David Patterson - Master Piano Technician

Overhaul/ Reconditioning

When parts begin to wear out, both feel and sound suffer. Piano reconditioning procedures can bring back the mechanics close to the manufacturer’s specifications with the use of original components. A rebuilder’s set of skills is utilized to the fullest during this type of work.

Following a piano reconditioning or overhaul a thin, tinny sound will now be full and rich and singing. Those keys that simply wouldn’t sound during very soft playing will now be delicate and responsive. The note that failed to repeat properly will now be quick and reliable. Uneven sections, wherein one weak note was right beside a loud one, will now play correctly and evenly and predictably.

Piano reconditioning work and regulation are closely connected. Strictly speaking, regulation involves adjustments only. As an example, a fully rebuilt piano or a brand new piano will normally need regulation, and the nature of the work is quite detailed. Many of the checklist items are simply inspections, verifying that the 9000 or so parts are correctly adjusted.

A more common type of regulation is requested for a piano 15, 20, or 25 years old. In these cases where rebuilding or new parts may not be needed, about 2/3rds of the regulation checklist items are piano reconditioning procedures:

• Worn hammers with string gouges are made smooth and oval.
• Hammers are re-adjusted to respond to altered geometry.
• Other parts that are worn at contact points are refurbished and re-adjusted.

The piano will be at its full potential after piano reconditioning – as will the piano player.