Cleaning, Regulation, & Voicing

Cleaning, Regulation, & Voicing

Tuning is not the only maintenance that pianos need! As dust and other debris accumulates inside a piano, age and routine use wear down moving parts, and hammers compact and form deep grooves, various other maintenance tasks become essential. There is no standard interval for these maintenance tasks; but as a general rule, the more use the piano gets and the more advanced the pianists using it, the more frequently they should be done. Many pianists are simply not aware of what a well-regulated and well-voiced piano feels and sounds like, and don’t realize what they’re missing! As a general rule, any instrument that is being used by an advanced pianist, or for any performance purposes, should have voicing and regulation touched up on an annual basis. A thorough cleaning and regulation will generally be necessary every few years. If these tasks are done on a regular basis, the costs… Read More

Regulation – more important than you realize

Regulation – more important than you realize

For every single key in a piano, there are dozens of parts working behind the scenes to produce the sound. Translate that to several thousand parts in a piano action, and you have a good reminder that tuning is not the only maintenance pianos need! The adjustment of the mechanical workings of the action is referred to as regulation. Regulation, not tuning, is what determines the “feel” of the piano – heavy, light, bouncy, stiff, fast, slow, etc. Often, your piano playing experience may be improved dramatically by some quality action regulation. If there are a number of issues, this can be a more involved job and may be scheduled as a separate appointment from your tuning. However, good piano technicians often will perform some limited regulation as part of a regular tuning appointment, if time allows, or may recommend some additional work that can be performed on the spot.… Read More

Spinet “drop” action

Spinet “drop” action

This is what’s known as a “drop” action. This type of action is found in spinet style pianos, the smallest of upright pianos. Frankly, it’s a pain to remove due to the lifter rods (which “drop” down to the action inside the piano), and since spinets are generally not valuable instruments, it’s often not worth removing the action to do extensive work. In this case, the plastic elbows connecting the lifter rods to the action needed to be replaced. You can see the brittle old plastic on some and the clear new plastic on others. A number had already broken. This is a very common problem in old spinets, and other than a couple hours of labor, it’s not too expensive of a repair. Despite their small size and low market value, spinets can be perfectly viable instruments with the right upkeep!