What Is Piano Regulation?

Regulation of a piano reviews the mechanical parts of the piano, such as the action, the hammers, the dampers, the pedals and many other components. These components, collectively, work together to help produce the sound and tone of a piano, but are the main factor in the "feel" of a piano. The main areas that are checked during a regulation are the actions, the hammers and the dampers.

If you are finding that you're not happy with how your piano feels when you play, some notes aren't playing properly, or you'd like the keys to be heavier or lighter, a regulation may be able to improve things dramatically.

The action of a piano is made up of over 9,000 intricate parts, but essentially it’s the system that causes a hammer to hit a string and produce a musical sound when a key is pressed by the pianist. Lots of these intricate parts are made of felt, leather and other soft materials such as cloth, which are designed to reduce friction and noise between the moving parts, as well as to protect the piano’s mechanism and keys when in use. These parts can get compressed or gradually worn down whilst the piano is being played, which can result in issues such as unevenly weighted keys or keys that do not produce sound when pressed.

The hammers are the part of the piano that are lifted when a key is pressed, and then strike down on the correlating piano string to produce a sound. In a regulation, the hammers are centred to the strings to prevent the irregular tonal effects that would develop if the strings and grooves on the hammers (formed by repetitive striking on the strings) became unaligned. 

The damper system in a piano controls the vibration of the strings. It allows the string to continue vibrating when the damper or sustain pedal is pressed, but stops the vibration of the string when the pedals are not pressed. After lots of use, the dampers may begin to travel too far upwards. This extra distance that they travel causes them to bounce downwards after they have risen and kick back. This is because of the ‘stop-rail’: a mechanism that stops the damper from raising any further. The dampers will need adjusting if they are too high, and similarly if they are too low, as this will cause the stop-rail to drag the keys down. In a regulation, your piano technician will adjust the dampers to the perfect height for them to do their job effectively.

Regulation attends to the touch and uniform responsiveness of your action, as well as making sure piano has a wide range of dynamics. Your piano’s need for regulation can be affected by playing intensity, climate and quality of the instrument. All of these factors play a part in the shifting and wear of the components in your piano. 

Your piano may need regulating if it has:

If you feel that your piano needs regulating, or would like to know more about regulation, please do not hesitate to get in contact.

Written by Grace Morgan