I’ve really enjoyed using the Regulating Rack and Key Steps. And the Gauge Keys make adjusting the rack a breeze. At first I thought they were about checking your work—blow distance, backchecking, etc., but then it dawned on me that I can quickly adjust the position of the rail between the stops, or the stops themselves, using those without straining the eyes.The Regulating Rack and Key Steps have revolutionized my action work because now I can focus on voicing on site upon delivery rather than first spending an extra day or two on regulating the action in the piano. By reproducing the curvature of the key bed on my workbench with such a fine degree of precision, and being able to set the height of the rack by feel, based on the pilots set in the piano to touch the strings at letoff, I’ve been able to finish the regulation in the piano in a matter of minutes. Another huge benefit of the rack is that I can record and later reproduce the lateral alignment of hammers without any guesswork. All it takes is marking the position of the middle strings in trichords on the rack templates based on the grooves in the original hammers. This way I’ve been able to align the hammers to strings on the bench with greater precision than inside the piano.
Six Reasons We Bought a Grandwork™ Regulation Station (RS):
1. Accuracy: Once the proper measurements are taken and the RS is set up for a piano, you can rely on it to create a regulation that will be as close as you can measure.
2. Educational: Our apprentice gained an understanding of the various functions and adjustments in a grand action much more quickly because he was able to see them in the context of a complete action regulation rather than a single model. After more than thirty years each, we learned some things too!
3. Ergonomic: Out of the “cave” into the light; it’s a cure for aching muscles and vision. Unlike a grand piano, the RS can be set up at heights that suit the technician. The tiresome in and out of the action in a typical regulation is reduced dramatically; once the RS is set up, the only piano work left in the “cave” is the damper system.
4. Practical: Set up the RS at the piano, pickup actions, recondition and/or rebuild in shop, regulate in shop, return to piano. We always schedule a followup call to check after the action has settled in and acclimated but it’s usually minimal changes.
5. Rebuilding: Having the measurements from the piano, you can install new parts without having the piano present with confidence that they will work in the piano. It is expensive and inconvenient to bring a piano in just for action work
6. Troubleshooting: The ability to view the action from almost any angle with an accurate string target enables sophisticated troubleshooting. Being able to play the action outside of the piano enables quick diagnosis of problems that are hard to detect in the “cave”. Now you can feel and see the problem.
I've been tuning, regulating & voicing Steinway pianos at a high level for over 12 years. In 2015 I purchased a TPR Tools Regulation Station RS Lite including the Grand Work Protocols. This integrated system has changed my life, and dramatically improved the quality of my work. Recently I replaced a full set of hammers, shanks & flanges on a Steinway Model L. By using the RS Lite, I not only made my work environment more ergonomic, I had more fun! Normally, an action install day is very long, including the final fitting, tone regulation and voicing. Also, it usually includes a lot of uncomfortable hunching over & fatigue. On this job, I was in the client's home at 8:30am and finished by 1:30pm. The regulation took only 1.5 hours, allowing me plenty of time to focus on making the final tone. Most of the work had already been done on the bench, at a comfortable height. I was finally free to focus my energy on finishing the piano without fatigue. The client was delighted with the piano's consistency, touch, and dynamic range. In addition to artistic satisfaction, I gained time, and felt energized! Thank you Chris for developing this system. It's a must-have for any technician who is serious about action work.
Chris has taken a seriously complex job that we all do all the time and ordered it with as few steps as possible to eliminate errors and repeat rounds of regulating, which sometimes seem...endless? It's such a huge blessing to have this kind of a serious regulation weapon in the possession Erwin's Piano Restoration.This is a seriously accurate tool. This year after the national PTG convention, Chris kindly brought it to our shop and gave us an on-site demonstration. The simplicity and vertical accuracy makes our job more accurate in way less time and way less work. The protocols make all this far more interesting and fun at the same time.
Being able to take a complete grand action rebuild from start to finish and do it 95% on the work bench is fantastic, and relief to the physical nature of hauling an action in & out of the piano numerous times, craning your neck, squinting between the dampers to see let-off, etc, etc.
I routinely install 1 to 2 sets of hammers a week for our clients and for my Ronsen clients requesting pre-hung hammers. The accuracy of traveling shanks and hammers is so assured with this tool.
Well done, Chris.
The Station duplicates string position, keybed peculiarities and inconsistencies, and combined with protocols Chris has developed, enables the professional technician to bring the action to the shop and recreate the conditions in the piano without having the piano in the shop. This saves many hours of reworking regulation settings and adjustments when the action is returned into the piano for final adjustment procedures.The Regulation Station is an essential tool for the discriminating technician. Extreme accuracy, control, ease of use, and state of the art design are the hallmarks of this invention.
The protocols are as meticulous as the jigs, tools, design, and features of this table. Extreme accuracy that can be consistently duplicated is the mantra of this invention by Christopher Brown, excellent for training new technicians and staff assistants for achieving high quality regulation and component replacement with consistent and secure results.
A great purchase and addition for the regulating technician or piano technology educator. It has paid for itself many times over for the hours saved.
We use TPR Tools regulating fixtures. You can buy the fixtures as you need them without necessarily buying the whole regulation station. I did not buy the keybed fixture and table because I like to regulate at the piano. Start with the rack and the squaring platform. Buy the hammer jig when you need it. You will be glad you spent the extra money. This stuff is head and shoulders above everything else.
Dear Mr. Brown -
Thank you for your thoughtfully engineered and well-designed product, the Grandwork™ Regulation Station. The level of craftsmanship and attention to detail has surpassed the expectations of everyone in the shop as well as those on the purchasing committee.
West Chester is listed in Forbes magazine as one of the top valued Universities in the country. Having also earned the privilege of the All Steinway Institution designation, we are always searching for ways of improving the levels of our Steinways and efficiencies of their servicing. As our President's mantra emphasizes, “Expect Excellence”. Your Regulation Station has given us the equipment to excel in the repair maintenance and achieve the speeds necessary to keep our Steinways in tip top shape with minimal of down time.
Although we had believed that the cost of the entire system might have been a limiting factor in obtaining the equipment, once we installed the Regulation Station and learned the finer points of its operation, the efficiencies of the action work and bench regulation acuracies removed any doubt that the cost of the investment was worth every penny. We can now, with complete confidence, show that the purchase is comparable to the investment in our Steinway inventory.
Personally, I appreciate your prompt response to any inquires on how to use the regulation station and especially enjoy your constant desire and focus on improvements to the Regulation Station's purpose. The latest modification, the adjustable blocks, is proof positive of your commitment.
In simple time basis, use of the Regulation Station has reduced the piano action in-the-shop time by at least 1/3 and improved the bench regulation efficiencies to a point that the time needed in final regulation “in-the-piano” has almost disappeared. Truth be told, the majority of practice room pianos need less than 15 minutes of “finish” in-the-piano regulation work.
Bravo to your fine product!
I wanted to let you know of a Regulation Station victory here....
When I was interviewing for this position the piano professor made it clear he was quite unhappy with the piano in his studio. As soon as I was able to after being hired, I began making some improvements (repinning the hammer rail, shaping hammers, etc.) I ended up just switching out the piano in his studio for a 9' Baldwin because he liked it so much more.
Fast forward to last week when I reinstalled the action back in the former studio piano (a B) after regulating it on the RS. I asked him to play it when he had a chance. Well, he liked it so much that he taught a lesson on it with one of his new fall graduate students! He even sent me a video of her playing it!
I am so grateful to have this piece of equipment. It is going to make a world of difference to the pianists here at SIUE. And, make my work so much more rewarding.
Simone Tucci (Yamaha Canada, Toronto) and 'Ace' (Yamaha, Japan) came to visit us at the shop this week. Here we are checking out a DC2 action on a TPR tools regulating bench.
Chris, when I first saw your GrandWork Regulation Station I think I must have felt like a 30+ year aural tuner would when they think about getting one of the modern tuning devices. I said to myself “self, you are 60, and you are already a very competent action rebuilding and regulation specialist, why do you need this tool?”
Not only does your Regulation Station help me complete my regulation work faster (time is money), the results are even more accurate and precise. And you have made regulating fun!
Since I got your Regulation Station I do about three times more action rebuilding and regulating work than I ever did before. I earned back more than the cost of the Station in the first two action jobs and I have done about 10 action jobs in the last year-and-a-half. And I have six more lined up waiting for me to get to them.
Not only will your Regulation Station help any competent technician to do even better regulating than they are doing now – it will allow beginning technicians to do high quality, competent regulating work from the very start.
The first year with the Regulation Station paid for itself. I was able to offset a decline in tuning and in home service with increased action work in the shop. Precision and accuracy are results when using the Regulation Station. Measuring the keybed and strike line on the piano in the customer's home and properly duplicating the information to the Regulation Station in the shop results in minimal adjustments when returning the action to the piano. Although shop work is a small percentage of my service, the Regulation Station allows me to feel confident in taking on more action work and getting it in and out of the shop with more accuracy and an improved turn-around time.
These are some pictures of a Steinway M action that had cracked action rails, loose key leads and action centers due to extreme humidity swings (lows of 30% RH, highs of 82% RH). New action rails were installed by another Richmond technician. This is definitely one job that I would have passed on without the Regulation Station. Only minimal adjustments were needed on returning the action to the piano.
I have been very pleased with the Regulation Station. My first project was a hammer replacement on a 9' concert grand. Everything went smoothly from start to finish with very accurate results. I was able to do the majority of the work in the comfort of my own home while minimizing time at the piano. The regulation station allowed me to analyze the action and make several modifications with confidence.
Thank you Chris for your products and your systematic approach to regulation.
My confidence in promoting grand regulation work to a customer has greatly increased by having a Grandwork™ Regulation Station and my enjoyment of doing this work has vastly improved.
Congratulations on developing a total approach to grand action regulation that yields maximum benefits in both time efficiency and tonal realization. Your tireless efforts have paid off and your patent deserves to be recognized as one of the most important piano technological developments in recent time.
While the investment and learning curve to implement your complete system was an initial concern, my skepticism was banished when you solved the age old problem of regulating an action on the key bed of the piano compared to on the workbench. This represented my personal “Holy Grail” and tied all your philosophical concepts of piano mechanical performance together.
Your system has exponentially upgraded the clarity and quality of our work. The benefits include unparalleled accuracy in establishing vertical alignment leading to increased tone, power and sustain; elimination of costly and inefficient guesswork; less fatigue on the body from straining over a piano; the ability to view and make critical adjustments (i.e. adjusting the drop screws and strength of the repetitions) at the bench which were previously impossible to do with the action inside the piano cavity; increased precision as a result of a multi-sensorial approach to hammer travel; the ability to perform a concert quality regulation off-site with careful samples; and a system that can be readily taught to apprentice employees.
I obviously do not go as far as to state that your system replaces regulating at the piano; but rather, the whole process is enhanced. I can now show-up to a piano with 90-95% of the grunt work done. This generates an extraordinary opportunity to use the time at the piano on very subtle refinements of voicing and tone development. At this stage of the game I become so engaged by the gratification of my work that I am driven by inspiration and anticipation whereas prior to implementing your system I would be at a stage of fatigue and despair.
On a final note, I know how much you have dedicated yourself to the development of your system for the benefit of all piano technicians. Your technical support has been generous beyond measure and so is my gratitude.
Hello Chris - I have a great story for you:
In early March I received a call from a man in a high end gated community outside Chapel Hill. He was Egyptian and I could not understand his name, but I had the address so I figured all would be well.
I arrived at the gate as scheduled and gave the guard the address and he gave me the pass complete with name and directions. When I arrived at their home the wife let me in and led my upstairs to the piano - while I was tuning it, she explained that she had to leave and gave me the check and told me how to lock the door. A little later I realized I could not finish the tuning properly as the action was sluggish and binding in the last 2 octaves, so I left her a note explaining the problem in short and if she was interested in having it serviced I could help her.
When I got home there was a message from the Egyptian man asking what happened to me? He said the gate called but I never showed up. I then realized I had gone to the wrong house! I called him back and rescheduled.
And in meantime the lady whose home I was at called and said she thought her husband had scheduled me as she had my card from another resident. I went back to consult with her and showed her the Grandwork Regulation Station that I now have pictures of on my new website (still under construction) esteppiano.com - there are photos of 2 actions on the Station. She was immediately sold on the service, as long as I was done by Easter.
All went well and she now has a friend that has a botched hammer installation on a Mason & Hamlin model A and wishes she had never had the hammers replaced. And she is now sold on me correcting the problems.
Showing customers pictures of the Grandwork RS so they could somewhat understand what I'm trying to do for them was a major help in selling the services.
* 6 months later: Word has been getting around over these services I do now with the Grandwork RS - been averaging about one a month - just did a C-7 at a retirement community and a lot people loved what I did so I'm set for the next year - have a great holiday season!
Keep up the great work..... Phil
I love my TPR tools.