Prepping a new grand piano

In this PW thread Keith Kerman gives details of the minimum 20 hours of work that he spends on prepping a new grand, either before or after delivery to the customer. Obviously pianos from some manufacturers come out of the factory in very good shape, so many work items would be just a check to make sure that everything is within spec. I have cut-and-pasted from his post, below:

The following is standard operating procedure at Piano Craft for all new Grand Pianos. This is nothing new. It comes from our experience, and the recommendations of manufacturers such as Mason & Hamlin, Bluthner, Steingraeber etc. This work is appropriate for all grand pianos.

The following is regulation and does not include the multiple tunings required for stability, voicing, or multiple follow up services. I know a lot of this will need explaining, so I am hoping the fine techs who contribute to this forum will chime in. You will notice a lot of redundancy in this process.

Phase 1: Estimated time 12 hours

1 Bed key frame to key bed
2 Lubricate key frame guide pins
3 Polish capstans
4 Level keys
5 Set key dip
6 Regulate end keys of each section completely
7 Adjust hammer height on remaining keys to match samples
8 Escapement on remaining keys
9 Drop on remaining keys
10 Space hammers to string ( square and travel as needed)
11 Space repetitions to hammer shanks
12 Space back checks with bending pliers
13 Adjust jack to knuckle
14 Adjust back checks
15 repetition springs
16 repetition lever height
17 readjust hammer height to samples
18 readjust hammer line slightly if needed for after touch
19 even out aftertouch on sharps with front rail punchings
20 retighten all action screws

Phase 2: Estimated time 8 hours

1 Adjust hammer height on remaining keys
2 Escapement on remaining keys
3 Drop on remaining keys
4 Space hammers to strings ( do not square and travel with this step)
5 Check spacing of repetitions to hammer shanks
6 Space back checks with bending pliers
7 Adjust jack to knuckle
8 Adjust back checks
9 Repetition springs
10 Repetition lever height
11 readjust hammer height
12 re-evaluate aftertouch on naturals, adjust slightly if needed
13 even out after touch on sharps by adding or removing front rail punchings
14 retighten all action screws
15 readjust back checks to 1 1/4″ if geometry permits

Above times do not include the following:

Lubricate trapwork and tighten all trapwork screws.

Regulate damper pedal:

1 lost motion at 1/4″
2 Key bed upstop adjusted or present to allow damper lift slightly above that of sharp damper when lifted with key
3 Up stop adjusted slightly above lift of dampers with sustain pedal pushed

Shift Pedal

1 Check each hammer for excessive shift.
2 Check pressure of cheek block guide plate on guide pin in action
3 Shifts easily and smoothly


1 doesn’t pick up dampers when depressed
2 holds any and all dampers lifted by key before pedal is pushed

Also interesting is the Joe Swenson’s article ‘New Piano Preparation‘ at the PTG web-site. He says that many piano technicians have done far fewer complete regulations than tunings. Swenson says:

This lack of experience can lead to an incomplete awareness of the musical value of proper regulation. The fact is that, within a given time frame, time spent regulating a piano can often effect a greater musical improvement to the the piano than say, voicing can…the quality of voicing is actually dependent, to a degree, on the quality of regulation.


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