Normally, the highly coveted “felt piano” sound is achieved by draping a layer of felt vertically between the strings and the hammers of an upright piano. This softens the strikes and gives the upright piano an intimate, muted tone. Because of gravity, this technique is not feasible on a grand piano, since the hammers and strings are situated horizontally. The felt would simply lay on top of the hammers, preventing them from rising up to strike the strings. Attempts to attach the felt above the hammers, against the strings, yields less-than-satisfactory results and laying the felt on top of the strings mutes their sustain drastically.
Through careful experimentation, renowned piano technician Jim Wilson (creator of the unique Yamaha grand used in Keyscape for the LA Custom C7), discovered how to achieve this gorgeous muted sound on a world-class 7-foot grand piano. After a great deal of thought, Jim ended up carefully cutting, fitting, and gluing two individually layered strips of a thick, natural felt to each hammer.