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#1970166 - 10/08/12 04:57 AM How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them?
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2051
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Dear techs,

Various articles on regulation claim that a piano action contains "thousands" of parts. For example, the PTG's regulation article puts the number at "more than 9000".

I might be mistaken, but the only way I see to attain such a number, is to count each paper punching, each bushing cloth, each piece of buckskin, each screw, wire and felt separately. And even then, I wonder if one would really reach more than 100 per note?

What's more, how many of those 100 parts are actually moving parts, subject to wear and tear? The PTG article goes on to state that there are "more than 9000 parts which require adjustment to critical tolerances". I would submit that to an uninitiated reader, this wording creates the impression (possibly quite intentionally so?) that EACH of the 9000+ parts must be adjusted.

Just to clarify: I have no issue with the PTG. I've seen several other articles on regulation, using similar wording. But is that not a mis-representation?

From Reblitz's text, and other regulation procedures I've seen, a full regulation entails at most 20 steps, and quite a few of these are not repeated for each note, but once-off, e.g. positioning rails, adjusting trapwork, etc.

At worst, 15 * 88 = 1320 - a far cry from 9000.

I'd be interested in reading your views, and how you describe regulation to a potential customer...
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1970177 - 10/08/12 06:22 AM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1777
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Great question, the subject-matter of which is probably above my pay grade. But here goes:

It is axiomatic that: to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. The grand piano action is no exception. One adjustment leads to another, and another, etc., etc.,ad nauseam

I cannot speak to the number of parts in a grand piano action. I've assumed that the PTG is correct. But I can recall severe cases wherein virtually every element of an action - both moving and stationary - required varying measures of regulation or adjustment due to replacements, wear and tear, et al.

Understanding what needs to be done at the outset and pricing the job accordingly to the client is key.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com/

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#1970201 - 10/08/12 07:40 AM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4949
Loc: Bradford County, PA
This could be fun!

To make it simpler, ask if we can come up with over 100 parts per note. The mention of "require adjustment to critical tolerances" is fun, too. What tolerances are not critical? Like a one ounce key lead, it is critical that it is not 2 ounces. And although the "adjustment" is only during manufacture, you can still call it an adjustment.

So we can only really look at the hard number of over 100 parts per note. It can be done, you just have to get down to a fine enough resolution. Include the film of glue for each joint and felt and leather. How about the coat of lacquer for each damper head? And for the sharps, the lacquer is applied to EACH side, and the FRONT of the keystick AND each side of each lead! And it is "critical" that the lacquer is not 1/8 inch thick! Or consider a hammer. Don't the parts of the molding include the body, the tail and the hole for the shank? And the tail has an inner and outer radius, not to mention the taper, which is on each side! And if we still cannot get to the needed number, we can count the growth rings seperately. And lets not forget the numbers on the keys. When you count the digits there's two more "parts" for all but a few keys which still have one digit. laugh laugh laugh
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1970212 - 10/08/12 08:33 AM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1967
Loc: Suffolk, England
Here's a guide:
http://www.rennerusa.com/RennerActionParts.asp

Renner say there are over 6000 parts in their actions. I suppose they didn't count the holes.


Edited by Withindale (10/08/12 12:59 PM)
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1970213 - 10/08/12 08:34 AM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: UnrightTooner]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1777
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Hmmmmm. 9000 may be low wink
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com/

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#1970252 - 10/08/12 10:35 AM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2051
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
OK, I couldn't resist, so I sat down during (a slightly extended) tea break to come up with the following first-cut list for an upright action. The upshot: while I think that Jeff has his tongue planted firmly in his cheek by calling a glue seam, a coating of finish or a number a "part", I did come up with about 5600 to 6900 parts.

Notes:
(1) It's a beginner's estimate - I may be off here or there!
(2) This includes the keboard! (and keyframe)

So, here goes:

Parts per key: (88)

Keystick
Key cover
2 key mortise bushings
Button
2 balance hole bushings
Capstan
Front rail pin
Front rail cloth punching
Set of front rail paper punchings (viewed as one part)
Balance rail pin
Balance rail cloth punching
Set of balance rail paper punchings
Wippen body
Wippen heel
Wippen heel cloth
Wippen flange
Wippen flange centre pin
2 Wippen flange bushings
Wippen flange screw
Damper spoon
Backcheck wire
Backcheck block
Backcheck cloth
Bridle wire
Bridle tape
Jack flange (wippen-mounted)
Jack flange centre pin
2 jack flange bushings
Jack
Let-off regulating screw
Let-off regulating button
Let-off regulating button punching
Hammer butt flange
Hammer butt flange centre pin
2 hammer butt flange bushings
Hammer butt flange screw
Hammer butt plate
Hammer butt plate screw
Hammer butt spring
Hammer butt spring cord
Hammer butt felt cushion
2 hammer butt undercloths
Hammer butt buckskin
Catcher shank
Catcher block
Catcher buckskin
Hammer shank
Hammer head moulding
Hammer head felt
Staple (haha)
For sticker action: add sticker, sticker cloth, 2 flanges?, 2 centre pins, 4 bushings
Total per note: about 56 (about 66 for sticker action)
Total: 56*88=4480; 66*88=5808

Per damped note: (65)

Damper lever flange
Damper lever flange screw
Damper flange centre pin
2 damper flange bushings
Damper lever
Damper lever cloth
Damper-to-lift-rod regulating grub-screw
Damper wire
Damper button/block
Damper button screw
Damper head
Damper felt
Damper spring
Damper spring punching
Total per note: about 15
Total: 15*65=975

Once-off:

Main action rail
3 flange tenon wires, if tenons not routed into rails
max. 4 action brackets
max. 4 hand nuts
max. 3 let-off rails
max. 3 jack slap rails
Damper slap rail
Hammer rest rail
Hammer rest rail insert
2 Hammer rest rail flanges
2 hammer rest rail flange centre pins
4 hammer rest rail flange bushings
3 pieces/layers of hammer rest rail cloth
30 screws for all rails etc. (max., probably less?)
Hammer rest rail trapwork lever
Cloth for above
Damper lift rod
Cloth for above
3 hangers for damper lift rod
3 screws for above
3 bushings for above
max. 2 auxiliary rails?
Key frame: about 8 pieces of wood?
Back rail cloth
Total: about 85

TOTAL: 5600 - 6900
---------------------------------------
OK, I'm off to regulate my hammer staples. smile
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1970300 - 10/08/12 12:48 PM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1973
Loc: Philadelphia area
lol... So I'm not the only one who questioned this statement. I thought it was "Over 100,000" moving parts. (Manufacture who states this will be unnamed). Is the rim included when the piano has wheels?


Edited by Dave B (10/08/12 01:01 PM)

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#1970306 - 10/08/12 01:02 PM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1973
Loc: Philadelphia area
To answer the OT's question. There are about 12-15 points of regulation in each key. That's counting the damper wire as one point. Then add the glider bolts, keyblocks, and the various trapwork systems; This is enough to keep anybody very busy.

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#1970312 - 10/08/12 01:12 PM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1967
Loc: Suffolk, England
Mark

Next question. How many of the items on your list might you have to adjust or inspect in regulating even one piano?

Then there are the strings, terminations and bearing points if you want to get the number of adjustments up.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1970355 - 10/08/12 03:15 PM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Steinway used to advertise that if it doesn't have 12,000 some odd parts, then it is not a Steinway. Wow! And all this time I thought there was 1 million parts! 😚😱😝
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1970399 - 10/08/12 04:54 PM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2051
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Ian,

Dave B already answered that. I don't want to "get anything up". Well, not in terms of pianos, anyway.

To the contrary: I want to do what's necessary for the piano to play well and sound good. I've just been wondering about the wording that websites and articles use to "sell" jobs such as regulation: "Thousands of (moving) parts that must all be adjusted." To me, the thought of using these words in front of a potential customer doesn't feel quite right.

If I think of a neglected/worn upright action that is still serviceable, then for starters, I'd look at hammer reshaping, strike distance, lost motion, let-off, and possibly key dip and catchers. That's a few hundreds of steps, not many thousands.

So, perhaps some differentiation would be in order, in terms of full regulation as opposed to "band-aid" or "getting back on the road" regulation. But even a full regulation doesn't even remotely involve 9000 steps.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

Top
#1970458 - 10/08/12 07:18 PM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1967
Loc: Suffolk, England
All

The full PTG sentence is, "It [the action] is comprised of over 9,000 parts which require adjustment to critical tolerances to be able to respond to a pianist's every command."

This, as Mark says, could be taken as a gross misrepresentation when there are only about 1000 - 1500 points of regulation in a piano!

It might be better to say something like "It is comprised of over 9,000 parts which must work together in a very precise way to be able to respond to a pianist's every command."

Of course "working together in a very precise way" is the result of "adjustment to critical tolerances". Also, as a single part can thwart the pianist, any of the 9,000 parts could be involved in regulation and servicing.

Do any PTG members think this is worth taking up with the PTG webmaster?
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1970461 - 10/08/12 07:28 PM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Withindale]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Withindale
....Do any PTG members think this is worth taking up with the PTG webmaster?
It may be. Tells us what the response is.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1970474 - 10/08/12 08:01 PM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I've never sat down and counted every single part inside and outside of a piano but, someone must have. Manufacturer's must. If a Steinway, which really, is no different that any other piano as far as parts goes, advertises that if it doesn't have 12,000 some odd parts, then it isn't a Steinway, then, one must assume that it has nearly that many parts, at least?

As for the terminology, a hammer flange needs traveling and spacing. Shanks sometimes need heating and bending to eliminate warping. Jacks need spacing inside of the window's. Bushings need repinning, or checked to make sure they are not to tight. When one thing is adjusted and/or regulated, it affects the remaining parts in one way or another. For example, key dip. To much affects how far the hammer will travel, maybe it will block against the string. it definately affects the way it feels-touch etc.

If you are doing a FULL regulation job, most things inside of the action will need to be changed and/or adjusted/regulated... Hammer filing means removal of felt which means the hammer is now further away from the hammer which means the hammer rail needs raising which means lost motion needs to be removed which means let off is also off etc., right on down the line.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1970679 - 10/09/12 07:34 AM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4949
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
…..

I want to do what's necessary for the piano to play well and sound good. I've just been wondering about the wording that websites and articles use to "sell" jobs such as regulation: "Thousands of (moving) parts that must all be adjusted." To me, the thought of using these words in front of a potential customer doesn't feel quite right.

…..


Then is this a matter of personal authenticity? (I think it has been some 2,000 years since the only completely authentic person walked the earth.) Some customers love the idea that their piano is a mechanical wonder. Others are more pragmatic. When it comes to marketing it is hard to beat Steinway. I think the PTG has copied them in many ways.

Strive to market your services in a way that seems authentic to you wink , and give the customer the respect to choose what they want.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1970690 - 10/09/12 08:41 AM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: UnrightTooner]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2051
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Then is this a matter of personal authenticity?


In a sense. Others may be more confident in selling their services, to the point of embellishment, but as my own worst critic, I have a deep repugnance (and frankly, fear) of over-selling and consequent under-delivery.

Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Strive to market your services in a way that seems authentic to you wink , and give the customer the respect to choose what they want.


Yes, insofar as I work with customers, this is my approach.

Apologies to anyone irritated by this personal interjection in a thread on action parts and regulation...
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

Top
#1970722 - 10/09/12 10:15 AM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4949
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
.....

Others may be more confident in selling their services, to the point of embellishment, but as my own worst critic, I have a deep repugnance (and frankly, fear) of over-selling and consequent under-delivery.

.....


Yes, by all means, wait until you have adjusted 1,000 hammer staples before bragging about the benefit of having you do it! (I may have to see a doctor to have my tongue unstuck from my cheek.)
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1970885 - 10/09/12 04:38 PM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
Thomas Dowell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/09
Posts: 122
Loc: Twin Lakes, WI
For fun, here is the list from an old Sohmer Grand diagram.
It gets really precise about differences in small parts. I've tried to translate or clarify what is there into modern terms (in parentheses):

Action Top Screw(Action Bracket Screw)
Action Bracket
Hammer
Damper Felt
Damper Block
Damper Bock Screw
Damper Lever
Damper Lever Wire
Damper Lever Flange
Damper Lever Flange Spring
Damper Flange Screw
Damper Lever Center Pin
Damper Lever Felt
Hammer Shank
Hammer Rail Felt
Hammer Rail Hook (Hammer Rail Support)
Hammer Shank Flange
Hammer Shank Center Pin
Hammer Shank Flange Screw
Regulating Rail (Let-off Rail)
Regulating Rail Screw
Regulating Rail Button
Regulating Rail Prop
Back Check
Back Check Felt
Backcheck Wire
Fly Jack (Jack)
Fly Jack Spring
Whippen
Whip Flange
Whip Flange Center Pin
Whip Flange Screw
Action Rail
Spoon (What the jack rests against)
Key Bed Felt
Balance Rail
End Rail
Front Rail
Front Punching
Front Pin
Sharp
Top Covering
Front Covering
Balance Punching
Balance Pin
Button
Guide Rail-Damper Rod
Upstop Rail
Swing Rail Flange (Damper Tray Flange)
Upstop Rail Felt
Lifter Flange-Damper
Lead Weights
Lifter Flange Center Pin
Damper Rail
Swing Rail (Damper Tray)
Swing Rail Cushion
Swing Rail Hook
Capstan Screw (on damper tray)
Key End Felt
Back Check Buckskin
Repetition Lever
Button (For Adjusting Rep Lever Height)
Punching (On Above Button)
Button Cloth (Somehow also on above button?)
Repetition Lever Cord
Regulating Screw (For Rep lever height)
Spring (Rep lever spring)
Fly Spring Pin
Bracket Shim-Action Rail (Shim between wippen rail and action bracket?)
Whippen Cloth
Capstan Screw (on keystick)
Fly button Punching
Fly Button
Fly Regulating Screw
Fly Cord
Fly Cushion Felt
Repetition Lever Cloth
Spring Pin
Spring Tension Screw
Knuckle Strip
Knuckle
Drop Screw
Hammer Shank Rail
Washer
Reg. Rail Bracket Screw
Sostenuto Rod
Support (for sostenuto)
Bracket (for sostenuto or damper action, can't tell)

You can regulate a lot of them...
_________________________
Thomas Dowell, R.P.T.
Dowell Piano
www.dowellpiano.com

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#1970900 - 10/09/12 05:05 PM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21689
Loc: Oakland
You could count the number of molecules, or atoms that it took to make up the piano. Or maybe the number of protons, electrons, and neutrons. Maybe you could count all the different subatomic particles, the quarks and such.

There are infinite possibilities for tuning each string, so no matter how many parts there are, or how many adjustments there are, the possibilities are endless.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1970979 - 10/09/12 07:49 PM Re: How many parts in an action? 9000? Regulating all of them? [Re: Mark R.]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
OK gang! Let a pianist answer the question.

I went to my piano and counted.

1 - Keyboard
1 - Cover that falls on my fingers
3 - Pedals
1 - Heavy hood like a car
1 - Stick for holdin up the hood
Lots - Stringy thingys
Lots - Black things with marshmallows sitting on stringy thingys
1 - Funny shaped box to put it all in

So, There are 7 parts, Lots of other stuff, All thrown into the box. My metronome only goes up to fast so I'm glad it's less than that or I couldn't count them all.

crazy

(Just Funnin')
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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