Like a smoothly running car, a piano needs more than just regular tunings to keep its thousands of parts working smoothly. As time passes, and as the piano is played, felt compresses, felt and leather parts wear, and wood parts swell and shrink with fluctuations in humidity. As this happens, critical relationships between action parts are altered and the piano does not play with the same evenness of touch that it used to.
This is corrected through a process called regulation. Regulation involves careful and precise adjustment of the piano’s action so that every part does exactly what it is supposed to do, at the exact moment it is supposed to do it. Regulating a piano is a complicated process that requires a high level of training, skill, and experience. Not only must each process be repeated 88 times; there must also be a high level of uniformity and consistency from one note to the next.
A well regulated piano is a joy to play because it is more responsive to the demands of the pianist.
Symptoms that your piano may be in need of regulation include:
- Excessive lost motion in the keys
- A feeling of loss of power or control
- Difficulty playing pianissimo (very soft)
- Too much or not enough aftertouch
- Notes that are slow to repeat when played rapidly
- Hammers that burble when notes are played (hitting the strings multiple times)
- Uneven key height or key dip
Just how much regulation a piano may need and when it may need it depends on several factors. These include the make and model of the piano, the relative quality that went into the making of the instrument, the age of the piano, and the amount and type of use that the piano receives.
For example, manufacturers of higher quality instruments use felt that is more dimensionally stable. A high quality piano that receives moderate use will need a touch-up regulation once every ten years or so. By contrast, manufacturers of lower quality instruments use cheaper felt that is not as dimensionally stable, causing these pianos to need a complete regulation after only a year or less of use.
If your piano is in need of regulation, our technician will explain exactly what is needed and will give you a written estimate of the cost.