Piano Repairs: The Basics

Most likely piano repairs are necessities in pianos’ lifespan. Even though most pianos last many decades, as with everything else, pianos may have problems that require repairs.

Furthermore, acoustic and digital pianos will have very different problems.

Acoustic Pianos

acoustic piano

For your piano to generate the most outstanding sound possible, you need to tune it once or twice a year.

Pianos have nearly 10,000 moving parts and letting a novice tune your instrument is a significant error because of the sophisticated construction. Instead, we recommend hiring a piano professional to tune your piano. After 3 to 4 decades, an acoustic piano may require a full restring to get the best sound.

The storage of a piano is the next item on the list of piano care guidelines. Pianos are constructed of wood and metal, which may shrink and expand depending on the temperature.

These temperature variations in the piano will cause problems in the long term, resulting in expensive repairs over time.

Ideally, keep the instrument in an environment with a 45-70 percent humidity level. To check humidity, you can buy a hygrometer.

While this may appear to be a lot to preserve the polish of your piano, with just a little piano care each day, you will be able to keep your piano in good condition without too much trouble.

What Are the Most Common Acoustic Piano Problems?

A lovely-sounding piano is a music to your ears. However, a piano that isn’t performing correctly may make your playing seem absolutely sub-par, which is incredibly aggravating.

Most of the main difficulties with pianos are readily rectified. The goal is to be able to recognize the problem and have answers readily available.

Here are some of the most prevalent piano issues.

Sticking Keys

sticking key

Some piano keys are not coming back to their original position as quickly as they should. We call these keys sticking keys.

The problem gets worse when playing with the sustain pedal pressed down.

To confirm the issue, you can lift the piano lid, there you’ll see the hammer of a sticking key that does not return to its resting position as quickly as its neighbors. It doesn’t bounce before coming to rest.

This is often caused by the key bushing cloth becoming swollen due to changes in moisture or humidity. The swollen cloth grips the balance rail pin tightly. It causes friction and slows the key down.

Gratefully, it’s a very simple problem for your piano tuner to resolve during his or her next visit.

You may also try this very simple solution:

  • With the sustain pedal held down, then give the sticking key a good firm wiggle in the fully depressed position, in the at-rest position, and in the raised position.
  • Repeat the process a few times if necessary

Broken Ivory Keys

You may have seen some of the pianos with cracked key surfaces. Usually, these are ivory keys.

broken ivory key

You can replace the cracked surfaces with new synthetic surface pieces. They are very inexpensive.

The replacement process is also simple. Basically, you

  • remove the old surface, either by sanding off or chipping away the old surface,
  • cleanse the surface,
  • and glue on the synthetic surface.

The result usually is very good and you cannot tell the difference.

Broken Hammer Shank

piano hammer
A new hammer shank

Another fairly common issue is the broken hammer shanks. When you press a key, there will be no sound because the hammer does not reach the strings due to a physically broken connection.

We recommend you have a professional piano tuner or repair to fix your broken hammer shank.

Digital Pianos

digital piano repairs

Digital piano maintenance is an essential element of owning a digital piano.

If you’re reading this, you either possess a digital piano or plan to acquire one soon.

Although they may appear to be very similar to acoustic pianos, digital pianos have different maintenance requirements. Here are some digital piano upkeep tips to help you take care of your instrument!

Preventive maintenance and cautious planning are the most critical aspects of digital piano maintenance.

You’ll prevent damaging your instrument and keep it tidy for longer. And when it does require cleaning, it’s not a difficult task.

A digital piano can provide you with many years of fun and utility. Safeguard your investment!

What are the Most Common Digital Piano Problems?

Digital pianos and keyboards are often robust equipment that, if properly maintained, will give years of enjoyment and fun.

However, there are times when things go wrong, especially the keys, and you need to get your digital piano repaired.

The following are the most prevalent keyboard issues with digital pianos.

Velocity Problem

The first common problem with digital pianos is the velocity problem. It means when you are playing a soft passage of music, there will be a note popping out with a very loud sound, even if you play it softly.

opened digital piano keyboard

This problem is caused by the dirt or hair being trapped underneath the keyboard, on the contact rubbers beneath the keys. When this problem happens, a quick fix is to

  • unplug the digital piano or keyboard
  • open the keyboard and lift the keys
  • use a vacuum cleaner or air blower to clean the contact rubber
  • remove the contact rubber, brush the carbon board under the contact rubber

While these steps sound easy, you should still have a professional digital piano repairer to help you, since you do not want to damage any internal electronics.

Keys Without Sound

contact rubbers

The next common problem is that certain notes are not making a sound. These keys sound intermittent.

This problem is caused by the damaged contact rubbers under the key. Or sometimes the contact rubber has a tear on its inside.

The quick fix is to replace it with a new contact rubber. This does involve opening up your keyboard, hence contacting a professional service person will be the best option.

A Broken Key

digital piano broken key

The first thing to do with a broken key is to replace it. However, sometimes you may not find the replacement, or the replacement is super expensive.

Here is a small practical tip:

  • If the broken key is in the middle section of your keyboard, you can swap the broken key with the last key of the end since it is the least-used key.
  • It is not perfect, but it saves you money and chances are you’ll never need to use that broken key in the end.

Preventive Measures to Consider

Like any furniture or electrical device, preventive maintenance or safeguard normally will prolong the life expectancy of an instrument. It is also true for pianos. By integrating some simple habits into your piano practice, you likely will lengthen the lifespan of your piano regardless it is acoustic or digital.

No Food or Drink Near Your Piano

We’re all aware of the dangers of having food or drinks near our electronics.

Regardless, we occasionally forget that our digital piano is a piece of electrical equipment!

It’s the same as protecting your phone or computer from a sticky drink or a tasty lunch.

Even for the acoustic piano, liquid and food particles can damage the surface and keys. Consider a crumb becoming trapped in the critical mechanism, resulting in future (expensive) maintenance.

Wash Your Hands

Before you start playing, make sure to wash your hands! Another little aspect that is frequently overlooked.

It’s similar to washing your hands to avoid disease. Remove dirt, grease, crumbs, and microorganisms from your piano.

A simple deed can have a significant impact. Pre-scrubbing your hands can aid in the removal of natural oils as well as fats from the potato chips you just ate.

Organized the Cables

A digital piano like any electronic device comes with wires and cables. Keep your power and MIDI/USB cords organized, so no one will trip over them.

A foot caught in the power line might cause your instrument to be bumped, if not toppled over!

Inadvertent force on MIDI/USB connections has been known to break a USB port. Avoid this expensive repair!

USE A GOOD PIANO POWER SUPPLY. It, too, must be protected from electrical surges, just like a computer.

Utilize a High-Quality Stand

For those portable digital pianos, it is important to have a sturdy stand to support your digital piano. You don’t want your instrument to fall on the floor.

To Conclude …

It is best to consult a professional piano servicer before you attempt to fix your piano by yourself. This will avoid further damage.

Generally acoustic piano requires more maintenance and repair since all the parts work together mechanically.

For digital piano, most issues happen with the keyboard.

In many situations, the repairs are straightforward and may be accomplished quickly.

However, remember that pianos are sensitive by nature. Putting too much pressure on them, or breaking internal connections when attempting to repair them yourself may cause more harm than good.

Remember, always consult professional piano services when in doubt.

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