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How can I work on Grand Actions??

Posted By: Duaner

How can I work on Grand Actions?? - 05/16/19 07:52 PM

A frustration on mine is that I have limited experience working of Grand actions and cannot for the life of me figure out a way to remedy this problem. I have tuned them, of course, and on occasion have had the action out of them and even adjusted them but it is all done by way of what I remember from the written word or u-tube videos. I have had plenty of exposure to verticals (still learning obviously) but not nearly as much with Grands.

I guess I'm complaining (or something) but I'm thinking that I have received, very often, such wonderful advice, ideas, choices to make with this forum that I thought "....well, I might as well throw my frustration out there and perhaps someone has an idea for me to remedy this situation, who knows...."

So, my question: "Is there a way to get some hands-on-experience with a grand action apart from actually purchasing a Mini-Grand (my wife would murder me I'm sure)? .....does anything come to mind.
Posted By: Rick_Parks

Re: How can I work on Grand Actions?? - 05/17/19 01:34 AM

are there no technicians in your general area that perhaps have a workshop?
You might try asking if they could show you some pointers, or allow you to watch and ask questions about the work, as they doe a regulation or a reconditioning or such in-shop work. I know there's a lot of really nice people in the field who are more than willing to share the know-how.
You might get a bit further by offering to pay them a bit for the learning experience?
Other than these points, there really is not a whole lot I can think of- other than purchasing dirt-cheap (or freebee) piano and getting some hands-on with it (which really is kind of necessary if you're going to get serious with it). Hands-on is an absolute must here. You can get all the book-learning and advice you can, but if you don't develop the skilled mind and hand at it, you won't get very far.
Posted By: Bill Schneider

Re: How can I work on Grand Actions?? - 05/17/19 02:56 AM

Duane, I don't know your age or location, nor how determined you are to learn. The very best way to learn to work on grands is to apprentice in a good restoration shop as Rick suggests. I was very fortunate in my youth to do that, and within a year, I was responsible for hanging hammers, regulating and voicing one grand per week. If that's not an option, working as a dealer technician is the next best option, prepping less expensive grand pianos on the sales floor, starting tentatively and as your skills improve becoming more daring. (Dirty secret: piano dealers generally care more about saving money than having a top-notch technician, and as long as you can tune plausibly and know your limits, you can learn on their pianos.)

I'd certainly attend PTG meetings and conventions, and get to know the better techs who might mentor you. Buying, reconditioning and selling grands works too, so long as you're getting instruction and feedback from someone that knows the ropes. There's an irony in the fact that people will pay a university ungodly sums for an education, but in piano technology people expect to be paid to get educated, as in a piano restoration shop, or dealership. An education in piano technology is worth money too. Maybe you can take lessons from an accomplished technician.

Bill Schneider
Posted By: UnrightTooner

Re: How can I work on Grand Actions?? - 05/17/19 01:38 PM

Duane, my suggestion is to talk to a Church or school that has an old baby grand, perhaps one they don't use often. Be frank and explain you need practice on regulating them and ask if they would be willing for you to do so on theirs with the end result of a much better working piano at no charge.

BUT! Find one with hammers that are not worn down too much! If they are worn down to the point of needing replacement, you will not be able to shape them and regulate the action properly.

One tip I'd like to give is not to worry so much about measured distances. BDB has pointed out that let-off is not affected by any other adjustment. Get that right and everything else must conform to it. It is much more about feel than about measured specifications.
Posted By: Chris Leslie

Re: How can I work on Grand Actions?? - 05/17/19 09:38 PM

Perhaps the next time that you get a grand that requires some serious work you could take the action home for service. That way you should have plenty of time to look at it properly and figure thing out.
Posted By: Gene Nelson

Re: How can I work on Grand Actions?? - 05/17/19 11:39 PM

Practicing on a grand action model is a great learning tool.
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