Now that we have addressed let off, drop, and repetition lever spring adjustment in our previous discussions, rounding out the four primary adjustments is the back-check.
The back check itself is a small wooden block covered with a small piece of felt, over which, a strip of leather is stretched. It is mounted to the back end of the key with a wire that provides easy adjustment.
Its purpose is to catch the hammer after striking the string, in a position of approximately 5/8 of an inch from the string. When the hammer is called upon to repeat in rapid succession, the hammer does not have to begin from its initial resting position, but instead can begin its abbreviated journey back to the string, in essence, taking a shortcut.
Therefore, grand pianos can repeat notes faster than uprights. For it to function properly, both the surface and condition of the leather and hammer tail must be correct.
Too smooth a tail and a repetition lever spring that is too tight, the hammer will get sent back to strike the string again. A “bobble”, a very undesirable and noticeable condition.
Working together, the hammer checking, correct repetition spring adjustment, along with a few other variables, work together to create a very responsive action. One that is a joy to play.
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A family in Troy got a surprise gift this Christmas after a long journey filled with war and hardships.
Elvira Rohovets, her husband, Nickolay, and their children, Lev, age 5, and Maia, age 3, recently immigrated to the United States, fleeing the war in their homeland of Ukraine. Settling in Troy, they were shocked to learn that friends and neighbors had arranged for their family to receive a new piano courtesy of The Piano Place, a Troy-based music business.