Sticky Piano Keys
What do I do if I have a sticking piano key?
Sticking piano keys are a common problem for pianists and can be caused by a variety of factors. They are usually easily fixed and are nothing to provoke concern.
If you are wondering why you have a sticking key, here are some suggested reasons:
- the key slip being too close to the front of the white keys,
- objects such as coins or dirty rail pins becoming lodged underneath the keys,
- or a build-up of moisture affecting the movement of the keys. Moisture is the most common particularly with new pianos.
When did the key first start sticking? Had the temperature and/or humidity changed significantly when you noticed the problem? Did you leave anything on the piano keyboard that may have fallen and become stuck? When was the piano last serviced?
Asking questions like these may provide you (and us) a clue as to why your key(s) began sticking – invariably it is due to a change in climatic conditions.
Fixing the problem
Sydney is a very humid city and levels of moisture in the air will affect how your piano plays. Because the instrument is made primarily of natural materials, humidity levels can cause the wood to swell, thus the parts enlarge and rub together, restricting free movement.
Although you may have had the problem corrected by your technician, humidity can swell and enlarge the parts once again resulting in the same issue.
* To try and fix this issue, the key that is causing problems needs to be depressed firmly but slowly and gently moved from side to side whilst depressing.
This causes the felt bushings in the keys to self-compact once again and ease the sticking of the key.
A easy option is to close all windows and doors in your home particularly on rainy days and run your air conditioning system on dry mode without stop for 1 – 2 days.
Totally remove the red or black felt that covers the keys. This felt is another reason you maybe having moisture issures. Simply close the fall (or keyboard lid) without covering with felt.
It would be worth investing in a hygrometer (not very expensive) to monitor the climatic conditions of your room.
Typically humidity should be between 40-60% and the temperature range 17-21C. If you find your environment is fluctuating in these metrics, then you should consider investing in a de-humidifier bar from your piano technician to regulate the humidity in your piano 24hours a day – 7 days a week.
Damp Chaser bars are available from your Piano Technician which are used as a last resort to slowly ensure consistency in temperature and regulate humidity.
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Do not use moisture absorber buckets as they can cause the strings in your piano to rust and void your warranty.