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#1215075 - 06/10/09 02:10 AM Regulation - what should the customer know
gerg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/07
Posts: 1651
Loc: Houston, TX

I've scheduled to have my action regulated. This is an expensive operation, and I'd like to know exactly what I should know to ask my tech as an informed customer.

My music is exclusively classical, and I'm hoping to obtain a little more control over dynamics, that will better show the flaws in my dynamic control and help me improve it. Recently I read something about a "concert regulation" with 1/32" hammer letoff.

Not looking for perfection, and my tech knows that. This is a 115-year-old action with rocker/sticker instead of capstans. It plays well and does not have green stuff (begins with a "v" IIRC) on the pins. I've had it out before, and had examined a few of the pins, which were shiny chrome in appearance.

I feel really bad asking him for this work because when he sold me the piano two years ago he mentioned how he hates working on these sticker-type actions. But it should be done and the action, despite its age, is in good condition and I cannot justify replacing/updating what isn't broken.

So I would be most grateful if one of you gentlemen could inform me of the input parameters and tradeoffs, from a customer perspective? For example, will moving letoff from 1/8" to 1/16" (a happy medium) result in more double strikes? Will it increase key weight significantly (it's already around 62 g.)

Thanks in advance.


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#1215226 - 06/10/09 11:40 AM Re: Regulation - what should the customer know [Re: gerg]
Gene Nelson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 1735
Loc: Old Hangtown California
For a start you can read about action regulation here:http://www.ptg.org/resources-pianoOwners-regulation.php
I believe that 1/32 let off is too close for any piano - concert or other - 1/16 is borderline too close but sometimes may be ok for one concert - 3/32 is better for most homes and this will vary depending on how long the strings are.
Let off is only one of more than 30 adjustments in action regulation. All else being correct, as let off is set closer you get more control and ppp becomes very easy. If there are double strikes there are other adjustments that need attention.
PTG Member

#1215239 - 06/10/09 12:05 PM Re: Regulation - what should the customer know [Re: Gene Nelson]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2867
Loc: Olympia, WA
I agree with Gene. With older actions its best to have a little more "safety factor". 1/32" let-off is a little like standing right on the edge of the Grand Canyon for the best view. You might think you'll get a better view if you step out just a little further! Now imagine a 90 year old person standing on the edge! That's what you have with your action.

You might be better off not pushing the boundaries too much.
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA

#1215358 - 06/10/09 03:55 PM Re: Regulation - what should the customer know [Re: rysowers]
gerg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/07
Posts: 1651
Loc: Houston, TX
Great advice guys! I do appreciate it, and see the wisdom in a more conservative value like 3/32.

There are a few "double strike" keys, heard in a bubbling effect apparent in staccato.

This is an unrestored instrument in amazingly good condition for its age - an 1890's era Knabe. We can not be certain but believe it has spent most of its life lying on its side in storage. It seems to have had some restoration work done in the 1950s or 60s - strings, hammers, but the wippens and other action parts are original. It is a joy to play.

I will read that link Gene kindly posted.
Wikicital: A collaborative effort to build a knowledgebase of classical music history combined with examples. Your chance to both perform and write...

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