Appraisals, Estimates & Purchase Consults
Frequently asked Piano Questions
What is regulating?
the process of restoring the movable action parts of the piano to their original
specifications and make it play to it's original full potential. Over many years the wood parts of a piano
shrink and swell. Felt shrinks and swells and the metal pieces can become
corroded. All the subtle movements can cause the piano action to move slower, or
in some cases become so loose that they can bounce and miss-strike or double
strike. The technician must adjust such things as the distance the hammer is
from the strings before and after it is played, how far the keys can be
depressed, or how soon the dampers lift off the strings.
When a piano is going to be
regulated, the piano technician must first clean the piano and inspect all the
thousands of individual parts,( a typical piano will contain over 7000 parts).
All repairs will be made prior to regulating the piano.
On an upright
piano, all of the action parts, which are removable, can be repaired in the
shop, but the actual regulation can only be performed with all the parts
installed in the piano. A grand piano can have most of the regulating
accomplished on the action in the shop.
After regulation, a pianist
should notice an improvement in the evenness of touch and tone throughout the
keyboard, an increase in the speed and power of playing, and a better control of
the keys under his or her fingers.
What kind of repairs are made to pianos?
The truth is , if money is no object, most pianos could be
restored. The reality is that often if the cost to restore or repair exceeds the
value of the repaired piano, the piano isn't fixed. Technicians are always
making minor repairs and adjustments and that will keep a good piano working for
decades. It's only occasionally that things like broken keys or a glued
joint will come apart. Along this line, I have noticed that on several upright
pianos made in the 50's and 60's and used the "new" plastic parts, are now
having the plastic start to crumble. The plastic, which has lasted for 50 years,
is no longer available and must be replaced with current wood parts. Doing this
involves replacing 100 to 500 parts and often on a piano that has be left
sitting unused for many years. That means that many of the otherwise good wood
and felt parts will need major cleaning also. The cost can run from $300 to
$2000 on a piano that was considered an economy model. Still, if it was Grandma's piano, it may be well worth repairing.
Why do pianos go out of tune?
How often should the piano be tuned?
A piano is continuously
going out of tune, but often it is so slowly, that most people will not notice
it until one or two strings go too far. A piano in the home, played regularly,
and in a stable temperature and humidity could use a tuning one or twice a year.
If the music played is full, and with lot of vigor, it could use tuning
more often. Concert pianist will have their piano tuned just before every
concert and some even during the intermission.