This month I’m attaching two small pamphlets from Yamaha USA that I found in my files. They are currently out of print, and rather hard to find. I called Yamaha and they sent me the PDF files (attached) with permission to send them to whomever I’d wish. They are both written by LaRoy Edwards and the Yamaha team. LaRoy is one of the greatest piano technicians of our time, and a dear friend and mentor to many of us.
While the concepts in the pamphlets may seem all too general and simplistic, they contain a wealth of information and a few unique concepts you’ll see nowhere else. The Aftertouch pamphlet has graphs that depict how the piano key rises, and at what point the various things happen along the way. It then shows what happens to aftertouch as these aspects of regulation are changed. For instance, what happens to aftertouch when hammer travel (blow distance) is increased, or decreased? Or, if key travel (dip), or letoff is changed? Study them and you may discover things that you haven’t considered about aftertouch. There is a whole video on this, but it is in VHS format so I’m not able to get this to you. It is also out of print, but I’m hoping to get permission to pass it along to you someday.
The Secrets of “Piano Performance”: Preparation is deceptively short, yet contains the essence of how Yamaha trained technicians assess aftertouch and the overall condition of a grand regulation. I have used these methods for many years now. In mere seconds the technician can test the basic touch/regulation of the action by pressing down to the “shelf” and determine how firm it is, or whether there are discrepancies between keys.
Later the “Bounce Test” is described, which is how to evaluate drop. Don’t brush aside this concept! By using this uniquely Yamaha technique you can refine drop in a matter of minutes! This adds an element of evenness to the regulation that fine pianists will appreciate. Add this to your “toolbox of tricks” and it will be one more thing to help you become the favorite technician of discerning pianists. JB