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Are there different levels or regulation? Would you perform as thorough of a regulation on a 5-year-old piano as apposed to a 25-year-old piano? If there is a difference, how does it usually affect the price? Is it strictly an hourly rate?
Not sure what you mean by "levels." The only action regulation I know of is complete. Some regulation may take longer to do than others. The time factor depends upon how much "mileage" is on the piano. Accordingly, I billed by the hour.
Last edited by bkw58; 03/13/1407:57 AM. Reason: clarity
Are you asking as a piano owner who has had regulation done, is going to have regulation done, is thinking of having regulation done, got an estimate for regulation, or as someone interested in becoming a technician, someone interested in doing work on their own piano, someone interested in piano technology in general as an interest, or some other reason?
Your answer to this question will help us decide how best to answer yours.
The answer is certainly yes, there are many levels of regulation.
The lowest level of regulating is "rough regulating" which is similar to the pitch raise for tuning. Greater levels of refinement can be reached depending on the time available and the chops of the regulator.
Take, key leveling, for example. How perfect is good enough? If I'm trying to my best job, it can take me a couple of hours. But I can get it close in 30 minutes. Compare the following example of a nice leveling job:
with the following video around the 30 second spot:
The same goes for every adjustment in the regulation sequence. Also there are certain adjustments that make a greater difference to the player. Today I spent about 75 minutes regulating a Yamaha that belongs to a teacher friend of mine who is always on a tight budget. I focused mostly on the middle sections and corrected let-off on several that were obviously lower than the rest, quickly ball-parked the drop, brought the checking up, and quickly went over the repetition springs. The player was very happy with the results.
You have to be careful, and need to understand what you can get away with, and what will open a can of worms. For example - don't adjust lost motion on an upright if the damper lift is really early, or you may have dampers sitting up off the strings. This happened to me when I was a younger tech. I had finished the tuning and wanted to do a little something extra so I quickly took up the lost motion, only to discover the piano was ringing like crazy! I didn't have time to adjust damper spoons so I had to turn the capstans back down - what a waste of time.
I have had one occasion where I did some quick rough regulation on their neglected grand. marked "regulation" on the invoice, ($50 for that part if I remember correctly) and then heard they complained to another tech that I didn't complete the regulation.
I have also been called to inspect another Tech's "regulation" a pianist was complaining about as incomplete that was billed very low when I inquired as to the price, which led me to believe the Tech meant "touch-up regulation" or "rough regulate"-not completely regulate.
All parties need to be clear on the extent of the work performed verses what is fully needed.
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible. According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed. Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
To suggest legitimate degrees or levels of action regulation short of complete (e.g. rough, partial, touch-up,) is like saying there are legitimate degrees or levels of tuning short of in tune (e.g. rough, partial, touch-up). I don't buy it. A piano is either in tune or it isn't. Likewise, an action is either in regulation or it isn't. Doing a so-called rough, partial, or touch-up on an action addressing not the whole and we ignore the third law of physics. These changes are not effected in isolation or in a vacuum.
This being said, often a client cannot afford regulation. Certainly we can (and do) take temporary measures such as level keys, eliminate lost motion etc. Again, these change are not effected in a vacuum, so is it really wise to call it regulation? Why not call it what it is? On the bill, note the specific service, "Keys leveled," but also note "regulation recommended," so there's no opportunity for misunderstanding later such as Ed mentions above.
Last edited by bkw58; 03/14/1405:54 PM. Reason: typos
The tolerances for tuning are narrower than those for regulation. You can spend forever trying to get some poorly made pianos regulated to the tolerances of a better made piano, and you can spend way too much time regulating even a well-made piano to overly tight standards. You can do a quick "blind regulation" just like a blind pitch raise, and that can make so much of a difference that it can convince a customer that spending some more money is worthwhile. Doing that is not money wasted: The time that you spend getting the action close means that you will spend less time getting it better.