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Precision Touch Design

Have the touch of your piano optimised.

Precision Touch Design (PTD) is an innovative technique to improve the touch and tone of your piano. It can offer a solution for a touch which is too heavy, too light or very irregular. It will take a new factory spec piano and enhance it further, making Precision Touch Design the ultimate upgrade for any piano owner. John Thompson is a Precision Touch Design Installer, having worked on over 30 designs.

Precision Touch Design

We can change the touch weight of upright and grand pianos here at Sussex Pianos. The process depends on how good you want to result to be. A quick general change can take half a day. A more accurate end result will take up to 5 days.

To See a video of How Precision Touch Design can work Please Click HERE

We are members of the PTDAE. Precision Touch Design Academy Europe

Dear John,

You can have no idea how much you have changed my life with the transformation of my piano.

With the huge difference in tone and and an even-ness in pressure, this has transformed my playing and feel as if I’m absolutely on top form once again. The legato passages really are legato, something which I have not found in any pianos for many years. I describe it as mellow and creamy – making long melodic phrases sound as they were meant to. Somehow, you have been able to retain the brightness which I loved in this piano, but now without the ‘edge’ which I found totally distracting.

am now playing Ravel and Debussy effortlessly, easily finding all the colours required in the music while the lightness of touch has meant that acquiring a flawless technique is simply much easier. The articulation required for the Baroque Period is easier to achieve, giving a crisp clear rendition with part playing being a joy, as there are no ‘bumps’ in the runs and melody lines.

As you know, my illness which gives me muscle exhaustion, meant that I was able to play the piano for short bursts at a time, making rehearsal times very difficult for my fellow musicians who were always having to allow a massive amount of time while I had regular rest periods.. I now find that I am able to continue working for much longer stretches which is a great bonus.

I can only thank you again for all your work and attention to detail. As I said, my life has now been made so much easier with the huge changes you have made.

Kindest regards. Anne Campbell (Samick grand)

To Anyone,

On the day that it returned, John reinstalled it, worked on it for a while, tuned the piano as usual, stood up – and indicated the piano stool. “Your turn,” he said. What I discovered when I sat down to play was so overwhelming that for several moments I struggled to find words to express my feelings. I think I actually cried. My piano was softer, and more beautiful in tone. It was easy to play. I seemed to miss fewer notes, and the ornaments seemed to play themselves. Over the next few days, I brought out all my favourite music again, including the big pieces that had given me so many problems – and just played and played.

So what has changed? Quite simply, everything. My piano feels like a completely different instrument, and with every piece that I play, I discover more things that it is now capable of doing. It is lighter and easier to play, while not being in the least ‘flabby’. I can still play ff when I need to, but the piano has a new beauty of tone, and is never ringing or harsh to the ear, even in the higher range.

So there it is. Just as my piano has been born again, so in a very real sense, have I. My playing technique is improving all the time, and I can give free rein to my true musicality, where before all my effort was concentrated in simply producing the notes. For the second time in two years, I am telling friends that I have a new piano – only this time, it’s the piano that I always wished for.

Linda Ebrey (Yamaha C3)

Customers who have had Precision Touch Design installed in their pianos.

Why Are Pianos So Different?

Every piano player, professional or amateur, is familiar with the phenomenon that each piano or grand piano sounds and plays differently. There is an extensive range of grand piano makers on offer and yet you may find it difficult to find one that has everything you are looking for.

Every grand piano has an action consisting of wooden, metal and felted parts. Parts that between them differ in weight when weighed on a scale. Graphically mapped, the weight differences gain significance, you see exactly why a grand piano sounds differently in certain areas than in other areas. This has a significant outcome for the tone of the instrument and an uneven touch for the pianist playing the instrument. Certain areas and tones are to be struck harder than others, making the pianist work harder. These past decades, Precision Touch Design has taken the trouble to map out everything concerning the performance of grand piano actions in relation to weight & ratio.

We must realise that “Down weight does not indicate the play weight”. Those of us who have taken the time to measure touch weight sooner or later come to find that while one piano with a 50 gram down weight may feel normal when played, another piano with a 50 gram down weight may feel heavy, or even light by comparison. In fact, down weight has very little to do with how the piano feels to the pianist when it is played.

When the key is moved at higher speeds during playing, much higher forces are needed to overcome the inertia of leveraged weight components. These forces are into hundreds of grams for medium volume playing and into thousands of grams in fortissimo playing.

We always include PTD with any hammer replacement work. Take a look at our restoration page.

We use Abel, in Germany, for our piano hammers in a lot of our rebuilds. PTDAE and Abel have worked in partnership to help with selection when carrying out PTD with hammer replacement.

Abel hammer heads in Germany.

Precision Touch Design is an invention of David Stanwood of the USA, who, since the nineties, has been researching the grand action, its geometry and design, and providing answers to previously unanswerable questions which both pianists and technicians have long been demanding.

David Stanwood’s designs are well known among concert players world wide and implemented in to many concert pianos.

David Starwood - Inventor of Precision Touch Design