The difference between a well-regulated and neglected action is the difference between expressing musical ideas with full control over a wide range of dynamics, and fighting the piano's missing notes, sluggish repetition, and constrained dynamic response. Followed by our touch and voicing services, a regulation yields results that often surpass the piano's original performance.

Many owners are surprised to learn that the regulation can improve the tone. Even without reshaping or voicing the hammers, regulating the action can improve hammer acceleration and increase the dynamic range. Slow-motion studies of the bending of the hammer and shank show that the hammer is more stable hitting the strings when the action is regulated correctly, resulting in cleaner and more focused tone.

For optimal performance, the parts of the entire mechanism must be adjusted to function within a very tight range of tolerances. As the piano is used, the felts and leathers slowly compress and wear out, and the round parts, such as hammer shank knuckles and wippen heels, flatten; the hammers become grooved; backchecks get dented; and key end felts are dimpled. Further, the parts get out of alignment as they minutely warp and twist over time.

Regulating the mechanism involves:

  • Cleaning, freshening, and lubricating all friction interfaces (e.g. knuckles, wippen heels, letoff buttons, and backchecks)
  • Bedding the key frame to the key bed
  • Re-aligning the parts for optimal transfer of energy (except when the parts are worn out too much)
  • Adjusting a myriad regulating buttons and screws, restoring original relationships between the parts
  • Bending wires and springs to adjusting their position or strength

We offer regulation services in three distinct areas:

  • Action and pedals, including limited adjustments on keys
  • Keyboard
  • Dampers and sostenuto

What's included? Every regulation includes a cleaning and lubrication of the key frame, key bed, action cavity, and trapwork. The action regulation includes all necessary lubrication of action parts. The keyboard regulation includes lubricating the key pins and/or key bushings. The lubrication of damper bushings, damper wires, and the damper action (back action) is quoted separately and performed as needed.

How often? In a moderately used piano, the action should be regulated every few years, and the keyboard as part of every other action regulation. The damper mechanism remains in regulation for a long time, but should be regulated if the initial regulation was poor or when the damper system is rebuilt.

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