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#2169500 - 10/21/13 01:12 PM Harpsicord with sticking keys
Saxaphool Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/10
Posts: 23
Have a client with a Harpsicord that has some keys that are sticking. He said the "risers" stay up after playing the key. Will be looking at it later this week.

I haven't done any harpsicord work.

What should I expect, what should I be looking for?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Joel

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#2169507 - 10/21/13 01:22 PM Re: Harpsicord with sticking keys [Re: Saxaphool]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21529
Loc: Oakland
You probably should be looking for the Hubbard pamphlet on harpsichord maintenance.

There are a lot of variations in harpsichord mechanisms, and you should be careful not to use a method that you have used on pianos that does not suit the particular instrument that you are servicing.

Other than that, it is possible that the keyboard is sticking, that the jacks are sticking, or the plectrum is hanging. The latter two are the things that are easiest to deal with, so check them first.

Removing the keyboard for service might require removing the jacks first, and there is one set of jacks for every choir of strings, so you need some way of keeping them organized if you have to do that.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2169555 - 10/21/13 02:49 PM Re: Harpsicord with sticking keys [Re: Saxaphool]
Saxaphool Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/10
Posts: 23
THANKS!

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#2169706 - 10/21/13 06:51 PM Re: Harpsicord with sticking keys [Re: BDB]
Saxaphool Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/10
Posts: 23
Ordered the book....thanks for the recommendation

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#2170413 - 10/23/13 02:09 AM Re: Harpsicord with sticking keys [Re: Saxaphool]
SMHaley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 646
Loc: Seattle
Its not uncommon for the keyboard to be built as part of the case structure. They aren't necessarily as maintenance friendly as a piano action.

I would first check the key to be sure there isn't a bushing problem by removing (carefully) all jacks on the offending note. Anything after that may be any of the possible problem places as mentioned by BDB.

Depending on the size of the instrument there may be several jack guides for each stop or choir of strings. Alignment issues of the guides can cause a problem. Wooden jacks can occasionally bind in the guides with fluctuations of humidity etc. If they are Delrin jacks I'd be suspicious of the jack or plectrum. Some jacks are designed to permit replacement of the plectra, a unique skill in it self. Others might require a replacement jack as the whole thing is integrated.

Don't dismiss the damper felt on the jack having moved inappropriately. Check jack height... ah the list is long...
_________________________
AA Music Arts 2001, BM 2005
Pipe Organ Builder
Practitioner of piano technology
Church Music Professional
Curator of instruments - Chancel Arts
Baldwin F 1960 (146256)
Zuckermann Flemish Single

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#2170659 - 10/23/13 02:15 PM Re: Harpsicord with sticking keys [Re: SMHaley]
Saxaphool Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/10
Posts: 23
Thanks SM!

Gonna go down and look at it on Friday. Should have a better feel for it after laying eyes on it.

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#2170684 - 10/23/13 03:11 PM Re: Harpsicord with sticking keys [Re: Saxaphool]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1728
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Many of us learn how to service harpsichords by default. In relation to the piano it's a different kettle of fish entirely. But it can be a welcome diversion. The first time one was thrust upon me, I rearranged things and spent the entire day with it. It was fun.

We ended up buying a used 6' years ago which we recently sold.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicć Blog

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#2170828 - 10/23/13 08:01 PM Re: Harpsicord with sticking keys [Re: bkw58]
SMHaley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 646
Loc: Seattle
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Many of us learn how to service harpsichords by default. In relation to the piano it's a different kettle of fish entirely. But it can be a welcome diversion. The first time one was thrust upon me, I rearranged things and spent the entire day with it. It was fun.

We ended up buying a used 6' years ago which we recently sold.


I think they certainly require a more nuanced approach. I love my little Flemish with its big and juicy 8' and 4'.
_________________________
AA Music Arts 2001, BM 2005
Pipe Organ Builder
Practitioner of piano technology
Church Music Professional
Curator of instruments - Chancel Arts
Baldwin F 1960 (146256)
Zuckermann Flemish Single

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#2177018 - 11/04/13 03:50 PM Re: Harpsicord with sticking keys [Re: Saxaphool]
Saxaphool Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/10
Posts: 23
Followup....

I went to look at it. It's a small spinet sized harpsichord. It was in an antique shop, and the prospective purchasers met me there. I took a quick look and decided it wasn't going to be too hard, so they arranged to purchase it from the antique shop and we loaded it into the back of my truck to bring back to my shop.

The sticking keys seem to be caused by some corrosion on the brass pin under each jack. There was a band of green corrosion around each pin where it rode in the felt bushing. I pulled all the jacks, and cleaned them.

The stop levers(pedals) also seem to be tight/sticking, so thats my next project...

I'll keep you posted

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