As a conscientious piano owner, you probably have your piano tuned
regularly by a qualified technician. You may, however, notice a deterioration
of its performance despite regular tuning. It's important to note that
tuning is only the adjustment of the system of strings and pins that determines
the pitch of each string. Your piano also requires a periodic servicing
called regulation, which attends to the mechanical parts which cause strings
to sound when keys are played and affect the sound through use of the pedals.
The three systems involved in regulation are the action trapwork
and damper system. The action is the mechanical part of the piano that
transfers the motion of the fingers on the keys to the hammers that strike
the strings. It is comprised of over 9,000 parts which require adjustment
to critical tolerances to be able to respond to a pianist's every command.
The trapwork is the assemblage of levers, dowels and springs that connects
the pedals to the action affecting sustain and dynamics. The damper system
is the mechanical part of the piano that stops the vibration of the string
when you release the key and is controlled by the key and pedal systems.
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Music is one of the most complex vehicles for expression. Its
beauty is reliant upon personal dynamics and tempi. These changes require
extremely fine adjustments to respond to the pianist's nuances and subtle
shadings. A smooth, even response throughout the entire range of the keyboard
and an extremely quick action capable of playing rapid passages and repeated
notes evenly is essential. Outstanding response is essential for a pianist
to create an outstanding performance.
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The quality of the instrument itself also can affect frequency of regulation. Some manufacturers decrease costs by not going over the regulation and voicing processes in the factory as much as needed. Reputable retailers sometimes do the necessary regulation themselves prior to selling the pianos, but others do not.
Also, performance instruments may require some regulation before
each use, due to the higher demands placed on them.
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No amount of practice can compensate for a poorly maintained action.
Poor legato touch, chord playing where all notes of the chord don't speak
clearly, a gradual loss of subtlety in phrasing and an inability to execute
quick passages or note repetitions evenly may be the fault of the piano
-- not the player.
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Reconditioning is the process of putting your piano back in good condition by cleaning, repairing, and adjusting your instrument for maximum performance with replacement parts only where specifically indicated. If you piano has deteriorated beyond simple reconditioning, it may need to be rebuilt.
Rebuilding involves complete disassembly, inspection and repair as necessary with replacement of all worn or deteriorated parts. The piano is then reassembled, tested and adjusted to the same or similar tolerance and performance as when it was new.
Your piano is a major investment which deserves to be protected
through regular servicing by a qualified technician. Properly maintained,
your piano will sound its best and give you and your family a lifetime
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For technical drawings of a Vertical and Grand Piano action click below:
Piano Technicians Guild is an international organization of piano technicians.
Registered Piano Technicians (RPTs) are those members of PTG who have passed
a series of examinations on the maintenance, repair, and tuning of pianos.
For a copy of this or other PTG Bulletins and Pamphlets, or a list of RPT members in your area, contact Piano Technicians Guild, Inc., 3930 Washington, Kansas City, MO, 64111-2963. Phone: (816) 753-7747 FAX: (816) 531-0070
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