The following is a transcript of an article published in the The Australian newspaper, Sat Feb 17, 2001.
THORPEDO OF THE PIANO WORLD
It's not every day you're asked to clap a piano-maker. So it was refreshing to hear Australian improvising trio The Necks requesting, and receiving, applause for Sydney piano-maker Ron Overs during a recent gig, in which they gave his new instrument a public test drive.
Fifteen years in development, the Overs-Steinbach Piano One (the only one Overs has so far completed) is a special instrument. You recall swimmer Ian Thorpe's fast suit? This is the fast piano - an instrument that reduces the amount of energy lost to the player via friction by as much as half. One reason is that the keys, once struck, return to the resting position much faster, "enabling the pianist to play more notes per second", says Overs. This also means it produces more volume for less effort.
Says Necks bassist Lloyd Swanton: "At high volume it seemed limitless, where the note seemed to almost bend back on itself and it really seemed to give extraordinary depth." His colleague, pianist Chris Abrahams, has a way of creating otherworldly overtones by repeating note clusters incredibly fast, and while these can be produced on any good instrument, the Overs-Steinbach is particularly suited to the technique.
The Necks are not alone in being fans: classical pianist William Chen told Overs that the instrument is the fastest he has every played. Cost: $70,000 (a Steinway of similar size is around $140,000). See www.overspianos.com.au
The Australian, Feb 17 2001
First published on Overs Pianos site, 1 April 2001