Help! Some keys won't play!
There are many relatively simple things that can go wrong with a piano, and most of them show up as keys that either won't go down, or won't come back up again. Things like pennies and paperclips can get stuck between the keys. Things like pencils and, yuck, mice, can move in under the keys. Stuff can fall in the action and prevent the mechanism from moving freely. Although this is no reason to panic, it is a good reason to call a Technician, (or a cat), to remove the items without doing damage to other parts.
Other common repairs are loose or misplaced pedal rods, misadjusted pedals, broken parts in the keys and action, notes that won't sound, notes that sound multiple times with only one keystroke, broken keys, snapped strings, or fallen off ivories (on older pianos). These things can usually be repaired right where the piano lives, in one or two
appointments. If there is a lot of damage, it might make more sense to take some parts, such as the keys or action, back to the shop to work on, fitting them back in the piano once they are in good shape again.
Help! My piano fell off a truck!
Well, thankfully that doesn't happen very often! But pianos can get severely damaged or worn out, and need more than simple repairs to get them back into shape.
Regulation is an important part of piano care for an instrument that is heavily used or older. As the piano ages and is played, parts get worn out at different rates, and important adjustments move out of sync with each other. The cloth and felt parts in the action and under the keys get compressed. The hammers wind up deeply grooved where they repeatedly strike the strings. Metal springs become fatigued and ineffective. As this wear goes on, the piano plays less and less responsively, and eventually becomes unplayable. Regulation is the process of restoring or replacing all the worn parts, and adjusting everything to work smoothly and consistently again.
Restoration is a process that goes beyond repair and regulation. If your piano really did fall off a truck, or sustained extensive damage, or is quite old, it needs to be completely restored or rebuilt.