We do all repair services, including action regulation, on all brands of acoustic pianos. That includes Steinway, Yamaha, Samick, Baldwin and hundreds of other brands. It can be fixed, Bill Miller can repair it.
The felt hammers of the piano tend to harden over time, as the felt becomes compressed by repeated impact. They also form grooves at the points of contact with the strings. Harder hammers produce a brighter tone quality, which may ultimately become harsh and undesirable. Piano technicians can soften hammers using special tools called voicing needles. They also sometimes use special hardening agents when the hammers are too soft (though this practice is controversial among some technicians). In either case, an important goal is uniform tone quality across the piano, since the hammers are not used with equal frequency and therefore tend to wear unevenly. How much and how forcefully the piano is played is a factor in how often a piano is voiced, as are the piano’s setting and the preferences of its players.
Over time, the strings will wear grooves into the surface of the hammers. The grooves eventually become deep enough, and the head of the hammer flattened enough, that voicing cannot restore the piano’s tone. At this point, a technician can file the hammers, restoring their original shape and pristine surface at the expense of making them somewhat smaller. This process may repeat several times, until there is not enough felt left on the hammers for another filing, and they must be replaced.
Over time, the performance of a piano action tends to decline, due to the compression of felt, warping of wood, and other types of wear. A skilled technician can restore it to optimal precision, in a process called regulation, which involves adjustments ranging from turning a small screw to sanding down a wood surface. Many new pianos are not perfectly regulated when released from the factory, or quickly lose their regulation when moved to their new home, and benefit from regulation in the store or in the home.
The goal of regulation is to make the piano’s touch and sound consistent across all notes, allow it to comfortably achieve the widest possible range of dynamics, and make the keys responsive to even the most rapid or most subtle motions of the player.
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