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#2181943 - 11/13/13 09:45 PM Keyboard ventilation
BenP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/12
Posts: 166
Loc: South Jersey
At the local university which is an all-Steinway school, I noticed a Steinway piano care poster tacked up next to a practice room piano. One of the lines caught my eye. It said that the fallboard should always be left open to help ventilate between the keys and avoid keys sticking.

I've never heard that before. I've heard differing opinions about how important it is to keep the keys covered, but never that leaving it open helps reduce sticking keys (presumably due to humidity levels?). It was definitely an official Steinway poster, but I don't see that instruction given in any of their online piano care documents.
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Ben Patterson
Part-time Piano Tech
Rural South Jersey

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#2181947 - 11/13/13 09:55 PM Re: Keyboard ventilation [Re: BenP]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2193
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
The only time I could see this advice being applicable would be when the piano is chilled, and then is brought into a warmer environment. Such as sitting in the moving truck overnight in the winter.
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In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2182562 - 11/14/13 10:08 PM Re: Keyboard ventilation [Re: BenP]
prout Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 832
M&H recommend always leaving the fallboard open to allow free circulation of air around the keys.

Link to M&H care manual relevant page-

https://app.box.com/s/5rn9iijzovx2g1m66mel

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#2182569 - 11/14/13 11:06 PM Re: Keyboard ventilation [Re: BenP]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
In a school where the pianos are used constantly, and often quite vigorously, it is natural that a keyboard can be subjected to a good drenching in sweat. In concert, the pianist will usually have a handkerchief for mopping up - face, hands, and keyboard. It is a wise caution in such and environment.

In the recent Cliburn Competition, some of the tuner/techs commented on the "swamp." In one shot, you could even see a keyboard subjected to a hair dryer. On cool, I assume.

In the home, a judgment should be made according to use of the piano. Standard use shouldn't be any problem at all. A run-through of the Rach-III is a different story.

Many owners use a felt runner to keep dust off the keys and still keep air flowing and evaporation to take place.
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Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2182692 - 11/15/13 08:51 AM Re: Keyboard ventilation [Re: Minnesota Marty]
BenP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/12
Posts: 166
Loc: South Jersey
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
In a school where the pianos are used constantly, and often quite vigorously, it is natural that a keyboard can be subjected to a good drenching in sweat. In concert, the pianist will usually have a handkerchief for mopping up - face, hands, and keyboard. It is a wise caution in such and environment.


Hadn't thought of that factor. I suppose that would make sense in a very heavy use environment. For most people, though, I would assume the danger of spills, pets, young children, and dust would create a stronger argument for keeping the fallboard closed when the piano is not in use. This is what I always recommend for homeowners and churches.

The cloth key cover, though, is a great alternative, at least for keeping dust off while still allowing ventilation.

EDIT: if direct sunlight is ever around, that would be another good reason to keep the fallboard closed.


Edited by BenP (11/15/13 08:54 AM)
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Ben Patterson
Part-time Piano Tech
Rural South Jersey

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