Each of the 88 notes in a piano are like their own little clockwork and the keyboard mechanism or “action” is comprised of thousands of individual parts. These parts are made of wood, metal, felt, buckskin leather, as well as composite plastics and carbon fiber in newer instruments.
Over time and playing these materials compress and wear which drastically affect how the piano feels. There are precise specifications from each manufacturer as to what the correct settings are to compensate for this. This can be a very complex process due to all the parts and adjustments involved.
What we are aiming for in regulation is to transmit as much as possible the input to the key by the players fingers to the output of the hammer striking the strings, with excellent repetition and control.
A poorly regulated piano would be akin to driving an old, clapped out car with very loose steering, sputtering acceleration, bad brakes and a wallowing ride. Simply put, a poorly regulated piano will tend to fight you while a well regulated one will disappear beneath your fingers!
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