We previously discussed how great a significance the correct let-off distance is in the control of the instrument, allowing the pianist to play pianississimo. The next adjustment that we will consider is referred to as “drop”. You may have noticed that when you were slowly raising the hammer to view the let-off distance, when the hammer would rise no further, it fell away from the string. This fall is referred to as drop.
How much? My typical answer, “just enough and no more”. As you might remember, every adjustment is related to several others and so not all specs can be qualified with a hard and fast measurement.
In a well-regulated instrument, the hammer will come to rest after it drops, approximately one-eighth of an inch from the string. This is a safe distance which will keep the hammer from bobbling, or double striking the string, after releasing the key from its fully depressed position. With the correct let-off and drop dialed in, does it mean that the action is well-regulated?
Again, it’s not that simple. We still need to throw in a combination of hammer check distance and repetition lever spring tension adjustment.
What? I told you, it’s not that simple! At the end of the day, combining dozens of factors, a “in-tune” pianist can tell the difference between a well-regulated instrument and one that still needs work. Requiring a discerning touch, an experienced piano technician, who is an accomplished pianist, is key and invaluable to evaluating and instrument.
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