C. Bechstein Pianos: Action Parts and Piano Parts

Kevin Busse Feb 08, 2024
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Bechstein Action Parts

During my Tour of the Bechstein Factory in Seifhennersdorf, Germany, I found a couple visual displays of Bechstein action parts and piano parts for their premium instruments.

Much like the Display Case of Bechstein Piano Hammers, (Bechstein no longer uses Renner hammers) I found each display very interesting. I took some photos to show detail of all of the piano parts inside of a C. Bechstein Piano.

Bechstein, who makes some of the world’s finest grand pianos maintains the perfect combination of innovation and tradition in the piano parts you will see here.

What’s special about Bechstein Action Parts and Piano Parts?

In each of these photos, you’ll see the uniqueness and craftsmanship in each and every part of a Bechstein Piano.

Bechstein sustain pedal

Pedal Pivot Upright Piano

This pedal is for an upright piano as you can tell by the overall construction. It is easy to see the pivot points of the pedal.

I've observed that the upright piano pedal responds in a way where its vertical path moves very cleanly, silently, and easily.

The range of motion of the pedal is large compared to most uprights, which feels much better than if it were too shallow. If you have any experience with playing upright pianos, this will likely be one of the first subtle nuances you notice about the feel of the pedal.

Bechstein plate and strings

Top view of upright piano plate / frame (treble section)

Here is a section of what a typical upright piano plate looks like.

In this model, you may observe the following:

  • Tuning pin bushings

  • 6.9 mm thick tuning pins instead of 7.2mm

  • Agraffes (rather than capo bar)

  • Hitch pins

  • Strings

  • Duplex felt

  • Serial number

  • Plate

It was really neat to see a cutout of the cast iron plate, which is not very easy to do.

Bechstein Plate screws

Parts for upright piano - plate installation and adjustment

While the various screws look fairly ordinary, a big takeaway during my factory tour was that the Bechstein piano makers demonstrate they have nothing to hide.

Here they proudly showcase even the most basic components like the screws they use for upright pianos for everyone to observe.

Bechstein Caster

Caster for upright piano

If you have ever seen these casters (wheels) in person, you'll know that they are quite remarkable.

The caster looks to defy physics because of the way it is designed to have the wheels indirectly underneath where it attaches to the piano.

It's as if the wheel is off to the side in a way that shows off remarkable engineering capability.

Bechstein bridge strings and capo bar

Here are 3 items showcased next to each other

Pressure Bar for Upright Pianos (left)

On the left is a pressure bar created by CNC technology. This pressure bar applies downward pressure against the strings to seat them properly between the tuning pins and the capo bar. In a given piano there is either a pressure bar and capo bar or agraffes near the top of the tuning pins.

Upright piano parts for installation of strings (center)

In the middle are the various thicknesses of string used. The thickest bass string has a double copper winding, while the thinnest treble string has no copper windings at all. In between, you can see the various thicknesses of bass strings.

Long bridge for upright piano (right)

On the right, you can see one of the solid beech bridges that were created by use of CNC technology. Near the bottom, you can see how there are bridge pins that are missing, as if the bridge was still in process of being assembled.

Bechstein Screws for cabinet

Screws for installation of cabinet parts for upright pianos

Another display of ordinary screws for cabinet parts. It is true to Bechstein's core beliefs to show which materials and high quality parts they are working with so you can see for yourself.

Bechstein piano tuning pins

Upright piano parts for adjustment of strings

The reason there are two tuning pins is because one has a thickness of 6.9mm and the other a thickness of 7.2mm depending on whether tuning pin bushings are included on a particular model of piano.

The thicker tuning pin is implemented when tuning pin bushings are not present inside upright concert pianos, which gives the piano tuner the ability to "flex" the pin. These pins are generally used in Concert series uprights.

The thinner tuning pins are implemented when tuning pin bushings are present within the piano. Since there are bushings, the pin does not need the extra reinforcement when it is .3mm larger.

My personal preference is to tune a piano like in a C. Bechstein Academy A series piano with the bushings surrounding the tuning pin because I find that the string renders more quickly.

The large screw to the right holds down the pressure bar which is placed very closely to the tuning pins. It's necessary for this screw to be large so that it is as stable as possible for tuning stability.

Bechstein Action Parts

The Bechstein piano manufacturing plant used to have Renner action parts, but have switched to manufacturing their own piano parts.

Damper

Right at the top is a damper for the upper midrange. At the front of the damper, the two sections of felt fit in between a 3 string unison. The rear of the damper sits on top of the three strings as a whole.

Damper-guide rail with bushing

The damper guide rail is fitted with bushings to eliminate noise and for precision fitting of the Damper wire.

Hammer Head

This is a Bechstein Hammer Head which they began to produce for themselves in 2012. They previously worked with Renner USA, so now, depending on the age of the piano you may find Renner parts in many older Bechstein Pianos.

Damper-wire

Yet another simple piece of the piano on display. I worked extensively with "Hanging Dampers" and working on "Damper Lift" during my 3-day Damper Installation Class at the Bechstein Technicians Academy.

Whippen

The whippen has evolved quite a lot since Bechstein was founded by Carl Bechstein in 1853. Scroll down to see the progression of the whippen assembly with over 100 years of progress.

Action rail

Yep, that's an action rail! Although, I must say that it looks like it has lots of grain lines (It must be because the wood is sourced from a high elevation)!

Bechstein Action Parts

Damper-lever with wire flange and damper-check rail

These three components make up the back of the action that's either controlled by the end of the key or by the pedals. Much of the damper control can be adjusted/moving these components.

Damper-lift and Sostenuto rod

The longer rod is the sostenuto rod and the shorter is the damper-lift rod. Both are also vital components in controlling various kinds of damper-lift.

Bechstein Keybed and Key

Keyframe with key

Grand piano keys are fitted to the keyframe so that the key has a perfect setting within which to play. The keyframe on which the wooden keys rests, is "bedded" to the key-bed in a delicate balance for even fitting of the keyframe to the key-bed across all 88 keys.

Key-bed

The foundational surface of all piano playing and practicing rests with the key-bed. This flat surface securely holds the entire action and is cleaned and lightly lubricated so that piano technicians can easily remove and replace the action to do regulation work by an expert technician.

Bechstein Action Parts

Hammer-shank with knuckle

This component connects the hammer head to the rest of the action. It includes a "knuckle" which must be brushed each time it's regulated to eliminate noise and reduce friction.

Hammer-flange rail

This rail provides a place for the hammer-shank flanges to rest. This is the rail on top of which hammers must be spaced, burned, and traveled evenly.

Set-off rail

The set-off rail holds the let-off button which controls let-off. We like to say "let-off" instead of "set-off" in the United States.

Action bracket with support to keyframe

The action brackets hold into place all that is involved with the action and its many moving components.

Bechstein Piano Parts

Sample for upright piano side in black polish

While this photo includes other items, the primary part demonstrated here is the polished ebony polyester. It is used in most furniture and case parts for all pianos.

Bechstein Piano Parts

Piano Parts Display Case

A full view of the Piano parts display case. I was delighted to see the extra parts that make a piano all in one place for easy viewing.

Bechstein Action Parts

Action Parts display case

This display case for C. Bechstein grands shows all the moving mechanisms when a piano player plays the keys of a piano. The parts on display are exclusively found in Bechstein acoustic pianos.

Bechstein development of action parts

What did old Bechstein Action Parts look like?

The evolution of how Bechstein acoustic grand action parts utilized different mechanisms over time since Carl Bechstein founded the company in 1853.

In their wealth of experience, the C. Bechstein pianos keyboard action assembly is the best in design after over 100 years of study of their unique characteristics for an uncompromising piano touch.

I compare and contrast the finest musical instruments that C. Bechstein Germany offers at their Berlin showroom. Take a look!