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Common Acoustic Pianos Faults and Issues

Window Light Over A Grand Piano

Pianos, like all instruments, need tuning and maintenance to keep them playing at their very best. However, the more the piano is played, the more tuning it will need.

Many fragile components make the piano produce sounds and movements, so looking out for any issues is crucial. It can go a long way to minimizing the possibility of further damage.

Below are some examples of common piano problems you can come across and advice on how to prevent these over time. When having an awareness of what these issues are, it can also be beneficial for your piano technician to know what they are about to face and gives them a great picture of where to begin.

Tuning Issues

Man Tuning A Large Upright Piano

You will notice over time, the piano sounding different, notes not reaching their beautiful, crisp tunes as they did last time you played. Pianos going out of tune are likely to be played constantly; growing old or environmental factors play their part.

Temperature changes can cause the pin block to swell and expand. This can shift the pins and leave them loose, which can cause more damage and hefty repairs down the line.

Your piano technician will schedule in set dates with you to keep your piano tuned. You can also maintain your piano’s temperature by removing it from any windows or radiators and setting it within a room that tends to have the same temperature all hours.

Do you have a piano? Do you live in London? Then check below to see if our piano tuners can help you.

Sticky Keys

Close Up Of Piano Keys From A Upright Piano

Sticky keys or a key that is stuck is obviously one self-explanatory issue. Some keys just need a slight movement to get it to slide back into its original position. Even with this, it is advised that you do seek a technician so they can examine the root of the issue. Sticky keys can be caused by a few factors, and some can be prevented, such as:

  • Blockages

    • Food and other crumbly substances must be kept away from pianos as it can take a tiny crumb to cause a blockage which in turn causes keys to become stuck.
  • Humidity

    • Humidity fluctuations can have a severe threat to pianos because they are made out of wood. Just as above, your piano must be sitting in a well-heated room. There are temperature gauges that you can purchase to keep an eye on the temperature. Keep the piano away from windows, open fires, heaters etc.
  • Tight Key Bushings

    • If the pianos felt bushings are too tight, then the pins of the piano will not move as freely, which causes the keys to stick. The causes of felt bushings becoming tight are usually when they are replaced and brand new, so hiring a piano tuner with experience is a priority to help prevent this.
    • The felt can also swell and become tight due to moisture seeping onto the felt. Moisture can be avoided by keeping away drinks from pianos and a well-kept temperature in the room.
  • Damaged Keys

    • Keys are often damaged when the piano has not been maintained accordingly. Without servicing or maintenance, your piano keys can become stained and discoloured by trapped dirt and oils from hands over the years. Many people will advise running a damp cloth over the keys, but as we discussed earlier, moisture should be kept well away even if it is just a damp cloth.

Cleaning Your Piano Keys

Cleaning the keys can do tremendous amounts of damage and can cause a large repair bill. Always cover the keys when not in use, and consult your piano technician for advice on cleaning. We published an article a while back about following 6 Easy Steps to Care for Your Piano, which should help maintain a healthy piano for as long as possible.

Rattling Noises Coming from The Piano

A Brown Baldwin Grand Piano In A Music Lounge

Many cases of a piano creating a rattling noise or vibrating are usually something lent against the piano, and as you play, it is moving. You should always check around the piano and at the back to see what the cause of the rattling is.

If you cannot determine what is causing this noise, it may be a structural issue with the piano itself. You must contact your technician as soon as you can so it does not deteriorate anymore.

Usually, it can be loose bridge pins or loose screws, which a technician can quickly repair within no time. If you have a piano in London that needs a repair, please check out our piano repair page for more advice and methods to get in touch.

Key(s) Not Producing Any Sound

Pattern Of Musical Notes

When a key fails to produce a note, this is usually either a problem with the string or the hammer. A piano technician must be called to repair this issue as it involves working around the metal mechanisms, which in the untrained hands can lead to more damage.

This is not usually something you can fix yourself unless you prepared to order parts and watch hours of YouTube videos on how to do it. If you prefer to have an expert to take a look, please don’t hesitate to contact our team in London. If you do not live within London and need help, ensure you go with a 5 star Google Business like AMH.

Pedal(s) not Working

Man With Foot On Piano Pedals

The pedal is not working – There will be times when you do not retain any resonance when lifting your fingers from the keys, even when your foot is firmly pressed onto the pedal. Mostly this means the pedal needs adjustment or realignment, which a trained technician can quickly complete.