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Action regulation and lubrication
#2961002 03/27/20 01:59 PM
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Is this something that needs to be performed on a regular bases or do you wait until symptoms arrive?

Can you only lubricate and not regulate?

How much can I expect to pay for a lubrication?

Thanks Ladies and Gents.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

Casio GP-400
Schimmel SP-182T
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Re: Action regulation and lubrication
Learux #2961050 03/27/20 05:09 PM
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Greetings,
The piano action offers resistance via mass and friction. If there is excessive friction, lubrication will make a large difference, however, it is no substitute for regulation. Some of the places friction makes a difference are the hammershank pinning, the repetition pinning, front pins, balancier mortises. Friction at the knuckle is easily addressed with teflon powder, while pinning can sometimes, (SOMETIMES!) change quite dramatically when given a dose.

While both regulation and friction determine a lot of the response, there is an order, i.e. there are times just a treating the friction is cost effective improvement but there is no sensible way to regulate if the friction hasn't been addressed. So, here is where I pay attention before a careful regulation:
1. Hammershank pinning has to be consistent, and usually between 1.5 and 5 grams. The 1.5 is for the WNG composite parts, but rarely will felt bushings provide sufficient stability with less than 4 grams, and even that changes with the weather.
2. Jack/knuckle interface, as well as the spring's bearing surface,(in the grub, under the balancer) is important because you are going to set the spring with these as prime factors. There are also squeak problems there and also at the contact of the tender and button.
3. Friction at the capstan is overrated, but it never hurts to polish the capstans, (unless they are the anodized ones).
4. The front pins can be devious. If there is a slight bit of micro-corrosion on the pins, they will be far more resistant to movement when there is side pressure on them, even though they may feel like there is plenty of clearance. You can test this by pressing the key straight down, and then pressing it down while pushing it lightly against the pin. It should feel equally smooth both ways.
5. Repetition springs, if of the type that bears directly upon the wood, need to be polished and the groove needs to be lubed. Excessive friction here will cause the spring to be far too strong for the work it is expected to do, as well as making the setting of the springs difficult.

Old elixirs for treating action centers were mixtures of a wide variety of things, most of which were detrimental to long term stability. These include WD-40,(which can ruin actions), naphtha and silicone, which can ruin finishes and pin blocks if spilled, and alcohol and water. Today, there is a new mix, Pro-tek CPL, which I have had better results with than any other. Beware of the tech that comes in promising his/her treatment will make your action play like new, as that is a sucker bet. By the time the friction is a problem, there are usually regulation short-comings that they may fear you won't want to pay for. Snake-oil is cheap on the front end, but often dear, later.

The above may not be a complete list, as there are moving parts all over a piano, (pedals, action shift, etc), but in terms of control, they are the biggest. How much it costs is not something I can suggest, as there are techs that charge $30 per hour and there are techs that charge $150-200 per hour. hope that helps,
Regards,

Re: Action regulation and lubrication
Learux #2961053 03/27/20 05:16 PM
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Thank you for you answer. I noticed that it is harder for me to play pp and ppp.

It almost seems like the action is jerky at these very low velocities.

Is lubrication part of regulation or are they separate evens?


Last edited by Learux; 03/27/20 05:16 PM.

When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

Casio GP-400
Schimmel SP-182T
Re: Action regulation and lubrication
Learux #2961144 03/28/20 12:27 AM
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The effects of inertia in an action are dramatic to how well you can control it. If the inertia is high, (and the hammer mass is the largest driver of the inertia characteristics any action demonstrates), soft playing control can become difficult and friction problems magnified. Really fast playing is tiring or even impossible with some actions you will find because the hammers are so heavy.


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Re: Action regulation and lubrication
Learux #2961256 03/28/20 11:49 AM
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Thanks Ed,

I talked to my tuner and I will let him decide if my piano needs regulation or just lubrication.

Based on the quote I got and knowing his approximate hourly rate this is about a 5 hour job, does that sound about right to you.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

Casio GP-400
Schimmel SP-182T
Re: Action regulation and lubrication
Learux #2961263 03/28/20 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Learux


I talked to my tuner and I will let him decide if my piano needs regulation or just lubrication.

Based on the quote I got and knowing his approximate hourly rate this is about a 5 hour job, does that sound about right to you.


Greetings,
That is impossible for me to say without knowing what shape the piano is in and how accomplished the tech is. In a class I have given, (3 Regulations), I posit that there are different levels of regulation, i.e. what is appropriate for a recording instrument that will have to meet the highest demands in NOT appropriate for the casual player in their own living room. If everyone was a millionaire, that would not be true, but the careful tech will not sell a performance level regulation (at perhaps 20-30 hours of work) to a hobbyist player, as the value received is low.

Your piano may get 85 % of the possible improvement with just adjustment and lube. Maybe, for the next 10% you would have to pay for the hours of pinning that a more refined regulation would need. And the last "regulation" is "tone" regulation, which encompasses voicing, which can consume many more hours.

Professional advice about unknown pianos and techs is really compromised in this medium, so general principles are the best I can do. Others?
Regards,

Re: Action regulation and lubrication
Learux #2961284 03/28/20 01:24 PM
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Thank you for giving great information, it is much appreciated!


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

Casio GP-400
Schimmel SP-182T

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