Global Piano Service

Double Actions

Making one piano into two has become a specialist area for GPS. In producing a second identical keyboard and action mechanism which can be quickly changed over, means that we can achieve two very different instruments within one. Peter Salisbury has pioneered this work at his home venue, London’s South Bank Centre and it has been hailed as a total success by management and pianists alike.

Building a second action which is so physically identical to the original but artistically (in terms of the mechanical feel and voicing) very different, has proven to be a winning idea. Although this isn’t the first time this concept has been explored, what makes the GPS second action revolutionary is that its construction is so identical to the original, it can be interchanged in around a minute. We believe this is the first time this has ever been done as a major feature of venues’ piano stocks.

Pianos with second actions have many advantages

  • The cost. In effect, getting a second piano for a fraction of the cost of an extra instrument.
  • Being able to offer a venue a second piano which wouldn’t usually be possible because of stage space, storage space or being financially justifiable.
  • Giving pianists a choice on stage when under normal circumstances it would not be possible to have two pianos to choose from because of logistical issues.
  • Only one tuning is needed though two different instruments are available.

The big issue with this concept is about giving the pianist choice. One action is set up in a way that it will suit a certain style of playing and will favour certain repertoire. The other will be dynamically different, so maximising a pianist’s likelihood of finding the piano that best suits the performance.

At GPS we’ve taken this concept a step further. Using the South Bank Centre as our ‘research and development nucleus’, many of the world’s great pianists are able to get to know their various pianos and the alternative set-ups the second actions offer. From there we’ve replicated those exact tonal and mechanical specifications on ‘sister instruments’ in venues across the world. This idea is being realised by orchestras and venues as the way of the future, and already we have ‘double actions’ in the UK, Scandinavia, Central America and New Zealand. We are also expecting to extend this concept into Australia and South America in the near future.