Wessell, Nickel & Gross

The Most Responsive
Piano Action

Exceptional Skill and Mastery

During the Golden Era of pianos, Mason & Hamlin’s finest instruments were equipped with the era’s premier Wessell, Nickel & Gross actions. In 2005, Mason & Hamlin undertook the revival of Wessell, Nickel & Gross, driven by the ambition to forge a piano action that deepens the connection between pianist and piano. This effort resulted in the worlds most advanced action, crafted from composite materials, offering a discerning pianist an exceptionally consistent, remarkably responsive, and distinctly sensitive playing experience.

What is a Piano Action?

The piano action, the vital interface between pianist and piano, is an elaborate mechanism encompassing more than 2,000 moving parts and seven leverage points, intricately connecting the artist to the instrument. This sophisticated mechanism is crucial for accessing and mastering the full expressive capabilities of the piano. Regular practice on an exceptional action that provides detailed feedback empowers pianists to master a vast array of tones and dynamics. This leads to the precise and graceful execution of challenging passages and fosters an interpretative depth that brings a distinctive voice to every performance.

Materials Matter

100 years ago, golf clubs, tennis rackets, airplaines, and action parts were all made out of wood. What changed?

The past 30 years have witnessed remarkable advancements in material science, introducing new materials that render these items faster, lighter, and more durable. Currently, Wessell, Nickel & Gross, in collaboration with Mason & Hamlin, stands unique in embracing these extraordinary advancements. Together, they have pioneered the development of an iconic, fully composite piano action, utilizing modern, cutting-edge materials to set a new standard in piano performance.

Compared to the very best wooden actions, our composite action are:

%

More Consistent

Longer Lasting

Universities

Enhanced

Artistic Expression

Silky Smooth • Mason & Hamlin Piano Company • Made in the USA

Silky Smooth Playing

The unique design of our composite repetition moves the center of gravity toward the center pin, creating an exceptionally responsive, silky smooth feel every time you play a note.

Stable Torque • Mason & Hamlin Piano Company • Made in the USA

Consistently Consistent

Our exclusive composite shanks are exceptionally uniform in their strength and flexibility, creating remarkably consistent tonal quality and controllable volume

Low Hygroscopiic • Mason & Hamlin Piano Company • Made in the USA

Performs Perfectly in All Seasons

Composite materials are nearly non-hygroscopic which makes them nonreactive to humidity, resulting in dramatically reduced maintenance and a high-performing action through all seasons and climates.

Better Uniformity • Mason & Hamlin Piano Company • Made in the USA

Designed for Rigorous
Practice Environments

Our exclusive composite bushings allow our actions to keep extremely stable touch and feel—even after being tested at 18 million strikes per key—a feat impossible for traditional felt bushings.

Personalized Touch • Mason & Hamlin Piano Company • Made in the USA

Personalized Touch

Unlike immobile wooden actions, our customizable action allows technicians to adjust the heel size and location to personalize the touch and feel of the action to exactly your liking.

Retrofittable • Mason & Hamlin Piano Company • Made in the USA

Minimized Maintenance and Expenses

WNG’s modern composite actions are incredibly durable and highly resistant to heat, humidity, and friction, dramatically reducing maintenance, repair, and regulation expenses.

Trusted by Piano Technicians

“This action, like no other, gives you the sensation that your fingers are playing directly on the strings. With this action the responsiveness is extraordinary; it feels as if you could do anything that your imagination would allow.”

– Viktor Valkov, MM, Concert Pianist

“To put on hammer on the WNG shanks is a lot easier because of the consistency. They’ve become our go to parts.”

– Marvin Rus, Chief Concert Technician, Eastman School of Music

“What I like best about the WNG action is its consistency from one note to the next. Even if you are using the best quality of wood, you are never going to get uniform material.”

– Dr. Mark Sullivan Piano, Teacher

“There’s nothing like them. I had faculty at BYU come play the piano and they were saying how wonderful and responsive it was. So, I put it on two more pianos.”

– Jim Busby Concert Technician, Brigham Young University

Why Composite and not Wood

Where Wood Falls Short

Wood Strength Is Inconsistent

From piece to piece, wood strength is extremely inconsistent. Wood is a natural, organic material that grows in an unpredictable fashion and cannot be precisely created or controlled. If you try to bend a set of 88 wooden hammer shanks you’ll find that roughly 10% of them are strong, rigid and ideal, while the remaining 90% are weak and flexible.

Wood Will Twist, Move, and Change
Wood is a tension material, which means that it has stored tension within it. Over time, this tension is released and wood will twist and change from the original shape that it was cut to and into the shape that it wants to be.
Wood will Expand and Contract with Humidity
During summer the humidity in the air rises and is absorbed by wooden actions, causing them to expand. In the winter, the opposite happens—as the humidity is reduced, wood dries and shrinks. This constant cycle of swelling and contracting ruins regulation and will lead to permanent damage to the action.

vs.

The Iconic Black Composite Material

Uniform. Precise. Enduring.

Boasting an impressive strength-to-weight ratio, composites are the ideal materials to meet the unique stress, precision, and reliability requirements in a piano action. The end result is an incredibly responsive and reliable playing experience throughout the entire year for the pianist.

A Consistent Material for Consistent Playing.
Composite material can be manufactured with exacting precision, and completely customizable to each specific parts’ needs. This means every part of our action is uniformly made resulting in consistent tone and volume from note to note.
An Action for Every Season
One of the many benefits of composite material is its nearly non-hygroscopic property. This means that it is nonreactive to humidity, resulting in dramatically reduced maintenance and a reliable, high-performing action throughout all seasons and climates.

Upgrade Your Action

The past 30 years have witnessed remarkable advancements in material science, introducing new materials that render these items faster, lighter, and more durable. Currently, Wessell, Nickel & Gross, in collaboration with Mason & Hamlin, stands unique in embracing these extraordinary advancements. Together, they have pioneered the development of an iconic, fully composite piano action, utilizing modern, cutting-edge materials to set a new standard in piano performance.

Next Steps

Interested in a Mason & Hamlin piano for your college or university? Fill out this contact form and a Mason & Hamlin representative will be in touch.

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  • Mason & Hamlin Piano Co.
  • 35 Duncan St.
  • Haverhill, MA 01832
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