Each piano has its own individual inner life - and for generations Pfeiffer has been making it visible and audible. But a piano is more than just the sum of its 88 keys and several thousand mechanical components. Everything interacts to create a complete musical instrument, with a character all its own.
The wooden backframe
The heart of every fine piano is its soundboard. Only a board of spruce with an even grain structure can guarantee a full, rich tone in the finished instrument.
Copper covering (winding) wire is wound around a steel core to make a bass string.
For the plain-wire strings of the tenor and treble sections only Swedish steel is used, for purity of sound.
Keyboard and action assembly
A piano must not only be a fine musical instrument, but a fine piece of furniture as well. Special requests are no problem for Pfeiffer cabinetmakers. Of the many different types of veneers kept on hand - from American walnut to zebrano - almost two dozen are regularly requested.
Weighed and weighted
Weighed and weighted. To ensure complete playing enjoyment, an absolutely even balance is essential. Therefore, we weigh exactly to one-tenth of a grame. A suitable lead weight is selected, added and glued in place.
Installation of the keyboard. The 88 keys are mounted on a keyframe which rest on a key bottom (keybed). Few manufacturers today still have these two parts separate, which offers the advantage that even a century from now adjustments can be easily made.
Setting the action
The hammer mechanism is mounted in the piano. Precise adherence to design specifications is a prerequisite for a precise, uniform touch..
The action upside down
In this position the levers (whippens) can be correctly travelled, working from above. Hardly any piano manufacturer does this any more.
The pilots (capstan screws) are turned up or down to set the jacks at just the right height. This operation must be painstakingly carried out for each note.
The piano-tuner at work.
To ensure that the hammer bounces back after striking the string, the setoff screw must be adjusted precisely to the millimetre. When the hammer has reached the proper height, the setoff button strips the jack out from under it.
The hammer felt is pricked with needles to release inner tensions and make it softer, resulting in a mellow rather than a metallic tone. The fine toning (voicing) eliminates any remaining harshness and ensures a uniform sound throughout the entire keyboard compass.
The playing mechanism of a piano is that much closer to perfection, the less the players is aware of it, the longer it is able to preserve its original capacity for expression and fine quality, the simpler it is to manufacture and install and the easier it is to service later on.