Stanwood Precision Touch Design

The invention of the piano

Since the invention of the piano by Cristofori in Italy around the year 1700, the manufacture of pianos and piano actions has been a pragmatic affair.  Piano builders experimented and did what worked. The length of the key, the weight of the hammer, and many other factors were cobbled together in ingenious but not necessarily scientific ways—-Until now.  In 1996 piano technician and inventor, David Stanwood, with the help of computer analysis, invented a way of precisely measuring leverage and weight in the piano’s movable parts.

Stanwood Precision Touch Design

Touch design evens out the amount of pressure it takes to push down a key (down weight) on each note.  It does the same for the movement of the key when it snaps back up (up weight).  The result is a piano that plays very smoothly.  In touch design the weight of the felts that hit the string (hammers) are balanced with the weight of the front of the key.  It is sometimes helpful to think of the piano action as a simple lever, like a teeter totter.  Often in touch design, after careful measurement, small adjustments are made in the position of the fulcrum of the lever, making the lever more efficient.  This allows the key to propel a heavier hammer.  A heavier hammer will give you more power and a richer tone.  You can see a You Tube presentation at


Here are some remarks transcribed from a conversation with famed concert pianist Rudolf Serkin on  August 8, 1988, after he played a Steinway D fitted with an early prototype Stanwood Touch Design at the Marlboro Music Festival.  “The action is perfect. It’s even… the whole thing.”…….”It feels connected somehow. I couldn’t believe it at first.”………”It’s amazing. The feeling is so immediate. It reminds me a little of Bosendorfer. This is better, I mean… for me.”
“Thank you for showing me.”  Other testimonials can be seen at

5 reasons why you might want a Precision Touch Design on your piano

  1. It feels so good to play.  With a precision touch design on your piano, it’s hard to walk by your piano without sitting down to play.
  2. If you have a $50,000. piano but it plays like a $20,000. piano. For a modest investment you could make it play like a $90,000 piano.
  3. If your piano feels too heavy or too light.
  4. if you are a pianist that is prone to stress injury, the touch design could help you.
  5. If the hammers on your piano are worn and it’s time to replace them.

How to get this on your piano.

I am a licensed installer of Stanwood Precision Touch Design. Although it is possible to put a touch design on a verticle piano, this kind of work has been done almost exclusively with grand pianos.  A total installation costs $6500. and includes all new parts in the piano action, as well as one year of free follow-up service calls in order to fine tune the action.  The entire piano would not be moved, but the insides which include the keys and the hammers etc. would be taken into my shop.  You would be without your piano for about a month.  Satisfaction is guaranteed.