X-Country online presentation event: Saturday, Sept. 25 @ 9:00 a.m. PDT, 12:00 noon EDT; This presentation is free of charge for CAPT/ACAP 2021 members. (More information on joining CAPT/ACAP). Members will receive Zoom connection details by email before the event. To pre-register follow this link
Presenter: Glen Cuthbertson of Chilliwack, B.C.
Theme: “Grand Action Optimization on the Cheap” with subtitle: “Turn Your ‘Mack Truck’ keyboard Into a ‘Ferrari’”
Handbill (pdf download)
The presentation is essentially a video journal of Glen’s recently completed project involving an import grand piano in the home of a student of a local piano teacher, in which the action’s touch was so badly set up so as to have a profoundly negative impact on the student’s ability to play expressively. Segments of Glen’s presentation will include: intro to the piano and its issues:
- introduction to jigs and other tools for the project
- key balance equation and mapping the target response
- touch weight altering techniques
Glen is a piano performer, teacher and sideline piano technician and tuner. What is unusual about Glen and his achievements is that he is profoundly deaf — so much so that he requires powerful analogue hearing aids to get him within a working hearing range. Glen tells the story of one of his concerts when he was performing his signature piece, the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” when BOTH hearing aid batteries died mid-performance. That would stop most people but Glen could imagine the sound he was putting out, and finished the piece with no auditory input. None were the wiser — not even his then new wife — until he informed the audience at the close of the performance selection!
Glen holds a mechanical technologies degree (1986) from BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology) — an intensive two-year course that covered a wide range of studies from Calculus, BASIC programming, technical writing, early CAD/CAM programming (CNC machining in its infancy), basic metallurgy, advanced measuring techniques to calibrate milling machines and lathes, and a whole other host of things that he puns, “made me a ‘Joke of all trades and a master of none’”.
Glen’s technical knowledge and skills stand him in good stead not only in solving the playability issues of client pianos, but also in designing and building the jigs and tools he uses in this work — and which he employed in refurbishing his own early 1900s Steinway D grand piano that saw an action retrofit with the Wessell, Nickel & Gross composite action and J.D. Grandt bass strings.