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Amateur grand piano regulation #2775262
10/24/18 05:38 PM
10/24/18 05:38 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 8
Australia
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Daviduu Offline OP
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Firstly I want to thank all the contributors to this forum for all the excellent and informative posts on piano regulation. I play piano but have never done any work on the instrument itself. My piano is a 40 year old Yamaha C5 which is a great looking instrument but it was hard work to play and had several questionable notes. My geographical circumstances made it challenging to get a good technician to have a look at it so I decided to have a go at it myself. I spent several months studying Youtube tutorials on the subject (some great, some mediocre and some plain bad!) and scoured the thousands of posts in the Pianoworld forum on the subject. After balancing all the points of view, learning what steps were required and the potential disasters that could befall me I purchased some basic tools and jumped in the deep end.
It took me two days to do what I had planned and I think everything worked out quite well. There has been a vast improvement in the piano's playability in any case. I filmed all the steps I did and made a video of the regulation process I followed. I'm confident that there are some things I should have down and some I shouldn't have but that is all part of the learning process. The video is on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSv_2AeCpJM . I'd welcome any constructive comments on my effort.
I learned that the one essential thing a piano technician needs is patience!


"It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness when only an approximation of the truth is possible" (Aristotle 384 BCE - March 7, 322 BCE)
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Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: Daviduu] #2775276
10/24/18 06:48 PM
10/24/18 06:48 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 140
Alsea Oregon, USA
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Fascinating! Thank you!


John Shelton
Shelton-Farretta Guitars
www.sheltonfarrettaguitars.com
Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: Daviduu] #2775403
10/25/18 11:22 AM
10/25/18 11:22 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 19
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Chris Snyder Offline
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I have no knowledge to give feedback on the job itself, but the video was extremely well-done. Nice work!


1999 Schimmel CC213T
2006 Yamaha M450

Avocational organist, pianist, and chorister
Married to a piano teacher
Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: Daviduu] #2775413
10/25/18 12:13 PM
10/25/18 12:13 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
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Dublin
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I thought it was a good video. You showed what you had done, and weren't trying to teach people how to do the same. So often you see amateur techs giving advice they're not qualified to give. This wasn't like that at all.

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Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: Daviduu] #2775762
10/26/18 09:21 PM
10/26/18 09:21 PM
Joined: May 2001
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New York City
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Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: Daviduu] #2775985
10/27/18 08:49 PM
10/27/18 08:49 PM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,915
New Hampshire
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P W Grey Offline
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David,

For a newbie you approached it well and did a fine job. FYI, we typically set the let off gauge (very nice job on yours...very professional) to the point of let off rather than string height, but no matter as you seem to have compensated well.

From what I found see, it was WAY WAY WAY OUT of regulation, much further than fyom wear alone. Curious as to how it got so far out of adjustment.

So who tunes it for you?

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: P W Grey] #2776042
10/28/18 06:44 AM
10/28/18 06:44 AM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 8
Australia
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Daviduu Offline OP
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Hi PW, thanks for the feedback. Someone who had no idea what they were doing did it - me! I fiddled with some adjustments when I first got the piano trying to fix some problems I was having. I had no idea what I was doing or how interdependent all the settings were in a piano action - I hadn't even heard of terms like "let-off" and "whippen". It wasn't until I studied how the action worked that I realised my ignorance. Thankfully nothing was damaged except my pride. I decided to educate myself on piano regulating before I touched it again!

The piano has not been tuned yet as I haven't found a suitable tuner who can travel. I'm not confident with the techs in my area as I had a U1 Beale before the Yamaha which I had tuned a few times but I was never 100% happy with their results.

The one thing I still want to experiment with is to reduce the let-off distance even more because with slow pp playing (eg Moonlight Sonata) some notes still don't sound in the bass which is very distracting. I'm going to adjust let-off with the keyboard in the piano and then take it out to adjust the drop again. The more I learn the more critical I am becoming on the playability and tone of the instrument. I can now hear some uneveness in tone across the keyboard! From what I've read, voicing hammers is an art and a minefield for the novice. I will probably wade in very tentatively to test the waters. I have already learnt that an ill considered prick with a needle can destroy a hammers tone! (pun intended)


"It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness when only an approximation of the truth is possible" (Aristotle 384 BCE - March 7, 322 BCE)
Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: Daviduu] #2776060
10/28/18 09:06 AM
10/28/18 09:06 AM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,915
New Hampshire
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P W Grey Offline
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New Hampshire
Before doing anything else, study up on the jack "winking" test for setting the proper relationship between the jack and the knuckle. That will help you establish a solid hammer line before settings let off. Then, use the end hammers of each section to set the let off in the piano (2 mm). Then set your nicely made rack according to these. The let off abd drop adjustments will go easily then.

Also, first make sure that the jack forms a perfect right angle with the core of the knuckle, with the back of the jack lined up with the back of the knuckle core. BTW this comes first. ☺

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: P W Grey] #2776062
10/28/18 09:16 AM
10/28/18 09:16 AM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,612
Strong, Maine
David Jenson Offline
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Strong, Maine
Originally Posted by P W Grey
Before doing anything else, study up on the jack "winking" test for setting the proper relationship between the jack and the knuckle. That will help you establish a solid hammer line before settings let off. Then, use the end hammers of each section to set the let off in the piano (2 mm). Then set your nicely made rack according to these. The let off abd drop adjustments will go easily then.

Also, first make sure that the jack forms a perfect right angle with the core of the knuckle, with the back of the jack lined up with the back of the knuckle core. BTW this comes first. ☺

Pwg

Additionally, make sure the knuckles are ROUND! You'll have a lot of trouble getting any consistent regulation with flattened knuckles. (Or maybe you already knew that)


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----
Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: Daviduu] #2776190
10/28/18 03:42 PM
10/28/18 03:42 PM
Joined: Jan 2017
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Very nicely done. I'm glad you are pleased with there results! It goes to show that an amateur can get favorable results if they take the time to educate themselves, purchase the proper tools, and take their time to do the job properly.

Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: P W Grey] #2776903
10/30/18 08:28 PM
10/30/18 08:28 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 8
Australia
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Daviduu Offline OP
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Australia
Thanks for the suggestions Pwg.

I found some excellent information on "winking" the jack at http://www.londonpianotuning.co.uk/grand-regulation-jack-adjustment-part-x/ . It has lots of practical info on the whole regulation process.

I "winked" all my jacks and adjusted where necessary. I made a blow gauge and set the end hammers in each section to 1 3/4" (~45mm). After removing the keyboard I set my let-off rack to the end hammers in each section. My first blow settings were way off. Got a nice flat hammer line and put the keyboard back in. Then set the let-off on the end hammers in each section and removed the keyboard again and set the let-off rack to the end hammers as before. I then went through and re-set all the let-off and then adjusted the drop.

Before putting the keyboard back I steamed all the hammers. What a difference that made! I feel like I am playing music now. The brashness of the upper octaves has been replaced with a nice rounded tone and the bass is much fuller. The effect is magnifyed when I play with the lid open. Very enjoyable experience. I notice a slight reduction in ff playing but pp is actually pp now :-) I expect that this may be a short lived improvement but we will see.

Thank you again for taking the time to explain the best approach. It's so much easier the second time around (:-P)


"It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness when only an approximation of the truth is possible" (Aristotle 384 BCE - March 7, 322 BCE)
Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: Daviduu] #2776920
10/30/18 10:01 PM
10/30/18 10:01 PM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,915
New Hampshire
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P W Grey Offline
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New Hampshire
Good work! Happy to assist.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: Daviduu] #2800360
01/10/19 03:12 AM
01/10/19 03:12 AM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 8
Australia
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Daviduu Offline OP
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Australia
An update on my grand piano regulation attempt. I have just discovered what "after touch" really means. After "let off" if the key is slowly depressed further the hammer will rise again if there is still clearance under the key. On many notes, when I fully depressed the key, the hammer would rise again and hit the strings. I think it also put a bit of a strain on the jack. This was causing problems with repetition and odd noises on a few notes when playing. I went through and added shims to the front of all the keys so that there was only a little upwards movement when pressing the key fully down after "let off". I can't put into words the difference it made but the piano "feels" a lot more controllable.


"It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness when only an approximation of the truth is possible" (Aristotle 384 BCE - March 7, 322 BCE)
Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: Daviduu] #2800486
01/10/19 12:08 PM
01/10/19 12:08 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 5,067
Seattle, WA USA
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Your pianissimo problem in the bass is more likely a due to the inertia of the hammers. You seem to have gone far enough down the rabbit hole of mechanical adjustments to begin to sense how interrelated they are as regards action regulation.

Now to get all the way in you need to begin to contemplate how the inertial properties of the hammer affect tone, touch and durability; and action regulation, and piano design.

The manufacturers have not even researched all the implications of inertia and playability.


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
Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: Daviduu] #2800743
01/11/19 05:00 AM
01/11/19 05:00 AM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 8
Australia
D
Daviduu Offline OP
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Australia
That is food for thought Ed. There is a noticable tone difference between B and B flat in the bass where it changes to the bass hammer group. I was toying with the idea of needling the bass hammers to see if I can get a smoother tone transition between the hammer groups however I feel I could kill the hammers if I’m not careful. I have read some horror stories on hammer needlng so I might just leave it until I have more information/experience :-P


"It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness when only an approximation of the truth is possible" (Aristotle 384 BCE - March 7, 322 BCE)
Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: Daviduu] #2801064
01/11/19 11:47 PM
01/11/19 11:47 PM
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New Hampshire
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P W Grey Offline
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Much of the difference in tone there (but not all) is due to the difference in physical weight of the hammers. The bass hammers are often significantly heavier than the neighboring tenor hammers. Needling will not correct this.

When we install new hammers we weigh each one (preferably with shank attached [Stanwood protocol), and add or remove weight to achieve a graduation of strike weight of no more than 1/10th of a gram. It's amazing what this does for voicing issues. Very often smooths out that bass/tenor break quite a bit.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: Daviduu] #2801087
01/12/19 02:19 AM
01/12/19 02:19 AM
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Oakland
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I think that the biggest cause of a jump in tone from the lowest tenor notes to the highest bass notes is the change in tension. Hammers can only make up for this a little.


Semipro Tech
Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: BDB] #2801218
01/12/19 12:32 PM
01/12/19 12:32 PM
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Seattle, WA USA
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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BDB, the evidence is contrary to your assertion to those of us who have learned to pay attention to hammer mass. You don't have the depth of experience of others on this subject in spite of your overall excellent knowledge base.


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
Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: Daviduu] #2801235
01/12/19 01:36 PM
01/12/19 01:36 PM
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Oakland
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I will give a quick, easily reversible demonstration of changes between overwound strings and plain strings which will show how the voicing changes:

On a piano without bass agraffes, replace an overwound string with a plain wire string the same gauge as the core, and tune it to pitch. Note the difference in tone.

Then could compare this with changing the mass of a hammer by adding mass to a hammer above the break. Wind some soft wire around the hammer or shank to make up the difference.

These are verifiable experiments that anyone could do.


Semipro Tech
Re: Amateur grand piano regulation [Re: Daviduu] #2801442
01/13/19 02:03 AM
01/13/19 02:03 AM
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Australia
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Daviduu Offline OP
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Peter, thanks for pointing out about hammer mass and how needling won't really correct the tone difference. It makes sense and saves me a lot of wasted effort. I measured the hammer strike mass on all keys and noted the variations from about 4.8gms for top B to around 11.8gms on bottom A. There was an approximately a bit over a gram difference between the hammers at the bass changeover. I tried taking a bit of material off the bottom A to get an idea how much material is 1gm but there was not a lot of areas where material could be removed unless I started tapering the checking tails so I gave up.
I've decided not to do anything as it is obviously a specialised task which needs a lot of experience and skill. One day I will have enough money to upgrade to an instrument that has the balance I consider ideal over the entire keyboard but until then I'll rest satisfied with what I have warts and all. It really isn't that bad but as, Ed pointed out, once you go down the rabbit hole there are all sorts of distractions for the enquiring mind ;-)


"It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness when only an approximation of the truth is possible" (Aristotle 384 BCE - March 7, 322 BCE)
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