33-TUNER or email
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.
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.
|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 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
(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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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,
If 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.
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send us pictures of quick-fizes if you wish to have them posted
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Key Restoration shop. We restore antique ivory piano keys,
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always available, as well as ivory key imitation called ivorene.
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