So, can you make your piano keys lighter? Can you make your piano keys heavier? How much touch weight should your piano have to make it feel light? How much touch weight should your piano have to make it feel heavy? What are some of the methods to make your piano keys lighter or heavier? Are you not comfortable with the action that your piano keys are giving you? Then you are now at the right place at the right time, as we are going to find ways to make it easier for you to use your piano.
Before we are going to discuss some ways to make your piano keys lighter or heavier, we should first discuss what touchweight is. Touchweight is an important term when it comes to piano keys. Touchweight is the amount of pressure that is needed to depress a piano key. So, if you are a beginner who practices a lot in playing it, being familiar with the term would help you much in your future endeavors.
When you play the piano, and you feel that the keys are maybe too light or too heavy for you, your growth and improvement as a piano player will also be affected by it. One thing that you could be affected by is that you won’t be able to build up the finger strength that you will really need in the long run to become a better pianist. You will also have a hard time playing with other pianos that you are not familiar with, especially if the keys have a stiffer action.
Playing with a piano that comes with heavier keys will result in fatigue with your fingers, making it very hard to play for a very long time. You can also get serious muscle injuries with piano keys that have stiffer action. Another bad thing that comes with practicing inconsistent touchweight is that you will have a hard time learning the proper shading and dynamics that are needed to become a better pianist. It will really be very hard to get used to playing with other pianos in this kind of condition.
How Much Touchweight Should My Piano Keys Have
To measure the touchweight of a piano, gram weights are used and placed at the end of a piano key until it goes down. As of today, grams is the unit of measurement that is widely used by musicians, although, in the past, it was measured in ounces. However, the ounce measurement is too coarse to be used for measuring key resistance, which is why people had to go with grams.
Usually, most pianos have a down weight of 48 to 60 grams, but you will notice that the lower notes are harder to press down compared to the higher notes. So, it also means that it does not have the same touchweight throughout all the entire keys. Today, almost all piano manufacturers aim to have an average touchweight of 50 grams throughout the keys.
Can You Make Piano Keys Heavier?
If you want to have a heavier feel with your piano keys, there are some ways to do it without having to buy a piano that comes with heavy piano keys. The first thing you can do is you can slightly strengthen the piano’s hammer return springs and then make its dampers lift a bit earlier than usual. The next step is to add a lead to the back of the piano keys. Then, install new balance rail pins that come with springs in them and adjust them to your taste. This is one way to make the piano keys have a heavier feel.
Another way is to add lead weight to the back of the piano key, but remember that you will only need a few grams for you to do it. You will also have to test the key weight to see if the balance works for you or not. However, this would be another good way to make your piano keys have a heavier feel.
The simplest way in mind to give the piano keys a heavier feel is for you to find little weights similar to those you see in local fishing shops, as you can use them by sticking them on the back of the piano keys, so you can get to the action that you are looking for.
Can You Make Piano Keys Lighter?
Making your piano keys heavier can be a little difficult compared to giving them a lighter feel. One method you can use to make them lighter is to reduce the weight of the hammers by removing the wood from its shank and tail while filling the hammer felt. Although you only reduce a small amount of weight, you can still notice that it is lighter compared to before.
Another method you can try is to bring the hammers closer to the piano strings before readjusting the keys back. With upright pianos, you have a better space to reduce the hammer distance, while on grand pianos, it is more limited because of the pin blocks. By adjusting the distance, not only do you get a shorter hammer blow distance, but it will also make the action lighter compared to before.
The third thing you can do is delay the timing of the damper lift. As most pianos nowadays have designed their dampers to lift too soon, now, the dampers should be able to lift about halfway through the hammer’s motion. This can be a great way for your piano keys to have a lighter feel than before.
The next way to have your piano keys feel lighter is for you to set them with a closer let-off. By doing this, the hammer in the piano will get closer to the piano strings before the piano keys disengage from it. This will result in your piano keys having a lighter feel as you are not engaging the let-off springs too much, enabling you to be able to play it softly.
The fifth method you can try to ease off the weight from your piano keys is to weaken the spring of the dampers and replace the dampers with a new set of brass-headed dampers, as they perform better when it comes to damping. For grand pianos, you can also punch out the lead weights from its damper under levers.
For vertical or upright pianos, you can remove their lead weights from the distal ends of the piano key levers, while in a grand piano, you can remove the lead weights from the proximal side of its key levers, and you can reposition them near the fulcrum using slightly heavier weights. By doing this, it would be easier to play at higher dynamic levels and can be very comfortable for your fingers to play through, even if you have to do it for extended periods.
So, can you make piano keys lighter? Yes, absolutely, you can make piano keys lighter. The methods mentioned above can be used to make piano keys lighter. You can also make the piano keys heavier. In the end, if you are not confident in doing it on your own, you should go to a piano technician to help you adjust the piano keys.