Tune, Tone, Touch – If you enjoy playing the piano, it’s worth having it play its best
Dean Petrich is an expert at repairing pianos, action regulation, touch adjustment, voicing, replacing parts and troubleshooting clicks, squeaks, clunks, and thumps. He can fix just about anything on a piano, from sticking notes, keys that don’t work, and hammers that won’t return, to screwing and gluing and reassembling the entire body of a piano. Whether you have a single broken string or the entire piano needs to be re-strung, Dean can swiftly and accurately repair whatever is broken or missing.
There are four basic aspects of a piano to consider: exterior, tuning, touch, and tone, in that order. The exterior of the piano itself has to do with the piano’s structural integrity and its appearance: the solidity of the framework, the exterior finish, the casters & pedals, the key tops, and the hardware. If the piano requires significant restoration or rebuilding, or if in particular there are structural weaknesses, ideally these larger procedures are completed before continuing with the finer procedures of regulating, tuning and voicing.
The three basic aspects of a piano’s playing ability — tuning, touch and tone — are the fine adjustments that provide accuracy and consistency of response.
- The tuning has to do with the pitch:
- Sharp/flat, wavering/smooth, tinny/pure, honky-tonk/in-tune
- Fine tuning is accomplished by tightening or loosening the tuning pins in the pin block
- The touch has to do with the technical function of the piano keys and parts:
- How the notes work, how they feel, how uniform and consistently they play, and how accurately and swiftly they respond
- Accurate touch is accomplished by regulating, adjusting, shimming, lubricating and reducing friction, and sometimes replacing parts
- The tone has to do with the quality of the sound:
- Loud/soft, harsh/mellow, tinny/smooth, crisp/muffled, nasal/woody
- Accurate, consistent tone is accomplished by altering or replacing the hammers, voicing the hammers
- Voicing can be accomplished only after the piano has been tuned and regulated.