Q: To Leeds Piano Tuner. When you say minor piano repairs what distinguishes this from major repairs?
A: When I say I carry out minor repairs and regulation for free after the piano tuning, I am referring to the standard maintenance that must be carried out to keep the piano playing at it’s best. Pianos are subject to changes in humidity which inevitably takes its toll on the action parts (particularly felts and wooden parts) over the years. If the parts become too worn or too swollen (with excess humidity) they have to be replaced – that would constitute a major repair job as I’d often have to order in new action parts. However, it’s often a matter of re-adjusting parts of the action to restore it to it’s past condition.
A quick, minor repair job could be anything from lubricing the key bushing with teflon power (allowing for smoother playing), as shown here:
To replacing one or two bridle tapes that have disintigrated or snapped (replacing every tape on the piano would fall under a major repair job):
Or regulating the capstan screw to stop hammer warbling (not an offical term):
One of the most common job of all is realigning any hammers that have come lose and re-tightening the flange screws or replacing lose centre pins:
Re-positioning the back checks so that the hammers check at an equal distance (another big problem that adds to unevenness of touch across many pianos):
And of course, making sure the pedals are as responsive as they can be is always a priority for the customer (sometimes by oiling, sometimes by regulating and sometimes by re-fitting the lift rod):
All highly technical. You could say some of them fall under the category of ‘piano regulation’ but I see repairs and regulation as one and the same. It’s a matter reversing atrophy. If a piano has been neglected for a number of years I focus on piano tuning first and foremost as there will be a lot more work in that regard. Then on the next visit I focus on jobs that could be considered secondary, but that will greatly improve the touch and sound of the piano, such as voicing, regulating the touch and cleaning out dirt and debris that’s clogging the action.
If you are unsure about the work your piano needs, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to answer any questions. Sending pictures of your Leeds piano (particularly close ups of the action, the wrestplank and the strings) will give me a good indication of the amount of work your piano will need and whether or not it’s worth paying for extensive repairs (if needed) or whether you might want to invest in a newer piano. The majority of the time a first piano tuning visit costing £45 will go a long way in bringing your piano back to life.