The piano owner's guide
to important piano maintenance!
Here we like to share some insight on how the piano works, or in some cases why it does not.
download the free PDF file
and take an in depth look at the piano owner's maintenance guide.
Focus on: Upright damper springs replacement.
Dampers on upright pianos are able to function because of the fact that they are spring-loaded. In grands the springs lay flat. In upright pianos, however, the strings run up and down, so the weight of the dampers does not fall naturally on the string. Problem arise when the damper springs weaken with age.
Focus on: Damper replacement in upright piano.
While the action, strings and soundboard of the piano are all devoted to the production of sound, the sole purpose of the dampers is the cessation of sound. When the sustain pedal is released, the transition from sound to silence won't be immediate, but will be more prolonged than usual - symptom of old dampers unable to quickly absorbed. The dampers on a piano have have lost their effectiveness when compromised by age.
Focus on:Bridle strap replacement.
The function of bridle straps is that they help to hold the action of the piano together so that is may be removed and replaced in the piano without damage.
Focus on: Hammer Head filing.
Wear and tear on a set of hammers is measure by the depth of the cut marks in the striking surfaces (impact point) of the hammers. I believe it does impact the tone in a negative way.
Focus on: Ivory key restoration.
A beautiful set of genuine ivory key tops on a piano is becoming a rarity. Key tops do suffer from wear and tear and they no longer a particularly attractive. Ivory restoration or replacement may be an option.
Focus on:Sharp key rejuvenation/ replacement
The condition of the thirty-six sharp keys are important as they affect appearance of the keyboard as a whole. Uneven shape or severe wear and tear can become a distration during play.
Focus on: Key top replacement.
luxurious feel of top-quality key tops invites one to sit down and play
the piano. On the other hand, when discolored, chipped and broken off,
playing the piano
becomes more of a pain than joy.
Focus on: Plastic elbow replacement.
The original nylon elbows are becoming brittle and break. A cost effective solution is to replace the entire set.
Focus on:Vertical & Grand piano regulation.
Touch is important and when a piano begins to lose its mechanical efficiency because of compression of felt parts and adjustments off kilter it is said to have gone out of regulation.
Focus on: CA treatment of a loose pin block.
Your piano is tending to go quickly out of tune in part because of loose tuning pins. One treatment to consider is to apply CA glue around the tuning pin where it meets the pin block.
Focus on: Brass rail repair.
Upright pianos have brass rails and flanges, they wear
over time and breakage of any of the component parts of a brass rail
system will result in notes being put out of service. In a piano action with a brass rail each hammer assembly (hammer, hammer butt & shank) pivots on a brass center pin held in place between a "tongue" of the brass rail itself, and a small rectangular brass part called the butt plate. These parts do break, and it makes sense to duplicate and replace the entire brass rail.
Focus on: Replacement of hammer butt & flanges.
Yamaha, Kawai and other Asian made pianos have hammer butt assemblies that rely upon a small braided cord to hold an essential spring in check. After years of use these cords are prone to breaking.
Focus on: Re bushing Keys.
For a piano to have that new piano feel a quality set of key bushings is essential. Over time these wear down and the key sticks rattle against the key pins. The keys become wobbly, giving the piano a distinctive old piano feel. When the keys have become that wobbly consider the re installation and fitting of new bushing cloth.
Focus on: Polishing Capstans.
The "capstans" are a part of the working mechanism of the piano which must be kept super slippery to maximize performance on the one hand and minimize wear and tear on the other. Made from brass and located at the very back of each key. Learn more:
Focus on: Bass string removal,
duplication & replacement.
One characteristic which all great sounding pianos have in common is that they possess a rich, vibrant bass. A strong, resonant bass brings the music played on a piano to life. But these strings do deteriorate over time, they loose tone and luster and eventually have that "tubby" sound. At this point, replacement of the factory installed bass strings is in order. Learn more:
Focus on: Universal bass strings
When bass strings break in a piano, the correct repair is to either tie the broken string or replace it. Find out how it is done here:
Focus on:Grand Damper Replacement.
Dampers are to a piano what brakes are to an automobile. While the action, strings and soundboard of the piano are all devoted to production of sound, the sole purpose of the dampers is the cessation of sound. Dampers often become hardened or misshaped with age and then become ineffective. In such case replacement of the old dampers may be the best option. Learn more:
Focus on: Replacing tuning Pin Bushings.
When the piano is to be repinned and restrung, the question of whether or not to replace the old tuning pin bushings needs to be considered. On one hand, the original set of bushings many times will remain intact and technically could be reused. But then, new tuning pin bushings would not only better compliment the appearance of the new pins and string, but also are more effective in providing solid support for the upper portion of the tuning pins, resulting in stable tunings.
Focus on:Repinning and Restringing.
For a piano to hold a stable tuning and sound its best, it is essential that the tuning pins are tight and that the strings are in good condition. When tuning pins become loose and tend to slop, the piano will not stay in tune for a reasonable amount of time. When the strings have deteriorated to the point where they are breaking frequently, the tone will suffer as well. Learn more:
Focus on: Duplicating and Replacing the Grand Pinblock.
For a piano to mantain a stable tuning, the pian's pinblock must hold the tuning pins with a vise-like grip. If the pinblock has lost its ability to hold tuning pins effectively, steps must be taken to correct the problem if the piano is to stay in tune for a reasonable amount of time. The best proceudre for a pinblock showing signs of deteriation is replacement of the old pinblock with a new custom fitted pinblock. Learn more:
Focus on:Replacing Upright Casters.
Traditional steel casters found on most vintage upright pianos are often in need of replacement. Even when these old style caster are in optimum condition, a piano so equipped is difficult to move. When steel casters go bad and start to seize up, real damage can be done to a floor.
Ed Mashburn, RPT, MPTA
503 - 332 - 2062