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#2007040 - 12/31/12 12:16 PM Basic Piano Regulation Tips for a Novice
Phillip Kwan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/31/12
Posts: 10
Hi all,

I've recently become the owner of a 1974 Kawai model 600 grand. The strings have been replaced, new pin block and tuning pins. The hammers look to be in good shape, without too much wear on the felts. Hammer knuckles show some very minor wear, mostly discolouration from the jack.

I have a basic understanding of the parts and action of the piano, and have been tinkering with it carefully over the last few days. I suppose what I'm lacking the most are the "rules of thumb" for the correction positions and alignments of the action at rest, and at different stages of the hammer strike.

Maybe I'll start off with a few very basic questions:

1. I read somewhere that the wippen should be such that the hammer head does not rest on the felt, and is suspended slightly above it in the stationary position. Is there a general rule for how much above the felt hammer rest it should be?

2. Where the top of the repetition lever butts up to the underside of the hammer joint (on my Kawai, the top of the repetition lever has a small pad that pushes up against the screw head at the hammer joint), should this be at the same height on all pianos. I've discovered that there are quite a few things that affect the total height extension of the wippen assembly, but I'll keep this question generic for now.

3. Similarly, I've also read that in the stationary position, the jack should be just ever-so slightly below the edges of the repetition lever at the opening. Should I use the jack regulating screw to position the jack directly square below the hammer knuckle? If the hammer knuckles are not perfectly aligned key-to-key, should the jack be adjusted to achieve the above?

4. Should the position of the let-off button be aligned for all keys? IE. should I level all the let-off buttons so that they're at the same height off the base of the action? Or do the specific adjustments to independent wippens demand that the let-off button be different in order to accommodate?

5. The height of the hammer rest, from what I can infer, determines to a certain extent the volume of the piano. My Kawai is currently quite loud, which is probably in part due to the empty room that it's located in (at the moment devoid of furniture and area rugs). I'm thinking of raising the hammer rest, but I don't want to compromise the key dip. Is there a way to adjust this without making the key dip too shallow?

6. Could someone describe the optimal position of the hammer and wippen when the key is slowly depressed all the way? Where the jack slightly kicks out from underneath the hammer knuckle and does a little wobble? I'm not quite sure how to describe it, but I'm sure you all know what I'm referring to. This "action" isn't consistent across all the keys, so I'd like to make them all consistent, but need to know what it's supposed to be like.

7. Similar to point 2, should the capstans all be at the same height as well? Or do these sometimes need to be different to accommodate the rest of the action?

Thanks in advance for any help! I apologize if I'm asking very basic and obvious questions. And Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all! smile

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#2007052 - 12/31/12 12:53 PM Re: Basic Piano Regulation Tips for a Novice [Re: Phillip Kwan]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2499
Loc: Olympia, WA
Don't expect adjustment screws to perfectly line up. There will be quite a bit of variation even on a well-regulated action. I recommend getting a copy of Reblitz book and studying the chapter on regulation. That will answer most of your questions.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#2007067 - 12/31/12 01:39 PM Re: Basic Piano Regulation Tips for a Novice [Re: Phillip Kwan]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2089
Loc: Suffolk, England
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2007080 - 12/31/12 02:20 PM Re: Basic Piano Regulation Tips for a Novice [Re: Phillip Kwan]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3370
IMO, the Kawai 600 can be a high performance instrument. Regulation is not for the novice; call a tech.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2007106 - 12/31/12 03:15 PM Re: Basic Piano Regulation Tips for a Novice [Re: Phillip Kwan]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Even with the very well described Kawai manual, you need to be atechnician to make the operations with some understanding AND a decent result.

Lining the hammers and shanks can be done by the pianist, but it will modify the aftertouch, so i consider that to be done only on a precedently perfectly regulated instrument that compressed a little for some reason.

Playing with regulation on a good grand can only provide you minimal service, even if most of the time the owners that want to regulate their piano are very happy of the result (I stopped trying to show them their mistakes)

ALl depends of what you are lookingf for, as it is your piano, you can do whatever you want. I would suggest to locate a concert technician, and organise something so you can have your instrument regulated at its best some day.

In the meantime there is plenty of documentation, rarely explaining everything even if it shows the good synopsis or the differnt parts of the regulation.

DIffernt pianos actions also ask for differnt types of regulation, while all pianos are "playeable" with a minimal job (and much more tolerant than they should in my opinion, if pianos where out of order more easily more regulation and maintenance would be done.) , to get the best of agiven piano mean putting it in the hands of a high knowledge technician preferntly good pianist himself...

Basics of regulation are now more or less easy to find, and most parts are known, but once in front of the instrument it is another story.

I have seen enough seosoned tehcnicians just missing apoint on a grand piano and leaving it in a depreciated condition without finding where the problem was (often in keyframe to keybed adjustment).

You probably can obtain a "better than none" regulation, but you also could mess with the action and have the piano in less good condition than originally in the end without being able to see where is the glitch..


P.S the regulation manual from Kawai is explianing way more than the RTeblitz hopw to regulate a modern grand piano. Probably Reblitz may help to see the tools used, and other basics, but I have find that book useless when it come sto regulation, be it on verticals or grand pianos.

Written at a time where knowledge was not spread enough or with enough analysis probably. (also the writer was not a "piano technician", I know a few persons non professionals that are abolutely capable to repair a piano, action and strings/soundboard, and player action as well eventually, but dont understand how an optimal regulation enghance the tone, or how the voicing is constructed.

They simply do not have the good reflexes in front of a given situation, rgeulation wise. THose that the experienced technician learn slowly and from experience, and that makes him able to "read " a piano condition, hen,ce know what is the first point he will begin with.

Good luck, and sorry to be so abrupt.



Edited by Kamin (12/31/12 03:24 PM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2007110 - 12/31/12 03:29 PM Re: Basic Piano Regulation Tips for a Novice [Re: beethoven986]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
IMO, the Kawai 600 can be a high performance instrument. Regulation is not for the novice; call a tech.


IMHO Do not call "a tech" but first find who to call, grand regulation is for experienced techs.

And before regulation, very possibly 50% or more of the hammer centers have to be replaced compressed cloths and felts could be changed or repaired, contaminated leather (knuckles) could be cleaned, everything dusted with compressed air if possible, keys pins cleaned/lubed, etc etc.
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2007113 - 12/31/12 03:47 PM Re: Basic Piano Regulation Tips for a Novice [Re: Olek]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3370
Originally Posted By: Kamin
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
IMO, the Kawai 600 can be a high performance instrument. Regulation is not for the novice; call a tech.


IMHO Do not call "a tech" but first find who to call, grand regulation is for experienced techs.


This goes without saying.

Originally Posted By: Kamin
And before regulation, very possibly 50% or more of the hammer centers have to be replaced compressed cloths and felts could be changed or repaired, contaminated leather (knuckles) could be cleaned, everything dusted with compressed air if possible, keys pins cleaned/lubed, etc etc.


I consider these procedures to be a part of the regulation process. Some technicians certainly do skip these refinements. I don't.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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