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#631135 - 01/31/03 03:47 AM Regulation question for techs
.rvaga* Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 2046
Loc: Portland, Oregon
When you piano technicians respond to a regulation question in a client's home, what do you do? How do you determine how far off the regulation is from ideal?

For us on the forum, are there any tests we can do on a grand piano to tell if the regulation is marginally good, or how bad the general regulation is?

To check tuning, a piano tech might play various intervals chromatically, listening to beats, check unisons, play a little, do some arpeggios (I'm kinda guessing this is how you guys/gals would approach an unknown piano). And, I'm wondering if there are similar things you do when checking regulation -- stuff that anyone watching would think, "what's he doing??"

\:\)

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#631136 - 01/31/03 12:13 PM Re: Regulation question for techs
Brian Lawson, RPT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/04/01
Posts: 647
Loc: South Africa
A couple, just looking at the hammers you can see, how worn are they, how deep are te grooves.
Slowly press a key, see the hammer rise toward the strings, it should release about 1/8th (2 -3mm) away from the string, at the same time the damper should start to lift when the hammer is halfway to the strings
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Johannesburg
South Africa

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#631137 - 01/31/03 03:57 PM Re: Regulation question for techs
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
You can look at several adjustments of regulation in the way that Brian suggested.

I try to keep in mind that the main purpose of regulation is to attain and regulate even aftertouch. With this in mind, you can simply look at hammer movement after drop (back towards the string). This isn't definitive necessarily, but gives one a good idea as to the amount of aftertouch the piano has from note to note, and section to section.

I understand that there are other things to look at in the regulation (hammerline, letoff, dip, level, etc.), but just adjusting each of these things to "spec" doesn't insure proper regulation.

KlavierBauer
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#631138 - 02/01/03 09:01 AM Re: Regulation question for techs
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3947
This is a good question because so many pianos need regulation, even when brand new. In addition to the above, a properly regulated piano should play smoothly at all volume levels, especially soft playing. Many new pianos are not properly regulated from the start due to the labor cost of doing so. Further, the regulation of most new pianos changes after a couple years of playing because the felts compress. Regulation in the home should be done after about two years of service, and every 5 years after that. In a piano bar, or similar environment, a piano should be regulated at least every year.
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#631139 - 02/01/03 03:15 PM Re: Regulation question for techs
PNO2NER Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/01
Posts: 128
Loc: Traverse City, MI
A quick and easy test used to check regulation especially on a grand piano is to push any key down VERY SLOWLY with the tip of your thumb. Near the bottom of its travel, you should feel a slight "bump" or "ledge". This should be the same on all keys. Known as aftertouch, the is the point in time when the disconnect between the key and the hammer takes place. Do this in various places on the keyboard, the end keys will likely be easier to feel, as these are played less. If there is no discernible release felt, your piano may be in need of regulation. There are a number of additional tests techs use to determine correct regulation, but this is one that the player can use easily.

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#631140 - 02/01/03 04:32 PM Re: Regulation question for techs
TomtheTuner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/01
Posts: 806
Loc: Melbourne, Florida USA
I aggree with all of the above.. I would like to add one important thing::: Be very sensitive to questions or comments the customer brings up. Questions about touch, or control, or voicing. Even though the piano's regulations may be awful, if the customer dosen't recognize it, then you are in danger of being " too pushy", if you try to sell a $200-$400 regulation job. Keep your ears open and your mouth shut and regulation jobs will come your way.....
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#631141 - 02/01/03 05:23 PM Re: Regulation question for techs
.rvaga* Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 2046
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Assuming all parts are OK, is regulation then an all-or-nothing job, or are there degrees of the process and resultant costs.
Not sure the above is clear. . .

In other words, do all the related adjustments have to be a sequence of events per note, or do technicians that regulate do one adjustment across all 88 keys, and if good enough, that's it, and then maybe find a few other adjustments here and there for noticeably different keys.

Overall I guess what I'm asking, is from a pianist's perspective, what are the right questions to ask when talking to a technician about regulation on a grand?

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#631142 - 02/01/03 10:40 PM Re: Regulation question for techs
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
It's no trick- it's responsiveness and musicality.

A grand piano that is "right" plays easily and fluidly, allows you to play very softly with control, has good dynamic range, and is fast. A good musician should be able to sit at it and enjoy himself thoroughly.

If it's not "right", it's usually a combination of regulation and friction issues. The exception to this might be rebuilt pianos, which are sometimes bad if the rebuilder didn't know what he was doing, and need a lot more correction than regulation or getting excess friction out.

Also, older pianos may have worn out parts issues that can't be "adjusted out".

To fully explain all my steps in evaluating what there is to do to correct action insufficiencies in a given piano would require a heck of a lot more writing than I'm willing to do here.

Regards,

Rick Clark
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Rick Clark

Piano tuner-technician

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#631143 - 02/01/03 11:22 PM Re: Regulation question for techs
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
PNO2NER:

I think I might not have understood your post. If we're talking about the same thing, aftertouch is the movement after both escapements. After the action has gone through all of it's motions, the movement is called aftertouch. In other words, push a hammer down slowly through drop. Movement back towards the string after letoff/drop is aftertouch. I'm sure the "specs" change with each technician. But I think most agree that aftertouch should be roughly equal to drop. So if you have letoff set at 1/16", and drop at 1/16", then aftertouch should bring the hammer back up to letoff height (1/16" from string).

But as Rick said, fluidity, and consistency are paramount. Regulation is pointless if the tech doesn't understand what he's trying to attain by doing it.

And also as Rick said, there is a lot more to checking the piano than just depressing a few keys. To truly understand what state the piano's in, and what steps are best/necessary to bring it to it's highest requires a bit of evaluation.

KlavierBauer
_________________________
Outlive Yourself - Become an Organ Donor

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#631144 - 02/02/03 03:14 AM Re: Regulation question for techs
.rvaga* Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 2046
Loc: Portland, Oregon
 Quote:
I think I might not have understood your post. If we're talking about the same thing, aftertouch is the movement after both escapements. After the action has gone through all of it's motions, the movement is called aftertouch. In other words, push a hammer down slowly through drop. Movement back towards the string after letoff/drop is aftertouch. I'm sure the "specs" change with each technician. But I think most agree [/b]that aftertouch should be roughly equal to drop. So if you have letoff set at 1/16", and drop at 1/16", then aftertouch should bring the hammer back up to letoff height (1/16" from string).
But as Rick said, fluidity, and consistency are paramount. Regulation is pointless if the tech doesn't understand[/b] what he's trying to attain by doing it.
And also as Rick said, there is a lot more to checking the piano than just depressing a few keys. To truly understand what state the piano's in, and what steps are best/necessary to bring it to it's highest requires a bit of evaluation.[/b]
KlavierBauer
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