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Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: TurboMatt] #2908785
11/06/19 08:09 AM
11/06/19 08:09 AM
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P W Grey Offline
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Ed,

I would agree with you entirely. I am thinking though that this may be beyond TurboMatt's level of ability (at present) to accomplish and make an improvement. My take on it is that he wants to "recondition" his existing stuff to the degree possible right now, perhaps saving replacement for the semi-distant future. I could easily be wrong here though, and stand ready to be corrected.

However, I am going to add your protocol to my MO as I think it is better (I have anecdotal evidence of my own to corroborate what you said). Thanks for bringing it out.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
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Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: P W Grey] #2908874
11/06/19 12:55 PM
11/06/19 12:55 PM
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Frederick, MD
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TurboMatt Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
TurboMatt, I would rebush the BR of those keys. I want the newly installed bushings to be too tight. Then I iron the bushings to densified the felt and create just enough free play.

Most technicians and piano factories want to have the key bushings sized by the cauls to create free play. I find this leads to rapid wear.

To use an analogous process as an example consider that action centers must be bushed with cloth that is too soft for proper solid pinning. The newly installed bushings are then sized or densified. Then the tolerances and spring rate of the felt become balanced properly for low friction but high wear resistance. The analogy from a IC engine would be if the rods have free play, (knock), then when one powers the motor under load, the rods are prone to breaking.

I find the same is true for keybushings. one must "overbush" the key slightly and then iron the felt with a heated tool. This will make an extremely wear resistant key bushing.



I'm not sure that I'm comfortable with the rebush process. I'll look into that a bit over the next few days and see if it's something that I would be comfortable with. I did find a company that would rebush if I sent them the entire key set. Then my worry there is damage of the keys while in transit. Either way, I know using the .137 caul definitely made the bushing too loose.

Originally Posted by P W Grey
Ed,

I would agree with you entirely. I am thinking though that this may be beyond TurboMatt's level of ability (at present) to accomplish and make an improvement. My take on it is that he wants to "recondition" his existing stuff to the degree possible right now, perhaps saving replacement for the semi-distant future. I could easily be wrong here though, and stand ready to be corrected.

However, I am going to add your protocol to my MO as I think it is better (I have anecdotal evidence of my own to corroborate what you said). Thanks for bringing it out.

Pwg


You are most likely correct in this being beyond my current capabilities. That's not to say that I'm against learning. I also agree that a rebush is most likely the best step to take. I'll take a look at the bushings this evening when I get home. I applied Profelt to one without any caul and another where I placed the caul for 1 hour then removed. I'll update this thread once I'm able to inspect them.

Thanks,
Matt


Yamaha G5 Grand Piano
Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: TurboMatt] #2908889
11/06/19 01:33 PM
11/06/19 01:33 PM
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Portland, Oregon, USA
Emery Wang Offline
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Matt, have you looked at this video from Howard Piano industries about rebushing? This one is part 2 about installing the new felts. Part one is about removing the old felts, which seems to me basically a matter of steaming them out. Given what you've done so far, replacing the rail bushings doesn't seem that difficult.



Kawai MP11SE
Kawai GL10
Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: TurboMatt] #2909124
11/07/19 09:53 AM
11/07/19 09:53 AM
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Rockville, MD
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Matt - Despite how easy rebushing looks in the video, it's not something I would want to do for the first time on my own piano. It's the details that can get you.

- It does take some "technique" to be able to remove the old bushings without damaging the keys. You need to use the right tool(s), and those tools need to be sharp.
- Some keys, most probably in the higher usage areas of the keyboard, will have worn more than those elsewhere. Why care? You may need to use several different sizes of bushing cloth, not just different size cawls when rebushing. I just had my keyboard rebushed, and my technician told me he'd had to use THREE different size bushing cloths (and various cawls) to achieve a uniformly satisfactory result. I add that he is very experienced at action restorations, does them weekly. It takes time and a lot of practice to develop real skill.
============================================================
Sending the keyboard away to rebush: Please get some references and DO contact them before you do it. I wish I'd done that when I sent away my old keyboard and had a new one made... It is entirely possible that the people to whom you are thinking about shipping your keys to will do a great job for you, but please do mitigate the risk of an unsatisfactory job by checking references.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: Seeker] #2909495
11/08/19 09:21 AM
11/08/19 09:21 AM
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Frederick, MD
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TurboMatt Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Matt, have you looked at this video from Howard Piano industries about rebushing? This one is part 2 about installing the new felts. Part one is about removing the old felts, which seems to me basically a matter of steaming them out. Given what you've done so far, replacing the rail bushings doesn't seem that difficult.



I did see that video. Thank you for sharing it. Howard Piano is where I've been purchasing all of the items I've needed thus far.

Originally Posted by Seeker
Matt - Despite how easy rebushing looks in the video, it's not something I would want to do for the first time on my own piano. It's the details that can get you.

- It does take some "technique" to be able to remove the old bushings without damaging the keys. You need to use the right tool(s), and those tools need to be sharp.
- Some keys, most probably in the higher usage areas of the keyboard, will have worn more than those elsewhere. Why care? You may need to use several different sizes of bushing cloth, not just different size cawls when rebushing. I just had my keyboard rebushed, and my technician told me he'd had to use THREE different size bushing cloths (and various cawls) to achieve a uniformly satisfactory result. I add that he is very experienced at action restorations, does them weekly. It takes time and a lot of practice to develop real skill.
============================================================
Sending the keyboard away to rebush: Please get some references and DO contact them before you do it. I wish I'd done that when I sent away my old keyboard and had a new one made... It is entirely possible that the people to whom you are thinking about shipping your keys to will do a great job for you, but please do mitigate the risk of an unsatisfactory job by checking references.



You are correct in that it would require some technique to make this perfect. After I looked over the key bushings again last night, I'm not too comfortable with the idea of replacing them myself. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The two keys that I used ProFelt with no caul and a caul for only 1 hr came out great! The one where there was no caul used is a bit too tight. The key moves freely however it doesn't fall down to the FR felts on it's own.

Now, the key bushing that had the caul inserted for 1 hour came out perfect. There is no visible play in the balance rail bushing and it moves nice and smooth.

After I figured that out, I set up a few more keys to replicate the process for the one key that came out perfect so hopefully this next batch will be just as good.

I will post videos after the process is done.


Yamaha G5 Grand Piano
Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: TurboMatt] #2911097
11/12/19 09:27 AM
11/12/19 09:27 AM
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Frederick, MD
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TurboMatt Offline OP
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I was able to get a few hours to work on the piano this weekend and wow, what did I find!? After closer inspection of the key bushings, I see the previous tech REALLY screwed up! Prior to this work, I apparently have not looked close enough at things. He broke 3 keys and damaged another. To say I'm extremely mad would be an understatement! I have no idea how someone could damage something like this and NOT say anything at all to the customer. Either way, I now have a few other issues to address.

For the repair, I picked up some high quality CA from my local RC hobby shop. I've used it on some RC builds and high-end helicopters I've built so I suspect it will work well. I plan to carefully open the area to apply the CA then compress with small wood working clamps. Still can't believe I need to do this....

As far a progress, I have successfully worked all of the key bushings, both BR and FR. The ProFelt seems to be fairly amazing stuff. I did have to re-work a few of the BR bushings after initially using a caul that was too large (.137) for the BR pins (.136). I ended up using a mix of .124 and.129 cauls which I set in place for a few hours then removed. This seemed to be the recipe for a perfect fitment. There is no play at the BR key pin and the keys move smooth without resistance. I'll get a video after I have the prior key damage issue resolved. Glad things are moving along!

A few damage pics from his 're-working' the key bushings...
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


A few random pics of the key bushings setting up after applying VS ProFelt and cauls (used a few different sizes based on wear).

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Last edited by TurboMatt; 11/12/19 09:30 AM.

Yamaha G5 Grand Piano
Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: TurboMatt] #2911116
11/12/19 10:24 AM
11/12/19 10:24 AM
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Washington State
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Honestly I think those little cracks are more likely to predate your previous tech than to have been caused by him. I find stuff like that all the time in pianos that have seen nothing but lots of playing, and on a grand piano you usually don't notice them unless you take the stack off and look. More likely your tech didn't repair the problem because he didn't notice it IMO. And yes, that would be something he should have noticed in a thorough reconditioning, but I think it's been established that the reconditioning was not thorough.


Anthony Willey, RPT
PianoMeter
Willey Piano Tuning
Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: AWilley] #2911121
11/12/19 10:38 AM
11/12/19 10:38 AM
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Frederick, MD
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Originally Posted by AWilley
Honestly I think those little cracks are more likely to predate your previous tech than to have been caused by him. I find stuff like that all the time in pianos that have seen nothing but lots of playing, and on a grand piano you usually don't notice them unless you take the stack off and look. More likely your tech didn't repair the problem because he didn't notice it IMO. And yes, that would be something he should have noticed in a thorough reconditioning, but I think it's been established that the reconditioning was not thorough.


Unfortunately, those are from the previous tech. At the initial inspection, he stated that the key bushings were worn and advised that I replace them. The price he quoted to replace the bushings was far more than I would have expected (I think around $750?). So, he stated he could 're-work' the bushings for an additional fee on top of the regulation work. Those marks were not there prior to that. Either way, it's something I'll take care of.

Here is a pic before the action was touched.
[Linked Image]


Yamaha G5 Grand Piano
Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: TurboMatt] #2911126
11/12/19 10:52 AM
11/12/19 10:52 AM
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Tampa, FL
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Bill McKaig,RPT Online content
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The lines on both sides of the bushings were caused by using a "bushing tightener". You place the tool over the bushing and tap it with a hammer and it crushes the wood together making the bushing tighter. This tool ruins keys and never should be used. (It never should have been invented). I can't say weather your tech used it or someone earlier, but that is what caused the button to crack. You can see in the picture that it was used more than once because of the multiple lines in the top of the button.

I would use regular wood glue to repair the splits. CA will work, but if you get any near the bushing, it will soak it right up and ruin it.


Professional Piano Technician serving the Tampa bay area. website: mckaigpianoservice.com
Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: TurboMatt] #2911132
11/12/19 11:11 AM
11/12/19 11:11 AM
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Washington State
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Oh dear, my bad. I saw the little gouges but assumed incorrectly they had been caused by an exacto knife trimming the felt in a prior rebushing job. Yikes!


Anthony Willey, RPT
PianoMeter
Willey Piano Tuning
Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: Bill McKaig,RPT] #2911134
11/12/19 11:13 AM
11/12/19 11:13 AM
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Frederick, MD
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TurboMatt Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Bill McKaig,RPT
The lines on both sides of the bushings were caused by using a "bushing tightener". You place the tool over the bushing and tap it with a hammer and it crushes the wood together making the bushing tighter. This tool ruins keys and never should be used. (It never should have been invented). I can't say weather your tech used it or someone earlier, but that is what caused the button to crack. You can see in the picture that it was used more than once because of the multiple lines in the top of the button.

I would use regular wood glue to repair the splits. CA will work, but if you get any near the bushing, it will soak it right up and ruin it.


I can without a doubt say that it was recently done. There was zero indentations in the wood around the key bushings prior to the recent work.

What wood glue would you guys recommend? Any particular wood glue? I assumed medium CA would be far stronger than wood glue.

Thanks!


Yamaha G5 Grand Piano
Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: TurboMatt] #2911140
11/12/19 11:20 AM
11/12/19 11:20 AM
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Tennessee
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Ed Foote Offline
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Tennessee
Greetings,
The proper techique is a squared-edge razor-thin blade cut straight down into the button, from the top, and then a VERY thin shim of veneer is inserted with a drop of hide glue. Done correctly, original felt or damaged mortises can be closed up to useable tolerances, and, as done by Bill Garlic, was almost invisible to see. We also did this when the original buttons were to be kept but some had been damaged. It can re-inforce the sides of a thin mortise.
However, If the pictures are as I think, your piano was in the hands of a quack. Nobody with any care or expertise would knife the buttons like this for tightening, and leaving damages in the process. Perhaps you are fortunate you didn't let the tech re-bush your keys.

In a slight contrast with Ed McMorrow's protocol, whereas he is into caloric control, I prefer to chemically compress. Wool can be compressed in multiple ways; heat, which contracts the fibers, making the bushing denser and harder, or chemical, which is basically using a fabric softener that lets wool fibers uncoil from one another and then coil back when drying, leaving the felt denser and harder. . I think both approaches end up at the same place, but the heat requires more expertise and finesse. Differing applications of it will leave differing amounts of clearance, so consistency has to originate in the hands of the tech. Using a wetting agent, (not unlike treatment of action center bushing), and cauls has become my go-to approach.

I rebush with cloth sufficiently tight so that there is definite drag on the key. Steinways usually take .050" or thereabouts. Usually, I can tell best thickness by using a caul the same size as the pin and feeling how much compression the felt offers as I push it in. I want some resistance. After a day to completely dry, I pull the cauls out, six at a time, and put no more than three drops of VSPro-felt on each bushing and re-install cold cauls the same size as the pins. After drying overnight, they felt has shrunk to the caul sized and they are loose enough to fall out on their own. Usually these keys will go on the frame, as is. Some may require a touch of the key-easing pliers, but that is back to the finesse and time thing. This chemical relaxation and then re-forming against the caul leaves all the bushing pretty much the exact same. That there is a touch of lubricant, (probably silicone), seems to increase longevity.

How loose? Depends on the use. In university practice rooms, over 38 years, I watched a number of my bushing jobs wear out and be re-replaced. I made adjustments in my glue thickness, spring tension(this was pre-caul days), etc. I was there long enough to re-re-rebush our early practice room instruments. I start these bushings off with as little tolerance as possible, as they will all be loosened up in the first 6 weeks of a term. In the living room, on the restored family piano that will be used for holidays and the occasional party, I leave the keys looser, as that is probably going to be as loose as they ever get.

A word about the key-easing pliers; Since time is money, I and virtually everybody I know uses them, but it is important to understand what is going on. Wool can also be compressed by pressure, but it takes a lot. Usually, a lot more than the delicate wood of a key mortise can withstand, so if I use them to open up a mortise, the fibers I am permanently crushing are wood, not wool. This is one way to reduce the drag on the key, but if the bushing is to be done more than once, it is not best practice. If moisture and heat were used to remove the old cloth, the wood of the mortise has probably expanded, and that is what is going to collapse first under the pressure of the pliers. That's why I prefer the alternative ways, whichever one chooses.
regards,

Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: Bill McKaig,RPT] #2911141
11/12/19 11:25 AM
11/12/19 11:25 AM
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Ed Foote Offline
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Greetings,
Hmmm, Those cuts don't look like the indentations from a bushing tightener to me. That "tool" usually makes blunter indentations. These slices look like the profile of a knife, as the cuts are all tapered from what would be a spine to the thin edge. Also, there is a picture with two cuts on one side and one cut on the other, which would be hard to do with a crusher..
Regard,s

Originally Posted by Bill McKaig,RPT
The lines on both sides of the bushings were caused by using a "bushing tightener". You place the tool over the bushing and tap it with a hammer and it crushes the wood together making the bushing tighter. This tool ruins keys and never should be used. (It never should have been invented). I can't say weather your tech used it or someone earlier, but that is what caused the button to crack. You can see in the picture that it was used more than once because of the multiple lines in the top of the button.

Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: TurboMatt] #2911151
11/12/19 11:56 AM
11/12/19 11:56 AM
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Tampa, FL
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Bill McKaig,RPT Online content
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On the previous page there's a better picture of the keys. All the indentations have the same spacings. I have a bushing tightener in my shop that will leave the same marks so I'm pretty sure that's where they came from.

I rebush keys using the same protocol as Ed uses (because I "stole" it from him years ago after he posted about it). It works very well. I rarely if ever need to ease bushings afterwards.


Professional Piano Technician serving the Tampa bay area. website: mckaigpianoservice.com
Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: TurboMatt] #2911173
11/12/19 12:59 PM
11/12/19 12:59 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback in the past few posts!

The tool that the tech showed that he would use to re-work the bushings looked like a chisel. I'm not a woods crafty person but that's what it looked like. It didn't fit on both sides of the key. Had I know this could have happened, I would absolutely opted out of that work. I had no idea that the keys would get damaged.

As a note, I picked up TiteBond II wood glue to use for the repair. If this is the wrong product, please let me know.

Thanks


Yamaha G5 Grand Piano
Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: TurboMatt] #2911215
11/12/19 02:46 PM
11/12/19 02:46 PM
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P W Grey Offline
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Matt,

TB 2 will work fine. Too bad this happened. HARDWOOD BR (which these are) buttons should never be treated this way. IMO the work I am seeing (overall) is that of an amateur, and not a very good one at that. The work you are doing is far superior.

I would tell this fellow to go on PW and read this thread, though assuring him that his name has not been published, and see if he wants to do anything about it in your behalf (obviously not more work on the piano but rather in the area of a refund) to protect his reputation.

I don't know what tool he used but he sure made a mess of it. 😞 Edit: though technically the keys probably should have gotten rebushed. HOWEVER I suspect that if he had done, it would not be a very good job.

Pwg


Last edited by P W Grey; 11/12/19 02:49 PM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: P W Grey] #2911241
11/12/19 03:51 PM
11/12/19 03:51 PM
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Frederick, MD
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TurboMatt Offline OP
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Matt,

TB 2 will work fine. Too bad this happened. HARDWOOD BR (which these are) buttons should never be treated this way. IMO the work I am seeing (overall) is that of an amateur, and not a very good one at that. The work you are doing is far superior.

I would tell this fellow to go on PW and read this thread, though assuring him that his name has not been published, and see if he wants to do anything about it in your behalf (obviously not more work on the piano but rather in the area of a refund) to protect his reputation.

I don't know what tool he used but he sure made a mess of it. 😞 Edit: though technically the keys probably should have gotten rebushed. HOWEVER I suspect that if he had done, it would not be a very good job.

Pwg



I appreciate the kind words. I have been very pleased with the work I have done thus far. Everything is coming out much better than it was, so that is good. I will be extremely careful when I address the key repair glue work this evening.

The tech name was not mentioned and I don't plan on sharing it. I know at this point I was treated poorly and very much over charged for the work that was completed. The best thing to do is keep moving forward and make the best out of it that I can.

As far as the key bushings, I do know that they should have been replaced. When I was adding up cost when I initially started looking at the regulation work, I could see it getting out of hand. The tech quoted over $1000 for the regulation work. When I took that into consideration with new hammers/shanks and new key bushings I was over $3000. Seeing that I didn't pay much more than that for the piano, I couldn't justify that much without knowing if it would be money properly spent. At this point, I'm SO glad that I didn't spend that amount of money with him!


Yamaha G5 Grand Piano
Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: P W Grey] #2911318
11/12/19 06:43 PM
11/12/19 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
The work you are doing is far superior.


Definitely!

Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: TurboMatt] #2911732
Yesterday at 08:46 PM
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I'm working on a things right now while following the Yamaha regulation manual they sent me.

I have a few of the initial steps taken care of and have run across a few questions. Per the Yamaha spec, it states that the key height is measured from the key bed to the bottom of the key top lip. Their factory spec is 64 mm and I measure 65.5 mm. I have ordered some balance rail punches to level all of the keys. However, I can't imagine by removing some of the existing ones that I will be able to drop front of the keys that much? Should I assume that I will need to replace or shim the back rail cloth to raise the back of the keys?

As well, the key dip has me a bit confused at the moment as well. I'm not sure if key is checking while playing the key just so the jack escapes the knuckle or if I'm supposed to push the key down into the front rail felt?

This video explains the key dip questions in better detail


Thanks!!
Matt


Yamaha G5 Grand Piano
Re: DIY Grand Piano Action recondition and regulation [Re: TurboMatt] #2911740
Yesterday at 09:20 PM
Yesterday at 09:20 PM
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 196
Washington State
AWilley Offline

Full Member
AWilley  Offline

Full Member

Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 196
Washington State
Key dip is all the way to the bottom. A firm mezzo-piano is probably sufficient...you don't need to mash it down, but it should be firmly seated on the felt. Yes, pulling out balance rail punchings can lower the key height. I'd also look at the keys with the front key slip in...you want the tops of the keys to be about 20 mm (I think) above the top of the key slip.


Anthony Willey, RPT
PianoMeter
Willey Piano Tuning
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