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What other service does my piano need?

Pianos produce their sound through an extremely sophisticated mechanism that transmits the touch of the player’s fingers from the keys to the strings. This mechanism, the “action,” is a marvel of 19th century engineering, made mostly of precisely cut wooden parts, with cloth pieces at key centers of movement, ending at “hammers” made of compressed wool felt that strike the stings and produce sound. The action has more parts than a car engine, and like a car, these parts must be maintained and adjusted to make it possible for the action to operate.

Keeping in mind that a piano is capable of lasting for 40 to 60 years, or even longer, routine mechanical maintenance spread across this span of years is required to keep the piano working properly. As parts wear out, because of use, neglect or environmental conditions, they can be restored or replaced. A new piano will keep its original sound and condition longest if it gets this additional maintenance (beyond tuning) when needed. Older pianos, or pianos that have not had proper maintenance, can have their sound and performance improved by work that brings the action mechanism back to its original settings and condition as closely as possible. The steps that have to be undertaken to get that result are different for every piano and depend on many factors of its inherent sound qualities, age and condition. You can compare it roughly to having major service done on a car. If a car has been maintained by the book all the way along then even the 100,000 mile service is pretty routine. If the service along the way has not been done then there could be quite a bit more work. Each piano must be evaluated individually.


What is “voicing” and “regulation?”

Regulation and voicing are the process by which we get the best possible performance and sound from the piano. What we call regulation includes working with the settings and adjustments of the keyboard and action mechanism to get the specifications as close to original as possible. It often involves reshaping the hammers to get them closer to their original shape after years of wear. Regulation establishes the foundation for making the piano play properly, and for getting the best sound from the combination of strings, hammers and action mechanism. Voicing usually refers to the last stage of this process where we combine the properly tuned piano with the mechanicals operating correctly and then adjust for the best balance of sound that the particular piano can achieve.

 
     

     
  
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