call (800) 33-TUNER or email  info@amadeuspianos.com


Piano Repair, Grand and Upright piano action Repairs & Regulation (Action = piano mechanism)

At Amadeus Piano Co., Inc., we specialize in custom restoration of antique pianos.  We manufacture custom piano action parts that are no longer in production, for custom pianos and rare antique mechanisms as well as case parts. 

Our trained, professional service technicians are experts in grand piano, square grand and upright pianos of all types, including spinet piano, console piano, studio upright piano, full upright piano, upright grand piano, baby grand piano, concert grand piano, and all types of acoustic pianos ever constructed in the United States, and Europe.

Please follow the regular maintenance schedule for your piano to preserve maximum value and proper response from the mechanism and keyboard touch.  Every piano should be regulated (readjustment of all moving parts) at least  every two years.  Proper piano action regulation should be accompanied by keyboard and pedal regulation - all moving parts.

Please call us at (800)338-8637 for a consultation or to schedule a convenient appointment with a professional piano technician anywhere in NY NJ CT and bordering states.

Piano Action

The working mechanism of the modern acoustic piano is made from the same materials as those used in the manufacturing of the first pianos - over 300 years ago.  The main components of the action are wood and felt.  Even the most famed and modern piano manufacturing facilities fully assemble the mechanism by hand.  Because of its construction, the piano action is liable to be affected not only by mechanical wear and tear, but also by the ever-changing temperature and humidity levels surrounding the piano.  In order to prolong the life of the action and its optimal performance, most manufacturers recommend that the action be regulated at least once every two years.  Depending on the climate and use, the schedule may be more frequent.  This job should only be performed by highly-trained, qualified technicians because the quality and the life of the action depends on the precision of the regulation.

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To properly regulate the piano, the piano action mechanism is removed from the piano. The piano action is taken apart, cleaned, each spring and glue joint is inspected and tested. If the spaces between the hammers, whippens and other piano action parts are not as perfectly distanced as the piano strings, the center pins (metal axles to every moving part, hand picked from over 30 sizes) need to be inspected. With changes in humidity, the felt and wood parts contract and expand. The metal parts remain the same in size and only oxidize when moisture is added. Eventually, the center pins need to be replaced, because they are loose enough for the hammers and other parts to be very loose and shake. This shaking is very dangerous, as the piano action parts may break while playing when not properly aligned.

PIANO CLEANING

Piano Cleaning is very important for the piano, and for your health! Part of the reason for timely piano action regulation every two to three years is because the breaking down of the felt fibers and other household dust accumulates very quickly under the keyboard, between the keys and in the piano action mechanism. Piano Dust is a cause of allergies. You breathe with everything trapped under your keys each time you play. The only way to remove this dust, wood and felt particles is to take the action apart and to take off each key from the piano.

Customize your Piano

After Piano action regulation, the piano action is adjusted to the piano keyboard, piano strings, and piano pedals. This is a very good time to ask your piano technician to adjust the touch to make it more sensitive, or even lighter or heavier, depending on your preference. All pianos have many adjustable properties to help manipulate the sound and touch preferences.

Please call us at (800)33-TUNER at any time for a consultation and to schedule a convenient appointment with our professional staff for an action regulation
  1. (below, from left to right)  The first picture below illustrates the difference between hammers and dampers that have been re-shaped, and those that are worn. 
  2. The second picture below is taken from the reverse side of an upright piano action - here you can clearly see the misalignment of the whippens - causing such problems as sticking keys, added noise, etc. 
  3. The third picture is an example of how an amateur piano technician repaired a broken hammer with a hollow metal shaft - proper technique would require complete replacement of the hammer shank. 
  4. The fourth picture is an example of another quick-fix by an amateur - using drinking straws to hold a broken hammer in place.  Both techniques actually weaken the hammer and can cause undue wear to the action.  Unlike some who claim to be our competition, our technicians are skilled craftsmen who would never sacrifice quality for a fast buck - we fix it right the first time!
Piano ActionPiano ActionPiano ActionPiano Action

The photo to the left is of a vintage upright piano action, upper treble register. One of the hammers has actually snapped.

The deep grooves, or cuts, in the hammer felt (here 3 from each string) develop over time and change the sound of the piano. When humidity changes, the hammers often warp and the grooves develop off center, causing much quicker wear and a shorter life for the piano.

It's important to have your piano action regulated every two-three years, depending on how stable the climate is near the piano.

 
Consumers Beware...

In a field such as piano repair and restoration, there are few places for formal education and training.  Many people learn the trade from their parents, hence the establishment of firms ending in " & Sons," which was commonplace in the piano industry.  There used to be a surge in the education of piano tuners and technicians in the wake of war, where people who lost their sight could find themselves useful in society again, but now there are only a handful of schools offering such education.  A piano technician must first be a musician. In order to be able to repair a piano to the specifications of the musician, especially for tone adjustment, tuning, and voicing, you must be able to play the piano very well.  The Piano Technician should be able to diagnose the structural condition of the piano by playing it, he/she must know what the instrument should feel like when it's properly adjusted, in order to be able to communicate with and understand the customer who is a musician. Many technicians who call themselves professionals are simply amateurs who only have partial and limited knowledge.   Don't let them experiment on your valued piano. 
Here's an example of a recent letter to us from an amateur technician who's been in the field for what he claims is over 30 years:

"As a thirty year piano technician I feel obligated to comment on something you've written concerning hammershank repair for an upright piano.  
You said it's an amateur's "quick fix" repair and "wouldn't hold up in the long run."  Well, in my experience that's totally wrong.  If the straw is used with a super glue (or even an aliphatic resin like tight bond )and the straw is of the proper diameter to ensure a tight connection of both shank segments it DOES hold up over time as I myself have discovered.  In fact, this splicing technique may be superior to using the brass sleeves that have been sold by supply houses.  The only time it would fail is if the shank break isn't clean and too close to the hammer.  In that instance, replacing the shank with a new one would be the only long term secure option."
- Mark Mandell msmandl@earthlink.net

I
f this technician was a pro, he would understand that in order to function properly, a hammer shank doesn't just have to be there, but it has to be flexible. It's true that if you dress it with a straw and some "super glue," it will exist for some time, but by no standards will it be able to perform its proper function, altering the sound by hardening and dulling the sound, not to mention the ugly look of a drinking straw in your piano! Lets call it what it is, a quick fix, which is an amateur's way out of a situation. We say: either do it right, or don't do it at all! It takes the same amount of time for a professional technician to replace the hammer shank that it takes to put a drinking straw on it. Lets remember that a piano is more than some antique machine. It has to work, yes. But it also has to maintain its value and aesthetic look and sound.

  No Quick Fix Lubricants!

If your piano technician is about to spray a lubricant into your piano, aside from pedal mechanisms and such, please stop them and ask what they're about to do. There is just about no reason for a piano technician to spray a lubricant into your piano's action. The mechanism is lubricated by graphite, a dry lubricant applied when the piano action is taken apart. Most types of other grease, such as WD40 will deteriorate action felt and wood and cause further sticking of keys, odor, etc. The worst effect of these sprays is that the damage on felt and wood is irreversible. Replacement of parts today is very expensive, especially on antique pianos. If your piano technician's reply includes: it will stop the keys from sticking, throw them out of your home immediately, and tell them that we said to do so! Sticking keys are a sign of a problem such as misalignment. The piano mechanism is not designed to be aided with such lubrication. If all parts are assembled and aligned correctly, the keys will not stick. The other potential cause of sticking keys is the change in humidity, which is not fixed with lubrication either.

Back to Top            send us pictures of quick-fizes if you wish to have them posted to info@amadeuspianos.com

Click to enter our Piano Key Restoration shop.  We restore antique ivory piano keys, ebony piano keys and piano key-tops.  Plastic key-tops are always available, as well as ivory key imitation called ivorene. 


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