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#909301 - 06/05/03 09:28 AM Quick Fix for a Stuck Key?
Cindysphinx Offline

Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Hi, all,

Wouldn't you know it? I have a recital this weekend, and I have a stuck key on my piano. I don't want to call a tech -- this piano is about to be retired and I don't want to put a penny into it.

Basically, you press the "C" key, and it stays down and the note continues to sound. I opened the top and pulled off the front panel for a look. Basically, if I move the hammer with my finger, it returns just fine. But if I use the key, it doesn't. It looks like the hammer might be too close to the next lower hammer (perhaps brushing against it), which is also a bit sticky.

It has been raining a lot lately in my area, but temps have been cool so I haven't used the air conditioning. Could that be the problem? I have a dehumidifier I could plug in if that might help.

Any quick fixes out there?

Cindy -- who has enough troubles at recitals without having her practice time diminished
Vote For Cindy!!


#909302 - 06/05/03 09:37 AM Re: Quick Fix for a Stuck Key?
Manitou Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 1044
Loc: Colorado
A sticking key (can) be due to various things, but If you think the hammers are rubbing then:

(since the piano is nearly dead) take a nail file (emery board) and file down the side of the hammers that are touching. This shouldn't take much.
If you're feeling more industrious, take off the front panel and get a long screwdriver. Might need a flashlight too. You will need to determine if it is a flat or Hex screw (old pianos used only flathead screws).
Now, gently get the scredriver past the jack (which can be moved around some, and is in-front of screw) and while holding the hammer head in place, tighten the flange screw located at the bottom (lower-end) of the hammer shank. To do this you should be facing your piano straight-on, the flange screw will facing straight back at you.

Manitou - Pianist - Technician

#909303 - 06/05/03 06:21 PM Re: Quick Fix for a Stuck Key?
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
To add to Manitou's post (he was as per usual right)

If you can make the key stick without the weight of the hammer on it, then you know you don't have a problem with hammers. In this case, you most likely are experiencing a tight key bushing. This very normal, and happens on ALL quality of levels of pianos quite frequently. This is indeed caused by humidity changes, so it may be the problem.

To fix it though, it is best to have a tech do it, as it involves removing the key and easing the key bushing.
A nice tech should do this repair cheap, as it takes about 5 minutes to check all the keys in the piano.

Outlive Yourself - Become an Organ Donor

#909304 - 06/05/03 07:11 PM Re: Quick Fix for a Stuck Key?
byebye Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/03
Posts: 1426

To free a stuck key I grip the sides of the key between the thumb and forefinger and wiggle it side to side while moving it up and down. You may need to depress the adjacent keys with the other hand to get access. If it is a black key grip it as low as possible so you don't dislodge the the sharp from the keystick. This will often loosen it enough to get by.

There are many terrible things which can go wrong with this procedure but none of them have happened yet!

#909305 - 06/05/03 07:43 PM Re: Quick Fix for a Stuck Key?
TomtheTuner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/01
Posts: 806
Loc: Melbourne, Florida USA
It may be as simple as the keyslip rubbing against the front of the key, That's the long, narrow board tht goes accross in front of the keys. On a Steinway, it simply lifts up and you can adjsut it by turning out the screws on the cheekblocks on either side...
Maker of the TCHAMMER


#909306 - 06/06/03 07:24 AM Re: Quick Fix for a Stuck Key?
Cindysphinx Offline

Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Thanks, everyone! I went with Mark's solution and wiggled the key. There was a noise like the sound of something falling inside the piano, and now it works perfectly. Go figure.

Vote For Cindy!!



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