Adjusting The Pedals During Piano Tuning

Adjusting The Pedals During Piano Tuning

In most cases, a piano tuner’s job entails bringing the notes back into tune by adjusting the strings. But in some cases, they may also find a pedal that isn’t doing its job. Pedals on both verticals and grand pianos occasionally stop working.Adjusting The Pedals During Piano Tuning

In many cases, it’s simply a matter of a pedal rod that has fallen out of place. By removing the kickboard on the front cabinet of a vertical piano just under the keyboard, you’ll find a vertical wood dowel or metal rod that connects to horizontal levers that extend up into the piano to a mechanism in the action. Stepping on the pedals causes the rod to move, activating the proper action mechanism inside the piano.

Since the rods are usually only inserted into the action levers with metal pins, it is very common for them to simply fall out of position, causing the pedal to stop working. The more you use a pedal, or if a piano has been moved, the greater the chance of having the pin fall out of place.

Pedal rods usually fall out of place when too much freeplay is in the movement. Freeplay means the pedal and the lever move too much before the vertical rod rises. If freeplay is enough, it can cause the rod to fall out of position, or simply not rise enough to allow the proper movement in the action.

Proper adjustment calls for freeplay of only about 1/16th or an inch. In other words, the vertical rod moves very little during the process. A professional tuner knows how to adjust the rod to the appropriate length. If you adjust it to remove all freeplay, it may jam against other action parts and leave the pedals in a position they shouldn’t be in. This can allow the dampers to stick, or to remain off the strings altogether, allowing notes to ring on and on.

Grand pianos usually have fewer problems with pedal adjustments than verticals. Grand pedal rods are encased in a wooden lyre and rarely fall out of position. However, adjustments are sometimes needed and are completed in much the same way as on a vertical.

Have a question about tuning your piano? Pedals need adjustment? Give us a call today.