig – Bass
  7. Hammer Jig – Treble
  8. Bass damper dowel locator
  9. Treble damper dowel locator
  10. Sustain rod block
  11. Rail support block – bass
  12. Rail support block – treble
  13. Action Locating jig – (2 each)
  14. Shanking jig
  15. Shank trimming jig

10 Bending damper wires and cutting

The action bolt on this piano had to be raised about 1.25″ and Douglas drilled through the place. [Bending damper wires and cutting]

11 Bass dampers in place

Note the severe angle of the dampers. [Bass dampers in place]

12 All dampers installed

[All dampers installed]

13 Flattening back of key sticks

Prepping the keys for the added extension blocks. [Flattening back of key sticks]

14 Blocks glued and installed to raise dowel capstan

Conversion of old sticker action to dowel capstan action. [Blocks glued and installed to raise dowel capstan]

15 Hanging hammers

Hammers are WNG Premium Select Gross 4 and are special-made for vertical pianos. [Hanging hammers]

16 Ready to regulate

Douglas’ customer is very happy with her cherished 1910 Henry Miller Piano! [Ready to regulate]

Many thanks to Douglas and Ferdinand for sharing this experience with us!

Meet Marvin Rus, Chief Concert Technician for Eastman School of Music

Posted on: November 12th, 2015 by admin No Comments

Marvin began his career in 1983 at Michigan State University and studied with noted technicia, Owen Jorgenson. Later, from 1987-1992, he became the “Coordinator of Keyboard Technology” at Wichita State University. Marvin has worked for Eastman School of Music since 1993 and has been rebuilding the schools’ old and worn-out pianos with Wessell, Nickel and Gross composite parts.

Featured is Marvin’s personal Mason & Hamlin Model A. James Reeder Pianos refinished and did the belly work on the piano. Marvin installed a WNG back action and top action stack on a WNG keyboard. To date, with the help of Jim Reeder, Marvin has completely restored over a dozen pianos, a couple dozen with individual components, and about 10 personal rebuilds.

marvinRus_1


 

 

marvinRus_2

WNG Keyboard and WNG assembled top action.

marvinRus_3

WNG assembled damper action.

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Rascal wanted to pose as well with Marvin’s beautifully completed rebuild that will be cherished for many, many years!

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With the WNG composite action many problems associated with wood actions just disappear, such as:

  • Centerpin resistance that will not change with humidity
  • Composite shanks that have consistent strength and do not warp
  • Screws that will not loosen as in wood parts
  • Hard anodized capstans and key pins that minimize friction

Also, WNG has excellent features such as:

  • Adjustable damper helper springs to increase dampening for large pianos
  • Adjustable damper lever capstans
  • Spoons on damper underlevers for ease of adjustment
  • Choice of leading options for damper underlevers

And

  • Customize Repetitions, Shanks and Flanges
  • Adjustable repetition helper spring options
  • Repetitions with fourteen heel placement locations
  • Three different jack types
  • Knuckles can be attached or unattached
  • The WNG precision system locates the knuckle from 15 mm to 19mm in .5mm increments

9.01.15 – The Big Bad Chickering by Randy Mangus

Posted on: August 18th, 2015 by admin No Comments

This Chickering was the biggest challenge since the parts are not mounted at 90 degrees to the rails and the action brackets were wood and the flanges were metal. Restoring this obsolete action would not have been possible without a WN&G complete top and back action. It only had bass sustain for the middle pedal before, but now has full sostenuto.


 

 

Service Spotlight

The hammer boring to my very unorthodox specs for this action was perfect. The manufacturers sample parts kit made it easy to work out all the dimensions for setting up the action even before parts were ordered. Down-weight came out at 46-48 grams, up-weight at 24-25 grams with some key re-leading and action ratio at 5.5/1.

Randy Mangus


Rebuild Pictures

The Wessell, Nickel &amp Gross Manufactures Kit allows the technician to test out the geometry of any action. The kit is $225.00 and refundable upon purchase of an assembled or unassembled top or back action.

Part # 06-5325

Part # 06-5325

Mock up with WNG mfg kit

Mock up with WNG mfg kit

02
Finding the magic line

Finding the magic line

Original with underlevers too

Original with underlevers too

05
Top flanges were for threaded damper wires

Top flanges were for threaded damper wires

Marking new underlever rail

Marking new underlever rail

Center punching rail

Center punching rail

New back action

New back action

Keys need extensions

Keys need extensions

Locating hammer center pin elevation and position

Locating hammer center pin elevation and position

1st part on new action

1st part on new action

13

Drilling new hole in long Renner type flange

Drilling new hole in long Renner type flange

Cutting off whippen back extensions

Cutting off whippen back extensions

Shanks and whippens installed

Shanks and whippens installed

A big thanks to Randy Mangus for taking on this project and for letting us tell his story! If you have a WNG rebuild project that you’d like to share with us and have featured here, please email Nina Butler at nina@wessellnickelandgross.com!

10.21.2014 – About Us Page is Live!

Posted on: October 21st, 2014 by admin No Comments

After many delays, the About Us page is now live! Check out Wessell, Nickel & Gross’ history by visiting our new About Us page!

11.11.2013 – WNG Grand Piano Installation Class

Posted on: November 11th, 2013 by admin No Comments

Last week, Wessell, Nickel & Gross had another extremely successful grand piano installation class. The hands-on course was taught by Bruce Clark and Mike Collins, who showed its 9 attendees the fundamentals of how to install and perform maintenance on WNG’s revolutionary composite piano actions. For more information on future WNG classes and how to participate in them, please contact Nina Butler at nina@wessellnickelandgross.com

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03.21.2013 – From Russia with WNG

Posted on: March 21st, 2013 by admin No Comments

From Russia with WNG

 

On January 9-11th, Wessell, Nicel & Gross, together with the Association of Russian Piano Masters, hosted its second-ever training session at the Central Musical School of Moscow.

The event was an overwhelming success with WNG’s Chief European Technician, Ludvig Vasicek, leading the class and 60+ technicians from every corner Russia in attendance.

As is typical of every Wessell, Nickel & Gross training session, core aspects of WNG’s actions such as reduction of torque, improved energy transmission via carbon tube shanks, and composite material’s extremely low maintenance were easily demonstrated and appreciated.

The training seminar culminated in a concert finale, played on a piano that had just been outfitted with a new WNG action by the class. The piano performed exceptionally well, and everyone in attendance who had an opportunity to try the newly outfitted piano noted the smooth touch, excellent control, and extremely wide spectrum of sound that it was now capable of.

Though there are no further classes scheduled to take place in Russia for the rest of the year, additional classes in Finland, Germany, Belgium, and the UK are planned for 2013. If you are interested in participating, please contact Ludwig Vasicek at lgvasicek@pianodisc.de for more information.

 

10.3.2012 – WNG Meets Increasing Global Demand

Posted on: October 3rd, 2012 by WNG No Comments

Release date: September 25, 2012

WESSELL, NICKEL & GROSS PRECISION PIANO PARTS MEET INCREASING GLOBAL DEMAND
–New marketing agreements create worldwide distribution network–

SACRAMENTO, CA — Following its immensely successful participation as a feature presenter in the prestigious “by invitation only” workshop hosted by the Russian Piano Masters Association at the 2012 NAMM Musikmesse tradeshow in Moscow this past May, Wessel, Nickel & Gross (WNG) has announced the signing of new distribution agreements with three major, globally-established, European piano parts suppliers. Jahn Piano Parts in Grub am Forst, Germany; Taffijn Piano Supply in Belgium; and FTP Forniture Tecniche Pianoforti in Arcugnano, Italy all have entered into distribution agreements to join WNG’s burgeoning worldwide distribution market and will offer the revolutionary products in their shops and website stores. “In an economy where many businesses are shrinking and experiencing reduced demand, WNG is proud and honored to be expanding to meet unprecedented increases for our piano action products,” stated WNG Executive Vice President, Tom Lagomarsino. “The response of the market is incredible, and we are extremely thankful to be able to offer our products to more customers, more effectively, and more efficiently through our expanding global network.”

WNG’s unique piano action parts are made with carbon fibers and advanced composites that are ten times stronger than wood, are unaffected by humidity and dry climate conditions, and do not tarnish or oxidize. In addition, the piano actions built with these parts are becoming recognized as far more responsive than other piano actions due to the lightness and precision of the parts and their lack of tarnish. “With these characteristics, it’s no wonder that WNG piano action parts are revolutionizing the piano manufacturing, restoration, and repair markets,” states Ludwig Vasicek, Technical Director of Wessell, Nickel and Gross and also Mason & Hamlin pianos in Europe. “Our seminar at NAMM Musikmesse was filled to capacity and all in attendance were truly excited to receive hands-on information on the use of our products,” Vasicek continued. The all-day seminar workshops hosted by the Russian Piano Masters Association were attended by over 100 inquisitive piano technicians as they received an introduction to WNG, Mason & Hamlin pianos, and PianoDisc player piano products. The workshops covered in detail the service and maintenance, installation, and WNG product characteristics and benefits; and they ended with honors for the certificated technicians.

WNG, Mason & Hamlin, and PianoDisc plan to once again share their expertise at the 2013 NAMM Musikmesse in Germany and Moscow and 2013 NAMM in Anaheim, California. Convention and workshop details will be forthcoming within the next month.

_____________________
Wessell, Nickel & Gross (WNG) was founded in 1874 by Otto Wessell, Adam Nickel, and Rudolph Gross, each an accomplished piano action maker. The three met while they were under the employment of Steinway & Sons and quickly became friends. Wessell, ever ambitious, urged Nickel and Gross to leave Steinway and start their own piano action business. The two agreed, and Wessell, Nickel & Gross was formed. Today, under the leadership of the Burgett Brothers, WNG has brought back the ideals, innovation, and standards of craftsmanship that the original founders once had, and is poised and ready to bring the company back to its original status as the best piano action maker in the world. See www.wessellnickelandgross.com.

Established in 1854, Mason & Hamlin is one of America’s oldest names in piano making and a pioneer in piano design and manufacturing technology. Mason & Hamlin builds its high-end, handmade pianos in its factory in the USA (Haverhill, MA) and its line of vertical and grand pianos is sold in countries across the globe. Its sister company, PianoDisc, manufactures the world’s best selling piano player system and other retrofit systems. Established in 1988, PianoDisc has over 600 dealers and distributors in 40 countries. PianoDisc is headquartered in Sacramento, CA, and has offices in Germany and China. See www.masonhamlin.com and www.pianodisc.com.

 

 

8.10.2012 – Material World from International Piano July / August 2012

Posted on: August 10th, 2012 by WNG No Comments

MATERIAL WORLD

Story taken from International Piano July / August 2012

Integral piano parts continue to be crafted out of wood but could there be a 21st-century alternative? Tom Lagomarsino, executive vice president of Wessell, Nickel & Gross, suggests that the answer lies in carbon fibre and nylon glass

For more than three hundred years, piano makers, dedicated to providing the very finest musical instruments to the great composers, artists and piano-playing enthusiasts of the world, have taken a great deal of pride in their craft and products. Although the piano witnessed many changes and improvements in the 19th century – increased pitch range, steel strings, felt hammers, a more stable design with cast iron plates and improved bearing and tension of the stringing scale – such refinements were considered by some as vexing and a compromise of Cristofori’s delicate masterpiece of 1700. While steeped in tradition and fine design, many manufacturers have been reluctant to embrace advances in the resources and technology available to improve both the instrument and the performance experience for players and listeners.

Twentieth-century innovations brought us the first man on the moon, the split atom and colossal advances in technology, medicine and science, but there was a profound lack of progress in piano design. And as these same designs – considered cutting-edge 150 years ago – are carried over into the early part of the new century, some might see an industry seemingly content with yesteryear’s creations.

Today few companies report much in the way of plausible research and development expenses to improve design or protect intellectual property, and thus little has changed in the material and functional design of today’s grand piano in comparison to Cristofori’s. Most of today’s piano actions are comprised of wood, the same material that’s been used for 300 years. Although wood action quality has been enhanced by advances in manufacturing processes, quality of selection and so on, wood is still wood and it has not changed a great deal over the centuries. For optimum performance, a piano action must be extremely consistent, balanced, durable and precise as well as resistant to corrosion. Wood is subject to atmospheric changes and conditions; it reacts negatively to arid and high altitude dryness, as well as to moisture, humidity and rainy environments. One could hardly say that wood action vulnerabilities are optimum or congruous on the concert stage, in an institution or at home. Wood action parts can lack a consistency of grain, strength and weight of balance. Simply put, no two trees are alike – nor are any two hammer shanks or repetition parts in a piano action.

But this is changing. THE STATUS QUO and great piano makers of our time are now being confronted with startling innovations and applications of synthetic material and design elements that promise to thrust piano technology and performance to a level unparalleled, unmatched and unseen in 300 years of piano-making.

The Wessell, Nickel & Gross company (WNG ) high performance piano action is a non-wood action consisting of parts made from composite materials, specifically carbon fibre and nylon glass. WNG combines a base resin of nylon glass and long carbon fibres to create a composite that is both strong and rigid. Nylon has been in wide use for over 50 years. Long fibre is durable to the extreme. In the benign environment of the piano action with limited – if any – exposure to the sun, material scientists expect a minimum life expectancy of 100 years; indeed, it could be much longer.

Composite parts are stronger and more durable than wood parts, with the same weight but yet a more responsive action feel. WNG carbon fibre hammer shanks are more rigid, therefore they deliver more power for the pianist, a longer sustain and an increased repetition speed. Environmental considerations aside, composite actions are also impervious to changes in climatic conditions, humidity-related swelling or shrinking and loss of consistency in performance, and are much more durable and rigid than wood with over 10 times the strength. The low maintenance and durability of these parts are a piano technician’s dream. Additional benefits include lower liabilities and longer instrument life – this is especially useful for schools and institutions where decreasing operational budgets restrict the affordability of maintaining optimally performing instruments. Forward-thinking companies like Kawai of Japan have used composite action parts much to their advantage and to the benefit of many educational institutions. WNG offers compatible turn-key piano actions and parts to piano manufacturers and piano rebuilders for every make, model and brand, for both today’s pianos and for pianos over a century old. Additionally, the Boston-based Mason & Hamlin, a sister company sharing the same ownership as WNG , has demonstrated its courage of conviction by exclusively offering WNG composite actions in all of its grand piano models.

For more information about WNG high-performance piano action parts, please visit www.wessellnickelandgross.com