A few weeks ago I learned that I was scheduled for a service to fix a pedal noise on a Yamaha AvantGrand N3. I learned that our electronic tech had been out and had determined it was an “acoustic” related problem. What that means is that although the AvantGrand is a digital piano, it has acoustic piano parts and functions. Yamaha calls it a hybrid piano, and I have learned that is a very accurate name for it. The piano has a grand piano action with wooden keys and the same moving parts as a concert grand. Digital sensors translate the movement of the keys and action parts to create a simulated digital piano sound.
In preparation for the service call, I decided to disassemble an AvantGrand N3 in our store to familiarise myself with this unique piano. Yamaha had e-mailed us an instruction manual which proved very useful in getting all the case parts off. Once I removed the circuit boards and sensors, I found myself looking at something that was very familiar to me, an acoustic grand action. I noticed that it was the very same mechanism that Yamaha uses in their concert grand pianos with just a few exceptions. There are no felt hammers since there are no strings that actually get struck. There are hammer shanks with steel weights on the ends of them with heavier weight in the bass gradually getting lighter towards the treble.
This very accurately replicates the way an acoustic action would feel. All other aspects of the action are exactly the same as those in acoustic pianos. I have been a concert tuner for twenty years working at venues like the Kennedy Center and Strathmore Music Center, since I had gone to the trouble of taking everything apart I couldn’t help but want to give the piano what we call a complete concert level “regulation”. This means getting the keys to respond with the optimum level of response and evenness of touch. When I was done I discovered I was at a piano that had the same feeling of a nine-foot concert grand. A concert grand that takes up less space and allows you to play anytime if you put on the headphones so you don’t bother your neighbors or sleeping family members.
The end of the story is that when I went out on the service call , I found the pedal problem was a simple matter of tightening and adjusting the pedal lyre braces. When I was finished I asked the client how she liked the piano? She was pleased with it overall, but said she wished I could change the way the action felt. After further discussion and evaluation I determined there were things I could do to adjust the touch so she would find the piano more to her liking . So just as I have done for world renowned concert artists on nine-foot grands, I was able to customize the touch of the AvantGrand to the needs of it’s owner. There is no other digital piano on the market that could be adjusted with such precision. The AvantGrand N3 truly is a Hybrid grand piano. You get the advantage of advanced digital technology like Midi as well as the touch and response of a full concert grand, the best of both worlds ! I recommend players of all levels should come into one of our stores and check out these remarkable new instruments, you really need to feel it and hear it for yourself.
Robin B.Olson RPT