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#3149013 08/23/21 01:21 PM
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I was regulating a friend's Weber W150 baby grand this weekend, It's about 5 years old. All the hammers were sitting on the hammer rest felt and the blow was excessive so I moved everything up to 44mm and set the proper letoff and dip. The white keys regulate fine, but I noticed that many of the black keys don't. There isn't enough key travel in many of the black keys to move the jack completely off the knuckle. When depressing 6-7 adjacent black and white keys all the way, I noticed that the capstans on the white keys are all at a pretty even height, but uniformly about 1mm higher than the capstans on the adjacent black keys. Therefore it seems the key dip on many of the black keys is too shallow.

I've never depressed a bunch of keys and observed the resulting capstan heights before, but I'd think they should all be about the same. This piano has never been regulated, so it seems the piano came from the factory that way. Any reason a manufacturer would set the black keys to raise the capstans less than the white keys?


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You can measure the differences between the measuring points for the key dip and the balance rail contact, and from there to the capstan, and work out the ratios. I did that recently, and raised the black keys a smidgeon to compensate for the difference. Additional key height and dip on the black keys does not really change the touch.


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Thanks. So on a properly regulated piano, if you could depress all the black and white keys, should the resulting line of capstan heights be even?


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That would be the ideal.


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Measure the height of the sharps above the white keys. If they are less than a half an inch raise them up and that will increase your sharp key dip fix your issue without having the sharps drop below the white keys.


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Got it, thanks you guys.


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Sharps have to be very close to 1/2 inch. More and players complain about articulation. Less and you will usually have to "bury" them to get sufficient after-touch. If you start with them 1/2" above the naturals, set the dip to create the same after touch as the naturals and you will be where you need to be.

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I have a bench set-up that makes it easy for me to change sharp key height, so I've been playing with the regulation procedure. Here's one way of approaching it:

I have made an aftertouch gauge with a thickness of .045 that has a handle on it, so I can simply reach in with it and set it on top of the front key punching. For a set of samples (or for the whole keyset!) set the dip to the thickness of nickel. I don't think I want to see the sharp dip ending up much lower than that. Having set natural key height and dip already, I then proceed to adjust the capstans for a series of notes to achieve consistent aftertouch, and see what happens to the hammer line. Don't expect your result to be pretty. But you will see what is happening with your sharps, and have some indication as to whether they are at an appropriate height. Half an inch is 12.5mm. Somewhat less than that is OK, if that is what makes things work. More than that tends to be a problem. Once you see what you have, changing your natural key dip slightly might be something to consider, if necessary.

If you want to, you can also use the opportuninty to play with the fudge factor in a bunch of the adjustments to achieve a compromise that offers something close the specs your are aiming for while achieving a presentable hammer line. You'll see very quickly that it is not a perfect world.

I am inclined not to fudge natural key height. The inconsistency ends of being a way too obvious. To a limited degree, I will compromise key dip, sharp key height, and hammer line perfection. I am aiming for the feel of consistent aftertouch, but I'm not a slave to the gauge. So there's room to fudge here too. I like the gauge, though, because it does give me a useful point of reference.

Some of you guys are way ahead of me on this. Your thoughts?


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Dip is set such that the top surface of the black key is the thickness of a nickel above the adjacent naturals when depressed. I didn't make that clear.


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Originally Posted by Floyd G
I have a bench set-up that makes it easy for me to change sharp key height, so I've been playing with the regulation procedure. Her

I am inclined not to fudge natural key height. The inconsistency ends of being a way too obvious. To a limited degree, I will compromise key dip, sharp key height, and hammer line perfection. I am aiming for the feel of consistent aftertouch, but I'm not a slave to the gauge. So there's room to fudge here too. I like the gauge, though, because it does give me a useful point of reference.

Some of you guys are way ahead of me on this. Your thoughts?

Greetings,
I split the difference between dip and blow to get a consistent aftertouch. If I start with a blue and pink punching under every front pin punching(along with whatever stack is required to get the dip consistent), it makes it easier to decide when to change the hammer line, i.e. After setting blow, and then let-off,(which I never vary), and with a consistent key-dip, I go through with a punching of .040" and place it under the front key pin. Depressing the key, I then change the dip until the jack just allows the hammer to fall when I feel the pressure on the front punching felt. A consistent touch is necessary here, as compression of the front felt punching needs to be the same,(a practiced tech will have more sensitivity in this regard than a concert pianist). If I have to remove both the pink and the blue to get that aftertouch, I replace the pink and raise the hammer until it does. This way, the dip is not varying by more than .009" to get the aftertouch consistent.

I do it this way because the pianists will never be able to tell .009" difference in key dip but will certainly register the same irregularity in after touch, (the .009" represents about 22% of the aftertouch but only 2.2% of the dip)/. As Floyd mentions,the hammer line will look ragged, but the action will feel more consistent than any other way.

Some things to consider: The resilience of the front punching felt comes into play when doing this. A very light pressure is hard to keep consistent and a very soft punching does the same. A firmer finger pressure will be easier to judge and a firmer front punching makes it easier to get consistency. I like the Crescendo punchings for this. When I find I am getting wide irregularities between key dips, it is almost always the capstan line's fault, as small irregularities there will give irregular action ratios. Irregular let-off will do the same thing, so I am particularly obsessive about that.
Regards,

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Really nice description of your approach, Ed! Much appreciated.

By the way, this is a great key dip tool from Wessel Nickel & Gross that helps solve some of the problem of inconsistent touch when setting dip:



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Greetings,
The WNG tool is a modern update on a cobbed up bunch of lead many of us put together a long time ago. I still use it when I want to set a consistent dip first, and with the addition of punchings under the bar, allows a variety of dips to be set deeper. It has always done a very good job of insuring that all the keys are descending the same amount,(a dimension that I will, as mentioned above, later vary in pursuit of some OCD, ideal, target I am cursed with).

When it comes time to set the aftertouch-defined dip, (making the variations on the depth to achieve consistent aftertouch) I think the educated finger is more than enough, and faster without another appliance. The nuanced differences at the point of escapement are valuable information in terms of knuckle roughness, leading edge of the jack, and any other of the myriad components of the event, and my sense of touch does better when I am able to feel things unmediated by the additional mass. This is also that critical point in which my sense of touch and pressure is focussed on the same thing that the pianist (even if unknowingly) will feel. Those of us that regulate with regularity (!), have, with experience, an extremely sensitive feel for the compression of the front punching and the scrape of the jack across the knuckle, as well as such outlier things like a sliver of wood in the mortise that just touches the jack as it moves past, or a burr on the tender, etc. .

I am inspired by the late Dave Anderson, who always stressed trusting our intuition-based decision making in such matters. And, I will be the first to admit, that I have sometimes compromised the perfect aftertouch because the damn key just FELT more consistent with a shade more or less, even though the numbers were not supporting the decision.
Regards,

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This is what I present in my classes or in mentoring.
I learned setting the black keys to have consistent aftertouch with the whites in Yamaha's "Little Red Schoolhouse" -- now carried on by PTG.


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