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Topic Options
#643207 - 11/11/03 08:00 PM Kimball Spinet Regulation
JIMBOB Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 1326
Loc: South Carolina
I'm looking for some tips to help regulate a Kimball spinet with nylon lost motion nuts. I had about 20 keys that where going into check before the hammer could get to the strings. I did what I could and got most of them working but feel that I could fine tune the regulation . Maybe someone has a particular order or some suggestions. There is very little wear on the action parts and the piano for the most part has been pretty well cared for. I did have to do a pitch raise and fine tuning but I would like to go back and do a quick pass on the action. I think some of the jacks would benefit from new springs but I did not have time to put any in. It seemed to me that all of the letoff button where very close to the rail with very little space from the top of the button to the bottom of the rail they are suspended from.
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#643208 - 11/12/03 08:59 AM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation
Manitou Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 1044
Loc: Colorado
You could move the let-off rail itself, to allow more freedom in regulation. It usually has adjustment screws.

Personally though, I never do regulation on a spinet: I don't like splitting my eyes above and below and I don't find much worth in it, and very little satisfaction resulting from improving the piano.

Some heavy voicing though does seem to enhance the tone (usually by mellowing it out)...

Manitou - Pianist - Technician
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Manitou - Pianist - Technician

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#643209 - 11/12/03 07:39 PM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3450
Loc: Madison, WI USA
"Personally though, I never do regulation on a spinet:" Yeah and Dampp-Chaser systems don't work, they only ruin pianos. Never heed the advice of people who say these kind of things.

Yours is an unusual problem which among the many hundreds of spinets I have regulated, I don't think I've run across. If I understand you correctly, let off is occurring way too soon but there is little room to raise the let-off button any further.

If you have ruled out any other cause for this, detach the let-off button rail completely so you can get some long nosed pliers or long nosed vice grips on the fork shaped supports and give them a bend upwards. It won't take much of a bend to make a big difference.

When regulating the let-off of this make and model of piano, don't try to get the let-off too close. The specification is 1/8". If you get it closer than that, you risk blocking hammers under normal playing conditions.

Whenever I see the writing of the kind of guy who says what Manitou did, I feel it is important to point out that this happens to be what business we are in. Most often, the "I only do Steinways" and most pianos are "PSO's" and on and on about what he WON'T do type of guy doesn't do those things because he can't. It is NOT the kind of thing to suggest as the proper attitude to have nor is that ever going to be the kind of technician worth hiring nor aspiring to be.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#643210 - 11/12/03 09:10 PM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation
JIMBOB Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 1326
Loc: South Carolina
Bill... Thanks for the tip. I did think about doing something with the rail . Those dropped action spinets can drive you nuts but I always do the best job I can even if the piano has been ignored for years. I think someone tried to do some regulation before but who knows when. In the end I had only 1 key that was acting a little slow but ran out of time since the customer was going out for a fund raiser. I told her if it acts up to call me and I will come back.

Some regulation usually has to be done before tuning on a lot of spinets. I find a lot of lost motion problems and keys that are hung up for one reason or another. Dampers are often an issue as well as noisy pedals .Sometimes a repair is needed too. I don't walk away from the job and explain to the customer that I can do some minor things as part of the tuning but it is going to cost more if it is involved.

Like I was taught at NBSS the proper order is repair, regulate, tune. Most times you can go straight to tune but a lot of times you need to do one or the other r's. As for the attitude I only work on Steinways etc etc.- I know of some techs with that attitude too.

As far as I am concerned I will work on any piano, any where as long as it is tunable. I have worked on many a spinet, many a console, many a grand. EVERY piano is a learning experience and I get great satisfaction knowing that the piano is playable when I leave it whether it is a Steinway or a Grand Piano spinet.

After working on the Kimball for a few hours yesterday I was rewarded today by getting to tune a Yamaha G2 Disklavier. It was in excellent condition and only 2 cents flat. I zipped through that tuning and got a chance to play it for about 20 minutes.
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Yamaha & Petrof/Nordiska Training
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#643211 - 11/13/03 08:05 AM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3947
I often do a quick lost motion adjusment before tuning a piano, especially with Kimball or Baldwin style nuts where a quick pass over takes little time. On many spinets, replacing weak jack springs makes a huge difference. Watch out for loose and wrongly positioned let-off rails when tuning. When a group of notes have a let-off problem, that's usually the culprit.

Bill is correct, It may be only a "crappy" spinet to us - but to the customer it is the best piano they can afford - and it is up to us to make the best of it.
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#643212 - 11/13/03 08:51 AM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation
Manitou Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 1044
Loc: Colorado
*grin*

Trying to get heated huh? No problem Mr Bremmer RPT.

I will continue to not regulate useless PSO's, and send them to tuners who's level of regulation experience is only equal to them, and I will consecrate my best efforts and experience to those pianos deserving.
My choice, not yours. (Same as I will remove DC's and propose whole-house humidity).
We both choose how to operate, you have no basis for determining that I am lesser or wrong in my choice.

Manitou - Pianist - Technician
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Manitou - Pianist - Technician

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#643213 - 11/13/03 12:50 PM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
Manitou, I have never responded to one of your posts and seriously doubt I ever will again. But the egotism exhibited by your comments regarding "certain" pianos is a little more than I can bear. I don't know you - don't want to know you - and thank goodness there are enough miles between us that our paths will never cross.

JIMBOB wrote an intelligent post asking for information to assist him in providing the highest level of service to his customer. And thank goodness there were the usual knowledgable
technicians who gave the needed advice. What did you provide???? Little to nothing regarding the issue.

If you desire to work strictly on high quality pianos that is certainly your choice. But give us all a break and keep your weak opinions to yourself. Your advice is read by many forum readers, and your comments seem to continually add to the confusion and misinformation prevelent in the piano service industry.

You might possibly have some potential as a technican if you expand your capabilities by learning enough to service all pianos. Yes, spinet regulation can be a pain, and there is little reward even when the little piano can function at optimum. But think about all the happy customers who will sing your praises when you accomplish this. Egos such as yours feed off of this, and hopefully ego will be enough incentive for you to begin your quest and become a decent tech.

Ron
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Ron Alexander
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#643214 - 11/13/03 01:10 PM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22364
Loc: Oakland
These days, I almost always do a little regulating on spinets when I tune them. You don't encourage them to use the piano if it doesn't work well.

Years ago, I tuned a spinet for someone just out of the university's music program. Years later, he inherited a nice old Knabe grand, and when he asked me about rebuilding it, he told me that he always remembered how I didn't make fun of his spinet. He went on to form a group that appeared on television several times, and since leaving them, has had a couple of Grammy nominations for his recordings. It just goes to show there is no reason for not doing your best for any piano.
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Semipro Tech

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#643215 - 11/13/03 01:36 PM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation
Manitou Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 1044
Loc: Colorado
Mr. Rjalex,

Allow me to respond. I do beleive in fact, that I did offer technical advice to the posed question; advice which seemd to make sense to Jimbob, though he did not mention it was from me.

Next, calling me (as some do) elitist, or opiniated, or snobbish is fine. I work to a very high standard and anticipate pianos arriving at a certain level when I am finished with them. I do not enjoy putting forth this level of work into a piano that cannot return the favor by suddenly becoming more than it was made for.

Would you call-up Virgil Smith and tell him he is elitist or snobbish, or misguided for choosing only to work on Steinway B's ? Then if so, go ahead, for that is what he chooses to do. Does that mean his views, values or knowledge are false? Don't think so.

Now, for the sake of education and learning (strived for on this forum), could you all resort to working to help people instead of constantly trying to demean and defame people, based solely on differences of opinion?

P.s, you have a spinet? Fine. I will tune it. It will drive me nuts because it cannot comply with my standard of tuning, but tune it I will. But spend twice as much time regulating and voicing it, only to receive half as much satisfaction... nope.

P.p.s, anyone who wishes to meet me, who feels he has real courage enough to spit in my face, unhidden by the disguises of the Internet, is most welcome to put life and limb at stake; for I will most joyously offer you my real name and address, so we can meet and work-out our differences...

Manitou - Pianist - Technician
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Manitou - Pianist - Technician

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#643216 - 11/13/03 02:35 PM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
MR Manitou,

If you can't take the heat get out. Do us all a big, big favor. Contribute something worthwhile and few will challenge you.

You have been challenged on numerous occasions and you always come back with the same stupid chatter. Regarding your offer to take off your mask, you are not worthy of the time and effort.
_________________________
-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#643217 - 11/13/03 02:50 PM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation
JIMBOB Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 1326
Loc: South Carolina
Some excellent suggestions and I will use them on the next spinets I see. I may end up going back to this one but if I don't I do a little more on the next regular tuning. In a perfect world it would be great to work on pianos like the Yamaha Grand I worked on the other day. The truth is that there are many, many, many more spinets and consoles out there with big needs.
Ironically I tuned my teachers home piano this past August when I visited Mass. It was a WW Kimball with tons of lost motion and needed all of the rubber grommets replaced. The result after all of my regulation work ? It was like a new piano to her and all of the clicking in the keys was gone. I had never seen her piano before- I took lessons in her studio. Her 2 sons used the Kimball at home and both are talented musicians. One just graduated from Bard College with a major in music performance.

As for removing Dampp Chasers the only Dampp Chasers that I would remove are the ones with no humidistat control since they are on all the time and cooking the piano. These are the early versions of the dehumidifier rod and can do more damage than good. I do not agree that a whole house system is the way to go. Case in point was a new house with a new whole house system but the temp and rh was in the high 70's- rust is already on the strings of their M&H.

One final comment- doing work on spinets makes me a better technician and helps improve my overall skills and value. Spinets are not being made anymore but there are plenty of them around.
MANY of the spinets have great sentimental value and are being used to teach another generation the joy of piano. If someone wants only to work on Steinways so be it. I would rather be a
General Practitioner anyday.
_________________________
Certificate in Piano Technology NBSSP
Associate Member PTG
Yamaha & Petrof/Nordiska Training
Dampp-Chaser System Installer
QRS/ Pianomation Service
Certified Piano Disc Technician/Installer

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#643218 - 11/13/03 04:04 PM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
JIMBOB, I feel I need to personally apologize to you for my comments regarding this thread. You asked a valid question regarding regulation of a spinet action and a flamer with dubvious piano technician skills chimed in with his usual spew.

When I read your post, I did not respond because Bob and BDB provided what in my opinion are valid courses of action. I could not add further constructive comments.

I hope the discussion will now center back to the real issue. I completely agree with your comment about being a general practictioner of piano technology. I was taught in school, that the little ole lady's spinet is just as important to her as the concert grand is to the civic center or concert hall. I see so many tech's with this guys attitude and sometimes it gets to me more than it should. Anyway have a great day. It's always good to hear from you.

Regards,
Ron
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Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#643219 - 11/23/03 07:26 PM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation
pianoseed Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/13/01
Posts: 884
Loc: here
I tune many spinets. I really like them, the reason being that people will pay me to tune them. They usually are not too particular as long as all the keys are working and a decent sound results when one strikes the key. I am able to sit down and rest my elbow which saves on my back. I am very reluctant to remove a spinet action. It has gotten me into hot water in the past. If a string breaks I try my best to splice it. I only voice a spinet if requested by the customer. I voiced one once and it really improved the tone. The customer did not like it. She liked the twangy hard hammer sound better. Give the customers what they want and no more.
_________________________
pianoseed

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#643220 - 11/24/03 08:54 PM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3450
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Most of us have some common sense about this. Even Liberace had an Acrosonic in his dressing room to warm up on. Does anyone think he would put up with an arrogant tuner who would only work on the concert grand, call the Acrosonic a "PSO" and refuse to service it because it is beneath his dignity?

I just made an appointment this evening for replacing the grommets on a Baldwin Spinet. The bottom line is that I will make more money for the time spent than I would at a concert tuning and I will have a very happy customer whereas it is hit or miss as to the demeanor of a concert artist.

But I'm sure that Manitou's calendar is full of high level appointments who want his very skilled work on all of those expensive grand pianos in his area. He must be making so much money, he should really replace that Everett he has. By the way, would that be an Everett Grand? Those are rare. Or would it be a Studio or Console? I wonder if it's ever been regulated.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2414691 - Yesterday at 06:39 PM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation [Re: JIMBOB]
PreacherPianoman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/24/13
Posts: 2
Loc: Michigan
I have the same question as JIMBOB started with. Is there an order to go by with a spinet piano. I have one that I have put a lot of time in and have done repairs and tuned it. I want to sell this baby and it is not cooperating. I hate regulating spinets, but when it does not want to work, it is not going to sell. I have one key with a jack that will not return to position. Thus it jams. I have all new rubber grommets in and have to set all the lost action and, well all the settings. What order do I go in? It does not seem the same as a regular upright action when it comes to regulation. Keybed is done, leveled. The let off is way off on some. Keys are shaped, not yet voiced. Soda or coffee cleaned out or action parts replaced. Is there specific order for spinets, like the Reblizt instructions for grand and uprights. Yes, I hate spinets, but I have several customers with them. Acrosonics are abundant here in MI.


Edited by PreacherPianoman (Yesterday at 10:10 PM)

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#2414715 - Yesterday at 08:10 PM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation [Re: JIMBOB]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3450
Loc: Madison, WI USA
I guess this is one of the threads that chased out all of the "real" technicians. Preacher, you said that all the keys are leveled but you also say the the let off is "way off" on some. You also don't say anything about the dip. There is no order of regulation that is going to solve your problem.

Personally, I think that when you get over the "I hate regulating" problem that you have, you will start getting somewhere. You would have the same problem with the finest grand that you have with that spinet given the conditions that you cite and once again, it has nothing at all to do with the order in which you perform and regulation steps.

You have a lot yet to learn but you would never learn it from the "real technicians" who have already left. They were already of the same opinion as you are now.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2414746 - Yesterday at 09:03 PM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation [Re: JIMBOB]
Gerry Johnston Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/13
Posts: 127
Loc: Haverhill, MA
I, too, have little patience for the "I don't work on spinets" attitude. Years ago a Russian woman, Moscow Conservatory trained, settled in my area and a spinet was all she could afford at the time. I did the best I could taking care of it and she eventually was able to afford a good grand. Another customer with a spinet received a Masters Degree in composition - from Harvard. I have another customer who is a "big name" in the Boston jazz scene. He has an Acrosonic at home. People end up with spinets for a variety of reasons. It may be appropriate, under certain circumstances, to advise the customer as to the spinet's limitations. After all, we don't want the customer to have unrealistic expectations about the performance capabilities of their instrument. Nonetheless, it is never appropriate to speak in a derogatory fashion ("I don't work on those pianos") about an instrument which may be perfectly adequate for the customer's purposes.

To get to the question originally posted. There have been a couple of good responses as to what to do with the Kimball spinet. In addition I would add that some compromise is necessary in action regulation - particularly with spinets. I would begin with setting key height and dip. I like to keep dip to a fairly standard measurement - probably about 3/8" on a spinet. Pianists are likely to notice any significant departure from this. You have a bit more leeway with other regulation specs. Experiment with strike distance, let-off and checking on a few notes until you find a reasonable compromise that works.

A spinet will never have the repetition, power, etc. that we expect in a high quality grand. But, they can most definitely be regulated to a reliable performance standard.
_________________________
Gerry Johnston, Registered Piano Technician
Haverhill, MA
(978) 372-2250
www.gjpianotuner.com

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#2414760 - Yesterday at 10:04 PM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
PreacherPianoman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/24/13
Posts: 2
Loc: Michigan
Let me clarify. Key level and dip have been re done. New felts and spacers. As I said, this piano has rubber bushings connecting to the drop sticker. I have finished the tuning and now am doing the regulating. Hammers are shaped. Repairs have been made to a section of the action that had coffee or soda spilled in three keys. Luckily they missed the hammers. Now I am starting the rest of regulation. Because of where things started I am working, lets say, from front of keys, to back, hammer let-off. Is this the best way, or would it be better going in another order.

As for your comment of real tuners, well, I am a technician with 8 years experience, several complete restorations, and numerous rehabs of pianos that I have bought and sold. I am not nor will I become an RPT because of the kind of attitude exhibited by some in the field. I did not say I hate regulating, just spinets. I am one of the only in my area that can regulate the old upright action by the original Wessell, Nickel and Gross, which had the repetition ability in an upright. This was in the 1912 Bush & Lane pianos.

I will never deny that I have a lot to learn, as I believe we all have to keep learning. I am a real technician, yet I can learn something new everyday. So, now, I guess I shall start again tomorrow, spend time on the Grand Spinet, then the old Kimball Upright, the Marshall and Wendall Ampico A Grand, and the Bush & Lane Parlor Grand. Maybe also the 1890's Smith and Barnes. These are just ones in my home and shop.

Oh, yea, as a former preacher, I can't be a real piano technician, I guess!


Edited by PreacherPianoman (Yesterday at 10:05 PM)

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#2414764 - Yesterday at 10:16 PM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation [Re: JIMBOB]
rXd Online   happy
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 2104
I note the OP has qualifications so I will skip the more obvious suggestions but I remember some similar symptoms being produced by the abstracts on an otherwise decently regulated spinet being out of line or curved.

It might be worth checking them to see if the ones that don't work properly are lined up the same as those that do work properly. I think all the Kimballs I remember had wire abstracts.

Look for freedom of movement between the metal fork at the end of the key and the adjuster on the abstract. It may be necessary to take the key out in order to check for the range of flexibility there being in the right area.
_________________________
Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.
Eschew obfuscation.



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#2414795 - Today at 12:37 AM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation [Re: JIMBOB]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2539
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
My business is called "No Piano Left Behind" for a reason.

If it can make music in someone's home, it's worth caring for.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2414838 - Today at 04:43 AM Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation [Re: JIMBOB]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1121
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By JIMBOB
I'm looking for some tips to help regulate a Kimball spinet with nylon lost motion nuts. I had about 20 keys that where going into check before the hammer could get to the strings. I did what I could and got most of them working but feel that I could fine tune the regulation . Maybe someone has a particular order or some suggestions. There is very little wear on the action parts and the piano for the most part has been pretty well cared for. I did have to do a pitch raise and fine tuning but I would like to go back and do a quick pass on the action. I think some of the jacks would benefit from new springs but I did not have time to put any in. It seemed to me that all of the letoff button where very close to the rail with very little space from the top of the button to the bottom of the rail they are suspended from. (Emphasis added.)


rXd's post jogged my memory smile

There is yet another possibility...

I don't recall if i've seen this on a Kimball spinet. But, i have seen this on other spinets...

Sometimes, the metal tine, or fork, will develop a memory.

When the action is played all the time, the forks will bend slightly downward from their original shape. Then, a well-meaning piano-tech will come along and take out the lost motion.

Later, the family goes on vacation, the kids stop lessons.. whatever.. the piano goes into disuse.

Since the metal forks are not being bent slightly downward from their original shape by the force of someone playing, they return upward to their original shape. Thus, the lost motion is affected. You have "negative lost motion," so to speak.

In extreme cases, the jacks will no longer slip fully back under the hammer butt.

Sometimes, oddly enough, the timing of the jack return is strange and the jacks will return under the butt. But, the hammers themselves will no longer be resting on the hammer rail. (this second scenario is probably not your problem.)

There are two tests i know of for this:

1) Make sure that after playing, the jacks are completely back under the hammer butt. You could play an offending note, release the key, then move the hammer slightly closer to the strings. Then, observe if you see even the slightest movement of the jack tip toward the hammer butt felt. Then, when you let go of the hammer, the hammer will not return completely back to the hammer rail because it is being held forward by the jack.

2) Check if the hammers are setting slightly forward of the hammer rail, only appearing the be resting on the rail.

This may not be your problem. But, it is worth a look.

If this is the problem, the jacks will already be partially engaged. The hammer will not be able to move as designed towards the strings (maybe only slightly) and the backcheck will catch on the the catcher.

Btw, if you do adjust the lost motion, only rotate the head without pushing down at all.


Edited by daniokeeper (Today at 06:19 AM)
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
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#2414872 - 40 minutes 28 seconds ago Re: Kimball Spinet Regulation [Re: OperaTenor]
David Jenson Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2345
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By OperaTenor
My business is called "No Piano Left Behind" for a reason.

If it can make music in someone's home, it's worth caring for.


+1 Spinets can be problematic and frustrating at times, but they are modern pianos with readily available repair parts, so I accept the challenge and try to make them the best instrument they can be.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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Pearl River upright
by PhilipInChina
04/28/15 06:38 AM
Eisteddfod in 4 days... I think I have RSI
by AtomicBond
04/28/15 06:09 AM
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