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What is the piano's action and why does it need maintenance?

When you look inside your piano, you'll find a cast iron plate strung with steel and copper-wound strings over a large expanse of wood which is the soundboard. If you look closer, you'll discover an intricate system of levers, springs, and hammers connected to the keyboard.


The complex system which causes the hammer to strike a string is called the piano's action. It is a marvel of engineering composed largely of wood and wool felt. This mechanism needs to be responsive to every nuance of the pianist's touch -- from loud, thunderous chords to soft, delicate passages.


When a piano leaves the factory, each of its parts is adjusted to a tolerance of a few thousandths of an inch. This process is called action regulation. Because the wood and felt parts of the action may change dimension due to humidity and wear, the action must be serviced occasionally to maintain its responsive qualities.


What other servicing is required?

As mentioned above, there are many components within the action that can cause poor performance such as sticky keys, sustained sound when keys are let go, clicking sounds during playing, etc.  Strings can also break due to age or tampering.


How much does servicing cost?

Depends on what's wrong with the piano.  The good news is that most piano action parts are inexpensive to replace and sometimes the piano may only require adjustments to bring it back to optimal performance.


Do you provide estimates?

Of course!  A service call is $25 in Essex County ($50 in the Chatham area) and includes a complete inspection of the action, pedal mechanisms and strings.  If you decide to go ahead with the repairs, the service call fee will be deducted from the final bill - so it's a free service call!